I have the keys to a home in heaven. Thank you Jesus.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a place in heaven.  I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my eternal home in heaven because I’m usually so preoccupied with life in the here and now that it seems distant.  However, the older I get the more I have pondered what this home will be like and who will be there with me.  I realize now the urgency for telling others about Jesus and His saving power, so that they will not be left behind.

Today’s scripture comes from John 14.  It is a familiar passage about the home Jesus is preparing for us and gives us great hope.  I like the extra meaning the Amplified version John-14-2gives John 14:1-4 ““Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe[confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way.”   We are not to be afraid because through faith in Jesus we know that He is preparing our eternal home and that He will come get us when the time is right.  

Another passage in Ephesians reassures us that through faith in Jesus and because of God’s great love for us, we will be seated with Christ.  It is truly by God’s grace, His unmerited favor, that He made such a place for us,  as we did nothing to earn the riches we will receive.  Ephesians 2-4 Rich In MercyEphesians 2:4-7 “ But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

In our eternal home will have a place of honor that is prepared for us by Christ himself, and we will be with Him for eternity.  My finite mind can only try to imagine such provision, but I know I only need to believe in Jesus and His saving work on the cross for it to be mine.

Linda

Suggestion:  Give some thought to heaven today and make a list of at least 5 things you know about it.  Need some help- read Revelation 21 or go back and reread today’s passages.  They are filled with promises about our heavenly home.  Hint- one of my favorites is Revelation 21:4

 

Given by Christ, Righteousness. Thank you Jesus.

christ my righteousnessBecause Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have Christ’s righteousness.  Christ was a man while on earth, pure, holy, without sin, filled with integrity, virtuous in behavior, humble and the list could continue.  Most importantly He was sinless and therefore in right standing with God the Father.  God cannot look upon sin so unless we are pure and holy we cannot be in a relationship with Him.  By saying, “I have Christ’s righteousness” I am proclaiming that I am in right standing with God.  I can know and communicate with Holy God.  Romans 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 explain how this happened for us through Christ’s work on the cross. Romans 5:19 “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners (that was Adam), so also through the obedience of the one man (Christ) the many will be made righteous.”  2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Through faith in Christ, I can have His Righteousness and come into a relationship with Almighty God.  Without Christ, we have no way get rid of our sin. We can never do enough good works.  We can never clean ourselves up enough to come before God.  Ephesians 2:8-9 puts it this way,For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  What a precious gift Christ’s righteousness is to me!

How do we process this for Lent?  Recognizing that our position before God is totally dependent upon Jesus and His redeeming work on the cross and resurrection from the dead should give us pause and create in us a sense of gratitude and humility.

Prayer:  Thank you Jesus that through faith in  your work on the cross I am able to come before You in prayer, study Your word with understanding and be indwelt by your Holy Spirit.  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on my behalf.  Amen.

Linda

the-willing-spirit-can-do-good-deeds-by-grace-quote-1Suggestion for today: Pray David’s prayer from Psalm 51: 10,12               Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.                                                   Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Sometime today, instead of taking credit for something good you are doing or did – give the praise to God.  Have a willing spirit that desires to please Him. Acknowledge Him with your thoughts- He knows your heart and spirit.

Faith, perseverance and blessing all rolled into 1!

james 1 12James 1:12 is one of my favorite promises of blessings God has for me.  “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” 

There are several truths embedded in this verseGod rewards steadfastness (perseverance, persistence, stubborn allegiance)There will be trials in life, God is always watching to see how we fare during our life trials, Our reward is eternal in nature and Our faith in God shows Him our love for Him.  The Bible has a lot to say about perseverance and how it builds character. James addresses this earlier in this chapter.  James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  Trying circumstances and people that God brings our way build our character for God and bring joy!    We know that God is omniscient and watches all that we do.  He is there in the nitty-gritty places in life protecting and guiding.  1 Corinthians 10:13 gives us the assurance that His watchful eye is always upon us and He knows what we can bear.  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”    Our reward is eternal in nature and is received through faith in Jesus.  Colossians 3:23-24 puts it this way Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”  1 Peter 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,”  Lastly, our faith shows our love for GodHebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”   But Ephesians 5:2 and John 3:16 remind us that God loved us first. Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  John 3:16 ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

joyce meyer quote 2If you are in the midst of a trial today, take James 1:12 to heart and be assured that Jesus is there with you, God is watching and your stand in faith will bear eternal rewards.

Linda

 

From Sin to Blessing because of Jesus

Paul makes a case for the blessed man in Romans.  He is talking about the blessed state of  a man who has faith.  He is blessed by God because of his faith and trust in Him and the man did or does nothing to earn that blessedness.  It is a gift from God through Jesus.   Paul quotes David’s words from Psalm 32 in Romans 4:6-8.

just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Romans 4 7 8Our blessedness comes from God and has nothing to do with our ‘works’ as it is all God working in us.  Only God can forgive sin and through Jesus’ shed blood God covers our sins.  He does not count our sins against us!  Now that is blessedness!  The believer is mightily blessed by God through his faith and trust in God.  Jesus’ work on the cross eradicates our sin and presents us whole and blameless before Almighty God.

Thank you Jesus for your work on my behalf!

faith inMay you have a blessed day as you consider your privileged position before God- pure, blameless and saved from eternal destruction through your faith in Jesus the Son.

Linda

A Recipe for Blessings

psalm 40 4Today’s blessing passage comes from Psalm 40.  David leads up to verses 4 and 5 by describing the wonderful things God has done for him and can do for us.  By the time we get to verse 4, we are ready to see how trusting the Lord can and does bring great blessing and to tell others of God’s greatness.

40 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry      In life, David had learned to wait upon the Lord patiently even when it was hard.  He experienced God’s hearing his pleas for help and His rescues personally as he waited 14 years to be king while running and hiding from Saul.  Is God asking you to wait patiently today?                  He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.             David had been rescued by God from Saul, the Philistines and from his own sinful mistakes multiple times, and he had experienced God’s restoration both physically and spiritually.  Is this your story too?
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.    David praised God for keeping him and giving him a new song of praise to sing, and he is calling others to put their trust in his saving God.  If you could name your new song from God, what would be the title?

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!   Here David reaches the conclusion that one who trusts in God and not worldly things or advice is and will be truly blessed.  Trusting God leads to wholeness in life.
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.      Lastly, David praises God for His grace, mercy, blessings and acts towards us. Even if we started now and praised all day long we could never tell of all the wonderful things God has done on our behalf.  We are truly blessed by Almighty God and no one or nothing can compare to Him!

The first 5 verses of this Psalm are all about blessings David experienced first hand and so can we.  God listens and desires that we wait patiently for His perfect timing.  God will lift us out of hard circumstances in life and set us upon solid ground if we will place our trust in Him.  He will give us a new song to sing as we walk with Him day by day.  We will be blessed by trusting in Him and not looking elsewhere for our direction and guidance.  God has given and will give us abundant blessings for walking in trust and faith.

today blessingWhat a wonderful recipe for success in life– patience in listening, trusting God to rescue and provide, singing His song, looking to Him for guidance and advice and telling about His goodness.  Will you make this your intent today?   Look for blessings if you do!

Linda

Prepare the Way for the LORD!

Isaiah 40 1Isaiah 40:1,3,4 opens the Messiah and that is where our Advent story begins.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”  A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.

It had been 400 years since the prophet Malachi had spoken and the people were hungry and eager to hear from God.  Hundreds of years before Isaiah had prophesied that the people would be comforted by the voice of one crying in the wilderness who will proclaim the arrival of the Messiah.  The one spoken of here is John the Baptist.  His mother Elizabeth was Mary’s Aunt and their babies were due months apart.  Zachariah, John’s father, had received visit from the angel Gabriel foretelling the birth of this forerunner of Jesus.  Luke 1:13-17 “But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will luke 1 17bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.   Just as Isaiah had prophesied,  John came and proclaimed a message of repentance and prepared the people for the Lord’s coming.

Isaiah also spoke of leveling the ground in Isaiah 26:7 The path of the righteous is level;
    you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.”   Jesus, Messiah, would come and make way for the righteous.  Jesus indeed smoothed the way for mankind to be made righteous through His coming, His death and His resurrection.  All the mountains of sin that stood between God and man were made low through His sacrifice.  Jesus made “every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain” for those of faith to come to God.  He removed the barrier of sin between us and holy God.  Jesus made the way for us to be saved.

John, the herald of Jesus, came to call Israel to repentance and faith.  Let us answer his call today  as we meditate on the beauty, exactness and completeness of God’s Word and the hope we have in Jesus.

Let our Advent journey begin with repentance,

Linda

I AM the Shield

God is our shieldIn Deuteronomy 33:29 the LORD gave 2 names by which God is known- the Glorious Sword and the Shield.  Previously I wrote about the Glorious Sword but today my focus is on God’s name-the Shield.  Blessed are you, Israel!  Who is like you,  a people saved by the Lord?  He is your shield and helper  and your glorious sword.  Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.”  God was the shield for His people in Old Testament times and today He is a shield for all believers.  Through faith in Jesus we can claim God as our Shield and helper.    I looked up the word shield and found several definitions – armor held to ward off blows or missiles, a person or thing that guards, protects or defends and a shape in various forms that protects in tunnels from cave-ins, a heavy metal screen like a heat shield, insulating wire that shields against electrocution, or a protective screen against radiation.  As you look at the verses below-see how God is the perfect shield in all circumstances!

ephesians 6 16Ephesians 6:16 “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”    God is a Shield against Satan’s arrows or missiles.

Psalm 3:3 ” But you, Lord, are a shield around me,  my glory, the One who lifts my head high.  God is the person who shield and defends. 

Psalm 5:12  “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;  you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”   

Psalm 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield;  my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy,  and with my song I praise him.”    

Is God your all around shield that protects you in all circumstances against the world that seeks to destroy your witness and lead you away from Him?  Consider these verses:

Psalm 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect:  The Lord’s word is flawless;  he shields all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield;  the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold  from those whose walk is blameless.

Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers,  and under his wings you will find refuge;  his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield;  I have put my hope in your word.”

Proverbs 30:5 ““Every word of God is flawless;  he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

God's protective careAs a believer, God promises to be the Shield in your life.  American Civil war hero, Stonewall Jackson, claimed God as his shield and was so thankful.  How about you?  Be encouraged today!

Linda

 

 

I AM the God who is There

glory of GodDo you ever think about where God is?  In the Old Testament God came to dwell in the wilderness Tabernacle filling it with His Shekinah glory.   As they traveled in the wilderness God went with them guiding their way with a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.  When they had their camp set up, God dwelt in the tabernacle in their midst.  Exodus 40:34-35 “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lordfilled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”  It is a beautiful picture of God’s abiding presence and guidance.   Ezekiel had prophetic visions of the future and closes his book with the rebuilt temple and city of God in the future.  Ezekiel 48:35 “The circumference of the city shall be 7-jehovah-shammah18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.,”  Jehovah-Shammah.     John’s prophetic vision of the City of God in Revelation 21:3 also speaks of God’s abiding presence there.  “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

It is God’s intention to live with us.  He is Personal and desires a relationship with each and every believer.  In the past God dwelt in the tabernacle and temple, in the future, God will dwell with us as described in Ezekiel and Revelation,  but what about now?  Jesus speaks of the benefits of abiding in Him, living with Him.  We will be living free in His Word, John 8:31.  We will be bearing much fruit for God, John 15:4.  We will have the power to live for Him, John 15:5.  We will be connected to God and see answers to our prayers, John 15:7.  We will be surrounded by His love, John 15:9.  We will be able to honor God by keeping His commandments, John 15:10.   Jesus promised to send the comforter, counselor to guide us and abide with us after His death.  Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”   Acts  2 records the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and how God’s Spirit indwelt the believers giving them power to live for Him.  Peter preached to the crowd that day,  And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”Act 2:38.    Later in Acts Paul and Silas were in prison and the Lord shook the prison and opened the cells.  The jailer rushed in thinking they were gone and found them in their cell. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Acts 16:30-31  Just like the Philippian jailer we can experience that indwelling power of God’s Holy Spirit and have God abiding, living within us.  We can follow his example and believe in Jesus. When we abide in usdo,  God promises He will send His Holy Spirit to abide or live with us.  He will be with us to guide and comfort, strengthen and love us from the inside out.  God is There with us.

Abide in Him,

Linda

 

I AM your Banner

This curious statement comes in Exodus 17:15. “And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner,”  Moses and the children of Israel were still wandering in the desert when this event occurred.  They were camped at Rephidim and were attacked by the Amalekites who lived in the northern part of the Sinai peninsula.   Moses ordered Joshua to take fighting men and go out and confront them in battle.  Moses along with Aaron and Hur would view the battle from the top of a hill.  Moses told Joshua he would stand on the hill with the staff of God in his hands, which was the staff that God had used through Moses to perform many miracles.   The battle began and as long as Moses’ hands with the staff were uplifted they were winning but if his hand and staff dropped they began losing.  So Aaron and Hur sat Moses on a rock and held up his hand banneruntil the battle was won.   When the victory was complete, Moses built and altar to the Lord and called it “The Lord is my Banner.”  “saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! 16a

What is a banner?  By definition a banner is:  a piece of cloth bearing a design, motto or slogan sometimes attached to a staff and used as a battle standard,  a flag (like the Star-Spangled Banner) or a headline in a newspaper.  The meaning that seems to fit this event would really be all 3- the battle standard or flag declaring who God is and the announcement that God is the Banner for the those who believe.  Moses wanted all to remember that God was the reason they won the battle with the Amalekites, and they were God’s people waving His Banner over their lives.  What about you?  Do you wave God’s banner over your life?  Are your ‘battles’ in life solved with the Lord’s power and direction?  A couple of promises come to mind promises keptwhere God promises to be with us in and through things for our good and His glory “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6,  “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 and “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”   2 Timothy 1:7.   Where do you need God to be your Banner today?  Look to Him for courage, power and love to overcome the obstacles you face today. Claim His promises and fly His Banner in victory.

Flying the Banner of God is a life-time privilege and honor,

Linda

I AM the God who Provides

I have always been fascinated by the I AM statements God makes about Himself in the Bible.  They convey the power, majesty and greatness of God and increase my trust in who God is.  The second I AM proclamation I’m going to look at is in Genesis 22 and was made before God’s revelation of I AM Who I AM in Exodus.  This was made to Abraham on Mt Moriah where he went to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, by God’s direction.  Isaac Gen-221asked where the sacrifice was going to come from and Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.”  Genesis 22:8    Then they proceeded up the mountain together.  This story has always troubled me as God had asked Abraham to do the unthinkable, sacrifice his only son.  It is a picture to us of the anguish God must have felt in sending Jesus to die for our sins.  He provides for us the ultimate sacrifice to remove our sins forever through His only Son’s sacrifice in Jesus’ death on the cross.  I have thought that Abraham knew  and trusted God’s promise of becoming a great nation, children as numerous as the stars and blessing the whole world which God had given him in Genesis 12 and 15.  He trusted God to provide whatever was needed and even to the point of resurrecting Isaac if needed.     Genesis 22:13-14 tells us what happened.  “And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”   God showed himself as the provider of life, of sacrifice, of hope, of the future and of faith to Abraham.  He had great faith in his God who would provide.

Do you see God as the I AM who will provide?  One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”   God promises to provide what I need just like He did for Abraham on that mountain.  It is a matter of trusting God to provide.  Claiming and reciting this verse makes me focus and remember that God can and will provide for me even when it seems that the odds of that happening are very much against it.  I believe Abraham would have said the same as he trudged up the mountain with the wood and his son.  Take a step of faith closer to God today.  Trust Him instead of worrying.  Let the anxiety go and place it his-provisionin God’s hands.  “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

Loving Jesus requires a walk of trust in His great provision.

Linda