Good News Then and Now!

The  librettist, Charles Jennens, of Handel’s Messiah put these two prophecy’s of HOPE together.  Both of them tell of the good news of Christ’s coming.   It is seen as prophecy applying to their return to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon, Christ’s first coming as a babe in the manger to save us from our sins and can be applied to Christ’s second coming where He will return as victor and judge.   All were good news of God’s care and plan to save mankind.

Isaiah 40:9 “Go on up to a high mountain,
    O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
    Isaiah-60.1O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
    lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
    “Behold your God!”

Isaiah 60:1  Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Just reading the words of Isaiah 40:9 makes me want to shout the good news of salvation in Jesus from the mountain tops!  The assurance of Isaiah 60:1 is profound- your light has come!  I am so thankful that Jesus came because He loved me and you.  Think back to 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”   Ponder anew the amazing provisions of our God both then, now and in the future.

Golden Bible verse John 3 16 , made hand lettering on watercolor heart.Blessings,

Linda

 

Journey through Advent with the ‘Messiah’

Psalm 22In Psalm 22 David wrote words that described the coming Messiah’s work and anguish while here on earth.  When he took the sins of the world upon himself Jesus cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far for the words of my groaning?” (verse 1)   The Psalmist describes Jesus’ conditions on the cross, “they have pierced my hands and my feet.” (16b) “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” (18)  These visions of Messiah and what awaited him were given to David.  By reading them, we can see proof that Jesus fulfilled each and every prophecy made about him and be assured that He is from God.  We catch a glimpse into the Omniscience and Sovereignty of God.

HandelMessiahThis advent season I will be blogging each day using prophecies about Messiah and His coming as highlighted in Handel’s Messiah.  He turned the words of Charles Jennens, his librettist, who created the story from Old and New Testament passages into glorious song.  Handel wrote the Messiah in about 3 weeks in the late summer of 1741.  His divine inspiration has humbled and inspired audiences ever since.  Recently, I got a copy of a handbill that is given out when one attends the Messiah.  It contains all the scriptures that the ‘story’ is based upon and their references.  Each time someone attends a performance of the Messiah, they are presented with these scriptures in both writing and song.  Praise God!  He has used Handel and his work ‘The Messiah’ to tell his story to the world since 1741 in this unique way.

Join me in a journey this Advent Season through the ‘Messiah’ to catch a glimpse of our Savior and His mighty works.

Excited about the journey,

Linda

Why Transform our hearts?

God is very intentional in His transformation of our hearts.  I would say there is no wasted efforts or motions in God’s plans.  Unlike man, God is omniscient and knows the beginning and the end.  He knows where we are going and how to get us where He wants us to be.  Here are a couple of verses that point to God’s intent or purpose in transforming our hearts.

psalm 90 12Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days  that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Jeremiah 32:40 “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.”

God wants us to realize that we are accountable to Him and use our time here on earth wisely.  He desires we affect others with our lives and show His goodness and glory in what we say and do.    In the Jeremiah passage God tells us what He will do for believers.  We have an everlasting covenant of salvation in Jesus, He promises to not turn from us- He is completely faithful, He desires good for us and will do it and He wants us to love and follow Him.  God wants us to spend eternity with Him and the only way that is possible is if we wisely turn to Him, accept His salvation in Jesus and have a make-over of our heart’s desires.  A transformed heart is essential for the Christian believer and something God does with intentionality.   Look back at the ways He transforms our heart… with joy and praise, love and faith, commitment, purity, kindness, compassion and forgiveness, devotion and obedience.  His way brings results and fills our hearts with His heavenly treasures.

Jer 32 40Let’s make this a day of Thanksgiving to God for His grace and mercy.  Thanking Him that for transforming us so we can live lives of purpose and bear fruit for His kingdom.

Linda

Going astray-our struggle, seeking the lost-God’s eternal position

As the psalmist reaches the end of the alphabet (taw), he reflects on the power of God and pleads for understanding and deliverance.  169 “Let my cry come before you, O Lord give me understanding according to your word!  170 Let my plea come before you;  deliver me according to your word.”   Next, he speaks of how he worships God both privately and publicly. 171 “My lips will pour forth praise,  for you teach me your statutes. 172 My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.”  He knows for certain that God will be with him and is always ready to deliver him.  He knows God is true to His Word and he depends upon it.  173 “‘Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.  174 I long for your salvation, O Lord,  and your law is my delight.  175 Let my soul live and praise you,  and let your rules help me.”  Lastly, he ends this great psalm with a true confession.  He admits that he has wandered away from God’s truths and he implores God to continue to seek him and remind him of His ways.  176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,  for I do not forget your commandments.”

sinThe apostle Paul speaks of ‘going astray’ as the constant struggle he has with sin and not doing what God wants him to do.  In Romans 7:15-20 Paul lays his heart bear and shares his personal struggle with sin just like the psalmist has been doing in Psalm 119.  As you read these verses, see if you too can identify with Paul and the psalmist.  For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”

In addition to his struggle with ‘going astray’  the psalmist feels like a lost sheep, wandering away from the Lord.  Jesus told God’s view of lost sheep in his parable of the lost sheep that is found in both Matthew and Luke.  He knew God is the good shepherd who seeks and finds the lost believers.  So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-lost sheepnine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”  Luke 15:3-7   When the psalmist begs God to seek and find him, we know that is exactly what God can and will do for each of us.  God will faithfully find those who are open to Him and are seeking to know Him.  Jesus saves those who are lost.

As you reflect and meditate on this last portion of Psalm 119, do you identify with the psalmist and Paul on the struggle to walk daily with the Lord and follow His pathway?  Are you confident that God continually seeks you because you are precious to Him?  

faithful God“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23

Linda

 

Knowing Faithful God = Assurance +

In verses 89-96 of Psalm 119, the psalmist proclaims God’s faithfulness to each generation, to the earth He created and to me-the individual.  His Word is eternal. If you understand the Word of God to be what God says to us in the Bible, you know the truths contained within it are eternally true.  God does not lie and He will be forever faithful to uphold His Word.  If you take the Word of God to mean Jesus, as in John it say 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” then you know the living Word of God who is eternally with us and always faithful.

psalm 119 90God is faithful to each generation and to the earth He created.  vs 89-90   Forever, O LordYour word is settled in heaven [standing firm and unchangeable].    Your faithfulness continues from generation to generation;
You have established the earth, and it stands [securely].              They continue this day according to Your ordinances,
For all things [all parts of the universe] are Your servants.  AMP

God is faithful to me vs 92-94                                                                                                            If Your law had not been my delight,
Then I would have perished in my time of trouble.
I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have revived me and given me life.
I am Yours, save me [as Your own];
For I have [diligently] sought Your precepts and required them [as my greatest need].

The psalmist arrives at his conclusion, the only one he feels he can make in light of all the evidence in the world and in his own life.   verse 96                                                                 I have seen that all [human] perfection has its limits [no matter how grand and perfect and noble];
Your commandment is exceedingly broad and extends without limits [into eternity].

What is your conclusion about God and His faithfulness at this time in your life?  Do you see His mercies new each morning (Lamentation 3:21-23)?  Do you cling to the hope yo have in Jesus (Hebrews 10:23)?  Do you know you are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)?  Do you believe God is good and has good things planned for you (Jeremiah 29:11)?   Do you have peace and rest in Jesus (John 14:27)?  Look into His Word and claim His Word over your life, take His Word into your very being and you will undoubtedly come to the same conclusion the psalmist did.  There is no limit to how grand and glorious God is and His Word stands now and for all eternity.

note-to-self-may-24thStanding on God’s Word is firm ground.

Linda

God’s way through troubled times

In today’s portion of Psalm 119 verses 81-88, we get a snapshot of a believer clinging to God’s Word and his faith in Almighty God to help him weather the storms of life.  At times he seems overwhelmed and defeated by his oppressors.                                                  I am worn out waiting for your rescue,
    but I have put my hope in your word.
82 My eyes are straining to see your promises come true.
    When will you comfort me?
83 I am shriveled like a wine skin in the smoke,
    but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees.          

catHe seems discouraged yet has hope in God and His promises!  I get the picture in my mind of the cat hanging on by his tiny paws- ‘hanging in there’.    He is being persecuted by unbelievers and pleads with God for stamina to resist and knows God alone can protect him.   The unbelievers in his life are scoffing at God’s Word and lay traps to ensnare him.  Do you feel that way sometimes? Do unbelievers think you foolish to study God’s Word and believe the Bible?                                                                                              How long must I wait?
    When will you punish those who persecute me?
85 These arrogant people who hate your instructions
    have dug deep pits to trap me.
86 All your commands are trustworthy.  
    Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.

He ends this section with praise and hope in Almighty God who he knows in his heart will sustain and keep him.  He knows God loves him.  God will keep His promises so he clings to them in obedience.                                                                                                             They almost finished me off,
    but I refused to abandon your commandments.
88 In your unfailing love, spare my life;
    then I can continue to obey your laws.

No matter how things look in this world the psalmist knows that God loves him and is in control.  He is Sovereign, Loving and the only one who can save him.  How about you?  Do you know the Sovereign God of the universe who loves you beyond measure?  Call upon Him today and He will answer.  God tells us in Micah 6:8 what He requires of us.   “He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? ”   

micah-6-8May you walk in obedience today with Jesus by your side and His Holy Spirit in your heart knowing He alone is Sovereign and will guide you through this troubled world. Walking with God is a matter of faith and obedience, He promises to never leaves us nor forsakes us!

Clinging to Jesus all day long,

Linda

Do you trust God and know He is good?

How much do you trust the Lord?  Do know for sure He intends good for you?  Knowing and trusting God is essential to faith but do not come automatically.  As we walk daily with Jesus, study His Word and communicate with Him, He builds trust within us that is unshakable.  We learn that He alone is sovereign and intends good for us.  The psalmist reveals His trust in God in Psalm 119: 65-57.                                                                    psalm 119 65 67You have done many good things for me, Lord,
    just as you promised.
66 I believe in your commands;
    now teach me good judgment and knowledge.
67 I used to wander off until you disciplined me;
    but now I closely follow your word.

The psalmist trusted God as God had been forever faithful to him and had always kept His promises.  His belief was strengthen as he studied God’s Word, followed God’s commandments and saw the fruit of God in his life.  He recognized God’s loving discipline upon his life and knew it was for his good.

Do you believe God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 that He intends good for you?  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Do you know for certain that God is good?  Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good,  a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him,”  Do you know God’s love is unconditional and forever?  Psalm 52:8  “But I am like an olive tree  flourishing in the house of God;  I trust in God’s unfailing love  for ever and ever.”  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Claim these promises and know these truths about God today.  Seek Him and He will give you assurance and hope.  You will know and believe that God is good and intends the best for you now and for eternity.  Even in the hard things of life, God can and does use them to mold and shape our character as He refines us to be more and more like Jesus.  unknown-futureBe encouraged today by His love, care and tender mercies.

Each day is a walk of faith,

Linda

I am filled with wonder over His mercy and grace.

Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, I am filled with wonder over His mercy and grace to me.  Lent is a long time to write daily.  It is 6 weeks of planning, rising early, study, inspiration and typing each morning on my computer.  As I depended upon God, He faithfully inspired me each day.  Trusting Him to provide,  I have experienced His grace and mercy.  I never lacked for time, energy or inspiration and was struck by the wonder of His Word.  Through faith we receive so much from Him that our only true response is one of wonder, praise and love for our Savior.  His promise to me in psalm 37 5Psalm 37:5 has been enacted over and over as I committed this Lenten season of blogging to Him.  “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will act.”  

Here is a recap of all the I am statements from this season.  Print it out and use it to encourage yourself and revisit it when you doubt the value of faith in your life.

I am …. loved, a child of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, reconciled, justified, forgiven, holy and blameless before God, an ambassador, a temple, tenderly loved by God, salt, light, helped by God, sanctified, God’s Workmanship, not condemned, a citizen of Heaven, the sweet fragrance of Christ to God, a branch on Christ’s vine, a saint, confident of God’s good work in me, a prince/princess in God’s kingdom, a child of light, a friend of God, chosen by God, chosen by God to bear fruit, a joint heir with Christ, holy and I share in God’s heavenly calling, sustained by Christ, united with Jesus in Spirit, sealed by the Holy Spirit, firmly rooted and built up in Christ, one of God’s living stones, born of God and the evil one cannot touch me, a personal witness for Christ, known by God, seated with Christ in the heavenly realm, a member of Christ’s body, a conqueror, overwhelmed with joy, a bride/bridegroom for Christ and SAVED!   

What an amazing list of what God has given to us and made us in and through Christ.  Praise be to Jesus our Lord and Savior!

Blessings,

Linda