4th Sunday of Lent, 2020 Facing the world through Christ not the virus

We had some amazing truths this week in Ephesians 3 and 4 that affirmed who we are in Christ and the purpose God has for believers’ lives.

  • we have the privilege and obligation to intercede on behalf of other believers.  Ephesians 3:14-19   PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for one another!
  • we have His indwelling Holy Spirit to empower us with His love for His glory and our good. Ephesians 3:20-21   Empowered to give and show LOVE!
  • we are indwelt, empowered and enabled to act and be more and more like Jesus as we grow in Him.  Ephesians 4:1-3    Sanctification-growing more like Jesus!
  • we are one in Christ, specially gifted through His grace.   Ephesians 4:7  Show His grace to the world around us.
  • we can trust God’s Word to grow and mature us so we can be fully and completely equipped to live for Him. Ephesians 4:11-13   God will bring growth in our lives so we can serve those around us in Him.
  • so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.   Ephesians 4:14-16   We can be contributors to the body of Christ as we work together in unity of love and Spirit.

God teaches us we need to pray for others, be indwelt and empowered by His Holy Spirit, are gifted by His grace, can be fully equipped through His Word to serve others, and grow ourselves more and more like Christ.  What powerful messages for our times!   Our togetherworld is in need of Christ and His redeeming love, our love as believers and the Truth of His Word.   Endeavor to reach out to others this week in love, pray for those hurting around you, look for His truth in the Word of God as you open it this coming week. Read the Book (the Bible) to grow in wisdom, truth, love and knowledge of God.

Linda

Promised Growth- are you seeing it? If not why not?

When Jesus came to earth, He fulfilled the plan of salvation and provided a way for us to be reconciled to the Father.  After His return to heaven, He promised a helper would come to empower us to take His message of salvation, forgiveness and love to all the ephesians 4 11world.  In Ephesians 4:11-13 Paul explains some of the resources the Holy Spirit gives to believers (His church) so that we might live fully equipped lives for Christ.  Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”   Not all believers are called to be pastors or teachers but all of us are called to be recipients of good godly teaching so that we may be equipped to do God’s work.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can trust God’s Word to grow and mature us so we can be fully and completely equipped to live for Him.

Where are you getting your good godly teaching? Is that teaching based on the Word of God or is it more a social, feel good type of message?  2 Timothy 3:16-17 promises 2 Timothy 3-17God’s Word is complete and sufficient for our training in right living.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 

Ask God to guide you to a place of worship that stands on the Word of God and gives it out regularly.  You will be blessed.  

Linda

P.S  Due to the Corona Virus, this Sunday, March 22, 2020, my place of worship will be live streaming  the service. Tune in to YouTube:   wearecrossroads  at 10:15, the service begins at 10:30 AM PST     If you miss it live, that’s okay- it is still there for your viewing or reviewing thanks to YouTube.

#2 Practicing Devotion to God-REMEMBER!

The first way to practice devotion to God was to meditate on God’s great character. The second way is to Remember His Great Works!  If you like someone you think about the times you’ve been together and the things you’ve done.  You probably remember some of the things they have said to you and how you reacted to their love and friendship.

Moses warned the children of Israel over and over to Remember what the Lord has done.  If we do not remember, we will trivialize or marginalize the place of importance God has in our lives and what marvelous things He has done.  In Deuteronomy 7:18 Stone cairn on green blurry background,  pebbles and stonesMoses is reminding the Israelites of God’s favor towards them because they would soon be going into the Promised Land and would be facing certain opposition.  you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt,”   Remembering what God did to miraculously lead them out of Egypt would give them the courage they needed to face tomorrow.

David was pursued by Saul for over 10 years and fled for his life. In 2 Samuel 22:1-4 David remembers what God did for him:  “And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said,

remember-what-god-has-doneblog“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
    my stronghold and my refuge,
    my savior; you save me from violence.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
    and I am saved from my enemies.”

Mary’s Song of praise to God for what He had done for her is recorded in Luke 1:46-55.  Here are a few of the verses: 49 “for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.”  51-54 “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel,   in remembrance of his mercy,”

Remembering what God has done helps us to praise Him for the involvement He has had in our lives, to remember that He  is always with us, to remember that He has plans for us and all things will be good for us and bring Him glory.  If you don’t take time to remember, you forget and think ‘God doesn’t care about me’, ‘God will not help me’.  These thoughts are from Satan and he desires that we do not walk with God.  Satan knows that  not remembering will lead us away from God.

Remember GodSo when you have those doubts,  Remember what God has done for you in the past and what He is doing for you, in your life right now!   Practicing the habit of remembering what God has done enriches our lives and strengthens our faith especially in hard times. Be like the children of Israel, David and Mary- Remember God’s goodness and mercy towards you with praise today!

journalLinda

A practical idea is to have a praise journal that you can record amazing things God has done in your life.  Then when you have doubts or just want to remember- you can look back and see God loves you and truly cares for you.  He is faithful and will continue to do so in the future.

Faithful God inspires HOPE for Living

A portion of scripture I always visit in the New Year is Lamentations 3:21-26 as it is filled with hope for life, living and reminds me of the importance of dependence upon God.

But this I call to mind,                          (I just need to remember to receive HOPE.)
    and therefore I have hope:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;           (God’s love and mercy are
    his mercies never come to an end;                               unending.)
23 they are new every morning;               (Each day I can begin anew with God.)
    great is your faithfulness.                      (I can depend upon His faithfulness.)
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”                     (My hope is in God alone.)

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.                          (The Lord blesses me as I seek Him.)

lamentation 3-21-22 NLTThese verses inspire, refresh, assure, and lead me to God.    He alone is the one I can depend upon because I know He is faithful, merciful, keeps His promises and delights when I seek Him.  He loves me with an eternal love that is steadfast and true and therefore I can place my hope in Him.

lamentation 3-21-NLTJoin me as we begin this New Year by placing your Hope in God and walk expecting good from God as He is good to those who wait upon Him and place their hope in Him.

Let these words of hope and encouragement guide you today. God is faithful and you can depend upon His love and mercy so you can begin each day with new hope.

Linda

Got Hope in 2020? Anchor it in God’s Steadfast Love.

Hope-in-Gods-Steadfast-LoveAs we look at hope in scripture we see survival hope, hope in His Word and today I see hope in His steadfast love.  God’s love is an anchor for our soul and His love surrounds us 24/7.  Knowing God loves us- gives us Hope, knowing God is trustworthy and faithful gives us Hope that is secure in that love.  John 3:16 reminds us that God’s love is what motivated Him to come after us, free us and send Jesus to suffer and die to redeem us for all eternity.  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.   This love, eternal and sacrificial is ours so that we may have Hope.

In the Psalms David captures this love hope and puts it into words we can cling to:  Psalm 33:18 “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,”    Psalm 33:22  ” May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,  even as we put our hope in you.”   Psalm 147:11 “The Lord delights in those who fear him,  who put their hope in his unfailing love.”     We see in these verses hope comes from knowing God’s unfailing love because we revere, worship and adore Him.   Hope comes when we put our trust in God, and God is pleased or delighted by our reverence and fear.  We know that God is love, and the proof of His love is His sending Jesus to save us.  “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”1 John 4:10

psalm33 22Meditate on God’s steadfast love today and consider how that love gives you HOPE1 Chronicles 16:34 “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;  for his steadfast love endures forever!”    Psalm 13:5 “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” Psalm 33:22 “Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.

Begin 2020 with Hope rooted in God’s Steadfast Love,

Linda

Find Hope for Living in 2020

The Bible assures us of  Hope in various ways.   As I mentioned first we have survival hope, that is filled with God’s promises, mercy, care and  love.  It is continual hope that never quits and demand our praise because of its consistency and unendingness.  Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually  and will praise you yet more and more.”

psalm 119 114Today let’s look at the Hope we have in Scripture.  Psalm 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield;  I hope in your word.”   Psalm 119:147 “I rise before dawn and cry for help;  I hope in your words.”   Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,  and in his word I hope;”   The psalmist knows that God protects him,  as He says so in His Word.  He know that in all of life’s circumstances when he calls to God for help, he knows God will answer as He says so in His Word.  He also knows that timing belongs to God and that as he waits he has hope because of God’s faithfulness in His Word.

Do you have Hope because of the assurances God gives in His Word?  For this to be true, you have to open the Bible daily and feast upon His Word.  You have to hunger to know Him more fully and rely upon His Word.  Make it a priority this New Year to join a group that studies God’s Word each week.  Perhaps your local church has such a group, if so join and make it a priority.  Perhaps you need another place to study, look up the following organizations and see if there are classes meeting in your city.  Both groups have studies for men, women and children.  These are both Bible base interdenominational, internationally available studies that systematically delve into God’s Word seeking to know Him more fully and to apply scripture to life. Bible Study Fellowship and Community Bible Study classes are both found world wide!  Look up you city, country and see if a class is close to you.  https://www.bsfinternational.org/  and  https://www.communitybiblestudy.org/

Your Word -my hopeDelve into God’s Word in 2020 and discover HOPE for living.

Linda

 

2020 A New Year, A New Decade- How will you survive?

2020 Happy New YearYesterday I was in the look back mode,  but today January 1, 2020 I am looking forward.  Each year I have a habit of choosing a word to guide my year.  Last year God gave me the word Trust and Wow! did I see that word week after week.  I learned to lean upon God and trust Him in new, painful, scary and exciting situations.  It was amazing how Trust kept coming up again and again, reminding me of who I am and where my Trust needs to be placed.

This year God has given me the word Hope.  I have always loved writing and talking about the hope I have in Christ, but I feel His Hope will reach into all corners of my life.   So I thought it wise to spend a few weeks looking into HOPE and seeing how hope is described in God’s Word.  The verse I found to start with is Psalm 71:14 as it seemed to capture the hope I feel right now as I begin this new year.But I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.”  Psalm 71 was written by King David in his old age.  He reflects upon God, his dependence upon Him and God’s continuing faithfulness.  David resolves to continue praising God just as he has done since his youth. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.”  Psalm 71:5

May my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
    with scorn and disgrace may they be covered
    who seek my hurt.
14 But I will hope continually
    and will praise you yet more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
    of your deeds of salvation all the day,
    for their number is past my knowledge.  Psalm 71:13-15

David knows the ‘world’ will come against him, yet he knows God will deal with them.  He has his hope placed in God and will praise Him.  No matter what as he knows God is sovereign and in control of all things, people, and places.  He vows to continue to proclaim what God has done for him.

psalm-71-14-quote-lgThis is a challenge as we face a New Year.  We know for certain that things will come against us-as they always do.  What we know, like David, is that God is faithful and will stand with us.  We need to trust in His sovereignty and mercy and cling to Him in HOPE.  That is my answer to, How will I survive in 2020?  I will cling to Him in HOPE knowing with absolute faith that God is faithful, loving and merciful.  He will be gracious to me as I place my HOPE in Him.

Looking forward to 2020 with HOPE,

Linda

Never doubting their guiding God, Jesus and family return

Herod the Great died in about 4 B.C. so an angel appeared to Joseph again and gave them the directions they were waiting in Egypt to hear.  

Return to NazarethMatthew 2:19-23:  But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.”

History proved Joseph’s fears to be real and God’s direction faithful as Herod Archelaus  was an incredibly cruel and tyrannical.  He was deposed after 10 years and the Roman’s took over with governors appointed by the emperor.

Joseph followed God’s direction and settled in Galilee in the town of Nazareth.   God was an amazing Guide throughout Joseph’s journey’s.  From leaving Nazareth to travel to Bethlehem with pregnant Mary for the census to Egypt and back to Nazareth,  God led the way.  God was their guideGod God-is-our-guide-videoleads us in the way we should go.  His Word teaches us how we are to live and think.  Because God gives His children the Holy spirit, they recognize His voice and follow Him.  We can trust God to lead us in the right way.  Without God’s guidance, we would stumble and fall like people in darkness.  Jesus is our guiding light so we can walk with God where He leads us with confidence and assurance.

Just as God was their Guide, He can be our guide in life too.  We just need to listen for His voice, John 10:3, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”  We can be confident that God will guide and lead us.  Here are a few verses to reassure you can trust Him as your guide:

Psalm 23:2-3 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.   

Psalm 31:3  “For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;”

Psalm 32:8  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;  I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

Psalm 48:14 “that this is God, our God forever and ever.     He will guide us forever”

ps-23-2-3_origMay you follow His leading each day,  knowing that God is faithful and trustworthy.  He will guide you, just as He did Joseph and Mary.

Linda

Promise fulfilled! Simeon sees His Lord, Jesus the Christ

fulfilled in ChristJesus said, “ Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Luke 24:44  Jesus came and lived the perfectly sinless life which meant that He made all the right sacrifices at holy days, was circumcised, and followed all the Jewish customs and laws.  In addition, all that was prophesied about Him, all the work He came to accomplish was Yes in Christ.  Today’s story continues in Luke 2:21-25 “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”   These actions are what we would expect from Mary and Joseph as they would want to observe all the right customs that were required by the Law of Moses with their new child.

God is faithfulLuke 2:25-37 tells us what happened when they came to the temple to present Jesus to the Lord.   As you read, consider our Faithful GodGod knows and loves each  of His own. He will do all He has promised: caring for us, making us strong, forgiving, making us new, protecting and purifying us.  From the beginning God had a plan to restore the world, break the power of sin and reveal His plan to us. We know God is faithful because He sent His Son  to the cross to keep His promise.  He is faithful to himself and His Word.  We can trust Him to keep all His promises.   Here is what happened when they got to the temple:

SimeonNow there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

How gracious and faithful God was to keep His promise to Simeon that he would not die until He had seen his Savior.  God also confirmed from the beginning that Jesus came to be a light to all- Jew and Gentile.  He also revealed that Jesus would be rejected and it would hurt both Jesus and Mary to the very core of their being.

We-Enjoyed-The-BlessingHow do you see Faithful God work in your own life?  Do you see His caring for you in life’s circumstances, building you up and making you stronger in faith through the trials you face each day, forgiving your sins,  protecting you in body and soul and cleansing you when you confess your sins?   Look today for the faithful hand of God in your life.   You will be amazed and blessed!

Linda

Have you known the blessings of Obedience?

Luke 1:57-66 tell of the arrival of baby John to his mother Elizabeth and mute Zachariah, his father.  The angel Gabriel had pronounce God’s judgement upon Zachariah for his unbelief in Luke 1:19-20,  when he had questioned God’s ability to create new life within Elizabeth’s aged, barren body.   Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his John namefather, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

obedienceThis story shows how Elizabeth and Zachariah learned obedience and followed through doing exactly as God directed in naming their child.  When they had demonstrated this faith and obedience, the temporary judgment was lifted and Zachariah was able to speak.  Not surprisingly, his first words were words of praise to Almighty God for the miracles God had performed in their lives.

God is present in this very story, from the lifting of the curse of muteness upon Zachariah to the birth of a healthy boy in Elizabeth’s old age.  Even the neighbor’s recognized God’s mercy towards her and the joy she evidently showed at being a mother.  God is always faithful, keeping all His promises.  He is a promise keeping God.  In the Old Testament book of 1 Kings 8:56 we find, “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.”   None of God’s promises failed nor will they ever fail.  2 Corinthians 1:20 gives a similar message from our promise keeping God,  For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”  Peter gives the usefulness of all God’s promises to us in 2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”   God has been and always will be a promise keeping faithful God. His promises provide us access to His divine nature and aid us in escaping the corruption of the sinful world we live in. 

GodkeepspromisesThank you God for being 100% faithful and keeping all your promises to us.  We can rely upon your nature and know you will do what you say in your Word forever.

Linda