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

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 Eternal God

Everlasting GodGod revealed the attribute of His eternality to Abraham in Genesis 21:33 “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.”   Abraham had just had a disagreement with Abimelech over a well Abimelech’s servants had seized that Abraham had previously dug.  They settled the disagreement with a treaty and peace offering made by Abraham.  After the incident Abraham planted a tree of remembrance and called on the Lord.  Abraham knew that God had given him the land as He had promised, Genesis 15 and 17.   He trusted in the eternal God to keep his never changing, everlasting promises.  

Here are some verses to reassure you about our Eternal, Everlasting God:

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge,  and underneath are the everlasting arms.  He will drive out your enemies before you,  saying, ‘Destroy them!’

Psalm 90:2Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

Psalm 102:27But you remain the same, and your years will never end.

Isaiah 40:28Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.”

Isaiah 46:4Even to your old age and gray hairs  I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you;  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Hebrews 13:8 “ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

Revelation 4:8-9Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:  “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’  who was, and is, and is to come.”      Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,”

What an amazing eternal God we serve.  Be encouraged and filled with HOPE today because our sovereign, eternal God is watching over you and you can depend upon Him now and forever.

Linda 

 

I AM the God Almighty

Gen 17 1God revealed himself to Abraham as the God Almighty, El Shaddai, in Genesis 17:1-2When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”   God has always desired a relationship with his creation, man.  He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden.  But after they had eaten of the tree of good and evil, they hid themselves from God because of their nakedness and fear at disobeying the Lord. (Genesis 3:8-10)  Due to sin, we were separated from God, but God in his infinite mercy and wisdom had a plan to restore us so we could commune with holy God.  This story of redemption began with choosing Abraham and his descendants to lead the way to the coming of Jesus, our Redeemer and Savior.  God established a covenant, agreement, with Abraham filled with promises of life, restoration, and future hope.  Revealing himself to Abraham as El Shaddai is significant as it begins a revelation that continues throughout the Bible.  God shows himself to Abraham, and us, as being a God that is real, personal, a promise-keeper and one who is capable of the impossible.  God revealed himself to David in Psalm 91:1-2 “He psalm 91 1who dwells in the shelter of the Most High  will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”   God is our secure refuge and will provide us a place of rest- now and in the future.  Then multiple times God reveals himself as God Almighty in Revelation the book of the Bible that shows us a glimpse of the end of story here on earth.  Revelation 11:17 speaks of His eternality and future reign, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,  who is and who was,  for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.”

Do you know this God Almighty?   He is the all-powerful God of the Bible who is above all others, hates sin, loves righteousness, is holy, gives life and blessings to those who know Him, knows each one who believes in Him and knows the future.  He is indeed God Almighty, El Shaddai.  We can personally know God Almighty by knowing and believing in Jesus and being filled with His Holy Spirit.  Then we can walk with Him each day being in communion with Him.  He will enable us to walk with Him blameless in a relationship made possible through our faith in Jesus.  If you have time today, read 1 John 1 where John describe this relationship with God through Jesus and tells us how to begin this relationship.  1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Knowing God personally is as life changing for us today as it was for Abraham.

El ShaddaiStep out today with God Almighty by your side confident and assured that God Almighty, our all powerful God, is with you.  Have a blessed day!

Linda

I AM the God who Provides

jehovah jirehThis revelation of God’s character appears in Genesis 22:14.  “Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”  Abraham was doing as God commanded on Mt Moriah, preparing to sacrifice his only son, when God provided the ram of sacrifice.  Abraham believed God’s promise that from him would come a great nation so he must have believed God could resurrect his only son if the need arose.  It is a picture of what God did in Jesus to save us all.   

God's wayThis name for God, Jehovah-Jireh, is one of my personal favorites.  Think back in your life and recall a time when God provided exactly what you needed when you needed it and it seemed impossible for that to have happened.  That was the type of moment Abraham experienced on Mt Moriah.  He trusted God, and God answered in a miraculous way.  It seems that God always answers ‘outside the box’.  I think of ways God could answer my prayers, and it is always beyond my imagining.  Isaiah 55:8  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”   reminds us that God’s ways and thinking are not human, not like us.  His solutions or answers are always perfect in context and timing!

We can be encouraged today, as we serve a God who provides.  Claim Philippians 4:19 in your life and let the stress and pressures of life rest in His hands.  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Step out today with the faith of Abraham and trust God to provide exactly what you need when you note-to-self-may-24thneed it.

Learning to walk in trust,

Linda

I AM your Healer

The children of Israel were fresh out of Egypt and had just come through the parted Red Sea.  Moses was leading them through the desert towards Mt Sinai in Exodus 15.  They had been three days without fresh water and the water they found was bitter. They began grumbling to Moses and accused him of bringing them out into the desert to die.  Moses cried out to the Lord and the Lord showed him a piece of wood and instructed him to throw it into the bitter water.   The water miraculously became sweet and they could quench their thirst.   The Lord took this opportunity to remind the Israelites of His Covenant with them.  There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.” Exodus 15:25-26   God promised to be their healer if they would listen and obey.  Later in Deuteronomy Moses reminded the Israelites of God’s promises to them after the 40 years in the wilderness.  14 You shall be blessed above all peoples.  15 And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. ” exodus-15-vs-26 (1)Deuteronomy 7:14-15   They were following God’s pathway into a desert and God promised to keep them well.  Through obedience they would not suffer diseases they had had while in Egypt nor would the be sick on the journey.  I AM your Healer.  The Hebrew is Jehovah Rapha- the God who heals.

Where do you need God to be your healer today?  Do you have relationships that have fallen apart, are you ill in mind or body, are you lonely or heart broken?   God promises to be our healer if we turn to Him in faith.  Here are some verses to encourage you today to greater faith in our Healing God.

healing promisePsalm 103:2-3 “Bless the Lord, O my soul,  and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,  who heals all your diseases,”

Psalm 147:3  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Let the Lord be your healer today- He alone is the God who Heals.

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

Seeking Heart relief from God

Two heart verses spoke to me this morning.  Knowing our hearts are deceitful and driven by original sin, God promises to do a work in our hearts that is amazing.  trust-pope francis qutoeProverbs 3:5-6 is a well quoted verse that speaks of God’s power to lead and guide if we will trust and acknowledge Him in our lives. Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
 do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do,  and he will show you which path to take.”   God is the one with the transforming power in our lives if we will seek to know and trust Him.   My second verse is found in  psalm 34 18Psalm 34:18 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”  David wrote these words during a very difficult time in his life.  He knew God. He knew He would hear his cries for help.  He knew God would and could rescue him.  He knew from experience that God was near to him when his heart was broken and his spirit crushed.   David knew God and had experienced His love and care during times of great need.  

God knows our hearts and sees what we need even before we ask for help.  God knows our desire for guidance and He alone has the power to mend our broken hearts and crushed spirit.   Seek Him like David did and lay your sorrows, hurts and needs before Him.  He promises that those who seek Him will find Him.  Moses told the children of Israel just  before they entered the Promised Land, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Deuteronomy 4:29   God promises to be found if we seek with and God doesn't failopen heart.  Seek Him today and tell Him about your broken heart, your crushed spirit or your desire to be guided by Him.  God can and will answer your prayers, just as He promised.

Seeking His comfort and jclinging to His promise as I  walk with Him daily,

Linda

God’s Character Proclaimed, can you?

god-speaks-listenThe psalmist reveals how he knows and sees God in this Qoph portion of Psalm 119:145-152.  He is struggling with persecution and fears for his life, but he stands on the truth of God’s Word and character.  Read this section from the Message and let it speak to you.   145-152 I call out at the top of my lungs,
    God! Answer! I’ll do whatever you say.”          The psalmist knew God is Accessible.
I called to you, “Save me
    so I can carry out all your instructions.”            He knew God is a Savior.
I was up before sunrise,
    crying for help, hoping for a word from you.     
I stayed awake all night,
    prayerfully pondering your promise.               He knew God was with him 24/7.
In your love, listen to me;
    in your justice, God, keep me alive.                  He knew God listens. 
As those out to get me come closer and closer,                         
    they go farther and farther from the truth you reveal;          He knew God 
But you’re the closest of all to me, God,                            knew his enemies.
    and all your judgments true.
I’ve known all along from the evidence of your words      God and His Word are 
    that you meant them to last forever.                             eternal and trustworthy.

Do your words reflect what you know and believe about God?         Is He Accessible to you 24/7?           Do you feel that you can call upon Him to save you and preserve you in the difficulties of life?       Do you know that God is omniscient and knows what you face each day?         Do you stand on His Word with confidence and believe that His Word is eternal and will last throughout the generations? 

god-always-has-something-for-youThe psalmist was confident God would answer as he laid his heart open before Him?  Will you present your difficulties and fears before God today and call upon Him for help?   He will answer and bring you peace and comfort as you cling to the truth of who God is and what He can do.  God is totally trustworthy and keeps His promises.

Blessings today as you cling to God.

Linda