5th Sunday of Lent

Today as we go to worship let us think about Solomon’s words to the people of Israel. He knew who God is and what he has done!

“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. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”

1 Kings 8:56-61

Be bold in living for a God this week knowing you can rely upon Him as He keeps all His promises. Not one of His promises will fail!

Linda

Suggestion: Claim one of God’s promises this week, review it daily and let the hope of a God’s Word work in your life. Here are a couple of suggestions: Lamentations 3:21-23, Philippians 4:19, James 4:7-8a, Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 37:5 or John 14:27

Living with Confidence, Thank you Jesus

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a life with a godly plan and purpose. This thought brings me great comfort as it means my existence has meaning and I am here for a reason. It also means God has intentions for my life and knowing that God is good means His intentions are always good for me, my life and my growth. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse I claim frequently for reassurance when things seem bleak or unsettling in my life. 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.” I can rest in knowing Sovereign God has a plan and purpose for me and it is all good!

Knowing God’s plan is good, we can cling to that promise in hard times as well as the promise in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Many say “life just happens” but this verse assures us that is not true. We can rest assured that God’s purpose and design is greater than anything Satan can throw at us. This verse promises God can use all things for our good. Many times we don’t see how at the moment, but God is faithful and eventually we may see how He uses even the very hard things in our lives to teach and grow us for His good.

One last verse for today: 2 Timothy 1:8b-9a “But join me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy life -not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” Paul knew that God had a purpose for him, a work that was divinely commissioned just for him and that God would empower him through Christ to do all He had set out for Paul to do. We can know that is true for us as believers, too.

When things are hard- claim any of these three verses in your life. Cling to them and know God is faithful and keeps all His promises.

Linda

Suggestion: Take time to reflect on a hard time or difficult relationship and see how God worked in the circumstances to bring you to a better place or to grow you. Claim one of the above verses over something you are facing and believe God for the results.

Promises, do you know any to claim?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have very great and precious promises I can claim for my life.  The verse I chose as the theme verse for my book Promises for Dynamic Living shows us exactly how blessed with promises we are.   2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 

Jesus promises He has given us everything, absolutely everything we need for a godly life because we know Him through faith.  The promises He has included in His Word should be extremely precious to us as the promises help us to be one in the Spirit with Him and live a life that is above the corruption of this world.   I find this simple truth encouraging.  Satan wants us to believe there are things missing from our lives that only the world can provide.  Christ says, “NO!!”,  I have given you everything you need.  Satan wants us to believe that the world is fulfilling and will lead to a good life.  Christ says, “NO!!”, the way of the world leads to destruction and away from godly living.

So what exactly has Jesus provided for us in His promises?  As you study the scriptures, you find that we are promised many things- comfort, love, salvation, hope, peace, joy, understanding of godly things, fellowship with God the Father and Son, infilling of the Holy Spirit, eternal life…..  the list goes on.  Each of these are promised by our faithful loving God.    Hebrews 13:8 tells us Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  unchanging GodGod and His truth is unchanging from the creation of everything until now-God does not change and will not change.  We can count on this.  So all the things God promises in His Word from the beginning are still true and unchanging.    Hebrew 6:17-19a further confirms God’s mind for us.  17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. 

130907-Let-God-s-PromisesHow can the truths of 2 Peter 1:3-4 effect our lives?  If we take Jesus at His Word and believe in His great and precious promises, we will live abundant lives that are filled by His Holy Spirit.  He wants us to lead godly lives that are anchored in His hope.

Linda

Suggestion:  Take the challenge today and look into His Word- seek His precious promises and then claim them in your life.  Need help finding promises? Here are a few to get you started:  Nahum 1:7, Philippians 4:19, Lamentations 3:21-23, James 4:7-8a, Deuteronomy 31:6.   Or for a longer list you could get a copy of my book Promises for Dynamic Living.   In it you will  find 70 different promises from God’s Word explained in a devotional format.  Each promise is meant for you as God desires to enrich and lead you towards greater godliness in Christ.

Dynamic-FrontCover-150

Get a copy in paperback or eBook form-available on my website from my publisher or Amazon.  My new edition now has questions for group Bible Study included.  Order it today.

Are you tapping into God’s wisdom? If not, why not?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have access to God’s wisdom.  In James 1:5 we learn that though Christ we have the ability to ask God for james 1 5wisdom. If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.”   James makes it known that God gives wisdom to help us in our daily decisions and won’t put us down in any way for asking.  James also assures us that God generously wants to give us wisdom for living.  We can trust that all God’s advice is good.  Nahum 1:7 assures us of God’s goodness and Jeremiah  29:11 reminds us that all God’s plans and purposes for us are good. Therefore, we can be assured that good advice always comes from Him.   Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good a refuge in times of trouble, He cares for those who trust in Him.”  Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”  God is good; it is an integral part of His character.  We can trust Him and know that He will not give us bad advice or lead us in the wrong way.  I don’t know about you, but it comforts me to know that God is willing to share His wisdom with me and guide me.

How do I get godly wisdom?  Proverbs 1:7 tells us “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;  fools despise wisdom and instruction.”   Having the right heart attitude that shows reverence for God and His great wisdom is the place to start.  Then look into God’s Word, spend time in prayer fellowshiping with Him allowing God the opportunity to lead you in His way.  If we are diligent and patient, God will reveal His perfect will to us. God tells us “We do not have because we do not ask.  We do not receive because we ask with wrong motives.” James 4:2b-3  Prayer that is honest, sincere and heartfelt is required.  One other thought, the Lord promises to give us wisdom generously.  We won’t get just a little bit of wisdom but enough to do what God has for us to do!

Lindaneed wisdom

Suggestion:  Think of a problem that is coming up this week, a relationship that needs work, or a task that needs to be accomplished.   Pray and seek God’s wisdom in how to specifically proceed.  Then wait and be amazed at the results.

 

 

 

How to Live Towards Blessings

In Isaiah 56:1-2 the Lord reveals that blessings come from doing what is right, supporting justice, looking forward to God’s salvation, keeping the Sabbath and staying away from doing evil.  God promises that living a life based in His righteousness leads to blessings.

This is what the Lord says,
“Maintain justice and do righteousness,
For My salvation is soon to come,
And My righteousness and justice is soon to be revealed.
“Blessed (happy, fortunate) is the man who does this,
And the son of man who takes hold of it,
Who keeps the Sabbath without profaning it,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”  Isaiah 56:1-2 (AMP)   

Blessings are gifts of divine favor that bring happiness into our lives.  Living our lives with a desire to do what is right is a gift from God.  Seeking His righteousness that He reveled through Jesus will help us walk with Him each day and bring blessing.  I love the way God tells us to take hold, grab onto this lifestyle so we can receive His blessings and favor to the fullest.  Keeping the Sabbath, a day devoted to worship, family, praise and one that is a respite from our days of working that life requires, will bring blessing.  We must really strive to live apart from the world and its ways that are based in greed and self-fulfillment.    I like the description James gives us in 1:26-27 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”   Watching what we say is of upmost importance, doing good for others and keeping ourselves unstained by the world’s standards and acts is what God is looking for in our lives and in our hearts as we seek to show love and devotion to Him.

today“Blessed (happy, fortunate) is the man who does this, is the goal God has set before us.  Knowing that a life lived for God is based on His righteousness and reflects His justice, love, mercy, compassion and hope for the world around us. Look for His blessings as you walk with Him today.  He is forever faithful and will do as He promises.

Linda

 

Anguished Prayer Brings Hope

The Messiah continues today with prophecies from the Psalms about the coming Messiah’s fate.  Psalm 22:7-8 “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;  8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him.”   This psalm by David spoke his anguished prayer to God as he was pursued and persecuted by Saul for years on end.  It is frequently quoted in the New Testament as it readily applies to Jesus.  Verse 7 tells of mocking and ridicule the psalmist is receiving from his enemies.  This found fulfillment in Matthew 27:39 “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads.” Verse 8 speaks of the psalmist’s trust in God, deliverance and rescue that is assured because he knows that God loves and cares for him.  Jesus knew this to be true and it was partially quoted in Matthew 27:43 “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”  

god-ideas_guide-delightWhat encouragement do we receive from these prophecies today?  I am encouraged that God knows what I am going through just as He knew David’s and Jesus’ situations.  God is accessible and will hear our anguished prayers.  He is filled with compassion and love as He listens to us.  I am also encouraged that my trusting in God delights Him and He promises deliverance.  Each deliverance looks different as we are all are in various situations but God keeps His promises and will bring us through.

Be encouraged today as you walk with Him and thank Him for sending Jesus to bring the ultimate deliverance which is from sin and death.  These thoughts make Christmas even more special and give us HOPE.

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

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