When God calls you, how do you answer?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a holy calling from God.  The idea that we are called is an intriguing thought. Called is defined as being summoned or drawn by divine command by God .  2 Timothy 1:9 says this is a high calling, 2 timothy 1 9“who saved us and called us to  a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,”  Our calling is to come to faith and walk each day with Jesus, Paul calls this a holy calling.  This implies that God initiated the call and has reasons for calling us to do His work.  The verse goes on to say we did nothing to deserve this calling,  but God has a plan and a purpose for us.  He knows how He will use us in His kingdom for His glory producing in us growth and well being. Our response to His call, by faith in Jesus,  is our part and allows us to enter His kingdom and do His work.  He calls us because of His grace, giving us what we do not deserve because He loves us and desires to be in relationship with us.  God is relational in all aspects of His being.

In various others places in scripture this idea of a holy or special call is used that confirm the idea that God calls and we respond.  Paul addresses the letter to the Romans and Corinthians with similar words.   Romans 1:7 “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saintsGrace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”   To what and by whom are you feeling called today?  If God is calling,  you can be assured that He will lead, provide and guide you into His will for His glory.  He has great plans for you and He stated so in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”   Step out if faith today trusting God with your future and His plans for your good and His glory.  There is great hope with Him.

worthy-or-willingLinda

Suggestion:  Spend some time today asking God how you can answer His call and bring Him glory.  Then be open to the opportunities that He will surely bring!

Declared Not Guilty in Christ

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been justified.  Justified is one of those theological words that float around with salvation, redemption and redeemed in our minds.  Scripture teaches that we are justified or declared ‘not justified galatinsguilty’ because of the work of Jesus on the crossRomans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”   We are sinners one and all and have no way of approaching God except through God’s grace and mercy shown to us in Jesus.  God sent Jesus to redeem us, pay the penalty for our sins, and declare us ‘not guilty’ before Him.  It is truly a magnificent gift!  

Romans 5 1-2Paul goes on to say in Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith  into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Being declared ‘not guilty’ brings peace and hope into our lives.  Paul went on to explain that justification in and through Christ is ours as a gift not something we ‘earn’ by good works or being good.  He told the Galatians in 2:16 “ yet we know that a person is not justified  by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”   

We can rest in our faith in Jesus that it is enough, totally sufficient, for redemption. It cannot be earned but is a free gift from Him.  Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Suggestion:  Think of someone that you need to forgive and just do it!  Pray and ask Jesus help you let go of bitterness, anger or hatred for this person.  Let it go in His name. See how free you feel.

Approaching God with Confidence

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the ability to approach God.  The idea of approaching Almighty God has been fraught with fear and trembling down through the ages.  However, if we look at Genesis 2 and 3 we see that in the beginning man existed in the garden and had a relationship with God.  Adam and Eve did not fear God until they ate from the tree of knowledge, then they knew sin. Through the work of Jesus on the cross, we can now come near to God.  Jesus has made us clean and presents us to the Father.  I love the following verses:

Hebrews 4 16Ephesians 3:12 “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

Hebrews 4:16 “ Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Some of the benefits of approaching God are given in these two verses:  freedom, confidence, mercy, grace and help in our time of need.   What a wonderful God we serve.  He knows that sin binds us and keeps us prisoners, slaves to our old sin nature.  Through Jesus we find freedom and the ability to come to God.  He also knows that without Him we lack confidence to confront the problems of our lives, the heartaches of living in a sin-filled world and are filled with self-doubt.  Through Jesus we can have confidence and assurance as we approach Him.   God knows that we need mercy and grace to fill our lives.  He possesses these in abundance.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus reminded Paul about His grace. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  Lastly, God promises to help us in our time of need.  We can live with assurance that God will be there for us-no matter what, no matter when and no matter where.  In Deuteronomy 31:6  God proclaims: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”   He promises to be with us calming our fears all day and night.

I-am-never-far-from-youLinda

Suggestion: Identify a problem you need help with, it could be a need for mercy, grace, confidence or freedom in some area?  It could be for yourself or another.  Bring it to Jesus and lay it at His feet.  Pray in faith believing He has the answer then wait patiently for Him.

 

Adoption, A thing of beauty for my grateful heart.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been adopted as God’s child and belong to His family.   This is a precious truth from scripture that gives me great comfort.  Through my faith in Jesus,  I now have a forever family and God is my heavenly Father.  Romans 8:15-17 lays out our family heritage and what it means to us ABBAeternally.   For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”   We are adopted through our faith in Jesus into God’s family.  We can call God our Father.  His Holy Spirit indwells us and reminds us that we are God’s children.  By suffering with Christ, we are considered joint heirs with Him and will share in heavenly glory.  Through adoption we have access to our heavenly Father and can go to Him each day seeking knowledge, wisdom, comfort, mercy, compassion, hope…. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 103:8

How will you use this truth in your life today?  You are God’s child and belong to His family thorough your faith in Jesus.  This blessed privilege brings hope, contentment, comfort, assurance and belonging into your life.

Linda

Read the scripture again in the Message and let it sink into your soul and cause you to praise and thank God. 15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

Suggestion:  Call on your Father, God, today in prayer and thank Him for the privileges you have as His child.  He is accessible in prayer, has saved you for eternity, has a home waiting for you in heaven, will be with you each day- will never leave you nor forsake you, His Holy Spirit indwells and bears witness to your spirit that you are His, He gives you power for living and a purpose for your life…..Thank you Jesus for making this possible for me. Amen.

Where do you need hope? Jesus has it.

hope as long asBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have hope.  One of the most precious things we possess in Christ is our eternal hope in God and His power to transform and use us to do His work.   Romans 5:1-2 gives us a list of God’s provision that results in hope for us.  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith (declared not guilt of our sins), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Our hope in Jesus brings us freedom from sin’s guilt and punishment, peace, grace, and joy.  Oh! glorious 1 peter 1 21HOPE!   This same theme is repeated in 1 Peter 1:21 “Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.”   Because of Christ and His work on the cross,  we can know and trust God and our faith in Christ brings Him glory and us HOPE!

Where do you need the HOPE of Christ in your life today?  Are you feeling burdened by sin’s guilt? Give it to Jesus with a repentant heart and He will replace that guilt with hope.  Are you struggling with doubt or difficult circumstances? Give it to Jesus and He will replace it with peace which He gives freely bringing you hope. (John 14:27) Are you struggling as you feel alone or singled out?  Ponder God’s grace, His undeserved favor, and know that He promises His grace is sufficient for all our needs. (2 Corinthians 12:9) His grace will bring you hope.  Are you suffering from lack of joy?  Ask Jesus to restore the joy of your salvation and those thoughts of eternal rest and refuge with Him will bring you joy.     David knew the struggles of life and reminds us in Psalm 43:5              hope_in_god_by_blugi-d90ilc0 “Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
 I will praise him again
   my Savior and my God!

May you Hope abound as you put your trust in God and firmly place your gaze upon Jesus.

Linda

SuggestionPass on the hope of Jesus todayforgive someone you have been holding something against, be a voice of peace, calm or joy to someone, or be gracious to someone today (giving them undeserved favor in your eyes).  The look of hope you see in their eyes will bring joy to you and give God glory.

A Struggler’s Confession

I have struggled these first few weeks of January as it seems I can’t get things to run smoothly.  Yesterday I sought solace in God’s Word and Job 42:1-6 brought me comfort.  I was touched by the Message version.

42 1-6 Job answered God:

“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.             I’m comforted by God’s 
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.                                              Sovereignty.
You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
    ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.            I’m talking and not 
You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.                                listening.
    Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!          I do know you!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
    I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”

As I read this passage, I identified with Job.  I too question God’s wisdom and His perfect plan.  I forget that He alone is Sovereign.  I tend to run on about things and not take time to listen to Him in prayer and in the Word.  Thankfully, I do know Him and have experienced God first hand in my life.  I know He is truth and He will fill me with His love and mercy if I turn to Him.

Prayer:  Father, I do know you and trust in your plans for me.  I know who you are and of your love and grace.  You do not do to me what I deserve but shower me with grace and mercy.  Thank you Jesus for loving me and keeping me in the palm of your hand. You shield and comfort me in hard times.  You bring me joy and hope everlasting day after day.  Create in me a clean heart that is focused upon you and not the swirling world around me.  Help me, like Job, to cling to you and your truth with a repentant heart.  Amen.

job 42 2Have a blessed day living in the light provided and protected by Sovereign, Almighty God.

Linda

What’s in a Word?

Have you ever thought of having a Word for the year?  I had not done this until last year.  I was asked to choose a word for the year and then a Bible verse or verses to support me in that focus.  I prayed and asked God to give me a word to focus upon for 2018 and He gave me Hope.  I was amazed at how many times this word appeared in my study, my thoughts, my writing, etc.  Each time it would reassure me of His Hope that is within me and how all my hope is in Christ.  There were various verses I relied upon and you’d be amazed at how many times they appeared in my daily walk.   I did not focus on hope until spring as something I was doing required that I choose a word for the year.  Interestingly enough, God already had prepared me as my January 1 blog used Lamentations 3:21-22 which focused on hope.   I also used Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Peter 3:15.    For 2019, I have chosen Trust as my word.  Right now I’m going through some things that required that I Trust in Him more than ever and not the world, things or people around me.  The verses I’ve chosen are Psalm 37:5 and Nahum 1:7. 

gods-word-personal2If you think this might help your focus for the year, pray and ask God to reveal to you a focus word for 2019.  Here are some suggestions and possible verses to support your word:

Joy- Psalm 16:11, Psalm 63:7, Habakkuk 3:18 or James 1:2

Hope–  Psalm 62:5, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:21-22, Romans 5:4-5 or 1 Timothy 4:10

Trust- Psalm 28:7, Psalm 31:14, Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-6 or  Jeremiah 17:7

Grace– John 1:16-17, Romans 3:24, 2 Corinthians 12:9, or Ephesians 1:7

Peace- Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 5:9, John 14:27 or Philippians 4:7.

god-ideas_guide-delightGod,  in His great providence, gives us so many resources to help us walk with Him in faith.  All His words,  we are reminded in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 are useful to us. 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.”  I pray that choosing a word will give you focus and support in the year ahead.  We desire to live for Him and as we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

May you have a blessed year filled with His Words!

Linda

I am one of God’s living stones.

Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, I am one of God’s living stones.  The concept of believers being living stones, which God is building into a spiritual temple,  is found in several places in scripture.  1 Peter 2:4-5  As you come to him, the l1-Peter-2-8-You-Are-Living-Stoned-black-copyiving Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—  you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Here we are told that Christ is the living stone that was rejected by men.  The next verse, 6, refers to Christ as the cornerstone, the solid foundation upon which our faith is built.  We are part of a living community of faith built upon Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Paul uses the term temple (a spiritual house) in referring to our bodies.   Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”   Since the Holy Spirit lives within us, our body is a house where God dwells- a spiritual house.  God desires that we live ‘holy lives’ that are honoring to Him and reflect the love of Jesus.  In Romans 12:1 Paul refers to being living sacrifices, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”  Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, our lives should be like living sacrifices seeking to please God and reflect His glory to the world.  This is a big job that is only possible through His power.  God chose to use us so that we can know and experience His grace.  We can demonstrate the sufficiency of God’s grace.  2-Corinthians.12-27-My-Grace-Is-Sufficient-For-You-aqua-copyOne of my favorite promises is in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “ But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  Only through Christ can we be living stones that reflect His glory in our lives.

What about you?  Do you feel like a living stone?  Do you consider yourself a temple where His Holy Spirit resides?  Since Lent is a time of prayer and reflection, think about your witness to others.  If you find yourself lacking, offer it to God and ask for His help.  Only through Jesus can we be the pure, living temples that God will find acceptable.  Then through His merciful grace and power, He will use us to effect change on the world around us.

Living for Jesus,

Linda