Joy with Heavenly Hope

Paul seeks to encourage the Philippian believers who are looking around them and see a world that is driven by selfish needs, greed, power, and bent on self-destruction. How does a believer survive in such a world? We can ask ourselves that same question right now! Paul’s answer is one of perspective. He tells the Philippians to think about Jesus and His kingdom with the knowledge that His heavenly kingdom will someday be their home! They can take encouragement and strength from the fact that they belong to Jesus and His kingdom and that His heavenly home is not located in the earthly places where they currently reside. We too can take heart from Paul’s words as they equally apply to us!

Philippians 3:20-21 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Not only are we citizens of heaven but we can be assured that Jesus will return someday to transform us. We know this is possible because He has resurrection power and is able to bring all things under His control, i.e. He is the Sovereign Savior.

This message of Jesus’ return, His power to transform us and bring us to heaven is found other places in scripture, too. 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 speaks of Jesus’ return “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.” 1 John 3:2 tells us that we will be like Jesus when He returns. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” I love the picture Paul gives us in 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 about our heavenly bodies “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,”

The thoughts of Jesus’ return, a body that will not experience pain or despair, hardship or doubt brings hope to any who are suffering. Jesus will return and take us to heaven to live with Him. Whether we die first or meet Him in the air, we will go to heaven and be transformed by Him.  These are word filled with Hope.

JOY! Because we know: Jesus will return.

Jesus will transform us both inside and out.

Jesus has a home for us in heaven.

All Believers are citizens of heaven.

Let your Joy be complete in Jesus!

Linda

God’s Word is Worthy of Reading!

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Each week we, the believers who attend Crossroads Church in Concord, CA, have a selection from God’s Word to meditate upon. We have been going through the book of Deuteronomy for quite some time now as it is a long book, and we only take a few verses at at time. I was thunderstruck by the passage this week.

Deuteronomy 31:9-13 “So Moses wrote this entire body of instruction in a book and gave it to the priests, who carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, and to the elders of Israel. 10 Then Moses gave them this command: “At the end of every seventh year, the Year of Release, during the Festival of Shelters, 11 you must read this Book of Instruction to all the people of Israel when they assemble before the Lord your God at the place he chooses. 12 Call them all together—men, women, children, and the foreigners living in your towns—so they may hear this Book of Instruction and learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully obey all the terms of these instructions. 13 Do this so that your children who have not known these instructions will hear them and will learn to fear the Lord your God. Do this as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.”

How many of us read God’s Word, all of it at least every 7 years? Do we share it with our families? God has a specific purpose for us reading His Word faithfully- to teach us about Himself and to pass on our love for God to the next generation. In my opinion, that is something we, all believers, have not done faithfully and now our world is lacking in the knowledge of who God is and why we should trust in Him alone.

Let us pray for our nation and ourselves that we will be found faithful in reading and studying His Word and telling those around us about the truths contained therein. To thrive in this sin-filled world, we must look to Jesus and His Word to walk in victory and light.

Linda

P.S. Need a Bible Study? send me a note and I’ll tell you of opportunities to study with many online groups. We no longer need to live in the same city or country!

What does September 11 bring to your mind?

As we ponder the significance of 9/11 today, what comes to your mind?  This is the 19th year anniversary of that tragic attack on the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon.  Many of those alive today have no memory of that horrific day and those terrifying events.  The same could be said for December 7th and the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Both bring extreme sadness at the unnecessary loss of innocent lives, the aftermath of the events and their impact on families, the nation and our way of life.  A great sense of invasion and insecurity looms in my mind.

So what of 9/11 and those fears and insecurities?  Turn them over to Jesus and depend upon Him in all things.  We can cling to Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”    Nahum 1:7  “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him.”  Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”  John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”    I pray one of these verses gives you added hope in Jesus today.

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As I looked back, five years ago on 9/11 my new book, Promises for Dynamic Living arrived.  The arrival of a new book you’ve written is a momentous time for an author.  At the heart of this book is hope and security.  God’s Word provides us with an anchor for our souls in Christ and redemption though His work on the cross.   Knowing promises our Heavenly Father has made to us, gives me hope as I know He is eternal and always faithful to keep His promises.  He promised to send a savior and He did in the person of His own Son- Jesus.  What hope we have in Christ! He fulfilled all the promises in the Bible about himself and all questions about redemption are Yes in Him.  We do not need to fear for our future as it is guaranteed by Christ himself.

Living in a troubled world with HOPE,

Linda

A study in God’s Word that will bring you hope and assurance for living in a troubled world.  Available on Amazon or at Certa Publishing.Promises-for-dynamic-living-cover

Remembering why we celebrate the 4th

This year as we are held in bondage by a world wide pandemic, I am holding my freedoms more closely and cherishing them even more.  I am thankful for breath, life and freedom from oppression.  I am thankful for our country, flawed as it is, where I am free to worship and live.  I am thankful for family and friends- even if I’m not able to be with them, I know they are there.  Has the pandemic led you to greater thankfulness?

4th of julyI want to wish each of you a Happy 4th.  The 4th of July is a favorite holiday filled with family BBQ’s, games, swimming, picnicking, corn on the cob, apple pie and fireworks. Even if we are not able to celebrate like we have in the past, we know that the 4th is more than that to each of us.  America and the freedom it represents and holds for each of us was bought with a price- sacrifice, hope and struggle by those that went before us and those that labored to secure our freedom.  Our struggle over the centuries has been to secure,defend and maintain freedom of religion, peace, prosperity and hope for us and our children.  We desire to live in an unbiased, loving and accepting society.  Is this possible? Actually I believe it is not possible without Christ.  He is the one who can make all things right and gives us the power to love and live in harmony with others.

Today’s thoughts of freedom bring me to Galatians 5:1.  Paul was reminding the Galatians about the precious freedom they held in Christ.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves by burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Christ  died for us so that we might be free from sin and its bondage and have the ability to live lives that honor Him.  The cross was the ultimate sacrifice for us.  Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  He bought our freedom with a price, his life.  He redeemed us from sin’s ultimate consequence-death.  My freedom in Christ is due to His sacrifice on the cross for me.

I have FREEDOM in Christ- freedom from my sins, freedom to live for Him, freedom from eternal death and freedom to live with Him for eternity.   Just as we are thankful for those who died to secure the freedom we have in America, we need to be eternally grateful for the freedom we have in Christ alone.  He is the one who secured it all and brings us to the place where we can enjoy freedom.

freedomToday as you are thankful for America, think also of the greater freedom you have though Christ and say a prayer of Thanks to Jesus.

Thankful today for my Savior and my country,

Linda

Finding Joy- come journey with me!

I have been struggling as this pandemic has continued with finding and holding onto my joy.  The Holy Spirit has been leading me to seek the joy I have in the Lord.  Nehemiah speak of the joy of the Lord that comes from hearing His Word, worshiping and praising Him and being repentant.  The exiles had returned to Jerusalem and he gathered them together to hear the Word of God read aloud.  The people were called to repentance and gave praises upon hearing the Word.  In Nehemiah 8:10, he encouraged the people to rejoice in being there after years in Babylon and told them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved,for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”    Nehemiah told them not to grieve over the condition of their beloved city but to look beyond the present circumstances and find their joy in the Lord.  I need the same today.

So… I am going in search of my joy- seeking restoration, joy filled living and complete joy that can only be found in Christ.   God is pointing me to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  Since I have been to Philippi, I can visualize Paul’s discussions there, the friends he made in that city and how he developed a love for them.  Come journey with me through the book of Philippians and see what joys we find together in the Lord.

A key verse with a gigantic promise as we begin our seeking His joy comes from John 15:11 where Jesus said, “I have told you this (of our need to abide in Him) so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”   God desires that we have complete joy that is found in Him alone.  Let us tap into that joy, especially in these troubled times, and feel His restoration within us.  That joy will bubble up and spill over in every area of our lives.   Let the joy of the Lord lead you, and me, today and bring you peace within your soul.

nehemiah 8 10Let’s seek joy this summer together in Him!

Linda

Love, Hope and a Redemptive Plan = Jesus our Savior!

I love the message of truth given in Ephesians 1:4-10.  I can be encouraged by God’s love, the redemption plan made perfect in Christ and the hope I now have in Him.  Here it is in the Message translation for ease in understanding,

“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving ephesians 1 7by the hand of his beloved Son.   7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.”

God had a long range plan to redeem us.  It was not a spur of the moment decision.   In Genesis 1:26, God decided to create man,  a thinking living being in His image, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,”    After giving Adam and Eve the directive to not eat of the tree of good and evil, Eve bowed to temptation from Satan and ate giving some to Adam too.  God had anticipated this as He created man with free will and planned for a way to restore men and women into relation ship with Him.  Genesis 3:15 gives the first prophecy of Jesus coming to counter Satan’s dominion over the desires of man. I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hersHe’ll wound your head,  you’ll wound his heel.”   Jesus would be born into this world and give hope to mankind through His sacrifice.  

John 3 17Why would God do this?  His motivation was and is  LOVE.  He loves His creation and desires to have a relationship with us.  John 3:16-18 says, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”     

Does this give you HOPE?    Hebrews 3:6 speaks of this hope we now have in Christ. “but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son.  And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”   I also love 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.”

romans 5 2The Word is filled with references to God’s plan of redemption and the restoration of His relationship with mankind from Genesis to Revelation.  The story of God’s love for us, His desire to bring us back to Him is why Jesus came.   All these things give me Hope and I pray  they do the same for you as you meditate on Jesus, God’s love and His desire to be in relationship with you.

Linda

A different look at Ephesians beginning with Heaven-what a place!

summerI have been praying and pondering what God wants me to write about this summer. What has come to mind over and over is that He is telling me I’m not done with Ephesians.  The book of Ephesians was the foundation of my Lenten journey this year.  I worked my way through the entire book in the 6 week of Lent.  It was a rich time in Word of God,  and I was mightily blessed.  How He is leading me to write on these subjects again is to start with the lessons and truths revealed in Ephesians and search scripture for other passages that confirm the same or very similar truths.  I will not attempt to do all of the truths He revealed during our Lenten journey but as many as I can.  I am looking forward to a rich time in God’s Word these summer months.

Ephesians 1 3 ImBlessedEphesians 1:3 “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,”    The truth is:   God blesses us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.  

What kind of spiritual blessings does scripture tell us we have in heaven and some that start right here on earth- here are a few I found. (Believe me the Word is filled with references to heaven and these are but a few of the blessings.)

David wrote of the physical blessings of the heavens that we have shown to us through creation itself.  Psalm 8:3-9  (a foretaste of the glories of heaven)

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

We can see and know God’s handiwork even before we get to heaven.  The heavens also declare God’s righteousness, faithfulness and justice.

Psalm 36:5 “Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.”

Psalm 50:6 “The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! 

Jesus said that repentance and persecution bring blessings in heaven.  Matthew 5:10-12 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

John 6 passages promise eternal life from, Jesus, the bread of heavenJohn 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

2 Corinthians 5:1-2 talks about our new heavenly home, body,  made by God, For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling,”

In heaven,  all things will be united and we will have a place at his right hand, (a place of honor)  Ephesians 1:10 and 20  “as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”  “that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,”

Peter describes our inheritance that is safe guarded in heaven, 1 Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Lastly, Revelation is filled with picture images of the new heaven God will create for our dwelling place for  all eternity.  Revelation 21:1-2 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

The greatest blessing of heaven,  now and in the future,  is that Christ died for you and me so we can experience these spiritual blessings.  Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 6:22-23 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Spiritual-Blessings-in-Christ-I pray you have the blessing of knowing Christ and are looking forward to these eternal blessings that await us in heaven.  May you marvel at the beauty of heaven to come, the safety, completeness and glory we will see there.  Be encouraged today as you meditate on these passages.  This is our inheritance and a place all believers can look forward to in their future.  Praise God!

Linda

 

 

Sacrifice then…let us continue the fight for freedom

Today is a day that will live in history and always be known for the great sacrifice of so many for the cause of freedom and justice.   June 6, 1944  was the day of the “D-Day” invasion of Europe in 1944.   Known as Operation Overload it was cloaked in secrecy and

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Today the Allied flag still fly in memory.

various rumors were spread to mislead the enemy as to when the attack would take place.  General Eisenhower had originally chosen June 5 for the invasion but bad weather made that impossible,  so they moved forward as weather cleared on June 6.  It was the largest amphibious attack in history and some 156,000 plus troops from Great Britain, Canada and the United States landed on various beaches.  When I visited Normandy, I realized how great the coordination had to have been to attack simultaneously the different beaches.  The British and Canadians captured beaches code named Gold, Juno and Sword.  The Americans captured Utah Beach but faced heavy resistance on Omaha Beach where over 2,000 Americans died.  Some historians estimate that more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing.

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Today it is beautiful and serene, but that day the beaches were covered with barbed wire and obstacles to stop the troops from landing.

 

 

 

By the day’s end, some 156,000 troops had landed successfully and led what is thought to be ‘the beginning of the end for Germany’.  By the end of August, northern France had been liberated and by the Spring of 1945 the Germans were defeated.   The coordinated efforts of all the commanders were lead by General Dwight D Eisenhower.  They successfully adapted and overcame to defeat the enemy.

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The Rangers attacked under heavy fire from the Germany guns in these bunkers on top of the cliff.

 

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This beautiful beach cliff was the setting of the American Rangers’ attack that morning.

 

As we ponder this day in history, let us give thanks to those who gave their lives and those who fought bravely in the face of grave danger and survived.  Thank you to those who came home and lived lives of honor and courage after having experienced the horrors of war and to those who did not return.

IMG_0826Normandy, a place of remembrance.  Let us remember their sacrifice for our freedom and not take it lightly as the cost was great.

Proverbs 10:7 “The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
May the memories bring you blessings today.

Linda

 

Faith- does it really matter?

faith-mattersAs we all struggle with the racism that has surfaced yet again in America, we need to seriously ask ourselves if faith matters. People are carrying signs that say “Black Lives Matter” which is so true- as all people matter. We are all precious and made in God’s image. The question I am pondering is does ‘faith matter’? If it indeed does, how is it manifesting itself in your life?

As Christians we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and God is working within us.  That should make a difference in the way we see our world and the people, animals and the creation that make up our world.   We should be concerned about our life and the lives of others.  Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; make and female he created them.”  He created all of us and our faith brings God into us.  Our faith in God allows us to work and live for Him.  Many of God’s attributes are for Him alone- only He is Incomprehensible, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Sovereign and Almighty.  However, many of God’s attributes are characteristics that He desires us to emulate.

ephesians-3-17If we want to be more and more like Jesus, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to develop those characteristics within us.  He desires that we are kind, loving faithful, thankful, show goodness, gentleness, joy and experience His peace.  If we are to mature in faith, the actual term is sanctification, the we need to work our our faith and live it.  It does matter – it matters to God and it matters to me.  Jeremiah 9:24 tell us what pleases God, “But let him who boast boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth.  For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”  Through faith we can know God, and w can act in ways that bring Him glory and us good.

Just like ‘black lives matter’, so faith matters. It matters to you and to me. We need to humble ourselves and be open to God’s leading in our lives. When Solomon was dedicating the temple in Jerusalem, God promised a way to return to Him and save their land should they veer off course. “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14

way-we-liveLet us pray for our nation and humble ourselves seeking to do as Jesus would when dealing with others… Faith in God and Love are the ways to peace.  Faith matters, let the light of Christ shine in and through you today.

Linda

Readying yourself for Pentecost, remember the Ascension

40 days after the resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven.  His ascension is recorded in Mark, Luke and the book of Acts.  It took place on a mountain top in the vicinity of Bethany according to Luke 24:50-51 “And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.”  Mark also adds in Jesus’ destination after His ascension, Mark 16:19 “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”   In the  book of Acts, Luke, the author, gives us a more complete picture of this event.  Acts 1:9-11 “And after ascensionHe said these things, He was caught up as they looked on, and a cloud took Him up out of their sight. 10 While they were looking intently into the sky as He was going, two men in white clothing suddenly stood beside them, 11 who said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This [same] Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will return in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

The disciples who were focused on where Jesus went and  the angels assured them that Jesus will return in the same way He left.   Jesus had lovingly told them that He would send a helper to guide and empower them in His absence.  Acts 1:7-8 “He said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”  Jesus wanted His followers to be about telling others of the kingdom and the good news of the salvation and forgiveness available to each one though Jesus.   The promised Holy Spirit would come upon them in just 10 days at Pentecost and then the truth of Christ and His work would revolutionize the world!  

Christs returnAre you anticipating the return of Christ?  Be encouraged with these words from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 

apologetics-1-peter-3-15-28354Are you telling others about your Savior as you wait?  Be encouraged by Peter’s words: 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”   Be ready to tell others of your HOPE in Jesus!

Linda