What Stops You from Giving Thanks?

Daniel was an upright believer in God who was in a position of power in Babylon.  His adversaries hated him and sought to discredit him.   They tried but could find nothing to hold against him.  So, they got the idea to ask King Darius, over the Medo-Persian Empire, to make a law that no one could pray to any other god but him for a whole month.  The king was pleased, puffed up and overtaken with pride,  so he signed a law making it unlawful, on penalty of death, to worship any god but him.  The men who hated Daniel knew Daniel prayed to the God of Israel three times a day without fail.  They were hoping that he could continue this and then they could catch him and have him put to death.

Daniel 6:10 “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.”   Daniel knew of their hatred and deceit but he trusted God more.  The story continues and Daniel is called before the king for praying to his God.  The king realized his mistake but could not change the law, since once a law was signed even the king was helpless to change it.  The penalty was being cast into a den with hungry lions.  The king liked Daniel and did not want to see him killed but was powerless.  The unbelieving king did something amazing, “Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” “Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.  Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to daniel 6 21the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Daniel 6:16,18,19-22 

The lesson for us in this favorite Old Testament story that is that Daniel was committed to God.  He knew his God was more powerful than any earthly king,  and he would not relinquish God’s place of preeminence in his life to anyone, no matter the cost.  Daniel 6:10 said he prayed as was his custom and gave thanks.  Nothing could deter Daniel from prayer and thanksgiving.   Romans 12:12 describes Daniel’s attitude towards prayer. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

romans 12 12What about you?  What stops you from praying daily?  Our obstacles could not be any bigger than death by lions,  but we let them rob us of our prayer time and take away our opportunities to give thanks and praise Almighty God.  Will you mediate on this today and ask God to reveal to you what is taking preeminence in your life that keeps you from regular prayer?  Confess it to Him and start praying regularly with praise and thanksgiving.

Linda 

I AM…the Resurrection and the Life

“I AM the Resurrection and the Life..”  This profound statement was made to grieving Martha at the death of her brother Lazarus.  The sisters, Mary and Martha, had sent word to Jesus that their brother, who Jesus loved, was ill.  Jesus knew he would die before he arrived so he delayed his return 2 more days.   By the time Jesus returned, Lazarus was already laid in the tomb and his body wrapped and spiced.    When they heard that Jesus had arrived, Martha went out to meet him and said,  Lazarus would not have died if you had been here.  Jesus replied, “Your brother will rise again.”   Martha being a good Jew believed in the resurrection of all dead at the end of time and said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection JOhn 11 25at the last day.” Jesus’ reply to her is life changing. 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  Her reply reveals her true belief and knowledge of  Jesus27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”  John 11:21-27   

Martha believed that Jesus was God and could have saved Lazarus had He been there.  However, Jesus’ meaning goes further when He says He is resurrection and faith in Him will lead to eternal life.  To show Martha this truth, He had her take him to the tomb where they had laid Lazarus.  Then Jesus had them roll the stone away and He called to Lazarus to come out of the tomb.   Lazarus rose and staggered out of the tomb as he was bound in his burial clothes.  Jesus commanded them to take off the grave clothes and let him go.  The raising of Lazarus  brought glory to God,  showed Jesus’ power over life and death and foreshadowed His own ability to rise from the dead.  His power was real and He truly was the resurrection and life to Lazarus, Mary and Martha.

resurrection hopeThis I AM statement by Jesus gives the believer hope in the future as we know our eternity will be with Jesus. It also gives assurance that belief in Jesus and His resurrection power will one day bring us to Him.   Do you  believe, like Martha, that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, the Son of God?  That belief was life changing for Mary, Martha and Lazarus and is for us too.   Today, ponder the hope you have in the resurrected Christ and the assurance you have of eternity with Him.   Be encouraged.

Linda

A Day of Remembrance-9/11

9 11As 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 NY 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.

As I looked back, four 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.

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.

Living in a troubled world with HOPE,

hope in Christ

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

I AM…the door of the sheep

John-10-9Many translations use the word gate instead of door, but the sheep pen used by shepherds was a rock enclosure with only 1 gate or door into the pen.  They would sleep at the door preventing anyone or thing from entering and harming their sheep.  This is a wonderful picture of Jesus as our protector or guardian of our safety.  One we are in his ‘pen’ no one or nothing can ever take us away from Him.

Jesus adds to this idea of guardian by saying He is the door.  John 10:7 -9 “So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”   When we accept Jesus into our life we have entered by the door- the only door to salvation.  Act 4:12 confirms this truth, “12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Many might say there are many ways to be saved, many doors or gates but Jesus is emphatic that He is the only true door to salvation.  He warns that others -thieves and robbers have or will come, but He admonishes us to not listen to their lies and depend upon Him for salvation.

Why choose Jesus?  His door leads to love, compassion, freedom from sin, an inheritance sealed with by the Holy Spirit, life eternal, …. the benefits are many for those that choose to enter into a relationship with Jesus.  He is the only one who can redeem us romans 5 9from our sin-filled state of being, Romans 5:8-9  “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”  Meditate upon His goodness and love for you today and His mercy in loving you even when you still in sin- He sent Jesus to redeem you!  Praise God! 

Linda

The Amazing Creator

creator godGod refers to himself as Creator in Isaiah 43:15 “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.”   In Isaiah 40:28 Isaiah speaks of the hope that this Creator brings to us, Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.”    This Creator of heaven and earth, the one who made us and everything in the universe wants to be our King.   Isaiah’s passage tell us this creator is eternal, has unlimited energy and power, is not subject to human weaknesses like being tired, weary or falling away and His knowledge is beyond end.  

Have you ever spent time gazing at God’s creation?  Those things that we make reflect on our abilities, ingenuity, creativity, dexterity, resources and perseverance.  How much more so with God and His creation of the universe.  It speaks of His majesty, unlimited knowledge, sense of humor and creativity, grandeur and power.  Psalm 19:1-2 puts it so psalm 19 1-2eloquently, The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above  proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.”

I hope you have had some time this summer to go out and about in God’s grand creation.  Did you reflect on the Creator as you gazed at His marvelous creation all around you?  As summer wanes and we head into the busy fall season with school and multiple activities, I pray you will take some time to think about how awesome our God is and all He has created for you to enjoy.  All creation, including you, is made to bring glory and honor to God, the Creator.  Let us strive today to bring glory to Him in what we say and do.

Linda

God is mighty in battle!

These last few weeks have been a trial of strength and endurance as I have moved from one place to another.  Gathering, boxing, hauling, pondering where to put things, deciding what I need and what should go are all actions filled with stressful joy.  I have found strength in the Lord and in His people.  The Bible often speaks of the mighty hand of God, His mighty deeds or works, His mighty arm, power and strength but the psalm 24 8description I held onto is God is mighty in battle.  He was right there with me seeing to the details of this move that brought people to help at just the right time with just the resources that were needed!  Psalm 24:8 Who is this King of glory?   The Lord, strong and mighty,     the Lord, mighty in battle!”  David saw God as mighty, strong and one who would go with him into battle.  He goes on in verses 9-10 to tell us that God is strong and mighty and He will help us in our battles if we will let Him in.  Lift up your heads, O gates!     And lift them up, O ancient doors,  that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory?     The Lord of hosts,  he is the King of glory!”

How are you doing in the battles life is bringing your way?  Are you trying to go it alone or are you willing to open yourself to the mighty helping hand of God?  We need to let Him come into our lives to receive His help and blessing.  He is all around us and standing in wait, won’t you ask Him to come into you today?  Revelation 3:20 promises Jesus’ availability at all times, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”   Ask Him into battle is Lord'syour battles, He is strong and mighty and will give you strength, guidance, help and courage to prevail in whatever circumstances you find yourself.  Cling to Him, He is mighty in the battle of life!  Have Him by your side and on your side and you will be victorious. Be of good courage the battle is His!

Linda

God is my strength!

God is my strength!  Are these words you would speak freely, often and with great conviction?  The Bible is filled with words of praise to the Father for the strength that God provided to His beloved people in both the Old and New Testaments.  Moses proclaimed in Exodus 2:15 after crossing the Red Sea and seeing the Egyptian army defeated. “The Lord is my strength and my defense;  he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,  my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”  David proclaimed praises to God for delivering him from Saul in Psalm 18:32 “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”  Proclaiming praises to God for His psalm 28 7 strengthdeliverance and strength uplifts our spirit and pleases God.  David penned in 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.  
Do you have praises for Almighty God today for the strength and deliverance He has provided in your life? Or maybe you are struggling to find strength.  David prayed for strength as he pleaded with God in Psalm 71:9  “Do not cast me away when I am old;  do not forsake me when my strength is gone.”  Whether it is due to age or overwhelming circumstances, we can pray and ask God for strength to face our challenges.   Paul often directed believers pray for spiritual strength, Ephesians 3:13-14 “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. For this reason I kneel before the Father,”  and gospel power strength in doing God’s work, 2 Timothy 2:1-2 “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  

The Bible teaches we can pray and ask God for strength but then we need to trust in  God’s strength as it has amazing power.  He can not only give us physical strength but He can dispel fear.  Isaiah 41:10 gives me great hope.  “Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”   God promises to be with us and hold us in His righteous right hand which is another name for Jesus.  Jesus will hold us!   We also find in Habakkuk 3:19 that God’s strength can enable us do do habakkuk 3 19things we cannot do on our own and will renew us in the process!  God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”

So today, I really need this message as I am facing a move for good and pleasant reasons but a move nonetheless.  I need physical and spiritual strength,  and I know God can and will provide for me.  I only need ask Him.  I pray you can trust God enough to call upon His strength today for your needs.  He will be with you and give you just what you need for strength, renewal or comfort.

Have a blessed day.

Linda

Does God provide the light in your life?

psalm 27 1Light   When we say the word light, many things come to mind- glowing illumination, brightness, no more darkness, hope, direction, guidance…..   In Psalm 27 David speaks about the ultimate light of the world, God.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—    With God as his light-                     whom shall I fear?                                      he  knew salvation & no fear
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—       With God as his light- 
    of whom shall I be afraid?                         he knew strength & no fear

When the wicked advance against me      With God as his light-  he knew his enemies 
    to devour me,                                                       would crumble. 
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,                    With God as his light- he knew he would not 
    my heart will not fear;                           break under pressure but live with confidence     though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord                 With God as his light- God would always be             this only do I seek:                                                           with him, making life beautiful
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

How about you?  Is God your light?   Jesus tells us in John 8:12 ““I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Having Jesus in your life dispels the darkness of sin, keeps you from living in fear, gives you salvation and strength and makes all things around you to be illuminated by God’s light.  Just like David, we can see God’s light and we can know Him personally through His Son.

David ends this Psalm with a reminder to wait patiently for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”

psalm-27 14Knowing God is light and will provide direction so we can see how to proceed,  David admonishes us to wait for the Lord.   I know, easier said than done, but it is a good reminder that our timetable for things is not the Lord’s.  In His light we can walk with confidence and trust His leading as we wait for His perfect timing.

Will you walk seeking God’s light in your life today?  Will you grow in trust for Him as you wait His perfect timing?  If you are struggling with God’s timing, pray and ask for patience and guidance as you wait upon Him.

Linda

Freedom isn’t free, there is always a cost

Freedom-DaysI want to wish each of you a Happy 4th.  The 4th of July is a favorite holiday filled with BBQ’s, games, swimming, picnicking, corn on the cob, apple pie and fireworks.  But as you know, the 4th is more than that to each of us.  The freedom we enjoy in America was bought with a price.  The cost to those that came before us was filled with sacrifice, hope and struggle.  It continues to cost those who labor daily in the military to ensure 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 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Galatians 5:1.  Paul was teaching the Corinthians how to live together in harmony and purity.  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own: you have been bought at  price.  Therefore honor God with your body.”   Paul was reminding the Galatians what they had in Christ and that it should be their desire and ours to honor God in all we say and do.  “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 us with a price, his life.  He redeemed us from sin’s ultimate consequence-death.  My freedom in Christ was bought with the price of His life on the cross.

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 thankful for the freedom we have in Christ alone.  He is the one who secures 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,

Linda

What does June 6th mean to you? Sacrifice, freedom, honor….

Today is the 75th Anniversary 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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Beautiful and serene today, but then 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