Are you Living Thankful in light of Christ’s return?

1 corinthians 1 4As Paul begins his first letter to the Corinthian church, he introduces himself and then proceeds to tell them why he is thankful for them and their faithful witness for Jesus.  Walk with me through 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 and put yourself in the place of a receiving Corinthian believer and see what Paul is saying to you too.

 “I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.  Have you thought about the gifts God has given you in Christ?  Who would give thanks for your serving them with your gifts of encouragement, love, peacemaking, hope, and joy? Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge.  Okay, how active are you in your church?  Do you go there with the intent of serving the body of Christ?   This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Knowing you have faith and gifts from God, are you serving with anticipation of His return?    He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”   Through faith in Jesus we have all we will need to keep a steady course and await His return, are you living like He could come today?  Are you doing things (praying, studying, worshiping) to keep you strong in your faith?

I thank God for Paul’s ministry, sacrifice and love for others that spills over to me generations later.  He was committed and totally living in anticipation of Christ’s return.  He wanted to encourage others to follow Christ completely knowing that Jesus equips every believer to complete the tasks He has prepared for their lives.  How are you doing in giving thanks for your fellow Christians that serve alongside you at your church, workplace, or neighborhood ?   Are you using your God given gifts to support the body of Christ and live a life filled with thanksgiving and praise?

thanks servingMay this November be a time of renewal and praise for you as you consider Christ and all He has done and given you to keep you strong for Him.  May it overflow to others daily as you give thanks and serve Him.

Linda

Who are you telling about God?

Psalm 107 1Psalm 107:1-2  “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble

Is this a scripture that describes you?  Do you give thanks for His goodness and love for you?   Do you tell others how good God is?   This psalm reminds us that because God is good and loves us unconditionally, we should be shouting His praise and thanksgiving.  Because of God’s goodness and love, that we do not deserve and did nothing to earn, we should be overcome with gratefulness and proclaiming the goodness and love of God to all who will hear.

say soMake today one of proclamation and tell others about your good and loving God.  He will hear you and be pleased by your faith and glorified in your testimony.

Linda 

Dipping into the Well of Salvation Brings Joy!

isaiah 12 4Isaiah 12 has 2 short songs of praise that lead us towards thanksgiving.  Let these songs of praise create joy and thanks over your salvation.

You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
    that you might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
    proclaim that his name is exalted.

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
    let this be made known  in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
    for great in your  midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

 

Isaiah 12 3This psalm gives us a picture of our salvation.  God hates our sin but through the well of salvation in Jesus we are forgiven.  Being cleansed by the waters of salvation through faith in Jesus’ work on the cross,  God brings us into His comforting arms and His anger  over sin is turned away.  Having drunk deeply from the well of salvation we are compelled to shout and sing His praises with great joy!  Thank you Jesus.

May yours be a day of thanksgiving and praise to God as you meditate on His forgiveness, love and redemption in Christ.

Linda

Are you Thankful for your firm foundation in Jesus?

Ezra 3:11-13 records the reaction of the people when they succeeded in rebuilding the foundation of the temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians.  God had allowed them to be deported to Babylon for 70 years to refine them and cause them to give up idolatry that had plagued them for generations.   Their reaction is genuine and heartfelt. Ezra 3 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord,

“For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, 13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.”    The weeping was joyous but  also many lamented the glory of Temple Solomon had built that was gone.  

These verses about their rejoicing over the temple’s foundation reminded me of the foundation we have in Jesus, the cornerstone of our faith.  1 Peter 2:4-6 describes Jesus:  As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God 1 peter 2 6through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Our faith in Jesus places us in ‘God’s building’, His  spiritual house, that has a firm foundation in Jesus.  You cannot build a building without a firm foundation likewise, faith without Jesus at its base will crumble, fall and be meaningless.

Think about your foundation of faith today.  Soon you will be rejoicing over your foundation, Jesus, and praising and singing thanks to Him!

Linda

Prayer, is it your habit at meals?

prayer-thank-you-lordOne area of giving thanks that has seemingly slipped away in America is the practice of giving thanks at meals.  It is a rare occurrence to see people praying in restaurants as they are served food.  Why has this habit begun to disappear from public view?  I really don’t have an answer just some conjectures:  **In today’s world, people seem overly concerned with how others view them and do not want to do something considered ‘politically incorrect’ and offend someone.  **They have gotten out of the habit of doing this regularly.  **Or perhaps thanking God for the food they are about to eat, never crosses their mind as they earned the money to pay for it, so why give thanks?  Whatever the reasons they have for not praying- giving thanks is very biblical.

Jesus’ giving thanks is recorded in the gospels on various occasions.  Matthew 14:18-19 Jesus is preparing to feed 5,000 people and He said, “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people”   Again when 4,000 had gathered and had been with him for days, He had compassion on them and gave them food.  Matthew 15:35-36 “He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.”   After Jesus’ resurrection, he met the men on the Road to Emmaus.  They did not know who he was but He spoke to them about himself from scripture.  They begged him to stay and eat with them on their journey.  Luke 24:30-31 records this encounter, breaking breadWhen he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”   Paul also followed Jesus’ example under the hardest of circumstances.  He was a prisoner being transported to Rome and they were in a great storm.  All on board the ship feared for their lives.  Paul brings calm into the situation, Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board.”  Acts 27:33-37

What should be our response to these biblical examples of giving thanks?  Jesus in his humanity gave thanks to God for the provision of food for the gathered crowds.  Paul gave thanks in a desperate situation that could have totally consumed his thoughts and prayers.  They did not ‘forget’ to pray when they were busy and consumed with other things- they stopped, gave thanks and then ate.  No matter where we are, we need to acknowledge God when we eat.  We need to thank the creator of all things for the provision of food for our bodies.  Physical food is essential for our bodies to run well just as spiritual food is essential for our growth and development in Christ.  Our spiritual food is the Word of God.

Thanks with grateful heartI must confess that I am convicted by this blog today.  I often do not pray when I am out in the company of unbelievers or get out of the habit of praying when by myself at meals.  Knowing Jesus was in the habit of thanking God for his physical provision of food, convicts me that I should do the same out of respect for God and His provisions in my life.  I pray that you are led to do likewise.

Linda

Thankfulness begins with family

all god's familyOne of the true delights in life is God’s family.  No matter what kind of earthly family we come from that might be filled with fights, disagreements, hard feelings, love, tenderness, nurturing…. all believers belong to God’s family, He is our heavenly Father and we can call Him, “Abba Father’.   This is a term that was used to express a very close relationship with our father, like Daddy.  Romans 8:15-17 explains our adoption into God’s family.  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.”  

I find this passage incredibly encouraging.  I am adopted through faith in Jesus to belong to His family making me a join heir with Christ in heavenly things.  I will have eternal life with Jesus, reign in heaven, have a home there, belong to God and I can call Him Father and Jesus brother.  Jesus reaffirmed this truth in Matthew 12:50 when He was questioned about his brothers and sisters, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”  I will also have support in the here and now through His indwelling Holy Spirit that testifies to my spirit that I belong to God and empowers me to live for Jesus each day.  Being in God’s family also means I will suffer for His name as I stand up for Him and tell others about Him.  It is all part of being ‘in the family’ of God.

Usually at Thanksgiving we think of family and give thanks for having those in our lives that care about us.  Likewise, we should take time to be thankful for the family of God.  Think of those brothers and sisters in Christ that are risking their lives to tell others about Jesus, those that are suffering great hardships around the world, those who we work with every day that are in need of a helping hand, an encouraging word or prayer.  Philippians 4:6 is a promise from God that reminds us to pray with thanks. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let we are familyyour requests be made known to God.”   Pray for your brothers and sisters today with calmness knowing they are loved by God and are join heirs with Christ.  It is our privilege as members of God’s family.

I am thankful for each of you as you seek to know God more completely,  and I pray that my words will be an encouragement to you!

Linda

I AM … Your Savior

I amGod refers to himself in the Old Testament as Your Savior in Isaiah 49:26 and 60:16.  In both cases His name is linked to prophesy in regard to the destruction of Jerusalem when the Babylonians came and destroyed it and took the people off to Babylon.  The city was held under siege and the people suffered greatly, at one point even resorting to cannibalism.  Isaiah’s words were to be ones of encouragement that God will be evident in the dealings of His people.   Isaiah 49:26

“I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
    and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.
Then all flesh shall know
    that I am the Lord your Savior,
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”    Again in Isaiah 60:16

“You shall suck the milk of nations;
    you shall nurse at the breast of kings;
and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

I am your godThe people of Israel were to know that in both hard and good times God will be with them, He will be their Savior, Redeemer and Mighty One.   We can be encouraged like they were that God alone is God, He is our Redeemer and has plans for our redemption through Christ His Son, and He alone is the Mighty One from generation to generation.  The prophet pointed out specifically that God is your Savior and your Redeemer.  He is a personal God who loves each one of us and wants to have a relationship with us.  He desires that we accept His Son as Savior and open our hearts to His redemptive plan.

Here are a few verses to mediate upon today as you consider your Savior and Redeemer.  1 Corinthians 1:30 “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”  and Colossians 1:13-14 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

May Jesus be your Savior and Redeemer today bringing you hope and assurance of salvation!

Linda

My Glory

jehovah kabodhiThis name of God is referred to in Psalm 3:3. “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,  my glory, and the lifter of my head.”   The name O Lord  is YHWH and my glory is Jehovah-Kabodhi in Hebrew.   David describes God as Lord, the one of glory and the lifter of his head.  Have you ever thought about what God’s glory is?  The Old Testament describes the glory cloud that led them in the wilderness and the ‘Sheikinah’ glory that filled the tabernacle and later the temple as the presence of God on earth.  Moses asked to see God’s glory while on Mt Sinai but God told him he could not see His face and live.  But, God said hide in the cleft of the rock and I will pass by.  Exodus 33:20-22  But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.”  God in His grace allowed Moses to ezekiel 1 28catch a glimpse of His glory.  Ezekiel, the prophet,  saw a vision of the throne room of God in heaven.  Ezekiel 1:28 “Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.   Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”  

God’s glory is the sum total of all His attributes. He displays His glory in the beauty and wisdom of His creation. God reveals His glory to us through His power, mercy, love, grace, judgement, holiness and all his other attributes.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the complete revelation of God’s glory.  Hebrews 11:3 describes Jesus, ” He is the radiance Hebrews 1 3of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”   Here is the first part of this verse in the Amplified, The Son is the radiance and only expression of the glory of [our awesome] God [reflecting God’s Shekinah glory, the Light-being, the brilliant light of the divine], and the exact representation and perfect imprint of His [Father’s] essence, and upholding and maintaining and propelling all things [the entire physical and spiritual universe] by His powerful word [carrying the universe along to its predetermined goal].”

What does this mean for you and me?  My glory is a powerful name of God that reflects His holiness, goodness, light and power and is found fully in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We, as believers, have access to this power through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  We can see and experience God for ourselves through faith in Jesus.  Jesus brings all things to the light and we can bask in His glory and goodness each day.  We can soak in His light to revive and sustain us,  but shouldn’t we be reflectors of His light too?  God calls us to be lights in this world in the midst of the darkness of the sin all around us.  Seriously, ask God today how He can use you to be a reflector of His glory to those around you.  He will give you opportunities to shine for Him.

Linda

I AM…the Root of David, the bright and morning star

Revelation 22 16The names that Jesus calls himself are truly rooted in scripture, prophesies from the Old Testament.  Revelation 22:16  “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”  Jesus calls himself the root and descendant of David.  We can look at Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1 and see that Jesus is descended from David.  Luke 3 shows Jesus line going back to David and then onward to Abraham.  Isaiah mentions the coming Messiah in Isaiah 11:1-2.  “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,  and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,  the root of jesseSpirit of wisdom and understanding,  the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”    Jesse was David’s father, thus the stump of Jesse. Isaiah’s description of Jesus as one filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

Jesus also referred to himself as the bright and morning star.  I love this image of the star seen just before sunrise, a bright one that gives hope as we transition from night to day. rev 22 16Numbers 24:17  was part of a prophesy given by Baalem and refers to the coming of a future ‘star’ in Israel.I see him, but not here and now.  I perceive him, but far in the distant future.  A star will rise from Jacob;  a scepter will emerge from Israel.
It will crush the heads of Moab’s people,  cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth.”  Knowing that Jesus can also trace his lineage back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and a scepter is a used by a king when ruling, Jesus confirms that it refers to him as He takes the name bright and morning star.

So what difference does all this make to you and me?  Jesus’ was the fulfillment of prophesies from ancient times, He was descended from King David and even Abraham, He was the bright hope for redemption, the coming of day and light to the Jews and all colossians 2 7people of the earth.  Are you rooted and grounded in Jesus?  Is He the stabilizing figure in your life giving you hope and a future?  Do you allow Jesus to shine in your life, and be your star?  Colossians 2:6-7 reminds us, Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”  Having Christ as our root establishes us in faith and allows us to walk with Him in confidence, full of life.  Peter gives us another image of Jesus as a star that rises in 2 peter 1 19our hearts as we trust in Him.  “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,  2 Peter 1:19

Let the Lord Jesus rise in your heart today.  Walk with Him hour by hour and let His light shine through you to a dark and hurting world.

Linda

I AM… the Alpha and the Omega

Revelation 1 8Jesus used this phrase to identify himself three times in the New Testament book of Revelation.  As John opens his revelation about Jesus Christ,  Jesus appears returning in the clouds and says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  Revelation 1:8  Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and would signify the beginning of all things and the end of all things.  The designation of ‘who is and who was and who is to come’ tells us Jesus was with God in the beginning of creation and will be with us in the future.  He is the Almighty God.  He is all knowing (omniscient), ever present (omnipresent) and all powerful (omnipotent).  Only God is all these and He began all creation and will be there at the end.

revelation 21 6At then end of Revelation, these words appear again in John’s vision.  After the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:6 “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”    Jesus, himself, will see to the creation of heaven and the new city of Jerusalem.  In that city the water of life will be given freely to all who dwell there.   What a glorious promise for us about our future home.

revelation 22 13Lastly, Jesus reveals to John that He will be returning soon in Revelation 22:12-13 ““Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”   Here Jesus specifically says He was there at the  the of beginning of creation and He will be there at the end of times.

What a powerful God we serve that from the beginning of time and creation to the end He will be unchanging and faithful.  Hebrews 13:8 tell us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”   He created all things and will see them through to the end of all time. He is unchanging in His character and purposes so we can rely upon Hebrews 10 23Him.   I love Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  We can cling to the promises in God’s Word that He is unchanging and faithful.  He will see to us in the future just as He has done in the past.  Praise God!

Linda