Here’s a guarantee you can count on!

ephesians 1 13-14Today’s verses are some of the most precious in the New Testament and I refer to them often in my writing and speaking.  They tell of our wonderful inheritance of salvation through faith in Christ and inclusion in God’s family through the power of the Holy Spirit.  His power within us is our guarantee of God’s hope and promises to come.  Be encouraged as you read, Ephesians 1:13-14 “And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.”

I love that God knew us so well.  He knew that our finite minds would need a guarantee to confirm our faith and help us cling to His promises.  Praise God for the Holy Spirit that He has placed within us through faith.  The Holy Spirit confirms and testifies with our spirit giving us hope and assurance in Him.  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”  Romans 8:16

romans 8 16Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I now have His Holy Spirit living within me through faith affirming, testifying and guaranteeing my inheritance in Him.  Praise God!  Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Christmas with Eternity in Focus!

Merry-Christmas

Today we celebrate the birth of the Christ.  His birth was foretold by the ancient prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born…”   The place was foretold in Micah 5:3  “But you Bethlehem…”.    He came to earth that day born as a human child, yet one who would lead a sinless life and die to save us from our sins.  We believe that only God’s Son, Jesus, could satisfy Holy God and bring us back into relationship with God.  Isaiah foretold in Isaiah 53:5 “But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.”   So where does that leave us?  If we believe He was born miraculously as a man who was both fully human and fully God, and He was able to die to save us from our sins, what more is there for us to believe?   return-of-christHe is coming again1 Thessalonians 4:16-18  “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 

As we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we need to remember the story does not end in the manger or at the cross.  The story of the redemption of mankind will end with us living with God for eternity.  Just as His first coming was heralded by angels so will His second coming.  Just as His first coming was miraculous, awesome and breathtaking so will His second coming be worthy of King Jesus when we meet Him in the air.

God eternalWhat do these events say about God?  God is eternalGod exists outside of time.  He is not measured by anything.  We measure time by the movement of the planets and stars, which God created.  God has always been and always will be.  No one is like Him.  We are not eternal because we have a beginning and an end.  Because God is eternal, He can give us eternal life.  David described God in Psalm 90:2 “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, form everlasting to everlasting you are God.”  John wrote in Revelation 4:8 “Holy, holy, holy is he Lord God Almighty, who was, and is and is to come.”

With our finite minds, the eternality of God is difficult to grasp.  However, we can be assured that God is who He says He is and will do as He has planned for eternity. Jesus is the one who holds the key to our eternal life. john-4-14 John 4:13-14  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”   Come to Him this Christmas and be filled with His eternal blessing.  Look  past the manger, past the cross and look forward to His return!

Linda   

 

 

Lessons learned this month-did you get it too?

A lesson and truth I received from the scriptures we studies this month on cultivating a habit of thankfulness in our lives is this:  Thankfulness has a powerful affect on me and all those around me.

contagious thanksHow have you seen this to be true this season of thanksgiving?  Is your mindset towards thanks contagious?  “How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9  Paul felt that the thanks he had for his fellow believers, for their faith and love for God, caused him to rejoice.  He saw God working in their lives and this brought joy and thankfulness to his own worship.  I would call that contagious thanks.  Have you ever been thankful for someone or something and it caused you to give thanks to God?  As we live our lives, we need to look for those things that God gives us that create ‘contagious thanks’ within our hearts.  As we give thanks to Him in these situations, God will faithfully create in us a thanks that will be contagious and will result in our being in a constant state of thankfulness and joy.  Paul left the Thessalonians with these words in 5:16-18  “ Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  

blessings jarDevelop that attitude of gratitude and watch it grow in your own life and then watch it rub off into the lives of those around you.

Linda

A Timeless Praise is on my lips today!

Today I needed to focus on God and remember to be thankful.  I love Psalm 100.  Its simple message is timeless and always uplifting.

A Psalm for giving thanks.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!                                    Being in the Lord’s presence
Come into his presence with singing!                      always brings joy to the believer.

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;                              He is creator God and He
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.                        cares for me.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!                                           His name is above all names 
Give thanks to him; bless his name!                              and worthy of our praises.

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,                              God is good and He will love 
and his faithfulness to all generations.                          us faithfully forever.

Verse38-Psalm100.4I pray the joy of the Lord will be yours as you worship our creator, caretaker, good, loving, faithful, eternal and Almighty God.

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 up to it? A month of Thanks and Praise- join me each day…

give_thanks-As we enter the month of November that has our National Day of Thanksgiving, let us give thanks this whole month long for the things, people, places, hopes and dreams we have within our lives.  God is good and worthy of all our praises!  Isaiah gives us a song of praise in Isaiah chapter 12.  As I look at various verses of thanksgiving this month, this chapter is the key of what our hearts’ attitude must be before Almighty God.

The Lord Is My Strength and My Song

12 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. 

I am a sinner and did not deserve God’s mercy but Romans 5:8 reminds us of God’s love “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”    With joy in my heart, I can draw on His mercies from the ‘well of salvation’ and know His forgiveness.  Because of faith in Christ and His death and resurrection, I can know the salvation of the Lord and praise His great name.    Isaiah explains when you know the ‘well of salvation’ you can:   And you will say in that day:

isaiah 12 4“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.”

Are you ready to give thanks, to shout and proclaim His wondrous deeds?   Do you want to let all the world know He is holy God, the only true God?  All our joy and thanksgiving comes from God because of what He has done for us.  Let us give thanks and worthy of praiselet us utter songs of joy and praise to Him all month long.  Let the spirit of thanksgiving towards God permeate your very being, dip into that well of salvation, and live out praise and thanksgiving towards God and all the people you meet.

I am looking forward to blogging each day this month with an eye and heart towards thanksgiving.

Linda

 

Are you like Thomas? Encounter the Living Jesus today!

The disciples had gathered on Resurrection Sunday evening and Jesus appeared to them coming in even though the doors were shut.  Thomas had not been with them that evening and they eagerly told him all that had happened.   This was his response from john-20-25-ampJohn 20:24-25.  Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”  This is the passage that earned him the nickname of doubting Thomas.  He was emphatic that unless he saw the evidences of Jesus death marks himself he would not believe it to be Jesus. Do you know people that are doubters too?  Do they reject any evidence that Jesus is the Son of God in scripture purely because they can not see Him for themselves?  I’m sure the disciples were totally convinced as to what they had seen but saddened that Thomas would not share in their joy that Christ was alive.

A week passed and they were all gathered in the upper room when Jesus appeared Thomasagain.  John 20:26-29 continues the story,  Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus knew what Thomas needed and came right to him.  Thomas was amazed and proclaimed Jesus his God.  To him, seeing was believing.  He needed a personal encounter with the living Jesus!   Jesus added this next verse for Thomas, the disciples and all of us.   29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”    

john 20 29Faith is a gift from God and we who believe in Jesus are blessed with the knowledge of Him as our Savior.  However, each one of us who believes encountered the living Christ and came to know Him in a personal, vibrant and  living way.   Even though we do not physically see Him,  we can and do know within our being that Jesus is Alive!  The Holy Spirit indwells us when we believe in Jesus and testifies to us about Him.  Jesus had promised this in John 15:26 ““But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.”  Later Paul, explains in Ephesians 1:13-14 how the Holy Spirit works within us, In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

Praise God we too can know Him and experience Him in our lives.  We are blessed – Just as Jesus said we would be through our faith in Him!   Have a blessed day as you ponder the wonder of Jesus being alive in your life!

Linda

He has Risen, He has risen indeed!

risenBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have faith in resurrection too.  Paul writes on the importance of believing in the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-20.  “12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.”  Paul is making the argument that if we do not believe in resurrection, life after death, then we can’t believe Christ was raised either.  15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.”  He continues that if we don’t believe in the resurrection then all the people who saw Jesus (like 500 plus) were liars but the most horrific consequence of not believing in Jesus’ resurrection is that we are still in our sins, no forgiveness or redemption has occurred.  Jesus has to conquer death and sin to redeem us. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.”  If Christ did not conquer the grave, we are to be pitied and we are lost!  Paul makes his conclusion in verse 20a, “20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.”   Praise God!  Death could not hold him and Jesus rose victorious over death, leaving our sins behind and rising to new life.  We too can hold that hope as Christ has won the victory for all who believe!

easterHave a blessed Resurrection Sunday!   As the early Christians would greet one another to show they believed saying,  “He has Risen.”  With the response being, “He has risen indeed!”

Linda

6th Sunday of Lent, Resplendent with Palms!

IMG_0501Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem the week before Passover and His death on the cross is a wild an joyous event.  I have walked the Palm Sunday Road and it is a very steep hill leading down from the Mt. of Olives that leads to the eastern gate. As I walked that road, I could see this scene in my mind that is included in all four gospels.

Matthew 21:1-11    Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

IMG_0505The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Blessings today as we usher in the final week of Jesus’ life on earth with Palms, Shouts of Hosanna and Praises to Messiah, the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.

Linda

IMG_0513
Jesus entered into the city through the eastern gate that is now closed.  In later times the gate was blocked to keep Messiah from entering,  not realizing that Jesus had already come that Palm Sunday so long ago.

Suggestion:  As you praise God today in worship, choose an attribute of God that you are most thankful for and let God know what it means to you.  Consider- Savior, His Grace and Mercy, Sovereignty, Faithfulness, His Hope, His Assurance of Salvation in Jesus, His granting Freedom from Sin or His Provision for you.  Praise His Holy Name!

Property of Jesus, that’s me!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been bought with a price and belong to God.  The concept that we belong to God gives me hope, assurance and confidence for living.  Someone, the greatest someone in the Universe, God, cares about me and loves me.  He loved me enough to sacrifice greatly on my behalf, by sending Jesus to redeem me.  1 Corinthians 6:19,20 ” Or do you not know that your JesusPropertybody is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”   When we accept Jesus as our Savior, His Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us.  Jesus died so that this transformation within us would be possible through faith in Him.  Paul is saying we owe a debt of gratitude for the amazing grace God bestowed upon us.  We need to treat our bodies- mind, soul and spirit with the upmost care as that saved body and spirit came at a high price.  What makes this so amazing is that Jesus did it freely with no obligation on our part.  We cannot earn it nor did we deserve it!  Humility and obedience are the way to honor God with our bodies in return for His grace to us.  He has a purpose and a plan for us that will bring peace, joy and hope to us and honor to Him.

Linda

Suggestion:  take time today to focus on a way to honor God in your mind (in prayer or holding thoughts captive to Christ), in your speech (words you say to others) and in action (with your body as you look to helping others).   Seek to glorify Him today!