What’s in a Word?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May you have a blessed year filled with His Words!

Linda

The 4th Sunday of Advent-worship and be blessed!

Psalm 2 is highlighted in the Messiah as it pointed to Jesus.  It foretells how the nations would conspire against Jesus to condemn Him, but even their plotting and actions were used by God for our good and the redemption of all mankind.                                                       Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed,

job42-2All the raging of nations, the shouting of atheists and the persecution of believers are all vain threats against the Lord and His plans.  Job spoke with confidence in Job 42:2 ““I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Isaiah 8:10 reveals God’s plans against the warring Assyrians.  Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand,  for God is with us.   

Do you have the confidence Job and Isaiah showed about who God is and what power He possesses?  Think about Christmas and the miracle of Jesus’ birth, the sovereignty of God shown in all the prophecies being exactly fulfilled at the exact right time in history.  In the spirit of God’s sovereignty, claim Jeremiah 29:11 for your own life knowing and trusting God and His will.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare  and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” 

psalm 2 11I love the way Psalm 2 ends with verses 11-12.                 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Serve, fear-revere, rejoice, kiss Jesus (adore Him) then be ready to receive His blessings as you cling to Him.  Have a blessed Sunday worshiping the Lord!

Linda

Assurance of Eternal Joy in Jesus

Handel used this next portion in Psalms 16 to remind us that our long awaited Savior would conquer death.   David penned the words of this psalm as a prayerful plea to God for His protection, guidance and victory over death in the many battles and struggles he faced.  How much more these words applied to our Savior during His life!  Both Peter and Paul quote these verses in speaking of Jesus as he faced death and died, but that the grave could not keep Him and He rose from the dead.

Psalm 16 8Psalm 16:9-11  Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

God did not abandon Jesus after death as He rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.  Peter preached these words about Christ in Acts 2:26-33 as he spoke to the crowds at Pentecost.  Paul  preached with these words in Acts 13:35-37  at the synagogue in Antioch.  These words exude confidence that Jesus would not see decay bring us hope.  He would not rot in the grave and return to dust but conquer death through the power of God.  Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the Romans 8 11dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of  his Spirit who lives in you.”  Praise God we have that spirit living within us!  Belief in Jesus brings freedom from the curse of death.  2 Corinthians 4:14 “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.”   Do you have that hope?   Praise Him if you do and seek Him if you do not.

The psalmist also wrote that this risen one would then be seated in heaven at God’s right hand.   Ephesians 1:19b-21 tells us of Jesus’ place in heavenThat power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,21 far above all rule and authority, power and ephesians 1 20dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”   Colossians 3:1 also gives this truth “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

The Psalmist’s words foretelling Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and placement in heaven are confirmed throughout the New Testament. What joy and hope they should bring to us!  Through the power of God, believers do not see death, eternal punishment and separation from God, but rise to live with Him in eternity.  We will see Him seated on His heavenly throne at God’s right hand.   What a glorious day that will be!

Praise God today for coming and making all this possible through our faith in Him.  Thank you Jesus.  You came to seek and to save those who are lost.  We can be assured today you will find us and save us for all eternity.

Linda

Joy of the Redeemed

The words of the Messiah now begin to focus on Jesus’ time here on earth and what he accomplished.   Isaiah 35:5-6a gives us a glimpse of the future of the babe that came that Christmas night.

joy of the redeemed“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.”

This prophecy appears in a chapter subtitled Joy of the Redeemed.  These actions prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth speak of the people who encountered Jesus.  They would see, hear, jump and shout for joy after their meeting with Jesus.  This was fulfilled and recorded in the gospels.  Matthew 15:31 “The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.”   The direct fulfillment was in Matthew 12:22 “Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.”

This prophecy of visible change either mentally or physically or both can also apply to us.  When we have an encounter with Jesus our eyes are opened to His truth and we can hear and believe the gospel message.  Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”  When we hear and believe, we are transformed and our reaction is like those who saw Jesus.  We shout His praises, leap for joy and see the reality of His truth.  Ephesians 1:13-14 describes our transformation.  And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”   His indwelling Holy Spirit brings joy, peace, knowledge, wisdom, hope, and so much more into our lives when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  I have a needle point on my wall psalm-107-2-verse-28reminding me of the truth of what I have in Christ.   Psalm 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 sowhom he has redeemed from trouble.”

blessed by GodMay your day reflect His joy and may you shout out His praises.  Let others know of your joy in the Savior that redeemed you.

Linda

 

Sorry no audio of these verses in the Messiah  was available on the Internet.

A Transformed Heart is filled with….joy and peace!

So far in this study of ‘heart’ passages, we’ve looked at the Lord’s work and the true nature of our hearts.  Today I want to begin examining passages that speak of a transformed heart.  What makes a heart committed to Jesus different from one that is not?  

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul speaks of what a transformed life would look like.  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”    Paul describes the believer as one who is sold out for God, desiring to please Him,  being transformed by God and not brought down and conformed to this world.  One that is transformed would have a changed heart.  That heart change is what we will be looking at in the next few blogs.

glad and sincereThe New Testament believers lived together supporting one another in their new faith.  Acts 2:46 describes them.  “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,”   Their encounter with Jesus reflected on their day to day life and gave them glad and generous hearts to view their world.  Does your faith create in you a sense of thankfulness?  Are you filled with Joy simply john 14 27because you know Jesus?

In John 14:27 Jesus was speaking to his disciples shortly before facing the cross.  He described the kind of heart the He would give to them in faith. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”    A heart that loves and follows Jesus has no reason for fear or anxiety.  1 John 4:4 reminds us, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  The heart Jesus gives us is made for peace, loves peace and seeks peace.   Do you have the peace that Jesus promised today?  Look to Him, release all your worries and fears into His hands.  He will give you His peace.

Take a few moments to think about your heart today.  Do you feel generous and glad  in heart because of Jesus?  Do you have His peace in your heart?  Be assured He intends for you to have a heart that is overflowing in all areas.  I love  the assurance of Hebrews Peace-In-Your-Heart10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”  Jesus keeps His promises.  Trust Him to give you generosity, joy and peace today.

My heart is new in Jesus each day,

Linda

Integrity- is it attainable?

 

Psalm 119        Beth

psalm 119 11How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
10 I have tried hard to find you—
    don’t let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.

The Psalmist begins part 2 of Psalm 119 by questioning how can you keep yourself pure or living uprightly with integrity?  This is a question that both young and old ask themselves daily.  The psalmist confesses he is seeking God and asks God’s help in staying true or close to God’s ways.  He wants to be obedient and walk with God.  He then gives the action he has taken to stay true to God.  He has hidden God’s Word in His heart to protect himself from temptation and sinning.   God’s solution for keeping us close to Him and keeping us away from sinful actions is to have us immerse ourselves in His Word and commit it to memory.  Why is this an answer?  God in His wisdom knows that we need to imprint His Word and His ways upon our hearts.  Memorizing or internalizing the Word of God does that for our heart, mind and soul.  How long has it been since you memorized a piece of scripture?  It is easy to get started.  Choose a favorite verse, write it on a card or use the App Scripture Typer on your phone and review it daily.  Before you know it you will have it memorized and ready for recall when you need it most.  Recalling Scripture gives you strength and power to walk with integrity, just as Jesus would have you do.

The Jews had a portion of scripture in the Old Testament that they recited twice a day.  The Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, was their confession of faith.  God is wise and wants us to know His word and have it in our hearts and on our lips. He knew that having these words on their lips repeatedly would help to keep them focused and walking with Him.  “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

shemaMay you delight in God’s Word today!

Linda

 

Biblical A,B,C’s- let’s take a look!

As I have been praying about writing after the Lenten season, the Lord has renewed my conviction that His Word is essential to our Christian walk and good spiritual health.  I am going to walk through Psalm 119 in successive weeks stopping to blog and meditate on selected verses.  I pray you will be blessed as we journey through this magnificent Psalm together.

Pslam 119:1-2

psalm 119 1-2Aleph

Joyful are people of integrity,
    who follow the instructions of the Lord.
Joyful are those who obey his laws
    and search for him with all their hearts. (NLT)

This psalm is known as an acrostic as it goes through the Hebrew alphabet, aleph to taw.  Each section has 8 verses and are all about God’s Word.  In these opening verses the Psalmist tells us that joy is to be had in following God’s Word, walking in obedience and seeking after God.  Can you agree with the psalmist?  Do you find joy in reading and knowing God’s Word?   Does walking in obedience make your life more joyful and keep you in touch with God?  Do you hunger for a deep meaningful relationship with God and seek Him out each day?

Nehemiah 8:9-10 tells what happened when the people of God heard the word read to them.  Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were interpreting for the people said to them, “Don’t mourn or weep on such a day as this! For today is a sacred day before the Lord your God.” For the people had all been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.     And Nehemiah  continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”   How does the Word of God affect you?  The Israelites were sad and grieved over their sins as God’s Word revealed to them how they were sinning and not walking with Him.  Then Nehemiah reminded them that a right relationship with God brings joy and strength from the Lord!  Their repentance brought them into a place of joy in the Lord.  Offer up a prayer with a repentant heart right now, then claim His joy and strength in your day.

Jeremiah 29 13As we journey through this psalm, claim the joy that God has for you as you seek him with a humble and repentant heart.  Remember, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

Seeking God and a right attitude,

Linda