Completeness! Thank you Jesus.

Complete-in-ChristBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been made complete in Christ.   Colossians 2:10 “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”   My understanding of this is that all God’s purposes for our lives are made complete in Christ.  2 Corinthians 1:20 “ For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”  Knowing that we can be who God wants us to be because of Christ’s work on the cross, we can consider ourselves complete in His power.   We have assurances from God’s Word that our completeness in Christ is made possible by His Holy Spirit within us and through the leading of His Spirit we will be made more and more like Jesus.  

Here are some verses to encourage you as you walk with Jesus each day and seek be to complete in Him:   2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”   God’s Word teaches, corrects and trains us so we can do His good works.  Seeking completeness?  Stay in God’s Word so He can equip you!         

James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.   God wants us to face trials with joy as they will hone and perfect our character to be more like Jesus.  Do you feel your character is sagging or you are growing apathetic?  Endeavor to see your trials and tests as opportunities to build your character and allowed by God to grow you up in Christ.       

joy in Christ1 John 1:3-4  “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our  joy may be complete.”   John wanted us, as believers, to rejoice in Christ as fellow-shipping with the Father and Son brings complete joy to us and our fellow believers!  Do you consider yourself a joyful ChristianIf not, seek to know Christ better and fellowship with positive spirit-filled Christians.  Their joy for Christ will be contagious!

Linda

Suggestion:  Choose one of God’s completeness strengtheners from scripture and praise God for the completeness you feel!

  • Choose a portion of God’s Word to read each day this week. (Psalm 31, 37 or 103 are my personal favorites)
  • If you have a particular trial coming up this week, endeavor to count it joy and praise God for the opportunity.
  • Seek out a fellow Christian(s) and praise God together in song or prayer.

Where do you need hope? Jesus has it.

hope as long asBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have hope.  One of the most precious things we possess in Christ is our eternal hope in God and His power to transform and use us to do His work.   Romans 5:1-2 gives us a list of God’s provision that results in hope for us.  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith (declared not guilt of our sins), 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.”  Our hope in Jesus brings us freedom from sin’s guilt and punishment, peace, grace, and joy.  Oh! glorious 1 peter 1 21HOPE!   This same theme is repeated in 1 Peter 1:21 “Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.”   Because of Christ and His work on the cross,  we can know and trust God and our faith in Christ brings Him glory and us HOPE!

Where do you need the HOPE of Christ in your life today?  Are you feeling burdened by sin’s guilt? Give it to Jesus with a repentant heart and He will replace that guilt with hope.  Are you struggling with doubt or difficult circumstances? Give it to Jesus and He will replace it with peace which He gives freely bringing you hope. (John 14:27) Are you struggling as you feel alone or singled out?  Ponder God’s grace, His undeserved favor, and know that He promises His grace is sufficient for all our needs. (2 Corinthians 12:9) His grace will bring you hope.  Are you suffering from lack of joy?  Ask Jesus to restore the joy of your salvation and those thoughts of eternal rest and refuge with Him will bring you joy.     David knew the struggles of life and reminds us in Psalm 43:5              hope_in_god_by_blugi-d90ilc0 “Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
 I will praise him again
   my Savior and my God!

May you Hope abound as you put your trust in God and firmly place your gaze upon Jesus.

Linda

SuggestionPass on the hope of Jesus todayforgive someone you have been holding something against, be a voice of peace, calm or joy to someone, or be gracious to someone today (giving them undeserved favor in your eyes).  The look of hope you see in their eyes will bring joy to you and give God glory.

Dearly Loved, that’s me!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the Father’s love.  Knowing you are loved gives power, affirmation, hope and joy.  Knowing you are love by God the Father fills us with confidence, hope, security, and comfort.  Scripture speaks frequently of God’s love for us.  Jesus was talking to the disciples about God’s love and his imminent return to the Father shortly before His death in  John 16:27-28. “For the Father You-are-dearly-loved-facehimself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. 28 Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.” Jesus said I am dearly loved by God because of my love for Him God loves that I love Jesus! When you think about one of your  loved ones, aren’t there things you really love about them.  Maybe it is the way they smile, maybe that they always hug you so tightly or say loving things to you for no reason except that they love you.  This little portion of scripture gives us a glimpse into God’s character and love.  He loves us dearly- not a little bit of love but a special love that is close to His heart.  The motivation for this dear love is because I love His son.  Isn’t that like a good Father?  As earthly mothers and fathers, we love the kids that love our kids.  We cherish them and want our kids to associate with them.  Being a good Father, God loves and cherishes us with a special love because we love Jesus.   What a privileged and heart warming thought to ponder today!

I love JesusLinda

Suggestion:  Think about your love for Jesus.  How has He brought you to faith, and provided you with hope, joy, security and comfort.  Know that the things you love about Jesus makes God the Father love you even more.

 

Given by Christ, Righteousness. Thank you Jesus.

christ my righteousnessBecause Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have Christ’s righteousness.  Christ was a man while on earth, pure, holy, without sin, filled with integrity, virtuous in behavior, humble and the list could continue.  Most importantly He was sinless and therefore in right standing with God the Father.  God cannot look upon sin so unless we are pure and holy we cannot be in a relationship with Him.  By saying, “I have Christ’s righteousness” I am proclaiming that I am in right standing with God.  I can know and communicate with Holy God.  Romans 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 explain how this happened for us through Christ’s work on the cross. Romans 5:19 “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners (that was Adam), so also through the obedience of the one man (Christ) the many will be made righteous.”  2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Through faith in Christ, I can have His Righteousness and come into a relationship with Almighty God.  Without Christ, we have no way get rid of our sin. We can never do enough good works.  We can never clean ourselves up enough to come before God.  Ephesians 2:8-9 puts it this way,For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  What a precious gift Christ’s righteousness is to me!

How do we process this for Lent?  Recognizing that our position before God is totally dependent upon Jesus and His redeeming work on the cross and resurrection from the dead should give us pause and create in us a sense of gratitude and humility.

Prayer:  Thank you Jesus that through faith in  your work on the cross I am able to come before You in prayer, study Your word with understanding and be indwelt by your Holy Spirit.  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on my behalf.  Amen.

Linda

the-willing-spirit-can-do-good-deeds-by-grace-quote-1Suggestion for today: Pray David’s prayer from Psalm 51: 10,12               Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.                                                   Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Sometime today, instead of taking credit for something good you are doing or did – give the praise to God.  Have a willing spirit that desires to please Him. Acknowledge Him with your thoughts- He knows your heart and spirit.

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