A Call to PRAY this 5th Sunday of Lent 2020 in a virus filled world

Sovereign-LordHere are some verses to uplift, encourage and challenge you this 5th Sunday of Lent as our world struggles with the pandemic of Covid-19:

God is Sovereign: Psalm 103:19 “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,   and his kingdom rules over all.”   2 Chronicles 20:6 ““O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.”    John 10:29 “ My Father, who has given (my sheep- believers) to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”  Acts 17:26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”    Each of these verses shows God’s Sovereign power.  He is Creator God and there is none greater.  Once we belong to Him, nothing and no one can take us away from Him.  God is the determiner of mankind and those things He allows to come into our lives.   Like the plagues of the Old Testament, pray, pray, pray for God’s mercy in these days of Covid-19.  Humble yourselves and turn back to Him and seek Him and His forgivenessWe are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:22-23   God promises sovereignrestoration and forgiveness if:    if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”   2 Chronicles 7:14 

Please pray.

Here are the truths we found in God’s Word from Ephesians 4:17-5:20 this last week.  They are rich and bring joy and challenge to the believer as we endeavor to walk with Him each day.  Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead:

I can be a new creation in Jesus!  Ephesians 4:17-24

We are made for righteous actions and thoughts towards ourselves and others which bring joy to God.   Ephesians 4:25-32

We can be imitators of Jesus and have lives filled with love.  Ephesians 5:1-2

I can choose light and life with HimEphesians 5:3-8

His light can be seen in me.  Ephesians 5:9-14

How I live my life for Him matters.  Ephesians 5:15-20

May you have a Sunday filled with His love and be able to spend time praying and mediating on His Sovereignty and His wonderful truths from Ephesians.

Linda

Back to the light, shine for Jesus

Do you ever wake up some days and feel like you missed a day?  Somehow I wrote on Ephesians 5:15-20 before writing on Ephesians 5:9-14.   So today I’m going back to our discussion of light and dark and Paul’s admonition to us to be ‘Children of the Light’.     In verses 9-14 Paul gives us more information about what living in the Light of Christ means and what we can expect in our lives because of the light He gives us.

For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    rise up from the dead,
    and Christ will give you light.”

ephesians 5 14Paul instructs us that right living pleases God and that we should expose,  avoid  and to try not to take part in anything ungodly.  The light of truth in Christ will expose the things of darkness and make everything visible.  He concludes with a common hymn of the day to illustrate his point.  The Ephesians (us too) were dead without Christ but coming to faith in Jesus brought them (us) into His light.  Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, His light can be seen in me.

Strive to do what is good, right and true in the name of Jesus knowing that those behaviors, deeds and actions are pleasing to God and will shine His light into the world around you.  Be that light today!

Linda

It is your Choice, light or dark?

Paul gives us a list of what characterizes a non-believer in contrast to true believers.  The Ephesians were new converts, still learning and growing in faith.  They had recently come out of idolatry and had many old habits to rid themselves of as they endeavored to grow more and more like their Savior, Jesus.  Paul was very forthright with them letting them know what behaviors were OUT and would not be tolerated or found in God’s Kingdom.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 

ephesians 5 8For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!

In the midst of this list of things to avoid you find verse 4b let there be thankfulness and 8 be people of the light!    Paul wants them, and us, to know that belonging to Christ, being a believer involves a life filled with thankfulness and light!  Praise God!  God does not want us to cling to old sinful behaviors and attitudes but to shed them and walk in His light.  Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  He is the light that dispels all darkness and evil.  I love 1 John 1:5 and 7 “This is the message we have heard from him and 1 john 1 5proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”   There is hope, forgiveness and life in the light of Jesus.  Choose to walk in it and be ready to be clean, whole and made right with God.

Paul wanted them and us to see the contrast between their former lives and their new life in Jesus.  Light and dark, hope and despair, freedom and condemnation, forgiveness and being held by sin, Christ makes all the difference in the focus and direction of our lives.  Listed side by side light overwhelms darkness.  Light is open, pure, holy and welcoming and the darkness of sin brings shame, hiding and imprisonment.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead I can choose light and life with Him.   Choose the light of  Jesus today.

Linda

Tender Mercy-what is it, who has it?

Like Mary, Zachariah had a long song of praise to God after his speech was restored.  Luke 1:76-79  “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
luke 1 7878 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us  from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The first part of Zachariah’s song, Luke 1:68-75,  praised God for sending Messiah, as promised.  He speaks of the holiness and righteousness of this Savior to come.   In today’s scripture, Luke 1:76-79, Zachariah is praising merciful God for his own son, John, who will have a part in preparing the way for Messiah. John would be a prophet, prepare the world for the arrival of Messiah and give the people knowledge of coming forgiveness and salvation. Zachariah extols God for being merciful and sending  a Savior to give light in a dark world, provide guidance and would show us the way of peace. Just as Mary praised God for His mercy to her people Israel, so Zachariah praises God for His tender mercy to all mankind for sending John to lead the way and providing a guiding light towards forgiveness and salvation in Jesus.  Here Zachariah calls it the tender mercies of God.  Mercy is not giving us what we do deserve which is death for our sins and total separation from Holy God.  Tender mercy is mercy filled with love for us.   The Message reads, “Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us.”   Love, sincere love from the heart, motivated God to send Jesus to save us.  John 3:16 says it best,  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  God loved us so much He sent Jesus to make a way for us to be made right with Him.  That is mercy- we did not deserve.  Romans 5:8 tells us, “ but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  What a merciful God we have.  He loved us and sent Jesus even knowing of our sinfulness and the great cost to His Son to redeem us.  That is tender mercy from a loving God!

love and mercyMay your day be filled with His mercy and love towards you.  Then give it out like God did by sending Jesus.  You will be blessed.

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 light of the world

Jesus made this claim and it is recorded twice in John.  Once when challenged by the Pharisees in John 8:12 and again in John 9:5 when questioned about the sin of  man that was born blind.

In John 8:12-15 the Pharisees were seeking to discredit Jesus’ claims saying He could not be His own witness to who He really was.  Jesus’ answers are straight forward and He John_8-12_2_turns the statements back to them so that they will examine themselves. 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.”   Jesus’ statement is bold and shows purpose and direction.  He knew where He was going, what He was doing and why.  He assures us that if we follow His light, His truth, and His ways we will not walk in the darkness of sin but have a life filled with His light and truth!   What a wonderful assurance.  

In John 9 Jesus encountered a man born blind and His disciples asked, who sinned and made this man blind- his parents or him?  Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”   Jesus assured them that the blindness did not come from sin but was to be an opportunity to show the works and power of God.  Jesus performed many miracles of this kind during His ministry.  Giving sight was a living example of what Jesus can do for us as He can give us sight.  His light brings salvation, hope, understanding of God’s Word, a pathway to stronger character based on Him, guidance and direction.  He shows us the way to God.  John calls Jesus the Word in John 1:1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, john 1 4and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”   Jesus is the fulfillment of Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet  and a light to my path.”   Jesus is God’s Word brought into our lives to bring us to Him and to be the light by which we can come to God.  Praise God for His mercy and grace towards us by sending Jesus to be our light in this dark world.

Ask yourself,  Am I walking fully in God’s light, letting Him guide and direct my way?  Or am I walking part in light and part in darkness trying to live in the world, keeping worldly thoughts and actions a part of my life?   How can I walk more in God’s light and less in the shadow of the world’s darkness each day?  David gave us a glimpse of an answer in Psalm 119:9-11:                                                                                                          How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.               Stay in the Word (Jesus)
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!          Follow the Word (Jesus)
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.                     Keep the Word in your heart. (Jesus)

psalm 119 11Does this describe how your heart looks?

Have a blessed day walking in the LIGHT of Jesus.

Linda