The Cross = oneness and giftedness in Christ!

Ephesians 4:4-7 is a beautiful passage to be cherished by believers.  We are all called to be a part of God’s family and share in what we have in Christ,  and yet God sees us as epheisans 4 4-7individuals with different needs.

“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.   There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all,   who is over all, in all, and living through all.  However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.”

God,  the creator,  who is Sovereign, Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient  is our Heavenly Father.   He is in everything we do, everywhere we go and in every action we take.  We are to be in His presence daily, walking with Him and letting His Holy Spirit guide and direct us.  I love the fact that we are individuals before God.  He gave us special gifts through Christ when we became believers.  Each one of us is seen as useful and productive for the kingdom and are given gifts so we can successfully work and live for Him.

Do you feel isolated or a part of the body of Christ?   Are you connected in meaningful ways to other believers?  What about your gifts?  Are you using your God given talents to accomplish work for the Lord?  Lent is a time of reflection.  Ponder what your gifts may be, read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 to seek clarity about gifts, think about the things you do for others in Jesus’ name- what brings you the most joy and peace?   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead,  we are one in Christ, specially gifted through His grace.

ephesians 4 7May you be lifted up as you pray and meditate on the power of God’s family in your life and your gifts.  Be encouraged as God has special gifts for each of us though the grace of Christ!

Linda

Seeing the Savior is life changing, just ask the shepherds

shepherd mangerLuke 2:15-20  “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The shepherds had a glorious encounter with angels that prompted them to go and seek the child born in Bethlehem.  Their second encounter that day was seeing their Lord and Savior in the flesh, the one that had come to earth to save mankind.  Luke 2:11 was the glorious message they had received, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  People were amazed when they heard their message and Mary treasured what they said and stored it away in her heart.   They all had personally encountered the Savior, Jesus.

jesus saviorGod showed the world their Savior and proclaimed his work on earth even at this humble beginning.  God reached down and rescued sinners from the penalty of death and hell that our sin deserves.  We cannot save ourselves from sin because we are dead in our sin.  God had a plan from eternity past to save His children fully from sin- from the penalty, power and presence of sin.  He sent His Son to live the perfect life we cannot live and die in our place for our sin.  Savior Jesus took all the punishment for our sin and saves us completely.  Romans 5:8 reminds us of God’s motivation for sending His Son and our true condition, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  I love the explanation of why and how God did what He did in Titus 3:4-7 “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Through faith we reap the benefits of His love, eternal life, His righteousness in our lives, the indwelling Holy Spirit, His grace, mercy, hope and become heirs with Christ.   We know and serve an amazing Savior.  Thank you Jesus.

What do you do with the message of Jesus the Messiah, Savior who is the Christ? Are you excited, awed and motivated to tell everyone of your Savior?  As you go through your day, think about the message the shepherds received.  Ask yourself, what am I jesus reason for the seasondoing about the Savior who is Christ the Lord?  Am I telling others of His wonderful love, salvation, hope and eternal life?  If not, why not?  Christ is the reason for this season as His is the message of Hope for all mankind.  Spread the word!

Linda

Enduring praise, is that what is on your lips today?

Being a primary teacher for years, I love choral response readings.  All the kids are chiming in together, listening to one another and speaking as one voice.  Psalm 136 was used as a liturgy of praise.  Let’s look at the first 3 verses.

psalm 136 1Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

I love this repetition of reason for our complete trust in God, His steadfast love endures forever.  What else in all creation endures forever?  God alone is eternal.  Therefore, we need to thank Him for His goodness and love, and that He is the Almighty God, above all other gods.  He alone is to be our LORD.

I would encourage you today to repeat these lines with a sincere, prayer-filled heart and mind and see if it doesn’t bring His love right into your life.  You can depend upon His steadfast love, no matter what.  His enduring steadfast love is worthy of our thanks and praise.

Have a blessed day,

Linda

I AM ….the LORD

YHWHMultiple times in scripture God refers to himself as LORD.  When the name Lord is written all in capital letters, it refers to the name ‘Yahweh’,  YHWH which was so revered that it did not even say it aloud or write it completely as they left out the vowels.  Another translation of this is Jehovah.  In Exodus 3:14-15, Moses is called by God to return to Egypt, confront Pharaoh and lead the people.  Moses voices several concerns to God and asks, What do I say when the people ask who sent me? God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”  God refers to himself as I AM and also The LORD.   God repeated His name in Exodus 6:2-3 “God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.”    The people did not have the full revelation of God yet and did not fully know Him.  The full revelation of God came with Jesus Christ.

David often refers to God as LORD in the Psalms.  Psalm 91 has several verses that point out the complete trustworthiness of the LORD and how He loves and cares for those who love Him.  Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.                               
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”                                                  God is my refuge.

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;                         God is my protector.
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,                          God’s presence dispels fear.
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you        God cares for me.
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;      God desires our love.
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;              God is omnipresent.
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”                       God has salvation plans for me.


psalm 91Today meditate on the completeness of your LORD and how HE reaches down and touches you.

Linda

 

The Amazing Creator

creator godGod refers to himself as Creator in Isaiah 43:15 “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.”   In Isaiah 40:28 Isaiah speaks of the hope that this Creator brings to us, Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.”    This Creator of heaven and earth, the one who made us and everything in the universe wants to be our King.   Isaiah’s passage tell us this creator is eternal, has unlimited energy and power, is not subject to human weaknesses like being tired, weary or falling away and His knowledge is beyond end.  

Have you ever spent time gazing at God’s creation?  Those things that we make reflect on our abilities, ingenuity, creativity, dexterity, resources and perseverance.  How much more so with God and His creation of the universe.  It speaks of His majesty, unlimited knowledge, sense of humor and creativity, grandeur and power.  Psalm 19:1-2 puts it so psalm 19 1-2eloquently, The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above  proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.”

I hope you have had some time this summer to go out and about in God’s grand creation.  Did you reflect on the Creator as you gazed at His marvelous creation all around you?  As summer wanes and we head into the busy fall season with school and multiple activities, I pray you will take some time to think about how awesome our God is and all He has created for you to enjoy.  All creation, including you, is made to bring glory and honor to God, the Creator.  Let us strive today to bring glory to Him in what we say and do.

Linda

It was given in a word, her name.

One of the most touching post-resurrection appearances of Jesus was when He appeared to Mary in the garden.  It is recounted in John 20:14-18.  She was at the tomb, had seen the angels and heard them say that Jesus was not there but risen.  However, she was so overcome with grief it had yet to truly register with her brain.    They (the angels) said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to john-20-16be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 

This scene touches me as it only took Jesus saying her name for her to recognize Him.  In John 10:27 Jesus told the disciples that the ones who know Him will recognize His voice and follow Him  ” My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”   Mary knew immediately that it was her Lord saying her name.  She was instantly comforted and wanted to touch Him.  He cautioned her not to touch him, but to go and tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord!  Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to john 20 18my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Mary needed to have the Savior’s touch.  He touched her with His voice and He gave her the reassurance that all would be well.  He confirmed he was risen, was the Messiah and that  He was alive.  He showed her that there was eternal Hope in Him!  She got all of that from Jesus saying her name.  What do you need Jesus to say to you today?  Do you need Him to call you by name, give you a word of encouragement, a word of guidance, or simply a word of Hope?  He can say and do it all- if you just ask Him.   Seek Him and He will be found, today!    

  Linda 

IMG_0465
Today the garden tomb is a very peaceful spot in Jerusalem.