Come to Breakfast, Jesus is here!

Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee

One of my favorite post-resurrection appearances is in John 21.  This passage will bring a smile to your face and assurance of the Savior’s love,  as you picture the scene beside the Sea of Galilee. Several of the disciples had gathered at the Sea of Galilee and decided to go fishing. Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James and John and 2 other disciples were there according to John 21:1-2. As they approached the shore, Jesus called out to them.

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with. you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.  He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”  “No,” they answered.  He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”  When they did they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.  Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”  As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for the had taken it off) and jumped into the water.  The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about 100 yards.  When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.  Jesus said to “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.  John 21:3-14

I love this tender story of Jesus’ compassion for the tired discouraged fishermen who were his friends.  Here are a few Lessons and Truths we can glean from this passage.  What Jesus did for them that morning, He can do for us too:   1.  Jesus knows how things are going in my life, my disappointments and my joys.   2.  As believer,  Jesus considers me His friend.   3.  Jesus can guide and provide for my needs.  He can show me to where to cast my net.  4.  If I look,  Jesus will reveal himself to me;  He is always near.     5.  Jesus can and does make himself known to me.   I need to be aware and watchful.   6.  Jesus desires to fellowship with me.

John 20 10

Which of these lessons and truths speak to you today?   James 4:8 tell us,  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”   Meet Him today wherever you are, He will be there waiting for you just like He was for the disciples that morning by the sea.

Linda

God is Impartial, A Message for All!

Paul concludes his argument about putting on the new life in Christ in Colossians 3:9-11. His powerful words are as freeing to us today as they were to the first century Christians in Colossae. “Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” These people lived in a society where people were separated race, religion, gender and social status. They were used to being put down, overlooked, cast out and neglected. Paul’s message was one of acceptance for all as those things do not matter or count in God’s kingdom. Jesus died for all!

Believers in Jesus could find freedom in God’s kingdom that was eternal and it promised equality for all. God is impartial. He sees no race, color, gender or status. God is only separated from us by our sin which knows no color or creed. All are called His children who believe in Jesus the Son. Romans 8:16-17 “For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” He even names all Gentiles in Ephesians 3:6 “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.

Additionally, Jesus called us His friends. John15:13-15 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” We are precious to Jesus and God the Father. We are called friend, sons, and heirs. We have an inheritance through faith in Jesus.

Paul’s last line in verse 11 is “Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” Jesus is all that matters. Faith in Him is the only way to a relationship with God as He imputes His righteousness to us and makes us clean before Almighty God. I love the fact that God is impartial and loves and accepts all of us. We are all sinners redeemed by the Son for a relationship with Him. Here are a few verses to meditate upon about the Impartiality of God. He is impartial and desires that we be and act with impartiality, too. He desires for us to love all people as Jesus did.

Deuteronomy 10:17 “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.”

Acts 10:34-35 “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. 35 In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.”

Romans 2:11 “For God shows no partiality.”

1 Peter 1:17 “And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”

As you meditate on the sufficiency of Christ and the impartiality of God, let these verses resonate within you and cause you to seek to live with a loving and impartial attitude towards all men. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can seek to love others wholeheartedly and impartially.

Linda

Pleasing God, A Choice with Power

Paul began this chapter in Colossians talking about the new life, new heart and new nature we have in Christ. All of this is protected by Christ for us. Now Paul speaks of the things we used to do that definitely need to be put aside or better left behind us. Colossians 3:5-8 “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. He reminds them that that was the way they used to live but are not to live any more. Obedience to Christ and His ways move us to act in a way that will be pleasing to God.

How do we know what pleases God or what God requires? Scripture gives us some wonderful passages that are very specific about what God desires of us. Deuteronomy 10:12-13 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? ” Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,  and to walk humbly with your God? Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was in Matthew 22:37-39 ““You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Many times Jesus spoke about obedience, loving God, abiding in Him, seeking to be holy as He is holy and loving others. In John 13:34-35 Jesus told his disciples that the world will know us by our love. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” As we walk with God, He transforms us more and more into the image of His Son. This ‘sanctification’ process is a life long journey to be more and more like Jesus.

Since we know what God desires of us, why don’t we just do it? I agree with Paul when he wrote in Romans 7:15-16 “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.” Like Paul, I desire to please God but my old nature gets in the way. What to do? Pray, repent, look into His Word, seek His guidance and His will for our lives. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the power of Christ within guiding me to act in a manner that is pleasing to God for my good and His glory! Praise God for His indwelling power through the Holy Spirit.

Linda

But God…Always has the Best Plan!

This next portion of Colossians 1:24-27 was a bit puzzling as I read it and reread it. So I looked it up in the New Living and found it much more understandable. I hope it helps you to see the truths Paul is trying to convey to us. “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” Paul is rejoicing over his own suffering as he feels it connects and draws him closer to Jesus because he realizes that suffering both by him and his Savior was for the benefit and growth of the church. Christ desired the church to grow winning both Jews and Gentiles into the kingdom. This revelation that the kingdom of God is for all who believe in Jesus was a deep mystery. The fact that redemption was possible and available was also a mystery only God could have provided. The realization that God wanted all believers to share in His glory and to have Christ’s indwelling Holy Spirit was a new revelation to all mankind. All of these mysteries- indwelling of the Holy Spirit, redemption for all and an open kingdom for every believer in Jesus the Son and His work on the cross were amazing and hard for these new believers to grasp. (Truthfully, it is hard for us today to believe and grab hold of these mysteries revealed by our loving and merciful God.)

The whole of scripture speaks of these mysteries made available by God for the reconciliation of man. When you think about it logically with realism it seems impossible. But God,…. He intended us to be His and have His Spirit within us to mark us as belonging to Him. Romans 8:9 “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” But God, … redeemed us through Jesus the Son. Romans 3:24 “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” But God,…wanted us in His kingdom by the work of Jesus on the cross. Colossians 1:13-14 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

May you marvel at the mysteries revealed through the Son and praise God Almighty for His wonderful plan for you and me. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit, redeemed by His blood and a citizen of His heavenly kingdom through faith in Jesus . Thank you precious Savior for your sacrificial love and the revelation of these deep mysteries provided for me.

Linda

You and Christ- is it spreading outward?

Colossian 1:6b tells us what the Colossian Christians did with the hope they received from Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. “Indeed, just as in the whole world the gospel is constantly bearing fruit and spreading [by God’s power], just as it has been doing among you ever since the day you first heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth [becoming thoroughly and deeply acquainted with it].” Amplified Bible

This verse shows the power of God to transform a world with the good news of Jesus. His death and resurrection turned the world upside down. The fruit he speaks of is the transformed lives of those followers that want to grow more and more like Jesus. They want to show His love to the world. John 13:34-45 tells us what happens when one embraces the Spirit of God “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.” Love as the world had never known began to spread throughout the world. Just think, Jesus started with 12 disciples and then the news of the redemption, love, forgiveness and atonement of Jesus for the world began to spread. Amazing in a day with no internet, no phones or modern transportation, and yet God provided a way for the word of His Son to spread.

Who have you told lately about Jesus? Do you salt your conversations with words telling others of how God has blessed or guided you? How will someone know unless you tell or show them of God’s love? Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a living and vibrant grace-filled faith to share with the world.

Linda

Hope-safe and secure, Share it now!

Today’s verse from Colossians is very empowering and brings great assurances for our faith. Colossians 1:5-6a “the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.” Paul was praying and praising God for the Colossian believers and said that their hope, that they so readily shared with everyone around them, is rooted in Christ. Their hope is stored up, saved for eternity, preserved, untouchable by sin and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.

This is a truth that we can claim in our lives too. The faith we have in Christ and the love He has for us and us for Him gives us eternal hope! It is a hope that can never be taken away! What a wonderful blessing we have from Him! Thank you Jesus. This truth is also found in Titus 1:2 “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began“. This hope of faith is eternal in nature and comes from a God who does not change or lie. Romans 5:2-5 “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. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. This hope is eternal and God uses it to bring about change in our character for our good and His glory!

As you ponder your faith in Christ and God’s immense love for you, think about 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” You have the hope within you—- be prepared to share it with gentleness to a hurting world.

Linda

What Heart Attitudes does God desire?

As we look towards Lent beginning in a few days, I need to ask myself what does God desire of my heart? In my heart search in Psalms I found new facets and attitudes of our hearts showing what God desires.  He desires that we have a bold, teachable, repentant and seeking heart in our interactions and responses towards Him.

God desires that we take a ‘No Fear’ stance in life that depends upon God and not ourselvesPsalm 112:7 “They will have no fear of bad news;  their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Be bold for Him.

God desires that we are open to teaching and examination of our motives.  Psalm 26:2 “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;”  Psalm 139:23 “Search me, God, and know my heart;  test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Be teachable by Him.

God desires a repentant heart, one that is sorrowing over sin, the Bible also describes this as a contrite heart.  Psalm 51:17  “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”   Isaiah also speaks of our need to have a contrite heart in Isaiah 57:15 ”  The high and lofty one who lives in eternity,  the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble  and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”       God desires us to be repentant so He can restore and dwell with us.  We have to come humbly before Him.   Since living with Him is not just when we die, we need to deal with the sin in our lives.  God living with us is being indwelt by His Holy Spirit begins when Jesus enters our hearts and lives.  Jesus gives cleansing from sin when we come before Him with a contrite heart and ask for forgiveness and restoration. Be repentant or contrite towards our sin.

God desires that I have a seeking heart towards HimPsalm 119:10 “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.”  Psalm 22:26 “The afflicted (meek) shall eat and be satisfied;  those who seek him shall praise the Lord!   May your hearts live forever!”  Be a seeker of Him.

What is the temperament of your heart today?  Are you trusting, open to teaching, repentant and seeking restoration?  Would God describe your heart as contrite?  Do you sorrow over your sins and desire to walk with Jesus each day?   The opposite of each of the above would be one who is fearful, close-minded, rejecting, proud and arrogant over their sins.  I pray that none of those describe your heart and that you seek to please God.  Micah describes it this way:  “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.   And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy    and to walk humbly with your God
.  Micah 6:8

 May this be the attitude of our hearts as we walk with Him today.

Linda

This is V Day, A Big one for all who Love! Happy Valentine’s Day to You!

The cynic might say Valentine’s Day is the day for florists, candy and card makers to earn a great deal of money.  I am always overwhelmed by the amount of flowers, cards and candy that were on display in our local stores.   On the love side, Valentine’s Day is a day when we can express our love for one another freely and not be thought of as sentimental or mushy.  How about God?  How does God express His love for us?   Here is a familiar verse that gets right to the heart of God.

How much more love could God show towards us than sacrificing His only Son on our behalf?  He loved us that much.   He sent Him so that through faith in Jesus we could be saved and not condemned.  Only sinless Jesus could erase our sin and present us whole and perfectly clean before our Holy God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For He did not sent his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:16-17  

When you say ‘thank you’ today for a Valentine gift you receive, a card, note, flowers or someone simply saying ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’, think about thanking God too.  Thank Him for sending Jesus.  Thank Him for making a way for your salvation and eternal life with Him.   That is the best Valentine I can think of that is filled with all of God’s love for now throughout eternity.

Blessings on this Valentine’s Day.

Linda

Little Truths that can Transform Your Heart

Proverbs has a lot to say about the heart.  Sometimes the truth is given directly like in Proverbs 24:1-2  “Be not envious of evil men,  nor desire to be with them,  for their hearts devise violence,  and their lips talk of trouble” and Proverbs 6:14 describes a wicked man’s heart, “with perverted heart devises evil,  continually sowing discord.”  Very often the proverbs are given with a contrast between the good heart and the bad and seeks to teach or instruct us about our hearts.   Proverbs 28:14  “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always,  but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. “  The writer of Proverbs was wise and desired us to know how God views the heart of man and that God would not just be an observer in our lives.  Proverbs 21:2  “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”  Proverbs 17:3 “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”  

Proverbs also teaches how our hearts can and do show our emotions.  Proverbs 15:13-15 speaks of the cheerful, seeking heart and how a sorrow can crush the spirit of our heart.   “A glad heart makes a cheerful face,  but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. 14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.  15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.”   Proverbs 14:30 speaks of the effects of calm and envy on the heart.   “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,   but envy makes the bones rot.” 

In Proverbs 6:16-19 we are given a list of things God hates that really displease Him. “There are six things that the Lord hates,  seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.”

How do these ‘heart’ proverbs speak to you today?  Is your heart cheerful and calm or do you have times when you feel discord, disharmony or evil?  Because of the root of sin in our hearts, we need to continually submit our hearts to the Lord for His continual transformation.   I love Proverbs 22:11 “He who loves purity of heart,  and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.”  I do want King Jesus as my friend so I need to submit to daily cleansing at His feet in prayer.   Won’t you join me today?

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, you know the true nature of my heart.  Root out the evil ways in me and replace them with your love, grace and mercy.  Give me compassion and love for others that comes out of a grateful heart.  Create in me a clean heart that desires to please you.  Amen.

Linda

A Little Heart Check before Lent-join me!

February is a month that retailers, florists and card makers would like us to focus on love. Valentine’s Day is big business. They capitalize on the desire of people to find ways to express their love and friendship towards one another. God desires that we have a right heart before Him and attitudes, feelings and joys of the heart are of importance to Him. Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Our devotion and love for God is to be paramount in our daily walk with Him. As we move towards the Lenten season which begins on Ash Wednesday, the 17 of February this year, I want to spend a few weeks talking about our hearts and seeing that they are realigned to Him before Lent begins. Join me on this brief look at the heart and be sure yours is in line with God and His desires for you.

What is the true nature of the heart?  Scripture teaches the hard truth of what our hearts are like because of sin.  Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick;  who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart  and test the mind,  to give every man according to his ways,  according to the fruit of his deeds.”  God knows the true nature of our hearts and is the only one who can transform a sin sick heart.  He searches our heart, tests our mind and will evaluate us according to our deeds.  This does not mean we have to earn our salvation.  It means there will be a day of accounting where God looks at our actions.  We are clean and purified by the blood of Christ, so He will not be looking at sin, but at our heart for Him.   What causes you to do good or hard things for God?  Is it love, devotion, thankfulness, or zeal for the gospel?  

I totally identify with David’s plea to God in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.”  By nature our hearts are filled with sin but God can create a clean heart within us.  Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can be transformed by faith in Him.  Jesus is our pathway to cleansing, restoration and hope.  Just like David, we have to desire it and ask God for it.  He promises to renew our hearts and make them pure, and committed to Him.

Will you ask Him today to create a clean heart within you?  It will be a new beginning and a step that pleases God, renews and revitalizes life, and brings hope and restoration.  Ask Him today.

Prayer:   Lord Jesus, I believe you have the power to transform my heart and make me clean and pure.  Root out the sin that plagues me and bring me into a vibrant relationship with you.  Create in me a clean heart that will be devoted and steadfast in loving you.  Create in me a new life with new desires and new hopes that are firmly placed in you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Linda