“But What about him?”….

The post-resurrection appearances continue………Peter was distressed that Jesus questioned him 3 times, obviously he forgot he denied Christ 3 times.  Here at the Sea of Galilee Jesus insisted the answer was “Follow me!”

John 21:17-19 “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”   Peter was upset at the Lord’s insistent questioning of his love,  and Jesus replied with a prophecy about Peter’s life and death to come,  and how he would bring glory to God.  What Jesus required of Peter was obedience- ‘follow me’!

Peter then asked about John and received this rebuke from Jesus in verses 21-22. “When Peter saw him (John), he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”   Jesus wanted Peter’s focus to be on Him not on the future and what would happen to others.  As Jesus said, He would take care of John,  but Peter needed to focus on following Him.

John 21 22Let us take encouragement from this scene for today.   Just like Peter, we need to focus our lives on following Jesus, being obedience to His Word and walking with Him daily.  We do not need to ‘worry’ about others or question Jesus about their work and walk.  We have enough to do to keep our own focus on Jesus.   This does not mean we are not concerned about others,  but Peter was just being nosy here and wanted to know what would happen to John in the future- is his life going to be better than mine?  Since the Lord’s answer was always “Follow me”, that is what is crucial in our life too.  Obedience to Jesus is what He desires.  We are to keep our focus on Jesus and not compare our circumstances to others.  Later Peter so beautifully 1 peter 1 22wrote in 1 Peter 1:22-23 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” 

Let us take seriously our walk with Jesus and His command ‘Follow me!” May we let the distractions of the world fall away as we walk forward in obedience with our Savior.

Linda

Final Sunday of Lent 2020, amidst the Palms

Palm Sunday 2020Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, the day of  Jesus’ return to Jerusalem.  His reception was loud and colorful with waving palms, cloaks on the ground, shouting, chanting of praises and Jesus riding on a humble donkey.  It was the conclusion of three years of public ministry that ended in His death on the cross on Friday.  However, all was not lost as He miraculously rose from the dead and appeared on Easter morning just as He said He would.   His ‘life’s ride’ on earth was a wild one filled with compassion, love, obedience and sacrifice for us.   As we enter this Holy Week let us ponder anew how we personally have felt His compassion and love in our lives.  How we have benefited from His obedience to the cross and the sacrifice of His life for ours.   We have much to be thankful for, even in the hardest of times.  Only you can answer today’s sentence,  Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am or can_____________________.

Some time today read one or more of the Palm Sunday Triumphal entry passages:  Matthew 21:1-11,  Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-38, John 12:12-15.

Here is the summary from this weeks passages in Ephesians.  We meditated on Ephesians 5:21-6:14Think about:  **Which truth have you seen in your life this week? **Which is the most meaningful to you in your life right now?

  • we can live lives submitted to one another in love that mirror Christ’s love for us. Ephesians 5:21-33
  • we (both parent and child) are able to submit to one another with love and respect. Ephesians 6:1-4
  • we can show God’s love and care whether we are the employer or employee bringing glory to God and blessings upon ourselves.  Ephesians 6:5-9
  • we are able to battle against unseen forces through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 6:10-12
  • I can be filled with His Holy Spirit and protected by His armor to face the challenges of each day.   Ephesians 6:13
  • I can have godly character that is based on His truth and righteousness.  Ephesians 6:14

Personally, the truth from Ephesians 6:10-11 reminded me of the unseen forces of evil that we face each day.  This truth really resonated with me, especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic.  It is something I never envisioned and pray fervently that God will cause the virus to be contained and that the evil effects would be lessened.  We need to humble ourselves and pray for His mercy.    The most meaningful truth this week that brings me real encouragement is from Ephesians 6:14, that I can have godly character if I am rooted and grounded in the truth of Christ and put on His righteousness.  It is an eternal hope filled with promise.  In Christ, I can be a new creation.

Palm Sunday vectorHave a Blessed Palm Sunday.

Linda

Employer-Employee as seen through the Cross

The overarching verse for this portion came in Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  Paul applied this principle of Christian Living in Christ to marriage, family relationships and now to master and slaves.   We no longer have slaves and masters but the principle holds true for employers and employees.  Read Ephesians 6:5-9 with that in mind.

Those that work for others:  “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. 

Those that employ workers:  9 Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites. 

ephesians 6 5If you look at these relationships and view them through the lens of faith and empowered living in Christ, we see that we are to be loyal, respectful, obedient and filled with integrity in all we do for our employer.  We are to do our jobs as if we are doing them for the Lord seeking His reward for right living and not worrying about praise and accolades from our bosses.   If we are in a situation where we are the employer, we are to care about our workers, treat them with respect, show no favoritism and refrain from threatening or abusing them in any way.  We are to treat them as equals,  as we are all equal before the Father.

Wouldn’t our workplaces be so very different if everyone adhered to these principles of right living?  However, we cannot control the actions of others and make them treat us by these principles but we can treat others as Christ requires with love, respect and integrityWe can control our own actions and strive to show Christ’s love and Ephesians 6 working-for-Godcare for those around usBecause Christ died on the cross and rose form the dead, we can show God’s love and care whether we are the employer or employee bringing glory to God and blessings upon ourselves.

Linda

The Cross = Parent-Child relationships made whole

We are about to enter one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  Ephesians 6 has so much to tell us about Christ and the life He desires that we live in and through His powerful indwelling Holy Spirit.  Remember Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”?   This is the driving verse for the discussion about relationships between a husband and wife and it continues in Ephesians 6 with children and parents, then employee and employer.

eph-6 1Ephesians 6:1-4 deals with parent-child relationships.  “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

The admonition from God to obey and honor our parents was given in the 10 Commandments.  Exodus 20:12 ““Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”   Living a life with peace begins in the home.  Rebellion, strife, anger, harsh words and discord can flourish in children both young and old (meaning even you at your age) if not curbed with honor, respect and love.  We are selfish creatures and as such want our own way.  This command to honor and obey our parents has a promised return- a long and full life in the Lord.  Honor and obedience lead to peace and harmony that will lengthen the quality our lives just as disharmony, eph6-4discord and dissent will shorten it.    Paul does not end with the children but goes on to admonish all parents.  He says we are not to provoke, needle, irritate our children intentionally or be unnecessarily angry with them for anger sake.  We are to practice a parenthood that reflects Christ and remember His submission to the Father on our behalf.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we (both parent and child) are able to submit to one another with love and respect.

eph-6-2These are sobering words that call all of us to think about our parent-child relationships.  Are they honoring in God’s eyes?  In these last days of Lent, spend some time mediating on Paul’s words and seek God’s guidance in your relationships.

Linda 

 

 

Sovereign God, see Him today!

Joseph’s story inspires me in several ways.  He was an ordinary carpenter, a working man, righteous in God’s esteem and used by God to complete His plan for bringing His Son to us. He was completely obedient to God’s directions-he did as the Lord commanded.  He was compassionate as he respected Mary and sought to divorce her quietly not bringing further embarrassment because of her situation.  Here is his back story of how this happened to him, Matthew 1:18-25.

 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

history and sovereingty of GodWhere do we see God in this event?  For sure God’s power and might are displayed in the angel and the dream.  The choosing of the ‘right’ man for the job shows the knowledge of God and the exact timing of the events in the course of time-His sovereignty.

Today as I look at this I am struck by the Sovereignty of GodWhat does God’s sovereignty cover?   God controls all things.  There is nothing outside of God’s wise control, even the exact time and place for each person to live.  No one tells God what to do.  What God plans, happens.  No event, not natural disaster, no person, not even Satan can stop God’s plans.  God planned the time for His Son to come and He will return exactly as God plans in the future.   Do you see sovereignty here?  God chose the exact type of earthy father He desired for His Son-the right mother, the right home and time.  He placed him with a compassionate, righteous father giving Him exactly what Jesus needed to grow in wisdom and truth to accomplish His plan for our redemption.

What about you?  Do you trust wholly in God’s sovereignty?  Do you believe that He has the right place, plans and purpose for your life?  Joseph did not question God as He trusted in His wise judgement, plans and purposes for His life.  He was obedient to God-no doubting of God’s plan or power like we saw in Zachariah when the angel appeared to him.   No questioning of the incomprehensibility of the situation like Mary first did when the angel told her she would bear a son even though she was a virgin.  No, Joseph’s obedience and acceptance of God’s plans for his life are impressive and humbling.  He trusted totally in Sovereign God.

Sovereign-LordPray about Joseph’s example today as you seek to make obedience, compassion and integrity a part of your character.  God is sovereign and will lead you to serve Him exactly where He needs you to be.  Trust Him and He will grow and develop your character.

Linda

 

Have you known the blessings of Obedience?

Luke 1:57-66 tell of the arrival of baby John to his mother Elizabeth and mute Zachariah, his father.  The angel Gabriel had pronounce God’s judgement upon Zachariah for his unbelief in Luke 1:19-20,  when he had questioned God’s ability to create new life within Elizabeth’s aged, barren body.   Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his John namefather, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

obedienceThis story shows how Elizabeth and Zachariah learned obedience and followed through doing exactly as God directed in naming their child.  When they had demonstrated this faith and obedience, the temporary judgment was lifted and Zachariah was able to speak.  Not surprisingly, his first words were words of praise to Almighty God for the miracles God had performed in their lives.

God is present in this very story, from the lifting of the curse of muteness upon Zachariah to the birth of a healthy boy in Elizabeth’s old age.  Even the neighbor’s recognized God’s mercy towards her and the joy she evidently showed at being a mother.  God is always faithful, keeping all His promises.  He is a promise keeping God.  In the Old Testament book of 1 Kings 8:56 we find, “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.”   None of God’s promises failed nor will they ever fail.  2 Corinthians 1:20 gives a similar message from our promise keeping God,  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.”  Peter gives the usefulness of all God’s promises to us in 2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”   God has been and always will be a promise keeping faithful God. His promises provide us access to His divine nature and aid us in escaping the corruption of the sinful world we live in. 

GodkeepspromisesThank you God for being 100% faithful and keeping all your promises to us.  We can rely upon your nature and know you will do what you say in your Word forever.

Linda

Let it be heard! Blessings from Mary.

I had the privilege of speaking Sunday morning at my church.  My topic was Mary’s story.  In my address, I give thoughts about Mary and what we can learn from her.  I do hope this is a blessing to you.  It was to me as I studied and let God organize my thoughts for this presentation.

Blessings from the First Sunday of Advent,

Linda

How easily we are distracted!

The last section of the Sea of Galilee post-resurrection appearance of Jesus involved both Peter and John.  Still impetuous Peter inquired of the Lord about the things the Lord knew about, and Jesus refocused him.  John 21:17-19 “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”   Peter was distressed at the Lord’s insistent questioning of his love and Jesus replied with a prophecy about Peter’s life and death to come and how he would bring glory to God.  What Jesus required of Peter was obedience- ‘follow me’!

Then Peter asked about John and received this reply from Jesus in verses 21-22. “When Peter saw him (John), he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”   Jesus wanted Peter’s focus to be on Him not on the future and what would happen to others.  As Jesus said, He would take care of John but Peter needed to focus on following Him.

John 21 22How can we be encouraged by this scene today?  Just like Peter, we need to focus our lives on following Jesus, being obedience to His Word and walking with Him daily.  We do not need to ‘worry’ about others or question Jesus about their work and walk.  We have enough to do to keep our own focus on Jesus.   This does not mean we are not concerned about others,  but Peter was just being nosy here and wanted to know what would happen to John in the future- is his better than mine type stuff?  Since the Lord’s answer was always “Follow me”, that is what is crucial in our life too.  Obedience to Jesus is what He desires.  Later Peter so beautifully 1 peter 1 22wrote in 1 Peter 1:22-23 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” 

Let us take seriously our walk with Jesus and His command ‘Follow me!” May we let the distractions of the world fall away as we walk forward in obedience with our Savior.

Linda

Are you Seeing blessings in your life? Take a look!

Being a blessed believer I’ve discovered has many layers.  I began weeks ago with a definition of what blessing is in man’s eyes: a gift of divine favor, good wishes or approval, anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.  Then I looked at scripture to see what God calls blessedness.  All of God’s examples show divine favor towards us and His divine ways of having His blessings in our lives.   Which ones have you seen, are seeing or hope to see in your life?  When you do- you can count yourself blessed!

Blessed is the believer who:  walks in His ways.  Psalm 1                                                            *whose’s sins are forgiven.  Psalm 32:1-2                                                                                          *who takes refuge in Him.  Psalm 34:8                                                                                               *who trusts in the Lord.  Psalm 40:4                                                                                                   *who wisely listens, obeys and accepts the Father’s discipline and instruction  Psalm                      94:12                                                                                                                                            *who fears (reveres) the Lord and delights in His Commandments.   Psalm 112:1                 *who is blessed through his children (physical or spiritual).  Psalm 127:5                               *who fears God and walks in His ways.  Psalm 128:1-2                                                                 *who does what is right based in His righteousness. Isaiah 56:1-2                                             *who is deep rooted in Him, standing firm in all seasons of life.  Jeremiah 17:4                      *whose sins are forgiven, dependent upon God for His righteousness in Christ.  Romans              4:6-8                                                                                                                                               *who is steadfast, persevering and awaiting reward.  James 1:12                                               *who is humble, sorrows over his sin and dependent upon God for forgiveness, hungers             after God’s Word, merciful, has a clean heart before God,  is a peacemaker, is                        persecuted  for His sake.   Matthew 5:3-10

blessed gratefulWhat a list to take to heart and meditate uponIf you are not seeing some of the blessings God provides for believers, take that to heart, pray about it, search scripture and ask God what He would have you do so that you might partake in His divine blessings!

Linda

Do you desire to be a man or woman after God’s Own Heart?

What does it mean when scripture refers to David as ‘a man after God’s own heart’? “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Acts 13:22   What did David do that pleased God?   I have concluded that God’s answer was also given here- “he will do everything I want him to do”.   David was willing to submit to God’s will and do as He commanded.  In 1 Samuel 15:22, Samuel was speaking to Saul about God’s heart’s desire.   But Samuel replied:  “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”   God commanded the Israelites to do various sacrifice rituals to atone for their sins.  It was a temporary fix to the issue of sin but showed their obedience to God’s laws and their devotion to Him.  However, Samuel was telling Saul that following God and pleasing him was about more than following His laws.  It was about following God with your heart in obedience.  Obedience seems to be the key to God’s heart and our being willing to do submit to God’s will for our lives.  If you look at David’s life, you quickly see that he did not do everything right and did not follow God’s laws all the time.  He sinned big time with the intentional killing of Uriah and the lusting after Bathsheba.  However, David accepted his discipline from God and was repentant.  He was obedient in following the Lord and his faith never wavered.  He trust God 100% and submitted to God’s will in his life.

Acts-13-22-After-Gods-HeartWhat does that mean for you and me?  Obedience in faith and worship = putting God first above all else and believing in His Son.  Obedience in our daily walk = seeking to please God by loving Him and others.  That means spending time with Him daily in prayer and in His Word.  It also means having Jesus’ attitude of compassion and love for those around us.  Obedience in service = working by ourselves and/or with other Christians to show the world Jesus by reflecting Him in our words and deeds.  God wants all of our heart transformed to work for Him with joy, love, obedience, in purity, devotion, kindness, compassion, with forgiveness for ourselves and others, in peace, faith and humility.  There is so much God wants for us and striving through the power of the Holy Spirit to live for God makes us a people after God’s heart.  Those things are reflected in a heart of obedience, submission and love.  It is a life-long process that brings and bears much fruit and blessings to us from God.

obedienceStriving to walk each day in obedience to God with heart that is pleasing to Him,

Linda