Mary and Me too, God knows our NAMES!

Gabriel next appeared to Mary,  the young virgin betrothed to Joseph, and told her she was going to be the mother of the Son of God.  Mary was fearful and concerned about what this would mean for her future.  The angel calmed her fears and pointed her to God.  Luke 1:26-33

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

There is so much to see about God in this portion of the Christmas Story.  God is all powerful and can do all things, Omnipotent.  God has a plan for the redemption of mankind and has had it since the beginning of time and He is using a young girl to move god-is-personal (1)His plan forward, Sovereign, Eternal.  But today, I see a personal God.  The angel told Mary not to fear and called her by name.  God knew her personally.  She was not just some girl but one God had specifically chosen for the task of being the mother of Jesus, His Son.  God is a person who knows us, desires a relationship with us and communicates with us.  Here He spoke to Mary by name through the angel Gabriel, but He also speaks to us today through His Word and in prayer.

knows my nameJesus assured us in John 10:3-4 “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”   Jesus as our good shepherd knows each one who believes in Him by name.  We are also assured that as believers we can and will recognize Him when He speaks or calls to us.  

Mary as a young girl knew this too and trusted her future to God.  God knows you personally; He knows your name.   Call out to Him today with assurance that He will answer because He knows you and knows exactly what you need even before you ask.  Be greatly encouraged, the God of the universe knows you by name.

Linda

Is Jesus is Personal to You?

Psalm 118 28Who is God to you?  To King David He was a personal God, one who saved, loved, protected, helped, restored,cared for and directed him throughout his life.  In Psalm 118:28-29 David desires to give thanks to his God.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;  you are my God; I will extol you.     Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;  for his steadfast love endures forever!

David had a personal relationship with God and knew who He was and how he could depend upon Him.  I too have a relationship with God that was made available to me through Jesus.  Knowing Jesus as my savior opened the door to having God’s indwelling Spirit within me.  Jesus put it this way in John 14:23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”  Jesus told Martha in John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,”  I don’t have ‘religion’;  I have a relationship with God.  I am His daughter.   Paul described our new relationship with God in Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”    Is God your Father?  Do you claim your status as an adopted son or daughter of God through Jesus?

personal godMake God personal today and move into a relationship with Him.   1 John 1:9 tells us how to know Jesus-  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   Make this your first Thanksgiving with Him- ask for His forgiveness for the sins you’ve committed.  You know the words you’ve used to hurt others, your selfishness, your unkind actions… the list for all of us goes on and on as this is the sin nature we were born with.  Put a stop to this circle of sinning and invite Jesus into your life.  Like David, you will have a personal relationship with God.  That relationship is worthy of all our thanks and praise to Jesus who made it possible.  Knowing Jesus will change your life!  Praise and thank Him this Thanksgiving for this new life.  If you know Jesus, thank Him today for His marvelous grace and forgiveness.

1peter3 15Share your thanks with someone else this year.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to share our hope in Jesus with gentleness and kindness, “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,”  Jesus is the good news of life to a dying world.  Be bold and share Him with others.  You will be blessed.

Linda

Is God personal to you?

My-Lord-and-My-GodHow do you see the God of the universe?  Is He personal or impersonal in your life? The Bible is filled with proclamations of those to whom God is personal.  I have chosen a few testimonies in today’s blog to whet your appetite for what you can find in The Book!

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew God personally.  God guided, delivered and literally wrestled with Jacob.  David depended upon God and tells us in 2 Samuel 22:7 that He call upon God personally, “In my distress I called upon the Lord to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice,  and my cry came to his ears.”   In Psalm 31:14 David makes a bold proclamation:  But I trust in you, O LordI say, “You are my God.”   The list of those who called God their God continues with Nehemiah, Isaiah, and all the Old Testament prophets.  Daniel states in Daniel 9:4 about his own experience with God,  I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,”   Mary proclaims in Luke 1:47, “and Jn20 28my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”  Thomas declares in John 20:28, “Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” when he touched the hands of the risen Jesus.  and Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:4 states, “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.

What is your statement about God?  Is He personal to you?  Can or do you call Him, My God?  Knowing Jesus personally  is what faith involves.  Our relationship with the Almighty God is one on one.  He is there for me, knows my ways.  He even knows the number of hairs on my head as Jesus said in Luke 12:7 “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”  He knows me intimately and desires good things for me and desires that I grow in good character as I walk with Him daily.

god-is-personalWill you step out in faith today and call Him, My God?   If you do, He will meet you there and walk beside you each day bringing comfort, joy, growth and well being to your hungry soul.  Invite Him today, just say, Come in Lord Jesus and be with me.  He will answer.

Linda

Are you in the crowd? Why did Jesus come to you?

There is one other post-resurrection appearance I want to think about as we wait for Pentecost.  Paul recounts to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 the appearances between Christ’s purposeful death and resurrection and His ascension back into heaven. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,(Christ died and rose again with purpose foretold in scripture)and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” (Paul is referring to his encounter with Jesus on the Road to Damascus that happened sometime later.)

eyewitnessesHave you ever wondered about the large gathering of 500 that saw Jesus?  What was His purpose?  In each post-resurrection appearance, Jesus purposefully met with those who needed to see Him most- the grieving Mary, the doubting Thomas, the guilt ridden Peter and the unbelieving disciples.  What could have been His reason for appearing to 500?  Perhaps He wanted those who did not know Him as intimately as the disciples to experience His love and power first hand?  Perhaps He wanted to make known the reality that He was alive and they could carry on.  Perhaps He wanted to comfort, ignite, give hope, ….  Seeing Him again, knowing the reality of His death on the cross, knowing He had been buried and was alive for them to see must have been eyeopening, challenging, fearsome, awesome, unbelievable…..  One can only imagine what it must have been like to see Jesus.

Today as you think about this, try to picture yourself as one of the 500.  We have an advantage as we have His indwelling Holy Spirit within us to convict us and bear witness to our faith.  We do not need to see Him to believe.  Jesus addressed this issue in John 20:29 as He spoke to Thomas.  Jesus said to him, “Have you john 20 29 #2believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”   Faith is a blessing from God.   Thank Him today for your ability to believe even though you were not there with the 500. You can know that He loves, cares for you and is with you always.

Linda

Is Jesus personal to you?

Several of the post-resurrection appearances were to specific individuals instead of groups.  Jesus met Mary as I wrote about in the blog of May 3, 2019,  but today I want to look at Jesus’ appearance to Peter and James.  The appearance to Peter is mentioned in Peter appearancepassing in Luke 24:34 “saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”  and in 1 Corinthians 15:5 by Paul “and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve”.   The Luke message was delivered to the disciples by the two men who Jesus met on the Road to Emmaus (blog of 4/23/2019).  Here the men referred to Peter as Simon using his old name.   Jesus also referred to Peter by his old name when He told him he would deny Him three time before the rooster crowed. The prediction of the denial is recorded in both Matthew 26 and Mark 14.  The actual denial event is recorded in all 4 gospels, Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 18.   Peter was not acting with his new believing nature, clinging to the rock of faith which is Jesus, but with the old, impetuous, doubting nature of unbelieving Simon.  It shows great compassion from our Lord to singularly appear to Peter to forgive and restore him.  Jesus would have known the anguish and guilt Peter was feeling after his denial of Jesus the night before the Crucifixion.  The forgiven Peter went onward, never doubting nor denying his Lord and Savior again.  Jesus personally knows what we need and seeks to be there for each one of us.   What a wonderful, compassionate and loving Savior we serve.

The other post-resurrection appearance that was mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:7 was to James.  Scholars believe this was James the half-brother of Jesus and not one of the other followers named James.  His brother did not believe in Christ before the resurrection, but afterward became a prominent member of the church in Jerusalem, wrote james appearancethe book of James and died a martyr’s death in 62 A.D.  “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”  This appearance speaks to me of Jesus’ compassion and love for his earthly family and for those who are lost.  2 Peter 3:9  “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.   He knew James needed to see Him personally to be confronted with his unbelief.  Jesus does that for each one of us as we seek to come to faith and trust in Him.  He is a personal God that loves and cares for each of us.

Jesus personal GodIs Jesus personal to you today?  Do you claim Him as your God and Savior?  Mary did in Luke 1:47 “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”  Thomas did in John 20:28 “ Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” and Paul in Philippians 4:19 “ And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”    Let Him hear your words of declaration today as you thank Him for being your God and Savior.

Linda