1st Sunday of Lent, Reflect on Truths uncovered and the Goodness of God!

This first week in Colossians brought us significant truths from just the first 4 verses. Meditate on them again as you consider Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His victorious resurrection that made all these things possible through Him. Then ponder David’s amazing words of praise to a God who is always good in Psalm 34:1-10.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can trust that all things that happen in my life will be used by God to bring good to me and glory to His name. Colossians 1:1 Thank you Jesus.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I, as a saint, can know and experience God’s grace and peace in my life because of His faithfulness to me. Colossians 1:2 Thank you Jesus.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can pray with a thank-filled heart and experience the love of Jesus in my life through and with other believers. Colossians 1:3-4 Thank you Jesus.

Psalm 34:1-10 Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

May you know and see God today as you Praise Him, feel His protection around you and taste the goodness of His love as you seek refuge in Him.

Linda

Inside your Heart- soft or hard?

Psalms is filled with images of the heart.  Today think about some of these and see if you can identify and claim them for your own heart towards God.

A heart filled with Praise and Thanksgiving, Psalm 9:1  “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

A heart filled with Confidence, especially in times of adversity, Psalm 27:3  “Though an army encamp against me,  my heart shall not fear;  though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.”

A heart filled with JOY because of God’s Word, Psalm 119:111 “Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.”

A heart that is willing to wait upon the Lord, Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord;  be strong, and let your heart take courage;  wait for the Lord!”

A heart that is unafraid to call upon the Lord for help, Psalm 119:145 “With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!  I will keep your statutes.”

A heart that yearns for God’s presence,  Psalm 84:2  “My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;  my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”

A heart filled with Praise and Gratitude,  Psalm 138:1  “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;  before the gods I sing your praise”

Our heart attitude needs to begin and end with praise and thanksgiving each day.  God’s Word is so descriptive and really points to the true needs of our hearts in relationship to and towards God.  Do you see confidence in Him? Joy in His Word? A willingness to wait upon Him?  Fearlessness in talking to God about your problems? A yearning for God in your heart?  Let His Word be your guide today as you examine your heart before Him.

Desiring a heart that is looking to God,

Linda

Advent Shows Seekers Find Peace and Hope in Jesus!

The appearance of Gabriel and the heavenly host spurred the shepherds into action. They were curious to see this child of peace that would bring the favor of God upon all who believed in Him. Our story continues in Luke 2:15-20 “ When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.”

Their encounter with the Christ child led them to tell others what the angel had said, “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12 They also told others what they had seen, “Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,  and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Their experience of seeing the majesty of God in His heavenly beings and the manifestation of His glory in the baby Jesus would have been life changing. It is no wonder at all that they left the stable and went back to work praising and glorifying God.

What do you do with your encounters with God? Do you discount them in unbelief or do you relish them in faith and turn them into praise? God desires that we seek Him like the shepherds did that evening in Bethlehem. Scripture tells us seeking God will bring results. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” David wrote in Psalm 119:2 “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,” Solomon wrote in Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;” Jesus said in John 4:23 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” An unknown author wrote in Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Throughout scripture we are encouraged to seek God wholeheartedly.

Are you a seeker? Do you love to spend time in prayer and studying the Word of God? Do you love fellowship with other believers? Do you pursue God with your whole heart? I pray that this Advent you will be open to the Savior and come seeking Him with a newness of heart. He is waiting to bless you, draw you closer to Him and reward you with peace and hope. Paul put it this way in Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. May you receive His blessings of peace and hope today!

Linda

Thankfulness Day 19: God has it covered!

Psalm 91:1-2 are special verses that remind me of who God is, what He can do and my friend Bob. Bob lived at the Veteran’s Home in Yountville and I met him when I was leading a Bible Study using my book Promises for Dynamic Living. He was in his late 90’s at the time and his eyesight was failing, therefore he could not longer read his Bible. Bob possessed an uplifted spirit that brought heart and wisdom to our discussions. He told us that when he was in his 80’s he decided that he needed to memorize scripture and proceeded to put countless verses to memory. With failing eyes, he could still quote verse after verse as he had them locked into his heart and mind. One of his favorites was Psalm 91:1-2. He said that when he flew bombers during WWII he clung to this verse and claimed it. He drew strength from the words of David and applied them to his own life.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.

Are you finding rest in God Almighty? Do you live in the shelter of His presence? When we rest in God, we allow Him to take charge of our thoughts and mind so that we are not worried, stressed or depressed about the world around us. Our confidence is in Sovereign God. When we find shelter in Him, we are surrounded by His love and care. We are protected from the world for all eternity by the power of His might and our faith in Him. These truths are what led David to say that God was his refuge and his safe place in spite of all the turmoil he was facing at the time. That is what my friend Bob knew as he flew those bomber planes.

What about you? Is God your refuge and safe place? Do you trust Him to give you what you need- shelter, refuge, safety? Do you see yourself, like David and Bob, living in the shelter of His shadow? If you do, let your heart and mind sing out with praise for Almighty God today. Thank Him for His love, protection, safe harbor and rest. He alone is God and mighty to be praised!

Linda

Bob passed into glory last year at the age of 99. He is greatly missed at the Veteran’s Home and by me.

Lenten Sunday #1

As you reflect today and prepare for another week, here are some truths we’ve uncovered so far in Ephesians.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead:

I can be His saint and faithfully, walk in His grace and experiencing His peace. Ephesians 1:1-2

I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. Ephesians 1:3

I can be encouraged by God’s love, the redemption plan made perfect in Christ and the hope I now have in Him.  Ephesians 1:4-6, 7-10

I now have His Holy Spirit living within me through faith affirming, testifying and guaranteeing my inheritance in Him.   Ephesians 1:13-14

Praise God for His grace and goodness today knowing you are loved and that God Almighty has a plan for you that is perfected in Christ and guaranteed by His Holy Spirit.

Psalm 103 1 5 BlessTheLordLet Psalm 103:1-5 be on your lips today!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Linda

2020 A New Year, A New Decade- How will you survive?

2020 Happy New YearYesterday I was in the look back mode,  but today January 1, 2020 I am looking forward.  Each year I have a habit of choosing a word to guide my year.  Last year God gave me the word Trust and Wow! did I see that word week after week.  I learned to lean upon God and trust Him in new, painful, scary and exciting situations.  It was amazing how Trust kept coming up again and again, reminding me of who I am and where my Trust needs to be placed.

This year God has given me the word Hope.  I have always loved writing and talking about the hope I have in Christ, but I feel His Hope will reach into all corners of my life.   So I thought it wise to spend a few weeks looking into HOPE and seeing how hope is described in God’s Word.  The verse I found to start with is Psalm 71:14 as it seemed to capture the hope I feel right now as I begin this new year.But I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.”  Psalm 71 was written by King David in his old age.  He reflects upon God, his dependence upon Him and God’s continuing faithfulness.  David resolves to continue praising God just as he has done since his youth. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.”  Psalm 71:5

May my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
    with scorn and disgrace may they be covered
    who seek my hurt.
14 But I will hope continually
    and will praise you yet more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
    of your deeds of salvation all the day,
    for their number is past my knowledge.  Psalm 71:13-15

David knows the ‘world’ will come against him, yet he knows God will deal with them.  He has his hope placed in God and will praise Him.  No matter what as he knows God is sovereign and in control of all things, people, and places.  He vows to continue to proclaim what God has done for him.

psalm-71-14-quote-lgThis is a challenge as we face a New Year.  We know for certain that things will come against us-as they always do.  What we know, like David, is that God is faithful and will stand with us.  We need to trust in His sovereignty and mercy and cling to Him in HOPE.  That is my answer to, How will I survive in 2020?  I will cling to Him in HOPE knowing with absolute faith that God is faithful, loving and merciful.  He will be gracious to me as I place my HOPE in Him.

Looking forward to 2020 with HOPE,

Linda

God’s Revelations Through Advent=God’s Abounding Attributes

Advent of 2019 has been very confirming and uplifting to me.  As I wrote about the Christmas story, Messiah’s long awaited arrival on earth, I was filled with wonder and praise for our Almighty God.  Seeing the story anew through the lens of who-is-godGod’s attributes gave me a glimpse into the magnificence and depth of our God.   I saw God’s accessibility, grace, omniscience, as a person, His incomprehensibility, invisibility, holiness, as a preserver, merciful, a promise-keeper, righteous, sovereign, perfect, omnipotent, provider, merciful again, glorious, Savior, faithful, just, wise, Father, guide, love and eternal.

For 25 days we have looked into the character of God and reflected on how His character could impact us.  God desires that we are accessible to Him and to others.  He gives us grace and asks that we show grace to others.  God alone is omniscient, incomprehensible, invisible, personal, preserver of all things, righteous, sovereign, perfect, omnipotent, glorious, Savior, promise keeper and the giver of eternal life.  He calls us to be holy as He is holy and to wear the righteousness of Christ though faith in Him.  Be merciful towards others and lend them helping hands.  God wants us to be faithful to Him and to those around us, just in our dealings with others, a giver of wise council, good father’s and mothers, guide others towards Him and to be open to His leading.  He wants us to keep our word and follow His Word.  God desires that we love Him and love those He has placed in our life as much as we love ourselves.

David reached the following conclusion about God in Psalm 86:10-13.

psalm 86 10No pagan god is like you, O Lord.
    None can do what you do!
All the nations you made
    will come and bow before you, Lord;
    they will praise your holy name.
10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.
    You alone are God.

more like JesusThank you for joining me this Advent.  May you be blessed as you endeavor to live for Jesus and grow more and more life Him each day.

Linda

Mary Praises Preserver God

“His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” Luke 1:50-55

I see two different attributes of God that stand out to me in Mary’s continuing song of praise. I’ll highlight one today and one tomorrow.  Today I’d like to talk about God’s as our Protector/Preserver. Mary knew that God had protected and preserved the children of Israel since the time of Abraham when He made a covenant with him.  Genesis 12: 2-3 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”    Mary would have been familiar with the stories of the Exodus from Egypt, the miraculous plagues, the saving of the first born, the parting of the Red Sea, the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai, the feats and battles of Gideon, Deborah, King David and many more.   She would have known of the preservation of Esther and the way God used foreign kings to bring them back from exile in Babylon.  Mary would have been familiar with Daniel and his stay in the lion’s den.  She had seen how God preserved her people generation after generation against all odds.  It is no wonder then that Mary praises and sings of God’s great upholding power with mighty deeds and personal support.

Who is this great preserver that Mary loves?  God preserves His own.  We can trust Him to preserve the good work He has started in us through Christ.  God preserves our lives for His purpose and He preserves our salvation.  Jesus promises that no one can take you out of God’s hand.  No temptation, no failure, no person, not even Satan can make us lose our salvation .  God preserves us, just as He did the children of Israel, so that we can accomplish His purpose.  He is our preserver.  Mary knew this in her heart and sang praises to the her preserver.

psalm-127Is Jesus your preserver?  Do you trust Him to help, defend and protect your faith and salvation against all enemies?  I love the verses in John 10:28-29 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”   Trust God and walk today with assurance that God has got you and will never let you go.  Mary knew this and sang out in praise. Join her in proclaiming praise to our Mighty God who promises to preserve us.

Held in the hand of Almighty God,

Linda

Thank goodness this is true!

john-10-28

Holy is Our God! Mary knew it, do you?

my-soulAnd Mary said:  “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  from now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me– Holy is his name.”  Luke 1:46-49

This song of Mary’s is known as the Magnificat in Latin as the first word spoken is the word magnificat meaning glorifies.  Mary is praising God for being chosen to be the mother of the coming Savior and all the future honor that will bring.  She says her soul is rejoicing in being able to serve her God and bring glory to His name.  She is reveling in His mercy and grace and calls Him Holy.  Why would Mary choose the word Holy to describe God?  By worldly standards, Mary is in a precarious position.  She is an unwed mother to be in a time when that condition would bring shame upon herself and her family.   Yet, she praises God and extols His holiness.

What do Mary’s praises tell us about who she thinks God is?  Mary calls God HOLY.  God is high and lifted up.  He is set apart from His creation. No one is like God.  God sets apart His children for Himself and commands us to be holy as He is holy.  Being holy makes you whole, what God intended you to be.  Mary knew she had been set apart by God for His work.  She considers herself whole, complete and is thankful and filled with joy that she can be used by God.

Do you feel whole and complete when you are serving God?  Does your service bring honor and glory to God’s Holy name?  Do you rejoice in serving God?  Paul wrote to Timothy is 1 Timothy 3:13 “Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.”  Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:10-11 “Each one should use what ever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. I anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”   Paul, Peter and Mary recognized that our service can and does bring honor and glory to God when done in and through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Our service also brings joy to our hearts and gives greater assurance in our faith.  God is Holy and desires us to be holy and honor Him in all we say and do.

Striving to serve a Holy God,

Linda

holygod-holypeople

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