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

Dipping into the Well of Salvation Brings Joy!

isaiah 12 4Isaiah 12 has 2 short songs of praise that lead us towards thanksgiving.  Let these songs of praise create joy and thanks over your salvation.

You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
    that you might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
    proclaim that his name is exalted.

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
    let this be made known  in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
    for great in your  midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

 

Isaiah 12 3This psalm gives us a picture of our salvation.  God hates our sin but through the well of salvation in Jesus we are forgiven.  Being cleansed by the waters of salvation through faith in Jesus’ work on the cross,  God brings us into His comforting arms and His anger  over sin is turned away.  Having drunk deeply from the well of salvation we are compelled to shout and sing His praises with great joy!  Thank you Jesus.

May yours be a day of thanksgiving and praise to God as you meditate on His forgiveness, love and redemption in Christ.

Linda

Are you up to it? A month of Thanks and Praise- join me each day…

give_thanks-As we enter the month of November that has our National Day of Thanksgiving, let us give thanks this whole month long for the things, people, places, hopes and dreams we have within our lives.  God is good and worthy of all our praises!  Isaiah gives us a song of praise in Isaiah chapter 12.  As I look at various verses of thanksgiving this month, this chapter is the key of what our hearts’ attitude must be before Almighty God.

The Lord Is My Strength and My Song

12 You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
    for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
    that you might comfort me.

“Behold, God is my salvation;
    I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation.”

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 

I am a sinner and did not deserve God’s mercy but Romans 5:8 reminds us of God’s love “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”    With joy in my heart, I can draw on His mercies from the ‘well of salvation’ and know His forgiveness.  Because of faith in Christ and His death and resurrection, I can know the salvation of the Lord and praise His great name.    Isaiah explains when you know the ‘well of salvation’ you can:   And you will say in that day:

isaiah 12 4“Give thanks to the Lord,
    call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples,
    proclaim that his name is exalted.

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
    let this be made known in all the earth.
Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
    for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

Are you ready to give thanks, to shout and proclaim His wondrous deeds?   Do you want to let all the world know He is holy God, the only true God?  All our joy and thanksgiving comes from God because of what He has done for us.  Let us give thanks and worthy of praiselet us utter songs of joy and praise to Him all month long.  Let the spirit of thanksgiving towards God permeate your very being, dip into that well of salvation, and live out praise and thanksgiving towards God and all the people you meet.

I am looking forward to blogging each day this month with an eye and heart towards thanksgiving.

Linda

 

Come with me and praise His Name!

PowerPoint PresentationLast fall I was working on a series based on the names of God.   It is essential to our faith to learn as much about God as possible because the more we know God the more we can be assured He is who He says He is and will do all things He promises.  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are incomprehensible (an attribute of God) and yet God desires that we know Him.  Our finite minds can only take in so much of our omniscient God, but we know from life’s experiences that we can grow and as we do we stretch ourselves to learn more.  I love this quote from Daniel 11:32b.  Daniel was in a very turbulent time and he wanted to encourage the people that knowing God would give them a firm foundation to withstand the trials of their present day. but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.”   That is my prayer for us too, that knowing more about our God will cause us to stand firmly planted and willing and able to take action for Him.

Psalm 148 is a psalm of praise to God as the creator of all things about earth and the heavens.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;              
    praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.        The psalmist call upon all people to praise His name because of all He has created in the heavens.  He continues….

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
    stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
    old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his saints,
    for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!                                                           The psalmist calls upon all people to praise the name of the one  who created all nature and peoples on the earth.  

psalm 148In verse 13 points us to the name of the creator, the Lord who is worthy of all our praise because He is above all, greater than all He created and He alone is worthy of our praise.  If we think the creation is wonderful, it is nothing compared to God himself.  The creation pales in comparison to the Creator God.  This psalm is a call to all of creation to praise the creator and a reminder that He is greater than all.

I challenge you this summer to come along with me to explore greater depths of God’s character as we look into the Word and focus on Who God is by name.  His name is worthy of all praise!

Linda

6th Sunday of Lent, Resplendent with Palms!

IMG_0501Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem the week before Passover and His death on the cross is a wild an joyous event.  I have walked the Palm Sunday Road and it is a very steep hill leading down from the Mt. of Olives that leads to the eastern gate. As I walked that road, I could see this scene in my mind that is included in all four gospels.

Matthew 21:1-11    Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

IMG_0505The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Blessings today as we usher in the final week of Jesus’ life on earth with Palms, Shouts of Hosanna and Praises to Messiah, the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.

Linda

IMG_0513
Jesus entered into the city through the eastern gate that is now closed.  In later times the gate was blocked to keep Messiah from entering,  not realizing that Jesus had already come that Palm Sunday so long ago.

Suggestion:  As you praise God today in worship, choose an attribute of God that you are most thankful for and let God know what it means to you.  Consider- Savior, His Grace and Mercy, Sovereignty, Faithfulness, His Hope, His Assurance of Salvation in Jesus, His granting Freedom from Sin or His Provision for you.  Praise His Holy Name!

4th Sunday of Lent, A Time of Prayer and Praise

40 days is a long time and it is enough time to establish a habit, overcome an adversary or endure a trial.  Do you feel like you are enduring a trying time in your life this Lent?  Then, look to Daniel today and see God from His perspective. Daniel was a Jew who was taken from Jerusalem and deported to Babylon.  He and his friends were smart and resourceful and were a part of the king’s wise men.   The king had a dream and no one seemed to be able to tell him the meaning of it.  He got frustrated and ordered all the ‘wise’ men killed.  Daniel heard about this and ran to tell his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah.  He asked them to pray and ask God for mercy concerning this mystery.  During the night God revealed to Daniel the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  Here is Daniel’s praise to God from Daniel 2:20-23.

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
5067135-Charles-F-Stanley-Quote-As-children-of-a-sovereign-God-we-are21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king.

Do you share Daniel’s high view of God? Daniel knew from first hand experience that God was sovereign, all powerful, eternal,  wise, light, and worthy of praise.  Where do you need strength or knowledge today?  Ask Him like Daniel did then praise Him even if-the-god-you-believe-in-is-not-a-sovereign-god-then-you-really-dont-believe-in-godbefore He answers.

Linda

Suggestion:  As you journey through this day, keep Daniel’s prayer of praise in your mind.  When you encounter difficulties, pray immediately and leave it to God.  Then wait expectantly for His answers.