Total Hope, where do you find it?

These first few weeks of 2020 I have been looking into HOPE as it is my chosen word for the year.  I saw survival hope in Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”, Hope in God’s Word, Psalm 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield;  I hope in your word.”,  Hope in God’s steadfast Love, Psalm 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,”, Hope in the future, Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” and daily Hope for living, Lamentations 3:21-23 ” But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  

Today’s verse helps me to see that God is my Total HopePsalm 62:5-7                            psalm 62 5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”     

I love the truth of these words written by the psalmist David so long ago.  They are truths confirmed throughout scripture.  My hope comes from God aloneHe is the one who stands by me and holds me in times of distress and trouble  Psalm 107:13 “they cried to the Lord in their trouble,   and he delivered them from their distress.”   God is so strong and mighty, so sure and complete that He cannot be shaken, Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.    He gave me salvation through faith in Jesus, Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”.   God alone is working in my life to mold and shape me into the person He desires me to be and shares His glorious attributes with me,  Romans 5:3-5 “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.”   He is the holder of my salvation and sent the Holy Spirit as my guarantee, 2 Corinthians 1:22 “and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

Do these truths about God alone give you Hope for surviving, loving, learning and leaning on the truth of His Word, for looking into the future and for daily living?  God is my total Hope and that Hope is in Him alone.  He is and has all the hope I need.  in christ alone“Thank you Jesus for bringing God’s Hope to me.”  

May you grab hold of His Hope today and be uplifted and strengthened.

Linda

Promise fulfilled! Simeon sees His Lord, Jesus the Christ

fulfilled in ChristJesus said, “ Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Luke 24:44  Jesus came and lived the perfectly sinless life which meant that He made all the right sacrifices at holy days, was circumcised, and followed all the Jewish customs and laws.  In addition, all that was prophesied about Him, all the work He came to accomplish was Yes in Christ.  Today’s story continues in Luke 2:21-25 “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”   These actions are what we would expect from Mary and Joseph as they would want to observe all the right customs that were required by the Law of Moses with their new child.

God is faithfulLuke 2:25-37 tells us what happened when they came to the temple to present Jesus to the Lord.   As you read, consider our Faithful GodGod knows and loves each  of His own. He will do all He has promised: caring for us, making us strong, forgiving, making us new, protecting and purifying us.  From the beginning God had a plan to restore the world, break the power of sin and reveal His plan to us. We know God is faithful because He sent His Son  to the cross to keep His promise.  He is faithful to himself and His Word.  We can trust Him to keep all His promises.   Here is what happened when they got to the temple:

SimeonNow there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

How gracious and faithful God was to keep His promise to Simeon that he would not die until He had seen his Savior.  God also confirmed from the beginning that Jesus came to be a light to all- Jew and Gentile.  He also revealed that Jesus would be rejected and it would hurt both Jesus and Mary to the very core of their being.

We-Enjoyed-The-BlessingHow do you see Faithful God work in your own life?  Do you see His caring for you in life’s circumstances, building you up and making you stronger in faith through the trials you face each day, forgiving your sins,  protecting you in body and soul and cleansing you when you confess your sins?   Look today for the faithful hand of God in your life.   You will be amazed and blessed!

Linda

The Blackest Friday = Profit for you and me!

black fridayI was thinking this morning about the designation ‘Black Friday’.  It seems that since the 1950’s the day after Thanksgiving has been called ‘Black Friday’.  It began as a term to describe the crowds,  like the street was black with pedestrians.  It then became a day  to retailers signifying when they began to turn a profit and moved from the ‘red’ into the ‘black’ as the volume of their sales increased.   In the Bible the blackest Friday would be the day of the crucifixion. It was the day when the skies turned black and darkness covered the land. It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.  Luke 23:44-46   The blackness of that Friday is a picture of the sin that Jesus bore on the cross for you and me.  His death on that darkest day brought the greatest profit for us.  John 12:46 puts it in perspective for us as to why that blackest of Friday’s had to happen.  “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”

Even on that blackest of Fridays, the people were rushing around preparing for their Sabbath.  Since they could do no work on the Sabbath, they hurried to get Jesus down from the cross,  buried and settled in a borrowed tomb.  Mark 15:42-47 describes these events done in haste.  After the Sabbath was over, several women came back to the tomb to anoint Jesus with spices as his burial had been done in such a hurry they felt they had not been able to treat his body properly on that Friday.  “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.”  Mark 16:1  Their walk to the grave site was done in sadness but their return was joyous as the learned of Jesus’ resurrection and defeat of risensin and death.  An angel spoke to them when they got there, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”  What joyous news they had to share!

That blackest Friday brought death to Jesus and  burial brought the greatest profit to you and me.  Colossians 1:21-22 explains where we were on the black Friday and where we are now because of it.  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”    That was the the biggest gain or profit for mankind ever in history.  Christ reconciled us to God so that we can be colossians 1 ;21in communion with Him and have our sin’s forgiven.   We are free to live a life in Christ that is pleasing to God and that is free from the penalty of death brought on by sin.  That Black Friday was the best one in history for you and me.

As you venture out today to do some shopping, think about that blackest of Friday’s and how much you gained through Christ.  Praise Him as you do.

Blessings,

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

Seeing God’s response to me, brings thankfulness!

A-Thankful-HeartPsalm 28 is a thankful response from David for God’s deliverance.  I want to focus on the verses 6-9.   What was David thankful for in these verses that we know to be absolutely true of God?

Praise the Lord!                                                       
For he has heard my cry for mercy.                 God is accessible, He hears our prayers.
The Lord is my strength and shield.                   God is our protector.
I trust him with all my heart.                                  God is trustworthy.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.                    God gives us joy.

The Lord gives his people strength.                     God gives us strength to meet the day.
    He is a safe fortress for his anointed king.
Save your people!                                                    God saves those who believe in Him.
Bless Israel, your special possession.                 God blesses.
Lead them like a shepherd,                                     God is our good shepherd.
    and carry them in your arms forever.               God is eternal and saves us for                                                                                                                        eternity with Him.

attributes of GodFor which of these attributes are you most thankful today?  I had a friend tell me yesterday that when times are hard she focuses on her joy in the Lord.  What about you?  As you go through today, meditate on God’s goodness and blessings towards you, then take time to thank Him.

Blessings,

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

 

I AM … Your Savior

I amGod refers to himself in the Old Testament as Your Savior in Isaiah 49:26 and 60:16.  In both cases His name is linked to prophesy in regard to the destruction of Jerusalem when the Babylonians came and destroyed it and took the people off to Babylon.  The city was held under siege and the people suffered greatly, at one point even resorting to cannibalism.  Isaiah’s words were to be ones of encouragement that God will be evident in the dealings of His people.   Isaiah 49:26

“I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
    and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine.
Then all flesh shall know
    that I am the Lord your Savior,
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”    Again in Isaiah 60:16

“You shall suck the milk of nations;
    you shall nurse at the breast of kings;
and you shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior
    and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

I am your godThe people of Israel were to know that in both hard and good times God will be with them, He will be their Savior, Redeemer and Mighty One.   We can be encouraged like they were that God alone is God, He is our Redeemer and has plans for our redemption through Christ His Son, and He alone is the Mighty One from generation to generation.  The prophet pointed out specifically that God is your Savior and your Redeemer.  He is a personal God who loves each one of us and wants to have a relationship with us.  He desires that we accept His Son as Savior and open our hearts to His redemptive plan.

Here are a few verses to mediate upon today as you consider your Savior and Redeemer.  1 Corinthians 1:30 “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”  and 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 Jesus be your Savior and Redeemer today bringing you hope and assurance of salvation!

Linda

I AM ….the LORD

YHWHMultiple times in scripture God refers to himself as LORD.  When the name Lord is written all in capital letters, it refers to the name ‘Yahweh’,  YHWH which was so revered that it did not even say it aloud or write it completely as they left out the vowels.  Another translation of this is Jehovah.  In Exodus 3:14-15, Moses is called by God to return to Egypt, confront Pharaoh and lead the people.  Moses voices several concerns to God and asks, What do I say when the people ask who sent me? God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”  God refers to himself as I AM and also The LORD.   God repeated His name in Exodus 6:2-3 “God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.”    The people did not have the full revelation of God yet and did not fully know Him.  The full revelation of God came with Jesus Christ.

David often refers to God as LORD in the Psalms.  Psalm 91 has several verses that point out the complete trustworthiness of the LORD and how He loves and cares for those who love Him.  Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.                               
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”                                                  God is my refuge.

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;                         God is my protector.
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,                          God’s presence dispels fear.
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you        God cares for me.
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;      God desires our love.
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;              God is omnipresent.
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”                       God has salvation plans for me.


psalm 91Today meditate on the completeness of your LORD and how HE reaches down and touches you.

Linda

 

I AM…the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Jesus spoke these words in comfort to the disciples as He was preparing them for His death and departure.  Some of the most comforting words Jesus spoke come in John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”   Jesus wanted them to know He was leaving but for them not to fear and know He was going to get a place in heaven ready for them.  Thomas did not understand and questioned Jesus in verse 5, “Lord, we do not know where you are John 14-6 I Am The Way The Truth And The Life blackgoing. How can we know the way?”  Jesus’ answer is profound and complete.  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6    He went on to tell Thomas and the others how He and the Father were one and if they had seen Him then they also had see God the Father and knew Him to be true.

What did Jesus mean with His I AM statement?   I am the way– the way to heaven and eternal life,  the way to a relationship with God.   I am the truth– He is the truth of God, the gospel.  He is the Life-He is the giver of life-both physical and spiritual, the one who brings eternal life through faith in Him, the one who provides fullness of life here and now.   The way to God is only through faith in Jesus.   Jesus was God and knew that men would doubt, men would seek to earn their way to heaven, that men would claim they knew another way to get to heaven through faith in another person or things.  Jesus knew what was coming and His answer leaves not room for those thoughts.  He is the only way to God and He knows that way perfectly.   He is the truth of God, the Life giver for now and eternity and the pathway to reach full relationship with God is through Him alone.   Martin Luther had it right in His 5 Solices- Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ 5 solicesAlone, Grace Alone and Glory to God Alone.  Our faith in Jesus rests on His Word, His person and His Work on the Cross on our behalf.  Thank you Jesus.

Have a blessed day as you ponder the narrowness of the Way to God but also the broadness of it’s extent.  Not one is excluded from coming to Him.  All can come to Him in faith and will be saved.  His arms are wide open to everyone of faith.

Linda

Is God your Rock?

God is my rockDavid was well aware of God as his Rock.  In Psalm 18:1-3 he uses this image of God when proclaiming his thanks for God’s strength in protecting him from murderous Saul.  David struggled with Saul chasing him and seeking to kill him for over 10 years.  David trusted God and His plan and timing to make him king.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.

Since David struggled for so many years against the elements as a shepherd, a boy facing Goliath, as a fugitive and as a king with many battles to face, the Psalms are filled with his reliance upon God as his rock and source of his faith.

psalm 19 14Psalm 19:14 “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Psalm 62:1-2 “Truly my soul finds rest in God;  my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;  he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 71:1-3 “In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.”

David proclaims God as his Rock as well as fortress, deliverer, refuge, stronghold, salvation, redeemer and righteous God.  David knew from experience that God was faithful, and he could depend upon Him.  Can you proclaim who God is to you?  Let David’s words seep into you thoughts today and give you confidence and strength in God.  Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” and James 1:17 “ Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ”   The God who David trusted and loved is the same God we serve.  He does not change from generation to generation and we can depend upon Him just like David.

god rock refugePrayer:  Thank you Father that you are the same yesterday, today and forever.  Your character and ideals do not change or shift with the times and whims of man.  You are my rock and can hold me steady as I face the storms in my life.  You are to be praised for you are always faithful and seek to do and bring good into my life.  Help me to be depend upon your strength and character so I may live fully for you.  Amen.

Linda