Holy Week, Wednesday-Where’s Jesus?

It would seem that the gospel’s are silent on the whereabouts of Jesus on this day of Holy Week.  Perhaps he remained in Bethany with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, taking a needed day of rest.  Tomorrow will be a trying day with the Last Supper, Gethsemane, His arrest, beating and trials by night leading to crucifixion on Friday.  Jesus knew what was coming and how his human body would need strength for tomorrow so He rested.  Even though He was God, He felt all the pain and fatigue of a man when He was within His earthly body.  So He needed rest today.

What do you need today? Here are a couple of scriptures for you to mediate on to encourage and strengthen you.  David knew his need for the Lord and relied upon Him each day.  

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life;

you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
    and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.  Psalm 138:7-8a

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.  Psalm 37:3-6

Jesus knew the Psalms of King David and perhaps He drew strength and comfort from these words too.  He knew God had a purpose for him to complete and that He needed to trust His heavenly Father and rest in Him. Let David’s words bring you peace and rest today as you walk trusting in Jesus..

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can call upon Him for strength and rest in His ability to give me all that I need.

Linda

The Benefits of a Walk that is Pleasing to God

Paul was praying for the Colossian Christians in a very specific way. He wanted to see them walking and experiencing an authentic life with Christ. He envisioned them, and us too, living a life worthy of the calling of Jesus. In today’s passage, Paul lists the benefits of such a worthy walk with Christ and how it truly pleases Him. Colossians 1:10-12 “ so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Wow! What a list of benefits Paul is praying for the Colossian Christians to experience in their daily walk with Jesus!

Bearing fruit in every good work. A life indwelt by the Holy Spirt, focused on Jesus shows fruit. Which of these is the Holy Spirit producing in your life as you seek to know and follow Him? Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

Increasing in the knowledge of God. Is this your goal, to know God more fully? Could this be said of you? 1 Chronicles 28:9 “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. Do you feel God’s strength, have endurance during the difficulties that arise each day or do you see and feel joy when you wait upon Him? Nehemiah 8:10 “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Hebrews 10:36 “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.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.

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Are you thankful for your heavenly inheritance to come and grateful for hope-filled life Jesus is providing for you right now? Ephesians 1:18 “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 1 Peter 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

I pray as you study and meditate on these benefits provided to us through our faith in Jesus that you will be blessed with a deeper knowledge of Him and be encouraged in your walk. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can receive benefits of faith that lead to greater knowledge of Him, strength, endurance, patience and joy! Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Got a Word, Now look for the Why!

When choosing a Word to guide or focus your year, you need to remember that the word is just a tool of remembrance. The real power is in the Word of God upon which your word is based. For example, I have chosen Joy as my focus word for the year. I will be looking for the joy of the Lord in all things- not just the fun, productive or happy times. How do I know this is true? It is because the Joy I am seeking is based on scripture. As I have looked at my verses more closely, I see different aspects of God’s joy that I can look forward to this year.

Joy in that is based on my salvation and will provide me with sustaining strength to lift me up, even when things don’t look so good! Habakkuk 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold  and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord;  I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  God, the Lord, is my strength;  he makes my feet like the deer’s;  he makes me tread on my high places.”

Joy that is based on the Sovereignty of God as He knows the pathways He has made for my life and I can find His joy as I walk trusting Him. Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;  at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Joy that will cause me to rejoice in both body and spirit. It will fill me up from the inside out and is based in the graciousness of God for those He has redeemed. Psalm 71:23 “My lips will shout for joy,  when I sing praises to you;  my soul also, which you have redeemed.”

Joy that provides me with eternal strength to face each day. Nehemiah 8:10b “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Joy that takes everything in stride and produces character within me. James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Take the word you have chosen for the year and search scripture for places it is used. Pray and seek God’s guidance in which verses really speak to you that He would have you apply to your life this year. It is not your word that guides you but the Word of God that uses, applies and motivates your year.

God’s Word has the power to lead, guide, uplift, motivate, give strength, and produce salvation within you as you believe in Him. God’s Word is eternal, sharp, penetrating, breathed by Him so it can produce within our character what God desires for our lives. Let His Word guide you this year as you seek Him.

Linda

Word for the Year, What’s Yours?

Each year I pray and ask God for a word to guide me. Last year, as we began a new decade I was given the word Hope. I wrote these words on January 1,2020 which turned out to be very prophetic. “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.” Wow! No truer words did I need and live through during 2020. It was a year that I needed extreme Hope to survive!

This year I have been asking God about a new word for 2021. The word that has come to me over and over is JOY. God knows there is a need within me after all that has happened in 2020 to focus on His joy in my life. His joy is not dependent upon the world events, personal relationships or my own drama of life but in Him alone. As I wrote in my new book, Strategic Living, His joy brings benefits to our souls, is eternal and complete. His joy is a byproduct of the Holy Spirit’s work within us, the fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

The verses I’ve chosen to claim this year are: Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life;  in your presence there is fullness of joy;  at your right hand are  pleasures forevermore.” Jesus is at God’s right hand in heaven and He will guide me and give me complete joy that is eternal. Psalm 71:23 “My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you;  my soul also, which you have redeemed.” I am confident God will give me opportunities to proclaim to others His goodness in my life. James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Learning to live in joy, praising God and thanking Him for the growth He is bringing to my character in and through the trials of life takes a new attitude and mindset that is filled with His Joy!

Prayerfully consider in this New Year what word God would give you to focus and guide your thoughts this year. As the year progresses, you can look for your word in the events of your life, in relationships and in your thoughts. It is amazing the ways God shows you your word throughout the year. I am so thankful for the word Hope and how it reminded and sustained me in 2020. I am looking forward to clinging to the Joy that is before me in Christ. Nehemiah summed it up in Nehemiah 8:10 “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Since I’ve chosen Joy as my word, I will be blogging in January on various verses that focus on the joy we have in Christ. God is leading me to be uplifted and to uplift others in His joy. I am looking forward to it!

Linda

Thankfulness Day 5: we are well cared for!

Gentle readers, I want to apologize for the typo in yesterday’s text- the reference was 1 John 1:5-7. I was able to correct or update the blog online but not to my followers. As much as one tries to avoid such errors, they happen and there does not seem to be a way to resend a correction. Thanks for following and know that I try to be as accurate as possible.

Today’s verse is one that is dear to my heart, Isaiah 58:11. “The Lord will guide you always;  he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,  like a spring whose waters never fail.”
I first encountered this verse during a bible study as it was our memory verse for the week. As I sought to imprint it upon my heart, I was captivated by Isaiah’s images of how God cares for me. I love to garden and the thought of always being well-watered with His living water always bolsters my spirit. The thought that He is watching out for me and will see that my needs are met when life gets hard, dry and seems to tax me to the limit. God will see that I do not flag in strength and He assures me that He is my guide. Lastly, the promise that His living water will always be there to quench my thirst for all eternity is amazing.

I pray that the thoughts and truths expressed by Isaiah in this verse will empower you to live more thankfully today.

Linda

God is my strength!

God is my strength!  Are these words you would speak freely, often and with great conviction?  The Bible is filled with words of praise to the Father for the strength that God provided to His beloved people in both the Old and New Testaments.  Moses proclaimed in Exodus 2:15 after crossing the Red Sea and seeing the Egyptian army defeated. “The Lord is my strength and my defense;  he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,  my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”  David proclaimed praises to God for delivering him from Saul in Psalm 18:32 “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”  Proclaiming praises to God for His psalm 28 7 strengthdeliverance and strength uplifts our spirit and pleases God.  David penned in Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.  
Do you have praises for Almighty God today for the strength and deliverance He has provided in your life? Or maybe you are struggling to find strength.  David prayed for strength as he pleaded with God in Psalm 71:9  “Do not cast me away when I am old;  do not forsake me when my strength is gone.”  Whether it is due to age or overwhelming circumstances, we can pray and ask God for strength to face our challenges.   Paul often directed believers pray for spiritual strength, Ephesians 3:13-14 “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. For this reason I kneel before the Father,”  and gospel power strength in doing God’s work, 2 Timothy 2:1-2 “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  

The Bible teaches we can pray and ask God for strength but then we need to trust in  God’s strength as it has amazing power.  He can not only give us physical strength but He can dispel fear.  Isaiah 41:10 gives me great hope.  “Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”   God promises to be with us and hold us in His righteous right hand which is another name for Jesus.  Jesus will hold us!   We also find in Habakkuk 3:19 that God’s strength can enable us do do habakkuk 3 19things we cannot do on our own and will renew us in the process!  God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”

So today, I really need this message as I am facing a move for good and pleasant reasons but a move nonetheless.  I need physical and spiritual strength,  and I know God can and will provide for me.  I only need ask Him.  I pray you can trust God enough to call upon His strength today for your needs.  He will be with you and give you just what you need for strength, renewal or comfort.

Have a blessed day.

Linda

Does God provide the light in your life?

psalm 27 1Light   When we say the word light, many things come to mind- glowing illumination, brightness, no more darkness, hope, direction, guidance…..   In Psalm 27 David speaks about the ultimate light of the world, God.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—    With God as his light-                     whom shall I fear?                                      he  knew salvation & no fear
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—       With God as his light- 
    of whom shall I be afraid?                         he knew strength & no fear

When the wicked advance against me      With God as his light-  he knew his enemies 
    to devour me,                                                       would crumble. 
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,                    With God as his light- he knew he would not 
    my heart will not fear;                           break under pressure but live with confidence     though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord                 With God as his light- God would always be             this only do I seek:                                                           with him, making life beautiful
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

How about you?  Is God your light?   Jesus tells us in John 8:12 ““I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Having Jesus in your life dispels the darkness of sin, keeps you from living in fear, gives you salvation and strength and makes all things around you to be illuminated by God’s light.  Just like David, we can see God’s light and we can know Him personally through His Son.

David ends this Psalm with a reminder to wait patiently for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”

psalm-27 14Knowing God is light and will provide direction so we can see how to proceed,  David admonishes us to wait for the Lord.   I know, easier said than done, but it is a good reminder that our timetable for things is not the Lord’s.  In His light we can walk with confidence and trust His leading as we wait for His perfect timing.

Will you walk seeking God’s light in your life today?  Will you grow in trust for Him as you wait His perfect timing?  If you are struggling with God’s timing, pray and ask for patience and guidance as you wait upon Him.

Linda

Where does your strength come from?

god is my strength 1We know that God is mighty in strength as scripture is filled with references to God’s strength.  David praised God’s strength in his song of thanksgiving in 1 Chronicles 16:10-11 when he had the ark brought to Jerusalem. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.11 Look to the Lord and his strength;  seek his face always.”   David knew seeking God was the correct action to receive strength at all times. Later in Psalms he writes how God strengthen his heart in Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail,  but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” , equips and brings righteousness with His strength Psalm 18:32 “the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.”, and His strength brings blessing Psalm 84:5 “Blessed are those whose strength is in you,  in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” 

There are so many others who wrote about God’s strength.   Isaiah proclaimed God’s strength for those in need in Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength“. Habakkuk proclaimed God’s strength and ability to lift him above his circumstances in Habakkuk 3:19 “God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;  he makes me tread on my high places.” 

god is my strengthIn the New Testament we are encouraged to seek God’s strength through prayer. Luke 21:36 Jesus exhorts the disciples to pray for the strength to combat the temptations of the world that would lead us astray,  But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  Paul reminds us in Ephesians to pray for strength that comes through faith and trust in Christ, For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,”  Ephesians 3:14-18  In Philippians Paul pens one of my favorite verses about God’s strength, I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

GodismystrengthWhat do you know and feel about God’s strength?  Is His strength accessible to you in prayer? Do you ask for His strength daily in your life or only when you are in times of great need?  Scripture shows us that God’s strength is available to us so that we may be strong of heart, filled with love and conviction for Christ, equipped to do His work and to be able to stand in adversity.  Philippians 4:13 would even go so far as to say God can make the impossible possible through His strength.  Do not be lacking in strength because you neglected to pray and ask for strength.  Jesus said in John 16:24 “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”  James 4:2 “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.”   We know God desires us to Philippians-413be strong and living in His strength daily, so ask Him for  strength whenever you need it.

Be comforted and encouraged by His strength in your life today!

Linda

2nd Sunday of Lent, God’s Sovereignty challenges us to see God in everything!

On Sunday’s during Lent, I desire to focus on praising God.  Pondering the Sovereignty of God this morning brought me to my knees as I considered all that God controls, directs, His kept promises and those in the future He will keep, and the fact that nothing surprises God or catches him off guard.  He is ever vigilant and none of His plans can be derailed or thwarted.  The Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk, offered a prayer to God in Habakkuk 3.   Let his words of praise and awe wash over you and seep into your soul.  Cling to the sovereignty of God in all your experiences in life and trust Him, the one who knows all, sees all and determines all by His power.  Habakkuk 3:2-4, 17-19

Habakkuk 3 2I have heard all about you, Lord.
    I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
    help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
    remember your mercy.

I see God…
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
    and the earth is filled with his praise.
His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
    Rays of light flash from his hands,
    where his awesome power is hidden.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,sproul
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights.

Praise Him today for His Sovereignty and trust all that you have and are into His care.

Linda

In-Gods-HandsSuggestion (it’s a challenge):   Knowing that God is sovereign and depending upon God’s sovereignty are vastly different.  Think of something that is coming up for you today or this next week.  Determine now to release that item to God and depend upon and seek His sovereignty over all parts of this task.   Do your part in preparing for the event, but release the outcome to God.  No worrying allowed as you depend solely on His sovereignty. and for God to bring this work to completion for your good and His glory.  Let go and let God!

Enjoy this beautiful song about God’s Sovereignty.

Standing in awe or doubt?

In Psalm 119:113-120 there are a couple of key verses I want to focus on in today’s blog.  The psalmist contrasts those that oppose God and the resource of God’s Word for those that believe.

psalm 119 120113  I hate double-minded people,
    but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!   

 He first points out the presence of double-minded people that waver in their commitment to God as being a distraction to the believer.  James 1:6,8 describes this type of individual.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  A double-minded person is trying to be guided by and committed to the world and does not have a solid faith in God.  The effect of such thinking and actions is instability in conduct and thought.  The next group the psalmist reveals as opposing the believer are evildoers.  The Bible speaks often about evildoers or those that work against God and his followers.  1 Peter 2:12 puts it this way, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”  Evildoers seek to bring us down with their accusations and ruin our witness in the world. 

The psalmist seeks to contrast the effects of the double-minded and evildoers with the consistency and reliability of God’s Word.  He speaks of God’s Word as a refuge that shields us and gives us hope (114).  He concludes this section with a profound statement about God’s Word.  In verse 120 he says,My flesh trembles in fear of you;   I stand in awe of your laws.”  He has such great reverence for God that he describes himself as trembling and his faith in God results in profound adoration and awe for God’s Word.  Praise God for the power of His Word!

The psalmist’s response to God’s Word challenges us today.  Do you hold to God’s Word when assaulted by evildoers and double-minded people?  Is God’s Word your hope and shield?  Do you see the power and might of God revealed in His Word?  The psalmist assures us that we will find hope, strength, love, peace and direction when we stand in awe of God’s Word and cling to it.  His Word will keep us from being double-minded, firmly rooted and grounded in faith and able to withstand the waves of doubt we encounter each day.

restoring the aweStanding in awe of the power of God’s Word,

Linda