Rejoicing in the Lord is the BEST ever!

Paul has hit the rewind button in Philippians 3:1-7. He wants us to keep in mind the joy we have in the Lord! He wants us to rejoice and revel in the thoughts we have because of Christ and the state of being we have in Christ. Does that describe you and you thoughts today? Are you rejoicing in spite of opposition or hard circumstances? Paul wanted the Philippian Christians rejoicing in their faith and not putting obligations on each other or placing value/trust in their worldly achievements. Paul recalls his own worldly accomplishments and knows that he could boast but he reminds them that even all those things pale in comparison to what he has in Christ, that he says is cause for rejoicing in the Lord.

Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

Paul concludes in verse 7 with his own realization that all our worldly ‘things’ and accomplishments are worthless when compared to what we have in Christ. Nothing compares to life with Him now and in the future, our heavenly home, our salvation, our redemption from eternal punishment for our sins, our growing and changing character that reflects God’s indwelling Holy Spirit….. These are priceless treasures we possess in Christ and are reasons to rejoice in the Lord!

Have a blessed day- rejoicing and giving thanks for what Christ has done and will do within you.

Linda

Remembering why we celebrate the 4th

This year as we are held in bondage by a world wide pandemic, I am holding my freedoms more closely and cherishing them even more.  I am thankful for breath, life and freedom from oppression.  I am thankful for our country, flawed as it is, where I am free to worship and live.  I am thankful for family and friends- even if I’m not able to be with them, I know they are there.  Has the pandemic led you to greater thankfulness?

4th of julyI want to wish each of you a Happy 4th.  The 4th of July is a favorite holiday filled with family BBQ’s, games, swimming, picnicking, corn on the cob, apple pie and fireworks. Even if we are not able to celebrate like we have in the past, we know that the 4th is more than that to each of us.  America and the freedom it represents and holds for each of us was bought with a price- sacrifice, hope and struggle by those that went before us and those that labored to secure our freedom.  Our struggle over the centuries has been to secure,defend and maintain freedom of religion, peace, prosperity and hope for us and our children.  We desire to live in an unbiased, loving and accepting society.  Is this possible? Actually I believe it is not possible without Christ.  He is the one who can make all things right and gives us the power to love and live in harmony with others.

Today’s thoughts of freedom bring me to Galatians 5:1.  Paul was reminding the Galatians about the precious freedom they held in Christ.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves by burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Christ  died for us so that we might be free from sin and its bondage and have the ability to live lives that honor Him.  The cross was the ultimate sacrifice for us.  Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  He bought our freedom with a price, his life.  He redeemed us from sin’s ultimate consequence-death.  My freedom in Christ is due to His sacrifice on the cross for me.

I have FREEDOM in Christ- freedom from my sins, freedom to live for Him, freedom from eternal death and freedom to live with Him for eternity.   Just as we are thankful for those who died to secure the freedom we have in America, we need to be eternally grateful for the freedom we have in Christ alone.  He is the one who secured it all and brings us to the place where we can enjoy freedom.

freedomToday as you are thankful for America, think also of the greater freedom you have though Christ and say a prayer of Thanks to Jesus.

Thankful today for my Savior and my country,

Linda

Peace, essential footwear for the Believer

After putting on the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness the believer needs to tend to their footwear.  Usually the picture of messengers is one running with bare feet.  Here the soldier, ready for all terrain conditions,  has his feet covered and Ephesians 6 15protected.  But what kind of foot wear is Paul suggesting, spiritual footwear that only comes through the gospel’s good news = peace.   “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.”  Ephesians 6:15

How does the peace given through the Good News of Jesus protect us?  Jesus promised through faith an other worldly peace that keeps away fearJohn 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  His peace also gives us strength and blessing.  Psalm 29:11 “May the Lord give strength to his people!  May the Lord bless his people with peace!”   His peace acts as a guard against Satan’s attacks and keeps us from being anxious.  Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  The gospel message also brings peace through the assurance of salvationIsaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,  who bring good tidings,  who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,  “Your God reigns!””  Lastly, His peace is brought to us through faith in an attitude of thanksgiving.  Colossians 3:17 colossians 3 17“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  This attitude of thankfulness allows God’s peace to rule in our lives.  Peace will guard and keep us  moving forward with confidence in God and His plan to give out the Good News of Jesus.

As you pray and think on God’s Word today, remember the peace that comes through Jesus confounds Satan and brings glory to God.  When have you experienced this other worldly peace that gave you strength, kept away your fears, assured you of your salvation, caused you to be thankful and gave you a mind that was calm and resting in Him?  It is this peace that all believers need to possess, grab hold of, hold close, as they witness and walk each day living for Jesus.  Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have peace filling my life as I strive to walk in witness to His truth.

Linda

Holy Week – on Monday Jesus cleansed the temple and cursed the fig tree.  He was  righteously angry at the greedy money changers that were keeping the Gentiles from worshiping and treating His house with disrespect.  Matthew 21:13 “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”  Jesus also cursed the fig tree which was fully leaved and yet had no figs.  This was a foreshadowing of the coming judgement on the nation of Israel for rejecting the truth of His coming.

Happy Valentine’s Day with a Thankful Heart

The cynic might say Valentine’s Day is the day for florists, candy and card makers to earn a great deal of money.  I walked into a local supermarket yesterday, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of flowers, cards and candy that were on display.   On the love side, Valentine’s Day is a day when we can express our love for one another freely and not be thought of as sentimental or mushy.  How about God?  How does God express His love for us?   Here john 3 16is a familiar verse that gets right to the heart of God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For He did not sent his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:16-17  

How much more love could God show towards us than sacrificing His only Son on our behalf?  He loved us that much.   He sent Him so that through faith in Jesus we could be saved and not condemned.  Only sinless Jesus could erase our sin and present us whole and perfectly clean before our Holy God.

valentineWhen you say ‘thank you’ today for a Valentine gift you receive, a card, note, flowers or someone simply saying ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’, think about thanking God too.  Thank Him for sending Jesus.  Thank Him for making a way for your salvation and eternal life with Him.   That is the best Valentine I can think of that is filled with all of God’s love for now throughout eternity.

Blessings on this Valentine’s Day.

Linda

 

Abounding in Thanksgiving….is that you?

What causes you to be thankful?  There are lots of sights, things and people that bring a smile to our faces,  but what gives you the most gratitude in your heart?   God’s Word gives us the ultimate reason to give thanks in Colossians 2:6-7  “Therefore, as you Abounding-in-Thanksgivingreceived Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”   Paul was teaching the Colossians that the freedom they have in Christ will cause them to be grounded and not easily swayed by the world.  They will be able to live full lives because God lives within them and empowers them to live for Him.  By faith in Jesus they can walk with Him daily.   Paul explained to them, and us, that the result of an empowered and indwelt life would be thankfulness.  Having Christ with you 24/7, guiding, protecting, building you up, and loving you would result in great thanksgiving.

Is that true of you?  Do you live with thankfulness in your heart because of what Jesus did and continues to do in and through your life?  Ask yourself-am I  abounding in thankfulness?  Abounding means having thanks in great quantity, being rich in thankfulness,  being filled, teeming with thanks.  If you are struggling to abound in thanks, think on a few of the things Christ did and is doing for you:  He provided the way for my salvation from God’s wrath through His death on the cross, calls me a member of His family, gave me eternal life, is accessible to me 24/7, will never leave me nor forsake me, gave me citizenship in heaven, intercedes for me before the Father,  gave me His Holy Spirit to indwell me, and He promises a life that is full, abundant and rich in love.  AUTUMNTake a minute today to thank Him for being the reason for your abundant and abounding thankfulness.  He is worthy.

Linda

Who are you telling about God?

Psalm 107 1Psalm 107:1-2  “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble

Is this a scripture that describes you?  Do you give thanks for His goodness and love for you?   Do you tell others how good God is?   This psalm reminds us that because God is good and loves us unconditionally, we should be shouting His praise and thanksgiving.  Because of God’s goodness and love, that we do not deserve and did nothing to earn, we should be overcome with gratefulness and proclaiming the goodness and love of God to all who will hear.

say soMake today one of proclamation and tell others about your good and loving God.  He will hear you and be pleased by your faith and glorified in your testimony.

Linda 

Whole-Hearted Thankfulness, David did it and so can you!

Today’s Thanksgiving passages are from Psalm 9.  David challenges us to consider our 9 1 psalmown praises.  Do I give God thanks with my whole heart?  Do I remind myself and others of how God has worked in my life?

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Do I see God as Just and Righteous?  Do I let Him care for me, and seek shelter within His arms?   Where am I putting my trust each day?

psalm 9 10But the Lord sits enthroned forever;
    he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
    he judges the peoples with uprightness.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

As you meditate on these verses, consider your heart attitude.  Is it one of praise and thankfulness for being who you are, where you are, right now?  Are you open to God’s leading, appreciative of His care for you and desirous of pleasing Him with your life?  Consider this– God allows things to happen or come into our life- people, events, circumstances to grow us and develop our character (even or especially the hard things).  God uses all things in our lives for our good and jeremiah 29 11His glory.   Remember 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.”   

Let thanks and praises be on your lips and in your heart today!  God is good and intends good for me and it will bring Him glory.

Linda

Should I give thanks when the whole world is against me????

Sometimes we feel, rightly so, that the whole world is against us.  There are so many complicated circumstances in our lives that it seems that no matter what, things cannot be made right.  We are not alone on days like this.  David felt that way as he was constantly pursued by Saul, who wanted to kill him, for over 10 years!  I’m sure David felt overwhelmed and defeated.  In Psalm 7 David states that the only true refuge he know is God himself.  Lord my God, I take refuge in you;  save and deliver me from all who pursue me, (verse 1)   He knows his enemies want to destroy him, see him defeated and broken, “or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.” (verse 2)  David knows that God gets angry over injustice and is the righteous judge.  He knows and trusts God to enact vengeance upon his enemies who stand against God. (verse 6,8)    Arise, Lord, in your anger;  rise up against the rage of my enemies.  Awake, my God; decree justice.”   “Let the Lord judge the peoples. Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,  according to my integrity, O Most High.”

psalm 7 17Opening his soul to God, David lays his hopes and fears before God.  He concludes with verse 17.  “I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
    I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High”.      David knew his heart needed to have an attitude of praise and thanksgiving.  The problems in life were large and his fears were real,  but God alone has the answers and will provide.  God knows the details of our lives and all the tough circumstances we face.  Our hearts need to be bent towards thanksgiving not worry.   Our hearts need to be focused on who God is.  He is greater than anything we can ever face.   State your concerns then leave them with God.  Spend your time giving thanks to our Sovereign God who has all things within His loving control.

attitude of thankfulnessMake a conscious decision today to give thanks and be blessed for it.

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

 

What does June 6th mean to you? Sacrifice, freedom, honor….

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the “D-Day” invasion of Europe in 1944.   Known as Operation Overload it was cloaked in secrecy and

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Today the Allied flag still fly in memory.

various rumors were spread to mislead the enemy as to when the attack would take place.  General Eisenhower had originally chosen June 5 for the invasion but bad weather made that impossible,  so they moved forward as weather cleared on June 6.  It was the largest amphibious attack in history and some 156,000 plus troops from Great Britain, Canada and the United States landed on various beaches.  When I visited Normandy, I realized how great the coordination had to have been to attack simultaneously the different beaches.  The British and Canadians captured beaches code named Gold, Juno and Sword.  The Americans captured Utah Beach but faced heavy resistance on Omaha Beach where over 2,000 Americans died.  Some historians estimate that more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing.

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Beautiful and serene today, but then were covered with barbed wire and obstacles to stop the troops from landing.

 

 

 

By the day’s end, some 156,000 troops had landed successfully and led what is thought to be ‘the beginning of the end for Germany’.  By the end of August, northern France had been liberated and by the Spring of 1945 the Germans were defeated.   The coordinated efforts of all the commanders were lead by General Dwight D Eisenhower.  They successfully adapted and overcame to defeat the enemy.

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The Rangers attacked under heavy fire from the Germany guns in these bunkers on top of the cliff.

 

IMG_0810
This beautiful beach cliff was the setting of the American Rangers’ attack that morning.

 

As we ponder this day in history, let us give thanks to those who gave their lives and those who fought bravely in the face of grave danger and survived.  Thank you to those who came home and lived lives of honor and courage after having experienced the horrors of war and to those who did not return.

IMG_0826Normandy, a place of remembrance.  Let us remember their sacrifice for our freedom and not take it lightly as the cost was great.

Proverbs 10:7 “The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
May the memories bring you blessings today.

Linda