Thankfulness Day 20: I can have His peace!

How do you know things will turn out okay in the end? When the world seems to be falling apart around you and circumstances seem overly dark, where is your hope and peace? Jesus knew his disciples finally had faith in Him as the Son of God, but He also knew hard times were coming that would challenge their new faith and cause them to doubt and succumb to worry. He spoke these words in the Upper Room where the Last Supper was held and His arrest and death were imminent. John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peaceIn this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

God knows about the pandemic, the economic troubles, our election conflicts, power struggles in our government, sickness, death and our own individual problems. As Jesus pointed out, In this world you will have trouble. That is guaranteed by the nature of our sin-filled world. However, He promises us HOPE and PEACE! Jesus says He is greater than anything we can or will face as He has overcome the world. He will be the victor and we will be with Him in victory by holding fast to our faith and trusting in Him. Jesus said that ‘in me’ you will find the peace you need to sustain you now and in hard times to come.

I find this verse encouraging as it tells me I do not need to worry about the temporal things of life as God is sovereign and He will overcome all. The peace I have in Jesus creates in me a great sense of thankfulness and hope as I face each day and look into the future.

May you know His peace today and give Him thanks and praise!

Linda

Thankfulness Day 19: God has it covered!

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

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

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

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

Linda

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

Thankfulness Day 15: Consider His Peace

The Bible is full of scriptures about peace. God wants us to know His peace, live in peace and experience peace on a daily basis. Today’s verses come from Isaiah 26:3-4. As you read and meditate on the words from Isaiah, may they lead you towards greater thankfulness as you consider His peace.

You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Prayer: Lord, I desire your peace in my life. May my trust in you grow daily so that my mind is steadfastly focused on you. I know you can and will keep me in a state of peace that will cover my mind, body and soul as I trust in you more and more. Lord, you are my rock and refuge. You are eternal and will keep me as your own for eternity. I know Lord that you love me and are a promise keeper. Bring your peace into my life today as I focus upon you and walk trusting in you. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.

Have a blessed day filled with His peace and a thankful heart.

Linda

Thankfulness Day 9: We have a recipe for freedom from worry! Yeah!

Matthew 6:31-34 contains our thanksgiving challenge for today!

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

I labeled this as a thanksgiving challenge because Jesus’ principles for living go against our natural tendencies and desires. Jesus is asking us to live fully committed to God to receive provision and freedom from worry. God promises relief from daily worry if we will put knowing Him and His righteousness first in our life. How wonderful a life free from the stress of worry about our circumstances and needs would be. Jesus is proclaiming the following truths about life with Him: God does not want our life consumed with worry about everyday things or the future. God is sovereign and is greater than anything I could possibly face in life. Seeking to know God and His righteousness ways leads to a life free from worry. God know each day can be a challenge and requires full focus on Him to meet these challenges with trust in Him.

Can you do this? Yes, all things are yes in Christ! Focus on Jesus, knowing Him and seeking Him. God will keep His promises and free you from worry. Let the knowledge of Him and the freedom He provides create in you a sense of true thanksgiving and praise today.

Linda

#3 Practicing Devotion to God- Pray

prayerThe third practical way to experience love and commitment to God is to PRAY.  The Bible is filled with people talking, communing, listening and responding to God in prayer.  Isaac prayed for his wife Rebekah to conceive as she was barren, Hannah prayed rejoicing as God gave her a son to love,  David prayed for protection and guidance as he fled from Saul, Solomon prayed for wisdom to rule the people, Nehemiah prayed for the restoration of Jerusalem,  Jonah prayed from the belly of the fish, Jesus prayed many times to commune with His father while here on Earth, the Apostles prayed for guidance in presenting the gospel and encouraged all believer to pray constantly.  These are just a few examples of the who, when and why people prayed.

We often think of prayer as me talking and God listening.  All of the above knew that God was accessible in prayer and that He would answer with guidance, hope, love and compassion.  In Psalm 16: verses 7, 11 David reveals how he feels about prayer.  I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;  in the night also my heart instructs me.”  ” You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;  at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”    David received God’s guidance and counsel as God laid on his heart what he should do.  God revealed the right pathway in life to him. 

 Jesus instructed us on prayer in Matthew 6: 5-13He told us what not to do in verse 5,7-8 and then what to do in verses 6, 9-13.  Do Not “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.    Do “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”   Pray then like this:

lords-prayer“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.”

Prayer is personal as you alone can speak with Almighty God and lay your concerns, hopes, dreams and desires before Him.  As you learn to trust Him, He will reveal His will and desires to you.  Psalm 37:3,4 are some of my favorite verses and I pray and claim them often.  “Trust in the Lord and do good;  dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.Take delight in the Lord,  and he will give you the desires of your heart.”   

Psalm-37-4Talk with God, trust Him with the desires of your heart, keep on doing good and be safe in His arms.

Linda

Looking forward with Hope, backward with Thanks 2020 here we come!

2020 new year I always love December 31 because it means I am on the brink of a new beginning.  Those failures I’ve experienced during the year can end,  and I can start fresh and new.  Hope springs eternally in our hearts as we walk in faith and trust with our Lord and Savior Jesus.   In Psalms 42 and 43 David questions himself repeatedly with these words:     Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation.         

David wonders, and so do I, why I fret over failures, defeats, troubling circumstances, etc?  His answer,  and mine, is in trusting God alone.  His hope, and mine, is in God and the salvation He provides for eternity.  So as I end this year, I will reflect on what I achieved for Him, what God did in and through me, and look forward to the New Year with Hope.  I will look backward with thanksgiving in my heart as God has been 100% faithful in all things just as He promised.

Isaiah encourages us in 49:29-31 that the Lord knows the way, will provide and lead us isaiah-40-31 (1)in His way of hope.

He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

put-hope-1-627x376Will you join me in focusing on Hope and what God will bring your way in 2020?  Not only is it a New Year, it is also the beginning of a new decade.  Resolve to move Onward and upward with Christ alone!

Linda

Sovereign God, see Him today!

Joseph’s story inspires me in several ways.  He was an ordinary carpenter, a working man, righteous in God’s esteem and used by God to complete His plan for bringing His Son to us. He was completely obedient to God’s directions-he did as the Lord commanded.  He was compassionate as he respected Mary and sought to divorce her quietly not bringing further embarrassment because of her situation.  Here is his back story of how this happened to him, Matthew 1:18-25.

 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

history and sovereingty of GodWhere do we see God in this event?  For sure God’s power and might are displayed in the angel and the dream.  The choosing of the ‘right’ man for the job shows the knowledge of God and the exact timing of the events in the course of time-His sovereignty.

Today as I look at this I am struck by the Sovereignty of GodWhat does God’s sovereignty cover?   God controls all things.  There is nothing outside of God’s wise control, even the exact time and place for each person to live.  No one tells God what to do.  What God plans, happens.  No event, not natural disaster, no person, not even Satan can stop God’s plans.  God planned the time for His Son to come and He will return exactly as God plans in the future.   Do you see sovereignty here?  God chose the exact type of earthy father He desired for His Son-the right mother, the right home and time.  He placed him with a compassionate, righteous father giving Him exactly what Jesus needed to grow in wisdom and truth to accomplish His plan for our redemption.

What about you?  Do you trust wholly in God’s sovereignty?  Do you believe that He has the right place, plans and purpose for your life?  Joseph did not question God as He trusted in His wise judgement, plans and purposes for His life.  He was obedient to God-no doubting of God’s plan or power like we saw in Zachariah when the angel appeared to him.   No questioning of the incomprehensibility of the situation like Mary first did when the angel told her she would bear a son even though she was a virgin.  No, Joseph’s obedience and acceptance of God’s plans for his life are impressive and humbling.  He trusted totally in Sovereign God.

Sovereign-LordPray about Joseph’s example today as you seek to make obedience, compassion and integrity a part of your character.  God is sovereign and will lead you to serve Him exactly where He needs you to be.  Trust Him and He will grow and develop your character.

Linda

 

Let it be heard! Blessings from Mary.

I had the privilege of speaking Sunday morning at my church.  My topic was Mary’s story.  In my address, I give thoughts about Mary and what we can learn from her.  I do hope this is a blessing to you.  It was to me as I studied and let God organize my thoughts for this presentation.

Blessings from the First Sunday of Advent,

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

Saved by Jesus! Amazing and True!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a Savior.  A savior is by definition is one who saves.  Jesus saved me from sinRomans 6:23  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Jesus saved me so I could know God personallyPsalm 91:14-16 describes this relationship with God and what God will do because I love and trust in Jesus. “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver Trust mehim;  I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

One of my favorite passages that explains how and why Jesus is my Savior is Titus 3:4-7.  Titus was a young convert of Paul and did missionary work with him after his imprisonment in Rome.  They went to Crete together to spread the word about Jesus.  In his letter to Titus, Paul explains the truth about Jesus, His gracious mercy in coming, His cleansing and renewing of our lives with His Holy Spirit and His marvelous grace.

Titus 3 5But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Luke 1 47Truly, there is no Savior other than our Lord Jesus. Let us join Mary today in saying, “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” Luke 1:47

Linda

Suggestion: We know Jesus saved us from sin but what did He save you to?  Think of at least 5 things that you can do now because you are saved by Jesus and have a relationship with God.  (Hint- I can pray and know He will answer, I can ….)  When you finish your list- offer it up to God with Praise and Thanksgiving in Jesus’ Name.