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.

Are you Seeing blessings in your life? Take a look!

Being a blessed believer I’ve discovered has many layers.  I began weeks ago with a definition of what blessing is in man’s eyes: a gift of divine favor, good wishes or approval, anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.  Then I looked at scripture to see what God calls blessedness.  All of God’s examples show divine favor towards us and His divine ways of having His blessings in our lives.   Which ones have you seen, are seeing or hope to see in your life?  When you do- you can count yourself blessed!

Blessed is the believer who:  walks in His ways.  Psalm 1                                                            *whose’s sins are forgiven.  Psalm 32:1-2                                                                                          *who takes refuge in Him.  Psalm 34:8                                                                                               *who trusts in the Lord.  Psalm 40:4                                                                                                   *who wisely listens, obeys and accepts the Father’s discipline and instruction  Psalm                      94:12                                                                                                                                            *who fears (reveres) the Lord and delights in His Commandments.   Psalm 112:1                 *who is blessed through his children (physical or spiritual).  Psalm 127:5                               *who fears God and walks in His ways.  Psalm 128:1-2                                                                 *who does what is right based in His righteousness. Isaiah 56:1-2                                             *who is deep rooted in Him, standing firm in all seasons of life.  Jeremiah 17:4                      *whose sins are forgiven, dependent upon God for His righteousness in Christ.  Romans              4:6-8                                                                                                                                               *who is steadfast, persevering and awaiting reward.  James 1:12                                               *who is humble, sorrows over his sin and dependent upon God for forgiveness, hungers             after God’s Word, merciful, has a clean heart before God,  is a peacemaker, is                        persecuted  for His sake.   Matthew 5:3-10

blessed gratefulWhat a list to take to heart and meditate uponIf you are not seeing some of the blessings God provides for believers, take that to heart, pray about it, search scripture and ask God what He would have you do so that you might partake in His divine blessings!

Linda

Can you stand the heat of life?

jeremiah 17-5Our blessings passage today comes from Jeremiah 17.  Like in Psalm 1 where the blessed man was contrasted with the wicked man, so Jeremiah presents God’s description of the blessed or God favored man versus the worldly or self-sufficient man.   I looked at this passage in several translations but really liked the Message as it seemed to explain the essence of this passage the best.           Jeremiah 17:5-8 

5-6 God’s Message:

“Cursed is the strong one
    who depends on mere humans,
Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone
    and sets God aside as dead weight.
He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie,
    out of touch with the good earth.
He lives rootless and aimless
    in a land where nothing grows.                        The man who depends on himself  or this world is not rooted or grounded in anything but like a tumbleweed, rolling around in life, not producing any fruit and bumping from one thing to another.

 

Dessicated plant on sand7-8 “But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
    the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
    putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
    never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
    bearing fresh fruit every season.           The men and women of God are quite the contrast being rooted, growing, flourishing, trusting and bearing fruit even when storms, droughts or things get ‘hot’ in life.

Which type of person are you?  I know from time to time we can all be tumbleweeds- tossed to and fro by the winds of the world, but we have learned that trusting and clinging to Jesus can bring us through every situation.  Walking with Him keeps us steady and calm in the midst of life’s storms and gives us a life that is fruitful and honoring towards God.

Inspirational-Good-Morning-MessagesI challenge you to walk like the blessed man today.  See if you don’t have a song of praise in your heart and your steps are lighter as you trust and cling to Jesus.

Linda

Fear the Lord-it leads to blessings!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom is a classic line found multiple times in the Old Testament.  Within each reference we are told additional reasons for fearing the Lord.  Psalm 111 tells about the Lord’s greatness and ends with verse 10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;  all who follow his precepts have good understanding.  To him belongs eternal praise.”    This verse closes Psalm 111 and leads into Psalm 112, one which scholars call its twin.  Psalm 112 speaks of a godly man and how following the Lord brings him an abundant life.  Praise the Lord!  Blessed is psalm 112the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!”   The phrase ‘fear of the Lord’ is equated with reverence, awe and respect.  So having great respect for the Lord and His Word and following the precepts (principles) of His Word will bring blessing and delight.  The psalmist continues on for 8 more verse explaining how fearing the Lord brings blessings to the believer.

His offspring will be mighty in the land;        Children productive and blessed.
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,                He will have physical 
and his righteousness endures forever.            and spiritual success before God. 
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;    He will be of good character.
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;    His character will be
    who conducts his affairs with justice.                filled with generosity and justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;               He will stand firm in faith and
he will be remembered forever.                             be well remembered.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.             He trusts the Lord in all circumstances.
His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
    until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;  
his righteousness endures forever;                   He will reap the fruits of his
    his horn is exalted in honor.                                  generosity and faith.

What amazing blessings await the man who fears the Lord and delights in Him.  The psalmist concludes with verse 10 which is a striking contrast to the blessed man.  The wicked man sees it and is angry;  he gnashes his teeth and melts away;  the desire of the wicked will perish!”    

Blessings lookAs you journey through this day, ponder how wonderful it is to fear the Lord and how blessed you are for finding your delight in Him!

Linda

 

    

A Recipe for Blessings

psalm 40 4Today’s blessing passage comes from Psalm 40.  David leads up to verses 4 and 5 by describing the wonderful things God has done for him and can do for us.  By the time we get to verse 4, we are ready to see how trusting the Lord can and does bring great blessing and to tell others of God’s greatness.

40 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry      In life, David had learned to wait upon the Lord patiently even when it was hard.  He experienced God’s hearing his pleas for help and His rescues personally as he waited 14 years to be king while running and hiding from Saul.  Is God asking you to wait patiently today?                  He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.             David had been rescued by God from Saul, the Philistines and from his own sinful mistakes multiple times, and he had experienced God’s restoration both physically and spiritually.  Is this your story too?
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.    David praised God for keeping him and giving him a new song of praise to sing, and he is calling others to put their trust in his saving God.  If you could name your new song from God, what would be the title?

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!   Here David reaches the conclusion that one who trusts in God and not worldly things or advice is and will be truly blessed.  Trusting God leads to wholeness in life.
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.      Lastly, David praises God for His grace, mercy, blessings and acts towards us. Even if we started now and praised all day long we could never tell of all the wonderful things God has done on our behalf.  We are truly blessed by Almighty God and no one or nothing can compare to Him!

The first 5 verses of this Psalm are all about blessings David experienced first hand and so can we.  God listens and desires that we wait patiently for His perfect timing.  God will lift us out of hard circumstances in life and set us upon solid ground if we will place our trust in Him.  He will give us a new song to sing as we walk with Him day by day.  We will be blessed by trusting in Him and not looking elsewhere for our direction and guidance.  God has given and will give us abundant blessings for walking in trust and faith.

today blessingWhat a wonderful recipe for success in life– patience in listening, trusting God to rescue and provide, singing His song, looking to Him for guidance and advice and telling about His goodness.  Will you make this your intent today?   Look for blessings if you do!

Linda

What’s in a Word?

Have you ever thought of having a Word for the year?  I had not done this until last year.  I was asked to choose a word for the year and then a Bible verse or verses to support me in that focus.  I prayed and asked God to give me a word to focus upon for 2018 and He gave me Hope.  I was amazed at how many times this word appeared in my study, my thoughts, my writing, etc.  Each time it would reassure me of His Hope that is within me and how all my hope is in Christ.  There were various verses I relied upon and you’d be amazed at how many times they appeared in my daily walk.   I did not focus on hope until spring as something I was doing required that I choose a word for the year.  Interestingly enough, God already had prepared me as my January 1 blog used Lamentations 3:21-22 which focused on hope.   I also used Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Peter 3:15.    For 2019, I have chosen Trust as my word.  Right now I’m going through some things that required that I Trust in Him more than ever and not the world, things or people around me.  The verses I’ve chosen are Psalm 37:5 and Nahum 1:7. 

gods-word-personal2If you think this might help your focus for the year, pray and ask God to reveal to you a focus word for 2019.  Here are some suggestions and possible verses to support your word:

Joy- Psalm 16:11, Psalm 63:7, Habakkuk 3:18 or James 1:2

Hope–  Psalm 62:5, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:21-22, Romans 5:4-5 or 1 Timothy 4:10

Trust- Psalm 28:7, Psalm 31:14, Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-6 or  Jeremiah 17:7

Grace– John 1:16-17, Romans 3:24, 2 Corinthians 12:9, or Ephesians 1:7

Peace- Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 5:9, John 14:27 or Philippians 4:7.

god-ideas_guide-delightGod,  in His great providence, gives us so many resources to help us walk with Him in faith.  All His words,  we are reminded in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 are useful to us. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  I pray that choosing a word will give you focus and support in the year ahead.  We desire to live for Him and as we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

May you have a blessed year filled with His Words!

Linda