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 Glue of our Sovereign God, Do you feel it?

Yesterday as I mediated or ruminated on Colossians 1:15-17 there were several phrases that really stuck in my mind. Colossians 1:16b-17 ” all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” This says all things were created by Jesus as He was there at the moment of their creation; He is creator God. All the heavens and the earth were created for Him, to bring Him glory. Our purpose in serving Him is to abide in Him, reflect His character in ours and bring Him glory. Psalm 148: 5-6 puts it this way: Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

The other phrase that has given me pause is that “and in him all things hold together.What does this mean to you? Do you think of yourself as the one that holds your family or workplace or church or group you belong to together? As a fallible human it is not possible to have that kind of responsibility and see it through to completion. However, Paul was telling the Colossians that Jesus does it all. He can handle all things, complete all things and work all situations for our good and His glory. One of my favorite scriptures that I claim and cling to is Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” As believers we can trust in our Sovereign God to know how things can and will work together. How what seems to us a mistake can be used by God to refine, teach and grow us to be more like Jesus.

As you think about how Jesus holds all things together here are a few verses proclaiming His Sovereignty in all things. 1 Chronicles 29:12 “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 2 Chronicles 29:6 ” “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” Acts 17:26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”

Is Jesus the preeminent one in your life? Is He the one you are trusting to hold all things together? Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can rely on Sovereign Jesus to hold all things together for me in my life. I love Isaiah 49: 16 and claim His promise in my life, “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” We are precious to Him and He is holding us in His hands day by day. He goes before us and surrounds us with His perfect will and timing. Trust Him to keep your life glued together as you walk with Him.

Linda

Where does you Heart need Relief today?

Two heart verses spoke to me this morning.  Knowing our hearts are deceitful and driven by original sin, God promises to do a work in our hearts that is amazing.  Proverbs 3:5-6 is a well quoted verse that speaks of God’s power to lead and guide if we will trust and acknowledge Him in our lives.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do,  and he will show you which path to take.”   God is the one with the transforming power in our lives if we will seek to know and trust Him.   

My second verse is found in  Psalm 34:17-18,   The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;

    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. David wrote these words during a very difficult time in his life.  He knew God. He knew God would hear his cries for help.  David knew God would and could rescue him.  He knew from experience that God was near to him when his heart was broken and his spirit crushed.   David knew God and had experienced His love and care during times of great need.  

God knows our hearts and sees what we need even before we ask for help.  God knows our desire for guidance and He alone has the power to mend our broken hearts and crushed spirit.   Seek Him like David did and lay your sorrows, hurts and needs before Him.  He promises that those who seek Him will find Him.  Moses told the children of Israel just  before they entered the Promised Land, “But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Deuteronomy 4:29   God promises to be found if we seek with an open heart.  Seek Him today and tell Him about your broken heart, your crushed spirit or your desire to be guided by Him.  God can and will answer your prayers, just as He promised.

Seeking His comfort and clinging to His promise as I  walk with Him daily,

Linda

Advent Reminds us to Trust Sovereign God Always!

Our story of the coming of John the Baptist, the fore-runner of Jesus, continues as Zechariah listened to the message from the angel Gabriel about his future son Elizabeth would bear and his mind filled with doubt. Unlike Mary who we will see marveled at the words of the angel and accepted the impossible as possible with God. Zechariah seemed to doubt the ability of God to make this birth of a son in his old age possible. He was not asking the how it would work but can it succeed. He wanted assurances in addition to the word of this heavenly being. Gabriel’s response was swift and decisive -silence until John was born.

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” 21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.” Luke 1:18-22

How do you respond to God? Do you doubt God’s ability to change a situation, heal a relationship, cure a disease or affliction or to see you though a difficult time? Zechariah knew God, knew the story of Abraham and Sarah and the birth of their promised child in their old age. He knew the stories of the impossible happenings like Jonah and the big fish, Daniel in the Lion’s den, Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, Hezekiah and Gideon’s success against greater enemies, and yet Zechariah doubted the ability of God to give him a son in his old age. He doubted the character of his Sovereign God who was Almighty, Omniscient and the Provider of all things. It is not wrong to ask God for a sign like Gideon (Judges 6:17) and Hezekiah (2Kings20:8) did. It is not wrong to question or react with surprise or even laughter at the thought of an impossible situation like Mary (Luke 1:34) or Abraham (Genesis 18). However, it is wrong to think God is incapable of doing what He is promising. Remember scripture said Zechariah had great faith and walked with God. He did not disbelieve in the existence of God, but in His ability to do as He promised. Zechariah paid for his unbelief with silence. We will see that even this is not wasted effort as God uses Zechariah’s silence to testify and bring glory to Himself.

I am reminded of Hebrews 11:1 and 6 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Faith pleases God. Faith means trusting God in the most difficult or unlikely situations to work everything for my good and His glory. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Cling to these promises as you strive to see that  “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

As you seek to trust in Sovereign God here are 2 verses that I claim and cling to: Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord;  trust in him and he will do this” and Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Hold fast to Sovereign God as He knows what He is doing and will always guide you in the correct way so Trust in Him.

Linda

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