Freedom isn’t free, there is always a cost

Freedom-DaysI want to wish each of you a Happy 4th.  The 4th of July is a favorite holiday filled with BBQ’s, games, swimming, picnicking, corn on the cob, apple pie and fireworks.  But as you know, the 4th is more than that to each of us.  The freedom we enjoy in America was bought with a price.  The cost to those that came before us was filled with sacrifice, hope and struggle.  It continues to cost those who labor daily in the military to ensure 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 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Galatians 5:1.  Paul was teaching the Corinthians how to live together in harmony and purity.  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own: you have been bought at  price.  Therefore honor God with your body.”   Paul was reminding the Galatians what they had in Christ and that it should be their desire and ours to honor God in all we say and do.  “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 us with a price, his life.  He redeemed us from sin’s ultimate consequence-death.  My freedom in Christ was bought with the price of His life on the cross.

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 thankful for the freedom we have in Christ alone.  He is the one who secures 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,

Linda

SALVATION- Thank you Jesus!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have salvation.  This is a wonderful message filled with hope on this Good Friday.  Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf accomplished what nothing else could.  He was the perfect sacrifice that was wholly accepted by God the Father.  Jesus told us that He was the way to salvation.   Here are a few verses to ponder in your heart as you consider your own faith in Jesus.

acts 4 12John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  The way to salvation is clearly through faith in Jesus.

Acts 4:12 “ And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Salvation can only come through Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.”   God’s plan to redeem us from the punishment of sin was through Jesus.

solasTitus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,”   God’s grace, undeserved favor, was fully shown in sending Jesus.  It is His plan for salvation for everyone who believes and He desires that none should perish but all come to repentance.

Jesus is our salvation, our only hope in this sin-filled world.  He alone can SAVE us!

Linda

Suggestion:  This Good Friday spend time in prayer thanking Jesus for His sacrifice on your behalf.

 

Love, where does it come from?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have love for others. Jesus was very emphatic that as Christians we are to show love for one another. First we are to love God then others. Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Jesus also spoke of loving others in John 15:12, 15 “My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” “This is my command:Love each other.”

Why is loving others so important? It shows we strive to be like Jesus. His character and love are perfect and He desires that we grow to reflect Him. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” What is this love supposed to look like? Romans 12:10 gives us direction. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Hebrews 10:24 tells us it is to be a continual thought in our minds, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

Where does this loving and honoring attitude come from? Since Jesus commands it, when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior His spirit indwells us and empowers us for right living! Paul eloquently wrote to the Ephesians in 3:17b-19 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Being filled with the love of Christ leads us into a life filled with love and good deeds towards others.

Linda

Suggestion: Ask God to send you someone special to love with His love today.

Promises, do you know any to claim?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have very great and precious promises I can claim for my life.  The verse I chose as the theme verse for my book Promises for Dynamic Living shows us exactly how blessed with promises we are.   2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 

Jesus promises He has given us everything, absolutely everything we need for a godly life because we know Him through faith.  The promises He has included in His Word should be extremely precious to us as the promises help us to be one in the Spirit with Him and live a life that is above the corruption of this world.   I find this simple truth encouraging.  Satan wants us to believe there are things missing from our lives that only the world can provide.  Christ says, “NO!!”,  I have given you everything you need.  Satan wants us to believe that the world is fulfilling and will lead to a good life.  Christ says, “NO!!”, the way of the world leads to destruction and away from godly living.

So what exactly has Jesus provided for us in His promises?  As you study the scriptures, you find that we are promised many things- comfort, love, salvation, hope, peace, joy, understanding of godly things, fellowship with God the Father and Son, infilling of the Holy Spirit, eternal life…..  the list goes on.  Each of these are promised by our faithful loving God.    Hebrews 13:8 tells us Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  unchanging GodGod and His truth is unchanging from the creation of everything until now-God does not change and will not change.  We can count on this.  So all the things God promises in His Word from the beginning are still true and unchanging.    Hebrew 6:17-19a further confirms God’s mind for us.  17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. 

130907-Let-God-s-PromisesHow can the truths of 2 Peter 1:3-4 effect our lives?  If we take Jesus at His Word and believe in His great and precious promises, we will live abundant lives that are filled by His Holy Spirit.  He wants us to lead godly lives that are anchored in His hope.

Linda

Suggestion:  Take the challenge today and look into His Word- seek His precious promises and then claim them in your life.  Need help finding promises? Here are a few to get you started:  Nahum 1:7, Philippians 4:19, Lamentations 3:21-23, James 4:7-8a, Deuteronomy 31:6.   Or for a longer list you could get a copy of my book Promises for Dynamic Living.   In it you will  find 70 different promises from God’s Word explained in a devotional format.  Each promise is meant for you as God desires to enrich and lead you towards greater godliness in Christ.

Dynamic-FrontCover-150

Get a copy in paperback or eBook form-available on my website from my publisher or Amazon.  My new edition now has questions for group Bible Study included.  Order it today.

Hope, now and for eternity. Thank you Jesus.

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have hope.  Lent it a time of reflection and I was thinking what life would be like if Jesus had not come.  I would be dead in my sins without hope.  I would face eternal punishment because there would be no way to approach holy God.  Jesus’ death on the cross changed all that. Praise God! Thank you Jesus!  Here are some verses to offer up in praise for the work of our Savior.hope jesus blood

Psalm 62:5 “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.”

Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we  rejoice  in hope of the glory of God.”

1 Peter 1:21 “who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Jesus_Christ_Our_Reason_For_Hope_637_637Because Jesus came, died and rose again, I can have hope for a life lived by faith today and a hope of future glory.   That is a blessed hope!  Thank you Jesus.

Linda

Suggestion:  Today as you consider the hope you have in Jesus, express to someone something you are hopeful about and why.  It could be as simple as “I hope you have a good day” to “I am hopeful because of Jesus.”   Show someone you possess hope. If they ask you why you have hope then you can explain,  as today you have the answer! Jesus.

A Struggler’s Confession

I have struggled these first few weeks of January as it seems I can’t get things to run smoothly.  Yesterday I sought solace in God’s Word and Job 42:1-6 brought me comfort.  I was touched by the Message version.

42 1-6 Job answered God:

“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.             I’m comforted by God’s 
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.                                              Sovereignty.
You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
    ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.            I’m talking and not 
You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.                                listening.
    Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!          I do know you!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
    I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”

As I read this passage, I identified with Job.  I too question God’s wisdom and His perfect plan.  I forget that He alone is Sovereign.  I tend to run on about things and not take time to listen to Him in prayer and in the Word.  Thankfully, I do know Him and have experienced God first hand in my life.  I know He is truth and He will fill me with His love and mercy if I turn to Him.

Prayer:  Father, I do know you and trust in your plans for me.  I know who you are and of your love and grace.  You do not do to me what I deserve but shower me with grace and mercy.  Thank you Jesus for loving me and keeping me in the palm of your hand. You shield and comfort me in hard times.  You bring me joy and hope everlasting day after day.  Create in me a clean heart that is focused upon you and not the swirling world around me.  Help me, like Job, to cling to you and your truth with a repentant heart.  Amen.

job 42 2Have a blessed day living in the light provided and protected by Sovereign, Almighty God.

Linda

Possessed by the Savior

The duties of the risen Messiah are foretold in Psalm 2:7-9.  I chose the Amplified version to give us some additional help in understanding these words included in the Messiah.

psalm 2 7 “I will declare the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son;
This day [I proclaim] I have begotten You.

‘Ask of Me, and I will assuredly give [You] the nations as Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth as Your possession.

‘You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall shatter them [in pieces] like earthenware.’”

Paul quotes verse 7 in his impassioned preaching to the Jews in Antioch recorded in Acts 13:32-33.  He was describing Jesus as the awaited and prophesied Messiah.  And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’”  God claims Jesus as Son and establishes His right to rule over all the earth.   The author of Hebrews also includes verse 7 when referring to Christ’s God given superiority over all angelic beings.   He rightly includes all beings in heaven and earth will worship the Son.  Hebrews 1:5-6  “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?  Or again,  “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.

What do these prophecies mean to us? Our Savior and Lord is God’s Son and will rule over all creation both in heaven and on earth.  This is not wishful thinking by God but presented as fact that His Son will rule as King.  God gives each of us to His Son as a precious possession.  Ephesians 1:14 refers to all believers as belonging to Christ and being sealed by His Holy Spirit.In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Peter also refers to believers as being a special possession of Christ’s  special possessionin 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”   Peter reminds us we are called to proclaim Jesus as we have seen His light and were called out of unbelief.

christmasLet us praise our risen King and all He accomplished on our behalf as we consider the babe in the manger.   I love the description of Jesus in Hebrews 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”  Thank you Jesus.

Linda 

Heartfelt Proverbs

Proverbs has a lot to say about the heart.  Sometimes the truth is given directly like in Proverbs 24:1-2  “Be not envious of evil men,  nor desire to be with them,  for their hearts devise violence,  and their lips talk of trouble” and Proverbs 6:14 describes a wicked man’s heart, with perverted heart devises evil,  continually sowing discord.”  Very often the proverbs are given with a contrast between the good heart and the bad and seek to teach or instruct us about our hearts.   Proverbs 28:14  “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always,  but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. “  The writer of Proverbs was wise and desired us to know how God views the heart of man and that God would not just be an observer in our lives.  Proverbs 21:2  “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”  Proverbs 17:3 “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”  

Proverbs also teaches how our hearts can and do please or displease God.  Proverbs 15:13-15 speaks of the cheerful, seeking heart and how a sorrow can crush the spirit of our heart.   “A glad heart makes a cheerful face,  but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. 14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.  15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.”   Proverbs 14:30 speaks of the effects of calm and envy on the heart.   A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,   but envy makes the bones rot.”  In Proverbs 6:16-19 we are given a list of things God hates that really displease Him. There are six things that the Lord hates,  seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.”

How do these ‘heart’ proverbs speak to you today?  Is your heart cheerful and calm or do you have times when you feel discord, disharmony or evil?  Because of the root of sin in our hearts, we need to continually submit our hearts to the Lord for His continual transformation.   I love Proverbs 22:11 “He who loves purity of heart,  and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.”  I do want King Jesus as my friend so I need to submit to daily cleansing at His feet in prayer.   Won’t you join me today?

proverbs 22Prayer:  Lord Jesus, you know the true nature of my heart.  Root out the evil ways in me and replace them with your love, grace and mercy.  Give me compassion and love for others that comes out of a grateful heart.  Create in me a clean heart that desires to please you.  Amen.

Seeking to serve with a humble and contrite heart,

Linda

The True Nature of our Hearts vs God’s Power = Victory in Jesus

God knows the true nature and intentions of our hearts.  Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees as they had observed the disciples eating food without washing or cleaning of their hands.  The Jewish law required certain observances before eating for yourself and the food.  Jesus called them hypocrites in Mark 7 saying they were more concerned about the outward appearances and not about the heart’s intent.  His disciples questioned him after this encounter.   And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,22 coveting, wickedness deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”  Mark 7:18-23

Lord looks at heartJesus knew the heart of man is where the problems lie.  The Pharisee’s desired to destroy Jesus out of greed, envy, jealousy and hatred.  It had nothing to do with eating ‘unclean food’ with ‘unclean hands’.  Jesus knows our hearts too.  He knows our true motives and desires.  Our hearts are bent toward self-gratification, self-glory, self-power and self-adulation.  It comes from a heart that is not right with God.  An old hymn calls it a sin sick heart that is in need of saving, cleaning and setting right before God.   We can not deny the true nature of our hearts but we can bring our hearts to God and allow Him to transform and make our hearts clean before Him.  Jesus gave us this new way to reconciliation with God.  Hebrews 10:21-23 describes this power, “21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God (Jesus), 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”   Jesus can clean our hearts and minds.  Then we can hold to our faith with assurance and hope!  He can and will root out the evil intentions of our hearts with His indwelling Holy Spirit and mold and shape us to His will and His ways.  First, we need to be cleaned by faith in Jesus’ work on the cross (death and resurrection) and then willing to be molded and shaped by His Holy Spirit.  God’s transformation is complete and 2Corinthians5.17permanent.  He replaces the old desires with new desires 2 Corinthians 5:17 calls us a new creation,  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”   Praise God for His transforming power!

Praising Jesus and His power to make me new!

Linda

True Freedom

Freedom-DaysI 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.  But as you know, 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 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Galatians 5:1.  Paul was teaching the Corinthians how to live together in harmony and purity.  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own: you have been bought at  price.  Therefore honor God with your body.”   Paul was reminding the Galatians what they had 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 us with a price, his life.  He redeemed us from sin’s ultimate consequence-death.  My freedom in Christ was bought with the price of His life on the cross.

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 thankful for the freedom we have in Christ alone.  He is the one who secures 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,

Linda