6th Sunday of Lent, Resplendent with Palms!

IMG_0501Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem the week before Passover and His death on the cross is a wild an joyous event.  I have walked the Palm Sunday Road and it is a very steep hill leading down from the Mt. of Olives that leads to the eastern gate. As I walked that road, I could see this scene in my mind that is included in all four gospels.

Matthew 21:1-11    Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

IMG_0505The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Blessings today as we usher in the final week of Jesus’ life on earth with Palms, Shouts of Hosanna and Praises to Messiah, the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.

Linda

IMG_0513
Jesus entered into the city through the eastern gate that is now closed.  In later times the gate was blocked to keep Messiah from entering,  not realizing that Jesus had already come that Palm Sunday so long ago.

Suggestion:  As you praise God today in worship, choose an attribute of God that you are most thankful for and let God know what it means to you.  Consider- Savior, His Grace and Mercy, Sovereignty, Faithfulness, His Hope, His Assurance of Salvation in Jesus, His granting Freedom from Sin or His Provision for you.  Praise His Holy Name!

What’s your fragrance like?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the aroma of Christ about me. Paul wanted the Ephesians, and us too, to think about the effect we have on others when we are around them. You can tell if someone bathes regularly, uses special soap or shampoo or is wearing a fragrance, but you can also smell one who does not bathe regularly, who ate garlic or onions recently or who is wearing an offensive fragrance. Paul says we have the ‘smell’ of Christ. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16a This is a sobering thought that to other believers or those who are open to Christ we the aroma of Christ. This aroma is pleasing to God and reminds them of life and brings knowledge of Christ to them. However, to the unbeliever the aroma of Christ and His presence in our life through His indwelling Holy Spirit smells of death, condemnation and judgement.

Today as we consider our presence in the lives of others, let us ask ourselves, Do I have the aroma of Christ about me? Can others smell His presence in my life? How strong or weak is my fragrance? If you think you are only fragrant enough for God to smell you, spend some time in His Word or in prayer or with other Christians or in worship or listening to Christian music. All of those will strengthen your fragrance towards God and others.

Linda

Suggestion: spend some time today in a fragrance a building activity- in the Word, prayer, worship, fellowship or listening to Christian music. Remember your presence speaks to others.

3rd Sunday of Lent, Continuing our Lenten journey

Psalm 121 is known as a song of ascent.  These were psalms thought to have been used in annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem.  The city is on hills in Judea and the trip towards Jerusalem is always referred to as going ‘up to Jerusalem’.  Journey with me this morning using Psalm 121 and get a new, higher view of God, as we continue our Lenten pilgrimage to the cross.

judean hillsI lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

Have a blessed Sunday as you worship our Lord.

Linda

Suggestion:  Read this psalm again sometime today and pause after verse 2 and thank God for His help in a situation you faced this last week.  After verse 5 as you thank God for your protection this last week from any disasters that might have befallen you.  After verse 8 for the future care and hope He provides now and for eternity.

1st Sunday of Lent

Lenten Sunday’s are a time apart to get recharged and worship our Savior.  These last weeks I have been studying King David’s life and was brought to my knees by Psalm 51.  David wrote this psalm after his great sin with Bathsheba and the ordering of the death of Uriah, her husband.  David’s confession is real, heartfelt and gives us hope that God can indeed forgive all our sins and restore us.   Be restored and seek God’s forgiveness as you meditate.  Psalm 51: 1-4, 10-12, 17

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
wash awayWash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.

psalm 51 10David acknowledges his sin and knows God can forgive and wash him clean.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

David knows God can restore, renew and bring joy where there was sorrow over sin.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

David’s humbly offers God is his broken and sorrowful heart.

Prayer:  May it be so with me too.  Forgive my sins and create in me a new restored, resolved and committed heart to serve you.   Amen.

praise Lord peanutsLinda

Suggestion:  attend a worship service really focusing on the praise and worship of God,  so that you can soak in His restoring power.

Praise and Thanksgiving on our lips today! Good-bye 2018!

On this last day of 2018, we conclude with the final chorus of the Messiah.  The scene is the throne room of heaven in John’s vision and Jesus is being praised and worshiped.  Revelation 5:9-13

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of worthy-is-the-lambthousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

They begin by singing a new song. In the Old Testament, a new song was sung to celebrate and act of divine deliverance or blessing.  Here the creatures and angels are praising Jesus, the Lamb, who delivered all mankind through his blood.  Jesus is worthy to receive all power, wealth, wisdom, honor and blessing because of the ransom He paid with His blood on the cross.  All heaven and earth will praise Him!  What a glorious scene this will be.  Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, is Worthy of all Praise!

1 Thess 5 18And so… what a fitting way to end our year.  Let us praise our Savior and Redeemer.  Let your lips utter praise today for all this last year has brought both good and bad.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”   Ponder the difficulties you’ve had in your life this year  in G-R-I-Tlight of James 1:2-4Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Let us take the adversity we experienced and the blessings we received and offer them up to Jesus today as and offering of praise and thanksgiving.

Linda

The Conclusion of the Messiah

The 4th Sunday of Advent-worship and be blessed!

Psalm 2 is highlighted in the Messiah as it pointed to Jesus.  It foretells how the nations would conspire against Jesus to condemn Him, but even their plotting and actions were used by God for our good and the redemption of all mankind.                                                       Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed,

job42-2All the raging of nations, the shouting of atheists and the persecution of believers are all vain threats against the Lord and His plans.  Job spoke with confidence in Job 42:2 ““I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Isaiah 8:10 reveals God’s plans against the warring Assyrians.  Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand,  for God is with us.   

Do you have the confidence Job and Isaiah showed about who God is and what power He possesses?  Think about Christmas and the miracle of Jesus’ birth, the sovereignty of God shown in all the prophecies being exactly fulfilled at the exact right time in history.  In the spirit of God’s sovereignty, claim Jeremiah 29:11 for your own life knowing and trusting God and His will.  “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.” 

psalm 2 11I love the way Psalm 2 ends with verses 11-12.                 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Serve, fear-revere, rejoice, kiss Jesus (adore Him) then be ready to receive His blessings as you cling to Him.  Have a blessed Sunday worshiping the Lord!

Linda

4th Sunday of Lent

This week I was blessed when someone told me their favorite verses were Psalm 103:1-5. Reading this Psalm of David puts things into perspective and reminds me of who God is and what He can do and does for me.

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s

praise-powerMay you let the Lord forgive, heal, redeem, crown, satisfy and renew you today as you Praise Him!   

This week we have seen His love and mercy in new ways as each day we have had another wonder to proclaim: I am the sweet fragrance of Christ to God (3/5), I am a branch on Christ’s vine (3/6), I am a saint (3/7), I am confident of God’s good work (3/8), I am a princess or prince in God’s kingdom (3/9) and I am a child of light (3/10).  I pray that one or more of these has caused you to praise and thank God for sending Jesus who made all this possible for us by His work on the cross and rising from the dead.  Blessed Jesus.

Have a blessed Sunday as you worship.

Linda

3rd Sunday of Lent

Isaiah’s words draw us into the power, might and care that God possesses and show towards us.

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:28-31

I am praising God for another wonderful week in His Word.  He showed us this week that because Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead we are:   Salt and Light (2/26), helped by God (2/27), sanctified (2/28), His workmanship or His masterpieces (3/1), not condemned (3/2) and citizens of heaven (3/2).  Praise God!

isaiah-40-31Mediate on the power and might of God today and know you are well loved.

Linda

2nd Sunday of Lent

doxologyAs I reflect on this past week’s devotions, I am reminded of Paul’s praise to God in Romans 11:33-36:

“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!                      For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?                    Who knows enough to give him advice?                And who has given  him so much that he needs to pay it back?                                           For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.”

As you ponder the greatness of God, think about what He has done for you with thanksgiving and praise:  Because I believe Christ died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead to life-  I am Justified (2/19), I am forgiven (2/20), I am holy and blameless before God (2/21), I am an ambassador for Christ (2/22), I am a temple in which God dwells 92/23) and I am tenderly loved by God (2/24).  Praise God for all He has done for us!!

romans 11 36Worshiping Him with praise and thanksgiving today,

Linda