Thursday, March 31, 2011

All that - and then some!

The 3/31 verse of the day is John 3:31, "He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. I am from the earth and my understanding is limited to the things of earth, but he has come from heaven." (NLT)

John continued to stress in this chapter that he is merely human, from the earth, and his job was to prepare the way for Jesus; to tell everyone that the One from heaven, the Messiah, was coming.

Fast forward to today. John proved to be right. Jesus came from heaven. He was, and is, the Savior. He ended up dying for us and went back to heaven. I wonder how John felt as he tried to convince the doubters? Was he frustrated or did he just yearn for them to know that there was a bigger picture? Maybe he felt a bit like we believers do today when we tell others that Jesus is coming back from heaven for us.

Like John, I want everyone to get that bigger picture. Yes, Jesus is all that...and then some!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Greatest Equation

The 3/30 verse of the day is John 3:30, "He must become greater; I must become less." (NIV)

In today's culture, becoming less is a very strange concept. It's usually always the opposite, with everyone typically always looking out for number one. Number one, more often than not, translates into self.

The writer, John, wanted us to have a little insight into what a full life, living with God at the helm, was supposed to look like. He knew that, if we could get the order right, we would reap the benefit of our humility. By putting our God first in everything that we do, we make him shine. By becoming less, we are making the Great One known in a positive, glorifying way. If we're always doing only what we want or trying to look out only for ourselves, it's unlikely that the Greatness of God will be seen in us. Ironically, when we become less to make him greater, we will be in the greatest position of our lives...right where we're supposed to be.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Won't you be my neighbor?

The 3/29 verse of the day is Proverbs 3:29, "Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you." (NIV)

The sweater-clad kindly man, Mr. Rogers, comes to mind when I read this verse. He always seemed like such a wise man and he was always asking everyone to be his neighbor. I can hear him in my mind now, singing, "Won't you be my neighbor?"

The entire 3rd chapter of Proverbs is talking about the benefits of wisdom. God has always desired that we know how to live better lives here on earth. He made the roadmap for our journey; the very first GPS ever invented. I'd venture to say that technology will never surpass the direction and wisdom of God.

This verse reminds me of the last two of the ten commandments, concerning neighbors:
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
- You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.

It's not difficult to see that the way we treat others is important to God. He wants us to be wise and he wants us to treat others with love, respect and kindness. Mr. Rogers was on to something when he sang, "Won't you be my neighbor?"

Monday, March 28, 2011

We're all the same

The 3/28 daily verse is Gal 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

We all know people who are different than us. They may be of another nationality, a different race, a different sex, or a different mindset than us. God says he sees that person as no better or worse than you or me; but the same, if we are in Christ Jesus (if we put our faith in him). Jesus has taken away all the contrasts, from A to Z, for those of us that believe he is the Messiah and trust him as our Savior.

I wouldn't say God has no favorites. I'd say we're all favorites, because we're all one in Christ Jesus. No matter who we are, or what we've done, we can all be encouraged that Jesus came to save us ALL. He makes no distinctions between us and wants each of us to know and trust him. That's really good news...for everyone!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stay in your lane

The 3/27 daily verse is from John 3:27, "John replied, 'God in heaven appoints each person's work.'"

In this verse, John the Baptist is responding to some of his disciples who have come to him with concerns over, what seems like, a bit of confusion and maybe some pride. They wanted to know what the deal was with Jesus, the one John had told them was the Messiah. Jesus had come on the baptising scene and many people were now going to him to be baptised, instead of coming to John.

You gotta love John, though; this dude who wasn't out to impress anyone. Anyone who wears a camel-haired tunic and has a diet of locusts and honey, doesn't seem as if he cares what anyone really thinks of him. He was just there to do the job God had set before prepare the way for Jesus...and he knew how to stay in his lane. He was quick to allay any fears that this new guy was knocking them out of a job. He wanted them to know that Jesus was, in fact, the very reason for their efforts.

Previously, in scripture, it states that John was there to tell everyone about Jesus, the light of the world, who was to come. It says that John was not the light, but the witness to the light. And he was okay with that. John knew who he was and the work that God had appointed him to do. More importantly, he knew who Jesus was. He recognised him when he came and pointed others to him.

Can you imagine a job more important than preparing the way and telling others about the Messiah to come? I can't think of many. Yet, this unassuming bug-eating desert dude was completely on task, without one iota of pride over the role that God had given him. He knew that his work was to point only to Jesus. Can I say the same? I would hope so, but I also know that I can take some pointers from John.

I am reminded that Jesus is the focus for whatever I do in ministry or in life. If I fulfill the calling to which God has appointed me, there's no need to worry about what someone else is doing. Recognition isn't necessary, because, like John, I'm only here to point to the One who is the Light of the World. Will there be times when I have to swallow my pride or even eat some humble pie. Absolutely, but that's least bugs aren't on the menu.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Caveat

The 3/26 verse of the day is Galatians 3:26, "So you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (NLT)

I've heard people say that we're all God's children. I can see how one would say this, in that he is the Almighty God who created everything and everyone. But I have to wonder how we can reconcile that to the verse above. In my limited understanding, I detect a caveat in this verse.

A caveat can be described as a cautionary detail to be considered when interpreting something. I interpret this verse to say that we are all children of God THROUGH FAITH in CHRIST JESUS. I don't know about you, but this tells me that faith in Jesus is necessary to be a child of God. I believe this requires action on our part. We don't just get to be children of God. Whether this means children here on earth or, ultimately, in heaven, I'm not completely sure, but if I'm reading it at face value, I have to believe that these words are pretty simple to understand. I don't want to have to wait to see what they mean; I don't want to take my chances; I want to cover my bases and put my faith in Jesus, thereby knowing that I am, indeed, a child of God forever.

Still not convinced. Let's do a further word study. The word "through" means "by way of" and the word "faith" means "belief and trust in". Even if you are the most educated person or renowned bible scholar in the world, I can't see how you could unpack this scripture to mean anything different than just what it says. I thank God for simplicity. I think he knew I'd need that!

I hope you're a child of God. You certainly can be - by putting your faith in Jesus. That's an important detail I'm thankful I considered and acted upon. I'm especially grateful to be a child of God. Thank you, Jesus.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Divine Intervention

The 3/25 verse of the day is Dan 3:25, "Look! Nebuchadnezzar shouted. I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire. They aren't even hurt by the flames! And the fourth looks like a divine being!"

The above scripture displays God's mighty power, protection and deliverance. King Nebuchadnezzar had bound up and thrown Daniel's friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, into a blazing furnace seven times hotter than usual, after they refused to worship his false gods and gold idol. It seemed imminent that these three were destined to feel the heat.

But the king soon noticed that there were not three men in the fire, but four! And even he had sense enough to deduce that the fourth one had not been in there when the doors had closed and that the glow he radiated was not exactly from the flames. Nebuchadnezzar called this fourth man a divine being. For all his bone-headed moves, he finally got something right! Not only was there a fourth man in the fire, but he had untied the other three and they were walking around in the fire, unharmed. Yes, I'd call that Divine intervention!

Many of us have gone through fires of our own. Some of you may even be feeling the heat of a furnace now. It may seem like the flames are going to consume you, that you won't make it out. But don't give up. You are not alone in the fire. You can even walk around in victory with his divine help.

Can you relate to coming out of a fire with God's divine help? I certainly can. The flames tried to burn me, but I looked around and he was with me...a radiant, glorious light; my Divine intervention.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Happy Dance

The 3/24 verse of the day is from Romans 3:24, "Yet God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins." (NLT)

When something "Big" happens, we see news flashes on our tv screens. The news above is so BIG, our hearts and minds should hear or see, "Breaking News - You are not guilty anymore!"

We sing that song, "You're not Guilty Anymore" at church, and it just slays people when they realize Jesus has paid for their sins and taken away their guilt. God's grace has that effect. It can take us by surprise and render us defenceless with it's magnitude and sweetness. What an understatement that this should simply be called gracious kindness. It makes me want to do the Happy Dance. In my opinion, we should all want to do the Happy Dance every time we read or hear it. Let's not ever get used to the wonder of this and take it for granted. It's BIG NEWS!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

He is faithful!

The 3/23 verse of the day is from Lamentations 3:23, "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day." (NLT)

There were several good 3:23 verses I could have chosen to comment on today, but this one won out because it has long been a theme of mine. He has proven his faithfulness to me time and time again. I have had blessings and trials, but, through them all, I have to say that God has been more than faithful. The blessings are too numerous to count and, yes, his mercies still continue to be new every day. The trials were tough when they hit, but the mercy of God carried me and gave me strength and peace. He certainly cushioned the impact of those trials for me, as I leaned on him and trusted him. He can soften even the hardest of blows with his grace and love.

I'd be naive to think there won't be any more trials in life, because God didn't promise us a life without trials. He did promise to be with us, though, through good and bad. The world is crazy today, with all the disasters and bad things that are escalating in both frequency and intensity. People are asking where God is, to allow such horrible things to happen. I don't claim to know all the is way above my pay grade. But I believe that he is still right where he's always been. He's still in control and he still wants people that don't know him to turn to him and put their trust in Jesus to help in every and all situations.

For those of us that do know him, I think he wants us to spend more time with him so we can get to know his character and know that he is, indeed, our faithful Father. His mercies will be new again tomorrow, when we wake up to a brand new day. Embrace it and know that, no matter what, he is faithful.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Holy Nudge

The 3/22 verse of the day is from Revelation 3:22, "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches."

The Apostle John's letters to the churches in the book of Revelation begin with a statement that gets my attention, "This is a revelation from Jesus Christ." It should get your attention also. What John was giving us in this prophetic book of Revelation, is that Jesus, Himself, gave him holy visions to share with his church. Any of us that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world fit into the category of His church today. I believe He was directing us as to how we can live a victorious life, not only in heaven, but also here on earth.

God saw and knew the condition of the church when this book was written and He sees us and knows our spiritual condition today. We should take note of what the churches were told in these letters. I don't know about you, but I don't want to grow cold towards God, or be a part of a dead church, or become bored with God's purposes in order to serve my own. God wants to wake us up to the condition of our spiritual lives so we can live to the fullest. He tells us in John's letters, and all throughout the bible, how to do this. His Spirit is always nudging us with insight on how to live a victorious life with and for God.

The only way we can be sure if we are on the right track, and not falling into the same traps as the churches depicted in the book of Revelation, is to search for truth ourselves. While our teachers and leaders may be trained experts in their field, they are not the Holy Spirit. They can direct us from their understanding, but it is only the Spirit of God that can affirm to us whether or not what we hear or read from today's teachers and leaders is accurate. The bible is our reference manual and the Spirit is our Guide.

Don't let anyone else be your Holy Spirit. Be willing to search and to listen and He will be faithful to give you His Holy Nudge. More than likely, it will be like music to your ears.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Ultimate Make-over

The 3/21 verse of the day is from Philippians 3:21, "He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere." (NLT)

I love that this says he will change our weak mortal bodies into glorious bodies 'like his own'. Reason #1001 that I am looking forward to heaven! Jesus is PERFECT in every way. If scripture can be trusted, and I know it can, we can believe that our expectations of heaven will be far surpassed...and then some!

With all our body image issues these days, I think we can agree that this will be the mother of all make-overs. The beauty of this supernatural make-over, though, is that we cannot even really comprehend what it will be like. I think our minds (that part of our body that is always fraught with over-analytical and limited human perspective) will become such, that body image will no longer matter to us. Now that will be a miracle! I believe this is because our thoughts and feelings won't be self-focused anymore. We will be absorbed with the beauty of the Lord.

I think he's given us the bonus plan in multiple ways; one being that he will change our bodies to be like his own. We'd give anything to have that here on earth and I have to believe that, in heaven, we will have it, but we won't even give it a thought. How ironic and upside down. It makes me smile at the heavenly perspective of God. I am so thankful that He is so much wiser and had a plan before we were even born to take away our diseases and shortcomings, arthritic knees and double chins included, and give us glorious bodies. I still don't know what that looks like, but sign me up...I'm in!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Get the door!

Today is March 20th...aka the first day of Spring! The 3/20 verse I've chosen today is Revelation 3:20, "Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in and we will share a meal as friends."(NLT)

I'm drawn to the exclamation point after the word "look" in this verse. I think bells and whistles should be going off in our heads when we read this because it's like Jesus is saying, "HELLO? Don't you see me or hear me? I'd love to be your best friend; the kind of friend you can just hang out with and be yourself with over hotdogs in your back yard!" Of course, I think I need to feed Jesus something better than hotdogs. Yet, that's just the point. He wants so much to be in our lives and spend time with us, that He doesn't care if we're having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or filet mignon. He's up for either meal, as long as He can share it with us. Because when we can be real enough to have any kind of meal with Jesus, we can be free to be ourselves and who He has called us to be. When we know Him that well and know that He knows everything about us, every meal is a feast.

So does Jesus dine with you regularly? If not, He wants to. You don't even have to make a grocery list or go shopping. He'll have whatever you're having. Is that a knock at the door? Why don't you go ahead and invite Him in. There's no other place He would rather be.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Cleaning 101

It's March 19th and my 3/19 verse for the day is Acts 3:19, "Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away." (NLT) That's pretty strait forward. For this time of year, I like to call it Spring Cleaning 101.

What better time to get our house cleaned? Many of us have been hoarding up stuff all winter....some of us may even have to admit that it's actually been years or decades, instead of just a season or two, since we've had an overhaul. It's time to get the clutter out of our closets and change our "clothed" in Christ, if you will. I like the following version of this verse, "So change the way you think and act, and turn to God to have your sins removed." (GW)

Yes, God is willing to do our spring cleaning for free, but we can't just leave the house and expect to come back when he's done. The word "repent" is an action verb which means to feel regret or contrition. It's a prerequisite for the "so that" part of the verse above. The word "turn" is also and action verb. We are to regret that we are sinning and if we truly regret something, we should turn "away" from it, before we can turn "toward" God. It's pretty simple, but not always easy for us to get this right. We first have to want to.

There's nothing like a clean house to refresh the soul. I know the best cleaning service and I'd recommend Him to anyone. And He's can't beat that!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Timeless Truth

The scripture I chose to share with you that corresponds with 3/18, is Ephesians 3:18 "And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is." (NLT)

This is music to my ears. It says that ALL God's people SHOULD know - through the power of His Holy Spirit that lives within all believers - that His love for us has no limits. We can't even measure it! Yes, may we all surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit to understand such unconditional love.

The verse before this one actually arrested my heart today, as I was probing into this chapter. Eph 3:17 says, "And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your heart as you trust Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love." The Apostle Paul was writing these words to make Christians more aware of their heavenly wealth in Christ and to encourage them to start utilizing their power source (the Holy Spirit) in their earthly walk.

It may be the year 2011, but these words are so relevant for us today. I don't know about you, but I want Christ to be at home in my heart; I want my roots to go down so deep into His love that I reflect Him inside and out. I truly believe, and have experienced, that the key to living this way is through trust and surrender to the Holy Spirit. Yes, Lord, please give us the power to understand this. After all, all God's people should.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Coffee with Carolynn: It's a DATE

Coffee with Carolynn: It's a DATE

It's a DATE

Yeserday was March 16th. I'm a K-Love (Christian radio) listener and I heard them talking yesterday morning about sharing John 3:16 with others during the day and calling it 3:16 day. I am all about living in such a way that others don't even have to ask if we are a Christian, but I'm also about being obedient to God if He gives us an opportunity to share the reason for the hope that we have. Actually, I believe He gives us many, if we only look for them. Some people are not comfortable talking to others about the hope of the world. Me? I'll talk about Him to anyone who is willing to listen...and then some. After all He has done for me, I find it hard not to tell others about His love.

As I was thinking about 3:16, I had a thought that I would like to start diving into different scriptures representing every day of the month, just to see what nuggets I could share from God's word. I know that John 3:16 is probably one of the most recognizable scriptures in the bible. That, and the Lord's prayer in Matt 6:9-13. While many people may be skilled at reciting these passages, one has to wonder how many really ponder the words and believe the truth therein. I think we may all be shocked if we were to really know the answer to that.

As I searched for a scripture to go along with today's date, 3/17, God brought a beautiful scripture to my attention in 2 Cor 3:17:18. I really like the NASB version, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit!!!(exclamation emphasis multiplied, and all mine:-) Talk about a nugget...this is golden. It's worth being unpacked at a later time, since it deserves a lot more than just a short explanation. For now, suffice it to say that the Lord and His Spirit within us wants us to live in the freedom He affords us and to become transformed to be more and more like Him. Can you imagine looking in the mirror and seeing Jesus? If Beth Moore were here, she'd say "Glory"! She's not, so I'll go ahead and say it for her. Glory!

We've been singing the Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockels song at church that mirrors this scripture. I'm not real good at posting links on here, so I'm pasting this in so you can copy it into your browser. It really brings the words to life.

I suppose I cheated a little by using two scriptures in 3:17-18, and I could say I'm done for tomorrow, 3/18, but God has really blessed me with this exercise and I've already started looking for 3:18 scriptures for tommorrow. There's a bunch of good ones, let me tell you. I may have a hard time sharing just one. I hope you join me on this adventure, because I know God can show us all great and wonderful things in His word - much better than I can come up with on my own. Tune in daily for His truth. It's a date!