Saturday, October 29, 2011

Read and Believe

Good day my friends!  Today, I'm going free-style.  I'm just sharing what is on my heart.  That being said, I still gotta share some scripture, because truth is so exciting.  I LOVE this passage from John 20:30-31!  "In his disciples' presence Jesus performed many other miracles which are not written down in this book.  But these have been written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life." GNT

Many accounts of Jesus' life are told by different writers in the gospels.  John, however, has the dubious distinction of sharing some stories not mentioned elsewhere in scripture.  He talks about the miracle at Cana, Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman at the well, the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, the man born blind, and Lazarus being raised from the dead.  Those are some major stories from our Book of life.  Many of us have been impacted by these stories.  I think that is why I love this passage so very much.  It clearly says, "But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God."

I'm thankful that God inspired John to share with us these truths in His Word.  All of these stories build my faith and help me believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.  I'm one in a long line of people who have believed.  These stories were written specifically for you and me to read them and to believe.  They're compelling.  I urge you to pick up the bible and have the best read you've had in a long while.  The stories, therein, will make a believer out of you.  After all, that is their purpose.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

He owns it all!

The 10/26 verse comes from 1 Corinthians 10:26, "For, as the scripture says, The earth and everything in it belong to the Lord."  GNT

Such a simple statement.  Such a simple truth.  Scriptures like this remind me that the Lord doesn't actually need anything from us.  He owns the whole world and everything in it.  But I am so glad He cares enough to pursue me and my affections - even though He doesn't need me.  He cares about you too.  He wants us all to really know Him intimately. 

I'm on board with that!  Our God is good and faithful.  He simply wants our hearts.  For our own good - not His!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We need each other!

The verse for today, 10/25, is Hebrews 10:25, "We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming."  GW

The writer of Hebrews knew that God's people needed encouragement, then, and now.  He knew that community and unity were essential in our faith.  He knew that, as people, we get better together.  Yet, we, as people, do protest.  Simply said, some people do not like to come under the authority of God, much less a body of believers, aka the church.  They like to do it their own way and they don't want anyone "judging" them or telling them what to do.  They had rather be lone rangers than BE the church.

What is the problem with this?  Honestly - it goes against scripture.  It's true that you don't have to go to church to be a Christian.  But, it's also true that unity, love, and encouragement among fellow believers is what God wanted His church to look like.  He wanted us to give up individual pride and selfishness in favor of unified love and humility.  In other words, God wanted us to love others more than ourselves.  He wanted us to get along and work out our differences.  Because we have such a hard time doing these things, we have a hard time embracing the church.  It's sad, really, because when we resist God's way, we ultimately resist His best for us.  God wants us to bless each other and become united as one, a body of believers surrendered to loving Him and each other.  Yes, He wanted us to BE the church, together.

Have you watched the news lately?  Our society and this world are spiraling out of control.  The moral climate is pathetic.  The writer of Hebrews got it right...we need each other!  Especially, since the world, and the devil, continually try to tear us down and apart.  Every day, we're closer to the Lord's return.  As Christians, let's band together and encourage each other with the love and hope of Jesus Christ.  Being the church is so much better than being alone.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Third Day - A Worship Response

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to go see the Christian musicians, Third Day, in concert.  I say that, rather loosely, because the word concert doesn't even do justice to a Third Day experience.  We had church, Y'all!  I've seen them several times, but this time was the best.  There's something about a second row seat that gives you renewed passion and appreciation for an authentic worship band.  It's our Savior we're singing to, and about, but surrendered vessels usher in God's Spirit mighty fine.  He was welcomed; He was honored; He was adored! 

I'm making up for not posting a verse yesterday by doubling up today.  Hebrews is one of my favorite books of the bible.  It's fitting that I'm talking about worship, above, because the book of Hebrews talks a lot about the old way people used to worship God, before Jesus came and died for us, and how the sacrifice of Jesus changed all that.  The sacrifice of Jesus' blood and body for our sins gives us an up-close-and-personal kind of access to worship.  I was up close to the worship band, Third Day, yesterday.  But we were all worshipping Jesus directly.  I didn't have to go through the lead singer to get to God...God was already in our presence.  The death and resurrection of Jesus, on the Third Day, created a whole new world of possibilities for us.  Our response should be to worship Him.

I am grateful to a Savior who has saved me; a Savior who I can call on anytime, anywhere, and any way!  I want to worship Him always and I live tell others about the hope I have in Him so they can experience the same joy and love that I have.  So, with all that said, I will leave you with Hebrews 10:23-24 as the verses I want to share for yesterday and today, "Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise.  Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good."  GNT

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just waiting

The 10/22 verse of the day is from Hebrews 10:22, "let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water."  NLT

God went to a great amount of trouble to be accessible to anyone who loves Him and believes in His son, Jesus.  He has sent us an invitation to come to Him.  We'd be crazy not to show up and bid His calling! 

Don't hesitate or procrastinate any longer.  I can almost hear God saying, "Come to me!"  If you listen closely, you might just hear Him too.  His arms are always open wide...just waiting for you and for me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Opened Curtain

I'm using a passage from Hebrews for both 10/20 and 10/21.  I like simplicity.  It seems like Jesus did too, when He made a way for us.  See Hebrews 10:19-21 for these inclusive verses:

"So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body."  MSG

In Old Testament days, there were complex rules to follow, and priests involved, in order to offer sacrifices to a Holy God.  Access to God was a complex series of cleansing and sacrifice.  And not just once - it had to occur each time someone wanted to worship.  Thank God, things are different for us today, all because of Jesus, our ultimate High Priest.  When He came to earth and sacrificed His own life for our sins, He simplified things for us.  He did away with the repetitions and rituals of Old Testament law.  The Holy Place became an accessible place for us....through the blood and body of Jesus. 

I am so grateful for Jesus and how He became our access to God.  There was once a physical curtain that separated people from the Holy Place of God; only priests could enter into the Holy Place.  What was once impossible for us was made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus.  That's why I view our Lord's sacrifice as a beautiful tapestry, the most wonderful story ever told.  That tapestry became our opened curtain into God's presence.  Oh, how I love that access.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turn Off the Flow

The 10/19 verse is from Proverbs 10:19, "Don't talk too much, for it fosters sin.  Be sensible and turn off the flow!"  NLT

What sage advice!  We've all heard the saying that God gave us two ears and only one mouth for a reason.  It goes back to the thought that we should listen more, and talk less.  How many of us can say that nothing bad ever comes out of our mouths, or that we never say the wrong thing?  I've often asked myself, "Did I really say that?"  It's never a good feeling when I have to do that.

Many of us are susceptible to the tongue trap.  We use it far too often.  We tear down others, we slander others, we gossip about others.  In short, we sin.  May I suggest that the tongue is just the instrument and the problem goes really much deeper?  When we don't recognize that gossip is a sin, it is either because we don't exercise knowledge, discipline and character, or we really don't care.  Many of us may think that it's not really the same kind of sin as those "other" sins.  We would be wrong.  Any kind of sin breaks God's heart.  I think gossip, particularly, saddens God because we indulge in it so frequently.  It's wilful disobedience and it's all too common.

With the technology advances we have these days, there are even more ways to gossip and slander.  People don't even have to open their mouths to gossip these days.  They can simply let their fingers do the talking.  The internet and email provides ample opportunity to say whatever anyone wants to say...unfortunately. 

So what are we going to do with this Proverb?  What are we going to do about our sin problem?  Maybe its time we turned off the flow. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

He volunteered!

The 10/18 verse of the day is John 10:18, "No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded."  NLT

We've watched, in horror, the movie - The Passion of the Christ - wherein Jesus is beaten, flogged, scourged, and tortured to the point of being unrecognizable.  We've felt anger and indignation towards those we thought were responsible for His death.  However, the verse above reveals that Jesus knew the plan....and He went along with it - willingly!  No one else was responsible for the death of Jesus.  He gave His life voluntarily, all for us!  He knew His blood was the only acceptable price for our sins and He gave Himself up so we could live forever in heaven with Him.  Such love can never be equaled.

What an amazing Savior and Lord.  God's plan was to give everything He had, and was, in order to give us what we could never have, or be, on our own.  Jesus was, and still is, the plan and He always knew it.  How about you?  Do you know Jesus is the only plan that will give you eternal life?  He lay down His life for you and me.  When we surrender our life to Him, we are the ones getting the deal of a lifetime...and beyond.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What's in a Name?

It's 10/17 and the verse I'm sharing today is from Luke 10:17, "The 70 disciples came back very happy. They said, “Lord, even demons obey us when we use the power and authority of your name!” GW

What's in a name?  When that name is Jesus, the answer is, "Everything!"  He is all powerful.  His is the name above every other name.  These disciples used His name to rebuke demons.  Would you be surprised to know that we can also use the power and authority of His name?  It's absolutely true!  There is power in the name of Jesus.

The best way to get to know the power of Jesus' name is to use it.  Jesus must love it when we talk to Him .  Jesus must love it when we realize that He has given us authority to use His name in praise, in prayer, and in warfare.  Acknowledging Jesus and His Lordship in our life is a great way to experience His presence and power.  Let the name of Jesus resonate in your heart and rest on your lips.  Think about Jesus and revel in His goodness, His love, and His power.  Oh, how I love the name of Jesus...just like I love Him!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rejoicing in God's Plan

My apologies for missing several days of verses.  My mom became very ill on October 11th and her soul left this earth on October 12th and entered her heavenly home.  I mourn her presence, but I rejoice that she has finally made it home.  She no longer has the discomforts and restraints of an earthly mind and body.  Now, she is in the presence of her Lord and she has been reunited with the loved ones who have gone on before her, including my dad.  I know she is looking forward to the day the rest of her loved ones will join her forever.  She was a wonderful mother who loved her family and loved her God.  I loved her very much and I will miss her greatly.  Yet, I know she is happier now than she has ever been.  She would not come back if she could and I wouldn't ask her to.  I know she is right where God wants her and I am blessed to have had her for a mom as long as I did.

Considering that I missed posting for several days, I've chosen several verses from Hebrews to encompass several days.  This passage represents the new covenant and God's perfect plan to redeem us through His perfect son, Jesus.  I think it is very appropriate since my mom knew that Jesus was her high priest; that He had made the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all, for her sins and the sins of the world. 

The Message translates Hebrews 10:11-18 like this, "Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. The Holy Spirit confirms this:
This new plan I'm making with Israel isn't going to be written on paper, isn't going to be chiseled in stone; This time "I'm writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts."  He concludes, I'll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins.  Once sins are taken care of for good, there's no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them."

I know my mom was thankful that Jesus paid the price and made the sacrifice for her sins.  Because she believed that and trusted in Him, she is now going to be with Him forever.  That is good news for her and good news for me.  I will see her again some day and be with her and Jesus for eternity.  My heart rejoices in that truth.  God's plan is perfect.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Don't get snake-bit

The 10/11 verse is from Ecclesiastes 10:11, "Knowing how to charm a snake is of no use if you let the snake bite first."  GNT

My response to this?  Why would you mess around with a snake to begin with?!  Snakes are creepy.  They never give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.  As a matter of fact, I think of evil when I think of a snake.  The bible used a snake to symbolize satan.  Needless to say, snakes are not on my list of favorite things.  I like to keep my distance from all things evil, especially snakes and satan. 

If you play with fire, you are going to get burned.  If you play with snakes, you are going to get bit.  Take my advice and do everything in your power to just stay clear of anything that represents a snake in your life.  You're sure to save yourself from lots of trouble if you do.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Who is your Moses?

The 10/10 verse of the day is from Deut 10:10, "I stayed there on the mountain forty days and nights, just as I did the first time. And God listened to me, just as he did the first time: God decided not to destroy you."  MSG

We could all use a prayer warrior, an intercessor, like Moses.  He's telling the Israelites how he sought the Lord on their behalf...again!  He's reminding them how God loved them and spared them, even in their sin, time and time again.

Can you relate?  I sure can.  None of us are perfect, least of all me.  I am so grateful for those that have prayed for me throughout my life, like my mother.  I am grateful for those that prayed, and those that still pray, for me and my husband.  I'm grateful that the fervent effectual prayer of a righteous person has much power.  I'm grateful God listens.  I'm grateful for His mercy and grace. 

How about you?  Have you had a Moses in your life?  Aren't you grateful?!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Salvation 101

It's 10/9 and today's verse is from Roman 10:9, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."  NLT

Every verse in the bible has great significance and all contribute to the truth that God wants us to read, hear, and know in order to be saved from our sins and spend eternity with Him.  Yet, if I could pick some verses that, by themselves, closely represent the big picture entirely, this verse would have to be among them.  This verse is like gold!  It requires conscious action that bears a promise; the most important action and the most important promise anyone could ever imagine.  It's what I like to refer to as Salvation 101.  

I believe this verse with my whole heart, soul, and mind.  I believe you should too.  I have studied this verse and taken the actions instructed therein.  Because of that, I have received the promise of salvation.  How about you?  Have you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord?  Have you believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead?  If you have, then congratulations - you are saved!  If you haven't, please consider doing so.  God went to the greatest lengths to be in relationship with us and to make a way for us to be with Him forever.  He tells us clearly, in this verse, what we must do to be saved.  We all have a choice to believe in Jesus or to ignore Him.  I hope you choose to believe.  Your salvation and your eternal home depends upon your choice. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Victory in Jesus

The verse for 10/8 is from Joshua 10:8, “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.”  NLT

There is nothing like having the Lord on your side!  When He fights our battles, no matter what they are, we can rest in Him and leave the results up to Him.  Just as the Lord instructed Joshua not to be afraid, He instructs us to trust Him and not to be afraid.  I think He can win my battles a lot more easily than I can.  He has proven that to me time and time again. 

I cannot control all that happens to me.  But I readily hand over the reins of my life to the One who is in control.  Yes, there is always victory in Jesus.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Throwing out the White Flag

It's 10/7 and the verse of the day is from Judges 10:7, "So the Lord burned with anger against Israel, and he turned them over to the Philistines and the Ammonites,"  NLT

 It appears that the Israelites just couldn't get it right.  The verse prior to this one says that, again, the Israelites did evil in the LORD's sight.  They worshipped false idols and gods.  The worst part of their evil was that they abandoned the LORD and no longer served Him at all.  That's when the LORD sort of took His hand of protection off of them and let the enemies that were oppressing them have their way with them.  When it was too late, they recognized that the false gods they were following could do nothing to rescue them. 

I'm consistently reminded that our society is as challenged as the Israelites.  We are a rebellious people who turn our backs on our God.  At first, it is subtle.  We just do little things that seem like they won't matter much in the whole scheme of things, then, before we know it, we've compromised who we are and what we believe and..more importantly...we've started to look to ourselves or other things to do what only our God can do.  But only He can rescue us. 

Let's learn from history and not be as hard-headed and hard-hearted as the Israelites.  Let's turn back to God while His mercy still washes over us.  I don't want to find out what it would mean to have His anger burn against us and to have Him turn us over to all that could conquer and oppress us.  No, I'm throwing out the white flag now and asking Him to rescue us before it is too late.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'll take the Real Thing!

The 10/6 verse is from Jeremiah 10:6, "Lord, there is no one like you!  For you are great, and your name is full of power."  NLT

The prophet Jeremiah was heartbroken by the idolatry and rebellion of God's people.  Because of their sin and indifference, Jeremiah knew that their homeland would one day be reduced to a heap of ruins.  In the beginning of the book of Jeremiah, it says that God touched Jeremiah's mouth and put words in them.  Jeremiah preached a hard message to a hardened people.  Do you think that made him the most popular preacher in town?  Most assuredly not, but he had to deliver the message God gave him. 

Jeremiah knew that God's judgement would be poured out on an unrepentant people who worshipped other gods, idols they had made themselves.  He knew those gods were powerless and that the people were foolish for worshipping such false empty idols.  In the verse above, he is crying out to the one and only true God.  He knows the difference between the all-powerful Creator and the gods that were created by man.  There was no comparison.  There still is no comparison.

I must admit that I see some similarities in these rebellious people and the people in our own culture.  It alarms me.  Not to the degree that I am fearful, but I am wise enough to be mindful that our God will not continue to be mocked forever.  He has administered His grace repeatedly, yet many continue to be hard-hearted and selfish in their ways.  I hear the Jeremiahs that God is using today to urge people to turn away from their idolatry and their sinful ways.  Many people still turn deaf ears to God's plea for them to look to Him and not to the world for their happiness, for their future.  I have to wonder, how long will God put up with such selfishness?

Well, I've read the book of Revelation and I know how this ends!  God wins!  God's people win!  There in no one like our God!  He is great and His name is full of power!  I'm going to stand on that truth amidst a world that is rebellious and indifferent.  I think if Jeremiah were here today he would say, "Listen up, people!  Are you going to choose God or are you going to choose the things of this world?  Are you going to take the Real Thing or an imitation?"  There is no comparison.  I'm going to take the Real Thing!  I hear ya, Jeremiah!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Join in the Harvest

The verse for 10/5 is Proverbs 10:5, "A sensible person gathers the crops when they are ready; it is a disgrace to sleep through the time of harvest."  GNT

Proverbs is a book of wisdom.  I think a lot of the verses, therein, deal with character.  The verse above reminds me that it is wise to always be alert and ready.  Complaceny, laziness, or a lukewarm attitude don't lend themselves toward productivity or success in any area of our lives.

I'm thinking about our Christian walk in this application.  This morning I heard someone say that a comfortable faith is no faith at all.  When we get comfortable or complacent, we tend to sit back and let everyone else do all the work.  If we've taken a back seat in sharing the Good News of Christ, a character check might indicate that we need a dose of passion.  Our Savior wasn't complacent or comfortable when He endured death on a cross on our behalf.  Likewise, I don't think it is sensible for us to be complacent in introducing everyone we can to the Christ who saved us.

It is autumn, the time of year that is often thought of as a time of harvest.  Are we alert; ready for God's harvest?  I can't help but think God wants to reap a great harvest of souls for His kingdom.  I'd hate to be asleep and disgrace Him now, or anytime.  There are many people who need to know Him.  There are many who are ready.  Let's wake up and join in the harvest!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It is Finished!

The verse for 10/4 is from Romans 10:4, "For Christ has brought the Law to an end, so that everyone who believes is put right with God."  GNT

Before Jesus Christ was born and, then, gave His life for the payment of our sins, the only way humans knew to follow God was to follow the law of Moses.  But the Good News is that God sent His only son, Jesus Christ, as the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins.  He introduced grace like no one had ever experienced it before.

Believe it or not, there are still people who adhere to the law of Moses and reject the grace of Jesus.  My heart breaks for them.  They think "doing" things according to the old law makes them right with God.  Scripture clearly states that the work has already been "done"!  Jesus Christ finished what all of our efforts combined could never accomplish.  Our only logical response is to believe Jesus paid it all.  His death on the cross was the transaction that cancelled our debt.  It is can believe that.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Divine Weapons

The verse I've chosen for 10/3 is from 2 Cor 10:3.  The NLT says, "We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do."

As Christians, we should stand apart from the shenanigans of this world.  That's not something we can accomplish on our own.  But, alas, we don't have to.  God equips and empowers us to overcome.  One of my favorite references is Zondervan's Freedom In Christ bible, edited by Neil Anderson.  I love the way God's truth and wisdom is supported in the insightful commentary.  My closing comments are gleaned from that commentary.

This verse is talking about mental strongholds.  Every believer has divine weapons at their disposal to tear down these mental strongholds.  Mental strongholds are raised up against the knowledge of God.  Since the knowledge of God is Truth, these mental strongholds can be construed as anything that opposes God's truth.  Our weaponry is powered by the "mind of Christ" and the Spirit of truth within us, as believers.  I don't know about you, but I have a hard time coming up with anything that is even remotely that powerful.  I'm opting for the divine weapons.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ditch the Stinking Thinking

The 10/2 verse of the day is from Ecclesiastes 10:2, "Wise thinking leads to right living; Stupid thinking leads to wrong living." MSG

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what this verse is telling us, yet how many of us have found ourselves on the wrong side, knee-deep in wrong living?  I know I have been there and I would venture to say that most of us can admit to a few bouts of messed-up thinking in our lifetime.  I wish I could say that I'm past that kind of thinking, but that might be a little premature.  You see, in my own little world, I can quickly revert to stinking thinking.  I need God's wisdom and guidance, every day, to help me live right.

I'm thankful that God didn't give up on any of us, that His grace gives us a few mulligans in this thing called life.  Where would we be without His amazing grace?  I cannot speak for everyone, but stupidity is not something I want to live by.  I'd much rather ditch the stinking thinking and choose wisdom. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Telling His Story

The verse for 10/1 is from Luke 10:1, "The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit." NLT

God has been in the business of sending His followers out to spread His Good News for a very long time, as this verse demonstrates.  There are still so many people that don't have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  They are unaware that He is God's plan A.  There is no Plan B, as far as salvation is concerned.  I believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.  I believe He paid for my sins by dying on the cross.  I believe that, by trusting and believing in Him, I will get to be with Him in heaven for eternity.  My goal....I want to take as many people with me as possible! 

My husband and I are so blessed and humbled to get to tell others about the goodness of God.  What a privilege to be used by Him to spread His Good News to others.  Our story is not pretty, but we're so thankful God has changed the ending.  We will spend the rest of our lives telling others our story and, more importantly, His story.