Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘From My Heart’ Category

 

I want with all of my heart to be the woman who loves like Jesus. I don’t want to be the woman who judges someone before I know their life story. I don’t want to be the woman who snaps at people when I have had a bad day. I don’t want to be the woman who is impatient when teaching others. I don’t want to be the woman who gossips about others. But, let’s get real. As much as, I don’t want to do those things, I am human. I am an imperfect woman who does her best to love like Jesus, but I am not Jesus, so I fail, sometimes more than I succeed.

How do we love like Jesus?

There are days when I’m not really sure how to love like Jesus. It should be easy to make loving others a lifestyle. It should be easy to make loving others a priority in your every day life. But, it isn’t easy. There are days when I get so wrapped up in my own activities and thoughts that I miss that opportunity to love someone who needs my love. I miss opportunities because I am so focused on ME and what is going on in MY life. I am then filled with regret at having let an opportunity go. I regret the possibility that I have added to someone’s burden or sadness. I regret that I in any way disappointed God. How did Jesus love? The New Testament tells us how Jesus loved. Five examples are listed below:

  1. Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Jesus was sent to seek and save the lost so that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9). If Jesus came to seek and save the lost, then that is our God-given purpose too. John 3:16 tells us that God so LOVED the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. God LOVED us so much that He sent His beloved Son to seek and save the lost. Our mission and ministry as Christians is to seek and save the lost in our own sphere of influence. How do we do that? We build relationships. We set the example that Jesus set for us. If we are intentional in building those relationships and we are intentional in acting like Christ in ALL areas of our lives, those around us WILL ask why we live like we do? Why we have joy in the midst of sorrow? Why we choose to love instead of hate? They will ask. And that door will open for you to share your Jesus story.
  2. Hebrews 2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. – I don’t think any of us can argue that Jesus suffered more than most of us will ever suffer in our lives. He was also tempted by Satan to sin. The thing is: Jesus DID NOT SIN! Jesus NEVER GAVE IN TO SATAN’S TACTICS! Of course, we are not Jesus and when we are tempted we have that tendency to give in. We are human and imperfect after all. But, because Jesus suffered and was tempted, He can now help us when we are being tempted. We have all suffered in some way in our lives. No one is immune to heartache and temptation. And while there will be times when we give in to temptation, we can still use our experiences to help those around us who are suffering and being tempted to sin. Be willing to walk alongside that person who needs accountability and encouragement. Remind them of 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 
  3. Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 15:32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” Matthew 14:14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. – I think I have proven my point that Jesus felt compassion for people who were hurting in any way. These are not the only verses that attest to the compassion that Jesus showed the people He came across, but I will let you find the rest. My point here is that the compassion that Jesus felt LED HIM TO ACTION. When He felt compassion for someone or a group of people, He acted on that compassion and fed the multitudes, healed the sick, delivered the demon possessed, taught about God and living a Godly life, and rebuked from a place of love and not condemnation. We are called to do the same. We are called to feel compassion for the hurting and heartbroken in the world around us. We are also called to ACT on that compassion. Our compassion must lead us to feed the hungry, minister to the sick, build relationships, disciple others, and even rebuke from a place of love. There are so many ways that we can show our love to those around us IF we allow our compassion to lead us into ACTION. 
  4. Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. – The Jesus Centered Bible uses the term understand instead of empathize. Jesus understands our weaknesses. He was human and He was tempted. He understands our imperfections. He understands that we can not face the temptations and trials of life on our own. We need to have that same understanding for others. Because we know what it is like to be tempted and fail in our efforts to fight temptation, we need to be understanding when others fail. We all have weaknesses. We need to be willing to understand someone else’s weakness and step out to be that strong tower for them when necessary.
  5. Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. – The definition of intercede is to intervene on behalf of another. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God interceding for US. Despite the fact that we are NOT worthy of His intervention, Jesus intercedes on our behalf. Jesus asks for mercy and grace on our behalf. If Jesus is sitting in Heaven interceding to the Father for us and our imperfect, sin-filled selves, don’t you think we owe it to those in our lives to intercede for them. We are called to intercede/intervene on behalf of others. I have prayed prayers of intercession on behalf of my kids and miracles have come about because of those prayers. Don’t miss the miracle in someone else’s life because you refuse to pray for them. We are not any better than anyone else and we are never to good to intercede on behalf of another.

Jesus LOVES us! Jesus shows His love by: 1. Seeking and saving the lost, 2. Helping those who are being tempted, 3. Having compassion for the hurting and ACTING on that compassion, 4. Understanding the weaknesses of others, and 5. He intercedes for us.

We are called to BE examples of Jesus in this world. To Be an example of Jesus means that we need to LOVE OTHERS just as He loved. My CHALLENGE to you is to use the above five examples to love those in your sphere of influence on an every day basis. We each have at least one opportunity every day to show the love of Jesus to someone else. Time is short, my friends! GO OUT and LOVE OTHERS TO JESUS!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

 

My daughter, Cherokee, parents Ava (5) and Christopher (3) using natural consequences. Christopher had gotten himself in trouble by throwing a disposable cup out of the car window as they were driving. When they arrived home, Cherokee took Christopher up one side of our street and down the other to pick up trash. Armed with a bag for trash, a bag for recyclables and the wisdom of her 25 years, Cherokee, made sure that as he picked up the trash that Christopher understood that his actions have consequences. Cherokee made sure that he understood that just as he did not like cleaning up after others, other people shouldn’t have to clean up after him. Christopher was disciplined for his disobedience and hopefully, he will remember the lesson and the trash will be properly disposed of in the future.

Just as Cherokee disciplined Christopher for his disobedience, there are times in our lives when God has to discipline us for ours. There are times when we have to suffer the consequences for our behavior. One of the hardest things for me to deal with is the distance that my disobedience puts between me and God. I always seem to have a troubled spirit when I know that my behavior has been against God’s will and a disconnect is the result.

What can we do if we have disobeyed God?

Upon returning from our trash collecting, Christopher needed to apologize for disobeying his mom. Cherokee forgave him with a hug and a kiss and all was forgotten. I always know that the only way to make things right with God is to apologize and ask for forgiveness. We still have to deal with the consequences, but the issue will not be completely resolved until we ask for forgiveness. God loves me. God loves you. He will never stay angry.

Psalm 103:12

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

If you are feeling disconnected from God because of an act of disobedience, don’t despair. God loves you! Apologize and ask God for forgiveness. You will still have to suffer the consequences of your actions, but you will no longer be separated from the God who loves you! Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

We are going to sin. We are going to disobey God. Our reassurance is that God is compassionate and will not hold our transgressions against us. Every morning is a chance to start over. Don’t dwell on the mistakes of yesterday. Today is full of wonderful opportunities to turn things around and step into God’s will and purpose.

 

Read Full Post »

Guided By God

 

Exodus 15:13

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.

Exodus 13:21-22

21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

Romans 8:14

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

John 16:13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

John 14:26

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Galatians 5:16

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, He didn’t just let them wander aimlessly in the wilderness. God knew that they would need a guide to get them to the promised land and so He led them the entire way. By day, He led them with a pillar of cloud and by night He led them with a pillar of fire. He never left them to travel alone through enemy territory and He never expected them to find their own way to the land flowing with milk and honey.

It is the same for us today. God is still with us just as He was with the Israelites in the Old Testament. Today He guides us with His Spirit. God sent the Holy Spirit to guide us in God’s will and purpose for our lives. The Holy Spirit was also sent  to teach us how to live a life that glorifies God and sets a Christlike example to the world around us. But, just as the Israelites could not make it to the promised land without God guiding them, we will never be able to live as a Christian without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I have attended church my entire life and I knew God, but I was never discipled within the church. It was all surface level. Go to church on Sunday and then the rest of the week God was forgotten. It was only when I left organized religion in 2011 did I start to grow in my relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I knew that I had to hang on tighter because following Jesus on your own is never easy. The Holy Spirit has discipled me and has taught me what being a full-time disciple of Jesus is really about. I am on a journey of seeking God’s will for the next season of my life and of learning how to “Be Jesus” to the world around me. The Holy Spirit has been that guide for me. He also keeps me from doing what I know is against God. He guides me through enemy territory and He is guiding me to a land flowing with milk and honey: Heaven. He has been a precious gift that I could not live without!

CHALLENGE:

I am challenging you to do a topical Bible study on the Holy Spirit. He is found in the Old and New Testaments and I think you will be surprised by the different ways that He helps us. Seek the Holy Spirit for direction in EVERY decision you make. Tune in to His whisperings, because He also acts as our conscience, letting us know when we are on the wrong path. If you are a child of God, the Holy Spirit already dwells within you. It takes practice to “walk by the Spirit” as we are told to do in Galatians 5:16, but the more you tune into the Spirit in EVERY aspect of your life the easier it will become. Ask the Spirit to guide you. He will!

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

Matthew 2:10-11

10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

When the Wise Men saw the child Jesus with His mother Mary, they bowed down and worshiped Him. They presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These were the gifts presented to kings and the Wise Men knew that this child was the King of kings and the Savior of the world. The Wise Men’s gifts were:

Useful: The gold was likely used by Joseph and Mary to pay for their flight to Egypt. The Frankincense and myrrh could have been sold to pay for food and other needs.

Precious: The gifts of the Wise Men were valuable and rare. They came, bowed down and gave the best of what they had to this child who they knew was the long awaited for Messiah. They were gifts fit for a king. The Wise Men knew that this child was THE KING OF THE WORLD!

I had promised myself that this year I would slow down and really take time to enjoy the season. Christmas is about family, friends, but more importantly, Jesus. It is now five days before Christmas and the season seems to have flown by. There is no time to just sit at the feet of Jesus and abide in who He is. Time is flying by and Jesus gets forgotten in the midst of the busyness and distractions.

The passage of the Wise Men caused me to reflect on what I have to give Jesus. What gift do I have to give The King that is both useful and precious? What gift can I give not just in this Christmas season but in the next year too? One of the most useful and precious gifts I can give now and in the future is my time. I can let go of the things that are time wasters and start using that time to pray, study, reflect, worship, serve and abide. The Wise Men knew that their first priority was to worship Jesus. I don’t always put Jesus first. I get caught up in the latest T.V. show, Facebook, or the internet and I forget that my first priority should be Jesus. ALWAYS!

2019 is right around the corner and I am making a commitment to let go of what’s not important and make Jesus my first priority. This is my gift. My time is my gift to my Savior, my Messiah. My time in serving Jesus and serving others around me. The most important thing.

What gift can you give to the King of kings this Christmas season and in the next year? Is this gift useful? Is this gift precious? Is this gift worthy of a King? What gift can you give that will bring you closer to the Messiah? Reflect and then present your gift to the One who gave us the best gift of all: eternal life.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Joseph Was Obedient

 

Matthew 1:20-25

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2:13-14

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,

Matthew 2:19-22

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,

I have been doing a study of Matthew this month. In this Advent season, I wanted to immerse myself in the birth and life of Jesus. What caught my attention was the obedience of Joseph. The Bible tells us about other people who were obedient to God, but what strikes me about Joseph, is that he NEVER questioned the command. Joseph obeyed God without complaint or argument. He NEVER sighed and uttered a doubtful, “But God, WHY?”

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about myself. I can imagine God hesitating in giving me any command, because my response is always the same, “BUT GOD! THAT WILL TAKE ME OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE! DO I HAVE TO?” I kick and scream until the moment passes. If the command seems relatively easy, I may obey after some serious analyzing of the situation. Some of the harder commands I have ignored and hope God doesn’t notice.

CONFESSION:

I now wonder what I have missed out on by not immediately obeying God’s every command. How different would my life be had I obeyed? Do I regret not living a life of obedience like Joseph did? The short answer is Yes! I have sabotaged my own life and I have not brought any glory to God by my disobedience. Has someone suffered because I refused to listen? What blessings have I or someone else missed out on because of my defiance? Looking at it from this perspective, I am deeply sorry I have allowed my fear and unwillingness to keep me from partnering with God in His will on this earth. It is my loss and a deep regret.

SO NOW WHAT?

I use that regret to push myself to do better in the future. If I know that God is commanding me to do something, I need to do it. I need to jump and trust God for the outcome. I need to let go of my need to analyze everything, because there will always be a reason NOT to do something. God did ask the prophets to do some CRAZY things! No good comes from living in regret. Commit to do better and trust God for guidance.

Father God,

I am asking forgiveness for not always obeying when you give me a command. It is not my place to question you. I need to obey you immediately and trust you with the outcome. I am so sorry that I have let you down and have possibly hurt others in my disobedience. I am making a commitment to make obedience a way of life in the future. I will jump first and trust you always. Help me in this, Lord. Give me a heart of obedience. I pray this in Jesus name.

Amen

 

Read Full Post »

 

I heard about the Romans Road to Salvation many years ago, but had not taken the time to read the corresponding scriptures until recently. My personal salvation story is a little different. I will go into that in another post, but in this one I want to say that I absolutely love the straight forward approach of the Romans Road! I discovered that God had wisely placed in the Bible a road map for leading someone to Christ. It shouldn’t have surprised me, the Bible is full of wisdom for just about any situation we will ever face. Below is the Romans Road to Salvation:

The Problem:

Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:10

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

These verses give us a bleak scenario on the human condition. Paul makes it pretty clear, we have ALL sinned. We ALL fall short of the glory of God and NONE of us is righteous, NOT EVEN ONE! There is not one person on this earth that is living without some sin in his/her life. In some way, shape or form we ALL sin against God. Not one of us is perfect and not one of us will ever be able to say that we are sin free.

The Consequences:

Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We learned in the verses above that we all have sin in our lives. The consequences of that sin is death. BUT God gives us the GIFT of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

No Excuses:

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

God has shown and continues to show us His eternal power and and divine nature. Look around you; the beautiful sunset over the ocean, trees decked out in their Fall finest, skyscrapers that seem to touch the clouds, the list goes on and on. God has shown us His power. There is no excuse for living in sin, but in His grace God gave us a way out:

The Solution:

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sins. Christ died for us, so that we may live eternally. God loved us that much!

The Response:

Romans 10:9-10

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

We CAN have eternal life in Heaven after this life is over. We have to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and it is only through Him that we be saved from our sin and the eternal fires of Hell. We have to declare with our mouth that Jesus is Lord. It is when we profess our faith and share our faith with others that God works in our hearts and transforms our lives.

The Assurance:

Romans 10:13

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

God promised that when we profess Jesus as our Savior and call on the name of the Lord we WILL be saved! How reassuring to know that even though life may one struggle after another, but if we call on God, we WILL be saved and spend eternal life in Heaven.

The Promise:

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God promises three things in these verses if we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead to save us from our sins and if we profess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord:

  1. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. We are no longer condemned in our sin.
  3. Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God.

If you are someone who has been wondering what a life in Christ is all about or you are ready to take the next step, the Romans Road is a great place to start and you are always invited to contact me and we can go through it together. I am always here to share how God has worked in my heart and my life and to walk with you as you discover Jesus in your own life. God Bless!

JESUS IS LORD!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

Psalm 91:9-13

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Psalm 27:5

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 31:20

In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues.

One of the first things Cherokee and Chris did when they bought the new house in July was buy Chickens. We have 24 chickens and they have their own space in the yard and a safe, comfortable coop. On the first day the chickens were big enough to run free in their yard, I asked Chris how long it would take to round up all 24 chickens every evening and get them back in the coop. Chris told me that they would go back in the coop on their own as the sun went down. He was right. I watched as the sun went down and one by one they headed for the coop and huddled together inside the door waiting for Cherokee or Chris to tuck them in safely for the night. I was amazed that they knew somehow that they needed to be tucked in for the night to keep them safe from predators of the night (okay, maybe they didn’t “think” all that, but somehow they knew they needed to be tucked in for the night).

Watching the chickens as they headed for the shelter of the coop reminded me how we, as humans, sometimes need shelter from the dark moments of our lives. In life, we will come upon predators who may want to harm us. We will experience the storms of life and need to seek refuge. where is our shelter? The chickens know that they have a coop to keep them safe, but where do we go when the night starts to fall and we are surrounded by darkness and evil? 

We go to God. We need to find shelter in God. Psalm 91:11 says that God commands His angels concerning us to guard us in ALL our ways. Psalm 27:5 says that when the day of trouble comes that God will keep us safe in His dwelling. Psalm 31:20 reminds us that God keeps us safe in His dwelling from accusing tongues.

Life is full of problems, heartache and pain. The reality is that there IS evil in the world. We can’t escape that fact. We can’t run from the hardships of life. It wouldn’t matter where we run to, the hardships will only follow us. The only thing that we can do is seek shelter under the wings of the Almighty God. God promises us in His word that He IS our shelter and that He WILL protect us. God does not break His promises. We need to trust that when the pain of the world hits us in the gut, that God will be our shelter and in Him we will find refuge and safety.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »