So, What Is Palm Sunday?

  

It’s Palm Sunday! 

So, what is Palm Sunday anyway?




Palm Sunday is the day Christians remember and celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. Today is also referred to as “Passion Sunday,” and marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

Today, we remember that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, knowing full well that this trip would end in His sacrificial death for the sin of all humanity – that’s you and me. 

In His path, people threw their cloaks on the ground and put palm branches on the road before him. Others waved palm branches in the air. Large Passover crowds surrounded Jesus, shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9, ESV). 


WE WIN!

We remember and celebrate His triumphal entry as His beautiful triumph over sin and death. The gift of mercy and grace gifted to us by our sweet, and oh so loving Savior. WE WIN! All because of Jesus. All because of Jesus, sin lost its hold and death lost its sting. 

Hosanna means “save now”. Jesus can save you right now by becoming your Savior and Lord. Won’t you ask Him now? Don’t worry, He’ll say yes. But, you have to first accept this gift. 

There are two parts in gift giving: the giving, and the accepting. 


Jesus has already given His gift of Salvation by the giving of His life for yours, and now it’s your turn to accept His gift of Salvation. It’s free. No strings attached. No way to earn it. No way to lose it. 

Thank you Sweet, Sweet Jesus! 

Feel free to message me with any questions. 

(The Biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19)IMG_2824

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Why Is This Friday So Good? 

   

For so many reasons, I love having a little one in the house again. I love teaching her all about my Lord. Seeing Him come alive for her is beautiful. I love her sweet questions and her awe in Him. I love the way her eyes shine when she tells me things He is teaching her, and the way she runs to Him in prayer about anything is especially good for my heart. That’s my job….pointing her to Him. 


One question she asked is, Why is this Friday so good when it’s a day Jesus died? We love Him so much, why do we call it good that He died?

Friends, this is why we commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross by calling it Good Friday: 

Without His death, we don’t have the Resurrection. And without His Resurrection, we don’t have a Savior. Without our Savior, we don’t have salvation


Because Jesus died and rose again, we have victory, forgiveness, mercy, grace. We have a home in eternity with Him. 

If the Resurrection didn’t happen, then nothing about Jesus is true. Since the Resurrection did happen, everything about Jesus is true. Jesus Christ is our risen Savior, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born on this earth, died on the cross for our sins, rose again, and is alive. He’s alive!

It all —all of this. Here. Now. You. Us. Our purpose. Our reasons. Our why’s, how’s and when’s. Our eternity— hangs on the death and the resurrection of the Son of God. 

What appeared at first to be a tragedy was in fact a triumph, because by His death on the cross, Jesus purchased our salvation. We are separated from God because of our sin, and because we are sinners, we have no hope of eternal life. 

You see, God is pure and Holy, and even one sin —just one— would be enough to keep us out of Heaven. But Jesus, my dear, sweet Jesus. By His death on the cross He became the perfect and final Sacrifice for our sins. And because of that, Heaven’s door is now flung wide open to all who put their faith and trust in Him. 

That’s why we can call the day on which Jesus, the Love of my life, died “Good Friday”. In fact, it was the greatest Friday in the history of the human race because on that day, Jesus won our salvation. 

At one time, the Bible says we were “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But, now we have hope because Christ died for us. 

The nails didn’t hold Him to that cross, love did. 

Take a moment and relish in this one fact: death could not hold Him. 

They will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him with a whip, and kill Him, but after three 
days He will rise again. Mark 10:34 NLT


It. Is. Finished.





 



#GoodFriday #Easter #Jesus #Salvation #Resurrection #ItIsFinished

What Is Palm Sunday? 


Image source: Guideposts

It’s Palm Sunday! 

So, what is Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday is the day Christians remember and celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. Today is also referred to as “Passion Sunday,” and marks the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Easter Sunday.

Today, we remember that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, knowing full well that this trip would end in His sacrificial death for the sin of all humanity – that’s you and me. 

In His path, people threw their cloaks on the ground and put palm branches on the road before him. Others waved palm branches in the air. Large Passover crowds surrounded Jesus, shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9, ESV). 

WE WIN!

We remember and celebrate His triumphal entry as His beautiful triumph over sin and death. The gift of mercy and grace gifted to us by our sweet, and oh so loving Savior. WE WIN! All because of Jesus. All because of Jesus, sin lost its hold and death lost its sting. 

Hosanna means “save now”. Jesus can save you right now by becoming your Savior and Lord. Won’t you ask Him now? Don’t worry, He’ll say yes. But, you have to first accept this gift. 

There are two parts in gift giving: the giving, and the accepting.

Jesus has already given His gift of Salvation by the giving of His life for yours, and now it’s your turn to accept His gift of Salvation. It’s free. No strings attached. No way to earn it. No way to lose it. 

Thank you Sweet, Sweet Jesus! 

Feel free to message me with any questions. 

(The Biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19)

  

With God on our side like this, how can we lose?

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So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?

And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us.

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

(Romans 8:37 MSG)

Whatever you’re going through – whatever you’re facing today – embrace this written for you. You are dearly, dearly loved. Dearly wanted. God sees you. He’s here. He can’t forget someone He died for:

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?

So look that problem in the eye and say: My God is bigger than you. No thanks!

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{Equip} Link Up for the Best Selling 100 FREE eBooks on Faith!

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We are constantly influencing those around us. Whether our sphere of influence is a church, a Bible Study group, co-workers, our spouse, children, family, online and social media community, or a class – we owe it to those around us to equip ourselves with great tools to love and lead them well.

Leaders are readers.

I highly recommend that you arm yourself with loads of encouraging, equipping, and empowering books on faith that inspire you to stretch yourself. To help you love and lead like Jesus.

However, we don’t need to read a bunch of books about the Bible instead of actually reading the Bible. I love a quote by Charles Spurgeon: Visit many books, but live in the Bible. There’s nothing, nothing, nothing like reading God’s Word.

There are lots of tools you need to be successful in the new year and save money doing it. Yesterday I told you here about 16 free books by one of my favorite teachers, Beth Moore. There are links in that post for iPhone, iPad, Nook, Kindle, ePub, and more. That offer is only good through January 10, 2014 so be sure and hurry over to that post for all the links to grab those jewels. Don’t forget to pass on my blog link for others to enjoy.

Today I have more goodies for you:

Amazon has posted 100 BEST SELLING books on faith for FREE on Kindle.

For those of you that do not have a Kindle, don’t fret. There is a free app for Kindle in which you can download all Kindle eBooks just as someone would do on a real Kindle device. And, just because I love you…and I want you to get these books…here’s the link to grab that app

This is 100 FREE eBooks, friends! Even better – it’s 100 FREE BEST SELLERS ON FAITH! What a great big, toe tipping kiss from Daddy! I’m not sure how long this deal will be going on, so run on over with this link and get them while you can.

Don’t worry, we’ll get back to posting devotions and Bible studies here. I just had to tell you about these delicious finds and couldn’t dare keep them for myself!

(FYI: I in no way receive any money for recommending these to you. I haven’t been solicited by Amazon to tell you about it. There are no affiliate links in this post. I just love you all and want to bless you with my finds 🙂 )

#Amazon #Free #ebooks #Kindle #Christian #faith

16 FREE Beth Moore eBooks! Nook, Kindle, Android, Tablet, or Computer! Offer Ends 1/10/14

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There are loads of tools you need to be successful in the new year and save money doing it. Here’s a dynamite one for you:

Through January 10, 2014 you can get 16 of Beth Moore’s BEST-SELLING Books on Nook, Kindle, Android, Tablet, or Computer! The link to all the downloads are in this post.

If you’re not familiar with Beth Moore and you’re looking for a great read on Christian living for women, you owe it to yourself to discover one of my favorite Christian teachers.

If you’re already a fan, you know how amazing the news of these FREE books is!

God has blessed me so much through Beth’s writing and teaching in the over 24 years of ministry He’s called me to. I still remember my very first Beth Moore study. Life changing.

Don’t forget: this is only through January 10, 2014….so don’t dawdle. Be sure and quickly spread the word about this offer with female friends and family, Bible Study groups, Sunday school groups, and your church. An easy way to pass the news along is to pass along my blog post since it contains the link for all the downloads 🙂 (Thank you!)

Here are the titles and a little information on a few of them:

Praying God’s Word Day by Day

Regularly $9.99—get it for FREE

Praying God’s Word is Beth Moore’s best-selling release to date! Now the wisdom provided in her book is available to you in a convenient devotional. Learn to pray fervently and directly from Scripture with Praying God’s Word Day by Day!

Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long

Regularly $9.99—get it for FREE

Do you take God at his word, or simply believe in him? Believing God is one of Beth Moore’s best-selling books—and this latest update offers an uncomplicated day-by-day reading plan explaining how God’s plan for his believers’ lives spreads the gospel to all. Get this thought-provoking devotional and learn to develop an understanding of God’s plan for your life.

Breaking Free Day by Day: A Year of Walking in Liberty

Regularly $9.99—get it for FREE

Throw off the chains that bind you and gain power over sin and doubt. Breaking Free Day by Day empowers you to cling to the freedom found in Christ and uses the truth of God’s Word to help you identify and overcome the enemy’s strongholds in your life. This devotional packs the most powerful content from Beth Moore’s bestseller, Breaking Free, into a daily-reading format to start your day off in God’s presence.

Check out 10 other FREE Beth Moore books:

A Heart Like His
Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds
Further Still
When Godly People Do Ungodly Things: Finding Authentic Restoration in the Age of Seduction
Believing God
Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender
Feathers from My Nest
The Beloved Disciple
Things Pondered
To Live Is Christ
Jesus, the One and Only
And 2 more in Spanish! Be sure and pass these along to our Spanish speaking darlings

READY FOR THAT LINK? HERE IT IS:

Click here to go to download these books for Kindle, Nook, ePub, iBooks (iPad/iPhone), Android, Tablet, Vyrso, and computer!

Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer apps for those of you who don’t own a Kindle or Nook. So, if you don’t own an e-reader, fret no more!

Remember: This offer is only active through January 10, 2014

16 #FREE #BethMoore #eBooks! #Nook, #Kindle, #iPad, #Android, #Tablet, or #Computer! Offer Ends 1/10/14

Life On The Edge

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Around 1406 B.C. God brought His people to the edge of the land He had promised to their ancestors, and Moses handed leadership of the nation over to Joshua. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, finally the people of God were ready to realize the promise of living in the land of Canaan. All they needed to do is to obey and trust Him in order to take possession of the land. In other words, trust Daddy and do what He says. 

What is your edge? God spoke something to you a while ago. For some, a long while ago. Is It to begin teaching a Sunday School class? A small group? Or maybe it’s a big step in changing a lot of things in your life. Maybe it’s a little step. Maybe it’s to finally begin leading your family in the Way they should go. Is it to say yes to that mission trip? What promise is God calling you to realize in your life? 

Some of you are right there on the edge. It’s time. You can see it. You can feel it. The only thing standing in the way is you putting your trust in Daddy God and obeying what He tells you to do. 

It’s time for you to take that step. Take possession of that promise. Don’t worry, if God brings you to it, He WILL bring you through it.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study the Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all that you do. This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

See: Joshua 1-6

I Am Second: The Movement

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What a beautiful picture of freedom in Genesis 2:25:

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame….

Absolutely nothing hidden. Honesty with themselves, each other and best of all with God. What a pure, beautiful way to live. So inspiring!

There’s only one way to get that kind of life and that’s by living second. We live in a culture that all about being first at whatever the cost. Where lives are lived in secret and where money and me, me, me is what counts. It’s exhausting. There is no joy.

I am on the launch team for the I Am Second Organization. We launched  a new and improved book this week. It’s updated with even more content and inspiring stories about God making extraordinary differences in ordinary people like you and me. Real stories. Real people. Changing lives. 

I know the people in this book. I know them because I saw a little piece of me in nearly every story. Maybe you’ll see a little of yourself in the pages too.

No matter what walk of life we come from, we all experience pain. Some caused by others and some caused by us. One thing for sure….no matter the cause of the pain, the one and only freeing way to live is second.Living second is living surrendered to God. Fully. Him first and upfront, center stage and having His way with you in every area of your life. No secrets. No holding back.This book is full of evidence of the powerful hand of God that moves freely and victoriously once He is given the freedom to. These ordinary people surrendered their lives and allowed God to use the platform they’ve been given. He blessed them for it. And, He’ll do the same through you and me.

The words “change me” are the two mos

t powerful words a Christ follower can say. Once said, God began doing a work on all of the heart ache, pain, punishment, prostitution, hate, drugs, pride, pornography, alcohol, bitterness, shame, and loneliness and more. God is a God who can do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We see this truth in this book. This book is about victory.

The stories in this book will warm your heart, draw you closer to your Savior, and inspire you. Get.This.Book.

Do you know someone that needs encouragement? Someone that needs a Savior? Someone screaming out for help in the wrong direction? Someone you want to reach with the Gospel? Get.This.Book.An

d.Gift.It.To.Them.Now.

A person on our team shared this verse and I agree that it does a great job at summing up what this book is all about and what the people in this book are doing:

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me. Psalms 66:16-20

This isn’t just a book. It’s a movement. 

Here’s the link to purchase the book on Amazon: I Am Second

A few quotes from the book:

The Scruggs Q3Michael W Smith Q2

Michelle Aguilar Q1

Annie Lobert Q1

Chris Plekenpol Q1

Lecrae Q2

Brian Welch Q2Karen Green Q1

*I do not profit in any way from this book. I get no money whatsoever from the sales. We here at E3 are about Encouraging, Equipping, and Empowering others. This book is a holy hallelujah touch down in accomplishing this and so we pass it on to you. We are honored and blessed to be a small part of the team*

He’ll Bring You Back

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God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden to rule on His behalf.

But, they chose to disobey God’s one command and through them, sin entered the world. They were banished from the Garden and their fellowship with God was broken.

Their.Fellowship.With.God.Was.Broken. This, my friends, hurts my heart. The mere thought of sweet fellowship with my beautiful Jesus being broken just grieves me. It grabs me deep and my soul screeches and pours out, “noooooo!” We’ve all felt further away from God in those times in our lives when we smother Him out and don’t keep Him a priority. But, broken?! Oh, how they must have HURT!

Take this world, the magazine articles written, the speaking engagements, the classes taught, take it all. Take this world and give me Jesus! I’ve GOT to have Jesus!

But, friends, we have an amazing God who is more addicted to fellowship with us than we are to Him. God immediately set into motion His plan to bring us back. This is the story of the whole Bible.

Everything God does is a solution.

God continually works to redeem us for Himself. He wants to lovingly bless us with good things as we seek and find our hope in Him. He is the source of all good things.

No matter what we do, or how we mess up, EVERYTHING God does is a solution to bring us back. Get us back to where we are supposed to be. Back in the game. Back on track. Back in the joy of our salvation. He meets us where we are and never leaves us there. 

The story of the whole Bible is God redeeming His people and bringing them back. It also tells us who God is…it reveals His personality, His character, and His plan for us. And, it also reveals His deepest desire: To relate to and fellowship with the people He created. His deepest desire is a passionate, loving relationship with YOU.

Are you at a place today where you are desperate for God? Empty and needing a Savior? Well, guess what….He wants that even more than you do. It’s called grace. So, don’t be shy. Nothing you’ve done will make Him love you any less. He’s better than we humans about that. Go right on up and climb into Daddy’s lap. He’s running to greet you now.

See: Genesis 1: 1-2:4, Genesis 3:1-24, Luke 15:11-32, James 1:17, John 3:16

Creation: A Love Story

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The book of Genesis begins with “God created the heavens and the earth” The world—and you—are not products of blind chance and probability; God created it and us. They are here. We are here. God created all that we see and experience. Here we begin the most exciting and fulfilling journey imaginable.

God did not NEED to create the universe. He CHOSE to create it. Why? Love. God is love and love is best expressed toward something or someone else. So, God created the world and people as an expression of His love.

We can know in a very personal way this God who created the universe. God’s deepest desire is to relate to you. To have fellowship with you, His creation. He took the ultimate first step in this relationship with us through His visit to this planet in the person of His Son, Jesus. Now, it’s your turn. It’s your move.

How do you grow closer to understanding and hearing from God? By giving heed to His gentle checks, His delicate restraints and constraints. His voice is still and small and must be felt.

God is love and His voice is for the ear of love. And, your love should be intent on hearing even the smallest of whispers.

You know…those times in conversation when you’re just about to say a word, and you feel that gentle nudge. And, those moments when you’re about to pursue something that seems clear and right and there comes a quiet suggestion that another way is better.

It’s a voice quietly spoken in your heart at first but the more you listen and obey, it grows louder and clearer.

If you want to know Him better take heed to His voice even when is seems contradictory from a human standpoint. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark. When you do, you will experience a fellowship with God that is wildly overpowering, wonderfully overwhelming, and more than you could ever imagine. A relationship that will hold you and He closely together even in the most severe testings and pressures.

 

Remember: You are part of creation, and He is pleased with how He made you. If at times you feel worthless, remember that God made you for a good reason. You.Are.Valuable.To.Him.

 

See: Genesis 1: 1- 2:3; Isaiah 30:21; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 3:20

 

#1 Productivity Killer

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Spending time alone with God can be a difficult discipline, because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. But it’s the most productive thing you could ever do.

I am rarely doing two things at once. I’m usually multitasking 4-7 (or more) things at a time whether anyone knows it or not. I can tick more boxes off in a morning than some people do in a day. Some days there is so much activity going on in so many different directions that I’m sure it’s going to create a vortex that will devour the universe as we know it. Just suck it right in.

Activity. We are addicted to it. There’s lots to get done. And it all needed to get done 10 minutes ago.

Never before in the history of mankind have we had more access to scripture but less time to absorb it. You can’t microwave spiritual transformation.

My most productive days are the ones that started out sitting on God’s knee, or rocking on His Heavenly front porch and immersing myself in Him. Our time talking to and listening (don’t forget about the listening part!) to God, and reading God’s Word is about encountering God–Not ticking off another box.

 

My most unproductive days are the ones that I rush through time with Him. It’s the #1 killer. Bar none. Quietness and trust accomplish far more than we can imagine: not only in us, but also in earth and in heaven.

Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, there’s a war going on. You may feel like you’re doing nothing, but time alone with God allows you to use heavenly weapons which have divine power to demolish strongholds and break every chain. Every. One. Did you get that? Go back and read that again. Living close to God is a sure-fire defense. And, He’s already won the battle. Let’s stay on the winning side.

If your life feels like chaos, pull up a chair….or better yet, sit on Daddy’s knee a while….

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15

Identity Crisis

I saw this a while back and saved it. I do that a lot when I run across things on the World Wide Web. The problem is, often times, I can’t remember where I get them.

I wanted to share it here with you to bless you and help you all to remember your identity in Christ. The true and powerful identity we have after we accept Him as Lord and Savior.

This, my friends, is who you are in Christ. There is no identity crisis here! Name it and proclaim it!! Don’t forget it. Brothers and Sisters, don’t you dare believe anything less than who your Creator says you are!

Thank You Jesus!!

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Now, join me in a Jesus jig! Praise You, Lord! There’s no way we can read a list like that and not worship and glorify Your name! Hallelujah!

Who Is This God, Anyway?

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Yesterday we talked about being fearless. Immediately God took me to His Word and to a place in my heart asking Who is this God that you would serve Him fearlessly in this crazy life and in seemingly impossible circumstances? And, why??

Immediately He took me to Matthew 6:9; The Lord’s prayer. Specifically the first line: Our Father in heaven.

Who is your Daddy?

Because of Jesus, we come to God as our Father. A child, sitting on our Daddy’s knee chatting….and listening to His wisdom. Trusting in His care over us. We come to Him not as a fearful people to a tyrant lording over us. No, He’s kind. He’s gentle, yet sure and just. He’s your Daddy!

Some of you may have never had that feeling of being a Daddy’s girl. Never sat on your Daddy’s knee and felt that love, care, protection, strength, provision and wisdom. I’m sorry. I truly and deeply am. I know you have an idea or dream of who you wanted your Daddy to be, wished your Daddy to be.

I have some notes on Daddy. Notes on who He’s been to me, will always be to me, and most certainly wants to be for you. This list never ends, and is added to regularly. I’ll never be able to stop describing Him as He meets my every need, my every longing as I go through this life. Some of this list is from teaching notes, and all of it is true.

You are secure and taken care of because of Who you belong to. This is your Daddy. Follow Him fearlessly. Allow me to introduce you:

Your Daddy is…

the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End

Keeper of creation and Creator of all

Architect of the universe, Manager of all time

He always was, always is, always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone

He was bruised, but brought healing

He was pierced, but eased pain

He was persecuted but brought freedom

He was dead and brings life

He has risen to bring power and was raised to bring peace. 

The world can’t understand Him, armies can’t defeat Him, schools can’t explain Him, and leaders can’t ignore Him.

Herod couldn’t kill Him, Nero couldn’t crush Him

He is Life, He is Love, He is Longevity, and He is the Lord

He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness and He is God

He is holy and righteous and powerful and pure

His ways are right, His Word eternal, His will unchanging, and His mind is consumed with US

He’s our Savior, our God, our peace, our comfort, our Lord, and He rules our lives

His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His goal for us is abundant life

He’s the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the Ancient of Days, Ruler of rulers, the Leader of all leaders

His goal is a relationship with you and He will never leave you, never forsake you, never mislead you, never forget you, never overlook you, and never cancel your appointment in His appointment book

When you fall, He will life you up

When you fail, He will forgive you

When you’re weak, He is strong

When you’re lost, He is your way

When you’re afraid, He is your courage

When you stumble, He will steady you

When you’re hurt, He’s going to heal you

When you’re broken, He will mend you

When you’re blind, He will lead you

When you’re hungry, He will feed you

When you face trials, He’s with you

When you face persecution, He shields you

When you face problems, He will comfort you

When you face loss, He will provide for you

When you face death, He will carry you Home to meet Him

He is everything for everybody everywhere every time and in every way. 

He is your God, and THAT is Who you belong to

You see, with a Daddy like this, we can face anything, anytime fearlessly because we can trust Him. We. Can. Trust. Him. You are His creation. He’s invested and consumed with you. He can’t stop thinking of you, and doesn’t want to. He is the Supreme Ruler. Nothing can defeat Him. He’s your Protector. He never fails. He is madly in love with you. Madly. Crazy. Head over heals. Stalker type love….only not creepy. He is unstoppable and never gives up on you. Never. He is your Provider. When He calls you to a thing, He will carry you through it. He will equip you. He is powerful and majestic.

He’s your Daddy

 

You can do all things through Him who is your strength. In His strength, you are fearless.

 

 

Come Home, Runaway

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“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:17-24 NIV)

I deeply love this parable. The father seeing his son come from a long way off indicates that he habitually looked for his return, scanning the distant road daily hoping to see him. The father put feet to his feelings by RUNNING out to meet his son. The father displayed compassion, love (threw his arms around his neck and kissed him), celebration, joyful restoration of status for his son (a robe of distinction, a signet ring of family authority, sandals worn by a son in contrast to a barefoot slave). The father initiated restoration of fellowship before the son could articulate his confession because he knew what was in his heart.

Everything the younger son had hoped to find in the far country, he discovered back home: clothes, jewelry, friends, joyful celebration, love, and assurance for the future.

The difference: instead of saying, ‘Father, give me!’ (as he did before he left) he said, ‘Father, make me!’ He was willing to be a servant!

God’s compassion for a wandering sinner returning home far outweighs any sin we have committed. His love for us is deep, and His grace and mercy are long. God is not waiting for his shamed child to slink home, nor is He standing on His dignity when He comes, but RUNNING out to gather us, shamed and ragged and muddied as we are, to His welcoming arms. The name “Father” will at once fade the color of sin and heighten the splendid glory of forgiveness.

In Phillip Yancey’s book “What’s so Amazing about Grace,” Yancy retells the story of the Prodigal Son from a modern day view point. It is a powerful story and it’s definitely worth sharing. Here’s the story …

THE RUNAWAY

A young girl grows up on a cherry orchard just above Traverse City, Michigan. Her parents, a bit old-fashioned, tend to overreact to her nose ring, the music she listens to, and the length of her skirts. They ground her a few times, and she seethes inside. “I hate you!” she screams at her father when he knocks on the door of her room after an argument, and that night she acts on a plan she has mentally rehearsed scores of times. She runs away.

She has visited Detroit only once before, on a bus trip with her church youth group to watch the Tigers play. Because newspapers in Traverse City report in lurid detail the gangs, drugs, and violence in downtown Detroit, she concludes that is probably the last place her parents will look for her. California, maybe, or Florida, but not Detroit.

Her second day there she meets a man who drives the biggest car she’s ever seen. He offers her a ride, buys her lunch, arranges a place for her to stay. He gives her some pills that make her feel better than she’s ever felt before. She was right all along, she decides: Her parents were keeping her from all the fun.

The good life continues for a month, two months, a year. The man with the big car—she calls him “Boss”–teaches her a few things that men like. Since she’s underage, men pay a premium for her. She lives in a penthouse and orders room service whenever she wants. Occasionally she thinks about the folks back home, but their lives now seem so boring that she can hardly believe she grew up there. She has a brief scare when she sees her picture printed on the back of a milk carton with the headline, “Have you seen this child?” But by now she has blond hair, and with all the makeup and body-piercing jewelry she wears, nobody would mistake her for a child. Besides, most of her friends are runaways, and nobody squeals in Detroit.

After a year, the first sallow signs of illness appear, and it amazes her how fast the boss turns mean. “These days, we can’t mess around,” he growls, and before she knows it she’s out on the street without a penny to her name. She still turns a couple of tricks a night, but they don’t pay much, and all the money goes to support her drug habit. When winter blows in she finds herself sleeping on metal grates outside the big department stores. “Sleeping” is the wrong word—a teenage girl at night in downtown Detroit can never relax her guard. Dark bands circle her eyes. Her cough worsens.

One night, as she lies awake listening for footsteps, all of a sudden everything about her life looks different. She no longer feels like a woman of the world. She feels like a little girl, lost in a cold and frightening city. She begins to whimper. Her pockets are empty and she’s hungry. She needs a fix. She pulls her legs tight underneath her and shivers under the newspapers she’s piled atop her coat. Something jolts a synapse of memory and a single image fills her mind: of May in Traverse City, when a million cherry trees bloom at once, with her golden retriever dashing through the rows and rows of blossomy trees in chase of a tennis ball.

God, why did I leave? she says to herself, and pain stabs at her heart. My dog back home eats better than I do now. She’s sobbing, and she knows in a flash that more than anything else in the world she wants to go home.

Three straight phone calls, three straight connections with the answering machine. She hangs up without leaving a message the first two times, but the third time she says, “Dad, Mom, it’s me. I was wondering about maybe coming home. I’m catching a bus up your way, and it’ll get there about midnight tomorrow. If you’re not there, well, I guess I’ll just stay on the bus until it hits Canada.”

It takes about seven hours for a bus to make all the stops between Detroit and Traverse City, and during that time she realizes the flaws in her plan. What if her parents are out of town and miss the message? Shouldn’t she have waited another day or so until she could talk to them? Even if they are home, they probably wrote her off as dead long ago. She should have given them some time to overcome the shock.

Her thoughts bounce back and forth between those worries and the speech she is preparing for her father. “Dad, I’m sorry. I know I was wrong. It’s not your fault, it’s all mine. Dad, can you forgive me?” She says the words over and over, her throat tightening even as she rehearses them. She hasn’t apologized to anyone in years.

The bus has been driving with lights on since Bay City. Tiny snowflakes hit the road, and the asphalt steams. She’s forgotten how dark it gets at night out here. A deer darts across the road and the bus swerves. Every so often, a billboard. A sign posting the mileage to Traverse City. Oh, God.

When the bus finally rolls into the station, its air brakes hissing in protest, the driver announces in a crackly voice over the microphone, “Fifteen minutes, folks. That’s all we have here.” Fifteen minutes to decide her life. She checks herself in a compact mirror, smooths her hair, and licks the lipstick off her teeth. She looks at the tobacco stains on her fingertips and wonders if her parents will notice. If they’re there.

She walks into the terminal not knowing what to expect, and not one of the thousand scenes that have played out in her mind prepare her for what she sees. There, in the concrete-walls-and-plastic-chairs bus terminal in Traverse City, Michigan, stands a group of 40 family members—brothers and sisters and great-aunts and uncles and cousins and a grandmother and great-grandmother to boot. They are all wearing ridiculous-looking party hats and blowing noisemakers, and taped across the entire wall of the terminal is a computer-generated banner that reads “Welcome home!”

Out of the crowd of well-wishers breaks her dad. She looks through tears and begins the memorized speech, “Dad, I’m sorry. I know … “

He interrupts her. “Hush, child. We’ve got no time for that. No time for apologies. You’ll be late for the party. A banquet’s waiting for you at home.”

And so it is with God’s amazing grace. But what’s so amazing about it, anyway?

Ask people what they must do to get to return to God and most reply, “Be good.” Jesus’ stories contradict that answer.

All we must do is cry, “Help!” God welcomes home anyone who will have Him and, in fact, has made the first move already.

That’s what’s so amazing about grace.

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Because They Are, We Go

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Because she is someone’s daughter, someone’s mother, someone’s sister, we go. Because he is someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s brother, we go. Because they are precious in His sight, we go. Because He died to give them life, we go. Because He died for us, we go. Because the abortion rate is now higher than the birth rate, we go. Because the abuse and severe neglect is something no one should take, we go.

He wraps Himself around every detail our lives. All we have to do is stand in the palm of His hand. Because they mean everything to Him. I mean everything. He wraps Himself around us. He holds us together in His hands. Soak that in. They need to know that He hasn’t forgotten them. How can they know if we don’t tell them? (Romans 10:14)

When I see the blank stares and empty eyes that say they’ve never known love, I am compelled. God breaks my heart for what breaks His. And. I. Must. Act! I cannot sit on my rear end in my air conditioned home, free to go to church whenever I want, or eat what I want, have a glass of water whenever I want anymore! I must be the change I want to see. I must invest in people who are the change I want to see. I must invest in people willing to give up everything they know to go and be His hands and feet.

When I look into the face of my own adopted daughter, I am compelled. I am compelled into thoughts of all the sad things that have happened to her. I am compelled into thoughts of all those people God used to intervene for her. All those hands that were there to care for her. All He did to bring her to me. And, I weep. And, I go. And, I do. I must be the change I want to see. No more waiting for someone else to do something. No more saying no to investing in someone who goes where I can’t. He gives to me so that I can give. He gives it to me so that He can give it through me.

There is a non-profit named Bella Ministries who are the hands and feet of Christ to hurting people everywhere. Their hearts are broken for the things that break His and they are doing something about it! I work for this non-profit and am thrilled to say so! We are part of an organization called A.C.T. Intl and have 260 missionaries with over 200 ministry departments going to over 20 nations! That’s what I call inspired! THAT’S what I’m talking about! They serve. They teach. They build. They lead worship (15 worship sets this month alone!). They do all sorts of media. They staff for churches. They love. They just DO! They are trail blazers and serious about making a real difference in the lives of others for GOD’s glory.

My daughter is a missionary for this organization and is leaving everything known behind and giving her life for a year in Taiwan to care for orphans, love on at-risk women and children, care for children of missionaries. As you know, it takes revenue to operate. I was recently told that if everyone who follows/reads this blog gives $5 this month, and then $5 next month…her goal for the YEAR would be COMPLETELY MET. How’s that for simple? In our 21st Century it is easier than ever to give. A simple click changes lives. You can change a life with a click of your mouse. Crazy that we don’t do it more.

And, because this organization is on FIRE, they are not stopping with this year. No, they will go. And do. And be. And love. This year, and next, and the next. They are glocal, which means they go here in the USA and they go “unto the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). They will not stop and they need you to partner with them. Please consider partnering with them to help as they strap on the boots we call the Great Commission, deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Him. Every donation is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for your donation. You can be a partner and give monthly, or a one time donation by clicking this link: here or by clicking on the blue “Donate Now” button on the right sidebar.

or by mail:
Bella Ministries
PO Box 1649
Brentwood, TN 37024
615-852-8213

I’m not asking you to do anything that I am not doing myself. I invest in this non-profit ministry with my money and my time.

Know that through this ministry your generosity will result in great thanksgiving to God (2 Cor. 9:11b)

Defining Life

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I love Spring. It gets me excited. It makes me stretch all the cold bones of the winter and washes away all the mud and the muck. All those dreary days are forgotten at the sight of that first Spring flower. And my eyes dance. I love the newness.That freshness of all things beginning. Growth. Potential. Everything on the horizon.

When you ask Christ to be your Savior, you are a new creation. Your sins are forgiven. All things new.

Satan always defines your life based on your past; God defines you by your future.

“You’re never going to change!” “You always do that!”

Perhaps you’ve heard such words. Words can define us if we let them. Failure can be a warning sign that motivates change or it sends us into self-sabotage and shame. The cross paid the price for that. Have you accepted the payment on your behalf?

When you allow others to define who you are that is contrary to who God says who you are, you’ve made them an idol in your life. You’ve allowed a spirit of rejection and shame and performance to define you.

When we come to know Christ our spirit is 100% redeemed. However, our soul requires regeneration. This is a process. The Bible calls it sanctification. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21). It is God’s responsibility to guide our maturity process as we yield ourselves to Him.

You are a new creation “in process.” Only Jesus made plan “A” in His life. God redeems our “B” and “C” plans to be His “A” plan. Accept God’s process in yourself and in others. Believe who Daddy says you are.

And besides….the next time the enemy reminds you if your past, remind him of his future

When fear comes knocking…

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….for you are with me… Psalm 23:4

Your peace is a weapon. There are many opportunities created in this world to rob us of our peace. Your confidence in the God of peace declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. The first step in authority is to have peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the enemy, He didn’t confront him with His emotions. Knowing he was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any other voice than God’s. His peace overwhelmed the enemy; His authority shattered the lie and sent the enemy fleeing.

This week, that trickster tried to stake a claim. The peace of God overwhelmed and he fled. Praise You Jesus! God is always so very close. mmmm……yes, He is.

There is a place of walking with God where you simply fear no evil. David faced a lion, a bear, and a giant. In this Psalm he stood in the shadow of death itself, yet he feared no evil. Our trust in the Lord is what brings peace, not trusting in our abilities. Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory and become a meal for you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually:

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” Psalm 23:5a

The source of God’s peace is God Himself. If fear has been knocking at your door, begin to face that fear with God’s peace. It’s God’s secret weapon to destroy fear:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

New Future With A Past

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“Agreed,” she replied. ” Let it be as you say.” Joshua 2:21

It wasn’t unusual for strange men to appear at her door. She was, after all, a prostitute. The Israelite spies came to Rahab looking for a place to hide, and they put their lives in her hands.

Who could have failed to hear about the Israelites? They had been in the desert for 40 years and now were headed straight toward Jerico. But Rahab told the spies she had heard of the God of Israel and the deeds He had done on behalf of His people. It was as if she was waiting for evidence of Him in her own life. When she saw her chance, she did not hesitate. She joined the cause of this God whom she believed to be greater than the gods worshipped by her people: “for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:11).

What if these men betrayed her? What if their God failed her? There could be no turning back. Risking her own death, she was obedient to the conviction of truth within her–no debate, no consultation, no wavering.

Within minutes if her decision, Rahab revealed her extraordinary heart. Rahab interceded for her family’s safety as well as her own. Her family heeded her, for when the walls of Jerico came down, her relatives were with her.

Over the ensuing years, Rahab surely needed to learn a new way of relating to men. Perhaps her restoration required the greatest faith of all–everyday choices, without drama or spotlight, to be chaste, to forgive, to trust again. Scripture reveals that she continued to hold on to the God who gave her a new beginning. Matthew 1:5 lists Rahab among the forebears of Jesus. But she is not called “the prostitute,” for the stigma of her past is overshadowed by the honor given her by God. And by choosing her–a Gentile sinner–God confirms that He is the Savior of all peoples, for all time and in all circumstances.

Is there a hope for a woman with a past, someone who has made bad decisions and given herself to a life of sin? Our enemy wants us to believe that nothing good can come of such wreckage. But Rahab’s life demonstrates the benefits of believing God instead.
When Rahab chose Him, He gave her a completely new life. And He set no limits on her potential as His child. NONE.

Read about Rahab in Joshua Ch 2

{the picture above is of a scarlet cord that hangs in my office window as a reminder of Rahab and of the great God of redemption I love and serve.}

And There Came A Lion

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“….there came a lion…” (1 Sam. 17:34.)

Through faith in God David conquered a lion and a bear, and afterwards overthrew the mighty Goliah. When that lion came to despoil that flock, it came as a wondrous opportunity to David. If he had failed or faltered he would have missed God’s opportunity for him and probably would never have come to be God’s chosen king of Israel. This was David’s training ground, and a way for GOD to receive glory in the victory.

We wouldn’t think of a lion being a special blessing. I know there have been lions in my own life that I didn’t think were a blessing at the beginning. Normally, we would only think it a cause for alarm. These “lions” are God’s blessings in disguise.

Every difficulty that presents itself to us, if we receive it in the right way, is God’s opportunity.

When the “lion” comes, recognize it as God’s opportunity no matter how rough the exterior.

Miraculous Faith: Part 2

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We often feel like we have nothing to offer, “Your servant has nothing there at all….except a little oil (2 Kings 4:2) ”

The widow’s little bit of oil was already dismissed as being useless for the cause. GOD took this little left over and rocked their world with it! He provision was both for today, AND it overflowed into the future. God wants to make a message out of our mess. That message? Nothing is impossible with God…absolutely NOTHING. His power is available for your life both today, and all you need in the future.

That’s how just God works. He takes what we, in our finite minds, consider useless and hopeless and uses it to radically change lives. In our weakness He is made strong. Feeling weak? Good! Feeling useless? Good! Really messed something up? Good! You’re ready to pray that seemingly impossible prayer. When is the last time you asked GOD for something only HE can do? That’s the kind of faith HE’s looking for. That’s the kind of GOD we serve…..that is miraculous faith. A faith that believes for a miracle.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20)

photo credit:Crosschurch TV

We Are Jairus’s Daughter

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I woke thinking of Jairus’s daughter. We don’t know her name. We don’t know it because we are Jairus’s daughter.

I first imagined what it would be like to be a 12 year old girl lying on a sick bed, then death, then to life again. What would I do more of? Less of? Begin to do? She would never forget what it was like, coming from death to life.

But…we who have accepted Him as Savior know what this is like. We were once lost, and now am found. Once dead, and now alive in Christ.

When Jairus arrived with Jesus, the mourners were in full voice. There was no quiet whispers or quiet tears, no, this would be loud. Jairus was told his sick daughter had died, and there was no use in bothering the teacher any more. I wonder how many times our lack of faith stopped us just short of a miracle??

Although Jairus’s shoulders slumped, and the mourners laughed at Him, Jesus had a plan in His heart for Jairus’s daughter, and carried that through to completion. I’m ever so grateful for a love that isn’t fickle, and easily bruised!

“My child, get up!” She was called from death to life with a word, and the first thing she saw was the face of her Savior. What an incredible, unforgettable gift to her and her parents!! She could never be the same. Her life had great worth in His eyes. No doubt that she is a daughter of the one true God.

There are those others, like me, who have faced a near death of a loved one and have an incredible sense of security and destiny. We can relate to Jairus, the father. Jesus saves.

Each of us is called from death to life when God births us anew in His Spirit. He has reached down and taken us all by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” What an incredible, unforgettable gift to us! We can never be the same! Our lives have great worth in His eyes. “At once” she stood up…..He is calling us to a resurrected new life Let us rise and stand up at once in our new lives in Christ, for we are Jairus’s daughter.

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No Longer At Sin’s Beck And Call

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……”This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:20


The New Testament of the Bible literally means “The New Covenant.” The word covenant means an arrangement made by one party, which another party involved could accept or reject but could not altar. We can accept or reject Jesus, but we can’t change or altar who He is, or what He accomplished. Religions try. People try. But it doesn’t change a thing.

The whole second half of the Bible teaches us about the new covenant given to us in Jesus. The Old Testament primarily records God’s dealings with Israel on the basis of the covenant given through Moses, while the New Testament describes the new arrangement of God with men through Christ on the basis of the New Covenant. The Old Covenant revealed the holiness of God in the righteous standard of the law and promised a coming Redeemer; the New Covenant shows the holiness of God in His righteous Son. The New Testament, then, contains those writings that reveal the content of this New Covenant

The message of the New Testament Centers on:

  • the Person who gave Himself for the remission of sins (Matt 26:28)
  • the people (the church) who have received His salvation
  • Thus the central theme of the New Testament is salvation. The Gospels introduce the Savior. The book called Acts describes the spread of the good news about His salvation. The letters (Romans-Jude) give details of the blessings of that salvation (and the practical application of Christian doctrine to life situations) , and Revelation describes the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ and His people in the future.

    We are now under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ who brings us from glory to glory each day through His unwavering grace. We are a chosen people belonging to God who called us out of a darkness into His wonderful light. We must declare His praises! (see 1Peter2:9) We are no longer at sin’s every beck and call. We get included in Christ’s sin conquering death and we also get included in His life-saving resurrection.

    When Jesus died, He took sin down with Him, but alive He brings God down to us

    From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. Sin doesn’t get a vote. You are dead to sin and alive to God. THAT’s what Jesus did. See Romans 6:1-23 MSG.

    What will you do then with this Jesus? Accept or reject Him?

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    Patterns Everywhere: Which to follow?

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    I’ve been teaching a lot on patterns in school and in ministry lately. Patterns in the world, and the patterns we trace. We’re told in Romans 12:2 to break the patterns of this world in our lives. The renewing of our minds to the mind of Christ transforms our lives as we grow to know what God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will is for our lives.

    In Psalm 127:1-2 it says, Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. The Hebrew word for house in verse one can actually be translated family. That is one reason why the next few verses read like this:

    Behold, children are a heritage of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has a quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

    If you have sat up late, worrying about your children or your family, you need to know that God can turn things around.

    Trust Him to build and protect your family. Do your part, but look to Him for guidance and strength. And trust Him to do what you cannot do. Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live. Be a pattern for them in your love, and your faith. God recently blew our minds and busted our hearts wide open by bringing a sweet little 6 year old into our family. She loves to walk around acting, talking, and teaching like I do. My husband and oldest daughter noticed it before I did. It’s so cute, but it also has me watching her closely. Just as she traces those squares and triangles while I’m teaching her shapes, she is tracing my walk. As I’m watching her closely, she is watching me even more closely! I’ve got to be sure I’m following the pattern Christ gives to us as she is following my pattern.

    He can cause your “arrows” to be effective against the enemy instead of wounding your heart. He can turn things around. My little “mini-me” came from a very abusive background. God is healing and restoring her. God can turn our lives around! He’s an expert at renewing, restoring, and resurrecting! He makes all things new, and that includes your family. Trust Him to do what you cannot do.

    “House-building” and “city-guarding” cannot succeed apart from God. You are His beloved. Allow Him to give you peace and rest now.

    May you be happy with your quiver of “arrows,” and may God be glorified in your family.

    Seeing A Greater Purpose In Adversity

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    But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” -Acts 16:28


    At this point, an earthquake erupted and the jail cell was opened. “Deliverance! Praise God!” would be the first response by most. But not Paul and Silas. Rather than leave, they stayed. What?! Isn’t that a great sign that God said they can/should go?

    Paul and Silas didn’t leave because they were tuned in to God and knew there was a higher purpose for which they were in prison. They were not looking at their circumstance; they were much more concerned about the unsaved guard. The story goes on to tell us how he took them home with him. Not only did the guard get saved but his entire household as well!

    How often we are so busy looking for deliverance and comfort from our circumstance that we miss God completely. God is looking to do miracles in our circumstances if we will only look for them. Sometimes as believers we get so obsessed with our goals that we miss the process that God involves us in……which may actually be where the miracle lies. What if a problem has arisen due to something God is doing beyond what you might see at this time? Maybe that person that’s annoying you is unsaved and is there for you to speak to? Our adverse situations can often be the door of spiritual opportunity for those who need it. It’s as if we as believers forget that there indeed aren’t chunks of time that God is not in…as if the situation is separate from Him and His work because the only thing out of our comfort zone where God is concerned is when He asks us to go to Africa. Not so! When God said, “….all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purposes” (Rom 8:28)….He meant all things. “Those who are called” means you, child of God. If Jesus is your Savior, you are indeed called, and He does have great purposes for you. It’s up to us to be faithful in the process.

    In your next adversity (or maybe your facing one….or a couple right now) tune in your spiritual antennae and ask God for discernment to see the real purpose for the adversity.

    God Sings and Shouts With Joy

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    When I think of the Lord God of the universe…..the Creator of EVERYTHING finding delight in me it seems so surreal. He has loved us so much and I am in awe that He sent His son to die for my sins….me personally an individually…..and you too….personally and individually.

    The Lord Himself exults over us with gladness and sings, resting in quiet ecstasy over us in whom is all His delight. Wow. WOW! Do you feel worthy of that? I don’t! But, it’s true! This awesome and undeserved love stirs within my heart a need to rise up and praise Him.

    The mighty God is with us…walks with us, speaks to us and quiets all the loud stirrings within us with His complete and perfect love. His patient, forgiving love. His peaceful love. His faithful, unending love. His joyous love. His kind love. His gentle love. Alllll of His love……. this awesome, huge love is given to you….brought and introduced first to this world in the form of a baby. Born to die…given to you. And all because he loves you!

    God is with you, mighty to save. He sent His Son to die on the cross for your sins. Giving your life to Him quiets and brings rest to your soul. You’ll find confidence in your future for you know He is with you in this life, and in the life to come. He is victorious….therefore those who belong to Him are victorious. Giving your life to Him causes Him great rejoicing. Yes, rejoicing no matter what you’ve done, and who you are, and where you are….He rejoices over you. And you too rejoice with gladness for you know what He rescued you from and forgave you for

    Giving ourselves to Him to love and care for us delights Him and causes Him to break out in a song and shout with joy (rejoicing!). This very day, as the great big mighty God of the universe thinks about us, He is glad, He is delighted, He loves us and it causes Him to sing.

    The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)

    A Branch for Christmas: the richest gift of all

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    “The days are coming”, declares the LORD, “when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. “In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line”; he will do what is just and right in the land.



    God’s grace-filled promise is paid in full in Jesus Christ- the Righteous Branch. He came with a journey of love to carry out and He did it, and did it well….righting wrongs, and bringing justice for all who receive Him.

    Grace: giving us what we don’t deserve. I don’t know about you, but I certainly have done nothing to deserve this kind of love and sacrifice.

    God’s promise is true for my salvation and also just as true for my daily life. In all things (all means all) God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8).

    “In those days and at that time”….God knows what’s going on with you and me. Believe that God will swoop right in at the right time and work for your good. I ask again, do you really think God would love us enough to send His Son to die for us, and not care for us in our daily life? What would be the point? What about that would make us eager to serve Him? No, He’s all about the details of our lives. We just over look Him and aren’t listening for His voice.

    There’s a power of God that you and I can’t even imagine, and that power is at work in us, for us and through us

    This Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior…..a King born to die….let’s remember that His love for us is consuming, overwhelming, never ending, awesome, and huge. He brought salvation to us, and He also brought an invitation….a front row seat to allow Him to work in us, for us and through us in such powerful ways.

    What a mighty and loving God we serve!

    Thank You, Lord for our Christmas Branch….a Branch for Christmas is the richest gift of all!

    Walk in loving power, and at the edge of your seats with the King.

    What’s In A Name?

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    The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God. (John 1:9-12)

    Jesus, the only true light….the only path to eternity….came. Though offered to everyone, not everyone recognizes Him for who He is as Savior. Those who do become children of God.

    Through every situation, Jesus is offered as my hope daily…..minute by minute….and no matter the situation. Do I recognize Him? Do I recognize His work on my behalf?

    He’s my Savior! Do I really think He’s going to love me enough to die for me, and then leave me to stumble through? No, He’s not a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy! He said He’d never leave me and I believe Him.

    He’s my hope and my salvation and there’s power in that name

    Call out to Him. Try it. There’s power in that name.

    When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

    Lord, thank You for the hope and salvation we have in you! I sit at the edge of my seat watching for You in my life. May it ever be so! Thank You that You came and that You keep coming every day in every thing.

    Full Tank: He Holds No Good Thing

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    This is our “Thank Tank”

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    It’s a wonderful container that I got as a gift and turned into a thank tank years ago when my children, who are now 23 (next week) and 18, were very young. The card I placed in the top says,

    “Thank Tank”
    That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever (Psalm 30:12)

    And this poem:
    Consider what the Lord has done for you and those you love; then give Him thanks with hearts of praise for blessings from above

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    It’s been filled with lots and lots of notes. Personal ones that are only for God. These notes are written by my family and countless other people who have been in our home over the years. Small groups. Teenagers spending the weekend for a youth group function. Traveling choirs filled with strangers that come and fill my home to the brim. Grown ups as we talk and praise God for His goodness.

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    So many memories of year round teaching groups of girls, and guys and seeing them grab the empty pages and write their hearts on them

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    This tank is full of thanks to Him for blessings passed, and blessings coming. Hopes confirmed by seeing His hand, and hopes confirmed by the promise of His hand.

    This year finds me in the same place. I look back over the years and see His victorious hand through many, many, MANY hard things. The joy in the many, many, MANY wonderful things. And just like in Matthew 14:20, when the disciples took the remnants of the blessed miracle of feeding the 5,000 men into their future, I take mine and give thanks for all He has done, is doing, and will do.

    God is the same God that has done all He’s done. God is the same God that is doing all He is doing. God is the same God that will do all He’s going to do. His hands are capable. I trust His hands. No matter what, He knows me better than I know myself and His bountiful love will always fill my life full and over flowing into my future too. He loves us and holds no good thing from His children.

    That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever (Psalm 30:12)

    Forever

    God’s Memory Loss: He says no more and He means it

    For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins. Hebrews 8:12


    The Message translation says it this way:

    …..kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean

    When God forgives you of your sins, and then the next day you bring it up……

    He says, What are you talking about?

    When He says He remembers no more, He means it….and that’s it

    As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

    This YouTube video says it so beautifully. I just never get tired of it. Check it out here

    If you are reading this, and you feel that pressure…..that dread that comes when you’re not sure if you died today, that you’d go to heaven, be sure right now. Go to this link: Settle It. Come back to this post and let us know about it. Nothing but love and support here.

    I love you deeply. Walk freely forgiven with the King.

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    Continue reading

    Stop Wearing Those Christian T-Shirts!!

    I was in a conversation the other day that got me thinking. I love it when that happens.

    We were talking about our influence and purpose here on earth….you know just a little light hearted chit-chat.

    The subject got on Christian apparel and the fact that we should stop wearing them

    Not like this:

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    This one really cracks me up and reminds me of my Dad…pre-Jesus because he was an alcoholic and used to drink that brand of beer but kicked it and found the Lord (Praise You Lord!)
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    But like this:
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    The point was IF we are here to bind up the brokenhearted….release from darkness for the prisoners….comfort all who morn…provide for those who grieve….bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes….the oil of gladness instead of mourning….to rebuild the ruins and restore….instead of shame and disgrace, there will be rejoicing (Isaiah 61) and tell all of a God who heals and restores and forgives us of all our sins

    Why would anyone approach us, or allow us to approach them with the message of their sin on our chest accusing them???

    I’ve never had an abortion (but I’ve certainly sinned!!) , but I have worked a lot with a wonderful crisis pregnancy ministry and I know if I walked in wearing that t-shirt (not that I ever would) the clients would leave running!

    What about wearing them to church…in the public?

    If that christian wore a t-shirt that said something like:

    alcoholic fathers are losers who hate their families

    I know my dad would have NEVER went to that church or talked to that pastor and gotten saved, and restored.

    Maybe you’ve never had an abortion, or never been an alcoholic, but what if someone invited you to a church and the pastor or elder had on a shirt listing your sins and how disgusting they were? Yeah, that’s right……..the one you just thought of.

    The point was this: Would Jesus wear those kinds of shirts to our church or in our community? The kinds of shirts that speak loudly about what we hate er go a message that would translate our hate of that person.

    Do they accomplish the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20? Would the woman at the well have listened to Him that day? Would Rahab have felt welcomed or loved there? Would Mary….an unwed mother? I know she wasn’t an abortion minded person, but what about a shirt screaming about waiting until marriage…or about pregnancy before marriage? What about loud mouthed and lying Peter? Or Paul, who indeed was a murderer?

    Believe me when I tell you I am a definite advocate of all things Jesus. He is my life and breath and my focus in ALL that I do. Ministry is what I do. Every day of my life is spent loving and caring for people. I do indeed deeply love each and every one.

    But, his point is are we really doing a modern twist on this:

    The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At his, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:3-11

    If our sins were written on a t-shirt, would we wear that one too? Even after we’ve gone and left our life of sin? I don’t think so. And, I don’t think we would have been open to anyone claiming to have a message of forgiveness and a Savior while wearing a shirt telling us they hate what we’ve done.

    What do you think?