Posted on February 18, 2024
Paul and I baby sit our three and a half year old granddaughter, Aurora, Monday through Friday. Aurora adores her “Papa”. She wants to be at his side constantly.She mimics everything he does. In her eyes, Papa is everything. She loves the rest of us too, but not like she loves her Papa. We use the phrase, “worship the ground he walks on” to describe this kind of adoration.
The definition of “worship” in the dictionary is:
to honor or show reverence for to regard with great or
extravagant respect, honor or devotion. When we give
our deepest affections and highest praise to something.
Aurora’s response to her Papa’s is based on her Papa’s response to her. She knows she is deeply loved by her Papa. She knows she is safe and protected by her Papa. She knows that her Papa would never abandon her. She totally trusts her Papa to provide whatever she needs.
As I watch Paul and Aurora interact it occurs to me that the relationship that Paul and Aurora have is the relationship God wants with me.
I want to look today at passages that show how God responds to us and passages that show how we should respond in return to Him.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
The Hebrew phrase translated “he will rejoice over you with singing” can also be translated literally as “he rejoices you with a shout of joy”. My God adores me. He delights in me.
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
If God knows the name of each of the stars, He knows my name.
Isaiah 43:1 (ESV)
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
God made me and redeems me.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
God knows us and protects us.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
God loves us so much He gave His Son to save us.
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
God knows me intimately. He knows what is in my heart even before I speak it.
Our names are engraved on God’s hands.
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
God takes care of all my needs.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 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. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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 will not allow anything to come between Him and me.
What should be our response to all God has done for us? We must prize God above everything else. He must be first in our lives.
Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
We give ourselves totally to God.
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
We fear God and give Him praise.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
We worship God with joy and thankfulness.
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
We worship Him in Spirit and in truth not just with our words.
Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
Because of what God has done for me, I want Him more than anything. He satisfies my desires.
I Chronicles 16:12
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
I will remember what God has done.
I Chronicles 16:23
Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
I will sing to the Lord and declare His glory. I will tell what great things He has done.
Aurora loves her Papa because her papa loves her. There are those who believe that somehow it is not appropriate for me to love God the way Aurora loves her Papa. That it somehow takes away from who God is when I think of Him in that way.
Sweet Sisters, in I John 4:16-18, John makes it very clear that God’s love for us cast out fear.
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
He goes on to say that we can feel confident even about God’s judgement because of God’s love for us. Out of my love for God I strive to act like Him, mimic Him. Remember when we looked at Romans 12:1-2? We learned that our response to God’s love is to present our bodies as living sacrifices to Him, we are to be conformed to who He is and not the world. Aurora’s Papa is her hero. The God of the universe who created the stars of the heavens and knows each of them by name. Who knows my name and has redeemed me is mine.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY
Posted on February 11, 2024
I have always loved to read. Since I was in middle school I have loved biographies. I’ve always been curious about famous people and the events in their lives that made them famous. At that time there was a series of books specifically written for children that told the stories of famous people. I remember reading about Florence Nightingale, Louise May Alcott, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and many others.
As I grew older I began to understand that we all have a story. Our story determines who we are. It describes the journey we have taken through our life. I wonder how many of you have a diary or a journal that was written by a mother or grandmother that you treasure because it tells their story.
Sometimes in a church setting someone will be encouraged to “give their testimony” or to “witness”. We are asking them to tell us their story of how they came to know Jesus. Our stories are a precious gift. They are uniquely ours. Twins do not have the same story. Brothers and sisters growing up in the same house do not have the same story.
I love it when someone trusts me enough to share their story with me. It adds a whole new dimension to our relationship. It explains so much about who they are and why they do what they do.
I think God wants us to share our story with others. I think He want us to listen to the stories of others. Our stories bind us together. They help us see each other in a whole new way
Today we are going to look at some passages in the New Testament when people shared their stories or parts of their story. Passages where God (Jesus) touched their lives in such a way they had to hare what He had done.
Let’s begin in Luke 1:1-4:
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Luke wrote the books of Luke and Acts. He was a Gentile physician who it is believed was converted by Paul. He traveled with Paul. He was affected by what he experienced so he carefully investigated all of the details and shared his findings in the two books he wrote.
Luke does not share his personal story in the books. He does share what he came to know about Jesus. If you aren’t comfortable telling your story… tell the story of Jesus.
In Luke 2:8-20, Luke tells us the story of the shepherds.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
I love verse 17. They spread the word about their experience. As a result, people were amazed (18).
John the Baptist told his story in a unique way. John 1:19-23.
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
John shared his purpose in life: What he felt God calling him to do.
What message has God put on your heart that He wants you to share with others?
John 1:40 - 42 tells us how Andrew reacted to his encounter with Jesus.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Andrew shared his story with his brother Simon (Peter). The story of Jesus’ time on earth would have read very differently, I think, had Andrew decided to keep his story to himself.
One of the best examples of someone sharing their story is found in John 4. We read here about Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well. If you aren’t familiar with the passage, please take the time to read it.
Let me briefly summarize it. Jesus is traveling with his disciples through Samaria. While His disciples go into town to get food, Jesus rests by a well. It is noon, the hottest part of the day. A woman with a very tragic past comes to draw water from the well. She and Jesus have a discussion that rocks her world. Notice in John 4:28-29 her response:
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
This woman who wanted so badly to avoid interaction with others that she came to the well at noon, goes running back into town shouting for everyone to come and meet the man at the well who might be the Messiah.
John 4:39-42 tells us what happened because she was willing to share her story:
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
I want to point out that often Jesus used the least likely people to be His ambassadors. He seems to love going to the ones everyone else avoided and changing their lives in such a way they can’t help but share their stories.
Mark 5:1-20 describes a situation like this. Once again Jesus is in a Gentile area. Jesus and His disciples have crossed the Sea of Galilee. Jesus calms a furious storm. The disciples are still trying to get their heads around that event when they pull up on shore and are met by a very frightening demon possessed man who lived in the tombs.
Let’s read Mark 5:1-13 together.
5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
WOW!!!! This man was totally controlled by the demons in his life. They were responsible for everything he did. Yet somehow he made it to the feet of Jesus. Have you ever known someone like that? Maybe you have been in that situation.
I believe that Jesus purposely brought the boat ashore at this spot because He knew this man would be there. I believe God still works that way today, which is another reason we need to be sharing our story. The crazy person who is fighting demons that scares you may have been put in your life by God so that they can hear your story and fall at Jesus’ feet to be freed of their demons.
Mark 5:18-20 tells us how this story ends.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Jesus tells the man to go home and tell his story.
The Decapolis was an area of ten cities on the east and south east shores of the Sea of Galilee. It was occupied by both Jews and Greeks. The man does what Jesus tells him to do and people are amazed.
In chapter 7:31-37 Jesus himself comes to this area. I wonder if the man’s story of what Jesus had done for him had anything to do with the people bringing the deaf mute to Jesus?
The feeding of the 4000 in Mark 8 also takes place in the area. It seems that Jesus sent the man freed from the demons to prepare the way for Him coming to the area of the Decapolis.
God may be asking you to share your story for the same reason. He is using you to prepare the way for Him to interact with the people you have influence with.
Our final passage takes us to Acts 22. Paul is in Jerusalem. He has created quite an uproar among the Jews. He is rescued by the Roman soldiers. He asks permission to address the crowd in Acts 21:40
40 After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic:
In Acts 22:1-16 Paul tells his story:
1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”
2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.
Then Paul said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4 I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5 as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.
6 “About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’
8 “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked.
“ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 9 My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.
10 “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.
“ ‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’ 11 My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.
12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.
14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
The crowd seems to be receptive to what Paul is saying until he gets to verses 21 - 22:
21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”
Paul’s story causes so much drama that eventually Paul will end up presenting his story before Caesar in Rome. Acts 28:30, 31 tells us what Paul does while he is under house arrest (v. 16) awaiting to appear before Caesar.
30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!
Sweet Sisters, sometimes telling our story may take us down a very difficult road. It may cause us to be rejected by family and friends (example: the blind man in John 9). It may be severe persecution or maybe even death.
Regardless, God Promises to bless us and walk beside us as we share His story with those with whom we come in contact.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY
Posted on February 5, 2024
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with an anxious feeling in your chest? Maybe you had a bad dream. Maybe some kind of drama going on in your life popped to the surface and suddenly you couldn’t sleep.
What do you do when this happens? Do you toss and turn and try to go back to sleep? Do you pick up your phone and scroll through Facebook? Maybe you turn on the TV. Maybe you head for the kitchen for a late night snack.
I think we’ve all been there. I used to struggle with this situation until my paradigm about it changed. One night it occurred to me, “I need to talk to Jesus.” Sometimes life gets crazy. I get all wrapped up in the “urgent” and neglect the “important”. I don’t take the time to sit down in a quiet place and spend a few moments with the one who fuels my soul and brings peace to all the chaos.
During such a time a while back, I decided it would be a good idea to have a folder of some of my favorite Bible passages that brought peace and calmness to my heart that I could just go to when such moments popped up in the middle of the night.
In today’s lesson I want to share some of them with you. I found it beneficial to use the same passages over and over because eventually they engrave themselves on your heart.
Often now when I wake up in the middle of the night with that “anxious, panicky, breathless” feeling , my mind immediately begins to recite these passages. Sometimes they turn into prayers. For example, one of my absolute favorite passages is Philippians 4:4-7:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I pray “God you promised in this passage that if I brought all my anxious thoughts to you, you would give me your peace that goes beyond anything I can imagine. I need that peace now, please.”
Another passage I often go to is Deuteronomy 20:3-4:
He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
I tell myself, “Do NOT panic! Do not be afraid! The Lord, your God will fight this battle for you and you will be victorious.”
Let me pause here and mention a coupe of things. You don’t have to remember the whole passage or where it is found. God can fill in the blanks. Another thing is that as soon as your mind starts to go to these passages, Satan is going to distract you. That’s when you say, “In the name of Jesus, get away from me! I’m talking to God!”
OK, let’s go back to some of my favorite passages. Some of them talk about waiting on the Lord. Some reassure me that He cares, He hears and He will respond. Some are just passages of praise.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Psalm 37:4-8 (NET)
Then you will take delight in the Lord,
and he will answer your prayers.
Commit your future to the Lord.
Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf.
He will vindicate you in broad daylight,
and publicly defend your just cause.
Wait patiently for the Lord!
Wait confidently for him!
Do not fret over the apparent success of a sinner,
a man who carries out wicked schemes.
Do not be angry and frustrated.
Do not fret. That only leads to trouble.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.
When he passes me, I cannot see him;
when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.
God is performing signs and wonders even when I can not see Him or perceive Him. I need to know that!
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Evidently, this psalmist knew what it was like to live awake at night.
But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
20 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,
Notice the phrase, “according to His power that is at work within you.” God will only do what you believe He can do. Ask for the impossible. I believe God loves it when we do that!
26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
“For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.
He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
This is another passage where I have said to God, “You rescue and you save. You perform signs and wonders, you rescued Daniel. I need you to rescue me.” I prayed this prayer once and God answered in a way that rocked my world and changed my life.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
God is our hope, but you have to trust Him in order to receive it.
Sweet Sisters, by now you have figured out why I suggested you may want to print these passages up and keep them in a folder. I did not come up with this concept as a quick fix. I discovered that as I got out of bed, climbed into my favorite chair and begin to read through these passages, I felt God’s presence in a way I had not felt it before. I felt His peace wash over me. Sometimes, if I was struggling with a particular drama, the solution would suddenly occur to me.
Sometimes I wouldn’t make it through all the passages because I couldn’t stay awake and I would have to go back to bed.
Now when I wake up in the middle of the night with these feelings, I take it as a message that my God, the Great I AM, would like me to come and spend some time with Him. He has something He wants to say to me.
By the way, if you would like a printed copy and don’t have access to a printer, text me and I will mail you one.
Posted on December 3, 2023
Masters of the Storm
In times of need we may call out to God asking ‘to be taken out of the storm’. We may later reconsider and ask God to ‘calm the storm’, or we may request that He be with us 'in the storm’. Storms are inevitable! Jesus told His disciples that they would receive many blessings ‘with persecutions’ (storms). Paul understood what He meant and said that through trials and temptations that ‘we persevere’. James, the brother of Jesus, said we should ‘count it all joy’ in our trials, and Peter added that we should embrace our suffering in the name of Jesus Christ.
God knows what is needed before people ask, and that He responds when asked. God wants what is best for all people. While Jesus was in the midst of His own storm; facing crucifixion, He relied on God and prayed ‘not My will but Thine’. Parents know that children need godly discipline—Jesus subjected Himself to His parents. Some may not appreciate discipline and may only recognize it’s value later in life—God disciplines those He loves.
God gave Adam and Eve ‘Paradise’; free of storms—they were unappreciative. Today, it is a common practice to ask God for blessings and to live ‘storm free’. Few ask to be challenged or disciplined. All people are given the choice to choose the wide road or the narrow road, the hard road or the easy road. God, our Heavenly Father, places storms in our lives to strengthen us, not to defeat us! As Christians, we delight in our struggles for ‘the joy set before us’. Overcoming a difficult task is exhilarating! Instead of asking God to remove unwanted obstacles let’s ask for the strength to endure and become ‘masters of the storm’. Peter
Posted on November 5, 2023
Jesus is called ‘The Lamb of God’. He is also known as Light, Love, Lord, and Lion (of Judah). Creation is a reflection of Jesus; the Creator, made with precision and with purpose. Nothing created is without value or significance.
Jesus is also known as ‘The Good Shepherd.’ He is the shepherd of His sheep and the perfect sacrifice for them. Shepherds are held in high esteem; willing to defend their flock against all predators and willing to stay awake and on guard through the night. Shepherds care for the entire flock, risking their lives for the 99 and one that is lost. Sheep have a special place in the hearts of shepherds who often care for them as their children. Shepherds know how to protect their flock with their lives.
People have taken lambs into their hearts as some do domestic pets. To require of a shepherd that a first born lamb, in full health, be used as a sacrifice is to demand the very best. It is a sacrifice for the shepherd and lamb! Jesus willingly became a sacrifice and went to His death with ‘joy set before Him’, as did God, the Father, make a sacrifice for His ‘love of the world’. He gave His only begotten Son. Mary, Jesus earthy mother, was with Him at His death, suffering silently. Both God the Father and Son purposed to save mankind at the right time and manner—they willingly gave the very best of themselves and heaven. Peter
Posted on October 1, 2023
Moses, a servant of God, was chosen by God to deliver His law in what is known as the Ten Commandments, and to set them as God’s standard for His people, Israel. There are two sections: respect for God and respect for fellow man. Many more commands given through Moses have formed the basis of Jewish religious law through the centuries.
Jesus, the Son of God, was chosen by God to speak His words for all people; all nations of the world. Jesus, the Word of God, stated, ‘My words will judge you in the last day’. Jesus has many attributes and is known by several well known titles: He is Christ the Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, High Priest and Advocate, Great Shepherd and Prince of Peace.
Jesus’ word is God’s Christian standard. On earth, all nations have requirements for all citizens that are accepted as legal and right. By what standard-of-law, then, does God require for entrance into heaven? The Greatest Command Jesus spoke is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:28-30).
Jesus showed His love for all people by His willingness to forgive sin. Forgiveness is His gift and response to repentance. Jesus is our righteous judge and advocate, and we will appear before His judgment-seat (II Corinthians 5:10, I John 2:1). By His words, eternal life is given to all who hear and believe—these do not come into judgment (John 5:24). Peter