Arrows and Our Battle Plan

My dad was a hunter, so as a young child he would have his bow and arrows around the house. It was often during deer season you would see a deer hanging from one of our trees in the yard. It would always make for some fun bus conversations. For many of my own personal reasons, I never did pick up this love of hunting.  I can say I still truly love being outdoors exploring and taking in the beautiful creation God has made for us.  One of my only true bow and arrow experiences was in high school PE class when we had archery for a unit. I can still remember being sent to the office for some poor choices in aiming(my disclaimer is no people or animals were hurt in my choice).

Did you know that an arrow can travel up to 225 ft. per second? Or, that it can travel up to 300 yards? So why the arrow stories? Besides being one day away from Valentines (hint hint), today, we read Psalm 11 and it hits my heart with a message of trusting God in the face of arrows of pain. In addition, while reading 1 Samuel 10 you will read how God changed Saul’s heart in verse 10.

In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “ Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

What are the arrows that have been coming at you? Are they still there leaving you in pain? Has any hit today? These are arrows of; pain, abuse, gossip, cheating, addiction, lust, past sin, pornography, loss, selfishness, divorce, insecurity. The list can go on and on.  I’m sorry.  The arrows have come, they hit, and they will continue. They can also leaves scars that can be a daily reminder. God told us trials would come and test our endurance. He sees and knows about them all. Yet, the closer we grow to Him we realize the love God has for us and the internal battle is short compared to the eternal life we will have with Him.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Still, Praise goes to God that no matter where these arrows come from, how fast they come, or how many come… in our Lord we can take refuge!  We can put on His armor daily and withstand any onslaught.  Ephesians 6:11-18 remember, 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…

4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Dear God, What a promise! What a love!  Its hard, it hurts, especially when all or any of these arrows have hit and have stuck. Yet, you Lord are faithful, You heal, and provide us with comfort and hope as we face these trials.  We are never alone! We love you and praise you.  Amen

 

The Power of Prayer

Today’s Reading:  Jonah 2; Proverbs 28

Image result for power or prayer

Jonah 1:17: And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah.  And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 

Wow!  Have you ever wondered why something has happened to you?  How are you ever going to get out of a predicament?  Being swallowed by a great fish, is some kind of predicament!  Jonah realized he needed to rely back on the Lord.  He was in trouble, even under sin and in God’s displeasure, he still prayed.   Jonah 2:1-2 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried and you heard my voice.”

There are many times within a day, lets be real I’m a mom of a 7 year old and 3 year old boys, a junior high teacher and living in this crazy society.  There are definitely many times within a day I need to pause and PRAY!  I am not perfect, I am trying to live out a life the best I can to be like Jesus, but it is far from perfect.  Take a moment to pause…PRAY and even bring out pain, suffering, or struggles by our sins.  God knows our sins and imperfections.  The Lord will welcome us to the throne of grace, just like He did with Jonah.  It is not easy, we live in the picture-perfect world through social media.  No one wants to admit their imperfections.  It is so easy to get caught up in a world that does not live like Jesus did.  Whether it is your workplace, family, or friends; how are you going to show others the love and grace that Jesus has shown us?  Stop and pray for the mom at the store whose screaming child is throwing a huge fit or a friend who is struggling with a relationship.  No matter the struggle big or small, God is here for us we just need to take the time to pray.  What better way to show Jesus’ love then the power of prayer.  Don’t just say “I’ll pray for you” actually pause and do it!  At the end of the day, Jesus is the judge of us all.

Jonah shows us that no matter where you are, even at the bottom of the ocean in the stomach of a fish, we can too pray because God is always with us.  He walks with us and alongside us in the crazy place we call life.  Pause, take a moment to PRAY, and most of all thank God for all He does for us.  He is a miracle worker and we are so undeserved of everything He has done for us.  Praise be to God!  Jonah 2:10:  And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.  Miracle worker?  I believe so!  Pray and trust in God!

Jennifer LaFrance

Committed Heart

This last Saturday I was blessed to attend an event called Equip with many other brothers and sisters in Christ. This event hosted and lead by Eastview Christian Church staff and members provided a chance for those involved in small groups to join in fellowship. It also provide meaningful spiritual wisdom to prayerfully lead well giving insights that allowed us to walk away more equipped to focus on God.  These insights encourage and support our small groups on their spiritual journeys and remind us of the influence we have day in and day out on others as part of the body of Christ. What an amazing day and I truly appreciate the wisdom, time, and love shared to grow the body of Christ.

One reminder I walked away with is that God is always in earshot of us.  That when we “lean in” and listen to what God has to say.  It will influence our lives.  This influence will then be the nudge we need to influence others. A reminder of this influence can be found in 1 Peter 2:9 that we are chosen by God, that we may proclaim the excellence of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Today’s Reading is Joshua 14 and Proverbs 14. Digging into these chapters I selected a few verses that captured my heart and literally spoke about the heart. In Joshua 14 Caleb, son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite , shares how Moses had promised him land. Now, we have already seen through Joshua the division of land, but what I reflected on mainly is what Caleb says in verses 8-9.  Caleb says… but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God whole-heartedly. So on the day Moses swore, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.

Breaking down wholeheartedly requires our school dictionary Merriam-Webster that defines wholeheartedly as; completely and sincerely devoted, marked by complete earnest commitment: free from all reserve or hesitation.

My heart check question to reflect on today was, “Where am I at with a wholehearted following of our Lord?” Can I be completely and sincerely devoted? Marked by complete earnest commitment? A realistic answer is that I fall short many times and influenced by my flesh instincts.  I will follow this realization with specific prayers for our continued growth, resilience, and obedience to Him and His living word. That we continue to journey each day with praise and submission to Him.   In verses 10-11 Caleb says that even from the age of 40, (which is an age I can reflect back to :), until his age of 85, Caleb was still as strong in the Lord, and vigorous to go out to battle.  He wholeheartedly continued to love and serve the Lord.

God, we ask that at whatever beautiful age we are at, give us the wisdom and endurance to exhibit an obedient spirit to consistently grow our faith in You that does not lose strength.

Proverbs 14 has many powerful verses,  this includes verse 30 that made a connection to our heart topic for the day. It says, A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Our heart makes a difference, not only on a physical and medical level, but mainly through our closeness with God.  This closeness is available to you today. He is waiting for us.  Just call out, listen, and trust. This peace provided by our Lord leads to a an earthly time of happiness, and an eternal time of love and fellowship.

Reach out to God today wholeheartedly.  Let Him provide you with the peace we all need!

Grace Through Faith

Happy New Year Everyone,

How is day two of those New Year Resolution’s going? How are we pursuing a closeness to God for 2018? As we reflect on 2017 I think about what an amazing walk we have journeyed together through in bible journal and our lives as we walked through the New Testament and Psalms.  This year as we start in the Old Testament and Proverbs I’m grateful for the message of faith by Rahab in Joshua and the wisdom of the Proverbs in providing instructions and a handbook for living God focused days.

Take notes as you read through today’s reading of Joshua 2 and Proverbs 2

 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Joshua 2:11

Rahab was a known prostitute, and God’s perfect plan put the two spies right in her house.  When the king comes in search of the men Rahab tells them they are not there. In these moments Rahab put her life, and the life of her family in the hands of God.  But more importantly, her faith changed. It was her first step from living a life where she made her own worldly choices to a life where you submit to Him and trust your life in His hands. I believe God reaches out for us all through various people and circumstances.

Hebrews 7:25 says Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

He has perfect plans to reach us all. In addition, the story of Rahab is an example that at the foot of the cross How is God reaching out to you now? How will God use you to share His story this year? How will you seek Him this year? Where will you look?

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5

A special thanks to Renee Voltz for sharing this song by Randy Travis and Josh Turner with me that reminded her of the story of Rahab.  Hearing this song was a reminder to me of how God’s people and word can change the trajectory of anyone’s life.  That our words and actions that represent Him can have a ripple effect on so many.  What conversations will you have this year?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for giving us your living word that is always available to us.  For sharing stories of Rahab which show your grace and love for us. That our past is our past, and through our belief in you, our slate is wiped clean.  Thank you for sending your son to lay down His life for us. We are saved by your grace and not what we have, can, or will do.  God we love you and pray that we store up your wisdom and submit ourselves to you in all our days you give to us.  Amen

Proverbs 2:10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

 

Not Alone

“You will fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” – Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” – Mark 14:27-30

Today’s Reading: Mark 14, Psalm 138

The struggle is real! How many times do we declare our faith and fall short? Jesus knows our earthly struggles. Peter was told by Jesus that in the very same day he would disown Jesus three times. God has seen humans fall short since the Garden of Eden. As I read through Mark 14 even in the presence of the Lord, the disciples fell short in submitting to God’s will.  There are times when we do as well. But in these stories of the disciples falling short, Jesus leaves hints of how to stay connected to Him. His word is packed with promises for today and tomorrow.

The visual I see of sheep scattering is a perfect image of what I can be like sometimes when trials come my way.  A quick reflex, eyes wide open,  with arms flailing  in an opposite direction, possibly stumbling, trying to get up so I can get away.

Jesus lets us know He goes before us.  That even Peter, who believed he would never deny Him, did so in the same night.  That we can’t rely on ourselves to get through hard circumstances. We have to call on Him and trust.

Jesus provides us some reminders as we read Mark.

Prayer – Mark 14:35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”     All things are possible through prayer.  All things can be included in your prayer life.  Most days I will pray to be more prayerful? It’s when I think I have I have it under control the Lord has His way of saying, Why are you not asking me?

Mark 14:38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Psalm 145: 18:19 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

  • Stay Awake – It’s easy to get caught up in schedule that has you looking into the end of the week as we worry about the things to be wrapped, this gift to find, the party you have to attend, or these things at work that need to be done.  It can be the problem that still hasn’t been solved that is now growing and leaving you half-minded. Be aware of God’s presence right now in your life, waiting for you to call Him.

Mark 14:41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

1 Thessalonians 5:6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

  • Don’t do it alone –  Having and realizing God is with us all the time is amazing. It  God always being with us, do life with others.  I think of our small group and how many circumstances in our lives we have walked through together. I think of the many brothers and sisters in Christ I have been able to talk with and hear timely words of wisdom from when there was no way at all I was going to figure out that problem. Sharing your struggles with others can provide you with the additional blessings and strength you may need.  Same with you and others, we supply that same blessing and prayer.  Together we provide strength and growth towards Christlikeness.  Thank you to all of you that have made such a difference in my walk with the Lord.  Please always know I’m here for you too.

Romans 15:5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Hebrews 10:24-25 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

 

God wants us to stay close to Him, instead of falling asleep or denying Him, draw closer. We celebrate and praise the birth of a Savior who came for us, and who loves us.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Bible Journal Family and Friends. David, Jennifer, Jackson, Marshall, and…7/11/18:)

Psalm 138:7-8 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

 

 

How He Loves Us

Good Morning Everyone,  Welcome to the first full week of December.  I pray the week has started off well and yesterday you found opportunities Jillian challenged us with to stay attuned and cast your net when opportunities arose.

Today’s Reading: Psalm 124, Intro to Mark

What a perfectly timed way to wrap up the 2017 year. As we prepare for our reading through the gospel of Mark I think it’s a great way to finish up the year. We will read through the many miracles witnessed and recorded.  A young John Mark wasn’t a disciple, but he accompanied Paul on his first mission and had a front row seat to many of miracles Jesus performed.

According to the Tyndale Life Application Bible the four major themes in Mark is the knowing that our Lord Jesus was Real, Focus on Servanthood, Sharing His many Miracles, and our Command to Spreading the Gospel.  I can’t think of a better time of the year to dig back into these themes and not only reflect on them, but live them out.

Our first focus is on Jesus. We know and are thankful for Jesus being born for us.  In a few weeks we will celebrate this birth. We will read in Mark how our true God doesn’t only live in heaven, He came in the person of Jesus.  That will be the true meaning of Christmas that we celebrate.  Jesus is the son of God, Eternal King, King of Glory, Lord of Lords, who rules over all who commit into His care. Luke 1:32-33 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Jesus came to serve.  Jesus came and told others about His Father and doing whatever He could to serve others.  He provided for people then, He provides for us now.  The ultimately act of service was shown by giving His life for the sacrifice for our sins. The example of Jesus provides His living word as the example we need to live out ours.  Serve God and serve others. Serving others is not focused on power, money, or positon. It shouldn’t be based on our motives, but based on our of love for our Eternal Father.

Mark will share many miracles as we read, share, and apply these miracles to our lives. We were reminded yesterday how we should step back and think of the miracles God has provided in our lives.  We remember that without these obstacles, we may never see the miracles.  The miracles we read, see, and are part of help us to realize, understand, believe, and have faith that our Jesus is God and He changes lives.  He has changed ours. That in these dark moments He is our light and peace.  Mighty Miracles have happened, they will continue to happen when you trust in the Lord.

Share the Good News of Jesus. His word crosses any barrier and is the hope for us all.  As we enter into Christmas, a perfect window opens to share an amazing story of Joy, Hope, Peace, Miracles, and Love.  That as we serve others and put them in front of ourselves, our only answer is Jesus.  We have this love stronger and greater for a Father that was born for us.  He reigned and set the perfect example of how we should be.  That Jesus was put on this Earth to live and show a perfect love.  That ultimately on His own accord died.  So we could have a eternal life with Him.

Love so amazing.  Have a great Tuesday.  I’m sure you have seen miracles unfold already this week.  Recognize and Praise Him! Each day we get closer to Christmas share this great news of our Lord Jesus.  Let others know about a relationship that will change their life and how it has changed yours. Serve others out of love. Make others wonder why or how is it that Christians can have so much love doing things for others? Jesus showed us a perfect example of how we should treat everyone. Continue to make Jesus your focus and not get caught up in holiday season challenge of trying to do everything.

Keep a focus on what Christmas is all about and Who we celebrate. Remember Proverbs 16:9. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

He will provide everything you need this season. Trust God to supply all needs!

Lastly, show Love in all we do. Let’s not have our circumstances or other people influence the love we can show out of our hearts.  If you need a little extra boost write 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 on a notecard and keep it on you for those urgent reminders of this love we should show all.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Have a great day! I love you!

David Crowder – How He Loves Me

Picking up Stones

Today’s Reading: John 8 and Psalm 110

Imagine sitting somewhere in these temple courts in this image of Mount of Olives above. A group is gathered to listen to Jesus share story, probably a lesson on how we should be living. Not to far into this lesson, voices and sounds of mockery, crying, and unwanted insults are being hurled at a person as they are brought closer and closer eventually, right in front of the group.  There are scribes and Pharisees who have brought a woman caught in an adulterous act and taken, in that moment, to go face to face with Jesus. While we sit there, the questions being pondered in our heads include, “Who is this?, What have they done? How long have they been doing this? or Who have they impacted by their actions?” We watch this public judgment brought by the teachers of the law and Pharisees. I imagine her outfit, the sweat, tears, dirt, and blood that is present from being dragged, manhandled, and throw down on the ground at the feet of Jesus. On the inside I can feel her pain, for her it is probably embarrassment, guilt, a helpless feeling that death could be on the way. Her face is looking down with shame that won’t allow anyone to read it on her eyes.  The last sounds we hear is sobbing as she gasps for air waiting for her fate to be decided. Others keep asking what should we do with her?  Can you picture it?

Now, think in our current lives, have you been in a similar spot? Maybe not the same situation but the same level of pain, same level of embarrassment, same level of struggle. Are you here today? Have you been here ever? Do you know anyone who is going through a hard situation?

Jesus said in  John 8:7“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

I think about being there, seeing, hearing, and witnessing Jesus’s grace. Watching as one by one, those present start to leave. Verse 9 says that when they heard this, one by one they started to leave.  Older ones first until Jesus and the women were left alone.  The mention of the older ones makes me reflect on why they put and order on this event. For me,  I’m left with the thought, “I get it, who hasn’t messed up?” Our earthly lives can bring about desires that can leave you at times helpless until you lift up your head, open your heart, repent, allowing God’s grace to fill your heart.

Who am I to judge if I were to look at my own life?  

Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn, you; go, and from now on sin no more”

My study bible emphasizes the word order of this statement pointing out the significance of, “go now and sin no more”. That, in Christ, the pardon is given first, Jesus is quick to forgive, but we as individuals are accountable to stop sinning. (Jeremiah Study Bible)

I also looked back at some of my notes on a sermon that was preached on these verse once at Eastview Cristian Church where pastor Baker said,  All of us are guilty. Why do we condemn?

So I ask myself, Am I quick to pick up stones?     We have all been given God’s grace. It’s not too late.  Share this with someone today.  As you head into Thanksgiving show God’s love with grace.  Let’s not condemn or pass judgement.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, As God in Christ forgave you.

Dear God,

Thank you for your grace you have given to all of us even though we don’t deserve it.  You love us and shown us by sending your son to die for all of us. This story of your love, compassion, and grace fills our hearts and is an example of the love you have for us all.

John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Go share that light of life with others! Happy Thanksgiving.

For more on this chapter read Throwing Stones by Jon Harris     

This Is Amazing Grace   – Phil Wickham

 

 

Do as I say, not as I do

Good Morning Bible Journal Family!

Keep reading daily and living out God’s word.   Developing yourself and others requires time in His word.  Ephesians 4:11-12 says So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

Today’s Reading Matthew 23 and Psalm 96

Matthew 23:4-5 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

I  heard growing up the phrase, “Do as I say, not as I do” many times at different occasions.  So in most cases what did I do? I didn’t listen and did it anyway, often learning the hard way. So in fast forwarding time, now there are times when I have say to my own children, students, family, friends, and others,  “Do as I say, not as I did.”  Mostly because I learned the hard way and trying to spare some pain.

Some of us learn by listening, while others learn by doing and failing or succeeding. God has provided us His perfect living word and provided us a perfect model of these words in His son, Jesus.  There are other places in the bible where we find those who didn’t follow, or made up their own version of the law. As we continue to read through Matthew we get to Matthew 23 where Jesus warns us about the hypocrisy in the Pharisees.  It’s hard to believe that those who were so familiar with the word and could probably reference and quote whole books of the bible would lose sight of God. Not even  realizing they were in the presence of His son Jesus. To the point of trying to disprove Him or get Him to say something wrong(which He never did). The Pharisees had such wonderful knowledge of the law but lacked the true relationship needed. There are so many times where I wish I could just remember that “just right” verse for that moment to share with someone.   But I realize that wasn’t the only thing that was holding back these teachers of the law. Often they could put made laws above Gods.  They told the rules to everyone but when it came down to them it wasn’t happening. Rules that were followed were to make them look better and not about the focus being on God.

When I think about the Pharisees I wonder why they couldn’t take off blinders and realize they were in the presence of our Lord. Honestly, I wonder why at times my blinders can be on too.  Do I practice what I preach? Is there times I don’t even say anything? In my humble reflection, I think about sharing of God’s living word. Am I focusing and Him or myself.  God has already promised you a place in heaven with Him and it won’t be based on what we do or don’t do. Am I  acting out of convenience for myself or my present circumstance. am I dropping the ball just like a Pharisee.  Do I put things on others and not willing to help out of selfishness? As we read through these living stories I’m given a daily reminder of making sure it’s not about me, it’s about God.  It’s not about me, it’s about others.  It our earthly lives it can be easy to get caught up in the

In our earthly life we have to be careful to what people ask us to do.  Is it what they want? Is it what we want? Ultimately,  is it what God wants? As I reflect on these words I try to remind myself of the true meaning of why we do things.  Is it for myself or for others. If we go back to the acronym JOY (Jesus, Others, Yourself) are we talking in our homes and workplaces about Jesus=1st, Others = 2nd, Yourself= 3rd  Oh how I can mess up this order sometimes.  Are we acting these characteristics of Jesus out in lives? You may be the only Christian that person runs into today.  One additional reminder question to reflect on says Matthew 23:28 “In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside…

Psalm 96:3 Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples.

 

Dear God,

Thank you for your truth.  Thank you for washing us clean. Your word continues to shape and form our lives. Our prayer is to not make anything about us, but about You and your word.  That as we go about our days with the true meaning of what we do, how we do it, and who we do it for, leading us all back to you and your love.  Keep our communion in you close so we know who we live our life for.  I pray our words match our actions and always represent you, in which we give you all the glory.

Amen

The only example we should follow is His.  John 13:15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

Get Up and Walk

We all have things going on in our lives.  Some we share, some we don’t.  Maybe we are afraid of what others will say or think of you or the situation?  Maybe you just don’t want others to know? When we allow moments like this to linger it hurts. As I read through Matthew 9 I’m reminded Jesus heals.  To be honest, we all need healing. As I write this post, I think of my family dealing with addictions, physical pain, diagnoses , and even conversations of divorce. With some friends we have talked about recent losses, a future loss that is down to hours, addictions, abuse, anxiety and fears. I have also talked with others who have recently shared numerous things that are going on in their lives.  From loss of life, drug addictions, alcohol abuse, physical and verbal abuse, conversations of divorce, cancer, sickness, and everything in between.  It hurts to live out these situations, it hurts to hear them.  I take a deep breath, look up, and ask for Jesus to have his perfect love to be part of it all.  When I hear these stories my heart hurts and then I remember Jesus heals. Matthew 8 and Matthew 9 reminds us of the many ways in which Jesus healed so many people. The same Jesus that healed so many then is for us now. I think of a great friend who had his mother be diagnosed with a condition where she couldn’t walk. Through prayers, and Jesus’s grace and love she is now walking up to get communion. Jesus heals, and even though it may not always be by our timing.  He is faithful. . No matter where you at, Jesus can heal, taking away the pain that seems to linger, that leaves you most days half minded, or the pain that causes you to make choice to self medicate in a fashion that puts pain, fear, and worries to the side only to have them right back in front of you and probably worse next time.

No matter what you have going on, God has compassion.  God loves you!  There is nothing you have done, doing, or will do that will take His love away. In Matthew 9:2 Jesus heals a man who is paralyzed. So if you are spiritually blind, mute, paralyzed, sick, or even dead.  Jesus can heal.  He has already proven it.

So, in Matthew 9:28 Jesus asks, “Do you believe that I am able to do this? ” Do you? I do! He has proven it time and time again.  He can prove it with you.  He can prove it anyone! No matter what is going on with you, your spouse, a friend, a daughter, son, mother, father, whoever it may be, Jesus heals. You have to believe.

In the moments when things are hard and can take over your body, heart, mind, and souls.  Jesus says, “Get up and walk!”,  “Follow Me!” Matthew 9:5

“Take heart daughter or son, your faith has healed you.” Matthew 9:22

I Believe You Are My Healer – Hillsong

Today’s Reading Matthew 9 & Psalm 82

 

 

 

Cornerstone of Christ

Our Cornerstone

Today’s Reading: Luke 20 Psalm 68

God’s living word is filled with truths of How we should live our lives…, When we should call on Him…, Where you can find hope…, Why a relationship with God is necessary…,and Who we should live for.  The answer to all these questions point directly to Christ Alone and the timing is now and always! So as we reflected on how to live this earthly life,we land on a verse that reminds us of our essential Cornerstone.

Luke 20:17 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, ” Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?”

This verse is a reminder that all our lives are built on this cornerstone? That in our broken lives God is in perfect control. The cornerstone breaks us down to make it not about me or you, but about Him.  This brokenness is necessary to draw us to the realization that we need God. That building our life on the Cornerstone of Christ gives Him full authority.  Do I remember that all the time? This cornerstone mentioned throughout the bible in various places represents our crucial stone, the cornerstone that holds up our whole structure. (Psalm 118:22, Matthew 16:18, Acts 4:11, Eph. 2:19-21) I love this use of cornerstone in these verses.

Here in verse 18 we are reminded that;

Luke 20:18 “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

We are all broken. We have been broken to pieces. But God has provided us with this cornerstone that in our broken state we can submit to Him.  When we admit to our brokenness, repent, and give our lives to God, He makes us new.  We make it not about self-centeredness but giving it all to Him. The foundation is already at our feet.  Those who deny this cornerstone and don’t submit to God are described as “crushed”.

Dear Lord,

You are our cornerstone we put all our trust in.  We know we are broken and that in our weakness you are strong.  God we pray that in this earthly world we focus less on us and more on you.  We love you and give praise to you.  The victory is yours. Amen

 

In Psalm 68:4 David tells us to sing praise in His name, extol Him, rejoice before Him – His name is the Lord! Our Cornerstone!

Cornerstone – Hillsong

Resources:

The Jeremiah Study Bible

Tysdale Study Bible