Ups and Downs

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

What is your greatest desire?  Think about it for a minute.  Do you have something? Often our schedules or circumstances can apply enough pressure to never think about this question.  At first we may think of various earthly treasures  or warm places we want to be based on our current weather here in Illinois.  Still, there is no place, thing, or human that can fill this desire.  David writes in Psalm 27 that the one thing he seeks, is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  How awesome is it to remember. That on this side of Heaven, our earthly days are promised too!!! So when we ask again what is our greatest desire, it would be A desire to always be in His presence.  Look back at Psalm 23:6.

Now as a husband, father, brother, son, principal, coach, and friend  I understand the multitude of things we are part of or are called to do from sun up to sun down.   We are stretched pretty thin and always trying to do  something helpful for others. Being God’s hands and feet.   Take time in all our daily lives to allow the Lord to dwell in your heart today!   

In Psalm 27:1.  we look back at verse The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Am I the only one tired of fear creeping into my mind? The painful self generated questions,   How will this turn out? What are they thinking about me? What if I fail? Fear is always lingering waiting for us to take the bait, to believe in the “fake news“. The two fears you are born with are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  Let’s not let the noise of the world, others, or from our self imprison our minds and hearts.  God hears our voice when we call out to Him.  Psalm 118:6 reminds us that the Lord is on our side, what can man do to me?

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. v. 10

This verse reminds me that whatever is  in your past doesn’t matter anymore. God can take away any past pain. Broken homes, addictions, divorce, loss, abuse? Whatever horrible experience you have lived that has caused a void in your heart, God can heal. He can take away any pain.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

I know waiting is not easy.  I have a few of my own children that are masters at asking the question, Are we there yet?” Waiting on the Lord can be hard because we usually want answers to our prayers yesterday.  We just need to remember that God’s plan and timing is always better than ours.  Wait and trust… so hard. What is God trying to teach us in our waiting?  God offers hope to today and our future. Let our waiting teach us of His glory, grace, and power.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
 they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40 28-31

Dear God, I pray that you take my selfish desires and turn them to you. That through a love and trust in your promises I can put aside my fears, failures, and false gods to dwell obediently in your presence.  Let us wait patiently for all you have planned for our lives.  In your loving name we pray. Amen  

Loud and Clear

Good Morning Bible Journal fiends.  Today we will be reading Deuteronomy 28.  This chapter has 68 verses in it.  The first 14 verses provides us insights of the many blessings you will have when you fully obey the Lords commands. The next 54 verses cover the curses that will be faced when you disobey the Lord. Looking at these verses helps me to understand the heading Loud and Clear.  It seems like we would be able to obey. Yet, after reading this chapter my next step was to figure out how I apply this chapter to my life.  God what are you telling us? For myself,   I’m able to look at all the amazing things that God has provided.   Many blessings through faith filled relationships, physical needs being met, healings in the midst of pain, a heart transformation, and ultimately a true relationship with God.  All the good in our lives can always point  back to God.  “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. – Deuteronomy 28:1

On the other hand, all the bad things can often point to myself and my selfish desires. This can include pain that I have caused to others, my many years of confusion about life, seeking short term pleasures through worldly substitutes… these can all point back to me, and my selfish desires to fulfill my own will. When I don’t obey. 15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

In Deuteronomy 28 Moses tells us through the use of repetition similar to what Lynden was saying yesterday with Dora cartoon connection ( have small kids too) What God desires from us and what will happen when do and don’t obey. Moses is telling the Israelites, and us, that God has always provided and always will.  These first 14 verses tells of the blessings of walking in covenant with our Lord. Moses also reminds us of our disobedience. This choice is ours. God loves us, He sent his only son to wash away all our sins. That even in our sinful nature, Gods love is always present for us.  For me this covenant language can be easy to read through, underline, highlight, and reflect on but, I need more than doing that .  It has to be in my heart.  Because when I just write it and not put it into my heart, I can easily forget. Deuteronomy 6:6 reminds me 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.   

Our small group is starting a 4 week study on family discipleship.  One of our first goals is to focus on our modeling.  Jim Probst shared a story before that has stuck with me for years.  Him and some other guys were meeting and thinking of ways to honor God.  Many people had great ideas of serving, additional financial giving, possible additional mission trips.  One gentleman said, ” I just want to obey. ”  In Luke 11:28 Jesus reminds us that, “28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

There was a Promise Land that the Israelites were looking for then, there is a Promise Land for us now.  In the midst of our lives, God has provided for us a way to get to this Promise Land.  His love for us is always there, our its our choice to be obedient and remain faithful. To know and apply this obedience into our lives we need to make His words an integral part of everyday of our lives. Think about the Parable of the Sower. 18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Loud and clear, there are blessings and curses based on our faithfulness.

  • Pray continually – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • Set our minds on things from above. Colossians 3:2
  • Let the message of Christ dwell among us. Colossians 3:16

Dear God, Thank you for your living word that we can be in every day. Create in us a soil that will take your words  to grow closer to you.  We love you and pray for obedience and faithfulness to you. 

Amen

Behind the Scenes – Genesis 41

Today’s Reading Genesis 41

Good Morning Bible Journal Readers. Happy Tuesday!

Today, as we read through Genesis 41,  it is truly amazing about all the events that take place in this chapter with Joseph.  There are so many moving pieces and ways God is able to show us His presence through it all. Without a faith you may find parts of it hard to believe. As believers though,  In reading this part of Josephs story I can be reassured knowing that God is always at work. Even in my shortcomings, or times that I think I have things in control.  I truly don’t, and need to remind myself, He does. God is  Behind the Scenes…always.  Thankfully, God is always working and directing us closer to Him. Think of Joseph, just in this chapter as he goes from sitting in a jail cell, to interpreting dreams,  to being in charge of Egypt. God always working behind the scenes to make His work move forward.

Genesis 41:16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

How has God done this for you? Let’s take a minute to reflect.  For me, I think about my walk to and into faith. This included God orchestrating a move from one neighborhood to another. At this point I’m approached by a neighbor (Chet & Shannon Bandy)  to attend a service with them and consider joining their small group.  For a second we thoughts to ourselves, with a brand new mortgage, a struggling marriage, and a toddler. and two new jobs. Our ways were not working so well.  Faithfully, God was working behind the scenes. God orchestrated a life long friendship, a small group that I’m humbled to co-lead, an amazing transformation in both of us. God changed a “me first” marriage to a loving “one another”  marriage that now is formed around God and not ourselves.  I couldn’t of planned any of it.  But God can!  God is at work behind the scenes right now in you.  Marriage, friends, jobs, kids, medical situations… you name it.  It may not seem like He is to us at times because we are wanting things according to our plans and our timing.  But when we have faith, and trust in Him, his plans will work out way better than we can ever imagine.  God’s timing is always perfect. 

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and do not lean on your own understanding.   6  In all your ways acknowledge him,  and he will make straight your paths.

What is God orchestrating today? Trust His will! Remember Behind the scenes isn’t usually where we can see it or put our hands on it. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

In the Beginning – Genesis 1

Happy 2019 Bible Journal Family!

I’m humbled and honored to start our newest journey today through God’s living word.  As we head into 2019 I hope you had some time to reflect on 2018 and how God has moved mountains in your life and others around you.  I also know you faced hard times as well that stretched and challenged your faith. Remember we can look back with thankful hearts for what God has done and forward with confidence that He has great plans for you! What are your spiritual goals for this year?  I pray reading through our daily devotional is one of those additional ways for you to be in the word. Allow time in the bible to nourish your heart, mind, and soul while growing closer in a relationship with our God.

 The first half of the year we plan to start with the Zondervan overview of the Bible, where we take a chapter and focus on a specific topic .  Today, we start in Genesis 1 with a focus on,  In the beginning.  What a great way to start 2019 by going back to the one who created it all. The one who today through Him, will create all things new.  Revelation 21:4-6

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

This first verse is a simple reminder He made it all and He has sovereignty over all things. This statement In the beginning  is a statement that answers the question between skeptics and believers, Is the world a result of divine creation or evolution?  As believers we look at the beginning and know that God was purposeful in the creation of the heavens and the earth. Watch and share this short video about how did it all begin and how it will  never end.  The Story by Spread Truth

Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

In the beginning, God spoke and everything came into existence. In the beginning, of all His beauty created, His masterpiece was us! We were made in His image to reflect Him.  We were physically made to represent Him.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Our lives have a  grand purpose of worshipping, loving, and serving Him while enjoying a life-long growing relationship with Him.  Psalm 139: 14-16 reminds us that all days of our existence are already written in His book.

So as we start 2019 I pray that you can walk in courageous confidence that God who is the creator of it all is always by our side. That our physical existence was perfectly planned. That our spiritual existence changes when we decided to walk by faith and believe in Him. In John 3:3-6 Jesus tells his disciples that we will enter His Kingdom when we are born again of the water and Spirit.  

Lastly, when we think about,  In the beginning, God saw all that He had created and said it was good!  Even after sin entered the world He has never abandoned us. He sent His son to save us.  In the beginning, similar to the start of a new year, God fearfully and wonderfully made us for a purpose. I pray that this new year bring you a joy and peace that all that will happen this year God has planned.  He is with you and longing for you to speak to Him every day and in all moments. 

Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.

Happy New Year!

Wounded Healer

During the last couple weeks I have changed what I have wanted to write about today almost daily.  Each day all of our writers have selected such great verses to reflect on.   Similar to hearing an amazing Sunday message that seems to been written for your current circumstance.  I once again felt this after Stephanie’s testimony on Saturday.

Today, I came upon that in a message called, “Wounded Healer” which was a reminder how we make a difference in others.  The statement that struck me was, ” Our deepest wounds can often be your greatest opportunity for ministry.” As we go about this day we don’t have to hide the current hardships we are going through,  or even the ones we try to hide from the past. 1 John 1:9  I understand that as adults, teens, parents, employees, leaders, and colleagues we are suppose to have it all together according to earthly norms.  But, lets put down our guard, fears, and  worries remembering God told us that in our weakness he is strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Remember the Samaritan women who talked with Jesus at Jacob’s well in John 4, she was afraid to share her story with him, until she realized it was Jesus and He already knew everything about her. She left that well and went back to her hometown and was able to share the story of a conversation with Jesus. Her testimony changed lives.  Your testimony will too!

John 4:39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

It’s very hard to share our pains, regrets, and failures. We can be afraid that others may truly get to know us.  That we may not be as close to perfect as we try to pretend to be, or that our family goes through struggles, or maybe you were raised in a difficult environment, and that even in adult years you don’t actually have it all together even after you landed your first job. It’s Ok, I know no one is perfect, actually not even close, but we don’t have to hide.  I’ve been the master at this growing up at a young age with many things going on in our lives as a child.  (Check my ACES score). My youthful insecurities that can still appear every now and then allowed me to keep others away so they couldn’t get to know the real me.  Romans12:2 The truth is, the more I searched for God, the more I was able to see that He has always been with me.  Knowing me completely the whole time. He knows you as well! Seek the Lord always. 1 Chronicles 16:11  When we know the Lord our insecurities can come down when facing the world and we have a platform to share how God has been faithful then, and how he will be faithful now.  So this Christmas season, share the amazing story of the birth of Immanuel.  We can also share our own story without fear, and through that story you can change lives through your love and faith in our Lord. Who knows us more than anyone! He has great plans for you and your story. 

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Tauren Wells – Known

Merry Christmas Bible Journal brothers and sisters.  – Keep sharing God’s love.

Listen to the sermon on Wounded Healer by JT English from the Village Church.

To The Church

Happy Tuesday Bible Journal family!

In Revelation 2 we have hear Jesus speak to John and to four of the seven churches in the province of Asia. The words Jesus speaks to John would be the letters written for the churches then and to all of us as “the Churches” now.

The letters to the churches are of praise and encouragement, but also warnings.  So as you read through Revelation 2, listen to His words and hold onto His promises.

7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

To the Church in Ephesus

  • He is our right hand that holds it all in His hands. v.1
  • He knows our actions and our deeds. v.2
  • He understands our perseverance.v.3
  • He reminds us to repent when we have fallen. v.5

To the Church in Smyrna

  • He is the First and the Last v.8
  • He knows our pain and needs. v.9
  • He reminds us the devil will test us, still be faithful to receive your victor’s crown. v.10

To the Church in Pergamum

  • He holds a sharp double-edged sword. v.12 (Hebrews 4:12)
  • He will provide manna v.17
  • He will provide a white stone with a new name on it. v.17

To the Church in Thyatira

  • He knows our deeds, love, and faith, our service and perseverance. v.19
  • He gives us time to repent, are you willing?
  • If we don’t repent, we will suffer. v.22
  • I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.  v. 23

Jesus is reminding us that He truly knows us. (Romans 8:27-37)  He knows what is said and done in the dark and what is in the light. (Luke 12:3)  That judgment will be passed and He gives us the opportunity to repent and turn to Him. (John 9:39 and Matthew 4:17)

To each church and to each of us Jesus says, Whoever has ears let them hear.  Do you hear Jesus speaking to you today? Listen close, He knows what we go through every day, He is here for us, waiting. All we need to do is listen.

Dear God,

Thank you for your words that we are able to apply to our hearts each day.  God, we know you are with us always and know every detail of our being.  Help us to listen and obey your words. That in this wonderful Christmas season we remember and focus on your ultimate sacrifice of sending your own son Jesus to live a perfect life and ultimately die for our sins.  The sins we all like to hide away, let us bring them to the light and repent.   God I’m sorry when I lose faith, I’m sorry when I don’t listen.  Search my help and reveal to me all that you desire and help me to live not by my will, but yours.  Help me to open my ears, and hear your loving voice today.  We love you.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

Planted for Harvest

Good Morning Biblejournal family! Happy Tuesday.

Today’s Reading focuses on the words of Jesus in John 12.

As I tried to narrow a focus on John 12 to look at today it was very hard. At first, we read about true devotion shown by Martha toward Jesus and His affirmation for her actions.  True Devotion! Then reading about seeing Lazarus raised from the dead, “Wow!” in addition to our King riding into Jerusalem with everyone shouting “Hosanna!” Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” How awesome! So here we go, Planted for Harvest.

24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

The words spoken by Jesus in verses 24-26 are three powerful verses and reminders for us.  Last week I asked the question, What are you discussing? In all transparency these last two weeks have not all been conversations I planned to focus on or around.  In sad actuality, I’m sure many of these focused on me and my personal desires.  Today, we read about a reminder of our self-centeredness. That our need to fill our personal desires can keep us from just letting go and trusting in God’s plan for us.

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Reflecting on this single seed dying, makes me wonder what does my dying to this earth look like?  How can I do this better than what I do now? All these earthly rewards can often be for this single seed (myself). That as we (I) give more of our lives, thoughts, and conversations to Him; wheat will be produced, fruit will be produced.

How do we produce this? Look at verses 25-26. Where is our life in the essence of this world? Does it revolve around the worldly things that can keep us occupied from sun up to sun down?  Is it about status or achievements? What does our life like? What a perfect time a year to die to ourselves, I couldn’t think of a better week to put our focus on others.

25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Am I willing to let go of the materialistic world that gives short term satisfaction and false happiness in exchange for a joy-filled eternal life?

What would it look like to submit to Jesus? To submit our lives to His words and lower ourselves trusting that we don’t know what is best for our lives, He does.  How can I have a life marked by God and not by the current life where I run around trying to prove myself to others?

26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Will you serve today? Will you follow?

Dear Lord,

I pray you help us to always turn our eyes to you.  That as this world fills us with superficial and short-term promises you have an eternal promise that is greater than anything else.  Help me to die to my earthly desires and live a life that dies to myself and turns to you.  We love you, and thank you for sending your son to die for us, so that we can have eternal life. Amen

Have a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy the Harvest.

 

 

What are you discussing?

Good Morning Bible Journal family, I  hope your day has started well or I’m getting the opportunity to tell you it is going to, just because you are intentionally taking the time to be in the word today!  I love the opportunity to read God’s word and take in valuable insights and nuggets of information to reflect and apply into my own life.  Enjoy reading through Luke 24 today.  The last chapter of Luke, a timeless reminder of the promise Jesus made and kept when he said he would be defeat the grave and rise again 3 days later. The story of man who were first hand witnesses.

In focusing on Jesus’s word throughout our scripture reading I’m reminded about the  art of face-to face conversations.  The opportunity to listen, reflect, support, and encourage. Two people are walking together after finding out about the death of Jesus. Jesus the comes alongside them and In the NIV translation, Jesus says, ” What are you discussing?”  the ESV or King James says, “What things?”    For me it can be, my kids behaviors, the health of my wife, the daily situations of my job, the overwhelming feeling of writing for classes, my kids sports, or at times my faith. It can be politics (timely), weather, money for bills, baby clothes…the list goes on.  These are all topics that I can and have found myself discussing the last couple weeks.  I’m reminded how fast our mind can forget, shift, and/or be lead by our circumstances or pressures of the world.  In Luke 24, why are so many surprised? He had been telling everyone along the way.

Paul is an excellent example  of character of not being swayed by his circumstance.  Paul faced persecution, torture, and told he would get killed.  Paul’s response was Philippians 1:21 For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.

These four words, “What are you discussing? ” spoke to me as I read through today’s reading.  I reflected on my conversations and thought about, ” What I had been discussing with others and why? Was it about a closer relationship with God?  Do I remind myself and others? about these priceless which can bring pure joy, yet the pressures I put on myself and lean towards the world can have me discussing my lack of superficial happiness based on circumstances where true joy comes through Him.  Out of all my conversations are the ones about how Jesus has changed my life present? Honestly, not as much as I like, not as much as they should be.  I’m sorry Lord for my lack of belief in all things are through you.  I pray for my words, thoughts, and discussions to have a focus that includes you.  Whether alone, with my family, friends, at work, or with strangers.  Will I discuss you? what would it look like if I did more?

Just like the promise that Jesus made to us that He would rise again three days later.  Jesus says he is coming back to take us back to His Kingdom forever.  Are you ready? Are we having conversations to let others know about this promise? I pray that we are having more of these conversations. Instead of the nervousness that come with these conversations… think of the joy and opportunity for an eternal difference you can make through your discussion.

So I reflect and ask again, what are you discussing?

Acts 4:20  Peter and John said to the religious leaders, For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. What amazing things has Jesus done in your life. Use this as a platform to share with others.

Have great discussions today!

Blessings , DL

Continual Prayer

Good Morning Biblejournal family,

Today’s Reading: Luke 12

Our last few posts have included the importance of prayer.  How have these chapters engaged and enhanced your focus on prayer? While I have reflected on prayer, I think about how my daily prayers can include praying for growing in a relationship with our Lord personally, for family, friends, and those still lost.  Many times these prayers can have a focus on current circumstances I’m going through or ones that have been shared.  One of my continual prayers is found at the beginning of todays reading. Speaking to me, really, convicting me, is the first couple verses of Luke. Enjoy reading through Luke 12 as it is filled with so many warnings and encouragements.

In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

We have written on hypocrisy many times throughout bible journal the last few years. If you would like to read some more look up hypocrisy in the search box. One of the last ones I wrote about I reflected on was, ” Do as I say, not as I do. “

Today, my heart reminded me of the Pharisees, wanting to appear to look good on the outside, yet on the inside their hearts were far from God.  Their selfishness was growing like yeast.  It’s scary when I think how selfish I can be at times, the continual private prayer I have is to have this awareness when my selfishness can creep in and avoid the temptation.  So when I looked back at one of my study bibles on this topic it reminded me about these possible signs to avoid.  Hypocrisy is knowing the truth but not obeying it.  People can say they follow Him, yet not obey.  My simple prayer is to obey.  Hypocrisy can include a self-serving life.  Leading should be not about control or position, but serving others. Hypocrisy can include an outward conformity without an inner reality.  Saying one thing…and doing another.  Honestly, I’ve fallen short many times. It’s hard to admit.  Thankfully Romans 5:8 reminds me that Jesus loved us so much, that he died for us, while we were still sinners.  That daily we can ask God to search us, see if there is anything offensive in us, and lead us closer to Him. Psalm 139:24.

Dear God,

I pray to help us live rightly.  To simply obey. Lord help us to be aware of all the ways the world can pull us away from you. Help us to focus on your words of truth that can will keep our paths straight, in your light, and away from hypocrisy.  God we know that there is nothing we do or say that you don’t already know or see. Help us to take up our cross daily and submit to you.  We love you Lord and thank you for your words today that will be implanted in our hearts and minds today.  Amen

 

Go into all the world…

Today’s Reading: Mark 16

As we finish reading through Mark focusing on the words of Jesus has been so many Holy Spirit filled words Jesus spoke that have been so timely and encouraging throughout Mark.  They have been great reminders to help get me back on track and stay focused on an eternal perspective instead of worldly.  Today, in Mark 16 we hear from an angel.  The angel tells Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, “Do not be alarmed… that He has risen, and will see Him again.  The three of them leave trembling and astonished.

According to later manuscripts verses 16:9-20 did not get included.  In the few bibles I reference, Mark 16:9-20 captures the essence of our calling as he reminds His disciples.

V 15 And he said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

We all have opportunities to share the gospel.  Many times I have this opportunity and blow it.  Maybe it’s my own “self talk” that gets in the way of proclaiming His glory.  It could also being a mindset of bringing someone to Christ by use of the “just right” verses that roll off the tongue just the way I planned.  The truth is I have failed this many times.  A recent conversation I’m planning to continue is with a person that questioned stories found in the bible based on the belief that all you had to do was be good. This conversation could have started a few weeks ago but, I was waiting for that perfect moment. I had planned on asking a faith  We started talking about the bible and the truth behind it.  I quickly started to minimize the conversation as He shared his belief in the human Jesus but not in the spiritual context.  For me, I could really speak only in that moment what I had seen, heard, and felt in my own life.  I could talk of my old life and my new life with a relationship with Jesus.  That we have been made by Him and for Him. How will I finish conversation we started last week? I can share what I believe.  Telling this young man who I believe Jesus is  and what HE has done.  This can all lead into the grace God which can be shown through all of us and how this grace can be given to us all when we repent. Stephanie talked about the victory shown by Jesus when he overcame death.  That Jesus paid the price so that all who believe in Him can be forgiven and live an eternal life.

Here are a few verses to help encourage and support you in a conversation today

Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

John 3:15 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

 

So today an opportunity will come up to share the good news of Jesus. Jesus will be with you in this conversation. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.  Be a brave ambassador and share your person story with others in lives.