Reaper

Good Morning Biblejournal family,

This may not be the name you first thought of when you think of the names for Jesus. Reaper.  Yes, at first maybe you would think about the outfits that appear at our seasonal Halloween spaces when describing the grim reaper.  The image today includes a sickle but in the sense of a heavenly harvest by our Lord.

Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (Revelation 14:15)

One day Jesus will stand upon the clouds, angels will be present,  and it will be a Great Harvest. Some may believe that this day may come sooner than later based on worldly implications and social media impact.  I can only imagine Jesus standing above in the clouds with all His glory and brightness holding his hand out.  According to Revelation 14,  It will be a time of judgment that only our Lord will make.  The question will be answered. Faithful or unfaithful? No standing lines where we wait and wonder if we have done enough.  It’s a reminder its not about what we have done. (2 Timothy 1:9) It’s a matter of do we believe that Jesus was born, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, and rose again.  He is seated next to God waiting once again for His call to say, It’s time.  Go Harvest. Have we been faithful or not? Do you believe it? As Christians, we will not have to fear but have the joy of our eternal reward at this time.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come in condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24)

 

Take time to read Revelation 14:14-19. The harvest of the earth.  The first harvest will be one of the believers. The second harvest is considered the winepress of God’s wrath.

The time of harvest will come. (Jeremiah 51:33) (Matthew 13:37-43)

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your many images that are a reminder of who you are.  Thank you for your words that can transform our lives through faith in you.  Lord we know one day you will return, please remind us of your harvest and of the love you have for us.  Please help us to be obedient to your words and be ripe when your time comes.

Amen

 

Power

I truly can’t think of anything more meaningful, valuable, and true when I think of the power of Christ.  As I reflect on my own life and the journey thus far, God has walked me through I can only see and tell of the testimonies of His power. As we read our daily bible journal posts you see the endless number of miracles of healing, providing, and transforming lives.  This power is available to all who believe.

Today’s verse comes from Paul who has a testimony of his own to share God’s power.  In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul is talking to the people of Corinth who had to make a decision to believe or not. Verse 18 says

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God….verse 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

We can read His word and remain foolish or stuck in our ways like many or we can choose to believe and share with others His power.  Paul would say himself in Colossians 1:29  To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. 

Questions to ponder today about His power.

How has it changed you? The stories if the Bible are full of examples of how Christ’s power changes people.  That is why Paul says that it’s not about him, it is all Christ.  Just like God called Paul, God is calling us if you believe. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus had all the power, He knew it.  How did Jesus use His power?  John 13 says 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; Jesus served others.  Our question to reflect and acknowledge is  How do we use the power God has given to us?  Are you using the power He has given you for His glory? 

Christ works in all of us. He has the Power to Save Lives, Power to grant Wisdom, Power to change your short-term life on this Earth to an eternal Kingdom in His presence.  That’s Power.  Christ has given this power to all who believe.  Use the power that lives n you!

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church

 

One Greater Than

The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.

I love reading the daily verses and learning more about God’s living words.  They are truly a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path.  (Psalm 119:105) Today’s verses look at Jesus talking to the Pharisees and religious leaders who are still wanting to see a sign. The Pharisees and religious leaders said they wouldn’t believe until they saw a sign. (Really, Jesus had performed many signs throughout His time already)-you have to have eyes to see, and ears to hear. (Look at Jeremiah 5:21, Matthew 13:15, Ezekiel 12:2, Isaiah 6:10, Acts 28:27).

Jesus explains in His storybook parable fashion to the leaders that someone greater than Jonah and someone greater than Solomon is here.  It’s Him! Still, just hearing it wasn’t enough. Think back to the words spoken by someone who led you too knowing Jesus. Are we ever still asking for a sign?  The New Life Version of Hebrews 11:1 says Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for. It is being sure of what we cannot see.  Jesus gives us signs all the time.  We just need to believe.  The journey we are on with Jesus are packed full of glorious days.  Most days I can miss these moments because my prideful self can get in the way.  Yes, there will be trials and temptations that will happen along the way, but we have our Lord on our side.  Our journey needs to be lived with eyes open and ears ready to hear without always needing a sign.  Our days are engineered by a perfect God that has His next perfect plan ready for you today when you let go of our grip on life and trust in Him.  It’s scary at times, hard to comprehend, and goes against many worldly ways that we are surrounded by daily.  There are no other things Greater than Jesus!

Is anything holding you back today from sharing the greatest part of your life? Your testimony is living proof of Jesus. He is our constant companion and He has already done enough by dying on the cross for your sins and mine.  We have all fallen short but Jesus was willing to sacrifice himself to pay for all our sins. The more we meditate on His words we see all the promises Jesus kept and has in store for us when we believe.

He is Greater than the pain you are going through today.  He is Greater than any virus.  Nothing compares to the One who is Greater than it all.  Jesus!

Dear Heavenly Father,

God, there is nothing in this life greater than you.  Help me never forget this. You hold this world and everything in it in your hands.  You hold our lives.  Let us not take your loving greatness for granted. Help us to always have open ears and eyes and present to us today an opportunity to tell of your greatness.  Amen

Romans 8:28-29 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

 

Merciful

What does mercy look like to you? For each of us, this will look a little different, yet still, have the same result. (Amen!)  As believers, we’ve heard the words mercy and grace many times. We have been the recipient of this mercy more times than we ever deserve. I’m so grateful for every mercy that has been given and is to come. There are over 50 plus verses that talk about merciful or mercy. These were wonderful reminders about His love for us.  Our merciful verse for today is:

Hebrews 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

When you break down this verse you get an opportunity to read, reflect, and see God’s merciful self. God decided to send His son, Jesus, to be our example of merciful to anyone He met. Read about the mercies Jesus showed to everyone in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Amazing! This same mercy He showed then is given to us now. He paid the ultimate price, for our sins. He showed us why He is called Merciful.

God’s mercy is abundant.  There is enough for you, me, and everyone.

1 Peter 1:3 says Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Our Merciful Father gives you hope today. No matter where you are at, what you are going through, or how bad you have messed up. Our Lord’s mercy will cover you.

How has the Lord been merciful to you? Give Him thanks, praise Him, let others know about His loving mercy that is available to them. This mercy will provide you and them with the hope we all need right now.

keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 1:21

Lover

What was the first bible verse you memorized? For me, it wasn’t the shortest verse Jesus wept. (John 11:35) This verse was later in life. I remember Sunday school where I was so proud to learn my first verse. It was our verse today we will use to focus on the attribute of God as a lover.

 For God so loved the world that He gave his only son, that whosoever believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

God is love. He created us; He gives us everything, Our Lord has a place already waiting for us on a day and time He already knows. God was a lover of us when deciding to create us in His image. He is a lover of us, even in our sinful state.  So much love that He sent His own Son to come to Earth to live His perfect life, then for the sins of the world He was sacrificed for us. Only someone who loves us. 

Look back at the ways Lynden talked about the Love that drives out fear. There is much anxiety around the many events that are going on around the world. Love can drive out that fear. Life is not easy right now, and the enemy whispers lies that can easily distract us from the truth. Hold fast! We have a God who loves us. In times like this, we need to fix our eyes on the cross. Jesus gave his life so we can live eternally with Him. Jesus is a lover of all human races, and his love for us all is evident on the cross. This love is indescribable, unshakable, immeasurable, and available to us all. 

 

I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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. Romans 8:38-39

Dear God,

You provide everything we need. We need your help. You know our pain, you know the fears, and you hold them in your hand.  Lord, you provide the help we need and you cancel all fears when we put our trust in You.  We love you and desire to know you more.  We believe that you are love! Amen

 

Leader

Leader 

 

The central question is, “Are the leaders of the future truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God’s presence, to listen to God’s voice, to listen to God’s beauty, to touch God’s incarnate Word, and to taste fully God’s infinite goodness” (Nouwen, H. 2001) 

 

What kind of leader are you? Has your leadership style changed during our pandemic? Where are the areas you are leading right now? I believe we all lead to some capacity and have a direct impact on others. We lead in things we say and do while also in times when we don’t say something or do nothing. Who are some of the leaders you are looking up to now? I ask all these questions to get your brain thinking about leadership and how Jesus is leading you today? 

Isaiah 55:4 says “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a leader, and commander to the peoples.”

I’ve been grateful to attend many leadership conferences and have many opportunities to lead in my professional career. In my home with family, friends, and in my neighborhood with friends and neighbors we equally have unlimited leadership opportunities. I must say there are many times where I realize how I could have been a better leader. Then I try to sit back and literally try to think, Do I/we model our leadership after the Lord? Jesus was loving, all the time. Not too surface-level, straight to the heart. If I were to just look at this leadership attribute I can reflect on days past and ask how can I lead more like Him? 

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.Psalm 32:8

How are you doing?  We all lead. Take time today to think of how Jesus led. Where was His heart? What were His actions? None of us will do it perfectly as He did.  Still, we have hope, we have the example provided through His living word. Each week our family has seen Galatians 5:22-23 come up as a memory verse on “Kids church”. Jennifer and the kids will bust out in the Fruits of the Spirit song. What if we as leaders no matter who we lead modeled these attributes. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Leaders have an impact, they influence others in what they say, things they do, and how you treat them. As leaders, we influence our homes, workplace, and neighborhoods. Today, you will lead others. Today you will have the opportunity to lead as Jesus did. I pray for your leadership.  Is it a family member that is struggling? Are some medical results not so favorable? Is someone struggling financially? Does someone not know about our Eternal Father.  The One who has taken away all our sins and offers us all the free gift of Eternal Life. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10

Dear Father, 

Leading is not easy left to ourselves.  Help us to have the trust and faith to point everything back to you and your divine plans.  When we are seeking answers, let us rest in Your peace that you have a perfect plan.  Help us not to lean on our own understanding but humble ourselves and listen for you.  We love you, Lord, you have given us a mission field to lead.   We pray for wisdom and continued guidance and growth to draw closer to you Lord as men and women of our Heavenly Father.  We love you.  Amen

Just

He is the Rock his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.  Deuteronomy 32:4

Today’s word we are going to focus on for God is just. Just can be defined as perfectly righteous in His treatment of all His creations. This verse provides me with some much-needed peace and comfort after just having a small group discussion with some brothers in Christ where I shared my selfishness and insecurities I prayerfully battle at times.  In addition, leading us to another verse about dying to ourselves but we will save that for another time. ( Luke 9:23 )

Only by God’s just grace does He say to everyone, come take my hand, this world is not meant for you to live alone.  Let me bring you home to My Kingdom. God sees us all in our current state.  No matter our past or current circumstances, God loves us.  He sees our shortcomings during this pandemic and provides comfort in the midst of uncertainty.

But what about the selfishness, the insecurity, the sins? What about those who have sinned against us? Even them? Yes! Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one;” Even as sinners, God decided to send His son who was righteous, just, without sin to be an example of how we should live. He sent His son to die in our place. That in our unjust lives we can admit that we need Him, repent of our sins, turn from sin, and believe in Him, and trust in the promise of an eternity with our Lord.

God doesn’t play favorites, there’s nothing you and I can do or have done to earn our way to Heaven.  It’s a free gift He justly gave to us all. Peter says, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism. Acts 10:34

Our just God sees us, loves us.  Even in our broken state, Paul tells us that He has canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:14.  For you and me, selfishness, insecurity, pridefulness. Nailed to the cross.

Our just God feels the hurt, sees the storms, and still has immeasurable love that will never change.

The love of Christ compels us because we judge thus; that if One died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again… if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:14

The world will offer many distractions. Our just God turns our eyes and hearts back towards Him, Have a blessed week Bible journal family. Our just Father sees us right we are at today. How has God been just to you? Write your various ways.

 

 

Home

Today’s Verses:

Psalm 84:3-4 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King, and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

Psalm 90:1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.

Home

What do you think of when you think of home? Is it the current house you have been in now for our “stay at home” order? Do you think back to your hometown? What does home look like when you think of Jesus? Do you consider the visible church a home? What about your heart?

For me, I have thought of all these places in the last week.  Growing up, we attended church on occasion.  (North Darien Bible Church – very old photo)It was a safe place to be, and it allowed me to interact with others. Be around people that weren’t fighting.  We never went as a whole family though.  I went to my first Christian camp!  (Circle C Ranch)  Still, what was going on at home and what I heard at church were two different things. (thank you for my memory lane moment) Do you remember the church you grew up in? Is it the same one you still attend?

Thirty-plus years later and in our house now, we have been together daily without the distractions of the worldly race for over a month.  When asked how we are doing, I will say that “I’m trusting in God and His purpose for this time”. Honestly, 90% of the time has been great to be together so much.  The other 10% I’m still dealing with my selfishness and parenting skills. Most of the time has been a blessing.  Devotionals, meals, prayers, life lessons and skills are being discussed and shared. With the fair share of prayers for grace in our parenting.

Together as we grow closer to God through this pandemic I pray we remember the plans Jesus has through this time.

Ephesians 2:10 
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Proverbs 16:9 
9We plan the way we want to live, but only GOD makes us able to live it.

Just this last week at our small group, we discussed devotionals being implemented and shared, family members listening to multiple services in a day, children talking with their parents about getting baptized. Impressive work that God had already planned.

This time has allowed me to notice how much I miss the face-to-face fellowship and praise.  For some reason, my singing doesn’t sound the same?  God is giving us this time home to truly make our houses the church for ourselves and family. In the Bible, the church is always a reference to people, not a place. The church is a body of believers that live out the Gospel in their words and actions. Are we doing that? The church is at its best when people inside the building take Jesus’ message outside the building and serve those they meet. It’s incredible to see how God provides a platform that allowed over 25K watch Easter service.  Amen!

Lastly, think of home and its connection to our Lord, its not a town, house, or building we attend.  The home I pray for is in our hearts.

Has the Lord found a home in your heart?  Jesus left his home in Heaven to make a home in our hearts.  This was Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesians 3, will it be yours today.

Dear Heavenly Father,

1For this reason, I bow my knees and pray to You. 15 It is from You that every family in heaven and on earth has its name. 16 I pray that because of the riches of His shining-greatness, He will make you strong with power in your hearts through the Holy Spirit. 17 I pray that Christ may live in your hearts by faith. I pray that you will be filled with love. 18 I pray that you will be able to understand how wide and how long and how high and how deep His love is. 19 I pray that you will know the love of Christ. His love goes beyond anything we can understand. I pray that you will be filled with God Himself. Amen 

See you at home.

Heart Searcher

” I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”  Jeremiah 17:10

Good Morning Bible Journal family, Happy Easter Week!

The other night I found myself up for multiple hours praying and reflecting on this verse. You see, my daily prayer involves the Lord searching my heart and continuing to do His transformational work. (My selfish desires always get in the way.) There are really only you and God that knows all depths of your heart.

I continue to pray for some Heavenly heart surgery and have felt more grateful for this time we have with His word and to ourselves to examine our hearts to see what God sees.  There are many negative impacts our current pandemic has shown us, but I can also say there have been many praises in our household as well.  Before being forced to stay at home, our family often ran the worldly race between job, children, selfish desires, and other mental and physical to do’s lists. Many times this left only my scheduled parts of the day to God before I got too busy with worldly agendas.  I would be running a race so fast I was missing opportunities with my beautiful bride and children and mainly with God.  For many of us as we run this race we are able to put on an outside image that mirrors the Goldilock’s “just right” appearance that things are “ok” but inside still have some battles going on.  Thankfully, we have a savior who sees our hearts and says, “I love you, follow me.”  Thank you, God, for seeing my sinful heart and helping us to see how we need you. Lord, help us to produce fruit.

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:27

God will send His Spirit to intercede for us.  The more our heart is open and talking with Him, we will start to abide by His will and not our own earthly desires. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in your heart today.  To intercede for our desires.

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9

Remember in this time and when things return to “Normal” to seek Him.  I know many people have questioned why we have so many things going on in our world today? Where have our priorities been compared to where they may be today? When we truly seek Him, he finds us and will change your eternal life.

I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Revelation 2:23

I know what a very strong verse for early in the morning.  Strike dead.  Truth is we are all going to die one day.  I pray that as God searches our hearts He finds the transformation that highlights deeds performed only to glorify His kingdom.

It’s not to late, there is nothing that you have done in your past that can’t keep you away from a relationship with God.  Yes, we all have sinful hearts, God won’t be shocked by what He sees.  His desire is for us to turn to Him, repent, and seek Him with our hearts.

Here’s my heart Lord, speak what is true!

I can’t think of a better song.  This last Saturday I was going to take our son to his first concert, Casting Crowns.  I look forward to making it soon.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. Psalm 139:1

Happy Easter Bible Journal readers, praying for you and your families.  Produce great fruit this week.

 

 

 

God over all kingdoms

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 19:15

And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord. Lord, the God of Isreal, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

Today, I find comfort in this verse.  There can be our natural human lean towards fear and anxiety about future health for ourselves, family, and friends. It’s reassuring I can find peace in our God in His Kingdom at this time. On this side of the earth and in eternal Heaven, God alone will rule.  In the last five weeks, we have talked about our Lord the King of Kings at church.  Pastor Mike has provided wisdom to the Living truth that it all points back to One King and One Kingdom. (If you have time I would go back and watch or listen – King of Kings )

For me, it has lately been really easy to live my life according to the calendar of daily events that either involve myself, wife, or children.   Before just over a week ago I was still just doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.   In reflection, it was like my own day to day kingdom that of course, I felt I had control of.  How selfish of me. The truth is God has reigned over all kingdoms, He has always been able to show this kingdom is His. The kingdom of Earth and Heaven.  As I stated in the beginning, I found comfort in this verse because it helped me to remember who’s Kingdom this all is, and the eternal Kingdom to come. I can’t let my schedules run me around, I need to submit to His will daily.

David said in 1 Chronicles 29:11 says

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom.

 

Dear God,

I love you and thank you for all your ways. I humbly repent of my earthly desires to always want to do what I want to do and not submit to Your will.  Help me to listen, help me to lean into your Living Word and remember who’s God over this earthly Kingdom and the one to come.  Lord, we pray for wisdom and comfort during this time using all our moments to point back to you. Help us to grow more Christ-like and deepen our trust in Your plan.