Heir of all Things

How are you doing?
How are you REALLY doing?

My Dad had a good friend that used to greet him with both of the above questions. He was looking for the “sit down” answer. We use to joke that it was too intrusive but looking back it was actually an important question. Really, how are you doing? What’s your answer today? Is anyone asking? The past 3 weeks have been challenging. I have had a few sleepless nights and with that increased irritability and crabbiness. While being a devout introvert I see more than ever the benefits of going to work and  being part of a community outside of my home. At the same time, I have loved the extraordinary time with my kids. Watching movies that we never would have had time for, baking cookies, sitting together watching church from the couch, and seeing them take on school in a way they never planned.  It has been fun to connect as a family but I still find myself looking for reassurance or answers in the media. Not only is our health at stake, but our economy is suffering its own viral infection.  Even after a few weeks in quarantine I find myself in a state of limbo. Will things ever go back to normal? When and how?  Where is the reassurance?

Hebrews 1:1-3 “Long ago God spoke many times and in many was to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he made the universe and everything in it. The Son reflects God’s own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven.”

Today’s name of Jesus is “Heir of all Things”. Jesus is the son of God and God is the creator of all. As God’s son, Jesus is the heir to all that is God’s. When we put our trust in Jesus we become part of the family of God and our inheritance becomes eternal life. This is a gift from God that we certainly do not deserve but it is one thing that does not change and cannot be taken away. And while waiting for that eternal life with Him we have the joy of relationship with Him through Jesus. We have the gift of prayer and the Holy Spirit that intervenes on our behalf when we don’t have the words to express ourselves. None of these things change with social distancing or our current pandemic. If anything, it is growing our faith and revealing more about who He is and why we desperately need a savior.

While our table will be smaller than usual this Easter Sunday and loved ones are far away we are still celebrating the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It never changes! This is our good news in the midst of uncertainty and distancing. We do not have to be in a church pew wearing our Easter best to celebrate Jesus. He sees us just as we are at all times.

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his son into the world to condemn it but to save it.”  

Psalm 16:5Lord you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.”

Happy Easter everyone!

 

 

God of gods

Deuteronomy 10:17 “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.”

There has been a word, other than COVID-19, that has been circulating in peoples vocabulary lately. The word is “unprecedented”. It means “Novel or unexampled” (Merriam Webster). Our current situation is quite “Novel and unexampled”. People in the medical field are doing all they can to research and develop treatments for COVID-19 in order to save thousands while our government orchestrates a “stay at home” protocol for all people to help “flatten the curve”.  All in an effort to weaken our current pandemic. We are in the midst of a pandemic (if you didn’t already know that). For the past month I have stepped out of social media and relied on trusted sources for all my information like the CDC. I am also an introvert and the thought of being at home all day, everyday, with permission was like a dream come true for me! But last night I realized that I have let this pandemic be a god (lower case g) in my life. I had dreams last night of graphs, statistics, new cases, and treatments and it was so overwhelming. I woke up in a panic and was convicted. I am guilty of giving our current situation all my time and energy and in turn it has gotten me! Please do not misunderstand me, it is important to be informed and know what is happening in the world. This “stay at home” protocol is important and will save lives, but I found myself missing God (capital G) in the midst of all of it.

Our current study of the names of Jesus is so timely! God is so good in giving us what we need when we need it most.  We need a cure for COVID-19 but more importantly, we need Jesus. He is God of gods and Lord of lords. He is mighty and awesome! With our current lockdown, I was able to read through Deuteronomy. The story of Moses leading the Israelites to the Promised land was “unprecedented”. There was no example for him to follow but he knew the leader was God and God knew him. Our times may have different circumstances but we have the option to let God lead us through this wilderness.  I look forward to spending more time with God in the days to come as I have abandoned him for an earthy pandemic. I move forward trusting that the God of gods and the Lord of lords has this in his mighty and awesome hands!

We are here to share the truth and the light of Jesus in an “unprecedented” time. He will give us strength and courage.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In Him,

Shelly

 

 

 

Fountain of Life

Psalm 36:9 “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see it.”

Psalm 87:7 “As they make music they will sing, ‘All my fountains are in you’.”

Today’s name of Jesus is “Fountain of life“. Merriam Webster defines Fountain as “the source from which something proceeds or is supplied”. In these verses we are reminded that God is the source from which our lives proceed and are supplied. He is the creator and the source of our lives. Can you relate? You know God is your “fountain” when the morning just doesn’t feel right until you have spent time with Him. Or whenever life gets confusing, you are on your knees asking for His direction. Or when someone asks for prayer, you stop everything and pray for them on the spot……with them present! Or you see God’s answer to the prayer that you have prayed for years and you fall to your knees with recognition that He is sovereign over all. These are clues that God is the “fountain of your life”.

Mike and I recently overheard a conversation and one of the comments really stuck in my craw. We were not trying to eavesdrop, they were talking really loud and we happen to be in the same room. This child of God said, “The Bible should be used for inspiration, not for information“. Let that soak a minute? How does that make you feel? Does it make you heart sink? Do you find yourself agreeing with him? Does life feel easier if we allow the Bible to be merely inspirational and not informational? There are a plethora of “fountains” or sources to choose from in this life – politics, money, fame, fortune, status, myself. But in the end, where does that leave us?

If I could go back, I would have hugged that man. I would have told him he was a child of God, a wonderful unique creation. I would have told him that The Bible is the inspired word of God and every word is true. That it provides the framework for a life lived in the scope of God’s beautiful plan for our lives. The beauty of the Bible is that it is both inspirational and informative. Its not always an easy path, but it is one that leads to eternal life. He is the “fountain of life“.

The world today feels tumultuous. So much confusion, arguing, and fear. This world is terminal.  Share your fountain with someone that needs a new source. An eternal source.

Shelly

Everlasting to Everlasting

Nehemiah 9:5 The  leaders of the Levites – Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani,, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah – called out to the people: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, for he lives from everlasting to everlasting! Then they continued, “Praise his glorious name! It is far greater than we can think or say”.

Today’s name of Jesus is “Everlasting to Everlasting”. The word everlasting is defined as “lasting forever or a very long time”. There are a few things that seemed to take forever in the last few days for me. It took forever for Mike to get out of his hip replacement surgery (everything went very well by the way). Then it took forever to get discharged and get home. It took forever for my outdated PC to warm up and start working. It took forever for the traffic light to change so I could walk across the intersection in the rain. It took forever to get to work because of the traffic. It takes forever to get the test results from the doctor. It takes forever to…….You fill in the blank. I am obviously desensitized to the word forever. The reality is, we cannot begin to comprehend FOREVER, let alone everlasting to everlasting. “It is far greater than we can think or say”.

The word everlasting is a word that causes my mind to implode. I cannot fathom the idea of never ending.  Revelation 22:13 says “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the last, the Beginning and the End”.   This name of Jesus is a reminder of how powerful our God is. We will not be able to truly fathom this concept this side of heaven. And this all powerful, everlasting God also cares about the details of your life. He cares about the frustrations of this world that cause us to stumble, like rainy days and waiting impatiently for things to start moving. He is in the waiting of all of those little moments.

“Stand up and praise the lord your God, for he lives from everlasting to everlasting!”

Shelly

Creator of all the Earth

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Isaiah 40:28 “Have you never heard or understood? Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the Earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

Today’s name of Jesus is “Creator of all the Earth”.

This was great encouragement for me today! We are heading to Chicago on Friday for my husband to have a hip replacement. It’s hard to believe its finally here after months of pain and discomfort for him. We are SO ready to get this show on the road! Unfortunately one of our children was diagnosed with the flu today. Only one down so far but my mind jumps to 100 different scenarios all at varying degrees of probability. We have NO time for the flu! But do we ever have time for the negative things life has to bring? We can make all the plans we want and “God willing” they happen, but only God knows the twists and turns that will take us to our destination.  The above verse gave me peace as I remembered that I get to be in communication with the Creator of all the Earth. That means there is power in the one I pray to. He has seen ALL and created ALL. He knows more than I do.  Today I feel myself growing faint and weary with all of the what if’s but I’m taking them to God and asking Him to carry them because He will not grow faint or weary.

Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint”.

I will wait on the Lord and be renewed each moment. This week I am praying for miraculous healing for my husbands hip and for the flu to go away! Whatever you are facing this week that was not expected remember that you have a direct line to the “Creator of all the Earth”. Lean that direction.

Shelly

Jesus, our Brother

Hebrews 2:10 – 11

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.  (11) Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters”.

Todays name of Jesus is brother. Honestly I have never thought of Jesus as my brother. It seems “not enough”. It seems too familiar, lacking reverence to my savior. Siblings have a unique experience together. They have the shared experience of being raised and guided by the same person. They in turn have many of the same values and likeness in adulthood because of their shared experience. Sometimes the only commonality is a shared father, but it is still a  common bond. It’s much the same with Jesus. We share the same Heavenly Father, God, who sent His son, Jesus to save us. He sent him to the world, to walk alongside humanity. To feel, to hurt, to experience all the things that life has. And then he laid down his life for us. Just as God is the ultimate Father, Jesus is the ultimate brother. That thought  makes Jesus much more personal for me. Much more intimate and close. He is far above what I can imagine, but He was here and lived the day to day life with all of its suffering and trials because He knew it was the only way to save us.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:50, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus is “not ashamed” to call us brothers and sisters because we have been made holy through Him. By doing the will of the Father we continue to grow in the family of Christ.
We are family because of Christ. You are all my brothers and sisters because we share a common Brother named Jesus through God the Father.

Shelly

The Author and Perfecter

I started a new job recently and there are a lot of things that are new to me. Thankfully I have a binder with protocols that I can use for reference. Without the protocols I would be lost and potentially figuring things out wrong. The protocols save me from making mistakes that would cost me and others in the end. They also help me navigate emergency situations where my head may not be in a place to make quick decisions. I can quickly go to the protocol and trust that it will lead me in the right direction. I’m so thankful to have this at my fingertips! I keep it very close to me so I can reference it often. Over time, I know the protocols will become a part of my everyday thinking because I’m spending so much time reading them. I feel an urgency about learning all I can so I am prepared for that moment when I need the information quickly. Obviously the author of the protocols found themselves in the same situation when they sat down and decided to write them all out for the benefit of others. As I become more familiar with the protocols I’m feeling more confident and better equipped to handle these new situations and I’m becoming better at my job.

Today’s reading is from Hebrews 2:12 – “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus is the “author and perfecter of our faith”. He is the creator, developer, and pioneer of the ultimate protocol – The Bible. It provides a framework for our lives to be lived according to our creator. If followed it keeps us in relationship with our Heavenly Father and helps us maintain an eternal perspective. By faith I accept that Jesus is the son of the living God and He died on the cross for my sins in order to save me so I can spend eternity with Him. I received all that on the day I said Yes to Jesus! Seems like enough right? No! He didn’t want to leave us in the first stage of our faith. He wants us to spend time and get to know him better through our everyday lives. He shows up in mighty ways when we are looking for Him. This daily decision to spend time with Him and read the Bible is part of perfecting our faith that only happens through Jesus. We get better at it the more time we spend on it. Some days are better than others but over time I have seen great growth as I have allowed him to work in my life. When I struggled with worry I spent a lot time memorizing verses to fight those feelings and now those verses come to mind very quickly when I recognize the worry creeping back in.  He is perfecting my faith as I continue to allow him to mold and shape my life. My faith will not be completely perfected this side of heaven but I am continually learning more about who He is while living my life through faith here on this Earth.

Continue to look to Jesus as the “author and perfecter of your faith”. He holds the answers if we are faithful to ask and trust His plan.

Shelly

He is able

Happy New Year!! I hope you rang in the new year with friends and family or enjoyed it in your PJ’s on the couch like myself! Regardless of how you celebrated, I pray that you are looking at the new year with hope and anticipation for all that God has in store for you. In this new year, the Bible Journal will be focusing on the titles or attributes of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Today’s attribute of God is “able“.  Merriam Webster defines able as  “having sufficient power, skill, or resources to do something. Having the freedom or opportunity to do something. Having a quality or nature that makes something possible.”

God is ABLE!

  • He has “sufficient power, skill, and resources”! He is the creator of all things!
  • He has the “freedom or opportunity” to do anything! He is above all things
  • He has the “quality or nature that makes something (anything) possible”!

The proof lies within the pages of the written word of God, the Bible and in our daily lives. From Genesis to Revelation we read where God has been able to powerfully change lives. And today we see things happen before us that can only come from the hand of God. Even in the midst of tragedy he is able to make a difference. Do you believe he is able?

Matthew 8:2 “A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can (are ABLE to) make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy”.

The leper believed that Jesus was able to heal him because he had heard the stories and saw the healing of others with his own eyes. The question was if Jesus was willing to heal him. He approached Jesus humbly knowing that the answer might be no,  yet he still made his request. I am humbled by this. When I am asking God for things in my life is it with the awe and wonder of the divine creator whose ways are not my ways? Is it with the belief that he is able but he might have plans beyond what I can imagine? Is it possible that my ailment  might ultimately bring myself and others closer to him?

Matthew 9:28 “When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ ‘ Yes, Lord’ they replied”.

Again, the blind men were approaching Jesus for healing because they believed he was able but would only receive it if He was willing. They did not know if they would receive healing unless they asked. Their belief in his ability to heal directed their action to ask for healing.

I know healing does not always happen this side of heaven. The ultimate healing happens in eternity with our creator. He is able to save us because of Jesus crucifixion and sacrifice on the cross. Because of this sacrifice we can have a relationship with our creator and the hope of eternal life.

Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Do you believe that God is able to do immeasurably more than you could ask or imagine in 2020?  Are you asking?

Shelly

 

 

 

Choose Different

I really like to listen to Podcasts. Especially motivational speakers like Tony Robbins, Hal Elrod with the Miracle Morning,  or Mel Robins with her 5 second rule. After listening to them I am energetic and motivated to get moving and conquer my day…….at least for 10 minutes or so. And then what do I do? I listen to another podcast until I have binged an entire day of motivational speakers only to realize I have been a listener and not a doer!! Even though I feel like I was an active participant I am no different than before I listened.  There is no real life change. That can only come through Jesus. He is the only way I have been able to combat my thoughts. I struggle with worry and feeling “not good enough”. It is only when I go to Jesus that I am able to take my thoughts captive to Him.  The enemy wants me stuck in my house listening to other people share their “recipe for life” instead of me being in the world using my God given gifts and talents. The battle is in my mind and when left without guidance I find myself anxious, nervous, fretting, and cowering . Motivational speakers talk a lot about changing your thoughts and your actions to make you a happier and more productive person but to what end? For more income? For more power? None of that will last and it is never fully achieved. There is always more money to be had, a better house to live in, a newer this or that. But when God is the goal there is an amazing thing that happens in our lives………peace. The absence of worry and fretting. Because we know and trust the one who holds our future. This is great news! We don’t have to keep thinking the things that keep us stuck. We can choose different. And the result is peace in the midst of trial and difficulty. It truly is a peace that surpasses all understanding. The difficulty and struggles of life will not go away, but I choose to trust Jesus in all of it. He will never leave me or forsake me. My choice to follow him will result in peace. And that is my testimony to the world. Jesus has made the difference in my life…. He is the best motivational speaker I know and he loves you and me. The following verses are ones I go to when my mind is starting to believe the lies the world is telling me and I find myself anxious and out of step with who I am in Christ. Today, choose to allow God to change your thoughts to reflect your true identity in Him.

Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Philippians 4:6-9 “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the PEACE of GOD which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is TRUE, whatever is HONORABLE, whatever is JUST, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is COMMENDABLE – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – DWELL ON THESE THINGS. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of PEACE will be with you.”

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2Timothy 2:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self- discipline”.

It has been a blessing to be a part of this Bible Journal Community. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

PEACE! Shelly

 

Paul

Today’s reading is from Acts 22 and Galatians 1-2.

In Acts 22 Paul is recounting his meeting with Jesus. Prior to becoming a follower of Jesus, his name was Saul and he persecuted those who claimed to be Christ followers. He was know for imprisoning and beating them.  Until Jesus stopped him as he was travelling to Damascus.

Acts 22:6-10 “As I was travelling to and near Damascus, about noon an intense light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me ‘Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?’ I answered ‘who are you Lord’? He said to me ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, the one you are persecuting. Then I said ‘what should I do Lord’? And the Lord told me, “Get up and go into Damascus and there you will be told about everything that is assigned for you to do”.

This was the turning point for our hero of the Bible, Paul. This was the day that he turned his life around and started promoting Jesus instead of destroying Him. He was used in mighty ways because of his obedience and brought many to faith in Christ in spite of his past. Or was it because of his past that he was able to connect with so many? He was an unlikely choice, an enemy of Jesus, but Jesus chose him anyway.

Paul went on to encourage others in their faith by visiting and writing letters to them.  The book of Galatians was written to the churches in southern Galatia, founded on Paul’s first missionary journey, and Christians everywhere. The purpose of the book was to call everyone to faith and freedom in Jesus Christ and to tell them that they are not bound by the Jewish law in order to be saved. He was the perfect choice to bring the Gentiles to faith because he had been on the other side of it for so long. This post doesn’t begin to detail the life of Paul. He was deeply convicted after his meeting with Jesus to tell others but it also meant pain and suffering for him. It was not an easy life, but he knew Jesus was worth it.

Paul says in Galatians 2:20-21 “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives within me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”

What is your “come to Jesus” story? Most likely you weren’t “blinded” on the way to work or in a direct conversation with Jesus, but we all have the day we decided to choose Him and be obedient. These stories are important to share with the people around us because they show radical life change through Jesus. There is probably someone around you that would benefit from your story. There is never a story too small or too big, especially when it points others to Jesus. Find someone you can encourage with your story.

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever, amen.”
Galatians 1:3-5

Shelly