OUR GOD GIVE ASSURANCE FOR THE FUTURE

December 26, 2016

The future can be scary. No one can be 100% sure, when leaving home in the morning, that they’ll return. Our lives can be changed forever with a phone call or an unexpected event. If we dwell on uncertainty, we’ll quickly spiral down in a vortex of worry and anxiety – to a place no one wants to be.

Thank God, He gives us assurance for the future in His word. No matter what happens, as Christ followers He assures us that…

  • Nothing will ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:36-39)
  • He goes before us and will never leave us. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • He Himself holds our hand and encourages us. (Isaiah 41:13)
  • He renews His compassion and unfailing love every morning, because He is faithful. (Lamentations 3:22,23)

With countless other truths, God gives assurance for the future. If you are anxious or stressed, stand on His truth! And remember… “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)

As we step into a new year, let’s remember that no matter what, our God gives assurance for the future! AMEN!

(Thank you for following me during 2016 in my quest to know God better. We’ve just scratched the surface, and I hope you keep digging deeper in His word to discover more of Him. God bless you in 2017!)

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COMPLETE CHRISTMAS ACRONYM

December 20, 2016

So sorry, I forgot to add the last “S” to this prior to posting it. Here’s the complete acronym that was posted yesterday. Merry Christmas!

C – CHRIST: Matthew 16:16 – “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

H – HOLY ONE OF GOD: John 6:69 – “…You have the words of eternal life,…you are the Holy One of God.

R – RESURRECTION: John 11:25 – “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.’ “

I – IMMANUEL: Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).”

S – SON OF GOD IN POWER: Romans 1:4 – Jesus “was declared to be the Son of God in power … Jesus Christ our Lord.”

T – THE TRUTH: John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

M – MIGHTY GOD: Isaiah 9:6 – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… and his name shall be called…Mighty God…”

A – ALPHA AND OMEGA: Revelation 1:8 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

S – SAVIOR: Luke 2:11 – “For unto you is born…a SAVIOR, who is Christ the Lord.”

Please feel free to share this important message with others to help keep CHRIST in CHRISTMAS!


OUR GOD SEES WHAT NO ONE ELSE CAN

December 5, 2016

James Cameron, an explorer and filmmaker for National Geographic, was the first human to make the 2 hour, 36 minute descent into the deepest part of the ocean in March of 2012. At the depth of 8.6 miles, he saw what you and I will never be able to see in the Mariana Trench…but God can see it. He created it.

Thousands of years ago, when choosing the successor to Israel’s King Saul, the prophet Samuel was sure it would be Jesse’s handsome oldest son Eliab. But the Lord chose the unlikely youngest son, and informed the prophet that he saw something in David that no one else could see; God saw David’s heart. He created it. 1st Samuel 16:7

Our God alone can see our heart, too. Think about your heart and meditate on what God says about it.

  • If you are brokenhearted, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
  • If your heart is restless, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret…” (Psalm 37:7)
  • If your heart needs cleansed, pray “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
  • If your heart is heavy, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22)
  • If your heart is anxious, give Him your anxiety and “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

Only God can see inside our heart. He created it. That’s why we can be open and honest with Him, and praise Him with David, who wrote: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)


OUR GOD REMEMBERS TO KEEP HIS PROMISES

May 2, 2016

“But you promised!” Stinging words are hurled, and the accusation is valid.
“I’m so sorry, I totally forgot!” is our feeble reply.

We blame busy days, countless responsibilities, endless distractions and life’s hamster wheel; but the truth is, we often forget what we promise. We let others down. Unintentional forgetfulness plagues us, because we are human.

Thankfully, our God is not human; He remembers His promises. He never, ever forgets any promise that He’s made, and He never fails to keep them. The Psalmist confirmed that God’s memory is perfect: “He remembers His covenant forever, the Word which He commanded, for a thousand generations.” (Psalm 105:8)

Here are just a few of the promises that our God remembers:
God promises eternal life to those who believe in Jesus. John 3:16
God promises that all who seek Him will find Him. Jeremiah 29:13
God promises to bless His people with peace. Psalm 29:11
God promises to give His people strength. Psalm 29:11
God promises that He will never leave us. Hebrews 13:5
God promises to forgive us. Luke 6:37

I challenge you to add to this list. Dig into God’s Word and discover His “exceedingly great and precious promises”. (2 Peter 1:4). Our Promise-giver will never let us down; He always remembers to keep His promises, and we can praise Him for that!

(Join me each Monday in 2016 on my quest to know God better)


FREE TO CHOOSE

December 29, 2015

A new year, a clean slate and endless choices. We have 366 days ahead of us, (2016 is a Leap Year!) and how we choose to live each day depends on us. We may not be able to choose our circumstances, but we are free to choose our reactions, attitudes, and our conduct. Since we are free to choose, here are some excellent choices I want to make, and I hope you join me!

CHOOSE TIME ALONE WITH GOD. We can start each day spending time with God to get His perspective, wisdom, direction, strength and peace, or we can “wing it” on our own. Psalm 63:1 tells us: “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You…”  It usually doesn’t go as good when we “wing it.”

CHOOSE GRACE. Let’s opt to treat others with the lavish grace that God pours out in our life. In Matthew 10:8 we find these words of Jesus: “Freely you have received, freely give.” We can show grace to others only because we’ve received it from Him.

CHOOSE TRUTH. Instead of allowing damaging thoughts pull us down, let’s believe what is true. We find truth in God’s word. Christ said that if we abide in His word, we will know the truth, and the truth will make us free. (John 8:32) Believing the truth of His Word, we’ll be free!

CHOOSE TRUST. We have a choice: to worry and be afraid, or to trust God. We can’t do both. Psalm 9:10 says, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Why would we not choose to trust our Faithful God?

CHOOSE TO LIVE FOR JESUS. It’s either our selfish agenda, or His; our lives revolve around ourselves, or they revolve around Him. The Apostle Paul wrote that “…those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14)

CHOOSE SURRENDER. Our burdens can get really heavy; we weren’t made to carry them. That’s why we have the privilege of giving them to God. Peter’s encouragement to believers is to cast “all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Our Heavenly Father wants us to trust Him with our burdens.

CHOOSE CONTENTMENT. It’s easy to gripe and complain; to be grumpy instead of thankful. Let’s learn what the Apostle Paul learned: to be content. He said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:11) When we are content, we are thankful!

CHOOSE TO END THE DAY PROCLAIMING GOD’S FAITHFULNESS. We can end each day lamenting how bad it went, or thankfully proclaim God’s faithfulness. Here’s a recommendation from the Psalmist: “It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord…to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night.” (Psalm 92:1,2)

Don’t forget: we’re free to choose!


THE GREATEST ACT OF LOVE – An Easter Acronym

April 13, 2014

Is Easter only about colored, decorated eggs, the Easter bunny, “Peeps” and jelly beans? Is it simply another long weekend? Or is Easter about having the table set with fine china, an impressive Easter centerpiece and an excess of well-prepared food? What is Easter?

We can best understand Easter by seeing what God has to say about it. After all, it was His greatest act of love that prompts this annual celebration: The death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Looking at an acronym for the word “Easter” will give us insight into its meaning.

E – Everlasting life. That’s the foundation of our celebration. In one of the most well-known Bible verses, we read: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

A – Assurance. In a long heart-to-heart session with His followers shortly before His death, Jesus assured them (and us) “Because I live, you will live also.” (John 14:19)

S – Salvation. Before Jesus made his physical appearance on earth, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, announcing Christ’s arrival. He said: “You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

T – The Gift. Throughout the Bible, we are reminded that we are all sinners, deserving death. But we praise God that “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

E – Enemies. That’s what we were when Christ died for us. Because Jesus died, we are offered reconciliation. The apostle Paul explained it this way: “…when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” (Romans 5:10)

R – Resurrection. To a woman who was grieving the death of her brother, Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25,26)

Color the eggs. Eat the “Peeps” and jelly beans and enjoy your delicious family meal. But always remember God’s greatest act of love, and let the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection be the center of your celebration. That’s what Easter is all about!


“I HAVE GOLD! REAL GOLD!”

April 7, 2014

Five-year-old Milos’s huge, round eyes sparkled as he enthusiastically declared “I have gold! Real gold!” He invited me into his little world to see the precious stash he had hidden, expecting me to “Oooh!” and “Aaaahhh!” over it with him. Curious, I followed him to his bedroom, feeling privileged to share his excitement. I did what any Grandma would do: I “Oooohhhed” and “Aaahhhed” over his shiny little plastic beads.

Milos had his “gold” (plastic) treasure very well hidden. From his nightstand, Milos pulled out one of daddy’s stocking caps that was stuffed with one of Mommy’s Tupperware bowls (I wondered if she was looking for it). Inside the bowl was a cut-off sock, jammed full of what he called “fluff” (cotton batting material) and in the toe of the sock…his precious “gold”. He went to great lengths to hide his treasure under a big picture book as he put it back, and whispered: “I hidded it here.” The secrecy factor added to its value, and to Milos’s excitement.

In Psalm 119:162, the Psalmist wrote: “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasures.” For him, God’s Word was the treasure that he was really excited about; throughout Psalm 119, the value of God’s Word is described; we discover how precious God’s Word is.

God’s Word revives us. (verse 25)
God’s Word gives us strength. (v. 28)
God’s Word gives salvation. (v.41)
God’s Word can be trusted. (v.42)
God’s Word gives us life. (v.50)
God’s Word comforts us. (v.76)
God’s Word is eternal. (v.89)
God’s Word makes us wise. (v.98)
God’s Word gives us understanding. (v.130)
God’s Word gives light to our path. (v.105)
God’s Word holds us up. (v.116)
God’s Word protects us from habitual (dominating) sin. (v.133)
God’s Word is very pure. (v.140)
God’s Word is truth. (v.160)
God’s Word is “Better than thousands of coins of gold and silver”. (v.72)

It’s hard to compare God’s Word to the little pile of plastic “gold” that Milos had secretly stashed away. Each time we open it, let’s remember the incomparable value it has. Let’s read it expecting to extract words that will make us richer, hiding it in our hearts and allowing it to work in our lives. Appreciating God’s Word as the great treasure that it is, we just might get the level of enthusiasm that Milos had with his “real gold”!


LISTEN…REALLY LISTEN!

October 15, 2013

Earlier this year, one of our dear nieces and her husband visited us from Argentina. We had a lot of catching up to do, and enjoyed great conversations. At one point, when she and I were alone, she asked me, “Tía, (That means “Aunt” in Spanish) when you talk, does Tío Jorge really listen to you?”

Many wives can definitely relate to that question! We talk to our spouse, explain, complain, ramble, babble and vent…until we see that familiar expressionless look on his face. His glazed-over eyes, even though they are looking at us, are evidence that his mind is absent. Fishing? His job? The car? What’s next on his to-do list? His ears hear us, but he’s not listening. That’s the reality. Eventually we learn how to get him to listen to the most important of our monologues, and respond to them. (Not to discourage anyone who reads this, but it may take years. Be patient!)

When asked by one of the Scribes which commandment is most important, Jesus replied: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.” Mark 12:29,30 NKJV) These verses are known as the “Shema”, which comes from a Hebrew word that means “to hear”. The Shema was part of God’s message to His people before they entered the Promised Land. He knew that we – male and female alike – tend to let things go in one ear and out the other. The first word of the most important commandment is “Hear”. God wanted them – and us – to hear that commandment and all of His words with our ears, so we can willingly respond with our hearts and lives.

Without glazed over eyes and wandering thoughts, let’s listen, really listen to the Shema and the totality of God’s Word. When we really listen, we’ll be in a good position to obey Him. Listen…really listen!


JESUS AND THE BOOMERANG EFFECT

October 7, 2013

The definition of the “Boomerang Effect” on www.psychologydictionary.com reads that it “refers to a persuasive form of communication sent to a receiver, yet returned back with the opposite reaction. Thus, the consequential result is not the original, intended message. This effect is often generated when the counter-argument is stronger than the original statement. Ideally, the Boomerang Effect generates a favorable outcome when the positive message sent also comes back as a positive feedback received.”

Centuries before the Boomerang Effect was defined as such, Jesus applied it very skillfully. In chapter 9 of the gospel of Mark we empathize with the dad whose son was possessed by an evil spirit, and we feel his disappointment after the disciples’ unsuccessful attempt to cast the spirit out of the young boy. The dad’s voice was heard above the chaotic crowd as he cried out to Jesus in his desperation. At Christ’s request, the boy was brought to Him, and the dad explained the horrors this young man suffered, adding, “…If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” (9:22)

That’s where Jesus applied the Boomerang Effect. He directed three words right back to the desperate dad: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (v. 23) With tearful eyes and deep pain in his heart, the dad cried out “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”. The son was healed because Jesus intervened.

If you can do…”

If you can believe…”

In our seemingly impossible situations, we also cry out to God, “Lord, if You can…” (Finish the sentence with your own plea), when that’s not the issue at all. Of course He can do…!! He is Almighty God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He CAN do what we ask of Him because His power is limitless! At the point of our desperation, when we hurl out “If You can…” Jesus sends the boomerang right back and we hear “…if you can believe…believe in My power; believe in My perfect plans and purposes for you; believe in My goodness, believe in My patience and my love for you…believe that you are not alone; believe that I’ll never leave you, believe that no matter what, I’ve got you in the palm of My powerful, everlasting hand. Believe that every word I’ve ever said is true…if you can believe.”

The Boomerang Effect isn’t a theory of modern psychology. Jesus used it thousands of years ago, and still uses it now. When the “if you can believe” boomerang flies towards us, let’s believe!…and God will intervene!


Wrinkly Hands and the Brevity of Life

August 21, 2013

It was child evaluation day in the three year old class where I was the lead teacher. The little ones were being tested on their ability to count to ten. I asked little Abby, who was sitting across the table from me, to count all her fingers, and then spread out my hands on the table and had her count my fingers. After successfully completing her counts, I congratulated her and added, “You have ten fingers just like I have!” to which she bluntly responded, “Yeah, but mine aren’t all wrinkly like yours are.”  I didn’t even notice how wrinkly mine were, until she pointed it out.

That incident with Abby was a vivid reminder of the brevity of life. What she didn’t know then, is that her smooth, plump, flawless hands would probably look a lot like mine some 45 years later. That’s the life cycle that we all experience. What does God’s Word say about that?

MOSES reminded us of how brief life is in Psalm 90:10-13, and prayed that God would “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

JOB, in his pain, expressed that his “days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good.” (Job 9:25)

JAMES expressed that our life is “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14) To emphasize the uncertainty of the future, he instructed us to say “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (4:15)

PETER assured that even though we are transient in this world, “The Word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24,25)

SOLOMON wrote of the brevity of our days and encouraged us to enjoy life, along with a solemn reminder: “Walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

Yes, smooth hands get wrinkly; we cycle through life. We wither as a flower and disappear as a vapor. Let’s seek God’s wisdom to enjoy the time He’s given us and to live each day in a way that honors Him, the Giver of Life!


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