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!

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OUR GOD USES ORDINARY PEOPLE

December 12, 2016

We could all make a list of important people; those who’ve had a significant impact on mankind. But who makes a list of ordinary people? Probably no one; but they’re ones that see a need and get to work. That happened all throughout Christ’s ministry. Let’s look at some ordinary folk who made a tremendous difference.

  • The servants at the wedding in John 2:1-11 were anonymous.  All they did was obey Christ and fill the water pots with water when the wine was all gone. That simple act facilitated Christ’s first miracle, showing His glory, and “His disciples believed in Him.” (v.11)
  •  Four men carried their paralytic friend through the crowds, somehow managed to get him up on top of the house, tore off the roof and lowered that friend to be close to Jesus. (Mark 2:1-12) They knew that Jesus had power to heal. Because of their faith, the paralytic was not only healed, but forgiven. Ordinary friends put their faith to work because they believed in the power of Jesus.
  • The little boy who shared his lunch (John 6:1-14) is the only miracle of Jesus that is recounted in all four Gospels. When his mom packed the 5 loaves and 2 fish that morning, she never thought that they would be the catalyst for Christ to be recognized as “the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (v.14)…or that her young son’s selfless giving would be an example to thousands, throughout millennia!

There are opportunities all around us to put our faith to work and obey God by selflessly serving others. Let’s be on the lookout for them. We are just ordinary people …the kind our God uses!

Join me every Monday of 2016 as I share more of what I discover on my quest to know God better.


OUR GOD IS GENUINELY GENEROUS

July 18, 2016

Recently I discovered that a “baker’s dozen” didn’t start out as a gesture of generosity. It was a safeguard implemented by British breadmakers around 1260, because they were being accused of shorting their customers with skimpy loaves.

Our God – unlike those British breadmakers – is genuinely generous, and we find evidence of that truth all throughout the Bible. Here are some examples:

God’s love has been poured out in our hearts. (Romans 5:5)
God made the riches of His grace abound toward us. (Ephesians 1:7)
God is abundant in mercy to all who call on Him. (Psalm 86:5)
God abundantly forgives all who return to Him. (Isaiah 55:7)

The greatest proof of God’s generosity is found in the word “whoever”. In John 3:16 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.” No person is outside the “whoever” group. God’s generous love for all mankind motivated Him to offer eternal life in Jesus; because His invitation is also generous, whoever believes in Jesus can enjoy our God’s generosity forever.

Maybe your local bakery doesn’t give you the 13th donut; that’s OK. (They aren’t very good for you anyway…) You can be sure of this undeniable truth: our God is genuinely generous. He gives us much more than an extra donut, and we are eternally thankful for that!

(Join me each Monday of 2016 as I share what I’m learning on my quest to know God more.)


OUR GOD, OUR REFUGE

March 14, 2016

Safety. Security. Protection. From our first breath until our final one, we all need to feel safe, secure and protected. Who watches out for our safety and protection? Who can we run to when we’re afraid, or feel threatened? The Psalmist made this declaration, which has given assurance to many of God’s children throughout centuries: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though….” (Psalm 46:1,2)

Even though what? … Even though I’m going through the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced? Even though the storm that’s on the horizon threatens to destroy me? Even though the impending danger has the capacity to sweep me off my feet?…Even though I feel unsafe, insecure, afraid and unprotected? Is God my refuge then? Can I really count on Him?

Remember when the disciples were experiencing a scary storm and cried out to Jesus in fear? He calmed the storm and calmed them, responding, “…do not be afraid.”  (Mark 6:49,50) They found their refuge in Jesus.

When we feel like the disciples, in the middle of a destructive storm, let’s cry out to Jesus and take refuge in Him. Either He’ll calm the storm, or He’ll calm us. Maybe He’ll calm both. He is our refuge.

(Join me every Monday of 2016 in my quest to know God better)


OUR GOD LIFTS US UP

March 7, 2016

The phrase “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” suggests that we have the capability of lifting ourselves out of an impossible situation by our own effort. Really? Can we really pull ourselves up?

“…there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” (Luke 13:10-13)

How many times, in those 18 years, did that bent-over lady try to straighten herself up? Maybe every day. Maybe several – or many – times a day. Or maybe she just gave up, resigned to being bent-over forever. Then Jesus showed up and did what she couldn’t; He made her straight.

What impossible situation weighs so heavy on you that it has you bent over? Your calloused fingers constantly tug on those bootstraps, but you’re still bowed down. There’s no way that you can lift yourself up; your impossible situation doesn’t change.

When your best efforts leave you bowed down and bent over, believe that God can lift you up. Let go of those bootstraps! Trust God today to do what you can’t.

“The Lord raises those who are bowed down.” (Psalm 146:8)

(Join me every Monday of 2016 on my quest to know more of God)


OUR GOD WHO SAVES US

January 4, 2016

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward men appeared, not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” (Titus 3:3-6)

We can praise our God who saves us because He is kind, full of love and mercy. We can be thankful that He doesn’t save us by our works of righteousness or good deeds; because we’ve all messed up so many times that the balance would be severely tilted – and not in our favor!

Our God who saves us knew that we could never measure up to His perfect standard. That’s why “He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Let’s praise our God who saves us today because of His mercy that we receive through Jesus!

(Join me every Monday in a quest to know God better in 2016)


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!


WORSHIP ACROSTIC

December 23, 2014

The story of the “wise men from the East” is intriguing. Matthew tells us in his gospel that these men made an effort to see the King who was born. They spent time and money to make the trip and take gifts to honor Him. It was a big deal for them! When they saw the young child, they fell down and worshiped Him. I wonder why.

The wise men didn’t have half the reason to worship Jesus that we do. They were pre-Christ’s death and resurrection, and didn’t know Him as their Savior and Lord. They didn’t experience His forgiveness, His grace and salvation. They didn’t have His promises to cling to. He didn’t promise them that He would be with them every day till the end of the world, or that He would come back to take them to live forever with Him.

But they worshiped Him. They fell down and worshiped Him.

As we approach Christmas Day, let’s worship Jesus as King, just as the wise men did. Then let’s worship Him for a myriad of other reasons that we have, especially because He is our Savior!

W            “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12)

O             “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”  (Psalm 95:6,7)

R             “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth…” (1st Chronicles 16:12)

S              “Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things…” (Isaiah 12:5)

H             “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8)

I               “ I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.” (Rev. 1:18)

P             “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1)


The Elf on the Shelf, the Mensch on the Bench or the Light in the Night

December 15, 2014

For a long, long time, Santa had to patrol the world alone to find the “naughty or nice” kids. Then he hired an Elf on the Shelf. Now Santa’s helper, the Elf on the Shelf, fulfills that mission, according to the “About us” page of  www.elfontheshelf.com.

The Mensch on the Bench brings Holiday fun to Jewish children. Who is the Mensch on the Bench? His creator, Neal Hoffman, states in The Jerusalem Post that he is “A Jewish version of the wildly popular Elf on the Shelf toy; the doll and book set retells the Hanukkah story and explains what it means to be a “mensch”, a Yiddish word meaning person of honor” (www.jpost.com)

While the Elf on the Shelf and the Mensch on the Bench are light-hearted fun, they shouldn’t steal the show. The most important figure of the Holiday Season is the Light in the Night. Hundreds of years prior to Christ’s birth, the prophet Isaiah wrote about Him, saying, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2) Dispelling any doubt about who Isaiah was referring to, Jesus Himself declared in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”

In January, the Elf on the Shelf will be packed away in the attic, and the Mensch on the Bench will be carefully wrapped and stored with all the Holiday decorations. Without the Light in the Night, those who live in darkness will still be in darkness; the fearful and the lonely will not have changed. Those who suffer bondage and despair will not see a way out. But there is a way out! There is life and hope in Jesus, the Light in the Night.

We can live without the Elf on the Shelf, and we can lead a normal life never having a Mensch on the Bench; but we cannot live without the Light in the Night – Jesus! And that is the reason why He is the central figure of the Holiday Season!


“IF IT WEREN’T FOR_____I WOULDN’T BE HERE TODAY!”

February 10, 2014

Many of us are familiar with the TV commercial that shows an elderly lady exclaiming, “If it weren’t for (product “x”), I wouldn’t be here today!” Like that lady, every person has a set of circumstances and a unique story; we can fill in the blank with nearly anything or anyone. We hear expressions like:

“If it weren’t for…

…my upbringing… my work ethic…my mom…my dad…my position in the company…my education…sheer luck…my abilities…my commitment…my 4th grade teacher…my best friend…

…I wouldn’t be here today!”

That may be true in the physical realm; but let’s look deeper, into spiritual issues. Eternal things are what really matter, anyway. Let’s fill in the blank with truths that Christ followers live by. We can declare that:

“If it weren’t for…

…Christ’s death that reconciled me with God… (Colossians 1:21,22)

…Jesus, who was made sin so that I can become righteous like Him…(2nd Corinthians 5:21)

…Jesus, who died for me when I was undeserving…(Romans 5:8)

…Jesus, the only Mediator I have before a just and holy God…(1st Timothy 2:5,6)

…Jesus, who gives me access to grace…(Romans 5:1,2)

…I wouldn’t be here today!”

Now let’s take all those truths, distill them down and fill in the blank with one name: JESUS. It reads like this: “If it weren’t for JESUS, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Praise God for Jesus! Thank Him – if you haven’t yet – for being the center of your life. Love Him, serve Him, and get to know Him more. Then one day, as we present ourselves before our Holy Father God by no merit of our own, we will fall on our knees before him, confessing once again, “If it weren’t for JESUS, I wouldn’t be here today!”


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