Good News

"For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes
– the Jew first and also the Gentile.”
Romans 1:17
NLT

What is the Gospel or the Good News? It can be presented as follows:

G od loves you. Jeremiah 31:3; John 3:16. The true and living God is the Creator of the universe. He is also the author of the Bible.
               He is holy, just and love. This all-powerful God loves YOU!

O nly perfect Son of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21. Jesus is God’s Son. Like God, He is holy; He never sinned.

S in. You have it and need to get rid of it. Sin deserves punishment. Romans 3:23; 6:23.

P recious blood of Jesus. Jesus took the punishment for you when He died on the cross. Hebrews 9:22

E verliving Savior. Jesus is alive, and He can give you life. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

L et Him in; let life begin. Revelation 3:20; Galatians 2:20; 2 Peter 3:18

The Gospel can be summed up as follows:

     God loves.

     God lives.

     We believe.

     We receive.

If you have not received God’s gift of salvation, why not do it now? Tell God you believe in Christ and want to receive Him right now as your Savior.

When you receive Christ as your Savior, you begin an amazing journey with Him. So stay tuned. Next time we will talk a bit about that journey.

.

A+

God's Math

 

"I am El Shaddai -- God Almighty." Genesis 17:1

From an early age, we learn the basics of addition. 1+0=1. 2+0=2. 4+0=4. Adding zero to any number does not add to the number.

How about God+0? God+0 = everything that you need. If you have Him, you don't need anything else.

When God appeared to Abram, He introduced Himself as El Shaddai, God Almighty, meaning the God who is more than enough.

Sarai was too old to become pregnant and give birth to a son, but God said He was more than enough. He was enough then, and He is enough now.

Do you need healing today? He is Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals. (Exodus 15:26; Psalm 147:3)

Do you need financial provision? He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides. (Genesis 22:14; Psalm 34:10)

Do you need breakthrough? He is Jehovah-Perazim, the Lord who breaks through. (2 Samuel 5:20; 1 Chronicles 14:11)

Do you have a relationship needing to be restored? He is the Spirit of Shalam, the God who restores. (Joel 2:25)

Do you need forgiveness? He is the God who forgives. (Psalm 16:7)

Do you need protection? He is Jehovah-Shamar, the Lord who keeps and protects -- the loyal (Psalm 31:23); the helpless (Psalm 35:10); and those who love Him (Psalm 145:20).

He is also El-Roi, the Lord who sees. His eyes are on you ... always. (Genesis 16:13-14). He is Jehovah-Rohi, the Lord your shepherd (Psalm 23:1), and He is Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord your victory (Exodus 17:15).

God+0 = all that you need at any given time or place. Bring your need to Him. He is also Jehovah-Shammah, the God who hears
(Psalm 34:17).

He promises to answer when you call. Jeremiah 33:3.

Be blessed. He is all you need, and He is more than enough to handle what you give to Him.

 Count Your Blessings!

 

"Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name." Psalm 103:1

The above Scripture is a declaration David made concerning his commitment to wholeheartedly praise the Lord. He goes on to say, "Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me."  

With the press and stress of everyday life, it can be challenging to continually remember, as well as keep our attention on, the good things the Lord does for us and/or to wholeheartedly praise His name.

A fun tool I began using some weeks ago is a hand-held tally counter (pictured above, available on amazon.com) to recount the Lord's goodness to me. With a target of 50-100, I have used the counter to tally the following throughout my day:

1.  Scriptures quoted from memory.

2.  Bible promises recounted.

3.  Declarations of His Word over my life.

4.  Recounting and giving thanks for blessings.

5.  Listing as many names of the Lord God as I can from memory.

6.  Each sentence prayer lifted up throughout the day for others as well as myself.

Besides being a wonderful way to start the day, it helps me keep my focus on the Lord. In addition, it encourages an attitude of gratitude.

Why not see how many blessings you can give thanks to the Lord for today? You might start with the blessings David listed in
Psalm 103:3-5.

"He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
"He redeems me  from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
"He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's!"

Be blessed ..... and happy counting!

Magnify the LORD

 

"Oh, magnify the LORD with me. And let us exalt His name together." Psalm 34:3

We all know when looking at something through a magnifying glass, it appears larger than it actually is. The same thing is true when we continue to focus on problems or challenges. If we are not careful, they will appear to be larger than they really are and, as such, insurmountable. That is what happened to me this morning, and it isn't 8 a.m. yet!! I got up early, had time with the Lord, and set about to do a few things on my "to do" list before heading out the door to run a few errands and take time to relax a bit. But then they started -- one interruption after the other. Somewhere along the line, I lost my focus (it was on the interruptions and the to do list, rather than on the Lord), and I lost my peace. That was my wake up call. No matter how busy we are, the Lord intends for us to experience His peace. So, I put my focus back on Him and submitted my day once again to the LORD. Peace is now back! So easy to do, but sometimes so easy to forget.

Psalm 34:3 noted above says, "Oh, magnify the Lord with me. And let us exalt His name together." We can't make Him larger than He is; so, what does it mean to "magnify the Lord?" Looking it up in Strong's Disctionary, to magnify the Lord means in part to promote Him in speech and by action, to boast of Him, to honor Him to proudly speak of Him.

So, when the pressures of everyday life try to push in on you, "magnify the LORD with me. And let us exalt His name together!" Better yet, don't wait until pressures mount up. Why not take time to magnify Him right now?

Next time we will share some tips for keeping your focus on Jesus. I'm going to use one of them right now! Be blessed!

GardenDoor

 

 Door of Privacy

 

There are a few doors in your home which are doors of privacy. One such door is the bathroom. Another might be a closet or a bedroom. Have you ever had someone come by your house unexpectedly for a visit? You quickly pick up the stuff you have laying around and toss it into a closet or bedroom, shutting the door to hide your mess. Your mess is private. Later when your guest is gone, you have to retrieve what you hid so that you can take care of it properly.

Jesus is the door to a special place of privacy. It is a place where we can hide away with Him, spending time alone with only Him. The Lord calls it “the secret place” (Psalm 91:1). It is never a secret place where bad things happen; quite the opposite. While the Secret Place is a place of privacy, it is also a place of safety, a place of protection. When you abide in the Secret Place, you are protected from the enemy. You can read all about it in Psalm 91.

You might ask, “So, what do you do in the Secret Place?”

Here are a few suggestions. As you try them, you will discover what is best for you. You also might find you like to do different things at different times. For instance, in the summer when you do not have school, you might try spending more quality time with Him. Time spent with the Lord is never wasted.

1. Read Your Bible. You might try reading a chapter at a time. If the book is short, you could try reading a book at a time. Sometimes – especially in the Gospels -- I like to read a paragraph and think about it throughout the day. Regardless of how much you read, always ask the Lord to speak to you before you begin reading. If you ask Him to speak to you, He will.

2. Pray. Talk to God and take time to listen for what He wants to say to you. I find that many times He gives me directions to follow.

3. Journal. Write down what you learn and what the Lord speaks to you. It is a proven fact we retain a lot more when we write it down.

4. Soak with the Lord. Just spend time resting in His Presence. You can listen to soft Christian music or not. But I cannot over stress the value of resting in the Lord DAILY. It causes stress to fall off you, and worry disappears. It provides refreshment as well as God-directed focus when you go back to what you need to do. Everything goes better when your focus is on the Lord.

5. Meditate on the Word. As you know, one of the things I like to do is color in my Inspire bible as I meditate on a verse – usually the verse I am coloring. It is not easily forgotten.

I find He leads me in how I spend time with Him in the Secret Place. Today it was by soaking. Tomorrow it is likely to be quite different. We are made in His image. As we enjoy doing different things with someone we love, so does Jesus. He loves you and is just waiting to spend time with you. So, go enjoy the Secret Place with the One who loves you most!

 

GardenDoor

 

 Door of Protection

 

The outside doors to your home are in place for your protection. They protect you from bad weather as well as unwanted “guests.” When you answer a knock at the door, you are the one who decides who is granted access into your home. In a similar way, while there are some doors for which only the Lord can grant access; there are other doors to which only you determine who gets access. Jesus has given you the Holy Spirit to guide you (John 16:13; Romans 8:14) in making wise decisions, but the ultimate decision as to who or what gets access is entirely up to you. Let’s take a look at 4 doors to which only you can grant access.

1. YOUR MIND. The Bible tells us as a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7). What you continue to think about is what you will become, what you will do. BUT the Lord provides a way for you to shut the door to the enemy when he tries to fill your mind with wrong thoughts; the answer is the His Word, the Bible. The Word of God has power to renew or transform (change) your way of thinking (Romans 12:1-2). For instance, when the thought comes, “I can sin and no one will know,” you can change your thinking with Numbers 32:23, “… be sure your sin will find you out.” God sees all things and knows all things. You cannot sin without His knowing. What you continue to think about is of utmost importance. That’s why the Lord instructed Joshua when He was about to lead the children of Israel to meditate on His Word day and night (Joshua 1:8).

2. YOUR EYES. When I was young, we used to sing a song in Sunday school that went in part, “O be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love; so, be careful little eyes what you see.” Good advice. When you are tempted to look at something you know you shouldn’t (whether on the computer screen, TV, magazine or another source), a good verse to help you turn away is Psalm 121:1-2, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Once you close the door, keep it shut as you remember Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

3. YOUR MOUTH. The Lord warns in Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” James also warns that both blessing and cursing comes out of the mouth, and this should not be (James 3:10). Be sure to put a guard over your mouth and keep guarding it. Always honor the Lord in your heart; so that you will honor Him with your words. Use your words to build up and encourage others, never to tear them down. Proverbs 18:21 warns, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Be sure to speak life. The more you renew your mind with the Word of God, the easier it will become to speak life.

4. YOUR ACTIONS. The Lord instructs us in His Word to be doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22). The Holy Spirit will always guide you in what you do if you ask Him to. He will also warn you when you are about to make a wrong decision. In Genesis 4:7, God warned Cain before he killed his brother Abel saying, “But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." To you and me, God says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to say no to, but will always make sure there is a way of escape for us.

So, the question is: have you opened doors to the enemy which need to be shut? If so, admit your sin to the Father, and shut the door! Remember the toothpick and the nail? A toothpick by itself is easily broken. However, put that toothpick alongside a nail, and the toothpick cannot be broken. With Christ, you can stand up against and experience victory over any temptation! And…you have His Word on it!

Next time we will talk about the Door of Privacy. Be blessed!

 

Door of Access

In John 10, Jesus tells us that He is the door. That means Jesus is the means of access to all God has for you. Let’s take a look at a few things available to you through Christ:

1. HIMSELF. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus gives us access to the Father Himself. The greatest thing God could give you and me is Himself – His Presence. When Jesus is your Savior, God is your Father. You have access to your Heavenly Father any time and all the time. You can talk to Him any time, any place about anything. He is always ready to listen – and to give you His best answer.

2. SALVATION. Jesus is the door or the way to salvation, for He said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved …” John 10:9a. Receiving SALVATION is as easy as A, B, C. First you must be willing to Admit you have disobeyed God. God calls disobedience sin. Sin deserves punishment. Next, you must Believe Christ took your punishment when He died on the cross and came back to life again. Lastly, you must Choose Jesus Christ to be your Savior and give Him your life by following Him. To do this, you can pray the following prayer:

     “Dear Lord Jesus, I know I have sinned and deserve punishment. I believe You died on the cross in my place and came back to

      life again. I ask You to come into my life and take away my sin. I give you my life. I choose to follow You. Thank you, Lord, for

      taking away my sin. Thank you I am now a child of God. Amen.”

3. NOURISHMENT. Jesus continued, “…and will go in and out and find pasture” John 10:9b. Pasture for sheep is the place to find food and water. In John 6:35 Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Jeremiah said of God’s Word, “Your words were found, and I ate them. And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” Jeremiah 15:16. Jesus is the door to nourishment that fully satisfies.

4. THE PROMISES OF GOD.  In 2 Corinthians 1:20 we read, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” That means you have access to all of God’s promises through the Lord Jesus Christ. How many God promises can you name? You have access to all of them through Christ.

5. OPPORTUNITY. In Revelation 3:8 we read, “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” God knows there are doors of opportunity which you cannot open for yourself; however, He can open doors that others don’t even know are there. Has the Lord given you a dream? Do you have deep desires that only He can fulfill? Trust Him. Commit your dreams and desires to Him. He can bring them to pass. One thing I have learned from  living so many years – there is NOTHING too difficult for the Lord. He is for you. You can fully trust Him! He is your door of access.

Next time we will talk about the Door of Protection.

Be blessed!

 

T.U.R.T.L.E.

 

 PART II

   Jesus said, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12).

   What "works" did He do?

   He got alone with God, the Father, before He did anything. So, the first step before you attempt anything for God is to get alone with Him. Put away distractions. Be quiet, with or without soft music, and listen for Him to speak to you. God's language is pictures; however, He often speaks though thoughts or senses (feelings) as well as pictures.

   How will we do these "works?" The same way Jesus did -- in the power of the Holy Spirit.

   Just before ascending into Heaven, Jesus said to His followers, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses ...." (Acts 1:8). So, Holy Spirit gives you special power, ability, courage, and strength to witness about Jesus.

   Be a Witness. A witness tells what he or she knows to be true. You can tell someone(s) what God has done in your life. You can tell the Good News of Jesus Christ. (Note: CEF Press has several tools which are great for witnessing to others.) You can share answers to prayer you have received. You can share miracles you have seen firsthand or you have experienced in your own life. Finally, you can be a witness by the way you live your life to please God, the Father.

   Bring Healing to the Sick in Jesus' Name. "And these signs will accompany those who believe: ... they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well" (Mark 16:17-18). Share the Word with the person you are praying for, and expect God to do what He says. After all, your only part is to place your hands on them. God does the healing. It is all Him!

   Speak for God. "Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, 'I have put my works in your mouth'" (Jeremiah 1:9). Holy Spirit can use you to speak comfort, encouragement, as well as hope to someone else. Don't allow fear to keep you from speaking for GOD.

   What about YOU? Are  you ready to take risk for Jesus? When you Take Up Risk [to step out in faith] To Love Everyone, God will touch hearts. And, as others see you taking risk, perhaps they will become risk-takers too.  

GO T.U.R.T.L.E.!

Feel the JOY!!

T.U.R.T.L.E.

 

 PART I

   Jesus said, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do  even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12).

   What "works" did He do?

   He got alone with God, the Father, before He did anything. So, you and I need to get alone with God. Put away distractions. Be quiet, with or without soft music, and listen for Him to speak to you. God's language is pictures; however, when I get alone with God, He most often speaks to me though thoughts or senses (feelings) as well as pictures.

Who's speaking?

GOD will speak comfort; He will cheer you up! He will say things like, "I love you! You are My chilld."

GOD will speak edification. He will build you up! He will say things like, "You can trust Me. I will take care of you."

GOD will speak exhortation. He will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone to do something for Him! You might hear, "You can do it! Don't be afraid. I am with you."

SATAN will use:

   Doubt: "Did God really say that?"

   Fear:  "What if they laugh at you; what if nothing happens?"

   Lies:  Satan will use anything he can to t ry to get you to disobey God. BUT REMEMBER 1 JOHN 4:4. God is much  more powerful than Satan, and God speaks the truth.

Your own voice is usually about your comfort. It doesn't want you to  take risk.

T.U.R.T.L.E. is the answer for doing the works Jesus did ... and more!

   T ake
   U p
   R isk
   T o
   L ove
   E veryone.
.

   When you take the risk to obey God, you are rewarded with great JOY!

   And, the Good News is you are not alone! Jesus promised, "I am with you always."

   So, why not get quiet, away from distractions and listen for God to speak to you.

   Next time we will talk about the works Jesus did that He wants you and me to do too. Be blessed.

 

Declaring God's Word

 

   I have found speaking or declaring the Word of God over my life is powerful. We tend to become what we think and speak. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45). Listed below are 7 lies the enemy frequently speaks. For each, I have given a Scripture to refute his lie as well as a declaration from the Word for you to speak over yourself.

  

   I encourage you to speak these 7 declarations over your life for one week. You may want to add more declarations of your own. Speak the Word daily and experience God's blessing over your life.

  

   Lie #1: "I am afraid."

          Declare:  "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear." Psalm 118:6

 

   Lie #2: "I am not good enough."

          Declare:  "I am a child of God; so, I am royalty. I have been chosen by God." John 15:16; 1 Peter 2:9

 

   Lie #3: "Nobody loves me."

          Declare:  "I am deeply loved by God, and nothing can separate me from His love." Jeremiah 33:3; Romans 8:35, 39

 

   Lie #4: "This is impossible."

          Declare:  "All things are possible with God, and God is on my side." Matthew 19:26

 

   Lie #5: "I might not have enough money."

          Declare:  "The Lord I serve is the God who provides. He meets every one ofmy needs. I will not worry." Philippians 4:19

 

   Lie #6: "I can't do  this."

          Declare:  "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

 

   Lie #7: "I don't have enough courage."

          Declare:  "The Lord is with me wherever I go; so, I will be strong and courageous." Joshua 1:9

I encourage you to speak these 7 declarations over your life for one week. You may want to add more declarations of your own. Speak the Word daily and experience God's blessing over your life.

  

  

 

Sifting Our Thoughts

 

   Have you ever wondered where your thoughts come from? Ever wondered, "Is this God speaking to me or just my own thoughts?" In discerning the source of your thoughts, it is important to understand that your thoughts come from one of three main sources -- you, God or the devil.

   In the Gospel of John, Jesus warns us that the devil is a liar. "... the devil ... has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 6:44 NLT

   So, how do we learn to recognize his lies? The best way to recognize his lies is by knowing what the Word of God says. God's Word is always truth. God cannot lie. He always speaks the truth, and whatever He is telling you will agree with His Word.

   You can use God's Word like a sifter to sort out what you are hearing or thinking. When I bake sugar cookies from scratch, I have to sift the flour. Sometimes hard clumps will not go through the sifter. In that case, I throw them away and only use the sifted flour for my recipe. In a similar way, the things you think or hear which do not agree with the Word of God, you should toss out. Do not continue to think on them. What do I mean? 

   Let's say a thought pops into your head saying, "Nobody loves you." That voice is coming from the devil, for God tells you in His Word, "I have loved you with an everlasting love. With lovingkindness I have drawn you." Jeremiah 31:3. You are definitely loved. So, "nobody loves you" is a lie coming from Satan. Instead of continuing to think, "Nobody loves me," speak out loud or declare, "God loves me. I am loved. I am lovable."

  A good rule to remember: If it is in God's Word, it is from God. Meditate (think about) what God says about you. Look for my next post. It will contain lies the enemy frequently speaks, what God says about it, and what you can say to declare God's Word.

 

Peeling Back the Layers

   A kitchen tool like the one pictured above is useful for peeling vegetables. I like to use mine for peeling potatoes or carrots. Sometimes I use the peeler to make small pieces of carrot for a salad. With a peeler, I can peel layer after layer off the carrot until there is hardly anything left. In a sense, it could be said that a carrot has many layers.

   In a similar way, there are many layers in God’s Word. God has truths hidden in His Word just waiting for us to discover. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJV

   God isn’t hiding truths from us; rather, He is hiding them for us – for us to find. How many times have you read a Bible verse, but one day as you are reading, the verse seems to leap off the page? It’s like you never saw it before, or you now have a new level of understanding because a truth has been revealed to you. The more you read and study God’s Word, the more you will learn and discover. Let’s take a look at four layers in the Old Testament.

   1) The first level is reading God’s Word like a history book or literary work.

   2) The second level is learning God’s plan for Israel.

   3) The third level is to see Jesus in the Old Testament. There are so many pictures of Jesus given in the Old Testament; it is fun to search for them. Try to see pictures of Jesus in your favorite Bible stories. There are pictures of Him in the Passover Lamb, in the brazen serpent raised up in the wilderness, in the ark with one door, and in Joseph, the beloved son. The list goes on and on. The Old Testament is filled with pictures of Jesus.

   4) The fourth level is to see Jesus in the names in the Bible. For instance, the name “Joshua” means Yahweh is salvation. Let me share another example from the names listed in the genealogy of Genesis 5. The following is based on the Hebrew names, the original language of the Old Testament.

            Adam               = “Man”

            Seth                = “Appointed”

            Enosh             = “Mortal”

            Kenan             = “Sorrow”

            Mahalael         = “The Blessed God”

            Jared               = “Shall  Come Down”

            Enoch              = “Teaching” or “Declaring”

            Methuselah      = “His Death Shall Bring”

            Lamech            = “Despairing”

            Noah                = ”Comfort, Rest”

   Now, put it all together, and this is what you have: “Man [is] appointed mortal sorrow, [but] the Blessed God shall come down teaching or declaring His death shall bring [the] despairing comfort, rest.

   What a wonderful message God had hidden in His Word just waiting to be found! I know there are more levels to God’s Word; I just haven't discovered them yet. Why not join me in the treasure hunt?

 

 

Milk or M.E.A.T.?

   "I fed you milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able." 1 Corinthians 3:2 NKJV

   A newborn baby is fed only milk or liquid formula. However, as the digestive system develops, that same baby begins to eat soft foods. Eventually, the toddler is given small bites of food from the table. Meat is the last solid food group to be given as meat has to be chewed. You need teeth to eat chunks of meat.

   When a person first accepts Christ as Savior, they are newborn babes in need of the milk of the Word of God. It is helpful to have someone feed them until they learn the basics of growing as a child of God. However, before long, a new believer should begin to read the Bible on his or her own with a mentor to help with questions. After time, a disciple should be able to read and study the Bible on his or her own, taking in the MEAT of the Word.

   As I was thinking about this word "MEAT," the following came to mind.

      M -- Meditate on the Word. Take a passage of Scripture or a particular verse and continue to think about it during the day or even a week. See what deeper meaning Holy Spirit reveals to you.

      E -- Explore the Scrtiptures through the use of a concordance and good dictionary.

      A -- Ask Holy Spirit to show you what He wants you to see from the verse or passage of Scripture.

      T -- Thank God for the truths He reveals to you. If you don't see anything new at the time,thank Him for what you will learn in the future as you live out that Word in your life. Thank Him for speaking to you through His Word.

   Why not get started chewing on the Word right now? Be blessed.

 

More Than Enough

   

   A kitchen tool such as the one pictured above is rather handy for coring an apple while at the same time making uniform apple slices. The end result is a core ready to throw away and slices of fruit ready to eat.

   When we read and study God’s Word, it is like using a spiritual apple corer. Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to convict of sin. When we tell God we are sorry, our fellowship (friendship) with Him is restored. So, the Word shows us what we need to throw away from our lives.

   In addition, His Word gives us nourishment. The amazing thing is the Word not only nourishes us, but when we share the truth with others, they are fed as well. God always gives us more than enough to share!

   Sharing with someone else gives amazing JOY. Why not make it a daily priority to share something from God’s Word with someone else?

“Your words were found, and I did eat them; and your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by your name, O LORD God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV

 

 

What Is God Stirring Up?

   In a devotional I was reading recently, the question was asked, “What is God stirring up in you?” The days since have been a worthwhile exercise in pondering possible answers to that question as well as listening to God for what He might say. The following are a few things He is stirring up in me:

   1) To host His Presence well. Throughout the day, my goal is to always be mindful of Him and listen for what He might say to me and/or what He would have me do.

   2) A more effective prayer life. To linger in His Presence until I hear what He has to say, particularly a specific Scripture, so that I am praying His heart.

   3) Sharing the message of salvation on a regular basis – wherever I am.

   4) A life that is marked by gratitude and hunger so that fruitfulness is the outcome.

   5) A life that displays the love of the Father, the victory of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.

   In and of myself, it is a daunting list; totally impossible. However, with God, all things are possible, and Holy Spirit knows how to accomplish what He puts on the heart. So, I will do my best to keep my eyes on Him.

   I encourage you to sit with the question, “What is God stirring up in you?” If you would like to share with me what you hear, please feel free to use my contact page.

T.R.A.I.N.E.D

   When making disciples as Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20), the church should be viewed as a place where we get equipped to do the Lord's work. It is a place where we can learn the basics of following Jesus in a safe environment. It is a place where we can practice how to worship, how to study God's Word, how to share our faith and how to pray for the sick as well as other needs in an environment of encouragement. It is a place to get TRAINED so we can be deployed in the world to do the works of Jesus.

   As teachers, we have been entrusted with the responsibility to see that our students are TRAINED. As I was meditating on the word "trained," the following came to mind.

 

          T each. We must teach the Word of  God and how to  apply it to our lives. There should be one main truth that is emphasised over and over in the lesson. Always be aware that in addition to the lesson you teach, you are teaching by example.

 

          R esources. Give your class resources to help them in their Christian walk. The Hands-on Bible andJesus Calling for Kids (or Teens) are great resources. There are  also on-line Bible studies for kids through Child Evangelism Fellowship.

 

          A ctivate. Provide your class whatever they will need to put the lesson into action. When possible, give them opportunity to "practice" in class.

 

          I nspire. Make your lessons life-giving by sharing testimonies from your own life or from what you have read or heard about that you know to be true.

 

         N urture. Teach lessons that will further spiritual development. Since your children are probably at different places in their walk with the Lord, try to have something  for each one. And above all, LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY.


         E mpower. Assure them they are not alone (Hebrews 13:5). The Holy Spirit lives in them giving them power to do what they are being challenged to do (Philippians 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; Acts 1:8).

 

         D irect. Assure them their steps are ordered by the Lord. He will lead and direct them (Psalm 37:23; Proverbs 3:6).

 

   Remember, if you do your part (TRAIN), God will do His part!

 

   Be blessed!

God's Invitation

   Throughout the Word of God are sprinkled invitations penned from the heart of God and extended personally to you and me, His beloved children. He invites us to “draw near,” and promises that if we do, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).


   He invites us to come when we are thirsty (Isaiah 55:1; John 7:37), when we are hungry (Matthew 5:6; Revelation 3:20), and when we are weary (Matthew 11:28). He invites us to discipleship (Matthew 4:19) where we follow Him and learn to partner with Him in bringing heaven to earth. Then there is my favorite: He invites us to live in His realm with Him (John 15) where we are one with Him, He is the focus and all is well.

 

   Looking over each of these invitations, it would seem they are a call to Himself, where we find every need met and an abundance of nourishment and refreshment as well.

 

   In this particular season of my life, I am finding the following resources particularly helpful in drawing near to Him. May you be blessed beyond measure as you accept His invitation to draw near.

 

   Devotionals by Illustrated Faith (available from Dayspring.com.) Currently I am using Free to Flourish;

 

   Over Flow, a daily experience of Heaven’s abundance just released by Chris & Liz Gore;

 

   Questions for Jesus, conversational prayer and study around your deepest desires by Tony Stoltzfus;

 

   Inspire, a journaling Bible in the New Living Translation, providing space in the margins for notes as well as       creativity through coloring;

 

   The Illustrated Words of Jesus for Women, a great devotional that also provides opportunity for creativity;

 

   Scripture bookmarks for coloring and meditation (found on Pinterest); and

 

   Hidden in My Heart, 3 volumes of Scripture CDs effective for soaking in His Presence.

Fresh BreadFresh Bread

   There is nothing quite like the aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven. Earlier this evening the Lord reminded me of the homemade bread I used to make for my family years ago.

   When all the ingredients were mixed together with the yeast, the bowl of dough was covered with a cloth and set aside. It was during this time of waiting that the bread would rise, becoming ready to place in the oven for baking.

   As these thoughts came to mind, I heard, “It is during the waiting that I come to you. It is during the waiting that you are strengthened so that you can rise up to run without growing weary, to walk and not faint. I may give insight to a particular Scripture. I may remind you  of a Bible promise. I may speak to you like I am doing now. But during the waiting you will always be refreshed; I will fill you with My love as well as My inexplicable joy.”

   As I spent time just being with Him, it was just as He promised. I was strengthened, and filled with His love, His peace and His joy.

   He longs to do the same for you. He is inviting you to set aside a few minutes to spend with Him now. He is faithful to do what He promised.

                      “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.
                       They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31

  

spoon spoon restR.E.S.T.

   We all know rest is important to maintain a healthy body; however, it is just as important for the soul as well as the spirit. Jesus well knew this as He invited us, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.

   Recently I had just finished preparing for a couple of workshops I was scheduled to teach at the BASS Church Workers Convention in Castro Valley. I had gathered my materials, the handouts were prepared, and my notes were ready. I thanked the Lord saying something like, "Thank You, Lord. It's all finished, I'm ready," to which He responded, "Now all you need to do is rest."


   "Rest?" I questioned. "Yes, rest -- R.E.S.T. He went on:

 

          R elease

 

          E verything

 

          S ecure

 

          T rusting Me to do what I promised.

 

   What a word! It was life to me. I immediately put on a favorite "soaking" CD, got quiet before the Lord, and released everything, and I mean everything -- one by one -- to Him. I declared my security in His love and faithfulness as well as my trust In Him. I entered into His rest. What peace! What joy! What freedom!

 

   And I can't begin to tell you what a difference it made in the workshops as I ministered from a place of rest. I was totally stress-free and aware of His unfailing Presence. He is amazing!

 

   Why not accept His invitation now? Get quiet before Him, release everything to Him, secure in His love and faithfulness, trusting Him to do what you need, entering into His REST. Be blessed.

H O P E

 

   In the wake of recent international events, the world is in desperate need of hope -- hope, healing and restoration. In 2 Chronicles 7:14-15a, the Lord reveals to us the path to hope as well as to healing and restoration.

 

   He promises, "Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to every prayer made in this place."

 

   In accordance with these verses, hope is spelled:

                                                      H umility

                                                      O bedience

                                                      P rayer

                                                      E pectation

  

Humility - we must bow before the Lord, acknowledging our total dependance upon Him as well as admitting our failures and need

                for forgiveness.

  

Obedience - We must love as God loves and hate what He hates -- reflected by our obedience to His Word.

 

Prayer - We must pray, seeking His face first of all.

 

Expectation - Prayer without expectation from our Good God is worthless. We must believe that He is and that He is rewarder of those who

                      seek Him.

 

THEN -- He will hear from Heaven, heal our land and bring revival that is marked by HOPE.

 

"Lord, help us to be a people marked by hope. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen."