Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Words From The Heart" - 11/30/16 - 1 Corinthians 12-14



"Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other." (14:31)


I often smile whenever it comes to our praying time in a group.  As is the situation in most gathered groups, the talking immediately stops when someone says, "would anyone want to pray". 

All of us are on a different level in our walk with ABBA.  Unfortunately, we fall into the trap of "comparing", and believe our out loud prayers will sound stupid, silly, lame.  I find this so sad. 

To be able to hear words spoken from a persons heart to our ABBA is nothing but a treasure. 

These are the moments when my ears pick up on messages He is sending.  Their words may bring about an awareness of blessings I take for granted.   It may be that someone is hurting and needs comfort.  One may be inspired to share in a way that promotes growth in my life.  Accountability.  Encouragement.  More often than not though, it is drawing me into an intimacy with ABBA.  Through the words of others I am being shown - an open heart is what our ABBA desires.

No frills.  no secret agenda.  Just words from the heart. 

Opening up to Him, baring all.  Just being whom He made us to be. 

I love hearing others pray out loud.  Their words let me know, I am not the only one who is thinking the way I am.  All the emotions.  All the thoughts.  All the words.  We are all created in His image. 

There are so many times He gives us growth through the words of others. Prayer is yet another way He gives us unity.  In Him and each other. 

His Power comes through His Words.
 
 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"Unified In Him" - 11/29/2016 - 1 Corinthians 9-11



"Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness - Christ doesn't become fragmented in us.
Rather, we become unified in Him.
We don't reduce Christ to what we are; He raises us to what He is."(10:17)


There is such an honor in being one to serve communion to my family.  To stand at the end of the aisle and pass the bread and juice to outstretched hands.  To pray over those my eyes take in until my heart feels as though it will burst.  To see His family, my family sitting, with heads bowed.  To see little ones watching, wondering, requesting.  To see smiles.  To see tears.  To see peace. 


To see His radiance shining through the faces as they are in communion with Him.

There is such blessing in knowing, without doubt, when the trays are emptied and put back into their places, the unity of my family remains.

There is such treasure tucked away into my heart.  Mind pictures of those I see Him shining through their eyes.  Their smiles.  Their tears.  Their hugs. 

How He fills my heart with those I am unified with.  Those I share communion with.  Those whom He has raised up to where He is.  Transformed them into the beauty I see. 

There is peace knowing because of the brokenness of Christ, we may live life unbroken together. 
His blood covers and unifies us. 
My family in Him. 
 
 
 
 

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Giving Up" - 11/28/16 - I Corinthians 5-8


"Isn't there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue,
someone who looks up to you as knowledgeable and mature,
sees you go into that banquet?
 
The danger is that he will become terribly confused - maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong.
Christ gave up His life for that person.
 
Wouldn't you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him - because, as you say, it doesn't really make any difference?
But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin!
       
When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ.
 
A free meal here and there isn't worth it at the cost of even one of these "weak ones." (8:10-12)

 I read and wonder what it is I am selfish in giving up in order to help another in their walk. 
 
Is it time?  money?  stuff?  food?  What is it I am loving more than loving His people.

As a believer, many are watching to see you in action.  When in Christ, there is something "different" about us, and it does/should draw attention.  It is being in Christ that makes us stand out from the world.

After all our ABBA and Christ have done for us, whyever do we continue to hold on to the things of the world trying to satisfy "self".  And in doing so, hindering another one or even our walk? 
 
I know of one who doesn't feel the need to give up drinking in front of an alcoholic, believing it was up to the person to not submit to drink.  It wasn't part of their job to help them overcome. We are all on a different level in our walks, different strengths and weaknesses.  Different because we need each other. 

As I have grown in Christ, I see it is our job to come along side of each other and help the growth.  When helping each other, we are really helping the whole family.  We are living a life that is pleasing to Him.  We are all His Warrior Helpers.

What are we holding onto, satisfying "self"? 
Is it really worth it? 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

"For The Kingdom Come" - 11/27/16 - 1 Corinthians 1-4



"I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow.
It's not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow.    
    
Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages.        
What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving.
You happen to be God's field in which we are working.
       
Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation!
       
Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ." (3:6-11)
 
 
When I was quite young, one of my chores was to make sure the watering trough for the pigs was full. It was old, made of cement, with wide edges containing the water.  Edges wide enough I could stand on them and as the water poured in from the well I would spend my time waiting by "preaching" to the pigs.  I can't remember the words I said to them.  I can vaguely remember my arms and hands moving about with passion.  Looking back now, I smile, thinking I probably was quite the spectacle. 
 
I can't remember how many years I had this desire to preach.  I do know I didn't have any converts or baptisms in the watering trough from my "congregation". 
 
The silly things we do as children. 
 
That fire, deep inside of me, died down to an ember within my heart.  At times it almost went out completely, but thankfully our ABBA breathed into my soul and the fire is back.  Raging within me.  Consuming me.  It has taken me years of letting go of "my" way and following His, before I am now confident what my role is in The Kingdom Come.  Content in where and how He is using me. 
 
As Paul writes, there are many jobs in the building of His Kingdom, and our ABBA is The Contractor.  The One who calls the shots.  Our Savior is whom we build upon.  Our solid foundation.  The Holy Spirit guides us to know what tools He has given us to be used for Him.  His Word equips us with The Wisdom to put these tools to work - planting, harvesting, building. 
 
I am a Seed planter.  Encourager. 
That's my job in The Kingdom Come.
 
11/27/16 - 1 Corinthians 1-4
"For The Kingdom Come"
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow.
...
It's not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow.

Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages.
What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving.
You happen to be God's field in which we are working.

Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation!

Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ." (3:6-11)

When I was quite young, one of my chores was to make sure the watering trough for the pigs was full. It was old, made of cement, with wide edges containing the water. Edges wide enough I could stand on them and as the water poured in from the well I would spend my time waiting by "preaching" to the pigs. I can't remember the words I said to them. I can vaguely remember my arms and hands moving about with passion. Looking back now, I smile, thinking I probably was quite the spectacle.

I can't remember how many years I had this desire to preach. I do know I didn't have any converts or baptisms in the watering trough from my "congregation".

The silly things we do as children.

That fire, deep inside of me, died down to an ember within my heart. At times it almost went out completely, but thankfully our ABBA breathed into my soul and the fire is back. Raging within me. Consuming me. It has taken me years of letting go of "my" way and following His, before I am now confident what my role is in The Kingdom Come. Content in where and how He is using me.

As Paul writes, there are many jobs in the building of His Kingdom, and our ABBA is The Contractor. The One who calls the shots. Our Savior is whom we build upon. Our solid foundation. The Holy Spirit guides us to know what tools He has given us to be used for Him. His Word equips us with The Wisdom to put these tools to work - planting, harvesting, building.
I am a Seed planter. Encourager.
That's my job in The Kingdom Come.

Each and every one of us has been given a purpose. gifts. talents. 
Each and every one of us. 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

"Standing Out From The World" - 11/26/16 - Acts 18:19-19:41




"Curiosity about Paul developed into reverence for the Master Jesus."(Acts 19:18)


 I wonder about us in Him, if our choices make people curious.  When we are looked at, is there something different about us people desire to have?  Do we stand out in the world because we are different? 
Or do we blend in?

And then, when we are looked at - do they see Christ and not us? 

It states that, "curiosity about Paul
DEVELOPED into REVERENCE for the MASTER JESUS". 

DEVELOPED -  REVERENCE - MASTER JESUS. 

 Are we a vessel for His light which He is using to draw others to Him - to see Him?  Are our words, actions, thoughts, a reflection of Him for all to see. 

I keep going back in my head to the verse, "the harvest is plentiful, the workers are few".  How am I working?  Do I set my own hours, working only when I feel like it?  Am I on vacation? Am I retired?  Have I been promoted from where I started out or content to stay in my comfort zone? 

Am I at the point when others look at me - they don't see me?
Instead they are seeing our Savior and Friend.  Our Master.  Jesus.
 
 
 
 

Friday, November 25, 2016

"I Am Full" - 11/25/16- I Thessalonians 1-3





"We are bound to thank God always for you."(1:3)


Curt and I were standing at the counter, peeling 20 pounds of potatoes for the Holtschlag noon meal, when the phone rang.  His voice came through the miles to my ear, "Happy Christmas".  I grinned as I replied back, "Merry Birthday".

Our Nichalas.  Beginning our Thanksgiving Day with his silliness.  I kept the conversation light, knowing beneath the silly banter we were both wishing the day ahead included being together.  I am so thankful our ABBA had a wonderful family who would be opening up their home to these two parts of my heart.  It eases my heart knowing Nichalas and Amber would be making memories around a table of those who loved them, while distance separates us.

Walking down the hallway to put away a clean dish, the door from the garage opened and there they stood.  Four parts of my heart.

Our Adam, Ashley, Charlie, and Ella.

Bright eyes, little voices calling out, "Grandma Deby", full run on hugs from the two of them. 
I am so thankful our ABBA has blessed me with the gift of them living here. 

After stuffing myself full, I stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes while listening to the conversations flowing about me.  Having one on one moments with a member of family as they came by to catch up.  Memories being tucked into my heart. 

After yet another meal, we sat around the kitchen table playing Mexican Dominos.  Girls against the boys.  I watched my two great nephews interact, my eyes blinking back tears, as they brought back memories of Adam and Nichalas being the same age.  I thanked our ABBA for blessing me with the role of mom. 

As I lay in bed drifting off to sleep, I thanked our ABBA for stuffing my heart and life fuller than I had stuffed my stomach that day.  I smiled thinking about how full I was, yet going back for more food.  Because it was so good.  Because it was a meal not eaten every day.

I thank our ABBA for giving me daily the good meal of His family love.  I thank our ABBA for continually blessing me in all my moments and not few and far between. 

I thank our ABBA for filling my life and heart with Himself and so many others. 
Me. Full of Thanksgiving.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

"Such Thanksgiving For His Family" - 11/24/16 - I Thessalonians 1-5

 
 
 
"Grace and peace to you.

 

 

 

I always thank God for all of you
and continually mention you in our prayers.

I remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith,
your labor prompted by love,
and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

For I know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you,

because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power,
with The Holy Spirit and deep conviction.

You became imitators of The Lord, for you welcomed The Message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by The Holy Spirit.

And so you became a model to all the believers.

The Lord’s message rang out from you - your faith in God has become known everywhere.
You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath."(1:1-10)

 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

"For Him - I Am So Thankful" - 11/23/16 - Acts 17-18:18



 




“The God who made the world and everything in it is The Lord of heaven and earth

and does not live in temples built by human hands.

And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything.

Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.

From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth;
and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

God did this so that they would seek Him
 and perhaps reach out for Him
and find Him,

though He is not far from any one of us.

‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’

As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’


“Therefore since we are God’s offspring,
we should not think that The Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone
—an image made by human design and skill.

In the past God overlooked such ignorance,
but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.

For He has set a day when He will judge the world
with justice by The Man - our Savior - He has appointed.
He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” (17:24-31)





Tuesday, November 22, 2016

'Continually, I Pray" - 11/22/16 - Galatians 4-6



"May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely,

be deeply and personally yours, my friends.

Oh, yes!"(6:18)

Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2016

"He Is All We Need" - 11/21/16 - Galatians 1-3




"If I was "trying to be good," I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.      
 
What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work.

So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man.
Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with Him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ.
 
My ego is no longer central.
 
It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  
      
I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace.
 
If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily."
(2:18-21)
 
 
I was watching a show last night and one man was explaining to another the role of the priest in the church.  He said when we go to confession we walk away leaving our sins on him.  He is our intercessor to God. 
 
Upon hearing this description I realized if this were true, then Christ sacrifice on The Cross wasn't enough. 
 
Jesus Christ is our High Priest.  His taking upon Himself all of our sins, past, present, future, made the way for us to be with our ABBA.  His death upon The Cross tore the curtain in two, both literally and figuratively. 
 
I love knowing I am free to come before our ABBA at any time.  any place.  any way.  I love knowing I am able to climb up into His lap and He holds me close.  No longer separated by sin.
 
Because of our High Priest.  Jesus Christ. 
 
 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

""Every One Is Welcome" - 11/20/16 - James 1-5



"Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.
You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. (3:17-18)



Her steps faltered as she came into the Great Hall.  She looked even smaller than the last time we met, a few more lines etched into her face, her eyes not as bright.  The results of worry and sadness could be seen, not only in her face, but the way her body had begun to bend even further from the weight of the burdens she carried.  I stepped towards her, and for a moment I saw the glimmer of the younger woman buried deep within.  Briefly there was a twinkle in her eyes, reminding me of diamonds reflecting the sunshine.  Her smile was touched with her heart, as I could tell she missed being in His city of Life.  Of Living.  But, before we came together, the shadows of her burdens brought up the walls of defensiveness and protection.  There wasn't a hug or touching, just a yearning to. 

We left the Great Hall and ventured out into His City.  Even though His Sonshine was basking down upon us, she never removed the coat she wore, swallowing up her tiny frame, clutching it tightly around her, afraid to let it open up and expose herself to the elements.  She was silent, deep in  thought, as we walked over the bridge, stopping to look at the crystal clear waters far below.  Passing by the displays in the windows of life, she would forget and let out a gasp of pleasure.  I could see the farther we came away from the Great Hall, she was also leaving behind the train she had just gotten off  and was drinking in the delights He had set before her.  Every once in awhile, her hand would find mine as we stepped off the curb into the street.  There was fear and distrust in her body language as the bustle and noise surrounded her.  Even though it was completely safe, I knew it was because she was so out of her element.  Out of her comfort zone.  She was out of the false sense of security she found while riding on the train.  Time and time again, I could feel her eyes upon my face.  And when I would look back at her, I could see the thoughts of wonder, pride, hesitation, sorrow. 

It took us most of the morning to reach the far side of the city.  There were times when we had to rest, the walk exhausting her.  The evidence of life wearing her down and out, can no longer be hidden.   I could tell there were moments she wanted to turn back, the fear and distrust bringing out another element, that of anger, causing her to desire to be back on the train.  Through much of our time together,  I was silent, only speaking the words ABBA had given me to say.  He gave me the realization this walk, this time together, was for Him and her.   I was being used as His vessel.

The city behind us, the waters reached out with no shoreline as far as our eyes could see.  The waves came in continually, the spray from the cool water touched upon our faces.  She grinned in delight.  I watched as her steps in the sand began to leave footprints of a dance.  Lifting her hands up high, her voice singing praises to our ABBA, she was shedding the burdens from her soul.  Casting them into the waters of life.  His Light causing the whole of her to shine brightly. 

The sky began to darken.  Before we left the waters edge, she ran back and began to pick up her burdens the waves had washed back upon the sand.  Her hurried steps brushing the footsteps of her dance into a memory, as she rushed about gathering her burdens up before the fingers of His waves could bury them in deeper waters.  We started our journey back through His City on our way to The Great Hall, her coat once again tightly clutched around her.  She took my hand.  I could see how torn she was about going back to the train or staying with me in His City.  "Come, join us on the train", had slipped from her lips throughout the day, except for the time we stood at the waters edge.   Each time I could only shake my head no. 

ABBA has shown me through His Word of Truth, His Wisdom, I had to get off the train she rode on with the others.  He has led me through the Great Hall into His City of Life.  To live a Holy Life and be His Vessel to whomever He has decided I need to walk with.  To live among others who have also gotten off their train.  Learning from they who have grown wise from their journey, so I may help those He puts into my path.  Even those who only get off for a little while.  To walk with them through the City, praying they will choose to stay.
There were tears in her eyes as we parted.  My heart ached and for a moment, I was torn.  satan wants me to believe when getting back on the train there will be a joy and comfort.  ABBA has opened my eyes to see  it isn't genuine, it won't last.  ABBA has led me to realize the world is riding on the train of insanity.   Expecting different results while traveling on a train going in circles, on the same track.  He is showing me, there will be moments, days, He is using me to be a guide, a companion, as I walk with others who are walking in His City of Life, contemplating if they will stay. 

And it is my continued prayer for Him to use me as His Vessel, to fill my heart with His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and most of all love.  He has shown me this is how I am needed,  for not only her, but the others.  To never lose hope that one day they too, will get off the train and come live "in" His city.   

"a healthy, robust community that lives right with God."
 
 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

"FAITH" - 11/19/16 - Acts 15-16



"And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

So they said, "Believe in The Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" 

Then they spoke The Word of The Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 

And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. 
And immediately he and all his family were baptized." (30-33)






"It Begins with Faith.

Paul and Sila's answer to the Philippian jailer's question is the essence of salvation:

"Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,"

This verse raises two questions:

What does it mean to believe, and what doesn't it mean to be saved? 

Belief includes, but is more than just an intellectual assent.  Belief includes the idea of total Trust, dependence, and submission of oneself to Christ as Lord (King, Master). 

To be saved is to be delivered. 

We are delivered from the very presence of sin and evil (satan and hell) and will be delivered into the very presence of God, Christ, and Heaven.  We receive this new life by Faith - believing that we are sinful, that Jesus died for our sins, that His death was in our place, and that His payment for sin is fully acceptable in God's sight. 

Faith can be summarized in the acrostic:

Forsaking
All,
I
Take
Him."

(copied from NKJV Study Bible notes.)



Friday, November 18, 2016

"In A Flash" - 11/18/16 - Acts 13-14



" There was a man in Lystra who couldn’t walk. He sat there, crippled since the day of his birth. He heard Paul talking, and Paul, looking him in the eye, saw that he was ripe for God’s work, ready to believe. So he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, “Up on your feet!” The man was up in a flash—jumped up and walked around as if he’d been walking all his life."(13:8-10)


As you read the above Scripture, I pray you didn't miss the biggest part of this miracle. 
 
It isn't only he walked, but how:

"up in a flash"
                             "jumped up"
                                           
                                                      "walked around"


There are persons, whom have lost their ability to walk and have shared with me what an intense procedure they had to endure to gain that ability back.  Their brain had to reprogram the muscles and nerves to do as instructed.  They had to go through hours and hours of therapy, trying to bring "memory" back to those muscles, strength building for the muscles to hold them up, pain as the nerve endings came "alive" again. 

The persons who shared this with me, had once walked.
 

The man from Lystra. 

He had never taken a step.

There are so many miracles ABBA shows us throughout our days, our lives, and oft times we just cruise along completely missing them.  The times we do see "one" miracle, is actually "one of numerous" which are  flowing out through His Love for us. 

 To me, the biggest miracle is the creation and birth of man and animals.  It amazes me knowing  all living beings start out as a sperm and an egg.  The sperm swimming to and penetrating itself into the egg and then the fertilized egg attaches itself to the womb wall. From those tiny separate vessels  grows into "one" miracle.

A woman's body, able to nurture, stretch, hold, carry, a separate life within her.  Her body preparing to bring forth a blessing - through the birth canal,  several times smaller, which then shrinks back.  Life sustaining milk being signaled to begin production.  And then the infant or baby animal, growing and learning.  What they know how to do, without being shown.   Their brains - just by intake - knowing language, body functions, control, emotions.  So many numerous miracles within the creating of "one" miracle. 

Such a miracle worker is He.
Especially in how He made me "new" through His Son, my Savior.  

Each day He instructs us to, "Get up and walk", going forth and making new Disciples.

How often are we "up in a flash" or hesitate using the lamest excuses.  How often are we drawn back into the cripple we once were, laying there feeling sorry for ourselves and not "walking" with Him on this journey. 

How often do we take for granted the miracle of His death and resurrection, for all of our sins, and not respond instantly nor react to the urgency of finding the lost?

 He gives us a "key" in these verses to be a part of this and all other miracles.

 "Paul, looking him in the eye, saw that he was ripe for God’s work, ready to believe".
Ready to "become what he believed".

A person is able to go through all the therapy procedures, but without the right mindset and will-power, will not walk again.   A person is able to learn all the instructions of making Disciples, but without falling "in" love with our ABBA,  "leaping up" and walking with Him, they will fail. 

It is my heart prayer all of His will be "up in a flash", doing as He desires of us.  
To be part of His miracle network, saving those who are crippled and teaching them to walk.
To walk "in" Him. 
 

 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

"Temptations" - 11/17/16 - Acts 11-12




"He'll tell you something that will save your life - in fact, you and everyone you care for."(11:14)
 


During study last night we were discussing temptations.  What ones do we find ourselves fighting the most and I instantly thought about my 'constants'.  Emotionally eating is at the top of my list, but so are others.
 
There are too many times when I sin in my words and the taste in my mouth is sour.  There is a place in the pit of my stomach turning over in such disgust, I want to vomit.  There is a blanket I want to put upon myself and hide away under it.  It is called shame. 

These are the times in which I find myself "flapping" my mouth.  Venting, gossiping, tearing down, whining, complaining, wallowing in self-pity.  There are times when my body language is speaking the same language just as loudly as the words flowing from my mouth. 

I walk away from these times and guilt sets in.  I know I have not left with words that will "save lives".  I have been walking on the "tear down" path.

We as humans, for some reason, find it easier to believe the bad over the good.  Studies show it takes a billion, zillion good comments to cancel out one bad comment from our head.  And even then doubt still sneaks in and we will often pick up that one bad and start the cycle of "tear down" all over - again. 

Perhaps this is why it is so hard to take The Word of Jesus for what it is.
Pure, Holy, 100% Truth. 
Maybe it seems too easy that He is The only Way to our ABBA.

A question from a few years back continues to go through my mind. 
"No matter what my circumstances are,
do I feel like I have everything I need to live my best life for God?"

I have realized, it isn't I don't feel or believe I have everything I need to live my best life for God - it is that I too many times choose not to utilize what He has given me.  Too many times I choose not to take the escape He promises me for every single temptation which will come my way. 
 
 "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (I Corinthians 10:13)
 
And yet, there are those temptations I choose "me" over Him and I sin. 

This is where satan loves to jump into the "tear down" party and have us believe we haven't a chance.  This is where satan and self join together to sing the chorus of  "you are a loser".   This is where the burden of shame will keep us down. 

But, THIS is when The Holy Spirit really starts to show off His Power. 

 We could continue to stay covered up in shame, but His Word tells us that we are covered instead in His Grace and Mercy.  His Word tells us we are His Beloved.  Fearfully and Wonderfully made.  His Word tells us He loved us so much, He gave His only beloved Son to die - for each one of us.  for all of our sins. 

So, we can choose to stand up again - in Him.  Letting the blanket of shame fall to the ground, rinsing our mouth out, consuming His Words, and focusing on our ABBA and His Truth. 

I pray I am, more often than not, leaving behind words to give others hope and Truth after they have chosen to serve "self" and not Him.   To let them know they don't have to live in shame apart from ABBA, by sharing His Words with them. 

His Word promises to supply us with, "something that will save my life - in fact, yours and everyone you care for."
 
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Just Wondering" - 11/16/16 - Acts 9-10







"Peter fairly exploded with His good news:
 
"It's God's own Truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites!  
It makes no difference who you are or where you're from - if you want God and are ready to do as He says, the door is open. The Message He sent to the children of Israel - that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again - well, He's doing it everywhere, among everyone.(10:34-36)





Upon meeting someone we already know or are just introduced to, our conversations are peppered throughout with subjects we sometimes are "fairly exploding" about.

Landing that first "real" job.  Becoming engaged.  Expecting a child.  Having children.  Children achieving.  Grandchildren.  Buying a home.  Travels.  Events.  Enduring the weather.  Accomplishments.  Sacrifices.  Good deeds.  Life experiences.

 How about God and the plan He laid out so we can be with Him?  How often are we as Peter?

"Peter fairly exploded with His good news".
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"His Most Beautiful" - 11/15/16 - Acts 7-8





In just such a time Moses was born, a most beautiful baby." (7:20)


It always makes me stop and ponder, why ABBA brought out that Moses, "was a most beautiful baby". 

"The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. (Ex 2:2)  and then again, here in Acts. 




What was it about his beauty that God felt important enough to breath this information into Scripture?  Did his beauty capture the heart of Pharaoh's daughter, causing her to want him for her own, upon finding him amongst the reeds in the river? 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The rating system for beautiful by the world is ever changing.  Centuries ago, voluptuous women were a sign of beauty.  Today a woman is considered beautiful if she is looking skeletal.  But God's never changing rating system isn't based on our outside looks, which fade. 




So I am wondering, does ABBA bring out that Moses was "a most beautiful baby", because we all have this beauty..........

                                     The everlasting type of beauty.  

                                                        The beauty which is His image being reflected in and through us.  

When I picture little babies, little children, I see this same type of beauty.  Each of us are made in His image.  These little ones, are fresh from our Creator's Canvas, the world or self hasn't come in to mar His Image, in which they are made. 

Being that we are all made in His image, I often wonder why the world begins to no longer see the beauty after a certain age. Thankfully, He has opened my eyes to see the beauty of Him in all that I look upon. There are so many of all ages, who come to my mind as being "beautiful". Each one of them takes my breath away with their inside/out beauty. Both men and women.
But those whom shine brightest in my mind, I realize are they who have become "childlike" in the wonderment and acceptance of Him.
For in Him. He has made each of us new.
"A Most Beautiful babe in Christ." No matter our age.
 
 
 




Monday, November 14, 2016

"Breathless" - 11/14/16 - Acts 4-6



"As all those who sat on the High Council looked at Stephen, they found they couldn't take their eyes off him - his face was like the face of an angel!(6:15)


 Do you remember what you think upon seeing their faces?
 
These "angels" of God.

These "angels" whose beauty from within radiates outwardly.   Is it impossible to tear your eyes off of them?  Do you recognize He is giving you a glimpse of His wonderment and awe, face to face? 
Many such "angels" come to my mind and my heart instantly smiles.  How much I delight in sharing life with them.  Growing from their example.  Striving to be more like ABBA because of their witness. 

It isn't the way ABBA arranged their features or how artfully they have put on makeup, worn a color to match their complexion and eyes.  It is because ABBA resides completely in their hearts that they have "the face of an angel". 

I see it in the little faces of young ones.  I see it in those the world has deemed "abnormal" because of mental or physical handicaps.  It is the innocence, the trust, the delighting of life that isn't tainted or completely covered up by sins of self or the world. 

I see it in the faces of couples, parents, families, looking at those whose hearts are completely sold out to our ABBA.  It is in the gentleness of their embraces, nurturing, building up, guiding, strengthening each other. It is there in the glances they share, secrets only they know betwixt each other, their special bonds to one another.

I see it beneath the wrinkles of those whose skin has aged throughout their years.  In their work worn, gnarled hands, clasped together in prayer.  In the callouses on their knees from years of kneeling before their ABBA. In the twinkle coming from the depths of their eyes hidden behind thick lens.  I see it as they clutch His Word, pages worn from years of reading, to their whole beings, completely merged into their hearts, minds, soul. 

I see His beauty every where I look in the faces of His many angels and He takes my breath away.
 

 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

"His Hand Chosen Family" - 11/13/16 - Acts 1-3


"the ones He had chosen through The Holy Spirit"(1:2)
 


As I sat and listened to the sermon this morning teaching about the members of 'His Family', my heart smiled as names and faces went through my mind.  My heart smiled knowing I belong.  I love and am loved by my precious 'siblings'.  Our connection, our bond, our center of our relationship is our ABBA.  Our Christ.  The Holy Spirit.  His Word.  The Blood bond of our Savior.

I want nothing more than to be used by ABBA.  To be His vessel.  To introduce others to Him and help grow 'His Family'.  To help them grow in their intimate relationship in Him.  I desire to celebrate life with my 'siblings'. 
 
There is something special that happens when joining a small group of 'siblings' to study and grow in His Word.  Myself and others have developed many a strong rooted relationship through the different groups we were involved with throughout the years.    
Seven years ago Curt and I prayed about beginning a Bible Study group in our home.  Our ABBA brought together 'siblings' to meet every Wednesday night and the building of "ABBA's Family" began.  Although part of the original group has "multiplied" into other groups, all who have passed through our doors have become more than an acquaintance.  

As with every group, there are some you start out knowing fairly well and others just a bit.  But after a time, you begin to share a strong love, building up a complete trust and loyalty between each other.  You begin to share not only your hearts and lives, but also your souls.  You find each 'sibling' has an essential part in building and holding each other up.  "We" begin to do life together.

Our ABBA is the only reason these groups work.  He has chosen each one of us to be a part of each others lives.  I love when we see the urgency and reach out for others to know and belong to 'His Family'.

It leaves me breathless when thinking how our ABBA knew the mix of 'siblings' He was putting together and how strong the bonds would grow.  I watch in wonderment as He uses each of us for His Glory and I rejoice that my life is a part of this "mix". 
 
I love knowing He knew before the creation of the world the 'siblings' I would need and placed our steps together. 

 "You, O God, know every one of us inside and out.(1:24)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

"Take Heart" - 11/12/16 - Luke 24, John 20-21





“Don’t be upset,
                 and don’t let all these doubting questions take over."  (Luke 24:37)





The reports continue to pour in of the unrest our world is experiencing.  How easily it would be to get on the band wagon of fear and live life in constant worry, doubt.  So many are asking, assuming, predicting what is ahead for us. 





  “Don’t be upset, and don’t let all these doubting questions take over."

I found myself smiling as this verse sunk in.

Again, He reminded me, there isn't anything new under the sun.  He is in complete control, all I have to do is remain strong in my faith and trust.  He will take care of the rest. 

Picking up fear, will allow doubt to seep in. 

All I do know about the future, is all I need to know:

He is "I AM" and that covers everything



Everything


Christ said to His disciples, "So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said?", in reference to His rising from the grave, in being The Messiah. 

How often are "we" also as "they"? 

When we allow doubt and fear to seep in, bringing all the questions. 










 It is when we become so focused on the questions, we become blind to the answer



                                                                      Him. 




 
 
 
 



Friday, November 11, 2016

"Run Free" - 11/11/16 - Matthew 28, Mark 16



"Tell His disciples.........
 
and Peter"
(Mark 16:7)


I can still remember cutting across the field to go to church when I was young.  By the time I hit the middle, the ground had become mud, clinging to my tennis shoes, making it almost impossible to lift my foot for another step.  I can remember the embarrassment and shame I felt after my mother sent me back home to change my shoes - by way of the road.  I hadn't realized the field would be that wet as the edges were dry.  I also didn't want to go back to face the people who had witnessed my error. 
 
 

But, you know what I love most about our ABBA? 
 
It is how He knows, really knows, from the top of our head to the tips of our toes -
knows each and every one of us. 

Even if we choose to not know Him.  To go our own route and ending up covered in the muck of the world. 

And still - He unconditionally Loves us. 

It wasn't a slip of the tongue that Jesus mentioned Peter by name with the disciples. 
It wasn't that Peter was extra special. 
 
In different scriptures John was called "the one Jesus loved". 
As we all are.  We are all "the one Jesus loves".  We are all "His Beloved". 
 
The Cross was proof of that.

And just as He woos and loves each of us, He also knows when we need encouragement, affirmation.  He knows the times we are beating ourselves up, just as Peter did, how we need to know the gift of forgiveness, grace and mercy.

 For many years I lived in the mud caked shoes, just as Peter did,  denying I knew Christ.  I was living in and for the world, even though I grew up hearing all He had done for me.  I never accepted The gift of "Him" for myself.  I never took it personal. 

In the shoes of shame, doubt, regret, Peter was blinded to the fact Christ would still want to have Him in His arms again.  How often do we put on those same shoes?  These shoes, so caked in "mud", we are weighed down and feel we aren't going to make it.  How often do we believe the lies over His unconditional, mind blowing, full out, LOVE? 

This is why He knows each of us by name.  This is why we are the most important part of His creation.  This is why He calls out to each of us continually. 

He desires nothing more than to be up close and personal.  With each one of us.
He wants us to take off those shoes and run as fast as you can towards Him. 
 
Run free to Him.  He is calling out your name.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"Oh, How He Loves" - Luke 23, John 18-19


 

 
"When they got to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they didn’t break His legs.
  One of the soldiers stabbed Him in the side with his spear. Blood and water gushed out."
(John 19:34)

Even in death. 
 
They still continued to torture His body. 

Each year, when I knew I was coming to the day of reading of His Crucifixion, I would cringe inside.  I used to wrestle with guilt, shame, being uncomfortable.  It was because I know, my sins, are part of the reason He was Crucified. 
 
I have felt Him transform my heart.  
Now when reading of His Crucifixion, I am overcome with the blessings of His forgiveness.  of His grace.  of His mercy.  Tears come as my heart is overwhelmed by this act of True Love.
 
Christ didn't go to The Cross as an act of being able to hold the Crucifixion over our heads. 
He didn't do it as a "trump card", forcing us to do as He bid. 

He willingly was Crucified because of LOVE.
No other reason. 



It was the only way for us to be with His ABBA. 

He willingly went to The Cross because He was doing what His ABBA needed Him to do.

To be the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins.

I continually pray I will never take His Words recording His ultimate sacrifice for granted.  I continually pray when I recognize where ABBA had to turn His back on our Savior, His Son, my heart will continue to weep.  As a mom, I can only imagine the pain ABBA and Christ were going through. 

But. 

He wants us to lay down at The Cross our sins. 
He didn't die so we will continually carry them with us, a constant reminder of what He put to Death. He doesn't want us to continually wear the cloak of shame.  Eat from the plate of doubt.  Drink from the goblet of guilt.   
 
On the day we fall to our knees before Him, His arms are stretched out wide, accepting us, as we were and are.  That day when we give our life to Him, His blood runs down over us as we are bowed before Him, cleansing us, purifying us, making us Holy and Pure.  Claiming each one of us as 'His Beloved'.
 
It is our free choice to live life in the freedom of Him. It is our free choice to take the escapes He provides when sin presents itself in our path. It is our free choice to lay down our sins, open our arms wide, and receive Him into our heart, our life, our soul - our all.  To make Him our utmost and upmost priority. 

It is our free choice to accept His gift of LOVE and with each step, become more and more like Him.  To live and love as He has and does.  To accept His gift of grace, mercy, forgiveness and extend it to others.

It is our free choice to not continually torture Him by saying His Ultimate Sacrifice wasn't enough for us - 'His Beloved'.
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

"For You, Oh Yes, He Did" - 11/09/16 - Mathew 27, Mark 15


"So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.  (Mark 15:15)
(Scourged - this word, used only twice in the New Testament (Matthew 27:26 and here), describes a punishment more severe than flogging or beating.  The prisoner was beaten with a whip fashioned of numerous strips of leather attached to a handle.  To the leather strips were tied sharp pieces of bone, glass, and metal, which could rip and tear one's skin to shreds.)
        
"The soldiers assigned to the governor took Jesus into the governor's palace and got the entire brigade together for some fun.        
They stripped Him and dressed Him in a red toga.                
They plaited a crown from branches of a thorn bush and set it on His head.
They put a stick in His right hand for a scepter.
Then they knelt before Him in mocking reverence: "Bravo, King of the Jews!" they said. "Bravo!"        
       
Then they spit on Him
and hit Him on the head with the stick.
 
When they had had their fun, they took off the toga and put His own clothes back on Him. Then they proceeded out to the crucifixion.        
       
 
Along the way they came on a man from Cyrene named Simon and made him carry Jesus' cross.    
Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call "Skull Hill," they offered Him a mild painkiller (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when He tasted it He wouldn't drink it.        
       
After they had finished nailing Him to the cross and were waiting for Him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for His clothes.  Above His head they had posted the criminal charge against Him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.   Along with Him, they also crucified two criminals, one to His right, the other to His left.               
 
People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament:  "You bragged that You could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days - so show us Your stuff! Save Yourself! If You're really God's Son, come down from that cross!"                
 
The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at Him:  "He saved others - He can't save Himself! King of Israel, is He? Then let Him get down from that cross. We'll all become believers then!  He was so sure of God - well, let Him rescue His 'Son' now - if He wants Him! He did claim to be God's Son, didn't He?"         
 
Even the two criminals crucified next to Him joined in the mockery.                
 
From noon to three, the whole earth was dark.        
       
 
Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have You abandoned Me?"
               
Some bystanders who heard Him said, "He's calling for Elijah."        
       
One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so He could drink.         The others joked, "Don't be in such a hurry. Let's see if Elijah comes and saves Him."        
       
But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed His last.
       
At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom."(Matthew 27:27-51)
 
 
I pray as you read these words they hit home in your heart. 
 
Our Savior was put upon The Cross as the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins.  His purpose was to remove the Temple Curtain, which separated us from our ABBA, so we may have an intimate relationship with Him.  The Creator of all.  ABBA. He wants us to be with Him. 
 
 "He was so sure of God - well, let Him rescue His 'Son' now - if He wants Him!"(43)
 
I can only imagine the restraint  our ABBA had to not reach down and remove His precious, pure and Holy Son from this death.  From the torture of being separated from each other. 
 
His restraint came only because of His great Love for you.  for me.  for all. 
 
This isn't a story.  It isn't a myth.  This happened.  Recorded in His Word and numerous other accounts, by persons who were eye witnesses. 
 
The only reason our Savior left His ABBA?  for us. 
 
Jesus.  After our own hearts.  I pray you have given Him yours.