Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"What Is Your Soil?" - 11/06/17 - Mark 4-5

"He told them,

“You’ve been given insight into God’s Kingdom—you know how it works.

But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. These are people—

Whose eyes are open but don’t see a thing,
Whose ears are open but don’t understand a word,
Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven.”
He continued, “Do you see how this story works? All my stories work this way.
 “The farmer plants The Word.

Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road.
No sooner do they hear The Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them.

 “And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel.
When they first hear The Word, they respond with great enthusiasm.
But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.

“The seed cast in the weeds
represents the ones who hear The Kingdom News but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get.
The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.

“But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear The Word,
embrace it,
and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.”(4:11-20)

Friday, November 10, 2017

"All Are Invited" - 11/05/17 - Mark 1-3

"Jesus said, "Come along with Me." He came."(2:14)

You know, that request wasn't just for Levi. or His other disciples. 
or all those we read about in His Word. 
All the others who are part of our lineage in Him. 
Those who came.

That request has been handed down from our ABBA since the beginning with Adam and Eve.

There in the garden all was as He meant it to be.  To walk with Him.  Live with Him face to face. 
Until they decided not to "come along". 
Instead, going their own way - thus bringing death into the world and the need for our Savior.

He is still asking, "Come along with me." 

It is "you" He desires. 
Not the perfect "you",
the one who "will get it all together and then follow". 
It is "you". 
As "you" are. 
It is when "you" are His that The Transformation begins.

Just as He has with everyone. 
He so desires for all of "us" to "Come along with Him".
There is no greater request. 
How He so Loves us.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

"We - The Desire of His Heart" - 11/04/17 - Matthew 27-28

"But he had Jesus whipped, and then handed over for crucifixion.
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."(27:26-51)
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. 
His greatest desire is for 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 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. 
Jesus.  No greater LOVE. 

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

"We - His Friend" - 11/03/17 - Matthew 25-26

"Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.  And Jesus said to him, Friend, do what you have come for.”(26:49)

He offered His cheek to be kissed.  Knowing.

I have always been amazed at this verse.  Jesus knew, He knew Judas was full of satan, yet called him, "friend".  He allowed him to kiss Him. 

All the while - He knew.

Each time upon reading verses pertaining to Judas, I would put him into a box all by himself. 
Until His Word taught me,
A sin is a sin.  Any and all sin separates us from God.
Yet Jesus willingly went in the act of Love to The Cross.  Forever bridging the gap sin causes between us and God. 
I never felt I was the same as Judas.  Yes, in my life I have sinned.  Many a time - and will continue - I am human.  The battle to serve God or self will not end until my last breath. 
But - I never felt I sinned on the level as Judas. 

And I have. 
And I will.
There are no levels of sin.

Again, I stand amazed at our Christ.  Knowing what he did - and still - He loved Judas.  He always reached out to Judas in love, grace, and mercy.  Judas rejected - not our Christ.  And Judas was the one who sinned.  Not our Christ. 

Then He puts into my heart and mind, "Deby, who are you not to extend love, grace, and mercy - to everyone.  Who has betrayed you in such a way that Judas betrayed Me?  When did you go to The Cross?"

I fall to His feet - humbled.  I pray for those when looking at me to see only Him - not me.  I pray for Him to remove any sin from my heart.  I pray I may be Christlike to all - and yet........

There are times when I hang on to the pride, bitterness and anger.  Knowing all the while it hurts my Daddy and delights satan.  A quote I heard awhile back keeps running through my mind, "Are you entertaining yourself with the sins that put Jesus on The Cross". 
Through the prompting of The Spirit, I am listening, Trusting, and heeding His urging more often than before.  I am finding sins I once submitted to are now distasteful as I am focusing on Him.  I am having faith and trust  He will take care of those who wish to cause me harm and no longer feel the need to defend myself.  I am seeing more of life through His eyes - the spiritual battle - and not taking things so personal, therefore making it all about me. 
It was while listening to a four part sermon series on Trust by Larry Smith and he spoke about Trusting God through all our steps and I realized it is when we fall back upon our sin filled way of doing things, those are the times we are not Trusting in our ABBA.  Those are the times we are walking "our" talk.  It is only when we learn to totally Trust Him, only then are we able to Love as He Loves.  Without any hesitation.  fear.  doubt.  defensiveness.  We are able to Love unconditionally.  We are able to walk His Talk.  We are able to Love without expectations. 

How He grows us through the freedom of Trust to "let go and let God". 
I pray for all to accept our Savior and walk on His bridge to our ABBA.
I pray all may know He too is calling them "friend".
As He has and is calling His own, "friend". 
No matter the sin.  Trust in Him.

Monday, November 06, 2017

"His Promise" - 11/02/17 - Matthew 23-24

 "Staying with it - that's what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won't be sorry, and you'll be saved."(29:13)
His Words of encouragement.  His Promise.  Our hope in Him.
 "Following those hard times.
Sun will fade out,
moon cloud over.
Stars fall out of the sky,
cosmic powers tremble.   
Then, The Arrival of The Son of Man!
It will fill the skies - no one will miss it.
Unready people all over the world,
outsiders to the splendor and power,
will raise a huge lament as they watch
The Son of Man blazing out of Heaven.   
At that same moment, He'll dispatch His angels with a trumpet-blast summons, pulling in God's chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.(Matthew 29-31)
What Hope we have knowing. 
We are one day closer to Heaven. 

Saturday, November 04, 2017

"We - His Invited!" - 11/01/17 - Matthew 21-22

"Come to the wedding."(Matthew 22:4)

 It is such a privilege and honor to be on the invitation list for a wedding and share in a day of celebration. 

Time, money, sacrifice.  Much goes into the planning and throwing of a wedding.

And our ABBA.  Our ABBA is throwing a wedding not for someone else, but for us.

We - who are His Bride. 

We - who have been invited to the wedding of life.  Eternal life.

One which we don't want to miss.


Thursday, November 02, 2017

"Give It All You've Got" - 10/31/17 - Matthew 18-20

“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in Heaven. Then come follow Me.”   

That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go. 

As He watched him go, Jesus told His disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s Kingdom? Let Me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s Kingdom.” 

The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”
Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself.

Every chance in the world, if you trust God to do it.” (Matthew 19:21-26)

Following me into the office to get white paper, stapler and tape to make a book, Charles exclaimed, "Wow!  That's a lot of receipts g'ma", as he tiptoed over the sorted piles on the floor.  I smiled and said I was trying to get a head start on them for taxes. 

I also smiled because the receipts were still laying there, work not completed,  because I had taken time off to "play" with he and Ella. 

As I have gotten older, I strive to have our home and business in order.  Particularly when we are going to be away for awhile; for I do not want to leave a mess for our family.  I desire for their time to be spent comforting and being with each other - not wading through a bunch of disorganized "stuff". 

But more often than not, everything isn't in order and I sometimes think about the "unfinished" which would be left behind if I were suddenly called "Home".  I am guilty of sometimes mismanaging my time, and am striving to do better.  I am sometimes guilty of hanging onto "stuff" for sentimental reasons, for reasons of self worth.  Actually, for all the wrong reasons. 

Thankfully, instead of beating myself up, ABBA is showing me improvement and encourages me to continue on the "better stewardship track" of my journey.  There are even moments I am able to laugh about things I have held onto and let them go.

More importantly though, He has me focused on "whom" I would be leaving behind and that it really is okay to stop and "play" with those He has blessed me with. 

I am looking forward to going "Home" but honestly, just not right now.  I strive to live as though I am dying.  But wonder.  Is it sin to want to still be here?  To be with those I love?  Does that mean I am loving them more than Him?  Not things, but persons I am clinging to?  He knows when my days are finished, He knows my weakness, He knows my heart so much better than I do, He knows I love Him more than those I "hold on to tightly".  What kind of steward am I in my time, our home, my heart.  Have I emptied myself of "self" to be totally filled with Him?  How I love His Word, but am I living it? 

He tells me the time will come when He calls me Home. 
Until then, my stewardship will continue.

To not overly focus on how I am doing with letting go, but whom I am bringing along, making Disciples.  For He has blessed me in knowing, without a doubt, those I am saddened to leave, will one day also be called Home.  Home together, "in" eternity with Him.  As long as I haven't allowed another to become my god, it's okay to be torn about leaving - for they are my "Taste of Heaven" here on this earth.

  He is impressing upon me, "Don't take your "Taste of Heaven" for granted".  "Don't limit your "Taste of Heaven" to a selected few".  He has opened my eyes to the fact - Life really isn't about "the stuff". 

What freedom comes "as you live, as you go, making Disciples for Him - ever growing your "family".  It isn't about the "stuff".  It is knowing one day, we will celebrate being together - HOME.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

"We -In Him - Never Forgotten" - 10/30/17 - Matthew 15-17

"Later His disciples came and told Him, "Did you know how upset the Pharisees were when they heard what You said?"  Jesus shrugged it off. "Every tree that wasn't planted by My Father in Heaven will be pulled up by its roots.  Forget them. They are blind men leading blind men."(15:12-14)

"Forget them."

My heart hurts just reading these words.

"Forget them".

Not spoken by Jesus because He isn't of Love, but because He knew their hearts.  He knows what is within us.  He tells us what is in our heart come forth in our words and actions. 

My heart hurts when I am as the Pharisees. 

My heart is overwhelmed by His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy which have cleansed me of those moments.  Only because of Him am I able to confess, repent, and continue striving to be more like Him. 

Him - whom I am deeply, madly, head-over-heels in love with.

How thankful I am knowing, without doubt, we "in" Him will never, ever, ever hear these words spoken to us from our ABBA.

 For "in" Christ - we are His.  He is ours.  Forever.