He Prayed for Me

And he prayed for you.

One of my favorite things about the Chronological Bible is we are reading about Jesus’ last days before his crucifixion in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

It’s so appropriate!

The holiday reminds me to be thankful and God’s Word reminds me the most important thing to be thankful for – Christ’s sacrifice for me.

For God so loved the world…

Life everlasting with my Abba Father.

I love reading the prayer of Jesus in John 17.  He prayed for us!  “for those who will believe in me’ through the message of his disciples.

We know the Truth because the disciples faithfully shared with others the Truth they had seen and heard.   And we pay it forward by sharing what we have seen and heard about the Truth with others…

in gratitude for what Christ did for us.

May we be found faithful witnesses to your love and grace, Abba Father.

How Close Am I?

How much distance is there between God and me?

How far?

Mark tells us that Jesus was asked which of the commandments was most most important and Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The man who asked replied, “You’re right!  I get it  now!  Loving God is more important than following all the religious rules, traditions and ceremonies.” (my version).

Jesus replied, ” You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

It’s like he said – “Good job, buddy!  You’re figuring this out!”  I’m sure Jesus had a smile on his face when he said this because Jesus was surrounded by people who weren’t getting it but this man was starting to understand the truth.

I pray that Jesus would say this to me if he was sitting next to me this morning. “You’re figuring it out, Judy!”  That’s what this journey towards the truth is all about.

Am I getting closer to God as I study his Word?  Am I letting God transform me as I put his Truth into practice in my life?

How about you?

Thank for this this journey towards the Truth – towards you, Abba Father.

Really Alive

We are all breathing.

Our hearts are pumping so we are all living.

But are we really alive?  There is so much more to life that just making it through the day.  There’s so much more that going to work everyday to pay the bills.  There’s so much more to life than buying that next new thing or going to that next new place.

Is my heart and mind and soul really alive?

One of my favorite names for Jesus is in John 8 when he calls himself the Light of the World. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Really living is when we have this light of life.

We experience a whole new dimension here on earth when we choose to live in the light of life.  

God is moving.  He is making things happen.  He is loving us and caring for us.  He is moving mountains for us.  When we live in the light, we can see some of what he is doing right before our eyes.

We are really alive.

When we are in tune with God we can understand his strength and we can feel his love.  We can sense his presence right beside us – lighting up our world.

This is what it means to be really alive.

Jesus made his free gift of grace available to everyone – we just need to choose to walk in the light.  If you haven’t made that choice – today is a great day to accept salvation through Jesus.

He is waiting.

Thank you for making it possible for all of us to be really alive, Abba Father.

There Is No Other Way

No other path.

No where else to go.

This journey of faith is not easy.  The hills are very steep and the roads wind around blind corners where it’s impossible to see what’s up ahead.  And the valleys go down….

down…

into darkness……

But it’s never complete darkness.  No matter what is happening, God is always next to me, shining his light on the way I should go.

Sometimes I can’t see the light because I’m distracted – I’m looking away – at something else – like my fears, my worries or my grief.

But I just have to focus on him and God is there –

always.

He is faithful.

There are times when my eyes and thoughts wander, but they always come back to my Heavenly Father.  Because there is no other Truth.

There is no other perfect love.

There is no other direction to go in this world that will take me where I want to eventually go – home with my Father.

So I have to smile when Peter says essentially these same words.  Peter was watching as Jesus offended some of the people who were following by telling them the truth.  It wasn’t what they wanted to hear,

so they left.

Jesus turned to Peter and asked him if he wanted to leave, too.  And Peter answers, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of Eternal Life.”

I’m with you on that, Peter.

There is no one else to follow.  There is no other place I want to go.

There is no turning back.

So I move forward – trusting, growing and loving God.

Thank you for the truth, Abba Father.

The Wind Blows Against Me

There are days,

and seasons,

and years,

when the wind blows against me.

And it blows against you.

These are times of questions and struggle.  It’s hard to move forward when the winds of tough circumstances and tragic change and roller-coaster emotions blow forcefully against me.

So I can relate when I read the story in Matthew of the disciples straining at the oars of their boat as the wind blew against them and the waters of the Sea of Galilee grew stormy.

I know how it feels to be trying to push forward through rough waters…

against growing waves….

trying to at least maintain the progress I’ve made so far….

knowing forward movement is going to be extremely difficult.

Do you know that feeling, too?

Then I am reminded as I read God’s word, that I need to look up –

above the waves.

Because when the disciples looked up, they saw Jesus.  The Creator of the wind and waves walked out to them – giving them courage in the middle of the storm.

Jesus challenged Peter to show his faith by stepping out of the boat.  Do you notice that Jesus didn’t calm the storm?  It’s all still whipping around Peter when Jesus asks him to step out in faith.

What a big difference from my frequent prayers to calm the storms!  Calming them is often not his plan.  Instead, he comes to me in the midst of the wind and rain to challenge my faith – asking me to grow my trust and step out of the boat right into the storm where I need to count on him even more for guidance and protection.

Its hard not to focus on the waves,

and on the wind as it blows against me.

What are you focused on today?

Please help us lift our eyes and focus on you, Abba Father.

Living in Darkness

This is a good description of a big portion of our culture today, isn’t it?

The light of truth is not shining in their minds – their thoughts are confused and fluctuate with the latest popular trends.

The light of love is not shining in their hearts – they have turned inward and cynical, victims of their own limited perspectives.

But those of us who have accepted Jesus’ grace and love and salvation have seen the light that shines in the darkness.  The light of God’s mercy shines in our lives every day as he helps us love ourselves and love others with his love.

We will never understand it all – that’s where faith comes in.

We still mess up regularly – that’s where grace comes in.

But we know the light and that’s where joy comes in.

Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied these things about Jesus before he was born.  Zachariah had a conversation with the angel Gabriel who stands today and every day in the presence of God.   Zachariah received a very clear insight into what God was about to do – send his son to save the world.  Zachariah knew the plan.  And his prophesy ends with ‘the rising sun will come to us from heaven..to shine on those living in the darkness…to guide our feet into the path of peace.’

Please guide our feet into the path of peace, Abba Father.

In the Beginning

Where were you in the beginning?

Where was I?

I’m in my 6th consecutive year of reading through the entire Bible and I just realized that Genesis 1 and John 1 both start with the same words, “In the beginning,”

Genesis 1 tells us what God and the Holy Spirit were doing ‘In the beginning’.  John 1 tells us what Jesus was doing ‘In the beginning’.

God had a plan for you and me ‘In the beginning’.  He knew when we would be conceived and he knows the date and time of our last breath here on earth.  Of course he knows that – he has Jesus scheduled to come and walk those who believe in him and trust in him home.

God loves us and had a purpose for us right from the beginning.  God reminds me of his love and grace and plan for me as I look at my new granddaughter’s first picture. 

She ‘began’ only 5 months ago.  God is molding her tiny fingernails and stretching out her little legs as you read this.  He has a plan for her.  He knows the date and time she will come out to meet us and he has already determined her final day on earth.  He loves her and is caring for her right now in her mother’s belly.

God was with her in her beginning.

God was with me in my beginning.

And he also was with you when you began.

Take a moment to feel his loving arms wrapped around you.  We were in our Father’s heart and hands ‘in the beginning’.  We are still there today and every day.

Please hold us close, Abba Father.  Thank you for loving and taking care of my teeny new grand-daughter.

For Such A Time As This

God challenges me with these words as I read the book of Esther.

For such a time as this.

Now.

This next step.

Today.

Esther’s story is a very good example of how God orchestrates opportunities and invites us to be a part of what he is already doing.  We would be missing an important point if we thought this is the only opportunity God gave Esther.  There were many more, this is just the one he told us about because it’s a significant example of how he works to complete his will through her.

And how he works to complete his will through me.

And through you.

Today.

Today is ‘for such a time as this’.

Today I will be given opportunities to partner with God in what he is accomplishing in this world.  He has made it clear to me that this blog is one of my assignments.  So I continue reading the Bible every year, listening to him and sharing with you what he says.  And I’ll do that until he tells me to stop.

Recently, God has started sharing with me insights into how he is pursuing some of the people in my life who haven’t chosen to accept his free gift of salvation yet.  It’s very interesting to watch him work.  I know he’s opening my eyes so I am more aware of my role and better prepared when my opportunity and ‘time’ comes.

There is a reason I’m still breathing today.

There’s a reason you’re still breathing.

For such a time as this.

Open our eyes, Abba Father.

 

Short – Lived

Being inconsistent is the definition of being mediocre. Have you heard this definition of mediocrity?

This makes sense!  If I’m good at something once in a while but not all the time – that averages out to mediocre.

This is important to understand because, if someone tells me I’m good at something, I’m actually only going to be good at it if I’m consistently good.   If I’m good and then not good and then good again and then poor, I’m inconsistent.  And I’m mediocre.

This applies to my relationship with God as well.  One of my goals is to have a very good relationship with God.  In order to do that, I have to be consistently good in my walk with him.

I am reminded of this every time I read about people in the Bible who get all excited about God because he did a miracle and then – in the next paragraph – they are back to their old ways.  The excitement and the emotion are suddenly over – and so is the interest.

Daniel tells us about King Darius who was so happy God had saved Daniel from the lions he issued a decree for all of his people telling them to ‘fear and reverence the God of Daniel.”

That’s great! 

But there is no evidence that any one in Babylon actually listened and turned to God.  No one.

We read many examples in the Bible of people who had this spiritual inconsistency.  This mediocre relationship with God.

Very sad.

That’s not my goal.

Please guide us in being consistent and faithful in our relationship with you, Abba Father.

I Need Strong Hands –

to do what I’m supposed to do,

to complete the plans God made for me before I was born.

“Let your hands be strong.”  God spoke these motivating words thousands of years ago to the workers who were rebuilding his Temple and he is also saying them to me today as I read his word.

And now to you.

We will need strong hands to complete our purpose here on earth before our Father takes us home.

We need wisdom.

We need discernment.

We need to persevere.

We need strength and knowledge.

It’s a great thing that all of these come from God because writing that long list wore me out and caused a little anxiety.

It’s a lot.  And its tough.  But I’m in it for the long haul…

and it really is a long haul.  The older I get, it is becoming more and more clear how challenging this long haul is going to be.

My husband and I just moved out by the mountains and –  as the sun rises in my new backyard – God reminds me once again that he has my back.  He is here.

He is my Rock.

He is beside me every step of this long haul.

And he has given me strong hands to do his will.

Thank you, Abba Father.