Whoever…

Whenever.

Me, you, your family, your neighbors…..

someone you like……

and someone you don’t like.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Here it is – the Great News of the Gospel all in one verse!  Jesus told this to Nicodemus very early in his ministry.

Whoever.

Jesus’ arms are wide open for everyone.

Satan loves to twist the truth (always) when he whispers into people’s ears “God doesn’t really love everyone – why does Jesus say he’s the only way to heaven?  Shouldn’t there be lots of ways?”

Read John 3:16 again……slowly.

God loves us – all of us.  And he has paved the way of grace for all of us to be with him in heaven.  But there’s a price to be paid for our rebellion, lack of faith and sin.  And Jesus paid that price.  When any of us anywhere at any time accept salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the punishment that should have been ours is erased.  It’s gone.  Jesus’ death made our once-and-for-all forgiveness possible.

So let’s not let Satan get us all tangled up in his lies.  Let’s not let Satan distract us by offering ‘other ways’ that he tries to sell as more culturally relevant.

The truth doesn’t change.  John 3:16 is as important to us today as it was to Nicodemus thousands of years ago.

God loves the world and his grace is available FREE to everyone – even a thief on a cross who believed for the first time with his last breath.

Thank you for your gift of grace, Abba Father.

The Writing on the Wall

A human hand appears in the middle of King Belshazzar’s great banquet and it writes a message on the wall.

This would definitely get my attention.sept-21-2016-writing-a

And this is where we get the saying, ‘ I can read the writing on the wall’.  Many of us don’t know that this comes from the Bible.

King Belshazzar could not read the handwriting on the wall so he consulted with Daniel who was well-known for being able to interpret things when no one else could.

Daniel read the writing on the wall and told the king that God was bringing his reign to an end because the king had not acknowledged God as sovereign over all the kingdoms on earth.

That very night, the message on the wall was fulfilled and Belshazzar was killed.

One part of the message on the wall was ‘Tekel’ which means you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

The bad news for all of us is – our scales don’t look any better.  Our rebellion.  Our need for control.  Our self-centeredness.  Our busyness which causes us to ignore God – not have enough time for him.

The writing on our wall would have the same message…..

except for the fact that God loved us so much that he gave us an ‘out’.

He sent his perfect son, Jesus, to save us from the eternal separation from God which we have earned.  The entire Bible is a love story about how God created us in his image and desires to have a close, personal relationship with us.

God offers a gift of grace to each one of us which we first have to accept in order to get the scales moved in our favor.

Through Christ’s sacrifice, we can become precious children of God who are never ‘found wanting’ because Jesus did it all for us….

for all time.

It is finished.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

Psalm 30, 2016

I just can’t stop praising your name, today, Lord!

You lifted my problems and worries off of my shoulders.

I called your name and you healed my soul.april 16b 2016 psalm 30 2016

My spirit was dead and you saved me.

Sing with me, all believers!

Praise our Holy God!

His anger is focused on the Evil One.

We, the redeemed, are already living forever with him.  We are his favorite children!

Yes, we still have struggles and trials while we live on this earth.

But, through them all, our Father God walks closely with us and gives us joy.

Most of the time, I feel secure.  “I will never be shaken.”

But – sometimes – I feel far away from God.  I feel alone and afraid.

So I cry out to you once again – end my loneliness!  Get rid of my fear!

Pour out your grace upon me.

Help me, oh Lord.

Yes!  You turn my wailing into dancing!

My sadness is removed and I am filled with joy because I can sing your praises!

Lord, my God, I will praise you forever!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Good news!

Great joy for all the people!

Christmas 2015On this day, in the city of David, a Savior was born to us.

He is our Messiah!

The Lord!

We have nothing to be afraid of.

The angels proclaimed this truth thousands of years ago and it is still news that brings us great joy today!

God so loved the world – that’s you and me.

And my little grand darlings (picture) who like blowing out the candles on Jesus’ birthday cake.

And our families, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

He sent his only Son to pay the price for all of our sin for all time.

It’s done.

We can do nothing to earn God’s grace.

It’s a free gift.

The most important gift we will ever receive.

We just need to accept it and believe.

And be reconciled to God.

And be changed from the inside out as God renews our thoughts with his truth.

With his light.

We celebrate the Light of the World today!

Thank you for your very best gift, Abba Father!

Where is my Healing Place?

Physically.

Emotionally.

Spiritually.

We all need healing of some type.

And where do we go for that healing?

A large number of people during Jesus’ lifetime went to a pool called Bethesda in Jerusalem.

I had the chance to spend some time at this pool last year when I visited Jerusalem. It’s no longer a pool but the exterior is still there along with some remains of the colonnades around it which are mentioned in the Bible.fDSC_0489

It is beautiful.  A feeling of peace and healing are still there.  It was a quiet and calm oasis in the middle of tension-filled Jerusalem.

Where is our pool at Bethesda today?

Where we do find peace and healing?

The answer is always Jesus.  He tells us to come to him when we are weak and broken and lost.  He will give us rest and wholeness and a place to belong.

I have discovered that my healing place is right where I am now – in a quiet spot with my Bible open on my lap.  As I listen and read and think and discuss things with God, he once again sets my feet on solid ground.  He opens my eyes to the truth while he covers me with his love and grace.fDSC_0490

Two weeks ago I spent a cloudy day on the beach in San Diego with my Bible open on my lap – that was a healing place.

A couple of months ago I spent a day alone up in the mountains with my Bible on my lap.  That was a healing place.

Where is your healing place?

If you haven’t found it, why are you still looking?

You are our healing place, Abba Father.

Great Joy!

The angels had such good news to tell the world on the night Baby Jesus was born!

They told the shepherds to not be afraid – their news as going to create great joy for all people.Oct 20 2015 great joy

Great Joy!

For all people!

For all time!

The shepherds found Baby Jesus in the stable right where the angels said he would be.  And they praised God!

Simeon realized that his wait for a Messiah was over when he saw the Baby Jesus in the temple.  And he praised God!

Anna also recognized the Baby Jesus as the one who would redeem Jerusalem.  And she praised God!

We have great joy today because the Baby Jesus was born!

The Messiah!

He came to save all of us from our sin!

He brought peace into our world of chaos and anger.

He brought grace so he could replace our guilt and shame with his love.

He brought wholeness for our broken and empty souls.

He brought light into our dark and lost lives!

Today we join with the shepherds and Simeon and Anna in praising God for sending his son for us!

Thank you, Abba Father, for such Great Joy!

Sword Fighting Class- Redeemed!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without fault, and it will be given to him. James 1 1 -9 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like the wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.’

“The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.  But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, for he will pass away like a wildflower.  The sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. James 1= 13-18 In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business”.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because, when he has stood the test, he will receive crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

“When tempted, no one should say “God is tempting me” for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin.  And sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Awesome!  We are memorizing James 1 and we are doing great!  We are doing our part and God is definitely doing his part!  Here is our next verse:

“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.”

God has redeemed us with his grace.  His gospel is the truth which transforms us from creatures forever separated from God’s light into his adopted children, reborn and reconciled to him.

There is no better news than this!

Thank you, Abba Father!

 

 

So Confusing

 

Our culture is filled with confusion.  That’s my favorite word for it.Dec 23 2014 So confusing

Lies are everywhere and large groups of people believe these lies.

Sometimes I’ll be in the midst of a large number of people when something really wrong happens and, when I look around, I realize that no one else looks like they think this is bad.  If its sexual in nature, people snicker and laugh, just like they did in Junior High.  I often feel like our culture is stuck in Junior High when it comes to sex.

People are so confused.

Even Christians.   We get distracted.  We get off-target.  We are never going to be perfect this side of heaven so we’re all hypocrites at times.  We say we are Christians but sometimes do very not-Christ-like things.

Hebrews 3 tells us the key to avoiding getting lost in this confusion.

Fix our thoughts on Jesus.

Jesus is our perfect role-model.  He was never a hypocrite.  He was God made flesh.

I have found this key to be extremely helpful to me.  Because the behavior of Christians can be very disappointing.  The things they say.   The things they do.  If I’m looking to them as role-models, I’m going to see the hypocrisy and I will be confused.

When I look to Jesus as my role-model, I find that I have a lot more understanding and grace for Christians who are on the path of faith like I am.  Jesus loved the broken and lost and confused.  He spoke truth and love.

He is the example of what God created us to be….before sin got in the way.

When we fix our thoughts on Jesus, our thoughts are in the right place.

Thank you, dear Father, for our perfect role-model – Jesus.

You Foolish Galatians!

Paul calls it like he sees it.Nov 26 2014 you foolish Galatians

The Galatians were wandering from the truth of the gospel of grace back to acting like their righteousness came from trying to follow all of the laws.  They were acting like they could earn salvation by doing good things – the right things.

Do we ever get caught up in that lie?

Do we ever check off our list of Christian responsibilities and think we’re doing a great job?

Church – check!

Pray – well, we say grace at every meal – check!

Read my Bible – I really need to find it. I know it’s around somewhere. Here, I’ll sign up for a Daily Devotional email – check!

Give money to God – I put $20 in the offering every week – check!

Serve – we always bring food in whenever the church asks for it – check!

Paul is reminding us today that Christ lives within us.  We live by faith in Jesus who gave his life for us.

We are all lucky that salvation is not about being good enough – because we will never be good enough.

Christ redeemed us from having to complete any checklist.

We are all children of God through faith.  God has sent his spirit into our hearts, redeeming us, adopting us and setting us free!

Nothing we can do will ever make our Father God love us more.

Nothing we can do will every make our Father God love us less.

Accepting Jesus as our Savior enables us to call God our ‘Abba’ Father.

Thank you, dear Abba.