THERE’S A BABY ON THE WAY

“…she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18c

jesus christ figurine

Many of us know the joy, accompanied with a certain amount of stress, that accompanies a baby on the way. There is nine months of expanding discomfort and in the last moments (or perhaps hours) pain. We can envision all this for Mary. But, for her there was much, much more.

We are once again anticipating a baby on the way. This baby was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit who came upon the Virgin Mary. This in and of itself, is hard to wrap our minds around! There is no way to do it but by faith, and trust, and belief in God.

Mary was young, too young we might say, to have a baby. But, here she was—not married, although betrothed (engaged) to Joseph. How would he react? The scripture tells us that he, too, was visited by an angel of the Lord who prepared him and commanded him to stand beside Mary, “having no marital relations until she had borne a son.” (Matthew 1:18-25) This angel also told them the baby’s name—Emmanuel (which means God with us).

Think of it!! God came to earth in the form of a baby whom we call Jesus, who was born to give Himself up to death that you and I might live! He lay there in the manger surrounded by his mother and earthly father, Joseph. If anyone really knew who this baby was I believe it was the animals that lay there in the cold and hay with Him. This Jesus was not born of the blood, or the flesh, or of the will of man, but of the will of God. (John 1:13) He came that you and I might know and understand the love that the father has for us. But, still some turn their backs on Him, which is illustrated when the Innkeeper told Mary and Joseph that there was no room for them in the Inn—”Go to the stable!” he said.

December 25th is the date man has chosen to celebrate the birthday of Jesus the Messiah. Let us offer the gift that goes on giving—ourselves. Turn the lights on in your heart that the true meaning of this day, when God came to earth and dwelt among us, will change not only this one day, but every day to come. May you experience the joy of walking with Jesus—the baby that was borne to die to save your soul. He ultimately gave Himself up for you—and is our Greatest Gift.

 

Let us pray

Dear Lord, Please help us to

 Listen like the shepherds…

Rejoice like the angels…

Seek like the wise men…

Believe like Mary and Joseph…

And live all year long

With the peace, joy and love

Christ came to give.

AMEN

PEACE ON EARTH AND GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN!

 

Believing In What Is Not Seen

woman covering her face with corn leaves

“Unless I see…I will not believe.” John 20:25

 

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. These three make up the God-Head. Together they created the world and all that is in it; (Gen.1) together they minister to all those who believe. But, there is a problem! Many are like Thomas and say, “Unless I see, I will not believe!” What a shame; what a loss.

The fact is, if you believe you will see. You see, believing is seeing. Now I know, you will say, “How can that be?” Well, look around you. Someone was supposed to be at the World Trade Center when it was attacked in 2001, but for one reason or another didn’t make it and their life was spared. Another, didn’t get the job they wanted, but found out 6 months later that the company went bankrupt. Another, retired against his better judgment, but shortly after he retired, there was a fire that would’ve wiped out his job without retirement pay. There are many decisions that may be made that are not necessarily one we want to make, but turn out to be the best for us. Why? Could it be because there is something to this Holy Spirit thing?

I wonder what the Lord has planned for you who believe today. Are you willing to follow the path that He has laid out for you? The Psalmist writes, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it.” (Psalm 118:24) And, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Luke writes, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (1:37)

The Holy Spirit makes it possible to see God. He came upon Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God—who was named Jesus—and who would become the Savior of the world. (Luke 1:35) John quotes Jesus as saying, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29 b) It takes faith to believe. You must believe to have faith.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us His ways. And to help us to see how He moves in our life and in the lives of others. Let us see His wisdom, grace, kindness, patience, mercy, and truth. Look for the positives in life and let go of the negatives.

Dear Lord, make me to know Your ways and teach me you paths. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Isaiah 55:8   Psalm 18:30   Deuteronomy 32:4   Romans 12:3   Revelation 15:3 b   Psalm 12:6   Psalm 25:4

Heart To Mouth

woman wearing pink long sleeved shirt ad white drawstring bottoms

“For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly.

1 Peter 2:19

 

Our bodies are a work of genius by the Creator Himself. Think about it, each part is intricately formed having a particular function for the wellness of the body. Each part is separate, but all of them work together. If one part insists on going on its own, the rest of the body tries to compensate until the “selfish” part gets back on track. So to, the Body of Christ, known as the Church, made up of believers. Faith sets the believer apart from the unbeliever. Like sheep we go astray, but the Shepherd always brings us back. Isaiah writes: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (53:6)

“So, what does this have to do with my heart and my mouth?” you may ask. The answer is it has everything to do with them. Sometimes your mouth says things that come right out of left field. And your heart says “Where did that come from?” The writer of Proverbs (said to be Solomon) says, “My child, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways!” (23:26) And James writes, “but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.” (3:8, 9)

Therefore, whatever is in your heart, dictates what comes out of your mouth, unless you allow other people, or take on idols other than God and His Word to influence you. Then you give your tongue free reign. You must remember that God has chosen you and loves you. John writes the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples: “You did not choose me but I chose you, and I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (15:16) And, that includes a heart full of faith and love.

So, brothers and sisters, if you lack anything and your mouth seems to be running away with itself, ask the Lord to come into your heart and remind you of what is important. Remember, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Heb. 3:16)

This is my prayer for all of us:- “Now may the God of Peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you compete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom, be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20, 21) “Christ in your heart is your only hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27 TLB)

 

O Lord blessed be this day that my heart is right with You. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

I Peter 2:23   Isaiah 53:7   I Peter 1:18-19   Isaiah 53:5

Psalm 119:176   John 10:11

By the transforming power of the gospel people and situations change. May your heart be transformed.

The Open Door

opened brown wooden french door

“…I have set before you an open door…”  Revelation 3:8

 

Did you ever wonder about the meaning of words? Words can be very fascinating! A word could be pronounced the same although spelled differently and the meaning is totally different. Then there are some words that there is no doubt as to their meaning and how they are spelled.

However, a word such as “door” could have more than one meaning depending how it is used. The first image that comes to mind is a moveable structure used for opening and closing an entrance, but it can also be a symbol—which can be easily overlooked. As a symbol, it symbolizes the transition and passageway from one place to another, perhaps as moving from a place of hopelessness to hope.

You haven’t been able to open the door, you don’t have the key—you’ve looked and looked and cannot find it. Then one day almost miraculously, you look and there is a crack in the opening and light is coming through. Cautiously, you lean forward and peak through. You give the door a little push and it opens a little farther. There are people in there and a strange sound comes forth. It is the sound of their voices—there is music and laughter and singing and much chitter-chatter, you want to join them. But, to walk through this door you must have faith—that is the key.

I saw a young—twenty or thirty something—young lady. She entered the hall and asked if she could sit at a certain table. When she was told, “Of course,” she sat, smiled, and the people at the table introduced themselves. However, the music was too loud to be able to carry on a conversation. This young lady seemed to want to blend in with the crowd. Soon she was mouthing the words of the songs. The Spirit began to work and she forgot about herself and allowed the Lord to fill her with His Spirit. This young lady had walked through the door from a hopeless to a hope-filled life. You see, Jesus is the door—He is the open door. You, too, can come in and sit and dine with him—all you need to do is believe.

Don’t be afraid to open the door. Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart, asking you to open it and let Him in. (Revelation 3:20) Unlock the door, have faith, and never look back. Forget about what lies behind and press forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13, 14) Each door that opens will bring you closer to the life for which God has created you.

Holy Scripture as quoted in “If I Live,” by Terri Blackstock, published by Zondervan; “If I Run Series” Book 3

Seek God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33); love because you’re loved (John 13:34); overflow with hope by trusting in God (Romans 15:13). “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Dear Lord, remind me daily—every moment—that You love me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Have faith until you believe, then have faith because you believe.

 

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved…”

Acts 16:31

Also,

John 4:24   2 Corinthians 3:17   Psalm 34:8

In Forgiveness You Will Receive

 

blue purple red and yellow heart printed poster

“…Not seven times…seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22

How many times have you ever heard someone say—or perhaps you yourself have said—“I can never forgive them?”  My heart breaks when I hear those words. Why? Because that person has put themselves in a prison that will only reap bitterness until he/she forgives. It will be a sad and dark life in which they see no beauty, no light for the future.

Several years ago an Amish community suffered a terrible loss. Someone came into one of their school houses and killed eleven of the students, after which, he killed himself. It must have been a horrific scene, as you can imagine. And, the children who witnessed all of this must have been traumatized! Yet, the Amish people forgave this man and even, helped his wife and family through their grief. A testament to the way of life the Lord Jesus has laid out for those who follow him.

So when you hear someone say, “I cannot forgive,” know the first thing that person needs to know is that God loves them. They need the Lord! They are lost in their grief. It is not that this horrible thing that has happened should go without punishment. It is about forgiveness that will release them from the burden they carry that should not be theirs to carry in the first place—it is the Lord’s burden and He will be the one to judge and punish. Another very important thing, when you forgive you are not condoning the person’s evil deed—you are releasing the burden you have been carrying and putting it where it needs to be—in God’s hands.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells a story of the “Unforgiving Servant.” A king wanted to settle accounts with his servants. One was brought to him who owed an enormous amount which he could not pay. The king ordered the servant, his wife and children, to be sold. But, the servant pleaded with the king to have patience with him and he would repay what he owed. So the king forgave him. But, this same servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him money and demanded that he pay him what he owed!

When the king heard what happened, he sent for the unforgiving servant and sked him, “Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?” (Matthew 18:33) The king sent, the unforgiving servant away to be tortured until he paid.

The scripture goes on to teach us that if this is what our Heavenly Father will do to us if we do not forgive as He has forgiven us. Our Father has forgiven us much—seventy-times-seven, we are called to repent of our sins and forgive those who sin against us. Only when you understand this can you live a blessed life. For you see, you cannot give away something you do not have.

 

Dear Lord, help me forgive as You have forgiven me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

God is rich in mercy and grace, but He is also holy and just, so those who refuse to forgive should not imagine that God would welcome their unforgiving hearts into His kingdom. (The Jeremiah Study Bible, pg. 115, note Matthew 18:35)

Matthew 18:21-22   Luke 17:4   Colossians 3:13   Psalm 103:10, 13

 

The Wrong Focus

 

“To set the mind on the flesh is death…” Romans 8:6

person playing on light

 

So many of us are rushing around tending to all the facets of our lives. There is home, work, and family—to say nothing of meeting all our desires. All of us have the same amount of time in a day—24 hours. But, some of us seem to run out of time.

The one thing that overrides everything else—or so it seems—is money. And when the pot gets big enough we call it, wealth. For that “money” has afforded us many material blessings. I use the word “blessings” in the worldly sense, for it seems that it has been with us since the beginning of time. It is the one thing that raises us up, one above the other—or so some think.

Here is the disaster that encompasses the world since the beginning of time—wealth corrupts our focus, if we allow it. And we celebrate too often or we fill our bodies with mind altering drugs and alcohol. It seems then you can think of yourself as accomplished only to find out when you awake, from such a state, that you are not only in the same place, but even a little lower. It becomes a vicious cycle. But, still there is hope.

Let’s get back to those 24 hours I mentioned earlier. Where is the time you’ve spent with God? Could that be what is missing and causes you to fall into the trap of discouragement? Take note of time. Don’t let it march by without spending even a few moments with God. The richness that He can give you through His love is much more valuable than all the riches of the world. You will not need drugs and alcohol to make you feel important. Instead of being filled with spirits, you will be filled with His Spirit.

Don’t worry you can do it! All you need do is decide.

The Psalmist writes, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (37:4)

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (37:5)

The Psalmist also tells us, “…do not fret over those who prosper in their way…it leads only to evil.” (Psalms 37:7, 8)

All you must do is pray and do what is right, then the Lord will supply all your needs.

Trust and obey—there is no other way. And for those of you who have found your way—reach out and touch someone who needs you.

Dear Lord, help me find my way to the life you have promised me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Romans 8:5   I Corinthians 2:15   Galatians 5:22   Luke 21: 34-35   Romans 13:14

Galatians 6:7-8

The Open Door

facade of an old building with a huge arched wooden door

“…I have set before you an open door…”  Revelation 3:8

 

Did you ever wonder about the meaning of words? Words can be very fascinating! A word could be pronounced the same although spelled differently and the meaning is totally different. Then there are some words that there is no doubt as to their meaning and how they are spelled.

However, a word such as “door” could have more than one meaning depending how it is used. The first image that comes to mind is a moveable structure used for opening and closing an entrance, but it can also be a symbol—which can be easily overlooked. As a symbol, it symbolizes the transition and passageway from one place to another, perhaps as moving from a place of hopelessness to hope.

You haven’t been able to open the door, you don’t have the key—you’ve looked and looked and cannot find it. Then one day almost miraculously, you look and there is a crack in the opening and light is coming through. Cautiously, you lean forward and peak through. You give the door a little push and it opens a little farther. There are people in there and a strange sound comes forth. It is the sound of their voices—there is music and laughter and singing and much chitter-chatter, you want to join them. But, to walk through this door you must have faith—that is the key.

I saw a young—twenty or thirty something—young lady. She entered the hall and asked if she could sit at a certain table. When she was told, “Of course she sat, smiled, and the people at the table introduced themselves. However, the music was too loud to be able to carry on a conversation. This young lady seemed to want to blend in with the crowd. Soon she was mouthing the words of the songs. The Spirit began to work and she forgot about herself and allowed the Lord to fill her with His Spirit. This young lady had walked through the door from a hopeless to a hope-filled life. You see, Jesus is the door—He is the open door. You, too, can come in and sit and dine with him—all you need to do is believe.

Don’t be afraid to open the door. Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart, asking you to open it and let Him in. (Revelation 3:20) Unlock the door, have faith, and never look back. Forget about what lies behind and press forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13, 14) Each door that opens will bring you closer to the life for which God has created you.

Holy Scripture as quoted in “If I Live,” by Terri Blackstock, published by Zondervan; “If I Run Series” Book 3

Seek God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33); love because you’re loved (John 13:34); overflow with hope by trusting in God (Romans 15:13). “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Dear Lord, remind me daily—every moment—that You love me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

 

Have faith until you believe, then have faith because you believe.

 

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved…”

Acts 16:31

Also,

John 4:24   2 Corinthians 3:17   Psalm 34:8