In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1: 1-5 NLT
This passage gives an eternal glimpse into the person of Jesus. Have you only thought of Jesus in the day He lived? Historians do –they label Him a human who walked the earth once during His 33 years among us. Believers, although knowledgeable of His existence prior to His appearance on earth as well as hopeful of His reappearance in the near future, should challenge themselves to meditate on this passage in John. These 5 verses, when placed in context with the entire life of Jesus, allow us to fully appreciate the Savior we worship.
One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!” Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God! Luke 13:10-13 NLT
Have you ever felt trapped by your physical or emotional state? Do you feel hopeless to resolve the issue? Jesus is our healer, and what He touches no one can reverse.
I relate to this story of the woman crippled by an evil spirit. There have been times in my life, I have been crippled, bent to the whelms of my emotional and physical flaws. Trapped by insecurity, fear, loneliness, low self-worth. Trapped by feeling that I am not pretty enough, not tall enough, not slim enough. Gripped by an evil spirit that wanted me to feel less than worthy, less than adequate in regards to my Savior. Jesus constantly flips the table on such things, just as He does in this story.
Can you believe we are already past the first week of January? Did you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight this year? I actually committed to the process of shedding my extra pounds Christmas Day. So far, I have lost 13 lbs! Today, however, I want to talk about shedding not your physical weight, but your burdens, disappointments, grudges, or whatever else you are carrying around that is spiritually weighing you down. Jesus stated this:
Jesus offers to trade us our burdens for what He has to give us, a lighter and easier yoke to bear. If you really want to shed some pounds this year, give Him your troubles and allow Him to lighten your load. Jesus did so much for us to give us this opportunity to live free. Soak in this passage from Isaiah:
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
Oh, I don’t mean those silly New Year’s resolutions that we make, but never intend to keep. I mean a chance to renew our commitment to the Savior, to live the abundant life He came to give us, and to be pleasing in His sight. What kind of person will you seek to be this year?
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
Somehow, after the excitement of a new year starting begins to fade, so does the ‘want to’ we use to hold. Then, towards the end of the year, we begin to fantasize about starting over and so, having had an attitude adjustment, we again celebrate the start of another new year. This time, this year, start by dreaming of a new you. One that has been changed by the all-powerful, unrelenting power of Jesus.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:30-33 NLT
Christmas is my favorite time of year by far. I love the decorations, the baked goods, and the spirit of joy that falls upon us! I also love to worship my Savior. No other time then Easter does Jesus feel so close. If only we could hold on to that feeling everyday.
I believe the key to keeping our Christmas cheer all year-long lies in the source of it. If we focus on the gifts and all they entail, we probably won’t be spirit filled much past the first of the year. However, if the object of our faith – Jesus – is front and center, we can draw from His love all year-long. What a God we serve to love us enough to send His only child to take our place and wash us clean from our sins.
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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NIV
As you enter the Christmas season, remember to praise the Lord for all He has done! He loves you as much today as when He first dreamt of you. What a gift!
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Two weeks ago, my church, Believers Church, started a new series called Once Upon a Time. During this series, we are looking at 8 specific parables told by Jesus. The first parable we reviewed was The Good Shepard found in John 10:1-42. I wrote a post about this very passage several months back called Are You Sheepish? You can read that post at
This week, I want to focus on another passage that parallels the scripture verses in the book of John, but is found in Ezekiel. It was mentioned as extra reading for our Be Group (or Small Group) study. So turn with me to Ezekiel 34:1-24.*
I love how the Bible weaves together the old and the new. The Lord often uses simple imagery to get His point across. In the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, we see shepherds and sheep, but occasionally goats are thrown into the mix. In these passages we will look at, Ezekiel is speaking to the people of Israel. As is the case with many Old Testament Scriptures, the meaning behind the Scriptures still rings true today.
Let’s start with the shepherds:
Then this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? …This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock.” … Ezekiel 34: 1-2, 10
Dear Family and Friends,
Today I am so grateful to be able to tell you that Love Echoed Back has been officially released by Westbow Press!
Currently, you can purchase a softcover, hardcover, or e-book copy through various online stores, such as www.westbowpress.com, www.amazon.com, or www.barnesandnoble.com. It will be available in regular bookstores soon. Be one of the first to receive a copy! And, don’t forget to go to www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com and write a review.
Please feel free to share this post with family and friends!! With the release of the book, I am looking forward to going out and sharing what Jesus has done – so if you have a church, a small group, a men’s or women’s group, or any other event that would be an appropriate venue, I would love to come and share my story in person! You can communicate those requests through my blog’s Contact Page.
Can’t wait to see how God will use this book!
Humbly walking with Him,
At the Garden of Gethsemane
As I sit and meditate on the love Jesus has shown me over the last several years, my mind wanders to the Garden –not a garden, but the Garden of Gethsemane. The Garden of Gethsemane is an olive tree garden, where in Jesus’ day olives were plucked and then pressed for their precious commodity of oil. Let the symbolism of an olive being pressed linger in your mind. It was no coincidence that here Jesus came to pray prior to the crucifixion.
When contemplating Christ’s love for the world, we tend to focus on the Cross, and how Jesus bore our sins the day of His death. Though that day is marvelous within its own right – go with me to the Garden. This is the place we associate with distress and agony as He came to speak with the Father concerning all that was about to happen.
Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:36-38 NLT
Goodness -How do you define it? When looking up the word goodness in most dictionaries these synonyms are listed: integrity, honesty, uprightness, virtue, and my personal favorite -moral excellence. And evil, yes, there are synonyms for this too, but let’s just call it by its real name -sin.
Daily, I struggle against the sin within me to achieve some level of goodness. However, apart from God, it is an impossible task. My human nature is weak, but He is strong. Let’s use God’s litmus test for judging if we are good or sinful.
The Ten Commandments:
1. “You shall have no other gods before me.”
2. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
3. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
4. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
5. “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
6. “You shall not murder.”
7. “You shall not commit adultery.”
8. “You shall not steal.”
9. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”
10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:3-17 NIV
In our culture, when we think of kindness we think of simple acts, such as providing a meal, sending flowers, or giving a gift of money. All these things are kind, but Jesus wants us to go deeper. Supernatural kindness starts with the Golden Rule:
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NLT
The kindness Jesus speaks of can only be born out of a grateful heart. Those who have received and accepted true kindness are eager to return it. Read more