This week I just wanted to share with you why I think the Bible is a huge love letter from God. First, nothing is more important to us than something written down. Sure, we love to hear family and friends tell us they love us, but there is just something special about having it ‘in writing.’ Second, the most significant reason for having something written is so we can go back and reread it over and over! In that way, we can relive the feeling we got when we first read it, and enjoy the moment all over again.
God is no different. He loved us enough to put His thoughts in writing, and He hopes that we will go back and read them over and over. So let’s read a little on the subject of love from our heavenly Father’s perspective.
12. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 NLT
Tonight as I pondered what to pen in this post, I could not help thinking about all the things I am hopeful for. The past two weeks have been pretty exciting, and there were days filled with hope and promise. Much of it revolves around the dream the Lord has placed in my heart. I am thrilled by all the things that are falling into place, not just surrounding Love Echoed Back, but the future possibilities that are ahead of me as well.
However, the pressure of balancing work, home, and the call on my life has also been building. On top of everyday chores around the house, my current project list at work has become dramatically heavy as we push to meet an upcoming deadline, and I am in full prep-mode for the She Speaks Conference at the end of July. Oh …and there is that manuscript to get back to the publisher.
Now, not for a moment do I believe the battle raging around the events competing for my time is some sudden coincidence. The devil is clearly putting up hurdles, thinking he will wear me out before I can cross the finish line. The true challenge before me is not time management, but to not lose hope!
Hi everyone! Hope you are having a fabulous week!
This week, I will not be posting a full blog post. Instead, I will post just a couple of scriptures to ponder.
The reason I am not posting this week is due to the progress on my book, Love Echoed Back. I have received my manuscript back from the editor and will be reviewing a few minor edits before it goes to the Interior Designers! I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers over the next week while I wrap up the editing portion of the publishing process!
I will definitely be back to writing next week! Until then, ponder this:
What do you need to let go of? What is Jesus trying to do in your life?
But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. –Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT
What do you need to praise the Lord for this week?
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. –Psalm 9:1-2 NLT
Feel free to leave a comment, and let me know what Jesus is doing in your life!
Each year, at the end of July or the first of August, a team of volunteers from Believers Church goes down to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. Believers partners with the local church there, Verbo Church, via Orphanetwork. As August draws near this year and the time to return to Nicaragua comes, I am getting excited all over again. Each year as we go down, we see growth in both the church and the structure of the orphanage as well as the children it serves.
I have traveled to Nicaragua several times now, and it never gets old. There are a lot of logistics to work out for a trip of this nature: timing, financial ability, arranging flights, and packing. However, the most important thing needed, before going, is time to reflect on what the Lord’s will is for the trip. When we go out in the Lord’s name, we have to allow Him to have all of us, and we have to do everything for His glory. So as I sit and think about the next trip, I contemplate what Jesus would have me to do this year.
Do you realize that we all have a mission? We are all called to be Christ’s ambassadors.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV
For those who profess to be Christ followers, I ask: “Are you sheepish?” Oh, I don’t mean shy or embarrassed easily, that would be the total opposite of what Jesus meant. When teaching on who is a true follower and what they will do, Christ used the following example:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” John 10:1-5 NLT (emphasis mine)
So, now that you know Jesus’ definition of a follower, I ask again, “Are you sheepish?”
1. Do you recognize the voice of Jesus?
This week I am starting a blogging challenge put on by WordPress. It is a great tool to help bloggers get their creative juices flowing and improve their ability to develop content. Each day we get a new question to blog about.
Monday’s question: In 300 years, if you were to be named the patron saint of X, what would you like X to be?
Interesting question, but here’s my answer. In 300 years, I do not wish to be remembered as a saint. I do not wish to be remembered at all, except as a sinner saved by Jesus. I would be OK if my epitaph read, “Here lies a messed up, wrecked person that found new life in Jesus” versus “Here lies one of the greatest saints, who accomplished many good works.” Having said that, I thought the question of sainthood and the start of our new message series at Believers Church, #FollowMe, was a perfect conversation piece. So, here goes!
How does Christianity relate to sainthood? I believe there are many Christians that strive hard to be seen as a saint, but shrink back at being labeled a true Christ follower. However, as Christians we are to be Christ-like, not saintly. Sainthood, can be achieved more readily than being Christ-like, as sainthood only requires that we are ‘seen’ as good. Being Christ-like requires that we ‘be’ good and therein lies the challenge. Following Jesus should not be equated to being saintly. Sainthood is a man-made label.
You see, Jesus was not a saint. He was and is the true Son of God. His power is greater and more awesome than a mere human could muster. In fact, Jesus knew how to shake things up and leave those around Him in awe and wonder. He was also kind and compassionate beyond belief. This is my Savior. I cannot measure up.
In spite of myself, He asks that I do one thing -follow Him. He calls me to throw off the nature of this world and take on His.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV
He knows I am weak in character, flawed beyond belief, and helpless without Him. Yet, He loves me anyway. No, I could never be a saint. Saints do not need a Savior, sinners do!
I appreciate the fact that there are those who wish to honor the great humanitarians of our day by bestowing such a title. Some have done tremendous things in the name of world peace and love. However, unless we realize our need for Him, we are nothing but works, and works will not save us.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT
No, I don’t want any parts of sainthood. Just give me Jesus and His free gift of salvation, and we’ll call it even.
To join us for the #FollowMe series, feel free to visit the Believers Church website where you can watch or download any of the messages. We would love to have you! http://www.believerschurch.org/
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
If you are like most folks, your home is one of your most cherished possessions. We feel safe and protected when at home. Home is where the heart is, right? Homes can also be an expression of our inner personalities, our likes and our dislikes. Is your home a one-story or a two-story, brick or siding, large or small?
Regardless of what our homes look like, they contain things that are dear to us, such as our families, our photos, and those things we keep stuffing in the attic or the basement! However, there is one thing that can make or break the structure of our home – the foundation. A bad foundation can lead to a major disaster.
Just like our physical home, our spiritual lives must be built on a solid foundation. Jesus would use the following parable to make this point:
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 NLT
The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Ezekiel 37:1-2 NLT
In this Old Testament passage, God gives Ezekiel a vision of a large valley full of human bones. Interestingly, this is not an area of fresh war, but a desolate valley covered with bones “scattered everywhere.” The bones are brittle in nature, described as “completely dried out.” This is an area of isolation and hopelessness. Depressing to say the least.
Then God asked Ezekiel something seemingly impossible.
Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.” Ezekiel 37:3 NLT
One of my favorite scriptures is 1 John 4:19: We love each other because he loved us first. On the surface, this is an easily repeated text.
In truth, when the subject of loving others is studied more closely, often people ask, “Who are we really responsible to love?” In our humanity, we want to love others, but find ourselves picking and choosing based on our own emotions. We secretly harbor a scale of expectation that people need to live up to or else they become ‘unlovable.’ However, Jesus calls us to love with abandon. Biblical instruction on love and who to love encompasses the following:
1 God. In Matthew 22, when asked which law under Moses was the greatest, Jesus answered: “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment…. (verse 37-38).
2. Your neighbor. Continuing in Matthew 22, Jesus adds: “A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (verse 39).
Having just celebrated Easter, I can think of no better time to kick this blog off. My entire motivation and inspiration for creating this blog is solely based on the love of Christ. There is no other expression of His love that is more exquisite than His willingness to endure the Cross for our sakes. Who is this person we call Jesus Christ?
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1: 15-20 (NLT)
The Savior, the Messiah, the Word made flesh, the Alpha and the Omega. We must understand His greatest before we can understand His sacrifice. Jesus is all-powerful, all-knowing, gracious, merciful, kind, patient, selfless, generous, faithful, steadfast, unwavering, our provider, and the ultimate healer. Jesus is love. Read more