Tag Archives: Jesus

The appointed place

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
Micah 5:2 NKJV

One of the incredible things about the birth of Jesus Christ is the way God worked through the lives of so many people.

Ruth 1:1-4,16 KJV —1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. 2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem Judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. 3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. 4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years….16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

The Lord used this family from Bethlehem, although they left not only their home, but their country.

When the family returned to Bethlehem, it’s only two women, left with very little expectation for the future.

But God knew exactly how He was going to use this family.

Ruth 4:13, 17 KJV — So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son….17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

God used the family of Elimelech to bring Ruth to Bethlehem where she became the great grandmother of David.

1 Samuel 16:11-13 KJV — And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. 12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

David wasn’t even assembled with his older brothers to this feast with the prophet of the Lord, Samuel, but God had chosen him.

The Lord was with David throughout his life and his legacy was the kingly line which Jesus would be born into.

David was a humble shepherd from Bethlehem.

Hundreds of years later and many generations we come to Joseph.

Joseph was a carpenter who lived in Nazareth.

Luke 2:4-5KJV — And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

It’s not a coincidence that Joseph is from the lineage of King David, neither was the timing of this census a mer happen stance; it was ordered by God.

Luke 2:1 KJV — And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

Caesar Augustus is a figure whose life is well documented.

The fact that he was in power to make this decree of a census at this exact point in history requiring Joseph and Mary to return to Bethlehem is another point where we can see how God was working through the lives of so many people to bring about His promise.

For God is faithful to fulfill His Word and there’s no better example of this than the birth and life of Jesus Christ.

For God appointed Him to be born in Bethlehem and He was.

Luke 2:6-7KJV — And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

May we never forget the faithfulness of God and that His Word is truth.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the fact that You were born in Bethlehem and how many circumstances and people were a part of that happening. Thank You that we have the ability to look back through thousands of years of history to see how You wove all the pieces together to bring about such an amazing gift: salvation. Lord, thank You for these truths. Thank You that Your Word is life and never stops being relevant to our lives. Lord, thank You for Your life and the incredible things we can learn through Your example. Lord, please help me to be focused upon You this day and not to become distracted nor complacent about the blessings You have bestowed. May my life be a reflection of You, that all might see and give glory to God. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

“…acquainted with grief…”

Isaiah 53:3 KJV — He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

When looking at the beautiful manager scene, do we really ponder what his birth was like?

Do we truly understand the suffering Christ walked through while living on this planet?

Do we remember He was born to die?

Our Lord and Savior’s life was so far from what mankind would esteem and aspire to.

He was born in a barn without even the most basic furniture or comforts.

His parents weren’t the elite, nor wealthy; His earthly father was a carpenter.

He was considered a threat at birth and His life was in jeopardy from the ruling monarch.

His family was forced to live in a foreign country until the death of the king who wanted Him dead.

His childhood has only a few recorded details.

When His ministry began, He was misunderstood by most.

His miracles were attributed to Satanic powers by the religious leaders.

His words often offended those listening.

His followers expected a battle when the soldiers came, but He surrendered.

His crime was being Himself, the Son of God.

The judge proclaimed Him guiltless of any crime worthy of punishment, but ordered His flogging and execution.

He was executed in the most humiliating way, hung between two criminals, ridiculed and despised.

But death couldn’t hold Him.

The Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief rose from the dead, was seen by hundreds, and ascended into Heaven where He awaits the day to return and claim His bride.

Although, Jesus Christ is still often misunderstood and misrepresented today, scripture makes it clear He will not be when He returns.

Revelation 19:11-16NKJV — Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

This Christmas season may we each one reflect upon the person of Jesus Christ and renew our understanding of Who He is and what He has done.

For our future depends completely on how we respond to Jesus, Savior of the World.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for showing us Yourself in Your Word. Thank You for continuing to teach us who You are and why You came. Lord, please open our hearts and minds to the life You lived on Earth that we might better understand the life You have called us to. Lord, You know each one of us and You know where You are leading us. Please give us peace in the journey as we transverse this planet with all the suffering and grief, joy and blessings. Help us to find joy in Your salvation and anticipation of the promises You have given us for the future. Lord, please help us remember this Earth is not our permanent home. Thank You for Your gift of salvation. Thank You for Your blessings daily. Thank You for this season where we can share the hope of eternity we have in You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Whose servant are you?

Saturday we held a birthday dinner for our son.

Our goal for this event was to encourage our son in righteousness and at one point my husband asked all the men present to come up and pray together over our son.

Because we wanted him to understand that with privilege (adulthood in this case) comes great responsibility.

Romans 6:15-16NKJV — What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

Every single person has a choice to make: whose servant will they be?

For scripture is clear, if we choose to walk in sin, we are choosing death.

If we choose to believe on Jesus Christ and obey Him, we are choosing righteousness.

When I was a young adult I thought this choice was a once and done thing, but as I read my Bible I learned it’s a daily, sometimes moment-by-moment choice.

Walking in obedience to Jesus means knowing His will for my life, including my attitudes and actions.

The truth is if I’m not purposefully choosing to obey the Lord, I’m choosing to obey sin.

There’s no middle ground.

Joshua 24:15 NKJV — “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the truth and discernment You give us through the scriptures. Lord, thank You for showing me that if I’m not choosing to obey You, I’m choosing to obey sin. I don’t want that nor the consequences of that in my life. I don’t want to walk in rebellion nor face the judgement which comes from rejecting You and Your gift of salvation. Thank You for that beautiful wonderful gift! Lord, You alone know the hearts of people. You are the One who sees our motivates and hears the things we speak in our hearts. Lord, I want to speak truth in my heart every day, all day long. Lord, I want to honor You with my actions, my attitudes, and my words. Please help me to be obedient to You in all things. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Shattered

That’s what I would have been if it were not for the Lord.

For this month has been filled with grief and some uncertainty, for our family.

It began with a family very dear to our hearts, they tragically lost their unborn baby and we were praying it wouldn’t take the life of the mother as well.

My heart felt sick for their loss, but as the mother recovered I was very thankful.

Our hearts were still raw from this when our oldest daughter let us know she was pregnant.

Sadly, our response wasn’t what she expected, not because we don’t want more grandchildren, but because our hearts were still healing.

This news came on the heals of an ER visit by a different family member who was released but with questions as to what was going on.

Thus, we didn’t respond with excited enthusiasm, more like careful praise.

We prayed daily for our daughter and her unborn baby.

My heart dropped when I received a call from her communicating something was terribly wrong and they were headed to the ER.

God’s plans are perfect.

My husband had taken the day off to go hunting with a friend and at the last minute neither of us has peace about him going so he called his friend and cancelled.

It was that same day our daughter was taken to the hospital.

We drove there and swapped vehicles, taking joy in the ability to watch our grandchildren, while praying for our daughter, son-in-law, and baby.

At one point, the news was not good and we prayed, telling the Lord we trusted Him with our daughter and her baby.

I texted prayer requests and loved on our grandchildren like crazy.

In the end, God restored our daughter, but the baby is at home in Heaven.

A few days later, I got a message from our daughter who lives in Chicago.

She was heading to the Urgent Care.

My husband was able to chat with her over the phone and we prayed.

The next day I received a call from her husband’s Grandmother who was taking her to the hospital.

I cried.

I texted prayer requests.

Thankfully, the hospital put her on medication which worked quickly and we were rejoicing at her quick recovery.

Throughout these days of grief and uncertainty, God carried us.

He was in the middle of the entire thing, helping us have joy even with the grief.

Although our hearts were filled with sorrow we had the security of God’s Word and the comfort of a future when we will all be together in Heaven.

At one point I was sharing with our daughter one thought which brought me so much comfort.

“You know your baby and our friends’ baby are both with Jesus.”

Her voice suddenly had a note of hope in it, “Yes! I bet they are having a wonderful time together.”

“I’m sure they are.”

As I look backwards at these days I’m astonished by the faithfulness of God.

He orchestrated such incredible details throughout the whole thing.

Things like my husband being off work.

Our daughter being with her husband’s Grandmother.

Our Ladies’ Bible Study being so supportive.

So many people taking meals to our daughter and husband.

The huge number of people praying…

If someone had told me what I was going to walk through, I’d have told them it would shatter my heart into a million pieces.

But I’d have been wrong.

Instead of shattering my heart, it has strengthen my faith and renewed my joy.

It has brought me to a place where I can let go of our children and grandchildren into God’s hands, for He is far more capable than I.

Lastly, it has reminded me to love more deeply, cherish the day I’m in, and rest in the Sovereignty of God.

He alone can see tomorrow.

It is He, which knows the number of my days as well as the number of each of my loved ones.

His ways are perfect and I can rest in that.

I have comfort in His Word and hope in His future.

Psalm 27:1 NKJV — A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 37:39 NKJV — But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble.

Psalm 56:11 KJV — In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

Isaiah 61:10 NKJV — I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your help in times of trouble. Thank You for Your salvation which brings us security for our future. Lord, thank You for Your wisdom, which brings us guidance and direction. Lord, thank You for Your truth, Your Word is our comfort and encouragement. Lord, thank You for Your Holy Spirit which gives us peace no matter the circumstances and joy even in the midst of grief. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness, for we knew You were with us throughout these circumstances. Please continue to heal the hearts of those who mourn. Please help each one to walk through the grief while clinging to Your precepts and focusing upon Your will for their lives. Lord, for those who are watching their loved ones pass away, I humbly request You meet them where they are. Bring them assurance in their time of sorrow. Bring them wisdom and direction, that they might honor You in all things. Lord, please continue to draw Your people close, that we might be more like You. You are well aquatinted with both grief and suffering. May we, each one, find shelter in You. May Your name be glorified through our lives and may we honor You in all we say or do. Thank You, Jesus. I humbly request these things in Your name, Jesus. Amen.

Beyond expectation

This morning I realized God has given me several things which have been beyond my expectations.

When our family moved from our house nestled in trees on the mountain to a rental in the suburbs, I couldn’t imagine what God was doing.

But He had made it clear this was His will and we walked into it with thanksgiving for His direction and provision.

One day, during my prayer time, the Lord asked me what I’d want if He were to give us a farm.

(Something I’ve wanted since I was a teen.)

At first I was hesitant, but the story of the king of Israel and Elisha came to mind. 2 Kings 13:18-19

He was hesitant in doing what the prophet told him and it cost him.

So, I began making my list before God.

When finished, I told the Lord, “This is all in Your hands, I don’t expect to receive anything.”

Then, I purposed not to think about it, but to enjoy the place we were, because I’ve fallen into the error of living in the future rather than being grateful for the present.

I completely forgot about that list until much later.

We were walking this property and I was praying for God to make it clear if we were supposed to move here.

He brought my list to mind and I was shocked.

Everything I’d asked for was here.

In that moment I knew God was confirming the move.

He knew what would be best for us and what desires He had placed in our hearts, therefore the list was simply a way for me to recognize those things and see them again when He showed us our new home.

Because moving here was a leap of faith.

Another thing that has been beyond my expectations is the fact that our family is in the process of adopting.

24 years ago, when our oldest daughter was in diapers my heart yearned to adopt.

I spent many a prayer time in tears seeking God’s face, asking Him to allow us to add to our family through adoption, heartbroken over the number of children in need.

Instead, He gave us four beautiful children.

I remember clearly the prayer time where the Lord asked me to give Him my desire to adopt children.

It wasn’t an easy thing for me, but I knew that the Lord is asking me to spend my time in prayer on something else.

He wanted me to give Him my desire until let it go completely.

That was many years ago.

Imagine my surprise when my husband emailed me from work with a link to a local adoption agency and suggesting we pray about adding to our family.

I honestly wasn’t sure if the Lord was giving me back the desire of my heart, until he confirmed it as I prayed by giving me several verses to stand on while we went through the process which bring me comfort while we wait to complete all the requirements.

This morning I experienced another surprise.

I opened my WordPress to see a notification of a new follower.

When I began this blog, several years ago, it was an act of faith and a step of obedience.

Although I enjoy writing, I do not see myself as a writer.

I remember telling the Lord that I wasn’t capable.

His reminded me that I don’t have to be capable or able, I simply have to obey.

The story of Moses and the burning bush came to mind.

Moses certainly didn’t feel able to do the task that God had raised him up to do, but he was the very man for the job and God used him mightily.

I love Moses’s reaction to all God did through him.

Numbers 12:3 NKJV — (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)

I was humbled by a notification about this blog this morning.

Because I know that it is not my effort, but God’s blessing.

Obedience before God, whether it is in walking where He’s called or releasing things into His hands, is always best.

Only God knows how He is working all things together for good.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for the incredible number of blessings You have given me and my family. Thank You for the answers to prayer. Thank You for teaching me how to give up the things I desire and look only towards Your interests, walking in obedience, and learning how to surrender completely, each day. Lord Jesus, I do not deserve any credit for anything, for I know You are the one that has worked through this vessel. I know that You alone are the reason I am able to do anything. I know that all that I enjoy in my daily life is a gift from You whether it be food or family or a home or even worship. You are the author of it all and I understand that everything I think of as “mine” is actually Yours, including me. Thank You! You are worthy of all praise. I love You, Jesus Amen.

John 12:1-8

Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
John 12:1‭-‬2 KJV

This story begins with a very specific date: six days before Passover.

It continues with telling not only what is happening, a supper, but also included details: Martha served, but Lazarus was one of them at the table.

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
John 12:3 KJV

Scripture leaves out why Mary did this, but it does tell us the response.

Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
John 12:4‭-‬6 KJV

Judas spoke out against this “waste”, but Jesus declares something incredible.

Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
John 12:7‭-‬8 KJV

Jesus ‘s death was a shock and great surprise to everyone except Jesus.

He had told the disciples He would be killed and would rise again, but they didn’t understand.

Yet, God sent Mary with a very costly ointment to anoint Jesus before His burial.

Because the Lord knew she’d not be able to do this afterwards.

Mark 16:1 KJV — And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
Mark 16:4‭-‬7 KJV

God understands the details of our lives, both today and into the future.

Mary may not have understood why she felt led to anoint the Lord, but she did it.

That act, criticized by Judas Iscariot, was preparing Jesus ‘s body for burial while He was alive and well.

If she’d waited, her chance would have been lost.

May we also look for the opportunities open in today to “anoint” our Lord Jesus with our love through praise, obedience, and keeping His commandments.

John 15:10 KJV — If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for first loving me. Thank You for loving us so much that You came to save us from sin and death through Your Sacrifice and Resurrection. Lord Jesus, thank You for this story and Your profound truth. Lord, I want to bring You my most costly treasure and use it to bless You, bringing You the glory You deserve. I can give nothing less than my life, my whole heart devoted to You. Please continue to teach me how to redeem the time, for I don’t want to miss a moment, not a single opportunity. Lord, please open my mind to learning and my heart to understanding that I might walk with You in integrity and truth, loving as You do, living completely for Your glory. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

(Two other gospels record this story as well: Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-50.)

Happy birthday, Mom!

This was last Spring, when I was blessed to have both Anne and Mom at a DAR meeting with me.

Today is my mother’s birthday and I’m thanking the Lord for her.

My mother was born in Michigan and I’ve been blessed by the many stories of her life on the family farm.

My grandparents purchased it when she was very young.

It’s still in the family.

My Aunt and her family work hard everyday and have turned it into a nonprofit organization.

They do equine therapy for children and the handicapped.

Besides telling me funny stories about Grandpa swatting flies in the barn to take out his aggression or frustration, she also told me about my father and his family.

But family stories are just a portion of the things my mother has given me since my birth.

She has taught me to work hard, to honor God, to cook and clean, to love my family, to study, and she has encouraged me to pray.

Mom and Dad bought me my first One Year Bible and even went to the trouble of having my name engraved on the cover.

I’m so thankful for that gift, because it was through it I began to really love God’s Word.

Reading the entire Bible regularly, was a turning point in my walk with the Lord

There are so many more things I could write about my mom, but the point I really wanted to make is this:

I’m very thankful to God for His gift of the baby girl, this date many years ago, because she grew up, got married, and became my mom.

Exodus 20:12 NKJV — “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your gift of family. Thank You for my mother. You know that we are not perfect, but You placed us together and for that I am so thankful. Lord, You know how You created each one of us and we are blessed to be able to walk with You in this day. Please continue to walk with each one of us. Lord, please bless my mom today and encourage her. Lord, please continue to teach each one of us through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Lord, please help us to walk with integrity, honoring You at all times. Lord, for those ladies who are mothers, please help each one of us, to be praying for our families, to lift up those You have placed near us. Lord, please continue to correct us, that we might not harbor sin, but quickly repent of any wrong. Lord, please teach us how to serve with joy, respond with wisdom, and love without expectation. Thank You, Lord! You are incredible and Your truth is life! I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Sheep and goats

My recent encounters with our goat (this morning she broke into the rabbit feed again) has caused me to ponder scripture.

The Bible says a good deal about sheep and goats, but the words of Jesus have stood out as I’ve been praying.

All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Matthew 25:32‭-‬33 NKJV

Jesus is talking about His return to earth and what will occur.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:34‭-‬40 KJV

Those who are “sheep” are commended by the way they served others.

He doesn’t conclude there, but next turns to the “goats”.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Matthew 25:41‭-‬45 KJV

Talk about heavy.

These people are condemned by their lack of service.

Yet, we know it’s not by works which we are saved.

Jesus tells us that to be saved we simply need to believe in Him.

John 3:16 NKJV — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

So, how is it that the “sheep” believe and yet it’s their works Jesus points to as the proof of their belief?

Because true faith is evident in the daily lives of those who believe.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14‭-‬17 NKJV

Jesus, Himself referred to this.

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV — “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Belief in Jesus Christ is a faith which changes our hearts and lives completely.

John 15:8 KJV — Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

I want to be a “sheep”, content with following my Master, bringing glory to God the Father through my daily obedience.

John 10:27 KJV — My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for using my sheep and goat to remind me of Your truths. You change my heart and through that my attitudes and actions. Lord, I thank You for saving me and making me Your sheep. I thank You for continuing to teach me through Your Word. Lord, please help me to listen intently for Your voice and walk faithfully in Your paths. Thank You for Your love and salvation. Amen.

Personal reflections

Galatians 1:23-24 NKJV — But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
And they glorified God in me.

As I was reading these verses, this morning, I was reminded of God’s incredible ways.

He takes what we see as tragic, horrible, loss, and transforms it into something incredible.

The Apostle Paul’s life is a wonderful testimony to God’s faithfulness and truth.

Romans 8:28 KJV — And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

And through His incredible works, which people see, God is glorified.

Galatians 1:24 NKJV — And they glorified God in me.

I didn’t understand this truth until four years ago.

My sight was skewed, I looked upon hard things as something we endure, something which teaches us about God.

But I didn’t realize it is an opportunity to praise Him, to glorify Him.

Sadly, in my twenties, I didn’t truly believe that God was working all things together for good.

I regret my self centered perspective and how I allowed the enemy to rob me of my joy through self-pity.

When disappointment came, I allowed resentment, rather than seeking the Lord for His path.

When loss came, I held on to faith with white knuckles, thinking my efforts were some how doing God a favor, rather than finding my faith built through praise, for He had given me such blessings through these departed loved ones.

When disagreements came, I stood rigid, unyielding, arrogantly thinking I understood the other’s motives, and holding them in the wrong, rather than gently expressing my fears and perspectives, listening with open heart, trust, and love to God, knowing that He was working through these things.

Even in the light of these past errors, I can praise God.

First, because He forgave me.

Second, because He has taught me through it.

Finally, because I have the understanding of past experiences, which I can share with others, encouraging them not to fall into the same errors I did.

Even in my regrets, God is working.

For He is good.

And like Paul, I want others to see what God has done in my life, and give glory to God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching me so much in my 45 years of life. I’m excited to see what else You have to teach me in today. Thank You for Your wonderous works. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for salvation. May the whole earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of You! Amen.

“Not if, when…”

It suddenly became real.

While working through all of this, I’d been holding it lightly.

Just in case the door closed.

I’d even corrected our son’s words, “Don’t say ‘when’. We don’t know if this is going to happen, say ‘if’.”

And it was during his interview he said, “If we get kids-“

Our adoption agent interrupted him.

“It’s when, not if. When you get kids, please continue.”

I was startled by her calm assurance and looked over at her.

She was smiling and seemed to know she was giving us the information we’ve been working at hearing.

Our family is going to adopt from the foster care system.

Just reading it in print is incredible.

We’ve been working on the process of getting approved for months.

But it’s moved out of the maybe into the actual.

It will probably be another 7-8 months before we have children placed in our home, but I’m certain God has a purpose for that time.

As we embrace this new blessing from the Lord, I expect to have plenty of ups and downs.

We are praying for our future children as well as the challenges and blessings this will bring to all of us.

We’d appreciate your prayers as well.

James 5:16 KJV — Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for faithfulness throughout this process. Lord, You know I have really struggled with fear during this and been able to find so much truth and comfort in Your Word. Thank You for continuing to use life’s circumstances to show me my errors and to convict me of sin. Lord, I don’t want to try to control circumstances nor to do things in my own strength. Lord, I don’t want to be puffed up with pride, thinking we know what is best. Please help us to guard our hearts and minds, placing ourselves before You with joy and humility. Lord, please continue to teach us how to walk with integrity through each day, choosing what is right and walking in Your truth. Lord, I know Your ways are perfect and I want to be filled with wisdom, which only comes from You. Please continue to teach me how to live as a reflection of You each day. Thank You, Lord for this new adventure. Thank You for Your faithfulness. I love You, Jesus. Amen.