The Easter Formula

April 15th, 2014

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Even though I survived years of Math classes in school, I never really enjoyed them. I especially hated those classes where you had to find some unknown number in an equation or put some real life problems into equations and solve them.

I have recently seen an equation of 3 nails + 1 cross = 4giveness. This appears on T-shirts, bumper stickers, ornaments and jewelry, just to name a few. I believe there is even a Facebook page.  I am so glad I know that this equation was solved many years ago by Christ’s death on the cross. “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.” John 3:16John 3:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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(NIV)

jesus on crossChrist’s crucifixion was a slow and painful execution on a wooden cross where He was left to hang until he died. Those three nails, one in each hand/wrist and one through both feet were made of heavy, probably square, iron material, 7-9 inches long. What a painful experience. Hallelujah, He did it all for us!

The 3 nails plus the 1 cross allowed us to be forgiven. Let’s reflect on the price Christ paid that we could have forgiveness of our sins. The Easter formula was a love expressed beyond any other.

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What I Learned from the Robin

April 2nd, 2014

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Last spring, I put a wreath on a post on my front porch. It is made out of twigs and artificial flowers. I can view the porch from the office where I do my computer work for my home business but cannot see that particular post. I noticed one robin kept coming back and forth to the area around that spot. I thought she must be looking for a place to make her nest. She was . . . in that wreath. Since we exit the house through the garage, I did not notice what she was up to for quite a few days.

Below is a picture of that wreath. If you are having trouble spotting the nest since it blends in so well, it is located on the right side of the wreath as it hangs on the post.

bird nest 1

Okay, so this year I thought I would outsmart her. Instead of putting the wreath on the post, I put it on the front door. She did not make a nest in it but was proceeding to take out some of the twigs to use in making a home for her little ones in another location. As I opened the front door there would be twig remnants on the door jamb. What do I do now, I thought? You guessed right. I took the wreath down and it is sitting in my garage!

Thus, the robin has taught me a valuable lesson which is to use what you have. She was persistent in coming back to gather the twigs to complete the task at hand. God has given us varying talents and we should do our best to utilize them to build up the kingdom of God.

Matthew 25:14-18Matthew 25:14-18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 For it is as when a man, going into another country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his several ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Straightway he that received the five talents went and traded with them, and made other five talents. 17 In like manner he also that received the two gained other two. 18 But he that received the one went away and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.

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“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”

Jesus also gives us an example when he fed the five thousand with only five loaves of bread and two fish. He used the resources He had to perform this miracle.

By the way, I will probably have to wait a little longer before I can put that particular wreath out on my front porch again.

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Candid Camera

March 18th, 2014

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camera2This may date me but I remember the old television show called “Candid Camera®”. It was a program where unsuspecting people were placed in confusing, impossible, embarrassing, ridiculous, and hilarious situations, while their reactions were recorded on a hidden camera. It was a lot of fun to watch but I often thought about how those people felt once they were told by the program host that their reactions was caught on camera for all the viewers to see.

It is easy now for the actions of a person to be captured via a cell phone camera or the use of hidden cameras placed on buildings, houses or streets.camera1

Recently I had a gentlemen working at a grocery store approach me and tell me “I appreciate how you are advertising God by the T-shirts you wear. That is a great testimony”. The shirts he was mentioning were ones with the name of our church on the back and a Godly message on the front. I politely thanked him and asked him if he attended church and he said he did.

I had no idea the man even noticed me as I picked out my produce at the store. Wow, I did not know I was on “candid camera”. I realized then that I have a responsibility to always represent God at all times – even at the grocery store.

Your life is your message to the world. Are you exemplifying Godly behavior in all your interactions with others? If not, you may not be advertising God effectively.

 

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A Good Reflection

March 5th, 2014

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One day while a missionary was speaking to a group of Hindu women, one of them silently got up and walked away. Soon she returned and listened more intently than before. After the meeting, the missionary was curious. She asked the lady, “Why did you leave in the middle of my message?” The Hindu lady replied, “I went to ask your servant if you live like you teach. He said you do. So I came back to hear more about Jesus.” The missionary was glad to tell her even more.

Do you live in such a way that your family and friends would be able to say this about you?

mirrorWhat do you see when you look in a mirror – wrinkles, freckles, smudged lipstick, etc.? Our reflection in the mirror is symbolic of others watching our lives. Galatians 5:22Galatians 5:22
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

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tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Do you exemplify the fruit of the Spirit? Our actions definitely speak louder than words!

Even if we lack the physical beauty as perceived by others, our spiritual being can be beautiful with Christ’s help. God can continually mold us and make us.

What kind of reflection are you?

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Tears in a Bottle

February 18th, 2014

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The New Living Translation of the Bible states in Psalm 56:8Psalm 56:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 Thou numberest my wanderings: Put thou my tears into thy bottle; Are they not in thy book?

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: “You keep track of all my sorrow. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

A Middle Eastern custom among the Greeks and Romans was to collect all the tears that were shed after someone died and place the bottled tears  in the tomb with the deceased person as a sign of love and respect. These containers were made from various types of material including clay, glass, agate, etc.

lady cryingHave you ever cried uncontrollably because you were in so much sorrow or pain? I have and thought to myself how full the bottle must be if God is collecting all of my tears.

Psalm 56:8Psalm 56:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 Thou numberest my wanderings: Put thou my tears into thy bottle; Are they not in thy book?

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is endearing because it illustrates that God cares so deeply for us in everything we are going through. I can envision a loving Father‘s hand gently reaching down during our times of distress and sorrow to collect those tears as a memorial of His love for us. This, in itself, tells us that God cares even when it seems no one else does.

What are you going through? Maybe you are crying now. If not, a day will come when you will shed an abundance of tears. Even though you will not actually collect your tears in a bottle, let this verse be your plea to God to remember your pain and sorrow and to grant you solace. Take comfort in knowing he is recording all of those tears.

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God’s Love Notes

February 4th, 2014

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Jeremiah 31:3Jeremiah 31:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Jehovah appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

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states, “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’” This verse lets us know that God’s love for us never ends and lasts forever.

be mineOne of my favorite things to receive and give during the Valentine’s Day holiday is conversation hearts. They include words on them that a person would say to their sweetheart. Did you know that God leaves us some little thoughts through the use of “Gods Conversation Hearts” as found in the Bible.

They include: BE MINE – John 3:16John 3:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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; ALL MINE – John 10:27-30John 10:27-30
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.

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; TRUE LOVE – Jeremiah 31:3Jeremiah 31:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Jehovah appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

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(as shared above); LOVE ME – Luke 10:27Luke 10:27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.

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; I’M SURE – John 14:1-3John 14:1-3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 1 Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

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; SWEET TALK – Psalm 119:103Psalm 119:103
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

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; BE GOOD – John 14:15John 14:15
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

15 If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.

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and FAX ME – Jeremiah 33:3Jeremiah 33:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and will show thee great things, and difficult, which thou knowest not.

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As you look up these verses, think about the ways in which God shows His love for you.  You are special to Him! He loves you more than any other person will ever love you. This Valentine’s Day enjoy a box of conversation hearts and reflect on the fact that God leaves you love notes in His Word.

Please take time to watch the video “The Love of God” by Mercy Me. It shares these encouraging words that the love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.

Click on link to watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjj2kZ1qoqw

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When “No” Means “Yes”

January 21st, 2014

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Matthew 21:22Matthew 21:22
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

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NAS tells us “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” What a great promise that is. But, why then did my prayer not get answered?

prayinghands2I have been puzzled many times when I thought I was praying in faith but yet felt I was being rejected because my fervent supplication went unanswered. How do I continue to move forward when God tells me “no”? At that point, I realize that God’s no is not a “rejection” but a “redirection”.

There are various reasons why prayers go unanswered. Maybe it’s the wrong time (Ecclesiastes 3:1Ecclesiastes 3:1
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:

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) or the answer will hurt me (James 4:3James 4:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may spend it in your pleasures.

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). However, it is encouraging to be assured that God has something better for me (Jeremiah 29:11Jeremiah 29:11
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.

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) than what I thought I needed at that particular time.

When I realize the answer is “no”, I thank God for the closed door. I grasp the peace of God when frustration sets in. I continue to believe in God’s will for my life. I anticipate that one day the “no” will turn into a triumphant “yes”. If not, I will remain faithful to prayer knowing that God has my best interests in mind.

So, you see, sometimes “no” can mean “yes”!

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Where’s January?

January 7th, 2014

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Have you ever seen one of those perpetual calendars with blocks that can be changed on a daily and monthly basis?  By turning each block to the correct number to represent the day of the month or another block to indicate the name of the month, a whole new day begins? I have one on my kitchen counter that was given to me many years ago as a gift. My calendar even has little blocks that can be inserted in the top to represent the various seasons. Right now it has a snowflake on it. Ugh!

On the first day of January of this year I was methodically changing my perpetual calendar. It was easy to find the number representative of the day but finding the correct month was a little more difficult. Needless to say, January had slipped all the way to the back of the pile. As I was frantically trying to find it, I kept muttering to myself, “Where’s January, where’s January”.  At last, I found it.

januaryFor most of us, January represents a new beginning. It is another chance to start over again by doing those meaningful things in our lives such as spending more time with God, our family and friends.  Philippians 3:13-14Philippians 3:13-14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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NLT admonishes us to focus on one thing:  “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven”.

Where’s January? It is in the privilege to forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead all the while keeping our focus on Godly endeavors. I hope you find your January!

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The New Calendar

January 1st, 2014

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Another year is slowing slipping into the recesses of my mind with memories of those things that have happened – some good and some bad. If I go back and scroll through the past year’s calendar, I can view many aspects of my life at a glance. It is difficult to say goodbye because I know I will never experience the previous year again and can never undo some of happenings that did not go as planned.

calendar2Many of us are beginning to organize our lives for the upcoming year by placing important dates and events on a calendar. Whether it is a visible calendar placed on a wall, table or desk or some sort of electronic scheduler, calendars play a vital role in our everyday lives.

New calendars are exciting to look at because they symbolize what is before us. It represents the unknown.  What difficulties are ahead? What mistakes will be made? What type of events will these nice shiny unmarked pages detail?

Thankfully the yearly calendar is broken down not only into months but also into days. That gives me an opportunity to live each day to its fullest. All that God expects is that I live one day at a time. Psalm 145:2Psalm 145:2
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

2 Every day will I bless thee; And I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

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states, “Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.

Oh, well, no more reminiscing in the past. It is time to move forward and put the first event on my new calendar. After all, God admonishes me to just live one day at a time and make the most of each day.

 

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Mary’s Song

December 17th, 2013

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The passage of scripture found in Luke 1:39-45Luke 1:39-45
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

39 And Mary arose in these days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; 40 and entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit; 42 and she lifted up her voice with a loud cry, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me? 44 For behold, when the voice of thy salutation came into mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord.

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NAS tells us that after the birth of Jesus is foretold to Mary, she visits Elizabeth’s home for three months. Both women were “with child.” What do you think they talked about? They probably visited about the same things as any two ladies that are pregnant at the same time.

Mary did not have great status in life; just a young humble virgin girl engaged to Joseph, a carpenter. I am sure Mary was experiencing a lot of excitement and joy after finding out from the angel Gabriel that she was to give birth to the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. It was during this inner reflective time that the scripture records one of the greatest songs of all time, “Mary’s Song”, also referred to as the “Magnificat”. As you can see from the scriptures, this song is full of praises to God.

Mary’s Song musical notescan be found in the following passage from Luke 1:46-55Luke 1:46-55
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is unto generations and generations On them that fear him. 51 He hath showed strength with his arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart. 52 He hath put down princes from their thrones, And hath exalted them of low degree. 53 The hungry he hath filled with good things; And the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath given help to Israel his servant, That he might remember mercy 55  Toward Abraham and his seed for ever.

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NAS. 
And Mary said:

“My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.  For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. And holy is His name.  He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

In verses 46-49 she tells of God’s concern for her and in verses 50-55, God’s concern and care for all generations to follow. Verse 45 gives us part of Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary, “And blessed is she who believe that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” As noted by Mary’s use of the past tense in the Magnificat, she believed it had indeed happened. This exemplifies her great faith.

We, too, can be used of God by exhibiting great faith and a willingness to put our faith into action. As you continue on in your walk with God, let faith lead the way . . . for unto us is born a child!

 Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

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