Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Squares for Jesus

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

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Many ladies are gifted in making cross stitch patterns into a work of art. I observed an elderly lady busily stitching away on a project. She remarked, “I love doing this particular pattern”. I quizzed her as to why she was working on such a complicated project. “This is my squares for Jesus picture”, she stated.

Needless to say, my curiosity was peeked. I knew that having the reputation of a square was not usually acceptable to others. She explained why she identified this particular stitching project in this way. She pointed out this needlework pattern was divided into squares each having its own unique picture. The first square reminded her of the time when she first realized the beauty of Christ could be a part of her existence every day.

needlepointAs she meticulously completed each section, she contemplated the various squares stating that each one represented an important phase of her life. She reflected on each square individually and stated she had made it through all the phases with God’s help.

The symbolism of the picture penetrated her thoughts as she realized the hand of God had been at work in her life: designing, stitching, perfecting every area, some positive and some negative. Even though the underside of the picture had many knots and flaws from the use of many colors of threads and various types of stitches, the top side had become a great masterpiece.

Even though I am not physically making a needlework art, I was so moved by my conversation with her. Every phase of my life is creating its own pattern in a square of God’s masterpiece. I want every phase of my life to reflect God’s love and concern for me. I have had many “knots” and “flaws” along the way but hopefully with God’s help I am creating that perfect masterpiece. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10Ephesians 2:10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.

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I decided at that point that I, too, want to be a “square” for Jesus!

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The Unpaid Debt

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

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When I was a teenager (which dates me quite a bit) there was a popular song entitled, “He Paid a Debit He Did Not Owe” by Ellis J. Crum. The essence of the lyrics was to share about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. He did this to save us and to bare our penalty before God. The punishment that we all deserved was paid in full by Christ’s death on the wooden tree. This act of grace affords us the opportunity to be free from the consequences of our sins.

jesus on crossAnother aspect of this song is that we owe a debt to God but there is no way we can ever repay it and neither does God expect any payment. The price was paid in full that first Easter so that we can live with Him eternally.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” I Peter 3:18 Christ’s ultimate purpose was to bring you to God. He is just waiting for us to come.

Following is a video of the song, “He Paid a Debt He Did Not Owe” sung by Conrad Fisher. Listen to the words and reflect on that great debt that was paid because He loves us so much.

He Paid a Debt

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A Friend Request

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

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One of the common processes on our favorite social networking sites is to send a friend request. Have you ever gotten a request from someone you did not know? Have you sent a request to a person you were interested in befriending but they did not accept it? Their lack of response often makes us feel a little bit rejected.

acceptedGod does not refuse us. I am so glad that He accepts our friend request. He was just waiting for us to ask. Proverbs 18:24Proverbs 18:24
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

24 He that maketh many friends [doeth it] to his own destruction; But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

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states, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Jesus is our special friend because He knows us better than anyone else. He knows all about us. He loves us just the way we are. He wants only the best for us. He always has time for us.

God indeed is a friend that sticks closer than anyone else. Other friends may fail but God never will.  I am reminded of the old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”.

Click on the link below to listen to the song by the Oak Ridge Boys.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

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A Gentle Whisper

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

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“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” I Kings 19:11-12 NIV

In Chapter 19 Elijah fled for his life after the evil Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him because of his actions. Elijah had gone to Mt. Carmel where he out-dueled and embarrassed the prophets of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Elijah had taunted them as their gods failed to light a sacrificial fire. Elijah became depressed over being a hunted man. He had gone from a very high point to feeling he was the only one left who believes in the Lord. He wanted to lie down and die but the Lord gave him food and sent him to Mt. Horeb. The Lord sent the wind, earthquake and fire but in the end spoke to him in a whisper.

All of us enjoy the thrill of a great religious victory in our life. We expect and receive great things from God. After this time of high excitement, however, we are sometimes at our weakest point and become depressed as Elijah did. It is in those moments of feeling defeated that we are wanting to hear from God in a very special way. His speaking may even be through another person but; as the scripture expresses, it is sometimes in a gentle whisper or a gentle word.

God is always with us. He has many ways in which He intervenes in our lives. If we listen, God may be speaking to us through a gentle whisper or in another distinctive way.

Would we recognize His voice if he calls?

The following video expresses some unique ways God may speak to us. The song is, “Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Please click on the link to enjoy.

Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds

 

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Come As You Are

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

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invitation“Come as you are” is a phrase we hear quite often. Frequently an invitation to a party will indicate that it is acceptable to come casually dressed without any pretense of impressing anyone.

Although these exact words are not found in the Bible, the Bible is full of scriptures that imply the essence of this message. One of the most notable of verses is 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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. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What an exciting invitation that is.

The above passage of scripture is a direct call to anyone to come to God for salvation even though we are undeserving. It is through the grace of God that we are saved and not through our works. His only requirement is that we confess our sins and receive His forgiveness and submit to Him in obedience.

“Come as you are” does not mean that you can live any way you want.  “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8James 4:8
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

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What have you done that is so bad that God will not accept you? Nothing! He is just waiting for you to “come as you are”. After all, God already knows everything about you!

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Mary’s Song

Tuesday, 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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Royal Baby

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

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On July 22, 2013 a baby boy was born in the country of Great Britain that is lovingly referred to by the media as the “Royal Baby”. I am sure he will have the best of everything and will receive lots of attention and love. We heard endless news reports of this blessed event. I am sure it means a lot in that country to recognize a new heir to the throne.

As I heard all the hoopla surrounding the birth of this little baby, it made me reflect on a royal baby that was born on that first Christmas morning in a humble stable and wrapped in swaddling cloths. baby Jesus

Luke 2:9-12Luke 2:9-12
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: 11 for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.

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states, “And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”

This child, Jesus, grew up in a loving household with a Godly mother and father. He did not come from a wealthy background but yet He became the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. That means there is no higher authority. He reigns over all and His name is above every other name.

I am sure I will never have the opportunity to meet a member of the royal family but I am thankful that I personally know “The King of Kings”! He paid the ultimate sacrifice for my sins.

For unto us a “Royal Baby” was born on that first Christmas!

Jesus Christ

Merry Christmas!!

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Spiritual Diagnosis

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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computerWhat is the first thing we do when we have an illness? Many of us check out our lengthy list of symptoms on one of the numerous medical websites. Although these sites are good, sometimes we feel worse after having done so.  It is easy to misdiagnose ourselves with a rare disease/illness after reading all the various descriptions of numerous afflictions.

If our symptoms persist, we eventually agree to be seen by a physician. Most generally our condition is not nearly as serious as we think after diagnosing ourselves from what we read or hear from others.doctor

Do we need to have a spiritual checkup? Galatians 5:19-21Galatians 5:19-21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

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states “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  God’s Word is clear that anyone who participates in any ungodly behavior will not be a part of His kingdom.

What is the cure?  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:22-25Galatians 5:22-25
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. 25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.

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Jesus ChristThus, we see Jesus is the only cure for our sinful behavior. This behavior ultimately leads to spiritual death. Look to Him because He is the remedy for your spiritual illness. Ephesians 2:8-9Ephesians 2:8-9
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory.

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points the way: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I hope you start feeling better soon!

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What’s Your Sign?

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

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Success and Failure Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.What’s your sign? That is a question often asked by those who are interested in finding out what your astrological sign is. Even though I am not a believer in my role in the universe based upon my astrological sign, there are many who maintain your sign helps you in the business world, in friendships and with life in general. Some commonly believe you either fail or succeed based upon your sign.

Hearing this question made me reflect on my life as a believer in Christ. How do I communicate my faith in Christ in an effective manner to others especially those who do not know Christ? Are others curious about my life because they see something different in me?

What is the purpose of a sign? First of all, a sign is usually placed in location that is easily visible. Even though we usually do not walk around with a visible sign on our back, the world will be watching us to see how we treat others. Do I treat others with respect and appreciation? How do I respond to various tough situations? If I maintain a positive attitude when things are not going as planned, the reality of my faith will be displayed. My life will be visible to others.

What results will I get from having this Godly sign? What kind of message am I leaving to those around me? Do I receive positive feedback? I want the “sign” of my life to point to Jesus and His character. I want them to feel His love because of my love for them.

jesus on crossSo, the question is? What’s your sign? My sign is JESUS!

Matthew 5:14-16Matthew 5:14-16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. 16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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states “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven
.

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My “Bucket List”

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

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Most of us are familiar with the movie The Bucket List which is a 2007 American comedy-drama film.  The main plot follows two terminally ill men on their road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket”. Well, I hope I am not ready to “kick the bucket” yet but one day as I was watching the movie I began to reflect on what a Christian’s “bucket list” should be. What do I want to accomplish before I die? Of course, there are the most common items like taking a trip to a favorite place, spending more time with family, saving money, starting a new hobby, finishing a project etc. The list can go on and on.

checklistBut, what should a Christian’s “bucket list” include? Here are some of the items I have on mine.

  1. Win someone to Christ.
  2. Read my Bible more.
  3. Pray more fervently for my family and friends.
  4. Forgive those who have hurt me.
  5. Use my spiritual gifts.
  6. Express my love and appreciation to others regularly.
  7. Write an e-book on my experiences as a pastor’s wife.

As you can see, my list includes some things that people in the world may consider crazy and already believe I have early dementia. My overall goal before I go to my eternal home is to leave a legacy of faith in God, a commitment of service to others and a love of others as Christ loves me. After all, what I do for Christ is all that really matters in the end.

Deuteronomy  6:5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

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