Your Kingdom Come

     Today, while reading Revelation 5, the following scripture was the focus of my study:  “They were singing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (‭Revelation‬ ‭5‬:‭9-10‬ NET)      Because I have been researching on our identity in Christ a lot lately, these two verses stood out among all the others. Why? In these two small verses we learn that Jesus’ obedience to His Father cost Him His life, which He willing laid down; His blood has purchased people from every nation, language and tribe; Jesus has appointed those people (His followers) as kings and priests to serve God; and lastly that His people will reign on earth.  We have been commissioned to represent Jesus on the earth by making disciples. (Matthew 28:19) What did this look like? When John the Baptist drew the people, he would call out repent and be baptized for the Kingdom of God is at hand. When Jesus began His ministry, that Kingdom, though not what the world has expected had come. (Matthew 12:28 and Luke 11:20 tell us this.)       Acts 10 tells us this about Jesus: “…37you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38“You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39“We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross”      Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and went around doing good. Full of the Holy Spirit, He walked in and by the Spirit. This tells us according to Galatians 5 that His life looked like this: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Then goes on to tell us:  “Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another. (‭Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22-26‬ NET)      Isaiah 53 tells us this about Jesus… “He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; He had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow Him. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭53‬:‭2‬ NET) I mention this to point out that it was not Christ’s looks that drew them to follow Him according to scripture. Based on Galatians; it was His personality as He submitted His life to the Holy Spirit and walked in the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus went about doing good; teaching; making disciples; healing; bringing deliverance; exemplifying the character of God by walking in the Spirit exuding love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control! He showed mercy, grace and compassion when interacting with people. Consider the woman at the well. She was a Samaritan and a woman. She came to the well in the heat of the day to avoid towns people because of their treatment. Jesus shows her kindness and compassion and strikes up a conversation; a Jewish man speaking to a Samaritan! A woman! How could this be? By the time the disciples were returning, He had confirmed her truthfulness of her lack of a husband and had lovingly pointed out her past. Why do I think it was done in love and compassion? She went back to her town, to people who disapproved of her, and she told them about Jesus and her encounter. They all came to see Jesus. Why would she do this unless it was the fruit of the Spirit is His life and in His conversation with her?  He responded a little differently with the religious leaders who knew God’s Word and taught it, yet did not observe it themselves He was less gentle and more to the point because they knew the Scriptures.      Jesus set the example of what the Kingdom of God looks like and entreated us to walk as He walked.  He set an example of being loving and compassionate with people gently teaching them and speaking the truth in love. This is why they followed Him!  Based on this, I am positive beyond a doubt His success was because He exemplified the fruit of the Spirit! There is absolutely no indication that Jesus used guilt, fear or shame, those are tactics of the enemy who comes to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10) Jesus came to give life to us! Kingdom life. He came to purchase us for God, bring us into the Kingdom, empower us with the Holy Spirit and infuse us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.      Can you just imagine what would happen if all His people choose to walk this way? It seems a little to hard to believe that we could but if we had a revelation of our true identity in Christ, who God says we truly are and walked in that, I believe we would live in a noticeably different world than the one we often see around us. Grace and peace to you! Blessings

Why Do I Love the Word?

What an interesting question that was posed today in the current Bible study I am doing! Why do you love God’s Word? It was followed with this proposal…consider a friend or acquaintance asked you this question because they did not understand your love for the Bible and you were too taken off guard to respond at the time. Now, you sit down to write a note or letter to explain… How would you explain? So here goes lets give it a try…

 

Dear Friend,

I was taken aback a bit by your question today and needed a little time to process

your inquiry because many emotions rose up within me at that moment. Too many to

put into words immediately.  God’s Word is life and health to me! Without it, I would

not be the person I am… I probably would not be alive and certainly would not even

resemble the person you know.  His Word has been the source of strength to carry on in

the darkest of days, when sorrow, grief and loss were so very overwhelming that easily I

could have crawled into a dark hole, given up and disappeared. It has brought comfort

and peace in the most frightening of times; it has been my source of encouragement

when all seemed lost and I felt totally alone; it has been a well of hope springing up in

the driest of deserts; a balm to heal my heart when it has been wounded or too heartsick

to even move. His Word has been freedom to a soul held captive by her circumstances

and it has flooded joy into a heart teaching me that joy is available even in the times

where happiness is elusive and circumstances are challenging. When I have been wise, it

has offered me the keys to navigate through every passage on this journey of life. When I

have been foolish, He has drawn me back to it to lovingly shine light on the areas that

could have been better navigated and teach me better ways for the future.  Yes, it is life;

strength; comfort; peace; encouragement; healing; freedom; joy; direction; and

instruction. God’s Word also displays my Father’s character, shows the greatness of His

love, and tells me who I am In Christ. In Him, we are called friend; son or daughter;

beloved; accepted; redeemed; justified; set apart; precious; blameless; chosen; and

kings and priests…just to name a few. It contains everything needed to live a victorious

life and to avoid the pitfalls life tends to throw our way. It is a precious gift and a much

needed tool for my life.  Dear friend, I hope this at least in part answers your question

and thank you! for challenging me with this question. It is good to be challenged; to be

able put words to such deeply felt emotions and beliefs and to bring to remembrance

why we hold something or someone so dear and precious. It keeps it fresh to us and

prevents us from taking it for granted!

 

Grace and peace to you my friend!

Days of Grace-Day 6

Have you met Hannah? If not, I am pleased to introduce you to her. Today, we will look at another woman spoken of in the Word of God, her name is Hannah. Hannah lives with her husband Elkanah from the hill country of Ephraim. They are mentioned beginning in First Samuel chapter one. One of the first things we learn is Hannah is not Elkanah’s only wife. To make life even more difficult for her, she shared her husband with another wife, Peninnah. Peninnah had been blessed with children; Hannah had none.

    Elkanah was a man of God, we know this because he made a yearly journey to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. When the time for sacrifice came he gave portions to Peninnah and her children, but to Hannah he would give a double portion because he loved Hannah. Hannah suffered greatly because of her inability to have children. If it were not enough, Peninnah made it a rivalry and did not miss a chance to remind Hannah of her lack of fruitfulness. In verse 8 we see Elkanah as he tries to comfort Hannah saying, ” “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad ? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” I am sure she appreciated her husband’s attempt at comfort, but Hannah wanted more than anything to give her husband children. She went up to the temple. Hannah bowed in prayer, weeping greatly in her cries to the Lord.  Eli, the priest saw her there and rebuked her thinking that she was drunk.  One would think that might have been the tipping point for Hannah. Here she is childless, broken-hearted, suffering taunting and provocation from her rival and now she was also misunderstood completely by the priest who thought she was crying uncontrollably because she was drunk. But no, Hannah answered Eli calmly, ”  “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit ; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD.  “Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.” 1 Samuel 1:15-16 Eli’s, response was, “Go in peace, may the Lord grant you your request.” Hannah, in verse 18 responded, “And she said , Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat , and her countenance was no more sad.”

The following day Elkanah and Hannah went early to bow and worship the Lord and began their journey home to Ramah. After a while, The Lord remembered Hannah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel because she “requested him from the Lord.” verse 20.  Not only did our friend Hannah find grace in Eli’s sight, she also found grace and compassion in God’s sight and He answered her prayer. In gratitude, she raised young Samuel, dedicated him to the Lord, and when he was weaned this young boy served the Lord in the temple alongside Eli the priest.  1 Samuel 2:21 goes on to tell us that God remembered Hannah, at least one translation says ‘was gracious to Hannah’ and she had another three sons and two daughters. As for Samuel, he was raised in the temple and called by God to be a prophet in Israel and later a judge over Israel. God heard Hannah’s cries and He had a plan greater than she could have ever imagined. We may not always understand when we go through difficult trying times or times of suffering.  This I do know looking back in hindsight on my life’s circumstances and at the stories we are seeing in this journey. There is always a greater plan and God among all His other attributes is a God of mercy and grace.

Grace and blessings to you!


Continue reading “Days of Grace-Day 6”

Struggles…

This morning as I begin my day, I looked to see what my s.o.a.p chapter for the day would be. (Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer).  It would be Deuteronomy 34, the last chapter and one of my favorite stories of the Old Testament. Next, I opened You Version, an electronic app for Bible. Up on the screen popped their verse of the day. My thought was alright I will read this real quick and move on to my s.o.a.p, reading. I was stunned by what I read next:

Proverbs 3:7,8 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume that you know it all! Run to God! Run from evil!  Your body will glow with health, your very

bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own;

give Him the first and the best.

I am just going to be completely transparent as I begin. I have been wrestling with somethings for a while. this last week it intensified and it has consumed larger chunks of my days. After trying to reason things out and get answers mostly on my own, I finally wised up and sought council with the Only One that could actually give me both insight and wisdom on the matter. I can’t say that my prayers got a quick and fix all answer, but gently and lovingly over the last few days God has been guiding me in His Word and leading me to answers. I will share a bit of that today in hope that it might help someone else who is struggling…

To get back on track, I was stunned by this verse because first of all in the struggles I had been pondering two or three directly affected me (one was health related) and the rest affected some of my loved ones and this verse quickly and concisely addressed what I had been doing…trying to figure out things on my own. Oh yes, I had prayed about them on the surface but until Wednesday, I had not truly prayed over them asking and seeking real answers and furthermore never left them at the feet of Jesus. Instead, even though I should know better, I would pick them right back up in a few minutes or a few hours. Now I have to admit I had a mixed response at first: “Oh wow, this verse popped up just for me”; then, “no, they have a verse everyday, it is a coincidence it speaks to me on these specific issues in my life”; lastly, ” no, not a coincidence, it is too personal to what is going on in my life,  it addresses both my trying to figure things out, seeking God out instead of reasoning  that these both lead to health which in my case is suffering a little right now.” Yes, I was reasoning and over-thinking again already! As I told myself, stop; I felt a nudge to go and read the full chapter. Amazing… would you believe it was just what I needed to hear?

Do I have all the answers to the questions that I have been struggling with? No, some are more clear and others, not so clear.  There was not instantaneous answer to everything, but there was aclear-cut mandate: God has this, “don’t loose a grip on Love and Loyalty”, trust Him from the bottom of your heart and DO NOT try to figure this out on your own, seek Him!! Listen for His voice in everything you do and where ever you go. These will bring health and a viberant life. Seek wisdom and insight for these are the tree of life to those who embrace them, holding onto them bring blessing! Clear thinking and common sense are where we need to live; worry, wondering, speculating on what may or may not be are not helpful and do not add but detract from our lives.

My take away today is to recommit myself to these principles, quit trying to figure out things on my own and seek God for wisdom and for understanding on these things, lay them down and trust in Him to bring the right answers, direction and guidance. When we wait on God and His timing, He will answer.  I fully believe that God was able to speak to David through Nathan; Balaam through his donkey; to the people of Israel through the prophets; and to us today  by any means He chooses. After all, the Word of God says He is the same yesterday, today and forever!! Our job is to trust, believe, hope in Him; read His Word; seek Him and His guidance; and listen and act on what He says as long as it agrees with His Word.

As for Deuteronomy 34, I made it there but that is a story for another time!  Be Blessed!!

Tried, Tested…and True?

Just thinking this afternoon about how as humans we are always looking to the next thing. Babies learn progressively from the first smile, turning over, sitting up, crawling, pulling up and finally taking steps. We adults do the same with the exception of we often do not take the time just to enjoy where we are at the moment. A few examples: when we are young we can not wait to be grown up; can’t wait to finish school, move out; get married; then, we tend to covet the freedom our single friends enjoy when we are married or the companionship our married friend enjoy when we are single. Many desire children and when they are here, we long for them to sleep through the night, out grow teething, be able to talk so they can tell us what is wrong when they feel bad, walk, start school…

Our techie world continues to teach us to not be satisfied with our phone, computer, tablet, car, TV:  the minute we purchase one it is on it’s way to being obsolete. Chances are that within 2 days to 6 months there will be a faster, better, fancier or sleeker one and many of us will be dreaming of the new best thing!  The world around us makes it hard to be content and just enjoy the moment in which we are living. This becomes even more apparent when we are in a time of trial or difficulty. Many times I find myself looking everywhere for an escape hatch when one of those times come around. Why? because I don’t like conflict, discomfort. I like choices to be easy, people to be loving and kind. The truth is life is not always easy, comfortable and neat and if it were, we would never grow or mature. Take the teething baby for example, in order for the baby to grow teeth, there is pain as the teeth push forward and break the skin. Without that pain the little baby would continue to grow but be relegated to a life of soft mushy food. Many also have used the example of a child. Children are wondrous and a blessing from God, however as they develop there is often morning sickness, stretching and discomfort at times for the mother and they are birthed through travail and pain.