buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Love”

Going, Going, Gone!

Last week, I found out my next door neighbor is moving. I told them I was sorry to see them go – and I meant it. They were nice neighbors. English is not their first language so there was always a barrier to communication. But we spoke the occasional “hi” from the yard. They have lived beside me for at least five years. But the thing I got a little bit excited about was that when they moved, they would be taking their dog with them! Disclaimer – I am not a pet person; I never grew up with pets, and I just don’t have a love for them. This dog has been my nemesis. Whenever I am outside the dog barks continuously until I go back in the house. Front yard or back. If the dog sees me in my living room, it will bark. I haven’t been able to enjoy any time in my yard since the dog has lived with them.

The dog is a rather large dog; mostly mutt but has some German shepherd in the mix. When the dog has been off the leash, it has charged at me – three times. The encounters have put me in a fearful mode when I attempt to go outside. I always check to see where the dog is before I venture outside. The past encounters have given me flashbacks to my childhood with other encounters with large dogs. I am not a big fan to say the least. So yes, I am glad this dog is going away. I did a little happy dance when I thought I could at last be at peace in my yard. Not only has this dog been a nemesis for my peace, I have had other neighbors bring dogs home and there’s a chorus of barking dogs whenever I am trying to write or study God’s word. I have started referring to those times as Satan’s tool of distraction. Once I submitted my annoyance to God, the dogs have no longer been an issue during those special times.

As I was contemplating these last three years of doggie distractions, I realized this was the time that Jesus had set aside time for me to begin a new work in me. I was reminded of the study we just finished up in my small group time. We studied the book of Jonah with Priscilla Shirer. She wrote (and spoke) about navigating a life interrupted. God has plans for us. Sometimes we have these “divine interventions” to get us on His plan. Over the last three years, He has been working on my heart and His plan. He wants me to be aligned with the things that He has in mind. It’s not too difficult to figure out that His plan involves people. He wants everyone to know about His love for us; His plan of salvation through Jesus, His Son; and how He wants to use each of us to reach our neighbors. Satan doesn’t want this to happen and will send whatever distractions or obstacles so the work will not be done!

For those of us who follow the commands of Jesus, we are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus suggested – I mean – told us to go out into the world and disciple others; to teach them to obey everything He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). I think we all understand this is what we are to do. But if you are like me, you might not actually do it. The world is too big to conquer. We can’t reach it by ourselves. But my world is a bit smaller. God has placed me beside these neighbors. For the last few years, I have understood this is my world. I was happy the dog was going away, but I should have been sad about the fact that I would not be able to be a light to this neighbor anymore. I should be heartbroken that I will not have the opportunity to tell them about Jesus. The language barrier was always an excuse. Now, the dog won’t bother me, but the thoughts of missed opportunities might.

God’s plan is always about people. Jonah became angry over God’s compassion for the people of Nineveh. There are always obstacles to share the Good News. We need to have the compassion that God has because compassion always leads to action. The barriers will never stand in our way if we understand God’s perspective that everyone is worth the effort because Jesus died for them too. We will be compelled to tell! The opportunities like the dog will be going, going, then gone for good.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

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When God Interrupts

Have you ever been interrupted in the middle of a conversation? Isn’t it annoying? It’s also very rude. Yet, when God does it, are we perturbed by it? We can have the greatest vision for our lives, but if it’s not God’s will, He may come in and interrupt those plans. Sometimes He allows us to follow our own course, but at some time He will help us to see something much better – His will for our lives. On Tuesday, my nephew and his family flew out of the country to begin a new chapter in their lives. It’s not something we as a family really wanted for them. After all, they are taking precious little ones far from family. But God has placed a divine interruption right in the middle of their lives and ours. He called them to a higher purpose than living paycheck to paycheck. He called them to go and make disciples to those on the other side of the world. He called them to love people who don’t know Jesus. He called them to something better.

In a way, I feel a bit envious of their new chapter. They know what they are supposed to do in this foreign place. They have their instructions and will have such an incredible time experiencing Jesus in a very different way. They are risking everything they have for the sake of the Gospel. But isn’t that what we are all called to do? Faith means nothing if it isn’t put into action. Faith means stepping out even when the vision isn’t fully revealed. Faith means we will go even when we don’t know what’s in that place where God wants us. Our faith is not for the faint of heart. It means taking huge steps so that God will be glorified in them. The unknown would probably scare us to death if it was revealed. Sometimes, it’s best not to know.

But faith means we place our lives in someone’s hands that is greater and knows all things. There is nothing that surprises our God. He is Sovereign. He sees our circumstances before we even get there. He is already there working it out for good even before we encounter it. God brings us the interruptions so that we can know Him better. We can understand another aspect of who He is. He is more concerned about our heart than He is about our comfort. If He needs to interrupt us, then it will be for our good. It is an opportunity to know Him better and to know His love in a greater way. And it’s always about bringing Him glory.

Yes, I am sad to see my nephew and family leave us. But I can’t wait to hear the stories they will have on how God has shown up in this new chapter. I can’t wait to be able to go to that place where they will be and see all God s doing through them. It’s hard for the grandparents to experience this season. I can’t imagine the loss they are feeling. But I know that God is going to take that pain and use it for another purpose. He is going to make something good out of all of it – I know it because God is that good. He takes it all for His glory and our good. God interrupts our comfortable so that we can experience a greater joy and greater presence than we could ever imagine. God is that good. His love is that good. We just have to have the faith that good will come out of those interruptions!

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21

Liar, Liar

Have you ever told a lie? Has someone ever told you a lie? You might have answer yes to both of those. I know I did. But what’s worse is we believe the lies we tell ourselves. Last week, I mentioned the movie Frozen and the famous song. The icy queen tells a big fat lie in that song – well, I think it was a lie she told to her own heart. She sang that she was going to “let it go” and she sang she liked the cold anyway. Personally, I get it; we make excuses that we can believe so that we can live with the decisions we make. She was hurt, lost and alone. The decision seemed like a good one at the time. And she believed it was for the best. But was it really?

I am leading a group of women through the Daniel Plan (by Rick Warren). In session four, Dr. Daniel Amen speaks about how the thoughts we have affect our health (physical, spiritual and emotionally). His point was to capture those thoughts and ask – “Is this the truth?” If it’s not the truth, then let it go. (I know; I am carrying this song way too far.) The thoughts we have can harm us. Dr. Amen is a brain specialist. He says there are chemical reactions to our thought life. When we have positive thoughts, the chemical release is a feeling of pleasure. The negative thoughts are toxic. How true is that? Negativity kills our good moods!

How many times do we hear something over and over and start to believe it’s the truth? Scripture tells us that Satan is the father of lies. He is speaking his native tongue. Why do we let him speak to us in his own language? Why do we believe him? I think it’s because we don’t recognize the truth of God’s word to be The Truth. We are to think of the things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). These are the things we are supposed to capture, not the things that keep us bound up in that negative place. The verse before this one, says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds for those of us who are in Christ. I love the picture of putting on the helmet of salvation – part of the armor that God gives us to protect our thoughts.

I don’t know who coined the term, but we need to get rid of our stickin’ thinkin’! We need to dismiss those lies that we hear in our hearts. Our own hearts will lead us astray. Our hearts will deceive us. That’s just hard to believe, but it’s true. I can look back over my past and see where heart has told me something that I believed for years. I didn’t reconcile it to the word of God. God said He made us in His image. However, we can believe aren’t worthy. We can believe we are bad people because of all the things we have done and said. There maybe things in our past that is bad. But the truth is: that God sent His Son for us even when we were so far from Him. God said He loved us, even when we don’t love Him.

I remember being in a bar (in my drinking days) and a total stranger came up to me and told me how beautiful I was. I laughed and everyone around me laughed at the drunken woman. A few days later, I was in another bar in another town, and a man did the same thing. This time, I was the only one who heard it. I was taken aback. I don’t remember what else was going on at that time in my life, but I was far away from God. I think that was God using them to tell me He loved me even when I was far from Him. He saw me as beautiful even when I couldn’t have been further from the truth of it. He never moved; I did. And when I turned around, He was right there waiting on me.

He loves us; He never lies to us. We just need to believe in His love. And He will never lead us to wrong thinking. Capture any thought that does not reflect His truth and dismiss it as a lie from our enemy.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Let It Go!

“Let it go. Let it go.” Is the song in your head yet? When I was at the beach with my family, I finally had the opportunity to see the movie “Frozen.” I had heard the song “Let it Go” everywhere, but I didn’t have the context of the song. My niece told me I should write a blog about it, and I laughed it off. Yet, here I sit writing away! But it’s more than a song; it’s a verse in the Bible. It’s about running our race without anything hindering our progress. I was challenged in a sermon recently about throwing off those things that hinder my progress in my walk with Jesus. Is there an area of temptation that is keeping me from experiencing a deeper relationship with Jesus?

I remembered the song. Forgive me, I don’t remember the “star” in the film, but the woman with the icy touch was hurting the people she loved. She froze her sister’s heart and only an act of true love could unleash her to live. But instead of loving, she fled and locked herself into a protective ice castle so that she wouldn’t hurt anyone else. She determined this was the best thing for all concerned. But it was not the case. She did hurt the world even though she didn’t realize it.

After contemplating my own condition, I wondered if I have also locked myself in a protective environment that is unintentionally hurting those around me. We are meant to be out in the world loving the people God places in our lives. But I isolate myself with the church crowd. I really don’t have opportunities to witness to others about the love of Jesus. I don’t place myself in those places where I am called to minister – outside my walls. True love unleashes us to offer love to others. His true love is placed in us not only to benefit those within our walls, but it’s to reach out and love those around us – our neighbors, our co-workers, those we meet in the street. I have failed in this commandment too many times to count.

The past is behind me – let it go. I don’t want anything hindering my walk. I need protection too to keep me from tripping on this walk. I need to pick up the armor of God as I walk out my door. I want to be in the world but not of the world. I need the full armor on. I will put on the helmet to protect my thoughts. I cover my heart and soul with the breastplate of righteousness. My feet are ready to carry me to those places God wants me to go. The shield of faith is lifted up to keep Satan’s attempt from making me stumble or fall on this walk. And I am wielding the sword which divides the soul and spirit – not in judgment of others because I have no right to judge. The sword which is the living word of God is active and will do the work but we have to be the ones carrying it forward. How will they know if we don’t go?

So I am challenging you too. Let it go. Throw off that thing that is hindering your race. Only true love can release us to do more for His glory but first we have to lay “it” down before Him. Then pick up the full armor and get busy. I’m up for the challenge, are you?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

My Identity Crisis

It’s been almost eight years ago when I found out my medical identity was stolen. It didn’t seem like such a big deal at the time. The insurance denied the claims and everything seemed to be fine. Until the day I went to get my driver’s license renewed and found out it was suspended because of my failure to complete the rehabilitation issued by the courts. Uh? I was floored and stumbled out to the parking lot wondering what had gone so wrong? The lady’s identity became wrapped up in mine. Since then, I have dealt with her problems on my credit report, and the report that goes to auto insurance companies, which is separate – who knew? For years I have been dealing with higher and higher auto insurance premiums and wondered if insurance could go up that fast. When I switched insurance companies, the insurance man pointed to the wrecks in unknown cars that were linked to my account. It just never ends.

This woman has major problems; drugs and/or alcohol, medical issues, and just major sin issues. For some reason this woman is tied to me. What’s the purpose behind it? I don’t know yet. I don’t know how this story will end. Good hasn’t come of it yet, but it will. God says He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called to His purpose (my paraphrase Romans 8:28). I believe those words so I know there is a greater purpose than these little irritants that keep popping up over and over. Satan likes to use these little irritants to keep me off-balance or to distract me from my purpose. Every time I take a step of faith, the credit report will come back with issues or the renewal of policies/licenses, something tied to this woman will impact in a negative way. All I can do right now, is clean up the mess and pray for the woman. Satan will one day quit using this woman, and she will be healed and saved from the destruction Satan planned for her. Jesus’ plans are much greater for her, and I am praying she one day understands this truth.

I am not writing this to show my prayer fortitude or raise a righteous flag. I am far from perfect. At one point in my life, I could have been in a complete mess like this woman. But God saved me from the destructive path of Satan. Satan planned to kill me, but Jesus came to give me a new life. My character is being built through the trials so that I can grow into the woman of God I am meant to be. It’s the little irritants that help me to have the right perspective. It’s by God’s grace I have been set free. I no longer have an identity crisis. I know who I am and whose I am. Yes, I still suffer from someone else’s sin. But it’s with grace that I take her suffering to the cross and ask for her suffering to end. God has this under control. I need not worry about what could be in my circumstances. I am securely in the palm of His hands. Whatever is allowed, I will endure it for His glory. My character is being renewed day by day. One day, I will see the goodness that the Lord has in store. My character witness will be Jesus Himself standing up for me either here on earth or in heaven one day. Good will come out of this! One day.

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. Ephesians 2:8-9

Finished!

Jesus said it from the cross – (it is) Finished! Even in the smallest details, God spoke it and it was done. From the very beginning, God spoke and what was spoken was done – the stars, the heavens, the seas, and everything in between. Nothing is outside the tip of His finest paintbrush. He painted the picture of Jesus Christ through His every Word, and He became all that was spoken. Every detail is painted by the Master, but most fail to see His hand. Most of us are too blind to see. Most of us are dead to live freely. But Jesus said – it’s finished. Nothing else needs to be done. He died so that we could see. He died so that we could have life. All it takes is for us to believe it and receive it freely.

He paid the price and became the substitute for me. It was my death and your death that He took on. Jesus bridged the gap between us and God. Nothing we could ever do would get us into the presence of God. The religious activities wouldn’t do it. Our wills as weak or as strong as they could be won’t do it. Even our good deeds will not get us to the point of holiness and righteousness that is acceptable to God. Through Jesus, it’s done. I believe therefore, I have the righteousness, and I have the holiness. But it’s not because of me; it’s because of Jesus.

I have believed this for many years and sometimes I forget that even today, He died for the sins I committed yesterday. I forget all that I have done in my past that put Jesus on my cross. Every day, I am told to surrender and take up my cross. But sometimes I forget that I must do this so that I may be His hands and feet in this community. Yes, I am forgiven even for the sins I committed yesterday and today. Yes, I am no longer condemned. Yes, I am His child. Easter is for us to remember all Jesus has done for us and will do through us when we receive that free gift. Easter is a time to be grateful and acknowledge His love for us by His sacrifice on the cross.

Easter reminds me to come bending low at the foot of the cross and receive the gift of life for today. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! What God spoke into existence is still being fulfilled. Jesus finished His work here, but we still have much work to be done. What God started will be completed until the day of Jesus’ returning. How do I know that Jesus will return? Because God spoke and said it will be done. Jesus told us He is coming back (three times in Revelation 22). And on that Day, when I bend low at His feet, He will raise me up and say well done. Not because of me, but because of His work in me. What God started in me, will be finished. I may not look like I am done yet because I am not. I am still a work in progress; I still fail miserably and God still forgives me. God has the finest paintbrush still in His hands. Even the little details, which I don’t know yet, God does. God said it, and I know it will be done! The cross bridged the gap for us! Believe it and receive the free gift – it’s paid for by Jesus!

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7 (NLT)

Love Affair

I started a love affair when I was a mere child. I grew up on television. I loved everything about it. I loved the programs and thought they were my constant companion. Much of my time growing up was spent in front of the television. When I woke up in the mornings, I turned it on. When I went to bed, I turned it off. I remember when my Mom went to work part time one of the first purchases was a color television. Was there nothing better than that? I loved the programs so much that when a series finally ended, I cried like a baby. I felt like I lost my friends. As I grew up, I never fell out of love with my television. When I had to have an internship to graduate from my college, I decided to try an internship at a local television station. I was a business major and had no idea what I could do there, but I went asking. I graduated and the station called for me to return. I worked for the next five years in three different television stations. When cable started in the 1980’s, I was on board. I upgraded to a television that could handle the new communication tool.

Over the last few years, my love affair was revealed to me as a hindrance to my relationship with Jesus. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it had a greater role in my life than it should have. I switched from cable to satellite in 2008 when I was cutting my expenses to afford my new schooling. In 2011, I dropped the level of channels that I received to the “family” plan. In 2012, the Holy Spirit started working on me about some of the programs I had been watching. Again, they weren’t all that bad, but it interfered with my desire of being holy in His sight. Soon after, I stopped watching one of my favorite shows. I made a decision that I wouldn’t watch any new programming. All of this was a process. I didn’t go cold turkey, but as the Holy Spirit guided me, I responded in obedience. Up until the last year, the Holy Spirit started working on me to remove the satellite dish totally. I had given up so much already, what’s the harm with watching through the satellite?

The receiver in my bedroom started acting up. I would get half of the channels for weeks at a time. I would call the company, and they would offer their advice on how to fix it. The fixes were only temporary. I struggled with it for over a year. But the real struggle was in my spirit. I knew I needed to let it go, but I just couldn’t pull the plug. With the Holy Spirit’s help, I began to watch less television. Then I did a fast for forty days – fast of television – after the super “event” in February. I think that was the catalyst to finally pull the plug. On March 21, the first full day of spring, I released what was old and began a new thing. I pulled the plug. The satellite operator wasn’t helpful in releasing this burden. They fought to keep me, but I held firmly.

In the end, I had a little anxiety over not having my constant companion. My love affair ended after fifty years. God has called me to another love affair. This one I want to become so constant that the thought of an intrusive television program will be offensive to me. My prayer is to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and no other. It’s only right to keep my mind on the honorable things and not the junk that is offered on television for entertainment purposes.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)

Jesus is Love

Jesus is…

Patient. And I am so glad He is. I cannot imagine where I would be if He had not been patient with me. The disciples just didn’t get it either. How many times did Jesus have to explain to them the plan of God? Jesus waits on us. He knows it takes time for us to understand the Truth.

Kind. Many times in the Bible, Jesus showed His kindness to the crowds of people who were following Him. He showed them compassion when they experienced loss. When they came to Him sick and hurting, He took pity on them. When the crowds were growing hungry, He fed them. When we were still in our sins, He died for us.

Not envious or boastful. Jesus is the humble servant who came to serve. He took on the clothing of human flesh and descended to a poor status in order to serve us as Savior. He has the royalty of God running through Him, but He could not sit on His throne and watch us die apart from Him. He had to come. He couldn’t stay away from us.

Honorable. Jesus came to glorify His Father in heaven. He came so that others would know God. Everything He did and said was because of His Father. Nothing was done for His own benefit. His first thought was for His Father. Jesus honored God through His life, death and resurrection.

Not a self-seeker. Jesus sought the lost, the hopeless, the poor, the widows, the helpless. He came for them. He came to bring hope, love and peace to all who would receive and call upon His name.

Not easily angered. The only times Jesus expressed anger were the times His Father’s house was used for the wrong purposes. His Father’s house is for prayer. Reverence for the House of God was to be shown at all times. The Temple was to be a place of worship. The Temple represented God’s presence among His people. Jesus understands our frailty and is not be easily angered because of our weaknesses.

No record keeper of the wrongs. He wiped the slate clean for those who believe in Him. He is who He says He is. He is the Son of God who came to redeem the world. Believe in Him and there is no condemnation for any wrongs done.

Rejoicing with the truth. Jesus came to proclaim the Truth. He rejoices when sinners come to Him; when they seek Him with all their hearts. When one sinner repents, there is a big celebration in heaven over that one whose name now is in the Book of Life.

Protector. We can take refuge in the shadow of His wings. Like a small bird finding shelter under its mother’s wings, we too have a place to shelter. Even when the storms of life come, He will be with us. He will never leave us or forsake us – no matter what.

Trustful. His unfailing love cannot be shaken. He is our Rock of Salvation. He will deliver us from the depths. He will not abandon the works of His hands. He will show us the way to go.

Hopeful. There is no greater hope than the hope found in Jesus. He delights in the ones who fear Him and put their hope in Him.

Persistent. Jesus pursues us as a man pursues his future bride. He wants no one to miss the biggest wedding feast that will ever be held. It’s going to be amazing!

No failure. Jesus never fails us. And we can never fail Him. He knows our hearts. He knows what we are capable of and knows every step we take. He is not disappointed in us because that would mean He had the wrong expectation of us. He knows all things.

Love. There is no other name in heaven or on the earth that matches the name of Jesus. His love is infinite. There is nothing we do or say that will increase or decrease the amount of Love He has for us. His love is wide, long, high and deep. If we are His disciples, we too will show our love for others. Just as Jesus did for us, we do for others.

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. John 14:21

Inspiration for this post from 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

The Light

What our world would look like without Jesus? What would I look like if Jesus hadn’t come to save me? I have been pondering this question since Christmas Day. I can’t really tell you about my life before Jesus since I have known about Him all my life. However, I can you the difference when Jesus came fully into my heart. It’s when I started walking with Him. It wasn’t on the day of my salvation. I had that long before – whether you believe one can be saved and not actually live like it or not. I know my testimony of God calling me out of my pew that Sunday morning. I also know of His protection when I was walking on a different path than what I should have been as one of His children. I am much like the Israelites and their rebellion. They were still His people. He waited on them to repent. He waited on me too. I am so grateful for my patient God.

I love the story of the prodigal son (found in Luke 15). Demanding, selfish young man decided the grass was greener in the far country. He left and found out; life wasn’t better on the other side. The fun didn’t last. The friends weren’t the best. The community didn’t help him. And when he finally came to his senses, he turned around to go back home. That’s me! It took a few pegs to knock me down so I could finally look up. When I did, I finally saw God waiting on me to return with loving arms wrapping around me. It was His amazing grace that gave me a new start.

I am in another Beth Moore study; this one on the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). She was speaking in the DVD portion of the study about her remembrance of where she was before Jesus reached down to pull her out of her pit. She said “if we remember the bondage, then we must remember the grace; we will also have more grace to give to others.” It sounds like the story of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50) who wet the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair. Jesus told the parable of two people owing money. One is forgiven a bigger debt than the other. The one with the biggest debt loves more than the other one. Grace and love are shown when we have received it for ourselves. Sometimes I forget where I was. Sometimes I need a reminder; I am the sinful woman who has been given the grace of forgiveness. My debt was high and Jesus paid it all.

Today, because Jesus has come, I am no longer living in darkness. Jesus came to bring light to the world. Without light, only darkness is present. I can see only because Jesus opened my eyes. Where would I have been if Jesus had not come? I would not be here writing these words. I would be right back in the pit of despair wondering how in the world I got there. I would not be in good health because I would still be drinking. I would be living in a very destructive lifestyle. If Jesus had not come, I would not be living with joy and hope of eternity. I would not have the friendships I have today. I would not have the relationship with my family. I would be living in sin with no hope of a future.

When Jesus came, everything changed. What condition are you in today? Do you need Jesus?

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. Romans 3:23-25

I written a couple more things about this subject in my monthly newsletter coming out on the first. If you would like to receive it go here to sign up.

The Gift

On this day, remember the true gift of Christmas:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33) And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:4-7)

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-3)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be  upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:6-9)

I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” (Isaiah 43:15)

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you—his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. (Isaiah 53:13-15)

And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17-22)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)

(All Scripture quoted from ESV.)

We are living in the years of God’s favor. Unwrap the true gift of love this Christmas. Jesus only Jesus. There is no other name where every knee shall bow at the mention of His name. He is worthy of all our worship and all our praise! Rejoice for this is the day the Lord has made! Happy Birthday Jesus!

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