March 31, 2018

It Was For You And Me

It was in three black hours of darkness over the whole land (Mark 15:33) when our sins were placed on Jesus and He paid the price for every one of them as He shed His blood for all mankind.

When the earth trembled and the veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mark 15:38)—Jesus hung dying redeeming all our sin.

Sin so dark and vile God had to look away forsaking His only Son while Jesus suffered in agony on the cross.

His mercy and love for us knew no end while He was being tormented, mocked, and disbelieved. The world, the religious leaders, the enemy, they all thought it was over for Jesus. They thought they had won when they crucified Him on the cross.

Some of His followers ran and hid. His enemies celebrated. Those closest to Him cried and mourned. And they didn’t understand. Jesus had told them everything that would happen but it was more than they could comprehend. In their finite minds, this was not going according to plan, or so it seemed.

And so imagine early on Sunday morning, arriving at His tomb to find it open and empty and an Angel standing guard proclaiming He is not here, He has risen as He said! 

Yes, the rock was rolled away, the tomb was empty, and Jesus was nowhere to be seen. 

Imagine finding out He rose again and conquered sin and death and offers free salvation unto all who believe. 

You don’t have to imagine. This is the victorious Easter Message! 

It was for you and me Jesus died and rose again! 

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

1 John 4:9-10 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

March 25, 2018

About First Breath of Morning - A 90 Day Devotional

Waken again to the wonder of who God is and it starts in the first breath of each new morning where He waits for you every day. 

When I first began writing devotions I printed them, used my hole-punch to punch three holes, and placed them in a three ring binder. The collection grew, so I decided one afternoon to try to sort them and see what I had. I proceeded to make stacks as I read devotions centered on faith, our relationship where God works in us and changes us, drawing near, love – God’s for us and ours for Him, trials, and worship. Six themes emerged.

I knew then, I was building a book right there in the six stacks of devotions on the floor. If a book, then what order should the sections be placed? And that began the work on the book years ago that will be published this October.

I hope you have read the Book Info Page on my home page where I added a book description that includes summaries of the six chapters. I also hope you are already thinking of friends you will invite to join you and go through this devotional together, maybe in your home or at a coffee cafe. I am working on a simple discussion guide that will assist in group discussions.

My vision for this book is that in addition to individual purchases, it will also be used for book clubs and small groups. I have had people request it for their staff meetings in the Christian School where they teach. I have had interest expressed in using it with prayer groups that meet at work or in homes. There are just so many different settings this book will work well in.

It is still six months out, but when we are closer to the book release date, I hope you will recommend First Breath of Morning for your women’s ministry group at your church, and your prayer group at work, your staff meeting, or your small group. I hope you will help me spread the word! 

First Breath of Morning  
October 1, 2018

March 20, 2018

From Pursuit to Reward

My pursuit of a deeper understanding of God’s love, faith, and walking with Him, took place as I journeyed to find my way through a time of feeling confused and without direction. We’ve all been at a crossroads in our faith walk where we choose to go deeper in our relationship with God and wholly follow after Him, or coast, and continue our own path in our own way.

As I sought the Lord through a more intensive time alone with Him and in His Word, I discovered that finding Him was much more rewarding than finding myself.  And in drawing closer to Him, He revealed who He made me to be. 

I made a stronger commitment to my regular quiet time and in that time with God, I learned the importance of developing a deeper relationship with Him, and I discovered the depth of His love and found the stronger faith He calls us to when we yield surrendered lives unto Him. He taught me that He is there for us in all our struggles and conflicts and we are never alone, He is always with us.

If I can pursue it, that means anyone can. It isn’t complicated unless we make it complicated and we often do. And then we blame God when we think the closeness isn’t there and instead there is a distant feeling. It doesn’t have to be that way or stay that way.

It does take work. It requires pursuit. But there is no other relationship more worth the effort.

The reward far outweighs the effort. 

The reward is waking up in the morning knowing God is already waiting for you to go through the day with you.

The reward is going through the day knowing He is with you and nothing can separate you from His love.

The reward is having a kind of joy and peace that the world can’t begin to understand.

The reward is His Spirit working in and through you to change you and make you more like Him.

The reward is you are His and you belong to Him forever. This is a forever relationship you can count on. I think this is the best reward.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

March 14, 2018

Heroes of My Faith

I didn’t grow up in church. I didn’t learn the stories of David and Goliath or Joseph and his coat of many colors, or his brothers who plotted to kill him. I didn’t know about Abraham and Isaac, or Daniel and the lion’s den. I didn’t know about Baby Jesus in a manger or Paul meeting Jesus on the Road to Damascus when he was still named Saul. I didn’t know about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea or about Noah and the ark or Jonah in the whale.

But I learned these stories after I was saved and reading my Bible. I also heard them in the context of messages in church and Sunday school classes and other Bible studies. They are not mere stories. They are true accounts of men and women that God has chosen to place in the Holy infallible scriptures for our benefit. We are to learn from them.

I have my favorites. I call them the Heroes of my faith. Their stories and struggles, their victories and faith have taught me the most. We all need heroes. Here are a few of mine: 

When I need courage to face a giant, I remember David. 
1 Samuel 17:37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 

When I need to forgive when others hurt me, I think of Joseph and the injustices he endured. 
Genesis 50:19-20 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 

When I can’t see the next step of my journey, I remember Abraham. 
Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 

When I struggle with contentment and joy, I think of Paul. 
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

When I don’t understand anything in the face of hardship, I think of Job. 
Job 1:20-22 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. 

The greatest Hero of my faith is Jesus Christ, because He is my Savior.
 John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.