Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Pain of Betrayal

The Pain of Betrayal

Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"  Luke 22:48, NKJV

Judas was one of Jesus' very closest friends. He had been handpicked to be a disciple. He had been given the special responsibility of being treasurer for the entire band of disciples - a responsibility he had enjoyed as it gave him access to personal petty cash as well as prestige in the eyes of others. Yet it was this disciple who betrayed his Lord and Friend with a kiss! And although Jesus clearly knew the betrayal was coming, it was still a knifelike stab to His heart.


Have you ever been betrayed . . .
by a spouse who has taken a secret lover?
by a sibling who has stolen your inheritance?
by a coworker who has taken the credit for a job you did?


If you have experienced betrayal, then you understand something of the stabbing pain Judas inflicted at the very outset of Jesus' uphill struggle to the Cross and would resolve never to betray another.


Blessings

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Humble Submission

Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there."  Matthew 26:36, NKJV



The betrayal and arrest of Jesus was preceded by an extended time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. When He stepped out of the garden to present Himself to His enemies, Jesus had been alone, praying and agonizing for hours, wrestling with the will of His Father for His life, sweating what seemed to be great drops of blood in His effort. 


Throughout His agony He received the personal ministration of angels who helped Him to renew His strength, and He overcame the supreme temptation of the enemy to defy God's purpose, choosing instead to go to the Cross. His humble submission to His Father's will must have given Him a mantle of power that cloaked Him for the nine-hour journey that would take Him through six different trials, the inhumane cruelty of physical torture, the ultimate rejection of those He loved, and the climax of His own crucifixion and death on a Roman cross.


How is it that you and I think we can make it through the grueling journey of life without that same humble submission to the Father?


Blessings

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Open Your Eyes

"He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you."  John 16:14, NIV


Without the Holy Spirit to clarify the truth to our minds and confirm Who Jesus is in our hearts, we would "see" Jesus as just . . .
a man,
or a holy man,
or a prophet,
or a symbolic figure!

But the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see and our minds to know and our hearts to receive that Jesus is more than just a man . . . or a prophet . . . or a teacher . . . or a revolutionary . . . or an icon . . . or a symbol. 

Jesus is . . .

the Messiah of Israel,

the Son of God,

the Savior of the world,

the reigning King . . .

God Himself in the flesh!

Blessings

Friday, May 25, 2012

Two Together Forever

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.  Genesis 2:24, NIV

Some people may consider the intimate side of marriage as somehow being "unspiritual." But if you stop to think about it, the first person who ever had a sexual thought was God. Love expressed in marriage in a mutually respectful sexual relationship is God's idea, and it is pure, holy, and pleasing to Him.


Dr. Ed Wheat, a prominent marriage counselor, has pointed out that if the physical side of marriage deteriorates, every other aspect of marriage will soon be affected (Love Life). When God commanded Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and increase in number" (Gen. 1:28, NIV), He seemed to be saying, "Make sex a priority in your marriage," not only for the procreation of the race but also in order to maintain the intimate physical unity with each other we were created for.


Blessings

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

God's Love

God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.   Romans 5:5, NIV

Did you know that you are God's special loved one? Why would He love you so? Maybe it's because when you abide in Christ you are so saturated in Jesus that when God looks at you, He sees His own precious Son and envelopes you in His love for Jesus' sake!


As you and I develop and grow in this love relationship with God, abiding with Him through meaningful prayer and Bible reading, getting to know Him on a deeper level as we live out what we say we believe, He fills us with Himself. And "God is love" (1 John 4:16, NKJV).


 As you and I are filled with God, we will be filled with His love, not only for Himself, but for others - which includes our spouses or the incompatible people with whom we are struggling. God has promised to pour out "his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."


Blessings

Monday, May 21, 2012

Follow the Light

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.   Psalm 119:105, NIV



In what area of your life do you need illumination? Discouragement about the future and the direction we have chosen, depression over the lack of fulfillment in our lives, or disillusionment by our previous attempts to find meaning for life through organized religions can all plunge us into the darkness. Do you ever wonder,


"What is the meaning to my life?"


"Why is genuine happiness so elusive?"


"Why do I feel guilty?"


"Why do I feel afraid?"


"Is there a God?"


"Is there life after death?"


God's written Word and the answers we find there turn our darkness into light. God's Word "is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." So . . . follow the light!


Blessings

Saturday, May 19, 2012

You're Welcome

"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."  John 14:2, NIV



How often I have dashed home from church to get things ready for guests I have invited to lunch! I want to get the ice in the glasses, take the roast out of the oven while I pop the rolls in, make the gravy, steam the broccoli, and generally get things organized so that when my guests walk through the door everything is prepared for their enjoyment.


I want them to know by the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen, and the elegant setting of the table, and the sideboard laden with dishes brimming with steaming food that they are expected and they are welcome.


In John 14:2, Jesus was telling His disciples that He was going to dash Home to get things ready for them so when they walked through the door they would know they were expected, they were welcome, and His home was theirs to enjoy!


Blessings

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Believe in His Name

There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  Acts 4:12, NKJV

Although God is the Creator of us all, nowhere does the Bible say we are all His children. On the contrary, there are two conditions you and I must meet before we can be called God's children. One is that we must receive Jesus, or open the door of our hearts and invite Him to come in. The other is that we must believe in His Name.


Believing in His Name means we must be willing to commit our lives to all that He is as represented by His Name. And His Name is Lord Jesus Christ.


The qualification for being a child of God by believing on His Name means much more than just head knowledge. It is not just giving intellectual assent to the fact that the Name Lord Jesus Christ is the label attached to the Person. It means to rest in Jesus, to put all of our trust on Him alone for forgiveness and salvation.


Blessings

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No Night There

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.   Revelation 21:23, NIV



Our heavenly home will glow and radiate with light from within - the light of God Himself and the glorious radiance of His presence.


I have been in some of the great cities of the world at night. I have looked out after sunset from Victoria Peak in Hong Kong during the Chinese New Year, and I have seen the lights transform the hills surrounding the harbor into a virtual fairyland. I have seen the lights of Capetown, South Africa, wrapped around Table Mountain at night forming a vast, jewel-studded skirt. . . .


But even in those great cities with their millions of lights, there are still pockets of darkness. In our heavenly home, there will be no darkness at all.


Blessings

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Grinding Off the Sharp Edges

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."  John 15:12, NIV



In the Old Testament, the meal offering consisted of fine flour that was ground to powder by being placed in a round hole, where it was grated by a square pestle. The flour was then mixed with oil, which represented the Holy Spirit. The oil and flour, thoroughly mixed together and offered to God, was a picture of a totally consecrated life.


Sometimes God puts us with someone whom He uses to grate us. For instance, perhaps you are very generous with your money, and you are married to someone who is so careful, he or she is almost stingy. Or perhaps you are very quiet, and God has put you on a committee with someone who talks nonstop. Or worse, perhaps you are a nonstop talker and you are on a committee with another nonstop talker! Instead of avoiding those with whom we are incompatible or just tolerating them, Jesus commands you and me to love them. And as we obey His command, He will use that person to grind off our sharp, impatient, un-Christlike edges.


Blessings

Friday, May 11, 2012

Get Up...and Pray!

Get Up...and Pray!

Lord, teach us to pray....Luke 11:1, NIV

Prayer has always been a struggle for me. In fact, I've described it as the fight of my life. The one thing consistent about it is my struggle to maintain a quality time alone with God every day. I have failed more often than I have succeeded.


What about you? How's your prayer life? Are you rushing through your prayer time? Neglecting it altogether? Isaiah 50:4 (NIV) says, "The sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning." 


When my body wants to roll over and go back to sleep, my spirit says, "Get up, Anne, or you will miss the word God has for you this morning. The very word that will sustain you today...or a word to share that will sustain someone else."


What blessing are you missing because you're sleeping instead of listening to what God has to say? You'll never know until you get up...and pray!


Blessings

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Keep Focused

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV



God, as the Judge of all the earth, determined the wickedness of Cain's civilization could no longer be tolerated, and He sent the Flood to wash it away. God, Who judged the world, is the same God Who saved the world from His own judgment by providing the ark as a means of escape. Praise God! That's His goodness!


Like pouring oil on troubled waters, our knowledge of Who God is calms our fears. So . . . keep your faith, and keep your focus!
God is faithful
and gracious
and good
and loving
and patient
and holy
and righteous
and merciful.
Blessings

Monday, May 7, 2012

Precious in God's Sight

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.   Isaiah 43:2, NIV



Have your thoughts been similar to these?


God, where have You been?
Why did You let this happen?
I just don't understand.

Are you overlooking the fact that Jesus has drawn near to you?


Are you blinded to His presence by your own tears?


Are you deafened to His gentle voice by your own accusations?


While God doesn't always protect those He loves from suffering or answer our prayers the way we ask Him to, He does promise in His Word that He will be present with us in the midst of our suffering and pain. He said, "Fear not. . . . When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. . . . For I am the Lord, your God . . . your Savior; . . . you are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you" (Isa. 43:1-4, NIV).


Blessings

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Don't Tolerate Temptation!

Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  James 4:7, NKJV



Temptation, whether in the form of a serving of birthday cake when you're on a diet or the bed of your neighbor's spouse, intensifies through toleration. The toleration leads to a preoccupation of thoughts, and it's not long before we reach out to touch it. At that point, there is almost no turning back.


What temptation have you tolerated, thought about, touched, and toyed with? "It's just one more glass of wine." "It's just a little harmless flirtation." "It's just a magazine at the checkout counter." "It's just one date." Watch out! If you tolerate it, think about it, and toy with it, you are just a step away from actually doing it. So . . . instead of tolerating sin, turn from it NOW!


Blessings

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Naming Your Sin

That you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.  Matthew 9:6, NKJV

Only God in Christ has the power to forgive sin. But you and I must confess it to Him personally, specifically, and honestly if we want to receive forgiveness. God promises, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9, NIV). That word confess means to call sin by the same names that God does, to agree with God about your sin.


You and I often play games with the names we call sin to make it seem less like sin. For example, we call the sin of unbelief, worry. We call the sin of lying, exaggeration. We call the sin of fornication, safe sex.
As long as we switch the labels on sin to make it seem less serious, we're being dishonest with ourselves and with God, and we remain unforgiven. But, if we say the same thing about our sin that God says-if we say, "God, it's lying. It's jealousy. It's lust. It's revenge. It's hate. It's adultery. It's unforgiveness"-God will forgive us! So start naming your sin for what it is in God's eyes.


Blessings

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

God Is Faithful!

God Is Faithful!

His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV
Three hundred and seventy-one days after the Flood began, "God said to Noah, 'Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives'" (Gen. 8:15, NIV). We can almost hear the "Hallelujah Chorus" playing in the background! What a day of rejoicing that must have been! God had been faithful to see him through!
God has not changed. If He was faithful to watch over Noah and all those within the ark, bringing them safely through the storm, He will do the same for you. Just as He was faithful to preserve Joseph through thirteen years of slavery in Potiphar's house and Pharaoh's prison, just as He was faithful to preserve the little baby Moses floating on the Nile . . . God will be faithful to you. Why? Because God is faithful! He cannot be less than Himself! Keep your focus on God's faithfulness and on God's greatness!
Blessings
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