sweet Christmas gift from Jesus - worth curling up on a couch w/a cup of coffee (or tea) and listening to. Merry Christmas❤️
had a conversation with someone who was wondering how it's even fair for Christians to assume that the God of the Bible is the One and Only God for all people. the thought was that U.S. Christians are pretty presumptuous to think that "our God" is the God all people need to come to know (versus someone else's version of god)...this is my brief attempt to begin to answer that
God Cares For You ...can you say, deep down, that you genuinely believe that to be true? what about when your workplace is restructuring and you are being let go? Or you get a call from your parents who inform you that one of them has been diagnosed w/cancer? what about when business is down and you need to make some tough decisions, or someone you care about always seems to be down on their luck & they’re facing yet another “wrong time & place” scenario? what about when you receive unexpected news about your own health or when hopes & dreams have been dashed to pieces?
here’s what I know. God knew the mess we were about to make of His good world when we decided to try our own hand at making right & wrong decisions without Him. And even while we were turning our backs on Him, He was moving to bring about our rescue! He came & entered His now sin-stained world, walked in the middle of the mess, endured the tragic consequences that we made of the place, not for Himself! He took those horrible tragedies to the cross, where they were defeated and where He busted thru even death itself! Why? why in the world would He do that? Again, it certainly wasn’t for Himself - He had been living in a state of perfect unity & community in the heavenly realm prior to His entrance on earth. So, definitely NOT for Himself...but for US! Out of His self-sacrificing, self-giving love (cus that’s what real love is) He left His throne & all its glory to do for us what we were helpless to do for ourselves. He came and won the battle against Evil. It’s been defeated. And will one day be done away with for good! in the meantime...know that there is a Name that is above all names, and He is the one who is working ALL things together for good for those who love Him. You haven’t been abandoned. He sees every big & little thing you’re walking thru, He’s there with you. And while our limited perspective looks at our circumstances and says, “the only way this situation could possibly end in a way that I think is good is if...” (fill in the blank). But, dear friends, it’s in that moment when we’ve yet again (think Adam & Eve), decided that WE know what’s good and what’s not! my encouragement - remember there is One who sees it ALL, He sees way more than our limited perspective ever will, His thoughts are not ours, His Ways are so much higher, and He is the One who is with you, leading you, navigating you thru the tough terrain that seemingly makes no sense to the human eye. He’s there and tells you to abide in Him. Don’t wander away, draw nearer - He really is for you. The tragic yet beautiful act displayed on the cross is proof! Gotta trust someone — your imperfect self? Or the flawless, perfect One who’d rather die than live without you! back to the opening sentence (and this Sunday’s big idea): “God cares for you.” It’s truer than you can imagine❤️ WHATEVER you're walking thru this week, there is One who is near & dear, He is good and He IS working to set all things right and make all things new...because He loves you that much!
“there came from heaven a noise like the sound of a strong, blowing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. then tongues, seemingly made of fire, appeared to them, moving apart and coming to rest on each one of them. they were all filled with the holy spirit, and began speaking in other languages as the spirit gave them the words to say” – Acts 2:1-4
“God Gives Us the Holy Spirit!” That was last Sunday’s Big Idea for our 2s & 3s.
In reading and studying this part of Scripture, I love how one of my all-time favorite theologians put it:
“God moves mysteriously among his people, dealing with each individual in a different way. Some people are allowed remarkable experiences (as in THIS instance) perhaps because they are going to have to go into difficult situations and need to know very directly just how dramatically powerful and life-transforming God can be. Other people have to work in quiet and patient ways and not rely on a sudden burst of extra power to fix all the problems, which in fact need a much more steady, and perhaps much deeper, work. What is clear from words of Jesus himself (Lk 11:13) is that God longs to give the holy spirit to people, and that all we have to do is ask. What the spirit will do when he comes is anybody’s guess. Be prepared for wind and fire, for some fairly drastic spring-cleaning of the dusty and cold rooms of one’s life, knowing that the form and direction that any particular spirit-led life will take will be the one that will enable that person, uniquely, to bring glory to God” – NT Wright
Friends, we can trust our Good God to do the just right thing, working in amazingly perfect ways in our unique situation. And He has us here to encourage & help as we walk alongside each other because we're in this together. Praying for you <3
In our limited knowledge we may think, “I’m genuinely a good person. I love God. I walk with Him – going where He leads, doing the things He asks me to do. God seems to be pleased with me so, it only makes sense, that God would bless me with things I would like. “
For instance, maybe what you really long for is a family to love. You want to bear your own children and raise them in the LORD. But you haven’t been able to conceive. Why would it be this way? Doesn’t seem to make good sense, right? You know you love God with all your heart. You know living with Him and for Him genuinely describes your life. Why wouldn’t He bless you with a child?
May I suggest that we just might be looking at it all wrong. We’re looking at life through our limited human perspective – a perspective that is broken and in desperate need of redeeming and repair.
I was reading Zechariah’s story in Luke 1 beginning in verse 5: “In the time when Herod was King of Judaea, there was a priest called Zechariah, of the priestly division of Abijah. His wife, who came from the Aaron family, was called Elisabeth. Both of them were righteous in God’s sight; they followed all the LORD’s commandments and ordinances without fault. THEY HAD NO CHILDREN. Elisabeth was barren, and both of them were of an advanced age…”
Here’s a couple who, though righteous in God’s sight, had no children (which was a disgrace for couples at that time and in that culture). Was God mad at them? Was He punishing them? Neither of these. So what was wrong? Nothing at all in God’s eyes…except maybe OUR perspective! Why do we think that being righteous in God’s sight automatically means that we will, OF COURSE, have whatever good thing we’d like, whenever we’d like. In this case, bear children. We have put the two together believing that a good God will of course just do this for us (in our time frame and in our way).
Yet, God is always working. He hasn’t abandoned us. BUT, His ways are not ours. He sees a much bigger picture than we do. Therefore, His timing and His doings are always right, always perfect and always best. What if we suspended our expectations and simply said, “God, I love you. Nothing is more important than You. I want to know You. I want to walk with You. I want to reflect You.” No agenda. No expectations. No broken perspective. We let God be God and trust Him literally WITH ALL THINGS, knowing that He is good, that He loves us with an everlasting love and is out for our good.
It doesn’t mean we don’t share our heart and our desires with Him. He wants us to. Instead, we go to Him, freely & often, sharing our heart’s desires with Him and entrusting them to Him since He’s the one that sees and knows all things (and we’re the ones with limited sight and knowledge).
I wonder what it might feel like to simply live with Him and in His Presence while leaving the details to Him…Merry Christmas Season friends <3
It's a super sweet, super fun story of hope and rescue as Bella goes from "lost to found" (Lk 15:32)
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Good Morning Friends,
Been spending time in prayer for you and continuing to, always, but especially as Easter approaches!
Easter is the reason for hope and joy and new life! All that has gone before and all that follows finds it’s answer in this event. Jesus spoke about forming us into His likeness, about setting things right and making things new…this event is what makes that possible! :)
Here’s something God has recently prompted me to consider: there would be no resurrection without the crucifixion. In other words, there’s no “resurrected Jesus” without the “giving up His life Jesus.” And it is this same Jesus who tenderly looks at us and says, “if you want new life you must first experience death.” He wasn’t talking about physical death. God tells us that the way to abundant life in Him is by “denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Him.” There’s no new life without dying to self (“the old is gone the new has come”). Praying we know and experience and find the joy-filled life Jesus extends to us because of His death, burial and resurrection.
Will you please be praying for your friends and families in this same way too! Praying the Spirit moves and sweet revival occurs.
Looking forward to celebrating our resurrected King!
Love you deeply,
There was this dad. He was head over heels in love with his kids (cus what dad isn't). Before his kids were even born he carefully thought out the most spectacular place to bring them up. I mean, he took years to plan every last detail. And, well, turns out he was right of course. He had thought of everything. When his kids came along they had absolutely everything they could ever need (& more) simply because He loved to give them gifts.
Then came a dreadful day when a lying, conniving trickster approached his kids, twisting their dad's words until they actually thought that wicked beings stories could be true. Everything changed that day. The kids were lured away falling right into the trap set up by that deceiver. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn't break free to return home. He made sure to take them far, far away so that even if they could have broken free they wouldn't have any idea how to find their way back home.
But it had never entered their dad's mind to give up on His kids. Instead He moved forward with His plan to enter the enemy's territory in order to free them. Though it would cost Him dearly, He set out to defeat this evil con artist and rescue His children. And He did. He came, He battled and He won! The enemy was defeated! The dad's kids, safe at last, were with Him once again, and with the enemy destroyed they would never face a threat like that again.
It's a story of a dad's immense love for His kids. It's also a story of rescue and hope, peace and much joy. It's the story that Christmas is a part. - Ellie Wakeman
Celebrating God's indescribable Gift! Merry Christmas Eve!🎆
living loved and passionate about sharing my journey and insights with others...praying you are challenged along the way and always blessed : )