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Labor Day

Posted on September 2, 2019 at 10:06 AM Comments comments (0)
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:28-29 NKJV

Today we celebrate Labor Day!  In this the last summer holiday, we anticipate what the fall season will bring.  In our world of toil and burden, for some a day off provokes joyful activities.  However, there are many who will view this as just another day and some will take the yoke of worry and despair all the way into tomorrow which will come with its own troubles.  Jesus offers us eternal rest not as in death for He has already overcome that but rest for our souls as we live in this fallen world, as well as everlasting life and peace in the Kingdom of God.  As we walk with Christ, we can lay our loads down at His feet every day and celebrate new life as we look with hope to the future God has planned for us. 

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV

Kill Him!

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (1)
Pilate asked them, “What am I to do with Jesus, who is called the Messiah?”

They all yelled, “Nail him to a cross!”

Matthew 27:22 CEV

They ALL yelled. Many of them who called out for His death had been fed, healed and delivered by Jesus. And even still, our compassionate, loving and forgiving Heavenly Father promises not to indulge in group participation when we stand before His judgment seat. And we will alone with Him with no input from anybody else. That's mercy. That's grace. That's love.

What's Up?

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (1)
This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.

He never did one thing wrong, not once said anything amiss.

They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.

1 Peter 2:24-25 MSG

It's not really about coloring eggs and pretty spring clothes.  As we celebrate this season of grace, let us remember what's up and be thankful for Jesus doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Amen?

Happy New Year!

Posted on January 1, 2019 at 1:48 PM Comments comments (0)
If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:13-17 New International Version (NIV)

Happy New Year!  We like many new things and we celebrate the new year as we look forward to what the next 12 months will bring.  There is much hope in the chance to begin again to start over and make better choices and change some things. "Put on our new natures."  Our Creator knows all about newness since everything began with Him.  He also knew what new things we would need to become all He created us in His image to be.  So, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die to give us new life. 

To experience new life, we must die to old ways and habits that keep us bound in our old lives.  This is the kind of dying that frees us receive the new life God promises through Christ.  To those who do not truly know God, dying to anything seems crazy.  Yet, He who gives and sustains life for us all, offers us new life when we put to death those things that are designed to permanently kill us anyway.  Jesus laid down His life for us, but He rose from the grave and beckons us to follow Him to everlasting life in the Kingdom of God.  There was no reason for Him to die other than a commitment He was making to help us to live.  As we accept Him as Savior and Lord, we are new creatures with new life in Him. And not just for another year, but forever.  Let's make today the day we commit to put on our new natures.

Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.  Ephesians 4:24  NLT

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.  Colossians 3:10 NLT


Throw Out the Trash

Posted on December 31, 2018 at 12:09 PM Comments comments (1)
Hezekiah Cleanses the Temple

In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, and said to them: “Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place.

2 Chronicles 29:3-5 New King James Version (NKJV)

The beginning of the new year is a great time to purge and rid our homes of clutter and useless items.  This mindset is one of those resolutions we either keep or don't keep as that first day of the first month rolls in.  It's not quite like those we make to follow all year long as we resolve to break bad habits and make promises to do better this time around.  There's an unforgiving cut-off date if that junk is still sitting there on New Year's Day.  We can still resolve to do something about it, but we've lost the chance to have it all gone by the stroke of midnight when the new year actually creeps in.

Hezekiah came into his reign calling for a clean up of the temple of the Lord.  He demanded that the trash be taken out of the "holy place" when he opened up the doors.  Jesus opened up the door of our souls as He gave His life to remove our sin.  When we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, our bodies became temples of the Holy Spirit who desires all rubbish to be disposed of since He is going to be living there.  By getting rid of the garbage, we can make room for something new in our lives as we prepare for another year of God's grace.  We can be thankful that we have now have His help to clean things up!

Because of Jesus, the past, like the trash we tend to carry within our hearts from year to year, can be cast away and forgotten.  Let's throw it out and begin this year embracing that which is available to all who follow Jesus.  Celebrate new life! 

Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands.  Isaiah 43:18-19 CEV

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV


The Day After

Posted on December 26, 2018 at 3:48 PM Comments comments (0)
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

James 1:16-18 New International Version (NIV)

As we clear the wrapping paper debris and put away the gifts after yet another year of celebration, let us remember that the gift of Jesus is a gift that keeps on giving.  We are to do the same.  God does not change and His blessings are continuous.  Unlike some of the presents we receive from people, God's gifts are good and perfect and come from above.  The heavenly lights continue to shine over us even as we set out to take the lights and decorations down from our homes.

God is the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The promise He has made through the birth of His Son is everlasting life. So, as the saying goes:  Don't throw out the "Baby" with the bathwater.   Let us celebrate our Savior every day until He returns for the ultimate celebration.  His gift of grace is not wrapped up in paper or stuffed in bags.  It is a gift given to us that we are to keep in our hearts forever.

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?  Numbers 23:19 NLT

Who is He?

Posted on December 25, 2018 at 8:39 AM Comments comments (0)
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

John 18:37 New International Version (NIV)

We call Him Savior and Lord. He saved us from sin and is Lord of our lives. Yet, He whose birth we celebrate this day has many names.  He was born to testify of the Truth because He is Truth! King of kings! Lord of lords!  Prince of Peace! Wonderful, Counselor, Healer, Provider is the Son of the Most High God to whom all authority is given!  As the One who is all and over all, He doesn't get caught up in a title. Call Him what you like that conveys who He is in Truth.  But CALL HIM!  Say His name:  JESUS!

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holiday (Holy Day)! Whatever we label this day, we are to celebrate the fact that Jesus was born and now lives forever to save us as we follow Him from His birth and through His life to God's everlasting Kingdom!  As we commemorate His beginning, let us look forward to rejoicing forever in what He promises for the end.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NKJV


Wise Men

Posted on December 24, 2018 at 10:54 AM Comments comments (0)
Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Matthew 2:7-12 New Living Translation (NLT) 

The story is told in the Bible of the three wise men who saw the star that proclaimed the birth of our Savior.  What made them wise?  They were wise because they followed that star.  They were further blessed with wisdom as God spoke to them in a dream and told them to avoid Herod on their route back home and they obeyed.  Only God gives wisdom and we become wise when we receive it.

From the beginning, Jesus was doomed by the world.  God's plan of salvation was attacked from the moment Christ was born.  But who of us can stop the plan of God?  Jesus would indeed die but not before the purpose of His birth was fulfilled.  Our disadvantage in this world is that without Christ, the enemy of our souls knows God better than we do.
 But " . . . greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

As we follow Jesus through life, we can expect obstacles and bumps along the road.  As we encounter opposition and hindrance, God will give us the wisdom to know we are on the right track.  Sometimes, He will even give it to us in a dream.  When we go off course, He will provide wisdom for that too.

All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.  Romans 16:27 NLT
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  James 1:5 ESV

Simeon Prays

Posted on December 21, 2018 at 7:47 AM Comments comments (0)
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

Luke 2:25-32 New King James Version (NKJV)

Faithful Father,

All power, glory and dominion are Yours for You are the Creator and Sustainer of life.  We pray with Simeon and thank You for giving us Your only begotten Son, Jesus.  Because You did, we who believe in who He is will not see death after we have seen Your Son, who gave His life for our salvation. We celebrate His birth and look forward to the blessed hope of life everlasting in Your Kingdom as we follow Him.

In His precious name we pray.
Amen and Amen. 

My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”  Matthew 26:42 NLT

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6 NLT

Go Tell it on the Mountain!

Posted on December 20, 2018 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Luke 2:8-12, 16-21 English Standard Version (ESV)

God selected certain people for the angels to tell of the birth of His Son.  In this passage of Scripture, He chose shepherds watching their sheep. Their reverence for God was such that initially the appearance of the angels frightened them. Their belief in God then led them to curiosity and they went looking for the Savior who had been born into the world. Their faith in what it meant caused them to share this Good News, making it known to everyone they could.  Without social media!  How would we react to an angel appearing before our very eyes with a message like this from God?  Even as we have God's Word to inform us and history to confirm it, there are many who cannot imagine what God has done and is still doing.  Fortunately for us, we will all see Jesus at the same time when He returns to complete His mission.

Fully human, Christ entered the world to live among us.  He was born as a baby and raised from childhood, just like us.  Fully God, He lives forever and gave his earthly life so that we can too.  And we won't have to follow a star to find Him in a manger when He comes back. We can follow Him now and when He comes again we will simply look up at the sky.  Hallelujah!

So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.  Luke 2:39-40 NKJV