Lent Week 6 Day 33

Psalm 22:6-8,

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
    “let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.”

This psalmist is feeling pretty low and bad about himself. He feels small like a worm and feels like God is faraway. People make fun of him and say if God is for him then why doesn’t it show. What I’m getting from this passage is not to have self pity and feel sorry for myself. God will show up when I accept my circumstances, be thankful for my life and always worship and praise God. Prayer: Help me God to always have a good and thankful attitude. I will praise and thank You always because You are good and You will never leave me! Thank you, Amen.

Lent to Repent

Day 33

Scripture reading today is 1 Peter 2:1-3, 21-25. It is talking about how we should cease from all deceit, insincerity, evil speaking. We should crave to know God’s ways because we have tasted the goodness of God. Jesus has shown us how to live and is our example to follow. He died for us to die to sin and live upright. We used to be going astray and now we are back with the Shepherd.

Ann says: Today I pray that the shape of my day will look like the cross in every way.

I was thinking about what Ann said the shape of my day being the shape of the cross and I pictured something. The vertical beam of the cross represents our relationship with God and the horizontal beam is our relationship with people. So to live a cross life is to have fellowship with God, worship and praise Him, then bring that light and love to others.

Day 21- Go about doing good as Jesus did.

Day 22- It’s the sin God hates!

Day 23- True beauty comes from a clean heart that sees God

Day 24- Have faith Jesus is the Truth

Day 25- Fast from your sinful nature

Day 26- Believe Jesus, deny self, walk in the Kingdom

Day 27- Follow the Holy Spirit, return to God

Day 28- True worship connects you to God’s grace

Day 29- You have to follow the Holy Spirit continually to keep fear out

Day 30- Fear is flesh, Faith is spirit

Day 31- Thirst for God and put your hope in Him alone

Day 32- Find God’s light then live in it

Day 33- Live the shape of the cross

 

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Lent Week 3 Day 16

Psalm 34:3, O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us lift up His name together.

Let’s praise God and honor Him. Speak of all the ways God is good and holy. And even though we are sinful God made a way for us to fellowship through Jesus. We should be praising and raising His name up everyday, everywhere. God, help me remember everyday Your grace toward me. Help me share with others the wonderous things you are doing in my life.

Trail to the Tree

Day 16 Waiting

The scripture is about when Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb and the two Mary’s were waiting outside the tomb.

Ann says: Today, wait. Sit at the tomb and wait on the Lord. Trust when all is dark. Believe when the stone is rolled in and sealed. Carry a stone in your pocket and remember: there is hope. Wait and have faith in the coming Resurrection, glorious light erupting on black horizon.

When our sins are ever before us, meaning when we come to realize we are sinners then we find ourselves waiting to see what will happen next. Where do we go from here? We need God to rescue us. I experienced this but at the time I didn’t realize what was happening. Before my salvation experience I was aware of my sinfulness and I knew I didn’t deserve anything that I had. I thanked God for everything and this was the beginning of my salvation. It was over a period of a month or two that this happened. I was led to read the Bible and then had an urge to know more about Jesus. I watched The Gospel of John and realized Jesus was choosing me to follow Him. I repented and asked for forgiveness and fell in love with Him. He made His presence known to me in this moment. I had new life! Salvation isn’t something we can “make” happen, it’s the power of the Holy Spirit that raises us from “the dead” in spirit to new life. The same power that raised Jesus is the same power that raises us. When things look dark just wait and the light will come bursting through!

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

Day 6- Stay close to God with a repented heart. He will bring life out of the mundane if I trust Him to do it.

Day 7- Relationship means dependence. Depend on your relationship with Jesus to do God’s will and bring Him joy and joy to yourself.

Day 8- Don’t hesitate to ask God for help out of all temptations, trials, distresses and troubles. Keep God on your mind, always.

Day 9- Being thankful and having faith for the presence of God in my life will prompt miracles.

Day 10- Let my heart stay vulnerable so God can multiply His love through me.

Day 11- God helps us through the words of Jesus.

Day 12- Surrender and live a new life

Day 13- Receive and give thanks for God’s grace and live holy

Day 14- Remember grace through Jesus to stay awake

Day 15- Pray for the Holy Spirit’s presence to stay out of darkness, repent when necessary

Day 16- Praise, Honor and Glorify God and Jesus and wait to see what He does!

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Lent Week 1 Day 5

Today is a poem/prayer talking about the suffering people and the miserable ones. I wrote my own prayer adapted from the one in the Mosaic Bible.

Asking God to show me these ones so that I can pray for them and help me to see Jesus in everyone. Help me to be honest and patient with people remembering that You love them too. I pray for Your Spirit to be in me to bring forth praise and singing that others would see Christ in me. And Your Spirit would spread and grow. With Your Spirit living in me, I will never grow tired or weary of doing good. I thank those through prayer who have died for our freedom. Help me to love those who hate me and help me through Your Holy Spirit to change the world. Amen.

Trail to the Tree- Day 5- Let Loose!

The scripture reading is about the angel who made the announcement to the shepherds about the Savior being born. When they heard and went to see they let loose in praise! Ann says: Today we can’t help ourselves! We are spilling with the Good News! We must speak, announce, that great joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide!

This reminds me of the day I received the Good News! I was at my kitchen table watching The Gospel of John and it finally clicked that Jesus is MY Savior and He is ALIVE! I wanted everyone to experience what I experienced. It is so wonderful that you can’t keep it to yourself and you want everyone to have it!

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Day 4- Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to fill you. Look to Jesus with gratitude and prayer.

Day 5- Notice the miserable and suffering, ask God to reveal them so I can tell them the Good News that there is hope and there is a Savior, His name is Jesus!

 

 

Lent Week One Day 3

Today is about reverence, worship and praise toward God for who He is and toward Jesus for what He has done. I wrote an article about reverence, worship and praise here . What I read today brought these scriptures to mind. Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 1 John 4:19,  We love because he first loved us.

My reading was a poem and a quote. The quote is about how the blood of Jesus is forgiveness of sins and the cross represents the sinners that we are. He bled forgiveness on each one of us. We all have a cross to bear, our own sinfulness, but Jesus’ shed blood washes it away. Picture yourself carrying this heavy, burdensome cross across a river and a big gush of water like in the wild rapids comes along and takes the cross from your back and washes it down river. Jesus can do this for us.

The poem was about seeing God for who He really is. Having reverential fear and awe towards Him. We shouldn’t take His presence lightly. It is an honor to be in His presence. We should remember that we need God to survive and thrive. We take His Holy Spirit for granted these days. The Israelites didn’t have His Holy Spirit. We need to take God’s presence seriously and be thankful Jesus made a way for us to be with Him.

Trail to the Tree was about the gift of rescue. Ann wrote:” Father, we paint ourselves red with Jesus’ blood so that satan can not enter into this soul place to wrack ruin and death, but that You would come through the door of our hearts…that we would come through Jesus, the door, and into Your Presence.”

We are rescued just as the Israelites were on the first Passover. They painted crosses with blood of a lamb on their door posts so no death would come inside. So by faith I paint with Jesus’ blood a cross on the door of my heart so no evil can come into my thinking, my attitude, my love, my peace, my joy. Jesus rescues me and also protects me.

Day 1- Get your thinking straight and be in God’s presence

Day 2- Be reading the Bible and trust God

Day 3- Reverence, worship and praise God and Jesus for who God is and what Jesus has done.

Thank you God for loving me even as a sinner. Thank you for Your mercy and lovingkindness and for sending Jesus to save me. Thank you Jesus that You saw Your mission through to the end to save us all from death. Thank you that You loved us first and died for us to live.

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The Greatest Gift Is A Wonderful Life!

I have never participated in Advent until 2015. I decided I would experience Advent with Ann Voskamp’s devotional book called The Greatest Gift. It really was an experience like never before at Christmas. I never felt closer to God and Jesus during this season than in 2015. Her title refers to Jesus being the greatest gift. He is the only true gift of Christmas. One night after Christmas was over I woke up from being sick and felt drawn to go in the living room to take medicine and to open my Bible. I opened the Bible to Ephesians 5: 15-20. It talks about time and spending it wisely and also about praising God with songs and hymns. Giving thanks is included as well. It says we should be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Joyce Meyer sums it up in her life point as this: To stay filled with the Holy Spirit we have to speak to ourselves and others with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. We need to keep our thoughts and words full of God’s Word by continuously offering praise and giving thanks to Him.

As I was reading this in the still of the night, a bell on my Christmas tree rang. I knew it was a sign from God. Then a couple nights later I had a dream about a man who I was trying to get directions from cause I was lost. I told him I wasn’t spiritually lost just physically. I asked him his name and he told me Clarence. I said you must be an angel! I remembered the angel in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. Then I woke up. I decided God wanted me to watch the movie so I did.  In the movie I noticed a saying on the wall, it said, ” You only take with you what you have given away.”  I saw in the movie that people let money rule their happiness. The lack of money tries to steal our joy. George said to Clarence that money comes in pretty handy down here! But when Clarence shows George what the town would have been like with out him, he changes inside. He sees where money isn’t the answer to joy or happiness. It’s our presence in the lives of others that really matters. This is what makes a difference. Not the money you give but time, words of encouragement, thanking God and praising Him together. This is what counts in God’s eyes.

After watching the movie I decided to research how it came about. This movie was based off a story of 72 pages written in 1943 by Philip Van Doren Stern. Guess what the name of his book was? The Greatest Gift! Frank Capra took the short story and made it a little different and then called it what we know as “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Here is a link to the history of it, http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/12/its-a-wonderful-life-was-based-on-a-christmas-card-short-story-by-philip-van-doren-stern/

This was very interesting to me. I sat and wondered what message God had in all this for me and yesterday it came to me the title of this post, The Greatest Gift Is A Wonderful Life! Have you ever heard people say God gave us life as a gift and our gift to Him is a life well lived? Our greatest gift is a life filled with Jesus which produces a wonderful life! And it tells us in Ephesians 5:15-20 how to have that wonderful life! If we can get our focus off of money, which we can’t take with us by the way, then we can truly live a wonderful life. If we put into practice praising, thanking and learning God’s Word and encouraging others to do the same the Holy Spirit will reside in us and make all blessings flow. I watched Steven Furtick today and he said something very important. He said as children of God we already have the promises and blessings of God. Some may say that they don’t experience any and Steven says why that is. He said it’s because your heart is stopped up. There are foreign objects in your heart preventing you from receiving God’s blessings. He named things like complaining, grumbling, addictions. When we dig out these things that are from Satan to hinder us then the water can flow. In John 4:13-14 it says,  Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.14 But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water [satisfying his thirst for God] welling up [continually flowing, bubbling within him] to eternal life.” This verse comes from the story of the woman at the well. He told her the water from the well is temporary relief but the water He can give is eternal relief! Faith in Jesus brings blessings and promises but they can’t be received if we are blocking them with other stuff.  Yesterday Steven Furtick talked about practice. He used a football player catching the ball as an example. In the video it looks effortless and lucky. But Steven shows footage of the player in practice and also before the game doing this catch over and over and over again which proves it wasn’t “lucky” but the result of hard work! So, we have to practice these things in Ephesians over and over to see results. 

In the link above it talks about the real people who inspired the story.  The character of George Bailey was actually based partly on the founder of Bank of America, A.P. Giannini.  If you read the article you see that he wasn’t money oriented but people oriented. Because of this, God blessed him. He had it right. He was the inspiration to the movie and he should be an inspiration to us all that it really can be a wonderful life!

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Reverence, Worship and Praise

These three words are what comes naturally after being born again. Once we are woken up to the fact of who God really is, when we know without a doubt that He is the one and only true living God and He loves us, we begin to have reverence for Him. Reverence is a deep respect for Him. Then, as some would not realize, comes worship. We tend to think singing to God is worship, but as we reverence God there is a feeling that comes and it’s called worship. So, as Kim Walker once said, we worship God in our heart and the singing is a manifestation of the worship we feel.  So, singing is praise! Praise is the expression of reverence and worship.

God showed me several scriptures in the Bible having to do with reverence and worship. Scriptures that tell us if we will do these things God will do something in return. First of all if we want to have wisdom we begin with reverencing and worshiping God. Psalm 111:10 says,  The [reverent] fear of the Lord is the beginning (the prerequisite, the absolute essential, the alphabet) of wisdom;
A good understanding and a teachable heart are possessed by all those who do the will of the Lord;
His praise endures forever. If we reverence and worship we are in God’s will and He will give us wisdom. As followers of Jesus, not only do we want knowledge but most importantly we want His wisdom. When we possess wisdom we have insight and understanding that mere knowledge can not express. Knowledge of something isn’t the same as experiencing it. When Jesus imparts wisdom to us we are experiencing His presence. When we follow the Holy Spirit we are living in wisdom.

When we reverence and worship God we are actually serving Him. If we ever doubt that we are serving,  just look at your heart and see if you are reverencing and worshiping God. As it says in Psalm 2:11, Worship the Lord and serve Him with reverence [with awe-inspired fear and submissive wonder];
Rejoice [yet do so] with trembling. When we are serving God and in His will for our lives we then put ourselves on the path where all blessings flow. Blessings include provision. Psalm 111:5 says, He has given food to those who fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence];
He will remember His covenant forever.  God notices who reverences and worships Him. He will provide for them and never forget them. 

When I read about people in the Bible such as Abraham, Jacob and David, I like to think we are like them only living in a different day and time. This scripture tells me that this is true, Psalm 61:5, For You have heard my vows, O God;
You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name [with reverence]. We can have assurance that if we are reverencing and worshiping God as they did, that God is with us too. God is looking for people who will honor Him, put Him first!

And lastly, when we reverence and worship and then praise God, it keeps Satan away! I had a dream once where demons were messing with me and taunting me and I heard the Spirit of God tell me, evil can not inhabit the praises of God!  When we are actually praising God, evil can’t be present. That is comforting to know that evil can’t penetrate the praise we give to God! Luke 4:8, Jesus replied to him, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.’”  This was what Jesus said to Satan when he tempted Jesus.

So, no matter what we do, keep worshiping and praising God! It should be like food is to our body. Do it all day, every day! Keep your head up and hold hands high!