Category: jesus

Verse of the Week – Ephesians 5:1-2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”   Ephesians 5:1-2

Instead of the million other things I try to do and to be, this is what I’m going for this week (and hopefully many more weeks).  Forget the rest.  I want to live as a dearly love child of God who tries her best to love like Jesus and live like her Father wants her to.  Simple, incredibly difficult, and humbling words are all wrapped in one little sentence, and the directive is so clear.  Help me Lord, to be more like you want me to be, to love people like you do, and to live as your child.

Verse of the Week – John 15:5

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I am the vine and you are the branches.  If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.     
John 15:5

This morning one of the pastors at our church shared about the difference between trying to make a name for ourselves, and God making a name for us.  He shared the passages in Genesis 11 and 12 that showed the fate of the builders of the tower of Babel as apposed to that of Abram/Abraham.  The builders tried to reach God through their own work, while Abram believed God and trusted Him.  How different those 2 approaches to life are, but they make all the difference.  I think I struggle between the 2 on a daily basis.  I really want to trust God with my whole life, but sometimes it is so hard to get over the fact that I don’t know best and what I think is good for me is not the BEST that God has for me.  I’ve learned that the good I want for my self  is often the enemy that gets in the way of the best that God has planned.  
Do you struggle with trusting God with anything in your life?   

Verse of the Week – 1 Peter 1:18-19

We sang this hymn at church this morning, and it made me think about what my salvation was worth to God. I’m so thankful that He brought me out of the pit that I had dug for myself and gave me a whole new life, made me a new creation.

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr’s, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

“For you know it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19

Verse of the Week – Proverbs 23:12

“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.”

-Proverbs 23:12
I have a pile of books on my side table that looks a lot like this. Next week I have to take a graduate seminary class for Young Life, and my attitude about it has not been good. Young Life staff are required to take these continuing education classes every so often, and it is never convenient timing for everything else I have going in my life and job. However, I always learn a lot. The Lord always uses the time to teach me, and I’m trying to remember that now as I plod through the reading. This month I’m reading Proverbs, and I came across this verse the other day. It is my prayer that my heart and ears will be open to learning whatever God has to teach me through this class and through life in general. Hopefully my attitude can reflect the joy of serving Him throughout the classes and when I play catch up afterwards.
What is the Lord teaching you right now?

Verse of the Week – Colossians 4:2

“Devote yourselves to prayer,
being watchful and thankful.”
Colossians 4:2
What does it mean to devote myself to prayer? I picture cloistered monks praying the hours locked away on a mountain somewhere. Though I would love to have a weekend away on a mountain to pray, that is not the reality of my daily life. How do I devote myself to something that can sometimes feel empty and repetitive? I think it has to do with getting over myself and knowing that prayer is the way for me to speak to and with my creator God. He wants me to know Him better, and to do that I must spend time with Him. It shouldn’t be an after thought or an in case of emergency call. Prayer should be a part of the daily fabric of my life, just like eating, sleeping, and checking my email. I hope to make prayer so much a part of my life that I don’t have to remember to do it, I just do it.
Do you pray?
How do make it a part of your life?

A Different Kind Goal for 2011

Today at church, our pastor shared one of my favorite sermons he has ever preached. It was simple and straightforward and he had us stop to pray several times in the middle. He spoke about a Barna survey on Christians today and how the results of the survey should challenge us. I won’t give you the full run down, but will share just what I got out of it. I haven’t taken the time to write down my other goals for the year yet, but these will be the most important.

– Read the Bible, every day.
– Listen to what it is saying to me.
– Let it shape my life.
– Make a difference in the lives of others.
This may sound overly simple, but based on my past experience they are in fact huge goals. I hope to focus on these and not let busyness run my life. I’m hoping for joy, peace, and contentment this year for our family, and for yours.
What is your spiritual goal this year?

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

This song has always connected with my soul. The line about the hopes and fears of all the years makes me ponder all the hopes and fears of my life. In what or whom do I place my trust? I think about what must have been happening in that little town the night Jesus was born, and in the days following. It must have been filled with people too busy to notice that the Messiah they had been waiting for had finally arrived. My prayer for myself and for my family is that we are not too busy to notice the Messiah this Christmas. I pray that we look to Him for life and hope and peace and joy.

O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

This is one of my favorite carols. I love the meaning behind the words, and the haunting tune of the song. I love that we can rejoice because Emmanuel – God with us, came to ransom us from our captivity to sin.

What is your favorite Christmas carol?

The Advent Season

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is celebrating Advent. I love the anticipation that comes new every year as we await the coming of Jesus, God with us. I love looking at Nativity scenes and thinking about that little family. The scene above is exactly like my favorite nativity scene of my mom’s. We loved it growing up and tried desperately not to break it. This year my bible study group is doing a book called “Preparing My Heart for Advent” by Ann Marie Stewart. We started it late, not realizing that she had a lesson for every day in November as well as December. Now we are doing each November day with the corresponding December day. I love it and am getting so much out of it. She speaks to my heart, and the study has really helped me to focus on Jesus and not get Christmas stressed. The study has taken us all over the new and old testaments, looking into the people of the Messianic family tree. I love the Christmas story as told by Matthew and Luke, but getting the bigger picture has been amazing. Here is my favorite quote from the study so far:

“Nothing will be perfect except the child in the manger. Keep your eyes on Him, and you will not be disappointed. “

How do I keep my eyes on Jesus and not on my shopping list or my to-do list or my to-visit list?
I’m hoping that staying in the Word every day with this study will help. I think back to Christmases past when the day came and went in a blur because my busyness controlled my life. I hope to slow down this year and enjoy time with family and time with Jesus.
What distracts you from the Savior during the Christmas season?