Jewels in the King’s Crown

That is What We Are as Christians.
Zechariah 9:16 NIV
The Lord their God will save his people on that day
    as a shepherd saves his flock.
They will sparkle in his land
    like jewels in a crown. 
 
 Malachi 3:17 KJV
 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 
 
This is what I read in my devotion today. It focused on the passage in Zechariah 9:9-17. Jesus’ sacrifice washed us clean so that we now shine like jewels in God’s crown. God no longer sees our our sin. When He looks at us He sees the righteousness of Christ. This is what makes us shine like the jewels that we are. What comfort there is in that when the world tells us differently. May the good Lord help us all to see ourselves the way that He sees us now.
 
 
 My Prayer taken from a hymn: O Father, thank you for sending Your Son, the bright jewel of Your crown, from sin and sorrow to set me free. Amen 
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How I Know that God Loves Me

Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me. I cried out to Him; His praise was on my tongue. Psalm 66:16-17
My son likes to watch top ten list so I thought that today I would make a top ten list of ‘How I Know that God Loves Me.’ It is my way of telling you what He has done for me. So here it goes;
  1. Jesus died for my sins and rose again that I, too, may have eternal life. This is first and foremost. Eternal life is a changed life now and to live with Him forever in the next.
  2. Even though my son was diagnosed with Autism, I am blessed to be a mom and he is now a strong young man of faith. I see his disability as a blessing now because we did not have any troubles with bad behavior.
  3. When I was widowed at 25 and three months pregnant, I was able to fly from Germany to the U.S. God gave me the strength I needed to make it home.
  4. In both my first and current marriage, God gave me men who love and treasure me. I am married to my heart’s desire since 2006. I am blessed to be a part of a family of six now. God has gifted me with three wonderful children of my heart. I am honored to be a part of their lives.
  5. God sustained me through the loss of loved ones; my baby brother in 1977, my first husband in 1990, the passing of my maternal grandparents, and the death of my biological father this year.
  6. Before my bio father died, I was able to visit with him and make amends. God also gave me little hidden treasures along the way.
  7. God brought about reconciliation between my mother and I in 2014. We now have a better relationship.
  8. God continues to change me from the inside out. He made uncomfortable at times in order that I would grow. This occurred more than once, I assure you.
  9. God has blessed me with so many wonderful people to be connected with.
  10. I am not who I used to be. I no longer live in my past and I know who holds my future.  

These are just a few of the ways. There are so many more. To God be the glory for things that He has done and yet to do.

I challenge you to think of 10 ways that God has shown His love for you.

My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I cannot possibly begin to tell you how grateful I am to You for all the ways that You have revealed Your great love to me. I want to tell everyone what You have done for me. All praise and glory belong to You. Amen. 

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What is in a Name?

Everything When the Name is Jesus!
Philippians 2:9-11 (AMP)
Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has [a]freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,

10 That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee [b]should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 And every tongue [[c]frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Think about it! There is power in the name of Jesus. Look at how it easily empties a room or causes division. For a believer, it means everything and has power in prayer. For the unbeliever, it causes people to become hateful or critical of those who believe. The name of Jesus has the power to heal and bring reconciliation. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His name is wonderful, counselor, prince of peace. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is more than just a prophet or good teacher. For He died a horrible and excruciating death yet rose again so that believing in Him we have everlasting life and will spend eternity with Him. If there were no power in His name, there would be no conflict and His name would be forgotten. Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Rejoice in the Lord again I say rejoice! Sing praise to His Holy Name!
Interesting Bible Fact: The name of Jesus is in the New Testament 1058 times in the ESV according to Bible Gateway.
My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I praise the name of Jesus. All glory and honor be Yours. Amen. 
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Similarities of Physical & Spiritual Disciplines

What Do Faith and Physical Exercise Have in Common?
Continuing on a theme of running a race, I have found some similarities between faith and exercise. You see, I have known the benefits to physical exercise but yet, I kept putting it off. I was reluctant to begin or not consistent in doing it. It takes discipline to get good at it. I have had to make changes and sacrifices to discipline myself in order to succeed and do better. I now choose to get up early three mornings a week to run/walk 3.1 miles and do strength exercises on the off days. The benefits that I have experienced are better sleep, healthy blood pressure, and improved appetite. I have even begun to like to exercise and hope to continue to do so.
Putting one’s faith in Jesus and following Him is similar. Yet, there are eternal benefits as opposed to the benefits of physical exercise. There are choices and sacrifices to make such as changes in one’s behaviors and the possibility of rejection of friends or family. The rewards, however, are definitely worth it. At first, one does not want to accept and follow because change seems daunting but once one makes that step of faith, God will not disappoint. With faith comes the discipline of prayer, reading the Bible, and worship. The benefits are both physical and eternal. The fruits of the Spirit are eternal mentioned in 
Galatians 5:22-24, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 
 Physical benefits are less stress and comfort in times of trouble. 
Philippians 4:6-7
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
As I have been working on my discipline of exercise in order to participate in a 5K, I also strive to improve my spiritual discipline to become more like Christ and bring God glory both in my actions and in my words.
How is your discipline? What has been your experience?
Interesting Bible Fact: The last word in the Bible is AMEN.
My prayer: Dear God, thank you for giving my the desire to exercise and increase in me an even bigger desire for Your word and faithfulness to You. To You be all glory and honor. Amen.
 
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Reading God’s Word from Cover to Cover.

This is My Goal for the Year!
Why?
There have been two people who made an impression on me. One was a member of my church who died last week. His name was Tom and at his service it was mentioned that he had read the Bible from cover to cover 25 times and I have read and studied various books of the Bible but I have not read it from front to back. The other person was a female pilot who had learned to fly when she turned fifty. I am approaching fifty this year so I was thinking of what could I strive to accomplish. I decided to set myself a goal to read the Bible from front to back before my birthday next year. Then I had another thought, I am reading the Bible in the English Standard Version this year so why not read it again in another version such as American Standard Version. Therefore I am asking for accountability. I will post on Tuesdays how I am progressing and what I am learning. I started yesterday. Today, I read Genesis 3-6 and here are some thoughts on what I read.
Genesis 4:7b God is talking to Cain after Cain killed Abel. “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at your door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. Sin has its desire for me as well but I must rule over it. Meaning that I have a choice to let sin have its course or choose to refrain from it.
Genesis 5:24 & 6:9 Enoch and Noah both walked with God. God took Enoch and He spared Noah from the flood. I, too, desire to walk with God and let Him rule in my heart.
Genesis 6:6-7 God had regret in having created man and it grieved His heart. Genesis 6:12 gives the reason for this because the flesh had corrupted the earth. Yet Noah found favor with God verse 8. 
God gave specific directions to Noah for building the Ark. 6:22, Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. I am always amazed at the faith of Noah for he did all that was commanded of him by God. This, too, should be my desire to do all that God has commanded me. One of His commands is to love one another and to forgive as I have been forgiven.

Challenge to you; What goals have you set for yourself?

 My prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I am thankful that I can read and that I have Your Word available to me. Help me to be faithful to my goal and place in me the desire to follow through. Amen.
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Giving Thanks for …

God’s Promises


I am thankful that God is true to His promises and for the willingness to push through on something that I kept putting off. God cares about every detail of my life and yours. If I put Him first He will direct my path and order my days. This has happened more than once in my life. Yet, I get lazy and forget and then wonder why chaos has ensued again. Praise God that He has not given up on me. I need not put off to tomorrow what I can do today because tomorrow will have enough troubles of its own. I am to take things one day at a time.
Matthew 6:33 (AMP)
33 But seek ([a]aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ([b]His way of doing and being right), and then all these things [c]taken together will be given you besides.

 

Proverbs 3:6 (AMP)
 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
Take God at His Word and see how He blesses you with order and increase your time. Prioritize your life.
My Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I give thanks that You are true to Your word. Forgive me for the times that I have not always put You first. Help me to get my priorities right.   Use me to draw others to You. Amen.


 Footnotes:
  1. Matthew 6:33 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
  2. Matthew 6:33 Charles B. Williams, The New Testament: A Translation.
  3. Matthew 6:33 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
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Today’s Acronym

B.I.B.L.E.
Basic
Instructions
Before
Leaving
Earth
Basic means fundamental.  It is where we should begin. Proverbs 1 verse 7 states that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. We learn to fear – reverential awe or respect –  God from reading about Him in His word. He is the creator of all things. Isaiah 40:28, Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
Instructions meaning knowledge or information imparted. God instructs us to forgive has He in Christ has forgiven us (Colossians 3:13). We are instructed to bear with one another and to be patient with each other. In John 13:34-35 we read, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Before Leaving Earth, there is a saying that there are two things that are inevitable death and taxes. As we come into this world our days are numbered. John 3:16-18, For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish by have eternal life.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. Here is the rub. Those who believe in Jesus die and spend eternity with Him and those who do not believe die and spend eternity without Him in hell.

This is the truth. This is what I believe to be true and accept for myself. I want others to know Jesus because spending eternity without Him will not be pleasant. 
Do you believe?

My Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, I do believe in the cross of Christ. May I be Your instrument to bring the good news to others so that in believing they to may know You and have eternal life. Amen
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Giving Thanks to God!

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart!
Words from a song that comes to mind when I think about giving thanks.
I give thanks for Celebrate Recovery (CR), a twelve step Christ-centered recovery program. It is not just for those with a chemical addiction but for anyone with hurts, hang-ups and habits and we all have them because life hurts all of us at some point in time. My first sponsor is one reason I am thankful for CR. She, with the help of God, helped me to change my “stinking thinking.” She also encouraged me to get connected with others outside of my extended family. This was a huge step in my recovery over my hurts, hang-ups and habits. God helped me to see past myself and get connected with healthy people.  
1 Peter 5:10, And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. This verse was a big encouragement to me. I came to understand that God uses the trails in my life to shape me and make me strong, firm, and steadfast.
I am thankful for my husband. He is my heart’s desire. Psalm 37:4 reads, Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  My husband has been my greatest supporter and has challenged me to grow without demanding that I grow and change. He loves me for who I am.
I am thankful to live in a country where I have the freedom to attend Bible study and church. I cannot take this for granted because I know that not everyone has this freedom. I have had a love of God’s word since I was a child. To me the Bible is God’s Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It has the answers to all of life’s questions and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study His word in Bible Study Fellowship and now Community Bible Study. Romans 12:2 is one of my favorite verses. It reads  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. I am grateful for the church that I attend. Our Motto is Know Christ, Live Christ, Make Christ Known.

My Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, there are not enough words to express the thanks I have for the people that you have brought into my life. I am blessed beyond measure to be able to study Your word. Help me to impart its importance to others so others may know You and Your Son, Jesus who You sent to die for us. Amen.
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What I am Thankful for Today

Laughter in the Midst of Grief
 Proverbs 15:14-16
 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil,
but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
 Whilst I was a way to attend my father’s memorial service in Henderson, Nevada, God gave me the gift of laughter. For you see with grief comes many different thoughts and feelings. There are times of tears and sadness and times of intense anger and strife, but I find it to be a gift when something causes one to laugh and not just a funny ha-ha but a gut busting laughter. There was a time of levity while I was there and I wrote about it and titled it, names have been omitted as not to offend.
“Something Funny Happened on the Way to My Brother’s”
 There were four of us in the car. We had to make a stop to pick someone else up along the way. There was some confusion as to where to find the other person. Something funny was said and we will started to laugh. The driver and passengers were laughing so hard that I thought that we were going to have to pull over. I thought that it would be hilarious if we had to pull over and should a police officer pull up and ask us what was the matter? I would say, “Officer, quick call an ambulance we are dying of laughter!”
 It felt so good to laugh in midst of our sad time. I am thankful too for the opportunity to offer words of comfort and prayer for those left behind. For I am instructed to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort which I have received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Blessings to family of my father in Henderson, Nevada and elsewhere. May God comfort them and give them peace has He alone knows best.
Disclaimer: I share with you what I have learned and experienced for myself so that you may know that the love of God is real and that He sent His son to die for you. 
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The Acronym for Today

F.R.O.G.
FullyIsaiah 26:3
RelyProverbs 3:5-6
On   Acts 4:12
GodDeuteronomy 32:3
First, fully means completely or entirely; to the further-est extent. There is no doubt or holding back for Isaiah says that God will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is resolutely or dutifully firm and unwaveringly on Him.
Second, rely is to depend on with full trust or confidence/be dependent on Him. Trust in the Lord all my heart.
Third, on who? Christ for there is no other name under heaven by which man must be saved. In Him I place my full confidence.
Fourth, God, the Name of the Lord. I will proclaim His Name and ascribe greatness to His name.
Summation: I will completely and entirely to the furthest extent depend on with full confidence in Jesus Christ. For there is no other name under heaven by which man must be saved. The name of the Lord I will proclaim and ascribe greatness to His Name forevermore.
My challenge to you is to ask yourself, who do you place your trust and confidence in man or in Christ alone?
My disclaimer: I know that each person’s relationship with God is unique and one of a kind. I am sharing with you what I have learned from the study of God’s Word so that you may know Jesus Christ and Him crucified. To be to God be the glory now and forever Amen.
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