His Workmanship

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk.”

Not only did God create man literally from the dust, but we who are born from a woman are handcrafted inside our mother’s womb by the loving hands of God, but this is even going further than that, we who call him Christ have been his from the beginning. He chose us long before we chose him. We are the work of his hands, and we are created to do good works. Not good works that keep us saved as many believe, but good works that he decided we would do a long time ago, good works that come from the overflow of hearts that are filled with his Holy Spirit.

There is a constant work being done inside of us that regenerates and sanctifies us along the way. Our nature and our actions are being molded and shaped by the hands of God himself. He is the constant presence in our lives that turn us this way and that way. His is the will that moves us ever closer to himself. Like a writer of a novel, God writes the pages of our lives and when the final stroke of the pen is finished, the work complete, our time here on this earth will end.

All our days are numbered, (Job 14:5) every heartbeat recorded in God’s book of life. Even when we misstep, it is within the bounds that God has allowed. His loving handprints are all over the believer’s life. We are God’s masterpiece. He lovingly pours himself into us, His sweet Holy Spirit teaches and directs us. We are renewed at every turn. The new man that begins inside of us at the time of our salvation is made for good works. His desire is for the things of God. Those desires move and direct this new creation in Christ in the areas of service that God has designed for them.

Some people think that if you do enough good things in life you will get into heaven or that God will overlook your sin. Not so my friend, we cannot do enough good to make up for the sin in us. We are dead in our trespasses and sin without Jesus saving us. Others think that you must do good works in order to keep yourself saved. Again, not so! We do not save ourselves and we cannot keep ourselves saved, it is all the work of God. (Ephesians 2:9) That is really the crux of this verse. God does the creating, God does the regenerating, God does the sanctifying, God directs our good works. It is all about God. The only boasting we can do is … to boast in all that God has done. It isn’t about us…really. (1 Corinthians 1:31)

I am so thankful to God for saving my soul. For continually working inside of me, moving me ever toward the cross and that final stroke of the pen.
If I were left to write my own story I would never get it done. I would get too weighted down with the storyline to move forward. All the small intricate details would be too much. And let’s face it if I were writing it I would most likely give me only good things, I would leave out the hard places, the painful places, the messy stuff. It would be filled with a bunch of fluff and nonsense for sure. But God writes it from the infinite depths of his wisdom and grace, giving me enough of everything to create in me a new heart and make me look and live more like his son, my savior Jesus Christ. His workmanship, His good works…perfect!

And God Said…

This year our church was given a chart to go by so that we could read as one body through the Bible in a year in chronological order and I am very excited about it. To read it in the order of the events I hope will give me an even greater understanding of the word. No matter how many times we read God’s words we cannot say we understand it all completely. There are times when I can read a passage for the 1000th time and suddenly a light bulb turns on and I see it in an even greater light. God gives us the understanding we need as we seek to know him and as we continue to read his word which is living and active. It has the power to change us.

Read (Genesis 1:1-31)

Anyway, as I was reading through the first few chapters of Genesis which I have done many times the words “and God said,” jumped out at me and I started thinking about those three words. When God says anything you can bank on it! His word is the final word on everything! God who has always been and will always be, God had already determined in himself that he would create this earth, that he would give it light and darkness, that he would put vegetation on it, animals, birds, fish, people, everything. Whatever God said is what took place. There was nothing random about any of it. That still holds true today. So many people want to think that random things happen and that God is unaware of the plight of people and our world, but that simply is not so. God allows what he allows when he allows it for his own reason and purpose.

I find peace in that knowing that everything I or we experience on this earth is given by the divine hand of God. It does not matter if it is death, illness, catastrophes, whatever happens, God has allowed it to happen. God’s ways are not our ways, we think we have a handle on all that he is doing and why he would do it, but it comes from a human perspective and what we see as fair and right. God is infinite in his wisdom, we cannot even begin to fathom his reasons for anything. The very fact that God said he would send his own son to die for the sins of the world is amazing to me. God said…I will send…and he did!

If you are walking through some difficulty or even if you are in a season of blessings it is because God said it would be this way. God has determined your steps a long time ago,( Proverbs 16:9), he is already where you are and where you are going. God said…I will never leave you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) When I am going through a hard season of life and I even find it hard to pray I take comfort in knowing that God is with me. I may not feel him near, but I know he is. He says he is with the broken-hearted. (Psalm 34:18)

So, as I was reading how God made everything, I was made to feel even more secure by remembering that God (has said) that he will see me through until the end. (Psalm 23:4) Every day of my life has been planned and made perfect by the God that made the moon and stars and told them where to be. I can rest in knowing if God said it…it is good!

I pray that as you walk through this life that you will rest and feel comforted by the fact that God is with you. You are never alone and whatever God has said in your life is always for your good and his glory, even if it does not feel that way at the time. (Romans 8:28)

Looking Forward

I was sitting here this morning thinking about the coming year, 2019, wow it is hard to believe that another year is gone and we are staring down a new year. I am so very thankful for all of the Lord’s provision over this past year. I am thankful for the laughter, the hugs, the hurt, and even the loss that has happened over this past year. Every moment has made me move closer to the Lord Jesus, every part of me needed him this past year. There were some hurts that I could not have walked through had it not been for Jesus. Every time I needed him he was there, constant and faithful seeing me through. His sweet Holy Spirit teaching me things that I did not know and grounding in things that I had been learning.

God was always with me, not one time did I face anything alone. He was in the great moments full of fun and laughter and he was in the heartbreaking moments that were full of tears. Whenever I felt lonely or even scared, I knew my God was near. The moments when he seemed to wait to help or answer made my faith move. Sometimes my faith took a small step backward until my heart remembered that he has always shown up exactly when I needed him, not a moment too soon or too late, it just felt like it was too late to me. Sometimes growth feels like a stretching until we might break, doesn’t it?

Time and life have not changed as Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun, men work, eat, sleep, laugh, make war, hurt, love and so on…we just have different means to do it all. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 ) And with everything that is done the Lord God Almighty is moving and working and having his way in it all. Nothing happens without the Lord’s having already planned it. God is Sovereign over it all, the good, the bad, the ugly is all filtered through his loving hands. If it were not we would not be able to stand it, his mercy and grace are in effect even at the most tragic of moments.

So, as I look forward to 2019 I am excited to see all that the Lord will do. I want to know him more, worship and praise him better. I want to live each day like tomorrow is my last day on earth. I want every moment to count for his kingdom, and oh how I wish he would come back this next year! I realize that getting closer, living nearer his nail pierced feet comes with a price, sometimes a big price. It will make me sacrifice more, love deeper, and maybe even cry harder. I do not know what the future holds, but I am certain of the one holding it. I trust in his unfailing love and his forgiveness without end. I have never walked through anything in this life that Jesus was not with me and did not help me. I can trust his constant presence in my life and the lives of those I love. And let’s face it sometimes it is easier to trust him with us and not trust him with those we love. We do not want them to have to endure any hurt or pain, do we? God knows that and he is just as able to do for them as he does for you. He will grow them at the pace they can follow in the ways he knows is best. So in his hands is the perfect place to leave them!

Jesus is the Way Maker, the Promise Keeper, and our Light. He is all this and so much more. If it were not for him we would be overrun by the worries and hurts of this life. There would not be enough laughter and love to cover them all. But because of Jesus, this life is bearable, even enjoyable and full of his great mercy and love. Ours is a faith walk, we put our hope in him and he does not disappoint.

And as I always try to do I want to leave you with some scriptures to help you on your way, maybe strengthen your faith, but most assuredly guide you to the one who can, who will and who does all that we need and want.
I do not know what this next year holds for you, but I do know the one who holds it and I trust him…will you?

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you.”

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”

Psalm 34:19 “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.”

Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 May God himself, the God of peace sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

And lastly:

Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; our rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Now that is full of great promises…hold fast to them and may your faith and love for our Lord and Savior grow from day to day. Thank him for what has passed and look forward with anticipation to all that he has for you in the coming year!

Happy New Year!

The Rearview

Yesterday I was driving down my street and as I often do I glanced in the rearview mirror, wow, was I so glad I did. Before I had turned down my street I had not seen anything but blue sky, which in itself is beautiful, but when I looked in my rearview mirror I saw a beautiful pinkish yellow sky just peeking above the tree line, the bare branches of the trees appeared black, but it was such a beautiful sight that I slowed down to really drink in the view. Had I not looked back I would have missed this awesome display of God’s handiwork.

In life, the only time I think it is good to look back in our rearview mirror’s of life is to see the faithfulness of God. So often at the moment of crisis or illness, we have trouble seeing God at work, tracing his hand in a situation, but later we can look back and often see very clearly that he was there working all the time and even trace his hand. As I looked and saw this masterpiece in the sky it reminded me of all the times God has brought me through, how over the years in varying circumstances he has been there faithful, working it all out for my good.

Much of it at the time did not feel so good, much of it was painful and confusing. Often times I even felt alone, but I can clearly see those times when I thought I was alone and God had abandoned me that he was there, keeping me, holding me, helping me, teaching me and always loving me. God’s ways are so much higher than ours and just because they do not make sense to us, we can sometimes feel as though he is not there, beside us moving and doing, but he is.

As I look in the rearview mirror of my life I am thankful for the hard placed God has brought me through. I am thankful for those times when I felt as though just waking up would be too much for the day, yet finding the strength to press on anyway. That strength came from the Holy Spirit. He gave me just what I needed for the day I would face. I see it now. I can even feel it.

God is so good, better than we even know and if he had not been doing, working, loving and helping I would not be here now typing this out, but he was and is and it gives me courage for tomorrow knowing and remembering all that he has done in my life and the lives of those I love. I can also look in scripture and see so many times where his followers felt frustrated or afraid or alone and how God showed up and did what God does and that is his best for us.

I hope you will take the time today to look back, check out the view in your rearview mirror. Remember all those times when God brought you through because he did or you would not be reading this. And if that is not enough here are a few scriptures to help you out.

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep [you] from evil.”

1 Corinthians 1:9 “God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Psalm 33:4 “For the word of the Lord [is] right; and all his works [are done] in truth.”

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself.”

Sometimes the best views can only be seen by looking back..

Unfocused or Focused & Steadfast

Psalm 108 1:4 “My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. 2 Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. 3 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. 4 For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

As we walk down these last few days before celebrating our Lord’s birth, where do you find your heart? Is it wondering constantly from isle to isle with only this earth and the things you must get done weighing it down?
Do you find yourself looking for reasons not to read his word, not to go to church? I mean you have things to do right?

We are a fickle lot, we can so easily get distracted by the things of this world, weighted with to do list, problems, selfishness even. Yes, it is the most giving time of the year, and yes we celebrate or should celebrate the greatest gift of all, Jesus; but do we?

Our hearts should be steadfast, in season and out of season. We should have our hearts so full of Jesus throughout the year that we have no misstep during the season celebrating his birth. We need to be grounded in the word, so when life comes at us full force we are immovable. When the business of the season or of just living life pushes in on us, we seek out the Lord, we take time to crawl in his lap and just be.

We need fellowship on a regular basis with the Lord and with other believers. This is what keeps us steadfast, moving forward, walking each day with a full heart and a clear mind. The devil does not have to use horrible tactics to steal our minds and hearts away from the Lord, he just uses every day seemingly innocent things to keep us bogged down and unsettled. He knows he cannot steal our salvation, we are marked with an eternal seal for the Lord and heaven bound, but if he can keep us from digging deeper and make our hearts wander to and fro, he will do it and consider it a great win.

We need to set Jesus always before our day, we need to exalt his name and praise him before anything else happens in our day. When we purpose to put him first all else will fall into place. Our minds will be more settled our hearts more focused. He loves us, that baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger was the King of Glory our salvation with tiny hands and feet. His loved moved him from heavens halls to an earthly stall. He is faithful and good. He has marked out each of our paths through this dry and weary land in which we find ourselves passing through. Every good or bad thing directed by his loving heart.

This Jesus born in a stable has seen us safely into this world and will one day see us safely out of this world into the paradise he has for us. Take the time to give him a little of your time. Get your heart and mind fixed and focused on the true reason we celebrate this holiday. Be the steadfast people he has called us to be shining your light into a dark world so others may see and wonder at what it is that sets you apart, makes you look different.

Sing and make merry as you go through this time of year, hearts lifted high in praise to the one who has redeemed you. I promise when you do you will float through this season on a different level. You will feel the power of the Holy Spirit in even the mundane of life. Others will see the light that is in you, and maybe just that will be enough to brighten their day!

Blessings to you as you celebrate our Lord and as your heart becomes steadfast immovable when the everydayness of life tries to sweep you away : )

From The Cradle…

Jesus, born of a virgin surrounded by animals in a stinky stall, laid in a manger. I am sure Mary was like most mothers with tears streaming down her face all the while smiling from ear to ear. I wonder if she inspected his hands and feet; yes, ten tiny fingers and toes, thank God. I am sure at that moment she was not thinking of anything but the moment. Enjoying the newness of it all. She probably wished her parents could be with her to see their new grandson.

It may have been later after she had nursed him and he had fallen asleep that she remembered the words of the angel and she pondered all of it. I wonder if a chill ran down her spine at what may lay ahead? Maybe she and Joseph discussed it, we may never know, but that night was special not only because Jesus made her a mother, but “The King of Kings,” came into this world, wrapped in human flesh all fresh and new, and one day he would make her new.

I find myself thinking about this tiny babe. As he grew did he know all along that he would one day hang on a cross bearing the sin and shame that did not belong to him. That he would be beaten, have his beard plucked out, and a crown of thorns on his head. See, he knew from the beginning of time that he was going to come into this world, how he would come and exactly what it would take to save mankind. But, did he know as he lay in the manger? As he grew and went to school with his friends, laughed and played, did he think about it?

Jesus was fully God and fully man. He experienced heartache, disappointment, and grief. He laughed and played, walked and talked with friends and family, ate and drank just like we do. Scripture tells us that he knows what we feel because he too has felt it. We see in John 11:35 these words, “Jesus wept.” He felt the grief of losing someone he cared about and the pain of his friends at their sadness and loss. We also read in John 2:15-16 that Jesus was angry and frustrated although without any sin. “He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables…”Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

We see in John 4:6 that he was weary and tired. “Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.” He also suffered rejection, John 6:66 “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” He also felt sorrow, we read in Matthew 26:38 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” So, clearly, as a man, he felt the things we feel. Therefore, he understands us, he sympathizes with us. But, the difference in us and Jesus is he experienced all those feelings, yet did not sin.

I wonder as he felt these emotions if the thought crossed his mind that mankind simply was not worth the price he was going to pay; or maybe that he did not want to die so young and miss seeing his brothers and sisters grow and have families and grandchildren and all the living he was going to miss out on? As our King lay in the manger unable to feed or clothe himself was the joy inside so much that he almost spilled the beans and told them everything, I mean he was God so he could have. Am I the only one who thinks these things?

Jesus knew when he came through time and space and was born in a barn and laid in a manger that he would grow to thirty-three years old and then he would be crucified for our sin, yet, he still came. He left the glory of heaven and his Father to walk in our shoes, experience life as we do and then lay down his life for us. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? This unmerited favor, this grace, and mercy that moved a King to come. This LOVE like no other. HIS LOVE moved him from the cradle to the cross, every heartbeat he experienced on this earth had your name written all over it. Love, Love…Love, Love…and he is still loving and forgiving us today. Showing us how to live and be. His example is one we are to follow, however, we, being sinners from birth fail daily, but his grace is sufficient for it all.

Maybe one day in heaven Jesus will sit us down and tell us all about it. He will share what was or was not on his mind, the why’s and how’s of it all. But until then we are left to marvel at this grace so amazing, this love so unselfish and complete, this King who thought we were worth dying for and this eternal life that is ours when we believe and we receive the free gift of salvation. When our name is called and we suddenly in just moments become his children, it is then that the shadow of the cradle becomes the shadow of a cross that becomes the shadow of a heart, full of love, poured out for us.

Merry Christmas to you! I pray this Christmas is filled with all the beauty that is found only in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that as you look at pictures of a baby in a manger, you see the shadow of the cross and the love that brought the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to this earth to die for your sins. This truly is the greatest story ever told…and we get to live it forever!!! Unmerited favor and grace, mercy without end, forgiveness that goes on and on and on…Wow!

Where or To Whom Do You Run?

All of us has moments when we feel overwhelmed by life. It could be a problem in a relationship, finances, an illness, a friendship that has ended and a multitude of other things. We are fragile fickle people and we struggle with the day to day, but when you struggle where or to whom do you run? Some people go immediately to a spouse, others to a friend still others away to be alone. But there is a place we can go, a someone we can trust to meet us at our need and that is The Lord. We can go sit at his feet and allow him to minister to us.

We are told in Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.” Think about it, a strong tower, always there to shelter us when we need it.” It is a place of safety and peace. We can tell the Lord all about our trials and burdens those things that are causing us to feel overwhelmed and when we do his sweet Holy Spirit ministers to us, guides us through the deep waters of our emotions or anxieties. You may think “well I don’t want to go to the Lord about this thing, it seems ridiculous,” well, the Lord already knows what is going on in our hearts and mind better than we do, so run to him and just see what he will do.

In Isaiah we read “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” He is ours and we are his. He loves to hear from his children. Like any good parent, he wants us to come to him when we feel overwhelmed and afraid. He longs to be gracious and kind to us, to walk us through our emotions, to show us a new way, or a new person or place he has for us. He wants to ease our anxious thoughts and to heal us.

We also read in Psalm 9:9-10 “The lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” This verse tells us what we should already know, we are going to feel the struggle of this life. There will be times when we feel oppressed and overwhelmed and it will be no surprise to our Lord; he says to us, “come.” When we do we will discover a new depth of our relationship that we did not have before. We will see that these words written in Exodus and Deuteronomy are so true. Exodus 33:14 “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Aren’t those awesome promises! God is not waiting to zap you when you come to him with a problem or hurt, he is waiting to show you more of himself, to guide you through at the pace you can follow. He is a strong tower, he is ever present with us, he will not fail or forsake us. These are the promises that should motivate our movement in the direction of Jesus when life is too much.

I hope that if you have not made running to Jesus apart of your daily walk then you need to. I encourage you to go to him and see just how good and faithful he is. There is nothing too trivial for the Lord. He delights in hearing from his children and in helping them along life’s way. I will leave you with this verse.

Psalm 34:17 “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and rescues them from all their troubles.” How great is this, the God of all listens for my cry and rescues me in my distress…priceless and precious to the believer isn’t it?

A Little Thing Called Abounding

What does it mean to abound?” The Webster dictionary says it this way: “To have or possess in great quantity; to be copiously supplied; followed by with or in; as to abound with provisions; to abound in good things.”
This certainly applies to our walk with Christ. He gives us plenty, sometimes so much that we cannot contain it; and I am not talking about the getting of physical things. Yes, he supplies all we have need of when we have need of it. We do not usually get beforehand. He even supplies many of our wants, giving to his children in large and small ways.

In 1 Corinthians 15:58 we read, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” What does it mean to abound in the work of the Lord? It means to continue in it, be more in practice of it; whether in a particular ministry God has called you to or other good works which he tells us we are to do. When we continue on in whatever area of service/work and we give it all we have for him then we will find ourselves being fruitful and blessed in what we are doing. We are not told to do good works as a mean of keeping ourselves saved, Christ does that! No, we are told to build the body of Christ up in whatever way he has called us to do it, and because of our overwhelming love of God it compels us to minister, to teach, to help, to love and so on, and all of these should increase as we mature in the Lord and walk with him.

We are told in Philippians 1:9 “And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more in real knowledge and all discernment.”
When we are born again we are filled with the Spirit of God and because we are filled with the Spirit of God, we are filled with his love, because God is love, it is a fruit of the Spirit. And as we grow in Christ we should begin to walk in love, exercising it at all times. We are to allow that love to blossom and bloom in us and pour out to all who are near to us. Grace had been implemented in them at the time of their saving and it should be reflected not only in the principle of our hearts but in our words and our actions.

We have the bubbly well of living water flowing through us and because of this, every aspect of our lives should have evidence of this living water that flows from Calvary’s cross all the way to our hearts, spilling out in all ways, increasing more and more as we walk in Christ. We can never be extreme in the love that flows from God’s heart to ours, mans love can be extreme and sometimes compel even bad behavior, but the love lavished on us, the love that fills our hearts and is from God cannot ever be too much. As the Spirit fills us he will also guide us in every aspect of our lives and our love, showing us and helping us to do all things in ways that please the God.

In Romans 15:13 it says: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Hope if from the Lord, the giver of grace, the giver of hope. Jesus is our hope, we look forward with anticipation to seeing him face to face. We hope and rest in the promises He made to us. As we journey through this life with all its ups and downs, hurts and heartaches, we march on in the hope of better and we look back in time and are strengthened by all that the Lord has brought us through in the past. The times when we were pretty sure we would not, could not make it through, but God worked it out and we find our hope increased because of it.

Hope is where we Christian’s reside. Confident that the God who called us will keep us even all the way through deaths doors and into the remainder of our eternal life with Christ Jesus. Hope sits with us as we wait in hospital rooms with sick loved ones. Hope stands with us next to the grave of a loved one. Hope calls to us as we get downtrodden over the earth’s difficulties and hurts; every time we hear a news story of another senseless act of violence Hope whispers to us, encourages us to keep marching on in the name of Jesus and reminds us to look at all that God has already done, all those times he showed up right on time. We can take a long look back at the prophet and people of times past and read one account after another of all that God did for those then and what he still does for us today.

Yes, it is possible to abound in hope, it can increase as we start counting our blessings. There is an old hymn that says: “Count your blessings name the one by one, count your blessings see what God has done.” Oh, friend, he is the same God today as he was way back then. He still operates in the same salvation, the same compassion, the same love and hope, the same justice, grace, and mercy. He never changes! Just knowing that God is and will always be, that he loves you and has called you his own is a good place for hope to bloom and abound, don’t you think?

I want to abound more in those things God has called me to do, no matter how small the task or how hard the day. I want my heart and mind so focused on the Lord that I see the world through him and not him through this world. Everything we do should be “unto the Lord.” With that as our hearts prayer, our work and our hope cannot help but abound!

Blessings to you as you continue on in the work he has called you to, as you grow in grace and walk in the hope that we have in Jesus. As you put one spiritual foot in front of the other, the Holy Spirit is there leading, teaching, growing and helping, you can be confident that anything you do for the Lord is never ever wasted in your own life or in the Kingdom of God.

Shout Joyfully

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our Salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” Psalm 95:1-2

What are you thankful for this holiday season? There are the usuals for most which are family, friends, and health, but is there more to be thankful for? I think so! If you are a child of God, all of your sins are forgiven, past, present, and future, your future home is in heaven with Jesus then that is something to shout joyfully about!

So often Christian’s forget to be truly thankful for our unmerited favor. The God of the universe, maker of heaven and earth came down from his throne on high and came through time and space to await his entrance into this world in the womb of a young girl. He suffered with her through the birth pains and came into the world small with hands reaching out needing to be comforted. I wonder sometimes was it a quick journey through time or did he take his time, stopping along the way to encourage the prophets of old, even speaking with some. I do not know, I like to think about it though. Maybe he just thought it and it was done. We may never know that part of the story, what we do know is he was born of a virgin and came into this world as a baby, the only sinless person to ever live and walk this earth.

Before my name was on my mother’s lips before I was a thought anywhere I was already in the mind and heart of God and he decided I was worth saving. It absolutely humbles me to no end thinking about it. He decided what my life would look like, who my parents would be, how much pain, joy, happiness etc., that I would need to make my life perfect, my steps leading me to him. He ordered my steps.

I am so very thankful for each moment that he has filled my lungs with air, for every sunrise and sunset I have seen. I am thankful for times of tears that make times of joy so much sweeter. I am thankful for a God who looks into my heart and love and forgives me anyway. I am thankful for his goodness and mercy that follow me each and every moment of my life. I am so very thankful that he died so that I might live.

My life has been orchestrated by the One who sees into time and space, who looks into the soul of man and sees the wickedness therein, the one who hung the stars and calls each by name. My heart cannot contain all of it, my mind is blown by the love and mercy of Christ. He did not have to do it, he could have wiped the earth clean of people when the flood came, but he didn’t, his love compelled him to allow us to walk this earth, his love decided to die for us, it is all about him.

I pray that I never forget the goodness of God. I pray that I represent him well while I walk this earth. I pray that his light shines forth from my eyes and others see him in me. I may favor my earthly parents, but I want to look like my heavenly Father.

I pray as you love on family and friends, sit around the table and laugh, that you remember to be thankful for Jesus and his unmerited favor; I pray you will take a moment or more and shout joyfully to the God of our Salvation for all he has done! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!

Happy Thanksgiving friends and may God richly bless each of you!