Extraordinary Found In The Ordinary

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There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush…. Exodus 3:2 (NIV) 

An angel of the Lord appearing in flames of fire is enough to make anyone choke on their morning coffee! Quite the extraordinary start to one’s day without a doubt! However notice where the angel in flames sighting appeared according to Exodus 3:2; within a bush!! A BUSH for cryin’ out loud! The most ordinary and common of shrubs around! What seemingly common and ordinary thing may God want to do an extraordinary work through, in your life? Are you ready? Are you looking? Are you living aware and appreciative of the simple ordinary things around you? Who knows it just might be the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious thing your life has been missing?!  

Don’t miss the fact that Moses seems to have been putting out a bit of wholehearted effort in seeking God himself (Jeremiah 29:13).  Exodus 3:1 tells us Moses led the sheep he was tending to the FAR side of the wilderness which brought him to the mountain of God. It seems Moses could have been seeking something more in his own life. Nothing can prepare you for the”more” God has for you, more than walking in dependant relationship with God moment by moment. 

If Moses ever had a “choke on your morning coffee moment” I’m sure, to that date, nothing topped the moment of Exodus 3:10 (NIV). So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” WHAT?!!! “Who am I?!” Moses responds. To which God reassures Moses with a focus shift from himself to Himself. It’s not “Who am I?” but rather “I AM WHO” (Exodus 3:14) I AM Who will be with you, and I AM all you need. 

Back to the extraordinary found in the ordinary. God showed up in an ordinary bush through extraordinary fire, a fire that burned but yet did not burn up the bush!!?! Jeremiah 23:29 declares God’s Word to be like fire! His Word, Jesus in you, the Extraordinary within the ordinary makes all the difference in your everyday existence! Today, discover the fire of His Word and begin living focused on the extraordinary God is doing with the ordinary all around you! 

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. Matthew 13:16 (NIV)

Signpost Of Peace

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In the beginning God… Genesis 1:1 (NIV) 

Signposts are everywhere. They can be on the side of the road or even found as literary elements in speech. Wherever you find them their purpose is the same; to eliminate the element of confusion. A state of confusion rarely emits feelings of serenity. In fact, quite the opposite. When you feel lost and confused feelings of fear and anxiety grow naturally and often out of proportion – quickly. If you have ever been to the ocean you know how important it is to stake out a visual signpost at the point you enter the water. If you don’t, the tide and waves will take you far beyond where you started and it is easy to become disoriented and lost! 

Life can be like the big unknown ocean, and although it holds incredible depths of beauty and adventure it also can be daunting, dark, dangerous and scary! This is why we need to recognize our sure, steady and strong, signpost of Peace. However it is not enough just to recognize Him, we must receive Him in so that we can stake our lives, our emotions, our circumstances and relationships to a Peace that passes understanding. For he himself is our peace… Ephesians 2:14 (NIV)  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) 

The Word of God begins with, In the beginning God… Genesis 1:1 (NIV) yet how often do we begin every moment with Jesus Christ as our first thought? How rooted are we to the sure reign and rule of our God?! We are given great and precious promises to root us unshaken in this world (2 Peter 1:4) all of which are confirmed authentic and true in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20)! If we entered into every situation, EVERY one, with the Truth of Jesus first, how would that change our lives? (See, Isaiah 26:3, Jeremiah 17:7-9)

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) How often do you think our God is huddling up the hosts of Heaven around the whiteboard, clipboard in hand, to re-run that earthly play wondering WHAT angel was on THAT play that totally botched!?!? NEVER!! Our God’s eternal reign and rule over all is real (Colossians 1:17)! Even when things look like defeat it is still victory! Glance at Genesis 45:4-9. Joseph portrays a perfect example on how to put God first, framing a victory out of what appeared at first like defeat! Don’t let the wind and the waves over your ocean drown you in defeat because you stopped looking up to your signpost of Peace dear one. He is there, trustworthy and true, with hope like an anchor, firm and secure for your soul. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)


Today, begin with God. May your narrative today sound like, In the beginning God… Root your mind and heart around His promises and remember His steadfast rule and reign in and through all of your moments today and live set free to experience Peace; Peace that walks on the wind and waves of your ocean, until one day all storms cease, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV) 

God’s extraordinary love is for YOU!

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Our ability to share the extraordinary love of Christ with others hinges on how much we have actually accepted it for ourselves. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11 (NIV) We can’t give what we don’t have, no matter how much we would like to! Genuine gifting of the extraordinary authentic love of Christ is given through receiving, dear one. 

Mark 5:1-20 reminds me of His extraordinary love for… the one. In this passage Jesus purposefully crosses a raging storm to reach a land most Jews probably never listed on their desired places of destination. In this passage Jesus encounters a man, an outcast and yet this man, this outcast was Jesus’ very reason for coming! This man was living among the tombs, naked, possessed by evil and bloodied from all the cutting he was inflicting upon himself. This man was wild and violent, no human could get through to him anymore and yet Jesus came through a storm without, to calm the storm within this man. One encounter with Christ Himself and this man is completely restored, made new, he walks free of the tombs!! Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) 

Jesus purposefully crossed all boundaries of time and space as we know it to enter into the raging brokenness of our world to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). This passage proves that He would have gone to the effort even if it had only been me; if it had only been you, do you believe that Truth?!! I pray you do, dear one. 

Jesus became the outcast, tortured, stripped, bloodied even crucified and placed in a tomb. He took the place of this man in the passage, He took the place of me; of you. So that by His wounds we could be healed! Jesus’ tomb stands empty to this day so that by His life we can live in Hope that will never die (1 Peter 1:3)!! But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) 

This man in our Mark 5 passage becomes so rejuvenated by the life and love and Christ that he changes his city through the outflow of Christ’s love in him! Dear one, Jesus came for YOU that YOU might experience His unconditional and lavish love for YOU, His beloved. This encounter between the demon possessed man and Jesus is recorded three different times in the Bible! He doesn’t want you to miss the point that He came to save YOU! This side of the cross the victory is won! God fought for YOU and now His victory is YOURS for the accepting! Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 (NIV) 

Jesus is the Savior of the whole world and yet is still a God willing to enter the storm to still His child with His overcoming love.

“Because I love YOU.” -Jesus (Isaiah 43:4)

Created For Acceptance

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John 3:16-17 (NIV) 

For God so loved the world that he gave… 

God showed His love through giving… giving Himself (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus is the greatest Gift we could ever receive. 

(verse 16)he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  

We were created for acceptance. To accept Him as Savior and truly live! 

(verse 17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 

Jesus came not to condemn us but to save us. God loves us, wants us, is willing to accept us as His children if we will accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Our very beings were made to accept and be accepted. So in this world when we experience rejection and exclusion it can send us in a tailspin of hurt that either implodes or exudes from us in a million different shared and broken ways, that threaten to scar even those around us!

The only way to combat this tailspin is to keep Jesus as our first thought. Joseph set’s a good example in Genesis 45:5-9. The wrong done to Joseph is recounted yet combated with a confident thought life given to God Almighty’s good sovereign plan and hand working in and over his life! The key is a relationship built on trust. Trust that enables us to walk by faith and not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) when we cannot seem to see God working in the background of our circumstances. Trust in His faithful Word that He is ALWAYS working (John 5:17) even at this very moment for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:28) even if we cannot see or comprehend it (Proverbs 3:5-6). 

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3 (NIV)  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. John 15:18 (NIV) Jesus persevered by the power of the Holy Spirit to save us. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, Luke 4:18 (NIV) 

Our God has equipped us with His Spirit, everything we need to overcome the rejection of this world as He accomplishes His purpose through us. being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 (NIV) “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV) 

When we keep Jesus as our first thought in all situations, decisions, circumstances, reactions and yes, even when we experience rejections, we will find the strength to orient or reorient (if need be) on Truth. You and I were created for acceptance, an acceptance made possible through Christ’s rejection. Never forget Who understands completely, your hurt in rejection (Hebrews 4:15). He is the One whose Spirit will sustain you as you do what you were created to do.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV) … And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NIV) 

You are deeply loved by God; accept The Truth. 

You were made for great purpose; reflect The Truth for others to accept too. 

How?… Keep Jesus as your first thought and follow His example (thought, word and action) set in His Word. Show His love through the giving of yourself in the strength He provides, not to condemn but rather that others might see His heart of love and acceptance through you and be saved by Truth (John 14:6).  

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV) What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (NIV) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NIV)

A Game Changer

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But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV) 

Take note of the word “and”, right after the word “Jerusalem”, in the above verse. This verse or Word was spoken by Jesus to those in Jerusalem, not America. The reason I’m a believer is because those that received Jesus’ Word that day, before He ascended into heaven, were faithful. They didn’t look at God’s Word as merely a suggestion to do or not do as they felt like it. They took God’s Word as Authoritative Truth, living their lives out according to it – and I’m saved (Romans 10:17)!  

What Word has God given you today? By the power of His Holy Spirit within you as a believer, you have what it takes to carry it forth. You never know whose life might change for the better, forever, because you were faithful. Today, step forward into becoming the game changer He designed you to be.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) 

God bless you muchly dear one~

The Fruitfulness Of Forgetfulness

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Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “it is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” Genesis 41:51-52 (NIV) 

Forgetting the fudges of the past produces present and future fruitfulness in one’s life. If we cannot forgive AND forget, our roots become bitter and rot out our purpose on this planet. How do we truly forget all the hurts and the wrongs done to us, we all wonder?! That’s impossible!! And yet… Matthew 19:26 (NLT) Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” So maybe selective memory IS possible, BUT if God has allowed the memories to remain then there is good that can come through them (Romans 8:28). 

If we never remembered a wrong done to us we would never know personally the emotional cost of forgiveness. We would then lose out on the dynamic dimension of God’s deep love revealed to us as we remember how short we have fallen and yet stand forgiven and justified through faith in Christ! For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV) If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1 (NIV) 

Even when we cannot forget with our mind we can choose not to harbor any record of the wrongs in our hearts. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

We can choose never to mention it again with our tongues. Proverbs 18:21 (NIV) The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 At times when our thoughts tempt us back we can choose rather to take captive those thoughts and make them again obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. We can choose to refix our focus, refix our gaze – fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV) 

Our God is fully qualified to handle our past, we have enough to bear facing forward in faith and by His grace may what we bear be fruitful. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 (NIV) Our Heavenly Father is worthy of the fruit our lives would produce through our willingness to forgive and forget. 


Today may your life be dripping with sweet juicy goodness that only comes from the freeing fruit of forgiving forgetfulness dear one, and may you be able to declare, …God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” Genesis 41:52 (NIV)

Worship For He Is Worth It

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Service in love done with sincerity and truth, is worship.

So then…

So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:21 (NIV) 

It seems Genesis 50:20 is such a popularly quoted verse, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (NIV), and rightly so, as it reminds us all of the much needed “but God…” trump card in our lives! However the verse after that one, verse 21, is just as, if not more astounding! Verse 21 gives evidence to the power of God released within a person willing to fully trust and obey; to hang their hope on Jesus Christ alone and who fully understands that the unconditional love of God found in Jesus is stronger than the worst of themselves! How else could one step forward from those that intended to harm them, into… so then I’ll just go ahead and comfort you with kind words and provide for you and your next of kin (as verse 21 indicates)?!! 

When we are so entwined, so enraptured with the One who has served us first, loved us first, our acts of love and service become motivated by Him and for Him alone – it’s an act of self sacrificial worship. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) 

Remember, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit- fruit that will last- … John 15:16 (NIV) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 

The only way any of us produce acts of service that reflect the love of Christ, is through His Holy Spirit in us, Jesus flowing through us. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV) He is our Source of life and all worthy things that flow from our life. However none of our acts earn us more of His favor, more of His love. On the cross Jesus said, it is finished (John 19:30). He did all the work needed to secure our salvation because we could not, even if we tried. So any good work produced from our lives is a byproduct of God’s amazing grace, His connection with us in a love relationship in such a way that He produces in/through us a display of HIS splendor (Isaiah 61:1-4)! 

A love relationship requires our surrender to Him who loved us first (John 3:16). Any love relationship requires trust and our trust in God is demonstrated via obedience to His Word. John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Why is this love the tell tale sign that we belong to Jesus? Because the kind of love we are to love with is not naturally human (like displayed in Genesis 50:21), we are to love with the love we have received from Jesus and that love cannot be found in this world. 

The way we understand the Father’s love will determine how well we are able to serve others in love. 1 John 4:11 (NIV) Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. He SO loved you and me with a love that is STRONGER than the stench of the worst parts of ourselves. WOW! What motivation to reflect this kind of love no matter how it is received by the outside world for the sole reason of showing worshipful gratitude to the One who loved us this way!! 1 John 3:16-18 (NIV) This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 

See also James 2:14-26. For where there is genuine faith there will be genuine deeds because faith produces; not in an effort to earn something it doesn’t yet have, but rather to prove what it already possesses – a place in the Vine.

Our obedience does not stem from a need to earn our way to God but rather our obedience proves our trust in a God who already paid the way for us to be with Him. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV) 

Dear one, may your trust in Jesus, who is your sure hope of salvation, and the One who loves you unconditionally, be proved through your obedience to His Word. May how we serve others in Christ’s love be genuine worship and produce in us the kind of worshipers He seeks. John 4:24 (NKJV) God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

Serving and loving others like Christ first did for us (and continues to do for us) is not easy. At times we will fall short but if our motivation is a love relationship with our God (that He initiated) and Who we trust loves us unconditionally, and Who has given us a sure hope of a better day yet to come, then we can take hold of an unshatterable joy within even unhappy circumstances and continue to follow through in obedience to His Word; submitting a sacrifice of praise in humble worship because He is so worth it.  

God bless you muchly dear one~

Un-fragile Joy

 

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Those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11 (NIV)

True joy runs deeper than mere happiness; it just comes thicker. True joy cannot be penetrated by situations that surround you. Joy supersedes the fragility of happiness. This un-fragile joy is freely open for the embracing yet hinges on two things: Where you place your hope and how you understand the love of Jesus. 

Jesus Christ holds up under any expectation. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. … Hebrews 6:19 (NIV) Jesus entered this imperfect world, into an imperfect family, during imperfect political times. He chose to do this so that among all the imperfect things that tempt our grasp for security and fulfillment He Himself could be that one perfect Living Hope; that soul filling joy of salvation!  

Jesus’ love is stronger than the worst of me/you. To understand that fact, to truly believe God’s love for you is unconditional becomes a game changer. Trust grows in a love filled relationship and hope can be placed in what we can trust. It is imperative that we hinge our hope on Jesus and frame your understanding of His love by His trustworthy Word and we will find our souls flooded with unshatterable joy dear one! 

This joy in Jesus, as depicted in Scripture cannot be shattered by shattering life circumstances. See Acts 5 when the apostles are persecuted, beaten and yet emerge rejoicing! Not because the experience was happy but rather their hope was hinged on a God of eternal good news! Good news that there is a better day coming because Jesus loved us enough to enter into our imperfection and overcame by His sacrifice in our place on the cross, rising again on the third day!! Now we too, like the apostles in Acts 5, can keep on “day after day” (Acts 5:42) in this joy that supersedes the fragile emotion of happiness! They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Psalm 84:7 (NIV) 

Because of God’s unfailing love for you and a sure hope of a better day coming in Jesus, you can embrace an unshatterable joy in and through all days, no matter what comes your way dear one! You are not alone (Matt. 28:10). He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4 (NIV) Praise God! For today there is joy in that we are just one more day closer to our God making all things new!!

Defeat the enemy of your happiness by choosing to embrace the joy in Jesus available today dear one. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 (NIV)

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Isaiah 43:18 (ESV) Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19 (ESV) And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5 (ESV) “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)

Happy New Year!?!

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“Happy New Year!” is the nationally accepted exclamation spoken over 365 days of the… unknown!!?! How many other situations or circumstances in your life have held that much unknown and you decided to take that same worry free, happy mindset? The world as a whole has somehow decided on the first day of the year to embrace the unknown… filled with HOPE! So then what happens in the unknown of our moments throughout the rest of our days that changes that mindset so often to worry?

The only way a person can maintain a mindset of sure hope in a world of unknowns is to anchor it to the Living Word of God (Hebrews 6:19). Life in this broken world has always guaranteed troubles (John 16:33). 

  • Every David has a Shimei throwing the dirt of past failures in your face (2 Sam. 16:5-13)
  • Every Naomi has an Orpah that leaves instead of remaining loyal (Ruth)
  • Every Sampson has a Delilah sized temptation struggle (Judges 16)
  • Every Jonah has a Ninavah – a job that just grinds (Jonah)
  • Every Job has comforters that are just making things worse (Job)
  • Every Hannah has a Peninnah who in jealousy kicks you when you’re down (1 Sam. 1-2)
  • Every Esther has an evil Haman trying to kill God’s plan for your life (Esther)

So how do we overcome without being overcome?! We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor besides God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:2-3 (NLT) 

Each individual listed above proved faithful in the end drawing on the faithfulness of God; our God. But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Psalm 3:3 (NIV) 365 days a year we can feast on the Bread of Life, the very Word of God which will faithfully sustain us in every moment. 

Every new year can be welcomed with the authentic exclamation of “Happy New Year!” for those in Jesus, because happy is each year that brings us nearer to His sure return! He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5 (NIV) 


In the ups and downs of the unknown this year, remember dear one, beloved of God, …despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NLT) Happy New Year and God bless you muchly~

Sifted Not Shifted

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For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) 

Nothing comes to us that has not been first sifted through our God’s good and loving hands. Maybe our greatest prayer for ourselves and our loved ones facing a trial should be that our faith be strengthened through it and emerge so strong it will strengthen others! 

John 10:18 records Jesus talking about His authority over laying down His life for us. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:18 (NIV) Jesus’ statement here is mirrored in the heat of the moment in John 19:11. However the enemy rarely misses a heated moment to strike hard and in John 19:10 (NIV) Pilate says to Jesus, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” See how the enemy is twisting the Truth?!! 

In our own trials it is easy to become disillusioned. “Things” seem to spin out of control and though they may be out of OUR control, they are never out of our Heavenly Father’s, dear one. The fastest way to have our sure hope shaken is to misplace our hope. It is easy to place our hope in things we can see or outcomes we expect only to find discouragement within our disillusionment. If Jesus had let what Pilate said drown out the command He had received from His Father our fate could have been quite different! 

Praise God Jesus answered Pilate in John 19:11 (NIV) with, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…. Jesus kept His hope anchored to His Father’s good, pleasing, perfect will and way (Romans 12:2) regardless of how “things” seemed and sounded to be spinning out of control around Him. How?

See Luke 22:39-46 for Jesus’ example to follow so that we too do not fall to the world’s attempts to shake our sure hope in Jesus! Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 (NIV) 

If God’s own Son did not escape the heat of trials that were not only sifted through His Father’s hand but planned, we can expect no less. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV) Because Jesus didn’t allow His hope to be shifted by what had been sifted, planned, allowed into His earthly existence, we were saved!

Who might be saved because you walk by faith through what’s been sifted through the Father’s hand in your life, unshifted in sure hope in a good God with a good plan? And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)