Tuesday, September 25, 2018

GENESIS 22:2 FIRST USE OF LOVE




Genesis 22:2
FIRST USE OF “LOVE”

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

The first mention of love in the Bible occurs in the passage concerning Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. This is a foreshadowing or “type” of the heavenly Father’s sacrifice of His only begotten Son Jesus.

We are not told that Adam loved his wife or that Noah loved his children, although it could be argued that this unstated love was demonstrated. We are not even told that Sarah loved Abraham. It is fitting that the first mention of love in the Bible is a father’s love for his son. We begin to understand some basic concepts about love: 1) Abraham loved his son as a father should, 2) Obedience to God supersedes human love, 3) God loved Abraham and provided the ram to replace Isaac, 4) God loves humans enough to sacrifice His beloved Son, Jesus, 5) As God’s children we are to emulate His sacrificial love.

The first fruit of the Spirit is love. Loving as the Father has loved us. Self-sacrificing love for God and for people. This kind of love can only be cultivated in you if the Holy Spirit is flowing through you. Because Father God willingly offered His Son on the cross, those who believe are the beneficiaries of this tremendously selfless gift of love. Once we come to accept and embrace the love of God our Father, we are filled with His Holy Spirit who enables us to increasingly love others as Jesus first loved us.

Have you experienced the Father’s love? If you have, are you searching out ways to share this love God so graciously bestowed upon you with those within the sphere of your influence? Jesus freely gave His love. Freely give love to others.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

GALATIANS 3:26 CHILD OF GOD THROUGH FAITH


Child of God
Through Faith

For you [who are born-again
have been reborn from above—
spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified and] are all children of God [set apart for His purpose with full rights and privileges]
through faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26 (AMP)

Faith, trusting in the Lord Jesus, is the only way to a right, intimate, and fulfilling relationship with God as our Father. It is through our faith in the redeeming power of Jesus’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross and subsequent resurrection, that we receive adoption into God’s forever family. Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), the only way to secure adoption into the family. As a part of that adoption, we give up our rights to our plans, our agenda, ourselves in order to fulfill God’s plan and His kingdom purposes. We have a new Father whom we are to obey. In return, we are made joint-heirs with Jesus, inheriting eternal life in the Father’s house. Our past is wiped clean, and we have a new future as children of God with all the privileges that entails. Through faith, I am a daughter of the King of kings! Through faith, I am His jewel, His precious treasure. Through faith in Christ, I have all spiritual blessings. Through faith, God says I am sitting in heavenly places. Through faith in Jesus, I have boldness and access to God with confidence. Through faith, I can call the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, “Daddy!”

Monday, September 17, 2018

LUKE 15:10 HEAVENLY CELEBRATION


HEAVENLY CELEBRATION

Likewise, I say unto you,
there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Luke 15:10

      The shepherd rejoiced when he found the lost sheep and invited his friends to celebrate its return. The woman rejoiced when she found her lost coin and called in all her neighbors to share in her joy. The father rejoiced when the prodigal son returned, and he killed the fatted calf to have a joyful feast with guests. Then Jesus makes the main point: There is great joy in the presence of the angels when one lost sinner trusts in Jesus. Who is seated in the midst of the angels? Father God! His pleasure, too, is a joy that must be shared. The angels sing praises and throw a party when someone on earth is adopted into God’s forever family. My friend adopted two young children. The day the adoption was finalized became “Sullivan Celebration Day.” She cooked a special meal symbolizing her Irish heritage, and they had a delicious desert. It was a time of rejoicing over the newest members of their family. It was a small but joy-filled celebration. Imagine the fantastic, elaborate celebration in Heaven when you became a member of God’s family. If you are a believer in Jesus, God has chosen to adopt you. CELEBRATE!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

2 TIMOTHY 2:13 MOST FAITHFUL TRUSTEE


2 TIMOTHY 2:13 (AMPC)
MOST FAITHFUL TRUSTEE

If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him],
He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character),
for He cannot deny Himself.

Jesus must remain true to His word because He is the Word made flesh (John 1:14) and the embodiment of truth. John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus also said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” He Himself is the Truth we must know and trust in order to be set free from sin and death.

The Lord has promised that those who believe in, trust in, rely on Jesus will be given eternal life and dwell with Him forever. He cannot and will not break His promise to His children. Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Jesus promises us that He will hold on to us and never let us go: John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

Sadly, the opposite is also true. If one lacks faith, refuses to believe, and does not trust Jesus, then Jesus will deny him or her. He cannot deny His own holiness by giving eternal life to someone who has never followed Him and been cleansed by the blood of His sacrifice as the final perfect Lamb of God. His blood serves as the soap of His love to clean us from all unrighteousness.

Have you entrusted your life and your future to the only One who is completely trustworthy and faithful? Have you named Jesus as the sole trustee over everything you are, everything you have, and everything you hope to be? If not, today could be the day Jesus changes your life forever. If you have surrendered your will to His, one day I will meet you joyfully in our forever home where the Lamb of Glory will reign in majesty.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

PSALM 119:171 PRAISE HIM!


Praise Him
June 1984
by Karen Sue Hale  ©1985

It’s something that I learned a long, long time ago.
Yet it’s something I keep learning new each day…
That no matter what the circumstances,
No matter come what may,
I just need to praise His name.

It’s easy, Lord, to praise you when I’m happy,
And it’s easy, Lord, to praise on sunny days.
But when my world is upside down
and everything looks gray,
Still I need to praise your name.


     After delineating the power and purpose of God’s word, the psalmist wraps up with a cry for understanding, a desire to live a life of praise, and a prayer for deliverance. 
Allowing the Holy Spirit to illumine God’s word as we read leads to an increased longing to know more of the Lord.  The more I know of him, the more I want to know.  It’s like being in love.  It IS being in love with perfect Love (I John 4:8 “God is love.”)  The Bible is God’s love letter to each of us. We need to delight in it, sing about it, and choose it above all other literature.  We need to ask the Lord to help us understand his word.
       When I’m in love, I can talk of almost nothing else but the person I want to be with.  Ask my friends, and they’ll tell you I can be absolutely obnoxious when I’m infatuated with someone.  If I’m truly in love with the Lord, my lips should “overflow with praise.”  I should be telling everyone all the wonderful things the Lord of love has done for me and listing all his amazing attributes for all who would listen.  My life should be lived in order to bring praise and glory to my Savior.
       Because the Lord has helped me understand his word, I can have confidence that he will deliver me and sustain me.  When I strayed like a lost sheep, he sought me and brought me back to the fold. Praise the Lord! 


Monday, September 3, 2018

LUKE 14:33 JEWELS AT THE FOOT OF HIS CROSS


JEWELS AT THE FOOT OF HIS CROSS
      
So then, any of you who does not forsake
(renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple.
LUKE 14:33 (AMPC)

       True discipleship is a total surrender of everything I have and everything I am to the lordship of Jesus. We no longer have lords and serfs, so it can be explained as Jesus being the big boss. He is a King in the true sense, not just a figurehead who answers to a parliament. He is the one in total control of His kingdom and its subjects.
       The logo for Precious Jewels Ministries is an illustration of this concept. The PJM is on the cross symbolizing our death to ourselves to be made alive by Jesus (Galatians 2:20). The jewels at the foot of the cross symbolize that we surrender not only who we were but who He has re-created us to be, His precious jewels.  “And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, My peculiar treasure)” (Malachi 3:17a AMPC). The jewels also represent the good works the Lord has called us to do and enables us to do (Ephesians 2:10). We are the living stones that make up God’s kingdom and offer the sacrifice of ourselves, our possessions, and our deeds to the Savior at the foot of His cross (1 Peter 2:4-5).
       We are God’s “Precious Jewels,” not because of our own merit but because He has clothed us in the righteousness of His Son and adorned us to be the bride of Christ (Ephesian 5:25-27). Our surrender is the sweet surrender of one who knows her Lord will completely meet her needs and care for her forever.

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

PSALM 119:165 GREAT PEACE


No matter how I feel deep within my soul,
I need only to remind myself that God is in control.
And then I am at peace
Though the problems may not cease,
For I can trust the One who made me whole.

Karen Sue Hale
October 30, 1986

GREAT PEACE

          September 11, 2001 – Like our parents remember Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, my generation will never forget the day the twin towers collapsed into rubble and dust.  I was sitting at my desk in the auto dealership accounting office where I worked.  My supervisor came by and asked if I’d heard the news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and one of the towers was on fire.  I had not because I didn’t turn on the car radio that morning.  Someone else came in and said, “A second plane has hit the other tower, and it looks intentional!” As my coworkers flew up the stairs to gather around the television, I sat in stunned disbelief. 
       Realizing I was completely alone in the office, I remembered that the only and best thing I could do about this tragedy was to pray.  Therefore, in the silence of the empty room, I bowed my head and asked the Lord to watch over the people in New York and to give us peace in the midst of the confusion, horror, and fear.  I took a moment to call my sister who works at a law office.  She was watching it all unfold on TV and gasped, “Oh my gosh!  The tower just disintegrated!”  I hung up the phone and tears flowed as I prayed for families of victims and firefighters and policemen who would risk and lose their lives.
       At lunch I watched news reports of a plane hitting the Pentagon and a plane ditched in a field to keep it from reaching its intended target.  I prayed for wisdom for President Bush and peace for his wife.  I was upset by the tragedy, but I was not unsettled.  The Lord restored my peace as I exercised my faith in his sovereignty and control. 
       Fear of more attacks gripped the nation. Reports on the radio told of local schools giving parents the option to pick up their children early.  I was keenly aware that my home lies between an airbase and a major airport and only two miles from Bell Helicopter. Even with the feeling that my house had a target painted on the roof, I had to agree with our CFO when he said, “If we cease to be productive, the enemy wins.”  He was talking about the terrorists.  I was thinking about Satan.  If he could take my focus off of God’s power, he would win.  I determined not to let him and continued to pray, and God gave me great peace.

Monday, August 27, 2018

LUKE 14:13-14 SEE THROUGH JESUS'S EYES


SEE THROUGH JESUS’S EYES
 by Susan R. Slade

Depending on how you look at it, I qualify for this guest list on at least 3 of the four items. By myself, I would be just below the federal poverty level. I’ve had both legs amputated above the knee and am extremely challenged by cerebral palsy with limited use of one hand. I am also legally blind! Before everyone lines up to play the violin, just invite me to dinner (LOL)! All kidding aside, Jesus is describing those people who are often set aside or ignored at best, and sometimes even ridiculed. When I was about seven or eight years old, a woman came up to Nana and me in the mall and declared, “Why do bring her out, so that people have to look at something like that!” I know now that the lady’s words were due to ignorance and arrogance, but at the time all they were was painful. She may have assumed that I was unable to understand her, but I understood the hatred and rejection of every word! This is only one of a multitude of encounters like it, but Jesus’s love for me and my devotion to Him has helped me to overcome and rise above the prejudices of fallen humanity, remembering that I am treasured by God. Unfortunately, many of the kind of people Jesus described are still met with similar attitudes. Examine your own response to the people with these challenges you cross paths with each day. Are you viewing them with human eyes or through the eyes of the One who died on the cross to save them as well as you?

1 Samuel 16:7b for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

PSALM 119:154 PRESERVE MY LIFE




Preserve my life according to your promise.
Preserve my life according to your laws.
Preserve my life according to your love.
Keep me safe from the enemy’s jaws.
You alone are able to redeem me.
You alone have compassion so great.
You alone can look inside and see me.
And for your deliverance I wait.


Preserve My Life


     I remember when I was a child, we were on vacation staying with my grandmother.  She and I were sleeping in the same bedroom.  I woke up during the night and saw a man crossing the backyard, coming toward our window.  I was frozen and speechless with fright; but as he drew nearer I closed my eyes tightly and prayed silently, “Dear Jesus, protect us!”  Just as I heard him trying to get in the window, Grandma snored deeply and loudly.  The man ran away. The next morning my mother thought I must have had a bad dream or was telling her a wild tale to get attention until my dad came in wondering why the screen was torn away from that window on one corner.  Was it a coincidence that Grandma snored at just the right time?  I don’t believe so.  I choose to believe that God answered the prayer of a frightened child and delivered me from harm. 

God in his sovereignty does not always deliver his children from harm. If you are not faint-hearted or weak-stomached, Read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.  Try to find an updated version that includes the stories of Christians who gave their lives because of their faith in the twentieth century. Marvel at the courage given them by the grace of God.  Remember that courage is not the absence of fear but continuing to persevere when fear says to run and hide.  Courage stems from confidence in the grace of God. We can have courage knowing that when we cry out to God, he is able to deliver us.  We also know that if he chooses not to deliver us from harm on this earth, then he is taking us home to be with him.
Not many of us in America in the year 2003 can say that we have been persecuted or have suffered greatly because of our faith. Some may have faced discrimination in the job place or professors in college who delighted in making sport of Christians in front of the entire class.  However, we have not been beaten, imprisoned, or threatened with death.  God has blessed me with acquaintances from other countries who did face this type of persecution and continued to take a bold stand for Christ. I pray if the day comes that I am threatened with physical harm because I follow Christ, the Lord will help me to stand firm in him. May I have confidence that he will preserve my life (if not here, then in heaven) and may I refuse to turn from his statutes.