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2Chronicles 26; Revelation 13; Zechariah 9; John 12

Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.  I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.  John 12:44-46

Have you ever watched those Discovery Channel shows where scientists stand on the rim of a volcano and prepare robots to go where no man can go.   Into a deep dark hole, unstable and bottomless.  Or maybe those divers that plunge deep into the darkness of oceans, oceans that go so deep that only robotic cameras can glimpse at what lies below.   Both of these places are so dark and foreboding that the thought of venturing into these place on purpose would not be at the top of my “bucket list”.   Now imagine a light so bright that all of the darkness would be gone, a light so bright that nothing could hide from it or escape it’s radiance.   That’s what this passage in John reminds me of.  When I think of the darkness that Jesus came into so that all mankind could receive the gift of eternal life with God; and to be a light for others in this dark world…how could I do anything else but fall to my knees and worship.

Father God thank you for the hope you give us and the grace you extend to us through your son Christ Jesus, the light of the world.  I pray that as we celebrate the birth of Jesus this season, that many will chose to walk out of the darkness and let your grace fill them with the His light. Amen

Merry Christmas,

Cindi

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2Chronicles 8; 3John 1; Habakkuk 3; Luke 22

Email, texting, instant messaging, tweets, status updates and sometimes a letter…I’m totally convinced that God knew that one day man would cease to use his voice to communicate with others.  However, I still get excited each year as Christmas cards begin coming in the mail.  Many will have a Christmas letter included in the card.   Sometimes the card is the letter. The letters are warm and written with rich details of the year’s accomplishments, milestones and family updates.  Families and communities aren’t as close as they have been in past decades.  There was a time when your family and friends all lived in the same town as you and you didn’t have the need for a yearly letter, everyone shared information with conversations over diner, card games, a child’s sporting activity or at church.  Church wasn’t just an hour and then you went your separate ways, sometimes church lasted into the afternoon with a Sunday supper at the church or in one’s home.  There were phones but they hung on the wall and you had to stay in the room where the phone was to talk, it didn’t go everywhere with you.  I would assume not many chose to write a letter to their neighbor about the gospel.  I believe that was probably discussed over a glass of lemonade on a front porch or over a morning cup of coffee.

I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. 3 John 1:13-14

Although John is writing to Gaius, with glad tidings, a warning, instructions and his impending arrival, you can sense the urge to share much more with Gaius.  Isn’t that the way it is today.  We have all of this technology at our fingers but sometimes, you just need to speak to someone face to face, because you know the meaning might be lost in the words.  Emotions, actions, and the tone of voice, coveys so much more meaning when words are spoken face to face.  I am grateful for the letters written by John, Paul and others.  They were necessary due to the distance between the churches as Christianity spread across the land.  Interestingly enough, if it weren’t  for the many letters written in the Bible, we might not have the Bible we do today.  In those days imagine how long it took a letter to get to the recipient.  And just imagine how they were preserved and in time added to the Bible.

Many attempt to share their faith in writing.  I see many who will quote scripture on facebook, tweet a Bible verse and such.  Many blogs such as this one, offers heart felt stories and commentary around Biblical topics and verses.  And I guess this is all fine, although I think many opportunities are lost or avoided all together because we don’t make an effort to meet with others and share the gospel “face to face”.

I think my post today was just as much a letter to myself and others to remind us to take those opportunities to meet with neighbors, family and co-workers more than the world seems to do today.  I plan on spending more time with people face to face and less time through the keyboard.

It is my prayer that God intercedes in this desire for me and provides the opportunities to share the gospel, my story and the gift of the word with more people face to face.

Merry Christmas,

Cindi

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1Chronicles19,20; 1Peter 1; Jonah 3; Luke 8

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,  for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ~ 1 Peter 3-9

Abundant Blessings this Thanksgiving Day,

Cindi

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2 Kings 23; Hebrews 5; Joel 2; Psalm 142

As a Christ follower, Christian, believer…I believe everything in the Bible.  I believe and trust in God’s promises, therefore I also believe and heed His warnings.  There are those around us, family, friends, co-workers, people who sit next to us in church, who don’t fully accept what is written in the Bible.  It’s so odd to me that there are those you profess to not be Christian but they believe there is a God and I’ve even met those who know about certain parts in the Bible and believe to be true. I find that odd, yet interesting. I recall, I was one in that camp at one time.  I acknowledged the existence of God and had skimmed the pages of a Bible more than a few times, but I wasn’t fully engaged, fully committed, I had not surrendered all.

And then there are those who profess a faith in Jesus Christ, but don’t know much about the Bible, or they don’t think it is relevant to today.  However, most people that I communicate with say they believe what the Bible says is true, relevant, God’s instructions for those who know Him and put their faith in His Son, Christ Jesus.

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.  Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand-  ~Joel 2:1

I read, re-read and went back and read Joel 2.  Finally, the third reading it dawned on me.   Although we might never audibly hear the blow of a trumpet, or the sound of an alarm, we all should be able to visibly see and know the day of the Lord will come.  It’s inevitable,  we are told this in the Bible.  Is it close at hand?  I don’t know, some speculate it is.  But more to the point, should we assume it’s not?  Will we see a an army of Locusts?   as in real bugs?   The Bible says the word came to Joel from God.  But he was talking back then, are we to think he was talking to the people in terminology that they would relate too in that day?  If Joel was speaking to us today, what words and phrases would he use to make us understand and heed God’s warning?

Joel 2:10 warns; “Before the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.”    Now I’m not a biblical scholar. I have to read the same verse several times in order to understand it’s meaning and even then I fall short most times.  But… you know, every time an earthquake occurs, I stop and think about God’s warnings.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not speculating that the recent earthquakes in Oklahoma and the recent earthquake in Turkey are the precursor to an army of locusts appearing and covering the entire earth.  But!….I also don’t presume to think that we should wait until the sun and moon are darkened to know the day of the Lord will come.

I look at every natural disaster and think long and hard about my faith. In an instant my heart tells me that I have nothing to fear for God is sovereign and He is in complete control over everything.  But I do mourn for those who do not know that.

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning” ~ Joel 2:12

I am reassured over and over in the pages of the Bible that God is slow to anger abounding in love.  He is a God of second chances.  He implores us to return to Him with all our heart, in complete surrender.

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. ~ Joel 2:13

He wants our heart to be empty for Him to fill, our faith to be fueled by His love, our surrender to be complete so He can restore our soul and allow Him to be our Father.  It’s nothing we can do physically with our hands, with our money or our mind.  It’s all about turning inwardly to Him for everything.  Will God relent from sending calamity?

Reading further Joel tells us in 2:31 that; The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the Lord.”  but in 2:32 he goes on to reassure us; “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”

My prayer for all today is that none of us put off any longer.  If you’ve already given your life over to Christ Jesus, praise God for your decision, but you and I have been told to “go out and make disciples” we must not grow comfortable in our faith and keep it to ourselves.  If you’ve not repented and called out to God for His forgiveness and accepted His gift of salvation, don’t assume you have time.  Don’t be fooled by others who tell you that there isn’t a God and that the Bible is not truthful.  I pray for the scales to fall from you eyes and your heart to be softened today, I pray that you reach out and take what only God’s grace can give you…freedom, peace, shelter and eternal life with Him.

Cindi

 

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1Kings 16; Colossians 3; Ezekiel 46; Psalm 102

I love reading my Bible and it is especially rewarding and comforting to me to turn to a book in the Bible, begin reading the passages and see where I have been there before.  Certain verses will be highlighted as a bookmark that serves to remind me that these specific passages had a special meaning for me on that day.  Not that I can remember why the highlighted or underlined verses spoke to me that day, but returning and seeing these bookmarks makes me feel like I’m returning to a secure and comfortable place.

The verses below were a few that were highlighted in my Colossians  3 study today.  After reading over them several times today, it dawned on me that these verses are verses that I share with my children and husband on a regular basis.

Many people feel that the book of Proverbs offers a daily reminder of how Christ followers should live their lives on a daily basis, Proverbs does this in small nuggets of wisdom, easy to remember throughout your day if you read a chapter each day.  But I’m afraid that people are missing the other words of wisdom sprinkled all throughout the pages of the Bible, like the verses below:

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  Colossians 3:2

Write this on your mirror and read it out loud every morning.  This will set the tone for your day.  Especially when you are disappointed by others or things just don’t seem to be going your way that day.  It’s not about “here” it’s about “there”!

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave your. Colossians 3:13

This is a beauty! One I repeat several times a day.  Forgive as the Lord forgave me.  Repeat 1000 times.  Be patient, be kind and realize that others are just as human as you.  Then ask yourself; “how many people did I burden, rub the wrong way, irritate, push the wrong buttons, exasperate…the pray they forgive you.

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.  Colossians 3:21

I can’t change the words of the Bible but I secretly add the word Mothers in there too.  I spend more time with my children that my husband does, so my words, my actions and my time should be encouraging and uplifting.  Many times they get something wrong that I’ve ask them to do, it so easy to raise my voice and snap…oh but my Heavenly Father lives by this verse too and many times He could snap on me, instead He encourages me to take a breath and love my children as they are a gift from God not another task to take care of.

Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.  Colossians 3: 23

I repeat this verse to my children a lot.  Teachers, coaches, peers, bosses, parents, authority figures…all of these people my children encounter everyday and with that encounter comes work; school work, practices, chores, jobs, rules and with their peers; the decisions they make, their reputations, their little social circles.  I tell them to repeat the verse every time they are faced with those feelings of having to do something that someone else tells you to do.  I hear; “why do I have to?”  “the coach is so mean, we had to…” “schoolwork stinks, why do I have so much homework?” or “I’ll do it later” ” my boss is lame” “my friends were picking on this kid today, they were really rude”

I tell them when they remember this verse, things become easier to do, all of the sudden you’re not working out for the coach you’re working out for God, you’re not working for your boss, but for God, you don’t participate in the class lesson for the teacher, but for God and you don’t stand there and allow your “friends” to pick on another person because you’re worried what they will think of you when you stick up for the other kid.  You care more about what God thinks of you and you take a stand because God does the same for you everyday.

Father God, your words and instructions are like salve to my soul.  Directions for my day, reminders of how much you love me.  You love me so much that you only want the best for me, you encourage me to do my best.  You provide shelter with your words, protection and courage to stand firm. I pray that by following your standards that my actions are a light to others, that they see how my actions and words glorify you. Amen

Cindi

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1 Kings1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit,  and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.   They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”  Galatians 5:16-18

Some may wonder how will they know if they are living by the Spirit versus living by the law.  Living by the law or under the law is like following  rules, only not following them because they are the rules but because you might get caught not following the rules.  Take the speed limit for instance, does a person go the speed limit because they want to or because they have to.  Living by the Spirit is like going the speed limit because you want to, not because you have to.   When you are led by the Spirit you don’t feel the need for speed on the highway, you’re happy to cruise, taking in the sights, the sounds and feeling with wind in your face.  Those fruits of the Spirit, the peace, joy and self control are abundant when you are led by the Spirit.

Now turn that around and look through a different lens.  A person sees the speed limit and ignores it, choosing to speed down the road of life.   Then they see someone ahead of them going the posted speed, obeying the law because they want to, what do you think they feel?  Maybe jealous because that other person seems so peaceful.  Then comes hatred for those silly rule followers.  Do you think the speed racer person is filled with kindness?  how about patience?  goodness?  Yeah…no!  More like fits of rage and selfish ambition.  And you thought road rage was a new thing?   Oh and while  haul’n down the road of life, breaking all kinds of rules, just because they want to (that’s the sinful nature by the way) the only sights a person might take time to enjoy is something they shouldn’t be looking at.   Like that pretty car in the next lane, “humm…why can’t I have one like that”  they might begin to wonder.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passion and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Galatians 5: 24-25

So is it just a given that if we belong to Christ Jesus that we will be led by the Spirit?  Well my car has four wheels and is designed to take me where I need to go, but only if I start the engine, put gas in it and steer it in the direction I want go.  So maybe accepting Jesus as my savior starts my journey, but I have to put fuel in (the word) and I need a driver to lead me in the right direction, that would be the Spirit.  So maybe not so much a given as it is a decision to follow and a be submissive to be led, not because you have to, but because you want to.

Father God I praise you for providing a Savior for my sins, thank you for your word to nourish and enrich my life, and thank you for the Spirit that guides me through my life so that I can produce sweet abundant fruit for your glory. Amen.

Cindi

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2 Samuel 11; 2 Corinthians 4; Ezekiel 18; Psalm 62,63

Therfore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Ezekiel 18: 30

Each morning begin an account of your “ways”…at the end of the day count the fruit you have produced.  I often fall short.  Not intentionally, I am human, I am a sinner, but at some point I must take an account for my ways and keep my feet planted in the word so my ways will be productive and not harmful.

Rid yourself of all offenses  you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.  Ezekiel 18: 31

Simply ask for forgiveness before the Lord and surrender yourself to him.  For me to rid myself of all my offenses would be like beginning a diet after just one more doughnut.  How’s that work’n for me? Not at all.  I have to walk away…flee from the root of my offense and allow God to work and mold my heart and spirit.

For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign  Lord, Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:32

To try and grasp the magnitude of this verse; you would have to recall how you felt the last time you really had to discipline your child for their deliberate disobedience and multiply by thousands or more.  You  hold your children after the discipline and love on them, reassure them and explain how life in your home would be a lot easier if the child would just obey and make better choices.  So easy, right?  God created us and He loves us.  I know no other who would sacrifice their child so I could live.  He takes no pleasure in our death, He has given for us, more than we deserve.

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.  Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.  Psalm 62:11-12

Surely He will.

Father prepare my heart and spirit to do your will today and everyday.  To be your light through my words, my actions and my service to others.  In your Son’s precious name, Amen

Cindi

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