Thursday, November 15, 2018

"For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for
His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13

The doing of God's work is one thing,but the will to do it is another thing entirely. If you don't have the will to do, it doesn't matter. God is after our hearts and the whys of what we do. 

We can do lots of things for Him, but this is not His concern. Motives and attitudes are important. Anyone who has lived with a teen knows what this is like. 

Stephanie: I hate school and I hate work!
Me: Sounds like you are depressed.
Stephanie: No Mom, I like my friends.
Me" Oh, so you just don't like anything you have to do. Why don't you think about only seven more months and you will be finished with High School for ever! College will be so different, really!
Think about all the great things in your life!
Stephanie: No Mom, you don't get it.

What is it that I don't get? I'm showing her all the wonderful things she has in front of her. {If someone else said the same thing she might agree! Funny.} Her will to focus on those things was not engaged. Praising God for what He has given and done for us lifts us out of bad attitudes and into a whole realm of hope, life, and peace.

There is nothing in life more wonderful to focus on than what God has for us now and in the future. Stephanie will figure this out, as she matures. Aligning our will with God builds a strong bond of faith and catapults us into divine blessing!

I am all in for this! I'm thinking you want some of this too. Who doesn't want all good things for life and eternity?The work is worth it. Press in for more life and hope!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling:  Philippians 2:12 NKJV

Why is Paul telling the Philippians to fear and tremble? Isn't this the opposite of what he has told them in the past? No, not really at all. When we think about our lives and what we do with these lives it can be a very serious.

 All will be known before God and the world at the end of time. This is a sobering truth. Our works don't save us, but they do determine where we will be in the Kingdom. None of this makes any sense right now, but it will for eternity.

The younger you are, the less you might think about eternity. We may think we have plenty of time before we die, but no one knows how much time God has allowed them. Instead of having a bucket list of things to do before you die, what if we had a basket of gifts to give to others?

What do you want to do to bless others? Maybe you have always seen yourself as a teacher's aide in a school setting. My friend Steve Falletta worked in business and traveled for many years. In his retirement, he works at a local Elementary School brightening everyone's day.

Maybe this wasn't something he dreamed of doing, but he loves it. Maybe you have wanted to have a Bible Study in your house or a prayer meeting? There are things we can do from our house to bless others, maybe even write a blog?

We can pray for all things from home, and we can send messages of love and comfort to those who might need some encouragement. I remember Ellie Lofaro sharing about going door to door in her new neighborhood asking the ladies to come to a Bible Study in her home. She gathered a small number, but it grew to hundreds over the years, coming and going.

What you are able to do is unique to who you are. Serving God in church or outside those walls is necessary so our lights don't shine just on other lights. We can make a difference as we allow Jesus to flow out of our mouths, hands and feet!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:11 NKJV

God is the one who gets the glory for every good, perfect, beautiful and noble thing on this earth. Any tongue professing anything else will be found guilty of unbelief at the end. What exactly do we believe as christians?

Jesus Christ came in the flesh, as the Son of God, to die in our place. He gave His body willingly to save us from sin. All those who believe in Him will live eternally not in this body, but in a heavenly body. Life on earth will cease for everyone at some time, but not all will escape the judgement of sin.

Our debt before God has been paid, we are no longer far from God, as sin is what separates us. Do we sin, yes at times but we are no longer walking in sin habitually. We have been set free, so it is our choice now to choose to live in grace, or in the flesh. Oh how I wish it was as simple as writing this on the page!

We have a battle on the inside at times. We want to do what's right but our flesh, the natural woman inside wants to do things her way.
My Pastor says, "What we feed will lead." Feed your spirit, and it will follow after God. Feed the flesh it will take you down the wrong path.

I don't know about you, but I have had enough of the wrong path. Who wants to take years off of their life? God's way will add years to it, and His years will be productive and satisfying. Lay down heavy burdens and allow God to carry them.

Life isn't perfect, but Jesus in our lives makes life amazing. We can see glimpses of what is to come, and this causes in us a longing for more. Wholeness now, in our sinful flesh has been obtained. It's a free gift, and the freedom we get with it, sends our spirits sailing!

Friday, November 9, 2018

"that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth and of those under the earth," Philippians 2:10 NKJV

It is lovely seeing this  picture of a child outside, as I sit indoors on this snowy day in Chicago. We are here visiting our daughter Rachel, who was sworn in as an Attorney yesterday in the state of Illinois. How quickly she has become a force to be reckoned with, although she had this ability from her childhood. 

This is not to say she was strong willed, because she wasn't  always, but she knew what she wanted, and had strong opinions about life. Kindness to others has been an important issue for her. Her love for children in the foster care system has influenced her deeply. Although her current job isn't in her desired field, she will make a difference.

I am surrounded by attorneys, but I have authority because I am the Mama., and a respected wife. The authority of Jesus supersedes All. As we have been talking about in this chapter, there is no one like Jesus. I used to have a sticker on the garage wall in the house where I grew up.

It read: "Every knee shall bow." My Dad didn't like it, because he didn't want to bow. He didn't take it off the wall, so I prayed he would see it and understand. I don't know if he ever did, but 40 years later I'm glad it was there. This is a verse that's not easy to ignore or forget.

The enemy doesn't like it most of all, because he knows it applies to him too. No matter what he does, he will not escape, so this makes him angry with us. We are the light of God, and His servants on this earth. 

We stand for the Kingdom of God, and pray for His Kingdom to come on this earth which puts him out of business. He will try to wrangle his way into our hearts and lives any way he can. He plays dirty, but he isn't in control, unless we believe him.

Don't give him an inch, because he is the father of lies. Don't allow him to have your identity because this is a precious gift. You are a daughter of the Most High King. If you were a Princess, would you allow others to push you around? You are a Princess in a greater Kingdom. Would you be polite if Queen Elizabeth came to your house for tea?

Yes, I think you would, and you would serve her your finest and best of everything. What about your sisters in Christ? We should serve them just the same. Maybe you will find a simple way to do something special for a friend or stranger today? Princesses like us don't have the bank accounts like Princesses in this world. Don't despair, I hear the benefits of serving Jesus run deeper than any bank account!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, Philippians 2:9 NKJV

When we praise God in prayer or song, we are saying back to God what He has said to us about Himself. The exchange of truth and affirmation is hell shattering. The power of God is released when we  align our will in praise to the Holy One.

Our relationship with God is strengthened, our spirits are lifted and our hearts are complete. There is nothing else ever that will bring our hearts to peace and wholeness. When we say to God, There is no one like you, and there will never be another like you, we declare His majesty!

We were made by God for relationship. First with Him, but also with others. No one can excel or be complete without communion with the Father. When I say, Father, it is assumed the Son and Holy Spirit are included, as they are one. One is never separate from the other. I do not understand the trinity fully, as most of us can say, but I am taking a shot at it.

As humans, we can't be separate from our bodies, souls and spirits. It is the same with God. The entire entity of who He is, is incorporated in the Godhead. We need to know how each one operates to meet our needs. How confusing it would be if we didn't know Jesus as He is, the Savior of the world. This knowledge sends a message to our brain. It says: All is well, I have already paid the price for you.

The Holy Spirit is our comforter, and was sent to meet our needs. He speaks to our emotions in a quiet whisper. All is well.  The Father as Creator speaks loudly to us through His creation. All is well, see how my perfect order rules the world! Our bodies are fantastic and complex and not understood completely.

When the Millennial Kingdom  comes, it will dispel all doubts, answer all questions, and cause us to wonder even more at the vastness and awesome power of our God. We will rule with Him which boggles this simple Mama's mind. We won't be bored in this new completed place.

Jesus will be with us! We can ask Him any question we like, and He will explain it to us. We will be capable of understanding science and math in ways we connect connect to now. We will meet people we have admired, and ask them what their life was like. 

We will play with the lions, run with the cheetahs, splash in the waterfalls,  and jump off cliffs. { only if you want to.} Our bodies won't break, we won't be limited by time and space, so ponder this for a moment. What do you look forward to enjoying?

As you might has guessed, I have been reading about the millennium. "All Things New- Heaven, Earth, And the Restoration of Everything You Love" by John Eldredge gives us understanding of what God has for us. It will give you a fresh perspective on the future. Hope is what may be missing in many lives because there is no room to dream. God wants us to dream Big! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

November 7, 2018

" And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8

 Thinking about my childhood has been engaging more of my time lately. I remember my mother telling us the same stories from her childhood when we were young and until she passed. She never grew tired of telling us, and we tried to stay interested.

These were important times in her life, and she wanted to make sure we understood this. I truly understand it fully now. Her memories from the past may have been her best memories. As a christian, I have much anticipation of the future.  This is not to say I didn't have fond memories of my childhood.

We had some wonderful times being young, but my brother, sister and I had heartache from the time we were very young until now.  Many of those heartaches have been melted by the power of Jesus in me. My sister has experienced some healing too. 

No matter how old I am, I know the healing will continue. Without the power and grace of God in my life, I would have been a very different person. Shame and guilt would have engulfed me, but this is not my story. Did you know when God originally made the Garden of Eden, guilt and shame were not present?

These two horrible lies from the enemy are from the result of sin entering the world. Adam and Eve did not know any such feelings until sin entered the picture. These are some things the Holy Spirit has worked out of me over time. In my growing up years, these were put on me in a strong way.

God NEVER INTENDED for us to experience shame or guilt. These are from our enemy, never from God. Using such cruel tactics to control or coerce others is never O.K. In some religious settings, I have been told, guilt was used to push people to do what the authorities said.

Jesus took our guilt, shame and heartaches on Himself when He went to the cross. He was the sacrificial lamb that was slain for the sins of all. Nothing more will ever have to happen for us to be right before God. This truth drives us closer to Jesus, and to righteousness. God's love is what held Him there.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

But made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:7 NKJV

My first question after reading this verse is: what exactly is a bond servant? In Israel, a servant who was a fellow Jew was to be paid for their work. The master had to show kindness to a them as a brother or sister. Jesus, took on the role of a bondservant, which means He served without wages.

 Another word for bondservant is slave. The Master and Creator of the whole earth, sky and sea became the lowliest of servants to save us from sin. He, who was over all things became nothing to fill all things. "He who also descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things." Ephesians 4:10

This verse refers to Jesus descending into hell and then ascending to  heaven to fill all things. For our purposes today I think we can use it. What does this mean? Jesus, out of His own will, came to suffer and die. He knew all things, and He chose the hard road.

There was only one choice to redeem us. No backup or plan B. Going forward was all He knew.What an awesome Savior! What a triumphant Lord. His stellar example speaks volumes.

Only Jesus can give us the authority to overcome sin and death. Only Jesus can stand victorious over the enemy. Only Jesus could take our place on the cross. Only Jesus can love us the way we need to be loved. He doesn't remove our personalities, He completes them.

Annihilation of  personality is a buddhist belief.  God never said we had to die to our personalities. He said to die to self. Our personalities are a gift from God.

 Our fullness of strength in God, is  realized when we yield under His mighty gentle hand.

We all know people who are outgoing and personable. God uses them to speak His word boldly. Some of us are a good witness for God but we are the opposite. We tend to display God's glory through our quiet, gentle ways. All of these personality types declare His truth, and get His message across. Aren't you glad God has a personality? I am, and He has a great sense of humor too.