Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day: Jesus is Savior


Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, The Lord.
Luke 2:11

Over the past few weeks (26 days to be precise) has lead up to this day.  Jesus is our Savior.  The Old Testament points directly to Jesus and our dire need for Someone to save us from ourselves.  I feel like that if God had given us Jesus from the beginning we wouldn't appreciate Him.  Now we can study the Old Testament and understand why we can't save ourselves.

Jesus is the Lamb of God that serves as Atonement Sacrifice and the High Priest that offers Himself to cleanse us from our sins.  Once we are cleansed and forgiven we are clothed in Jesus' righteousness so that we can now come close to God.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us.

The Hebrew people would have been anticipating Jesus for years and generations yet they didn't recognize Him when He came.  The Shepherds saw the angels and believed.  They went to see Him and worship Him.  Why didn't the angels appear to the religious people?  I'm not sure but I can only imagine from their later reactions to Him, that they wouldn't have gone to Him.  In fact the Bible doesn't record any religious people going to see Him.  

Those who did go and worship Him are recorded for all eternity.  How can this apply to us?  Do you seek out Jesus amongst this rushed and chaotic season?  We have already received the greatest Christmas Gift we could ever need.  We needed a Savior and God gave us One.  Jesus saved us from sin by His sacrifice.  

All Advent long,  a theme that gifts are sacrifices have come up in all my devotions that I read.  The reasoning is that the gift is a sacrifice of the giver.  Didn't God sacrifice His Only Son?  Isn't that a huggggeee sacrifice just for us!  Have you thought about giving Jesus a gift?  What can you sacrifice to give to Him--time, money, all of you?

Merry Christmas!!!

With His Love,
A


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve: Jesus is Emmanuel


Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel. 
Isaiah 7:14

It's been 25 days since I started this journey of blogging during Advent.  Tomorrow is the big day to celebrate but we should really be celebrating each and every day.    The second to last name for Jesus is Emmanuel or Immanuel.  This name is so wonderful because it means "God with us".  

Jesus came down from Heaven to dwell among, literally the Greek word for dwelling is ἐσκήνωσεν and means tabernacled among us!  The original reason that God had the Israelites build the Tabernacle was so He could dwell among the people.  Then Jesus comes down to dwell among the people and teach them.  

However, Jesus didn't leave us when He ascended to Heaven after His resurrection.  He is always with us.  We are never alone in any circumstances.  Sometimes I feel as if I am alone when no other humans are around or can understand my situation.  Jesus is there for me and has gone through the same feelings and temptations that we face every day. 

Jesus fulfilled the original intent of the Tabernacle.  He came and dwelled with us in human flesh and then returned to Heaven.  The Holy Spirit was sent down so that we can have God in us not just with us.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, closer than any relationship with God prior to Jesus.  

Our relationship with God is even more intimate than Moses and God because Jesus has fully cleansed.  With this cleansing we can now come so close to God that He can live inside of us!!  Does this change your view on the celebration tomorrow?  Will you take some time tomorrow to give thanks and just rest in the awe of God's amazing love?

With His Love,
A


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

24th Day of Advent: Jesus the Messiah

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
 Matthew 16:16

I love this exchange between Peter and Jesus.  Jesus asks His disciples who they think He is.  Peter answers that He is the Messiah.  Jesus tells him that God revealed this truth to Peter.  Isn't that so amazing that the Truth about Jesus' identity was revealed by God in His timing?! Jesus calls Peter blessed and then tells him, he will be the rock to build the church on (Matthew 16:17-20).  

Messiah is the Hebrew term and Christ is the Greek term for both the same meaning: Anointed One.  A little more than two weeks ago, I wrote about Jesus as the Anointed One.  He was chosen by God to fulfill His plan.  Jesus fulfills more than 18 Old Testament Prophecies about the Messiah.  I think He fulfills many more but these are specific for the Messiah.  

All the way back in Genesis 3:15, God promises that someone will come and crush the serpent (the Devil) down.  Jesus is that Person.  I am still in awe that so early on the Bible, God revealed His plan to us.  The people knew about this prophecy and were waiting for it to be fulfilled.

Everyone was so caught up in life when Jesus did finally come to Earth that they didn't believe He was the one.  He didn't come in regally or flashy but humbly and approachable.  Jesus the Messiah, the long awaited Person to deliver the Hebrew Nation once and for all wasn't recognized.  

Is that us today?  We are so caught up in life and celebrating "Christmas" that we don't recognize when Jesus the Messiah, the long awaited One to deliver us, shows up in our lives?  I don't want that to be me this week.  I want Jesus to be the focus.  I need deliverance and Him.  How are you going to let Jesus into your life?  Will you make room for Him unlike so many 2000 years ago (and still today!)?

With His Love,
A


Monday, December 22, 2014

23rd Day of Advent: Jesus is the King of kings

"They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers."
Revelation 17:14

Last year I started to listen to more Christian based Christmas music.  I found some really great songs that hold the true message of Christmas-Jesus instead of Santa Claus.  Point of Grace is one of the groups that I enjoy listening to.  It wasn't until this year that their song, "One King" really hit me.  The premise of the song is that the there were four kings that night (the Three Wisemen Kings and Jesus):
One king held the frankincense
One king held the myrrh
One king held the purest gold
And one King held the hope of the world
When I heard that last lyric line, it hit me that Jesus was a King even lying in that manger.  He came down from His Heavenly thrown to be with us.  So many contempory Christian Christmas songs carry this message and I love that.  I want to be reminded of the true reason we are celebrating this week.  I may have not gotten it all right this year (my sis and I just remembered that we forgot to get my mom a present) but I want my heart to be right.   

Jesus is the King of all the kings who have ever ruled.  He is the Ultimate King because His Throne is in Heaven.  Just because He is a King doesn't mean that He is not approachable.  He can be King of your heart if you let Him in! 

Have you let Jesus rule over your heart?  It's okay if you are not perfect because He still loves you and will help you along the way towards perfection.  We have the gift of the Bible to be able to read through so many others' stories who have come before us and made mistakes or got things right.  We can use them and most importantly Jesus' life as an example to lead ours.  Just another reason to read your Bible!

With His Love,
A

Sunday, December 21, 2014

22nd Day of Advent: Jesus the High Priest

"For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, and that He might might make atonement for the sins of the people."
Hebrews 2:17

Yesterday and Friday, I wrote about Jesus as the Atonement Sacrifice and Lamb of God.  I briefly mentioned that the high priest went into the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle to offer sacrifices for the sins of all the people.  Jesus is not only the sacrifice but the One offering the sacrifice!  How amazing is the duality of Jesus.  He can serve as the Blood that covers our sins and the One who can atone for our sins.  

Only the holy priest could atone for the sins of the people on that special Day of Atonement, once a year.  Since Jesus' sacrifice was more powerful than any other sacrifice, there only needs to be One.  His sacrifice is Eternal and will last forever.  So. Much. Power.  I love studying these roles of Jesus because it sheds such depth and understanding to Who He really is!

Also the holy priests had to cleanse themselves from their sins.  However, Jesus was sinless so He did not have to offer any sacrifice for Himself.  Therefore, His death on the cross, is all for us.  Let me repeat that....His Death is ALL FOR US.  Jesus came to Earth to die for us.  Jesus set aside His Heavenly Kingdom to come to our sinful, broken world to deliver us.  He is our Holy Priest to offer the Sacrifice of Himself as an Atonement for all of our past, present and future sins.  Let that sink in.

Lastly, the holy priests entered the earthly Tabernacle that was built by human hands.  God had given Moses the instructions to build this Tabernacle straight down to the dimensions and colors of fabric.  God was reflecting the Tabernacle that is built in Heaven (Hebrews 8:5).  His plans were precise and direct because He knew what He wanted it to look like.  Jesus entered this Tabernacle in Heaven when He offered Himself as a sacrifice.  

Jesus the High Priest went into the Most Holy Place in Heaven to atone for our sins.  He didn't enter the Tabernacle that was built by human hands but by the Hands of God.  Can you see the beautiful picture that God has given us through scriptures?  The reflection of Heaven here on Earth?  The Old Testament points to Jesus and gives us insight as to the magnitude of our need for Him.

How does Jesus' role of a High Priest impact your life?  Have you read Exodus and studied the role of the high priests in the Israelite nation?  I encourage you to look through Exodus and learn about the Tabernacle and the sacrifice system because it makes me appreciate the work Jesus has done for me!

With His Love,
A


Saturday, December 20, 2014

21st Day of Advent: Jesus is the Lamb of God


The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!"
John 1:29
  
Yesterday, I wrote about Jesus as the Atonement Sacrifice and today is a little bit more about the type of sacrifice.  On the night that the Israelite Nation left Egypt, God had commanded Moses to instruct the Israelites to take a lamb's blood and spread it on the doorposts of their house.  When God passed through the land of Egypt for the 10th and final plague of killing all first born sons, He would pass over the houses with lamb blood on the door frames.  God didn't punish or inflict judgement on His people.  Instead He passed over them! (Exodus 12)

Jesus is the Ultimate Lamb because He was Perfect and Blameless.  His Blood on our doorposts of life is way more valuable than any animal lamb.  Isn't this a beautiful picture?  The simplicity of the foreshadowing of Jesus a mere 62 chapters into the Bible.  We are now able to be passed over because Jesus' Blood covers us!

I think this is a reason to celebrate in 5 days.  Jesus was born knowing all this would happen and yet He still continued to live a life that we will never be able to.  He was filled with the Joy of the Lord no matter His circumstances.  This is a wonderful example for our lives!

Will you join me on the final days of this Journey of discovering Jesus' names in the Bible?  There is still time left to catch up!  Have you applied the Blood of Jesus to the metaphorical doorposts of your life?  What would happen if you did?

With His Love,
A

Friday, December 19, 2014

20th Day of Advent: Jesus the Atonement Sacrifice


"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood--to be received by faith.  He did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--"
Romans 3:25

We need to take a journey back to the Old Testament to understand atonement sacrifices.  When God gave Moses the law of the Israel Nation, He instructed Moses to build a portable Tabernacle (they were still traveling to the Promised Land).  Only priests chosen by God (the Levites) could enter this Tabernacle.  The main purpose for the Tabernacle was for God to be able to dwell among His people.  The Israelites pitched their tents all around the Tabernacle tent so that it was in the middle of their campground.

The Israelites knew when God was in the Tabernacle because the Pillar of Cloud or Fire would be over the Tabernacle.  Therefore, to be able to enter the Tabernacle, one had to be Holy since it was the dwelling place of the Holy God.  The priests would offer sin sacrifices daily.  Then once a year, on the day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the Most Holy Place (the actual place God dwelled) and offer an Atonement Sacrifice. 

This sacrifice would be for all the sins of the people that had been committed for the year.  Only the high priest was allowed to do this.  There were many preparations that needed to be performed like washing and cleansing before the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place where God dwelled.  Since humans are sinners and God is Holy, He can't be near us.  (Exodus 25-30)

This is where Jesus comes in!! He became that Atonement Sacrifice for all of us.  He was the sin sacrifice for all the people.  However, since Jesus was the Son of God, making Him God, He is infinite.  Since Jesus is Eternal and Infinite, His sacrifice can cover the sins of people yet to come, like you and me!  That's so amazing because the price of our sins was paid for over 2000 years ago.  We will never see that price (death) because Jesus has canceled it for us.  

Have you studied the Old Testament so that you can understand the references in the New Testament?  I encourage you to go back to Genesis and Exodus because they are so rich with the foundation of God's plan.  The entire Bible points to Jesus and I can really understand that now that I have studied parts of the Old Testament. 

With His Love,
A

Thursday, December 18, 2014

19th Day of Advent: Jesus is Creator


Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness....."
Genesis 1:26a

So 26 verses into the Bible we see that God isn't singular.  There is a Triune God, three persons but One God.  There is God the Father, Jesus is the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit.  I touched on this yesterday but it is important.  

Jesus didn't just come into being that night in Bethlehem.  Jesus is Eternal so He has always been and will always be!! Jesus just took human form 2000 years ago.  Jesus was right there with God when He created the world and everything we know!  How awesome is that!! Then when He came down, He probably was like woah look I made that :)  

It puts into perspective another aspect of Jesus' life.  He is part of the Creator and He came down to Earth to live with the created.  That's wonderful news for us.  We have a God who knows us by name and wants to be with us!! We can't choose our earthly family but we have a Heavenly Father who has chosen us.  

So Jesus not only was there when the world was formed but when you were formed as well.  He knows you inside and out so why not get to know Him the same way?  How amazing would that be to state that you know Jesus that intimately?? Well guess what...WE CAN KNOW HIM!!  Because of His Work on the Cross, we can have an intimate and personal relationship with our God.  Not only does He desire that but also delights in it too. 

It's one week til Christmas...how has studying Jesus' names impacted your view on Christmas this year?  How can you incorporate more Jesus into your celebration this year?

With His Love,
A

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

18th Day of Advent: Jesus is the Son of God






"We know also that the Son of God has come and given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true.  And we are in Him who is true by being in His Son Jesus Christ.  His is the true God and Eternal Life."
1 John 5:20

This quote that #SheReadsTruth for one of their Advent devotions is perfect for today!  C.S. Lewis summed up Jesus' purpose on Earth.  Since the Son of God came, we know can also be come sons (and daughters) of God!! 

Why is it important that Jesus is the Son of God?  If you have gone to church throughout your life, you may have learned about the Trinity of God or the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  How can there be three separate persons but One God?  The only answer I have for that is because God is amazing and our brains cannot comprehend His Glory. 

Jesus needs to be the Son of God because that proves that He is God Himself.  Jesus was fully God but also human.  He shed His divinity to become human that night in Bethlehem (Philippians 2:6-7).  Again the question still arises Why is it important that Jesus is the Son of God?  No human can atone for all the sins of the people forever.  The high priests could atone for the sins of the people for a short while but needed to daily offer sin sacrifices.  Since Jesus was God, He is infinite.  Since Jesus was infinite, His sacrifice could cover an infinite amount of sins.  Also since Jesus was Pure and Sinless, His Blood could offer a purer sacrifice than any animal blood. 

Therefore, it is everything that the Son of God came down from heaven to live an Earthly Life.  As a human, He can relate to us and show us that He understands our human lives.  We have a God who has gone through many of the same hardships as us!!  Jesus, the Son of God, came down so that we may become sons and daughters of God now.

How does this truth affect your life?  Will you give your life to Jesus so that you can become a son or daughter of God?  What is holding you back?  Have you thought about Jesus' earthly human life?  If you reflect upon it, do you feel closer to Him?  What can you do this week to become closer to Jesus?

With His Love,
A




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On the 17th Day of Advent, Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant


"to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant"
Hebrews 12:24

What is a covenant?  The Bible is rich with this word.  Well, it is a promise but not like a promise you and I keep.  Humanly promises can be easily broken.  We see that everyday I'm sure.  A covenant is a promise that God makes and we can be sure that God never breaks His promises (Numbers 23:19).  God doesn't sin so He doesn't lie.  When He gives His Word, He will always deliver!  That's wonderful news.

Now we need to establish the old and new covenant.  God gave Mose the Old Covenant in Exodus.  The people needed a high priest to offer animal sacrifices for their sins frequently.  They also had four other offering to the Lord.  They needed to remain faithful and follow all the rules that God had given them through Moses.  Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant because he was given the information by God and then gave it to the people.  God realized that the people couldn't keep this covenant so He put into action the plans for the new one (although He would've already known this from the beginning of time but I think this is when He revealed it to His people!).  (Hebrews 8:1-13)

In the new covenant, the laws of God will be written on the hearts of people, all wickedness will be forgiven and sins no longer remembered (Hebrews 8:10-12).  Wow these are better promises than the Old Covenant of animal sacrifice that didn't fully satisfy God.  Where does Jesus come into this New Covenant?  He was the fulfillment of the Covenant!  He came to deliver the promise because He died for us, our sins and wickedness can fully be forgiven and forgotten!!!!

Jesus fulfills and mediates this New Covenant because He brought down the news about it from God the Father to us on Earth.  Therefore, He now mediates the Covenant like He intercedes for us to God the Father.  God didn't make a mistake with the First covenant but the people needed to realize that they needed something more because on our own we will never be able to cleanse ourselves from sin.  The animal sacrifices only covered our sins but didn't deal with the problem.  Now since Jesus was our sacrifice we can be cleansed to a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  

How does the understanding of these covenants change your perspective of Jesus?  Are you allowing Jesus to be the mediator of your life?  What can you do to allow Him into your life more?  Is there someone you would like to share Jesus with but are too afraid?  I encourage you to ask the Spirit for the boldness to talk to them :)

With His Love,
A

Monday, December 15, 2014

Jesus is the Bread of Life on the 16th Day of Advent

"For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heave and gives life to the world...I am the Bread of Life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
John 6:33, 35

I bet when I first read these verses a few years ago, I wouldn't have any idea the imagery that Jesus is using here.  I would be like how can bread come down from heaven?  But now, having read some more of the Bible, I have background knowledge to appreciate this beautiful image.  Jesus came down from Heaven so we may have life!

That was the purpose of that very first Christmas Night when Jesus was born.  Now He is saying that if we go to Him we may also have life.  Just like drinking up Jesus as the Living Water, if we nourish ourselves with Jesus as the Bread of Life we will never go hungry.  Our bodies can survive a few days without food but eventually we would starve and die.  

The same why it is for our souls.  However, our souls are starved much longer than a few days.  If we deprive our souls of Jesus for our lifetime then we do die spiritually and physically.  That's a terrifying thought!  I want to feed my soul with the Living Water and Bread of Life, daily just like I feed my body with the nutrients it needs to function.  

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the Devil and He was hungry, the Devil told Him to turn the stones into bread.  Then Jesus replies with "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).  Since Jesus is The Word, we can feed on Him to nourish us.  Jesus is all we need because He can feed us in ways that we can't do on our own.

Are you feeding on Jesus and drinking in the Words of God?  Can you set aside time each day to read your Bible and rest in the God's presence?  Will you start to change your spiritual diet and be as spirit health conscience as you are body health conscience? 

With His Love,
A

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On the 15th day of Advent: Jesus is the Light of the World


When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
John 8:12

Jesus again says I AM using His divine name again.  How amazing is that!!! Then He says He is the Light.  When I was little (and sometimes now) I used to be scared of the dark.  Like so scared in the middle of the night that I wouldn't get up to pee unless my bladder was really about to explode.  I couldn't figure out why I had such bad sleeping habits.  Well my bladder was so full I couldn't sleep!  Finally like last year (no joke) I got up the courage to go to the bathroom if I woke up.  You know why I finally had the courage....JESUS!!  I put my faith into Him.  Every time I am scared I just realize that He is with me.  He is the Light in the darkness.  

Not only is He the Light but He offers us an amazing promise.  If we follow Him, then we won't be in darkness anymore.  We will also have the same Light of Life!  I am no longer (for the most part) afraid of the darkness because I know Someone who spoke and Light entered the world (Genesis 1).  Jesus can shine His Light into the dark parts of your life and change you.  Once those parts are in Jesus' Light, then you can truly change.

This promise can only hold IF you follow Jesus.  So we need to make the commitment and actually follow Him.  The promise is so amazing that I don't even want to turn back from Jesus.  I know what it is like to be afraid of the dark and I don't need to be anymore because Jesus is always with me.  

How does it encourage you that Jesus is the Light of the World?  What parts of your life do you need to bring into the Light?  Will you commit to following Jesus so that you can have the Light of Life?

With His Love,
A


Saturday, December 13, 2014

14th Day of Advent: Jesus the Living Water


Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.....but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life"
John 4:10, 14


Two weeks into Advent!  Can you believe Christmas is in 12 Days?! But I digress.  Let's discuss Jesus as the Living Water.  Jesus is talking to a women at a well.  She is Samaritan and the Jews don't really talk to them.  Therefore, that was the first unusual aspect of this interaction.  She was also a woman which was uncharacteristic of men to talk to woman who aren't their family members.  He then asks her for a drink of water.  When she questions Him talking to her, He says the above verse.  She confused because Jesus doesn't have a pail to draw water and what does it mean to be living water??

He switches it around on her.  He says you should be asking me for a drink, a taste of His Glory.  Wouldn't that have been amazing to be sitting on the edge of a well chatting with Jesus?  Oh how I can't wait for those days when we will be able to do that :) Anyways, she is curious and wants some of this water! 

As humans we need water to survive.  Our body is made up of about 60% water.  Therefore, we can barely go one day without becoming dehydrated and sick.  So how does that translate to Jesus being the Living Water.  Well if we "drink" Him up, as in take in The Word and invest in our relationship, we will never be thirsty again.  We could be thirsty for: wealth, attention, significance, it is personal for everyone but basically most things of this world.  However, when we fill ourselves with Jesus, then those spaces are filled and we no longer long for those.  We will never be thirsty for things that aren't good for us!! How amazing is that.  

There is another great truth in this name.  Jesus is the Living Water.  Yes Jesus died on the cross but He didn't stay in the grave.  He rose from death and is LIVING again.  We truly have a God that is not dead but fully living in Heaven.  This means that Jesus is alive and active in our lives.  That just brings me to my knees and humbles me.  The love that Jesus has for us, we will never be able to give out or understand but we can experience it if we allow Him into our lives.

Have you thought about Jesus as the Living Water?  What worldly things are you thirsty for?  Can you replace them with time with Jesus and drink up His presence?  Have you tried this in your life?  How has it changed your perspective?  I would love to know :D

With His Love,
A

Friday, December 12, 2014

Advant Day 13: Jesus: Prince of Peace


"For to 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

This is another highly quoted verse around Christmas time and for good reasons too.  Isaiah was a prophet who spoke these words hundreds of years before Jesus was even born!  He was right of course be God inspired his words but it's still amazing the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The entire Old Testament is pointing to the coming of Jesus and God's redemption through Him.  So I encourage you to study it closely to appreciate the Gift even more :)

So Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  He can bring a Peace into your life that is unlike anything of this world.  The Peace that Jesus offers you is amazing.  You can be free of your sins and the guilt that follows them.  You can be free of addictions and worship of idols.  You can be free of anxiety and worry (I'm working on this one!).  You can be free of so many things if you let Jesus take over your life.  When you are rooted and have Jesus as your Foundation, then Peace will enter your life.

I think the greatest Peace is that our life is already in the hands of God.  He knows everything that will happen.  We just need to be still and listen to Him.  That's how I have experienced Peace in my life.  Giving control to God (who ultimately has it in the first place!). When I give to Him what is rightfully His, then Peace follows.  

This time of year can be hectic and crazy that everyone forgets what we are celebrating, who we are celebrating.  Let some Peace enter life this season but remembering that we are celebrating Jesus' Birthday and the fact that God wanted us so badly as His children that His Son died for us.  That is how much God loves you, each and every one of us.  He sacrificed His Precious Son for you.  That's the best Christmas Present we could ever receive.  

How does this change your perspective of God this Christmas? Can you make this truth a part of your tradition this year?  Have you already centered your whole Christmas celebration around Jesus?  If so, let me know because I would love to still make some improvements in our family celebrations :D

With His Love,
A


Thursday, December 11, 2014

12th Day of Advent: Jesus the Pioneer


"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 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 12:1b-2

Usually this verse is quoted for the first part about perseverance, however I want to look at the second part and the reason why the first part is so powerful.  Jesus is our Pioneer.  Since He is eternal, He has no beginning or end so He's always gone ahead of us! It's even cooler to think about Him as the Pioneer of our faith today as we know.  Of course He is the reason for our faith.

When Jesus was here on Earth, He experienced everything a human can experience: temptation, disappointment, happiness, hard-work, struggles, family disputes, all emotions, hunger, and many more.  Jesus was fully human but also sinless.  Therefore, when He approached life, He always went to His Father first.  He prayed and knew His Father's Word.  That is a great example for our lives.  

We can read His life in the Bible.  We can see how He pioneered His way through life setting an ultimate example for how we are to live.  In some Bible Translations, instead of pioneer it has source, author, leader or founder.  I think these are all great words to describe how Jesus is the example for us to live.  In this context, the author of Hebrews is encouraging the people to remain faithful and endure through the hardships.  Since Jesus was able to persevere through the pain and shame of the cross, we can also persevere through life.  We also have Jesus there to help us!! 

So does this change your aspect of Jesus?  Have you seen Him before as the Great Pioneer?  Is He the Source of your faith?  Are you looking to Jesus as the example for your life?

With His Love,
A

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jesus The Interceder: The Eleventh Day of Advent


"Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them."
 Hebrews 7:25

Why do we need an Interceder? Well God is holy.  We can't go near Him because we are sinful.  We as humans also can never stop sinning.  We have tried.  The Old Testament is full of examples.  Even after God wiped out all the evil people with the Flood (Genesis 7-9), sin still managed to take over. We needed a way to get rid of the hold sin has on us.  God already knew that Way!  Remember Jesus is the Way, the Truth and The Life?

Jesus never stops being the Way to the Father.  He in fact is the Only Way!  So that means He is constantly, going to the Father on our behalf.  He intercedes each and every day for us.  Now that Jesus is in between us and God, we can have a relationship with God.  A personal relationship.  The Holy Spirit dwells inside of you once you accept Jesus as your Savior (1 Corinthians 6:19).  That is a deeper relationship with God, then even Moses, could have!  The closest he was to God was in the Tent of the Meeting or on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19-40).  We have God living INSIDE of us! How amazing is that?!

Jesus intercedes daily so that we are covered by His blood shed on the cross.  Blood needed to be shed for the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22).  Our sins are covered by Jesus' blood and sacrifice on the cross.  Therefore, God can now see us through the Perfect Lens of His Perfect Interceding Son, Jesus.  When He looks at us, we are now sinless.  If Jesus didn't intercede for us then we wouldn't be able to have a wonderful intimate relationship with Our Awesome God. 

Have you ever thought about Jesus interceding daily for our sins and needs?  What words can you use to express your gratitude towards Him for this role?  Have you accepted Jesus into your life so that the Holy Spirit can dwell inside of you and guide your life?  Do you need more advice for how to do that?  Contact me or better yet pray to God :)

With His Love,
A

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tenth Day of Advent: Jesus The Good Shepherd


"I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep....I know my sheep and my sheep know me."
John 10:11, 14b

Shepherds take care of their sheep.  They watch over them and lead them.  Why do sheep need so much guidance and protection?  They are not instinctive animals.  That is a nice way to say they are pretty dumb.  If a predator comes, the sheep will basically stand their.  They don't flee away.  They also don't know which type of grass is good to eat.  They will simply eat right is in front of them.  Don't these descriptions seems kind of familiar?  Do they describe you?  I know I can be described as not instinctive and dumb at times!

The Shepherd leads His sheep to better pastures and protects them from harm.  He will even go out of His way to find that lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7).  The Shepherd is Jesus!  He even will lay down His life for the protection and goodwill of His Flock (that's us!).  How amazing is that?!

Then Jesus goes on to say that He knows His sheep!  That means He knows each one of us.  Jesus already knew you before you were even born! (Psalm 139)  What comfort and great news is that!  Jesus will lead us and protect us if we let Him.  Did you catch that last part...if we let Him?  He will be our Good Shepherd joyfully, just ask Him!!

What image comes to your mind as you think about Jesus as your Good Shepherd?  Are you letting Him be the Shepherd of your life?  Are there some areas where you need to relinquish the control to Him and let Him lead you?  

With His Love,
 

Monday, December 8, 2014

9th Day of Advent: Jesus the Vine


"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

Why is Jesus saying that He is the Vine?  What does that mean?  Maybe you live in California or New York where there is a lot of wine-making country.  You may also be really into nature.  You then will know that the vine is the main part of the grape plant and the branches shoot out from it.  Also the trunk of a tree is the main life source carrying water and noutrients to all parts of the tree.  The branches are the auxillary that bear the fruit of the tree.  This is extactly how our life should be!!

Jesus is the vine, the main life source.  We are the branches that stem from Him.  If we are connected to the Vine, then Jesus promises something amazing!  If we remain close to the Vine, going to Him for our daily needs, we will bear much fruit.  The branches of trees must be attached to the trunk in order for the fruit and leaves to grow on the ends.  The same way is with our life.  We cannot bear spiritual fruit (Galatians 5) unless we get our life source from The Vine.

How does this truth impact your life?  What do you need to change in your life so that you are going to the Vine daily for support and life supply?  Will you join me on this journey of studying Jesus' names?  Subscribe to receive my blog posts right in your inbox!

With His Love,
A     

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Advent Day 8: Jesus the Anointed One


"Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler comes, there will be seven 'sevens', and sixty-two 'seven'.  It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble."
Daniel 9:25

The prophet Daniel has stated that The Anointed One is coming.  In my NIV Bible that name is capitalized so it must be important!  How do we know that Jesus is the Anointed One?  Well let's take a journey back to Exodus to understand what the term anointed means.   In Exodus 28:41, God has just given Moses all the instructions for how the priests are to serve God.  They will be anointed and consecrated so they will be set apart for the service of God.  The act of anointment sets those priests apart for service to God.  

Acts 10:38 states " How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him."  God had set Jesus apart for His service.  

As part of their service to God, the anointed priests offered sacrifices to God! (Hebrews 5:1-2).  What did Jesus ultimately do for us? Offer his body and life as a sacrifice for us!!! Wow isn't that an amazing connection.  The Old Testament is rich and full of those tiny phrases that point directly to Jesus.  That is my favorite part of studying the Old Testament and the New Testament in conjunction.

How does the fact that God set Jesus apart for His work change your aspect or outlook on your Faith in Jesus?  Are you growing closer to God this Christmas season?  Are you still itching to learn more about Jesus?  Please join me as I continue to study the names of Jesus. 

With His Love,
A


Saturday, December 6, 2014

7th Day of Advent: Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and The Life


Jesus answered them, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me." 
John 14:6

Here's the background of this verse: Jesus is spending His last free moments with is trusted friends and disciples here on Earth.  He is trying to explain to them what is going to happen in only a few short hours.  However, they can't ever imagine the plan that has been set into motion.  I also believe that they weren't ready to understand the plan yet.  God would reveal the full completion of His plan to each disciple individually over the next 40 days.  Therefore, for each disciple in their own way learned and understood the Plan well enough to tell others. 

Those are three powerful words that Jesus uses in this statement.  I have already touched on Jesus being The Life.  But the other two are sooo wonderful to explore.  Jesus is saying He is the way to His Father.  No one can have a relationship with God unless they go through Jesus first.  Maybe this is a statement you have heard and learned before.  Do you know why?  God is holy which means He cannot be near sin.  We are sinners, so basically God can't be near us.  That is why there were animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. 

"In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Hebrews 9:22 God set up His law, that everything needed to be cleansed in blood.  When Jesus died on the cross, He shed His blood for us and now we are clean.  So the Way to the Father is accepting that Jesus has cleansed you and offered you forgiveness.  

Jesus is also Truth because He is the Word! He is the human form of God's word and teachings.  Since God cannot be near sin, He doesn't lie.  Since Jesus is God and divine, He also be near sin.  Which means He will never lie.  Jesus' words and teachings are just as true Today as their were the day He spoke them to His disciples.  Isn't that amazing!  The same words He used to explain everything to His friends, you can read in your bible!! 

This is way I want to learn Greek so that I can read the words that the disciples actually heard and wrote about.  I think for the most part, Jesus spoke Hebrew to the disciples but they recorded most of the books into Greek and Latin for the Gentile world. 

So how can you make the truth that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life into your daily life?  Will you study the scriptures so you can understand this truth more?  Can you tell others?  Who do you want to tell?  

With His Love,
A

Friday, December 5, 2014

Jesus, The Judge. Advent Day 6


"And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out--those how have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.  By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgement is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." 
John 5:27-30

In this passage Jesus is proclaiming Himself with the authority and power to judge others.  He is also referring to the final Judgement.  But lastly and most importantly, He states that His judgment is just.  Why? Because He is seeking to please His Father and not Himself.  He will reward the good and punish the bad according to their deeds.  It's simple but why do we get in the way of Jesus' role as Judge?

Why do we think that we can do a better job?  Why do we judge a person's character based on their appearance?  I can't answer those questions.  I do know that when I find myself judging others, gossiping about their actions in a condescending tone, or thinking harsh thoughts about them, I can turn to God.  I can pray for help to stop those actions.  I can pray for the self-control to hold my tongue and cleanse my thoughts.  I need to hand the role of Judge back over to Jesus.      

If you go to court or watch court shows on TV, the defense and prosecuting attorneys have the opportunity to present the case to the judge.  They give the background details of why the defendant and plaintiff are in front of the judge.  The judge has an idea of the situation and can make a just decision.  However, most of the time when we play judge, we don't give others the opportunity to tell their back story or give the background knowledge.  We jump to conclusions.  We as a human culture need to stop.  Hand that gavel back over to Jesus and let Him be the Judge of the world!

With His Love, 
A

PS I know this can't be easy but how do you work on not judging others?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

On the Fifth Day of Advent Jesus is the Perfect Provider


"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth."
1 Peter 2:22 quoting Isaiah 53:9

Jesus was Perfect.  He did not sin at all, not even once while He was a human here on Earth.  That is an unfathomable trait because usually I can't go one hour without committing a sin.  How did He do it?  Well you could say that He was God as well but He cast aside His divinity when He became human (Philippians 2:5-11).  So that's not the answer but He prayed and spent time with God the Father.  When He was 12, He was separated from His family in Jerusalem.  When they found Him, He said "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" He was in the temple spending time with His Heavenly Father (Luke 3:41-52).  So Jesus was Perfect.

Jesus also was a provider.  He provided wine for a wedding banquet (2:1-11), food for many people on more than one occasion (Matthew 14:15-21, 15:32-38), provided a way out of the slavery of sin (Romans 6), and lastly He provided a way to Heaven (Matthew 7:13-14).  I'm sure there are many more examples but these are just a few in the New Testament.  Remember Jesus is eternal, meaning He was with God the Father when He provided everything in the Old Testament too.  Jesus didn't just appear in the Trinity when He became human and was sent to Earth.  He has always been around!

Therefore, together Jesus is the Perfect Provider.  He not only provides us with everything but it's everything that we need!  He knows exactly what we need at every moment of the day.  If you don't know what you may need, then ask Him!  Ask Him to reveal to you what you may need at that very moment.  Then remember He will provide in His Time and in His Way.  However, He will always be with us!

How have you seen Jesus as the Perfect Provider of your Life?  I would love to hear about ways He provides for you :D Connect with me on Instagram, Pinterest or leave a comment below!

With His Love,
A


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Advent Day 4: Jesus the Resurrection and Life


"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?'"
John 11:25-26

Let's take a second to recognize the power in these sentences from Jesus.  First He says "I AM" which from Exodus 3:14a: "God says to Moses, I AM WHO I AM", we know this is God's name.  So Jesus is stating that He is God.  Then He says I am the resurrection and the life.  He is talking to Martha and Mary who are coping with the death of their brother, Lazarus.  They know who Jesus is and they realize that one day their brother will live again.  However, they don't realize that day will be sooner then they expected (John 11:38-44) 

While they still may believe in Jesus and the distant future of resurrection, it is still a humanly impossible concept to wrap our minds around.  Most people who think about rising from the dead think about zombies, but this isn't what Jesus is saying.  When we are resurrected we aren't going to be the walking dead, we are going to be the walking living!!

Jesus died on the cross.  He had a physical and spiritual death that day to pay the price of the sins of the past, present and future people of the world.  When He rose from the grave three days later, He wasn't skin and bones or any of those creepy visions of zombies.  He had a resurrection body, not spirit or ghost.  It had special qualities (like walking through walls and appearing suddenly (John 20) but for the most part normal.  He could walk, talk, and eat.  

This is the hope of the Christian believer: even though our bodies will physically die, we will spiritually live with God (all three persons of the Trinity) in Heaven.  Then one day, after The Judgement, we will be reunited with our bodies with the same special resurrection qualities of Jesus' body.  

WOWWW!!! That's soo powerful.  I tell this to my mom all the time since she has been disabled this past year.  There will be no more pain and suffering in Heaven and one day your body will be whole again!

Lastly Jesus asks the question "Do you believe?"  Everything I just stated can only be true IF you believe in Jesus.  So my challenge to you is to really think about if you believe and accept Jesus' work on the cross?  If you can't answer that question yet, please continue to join me on this journey as we look at all the names of Jesus over the next 22 days and how they reveal Jesus' character on a deeper level :D 

With His Love,
A

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Advent Day 3: Jesus the Rock


"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
Psalm 18:2

It's strange to think of Jesus as a rock.  An extraordinary God is an ordinary object?  We need to look Rock in context of the Bible.  David, the author of Psalm 18, is proclaiming that God is the Rock and his stronghold.  Then I love what Jesus says in Matthew 7:24 concluding His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).  He says that we must build our houses on rock.  He then goes on to explain in Matthew 7:25-27, that if you didn't build your house on rock or a solid foundation then it would get washed away when rain came.

THIS IS A KEY POINT!!! If we do not build our lives on Jesus the Rock, then all sanity will wash away when trouble comes.  Notice I used when and not if.  Jesus says in John 16:33b--"In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world." So we can be assured that if we build our lives with Jesus as the Rock foundation, then they will not crumble or fall apart troubles arise.  Jesus is the stronghold and we can take refuge in the Rock.

How can you refocus your life to start building your foundation on Jesus?  What does it mean to you that Jesus is your Rock?  Let me know, I would love to see others' perspectives :D

With His Love,
A 

P.S. The lovely Matthew 7:24 print is hanging on my wall!! It was from #SheReadsTruth's Sermon on the Mount plan.  Go check this wonderful ministry out  :)
 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent Day 2: Jesus the Redeemer

 
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us."
Galatians 3:13a

Why do we need a Redeemer? That might be a question that someone might ask you.  I wouldn't have been able to answer that question without all the bible studies I have done.  I was raised going to church occasionally but not participating in Sunday School or Youth Group so I didn't have a foundation of understanding Christianity.  I started from scratch.  Now that I have studied parts of both the Old Testament and New Testament, I am beginning to understand Jesus' role as Redeemer.  

It all begins with Adam and Eve in the Garden.  When they brought sin into the world the also brought death.  "For the wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23 We all deserve death because we can't live up to the perfect standards that God requires.  He is holy and cannot be near sin.  That is why He instructed Moses with the careful precautions and specifics when the Israelite built the tabernacle.  God couldn't be near the sinful people unless a sacrifice, death, was made to cover the sins.

Therefore Christ made that sacrifice (we will look at those closer later in the month :D) to redeem us back to God the Father.  Merriam-Webster defines redeem as "making something better or more acceptable."  Jesus is making us more acceptable in the eyes of God.  Because Jesus died for us, He took that curse of death from us and now we can live freely.  Jesus paid that price and brought us back to being able to have a relationship with God like Adam and Eve experienced before they ate the apple. 

So how can you incorporate the meaning of Jesus as your Redeemer in your life personally?  Besides taking on our sins, how has He made you more acceptable in God's eyes?  What changes have happened in your life since you started to follow Jesus?  If you haven't decided to follow Jesus yet, will you please join me this Advent to just learn more about Him?  

With His Love,
A

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent Day 1: Jesus is The Word

 
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.....The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."
John 1:1,14a

What does Advent mean to you? I have been thinking about this question the last couple of days.  If I was to give a definition I would say that is it the beginning of the Christmas Season, celebrating the Jesus' birth and His coming to Earth.  That's an okay definition I think but what does it really mean.  I tried to do some research on the internet but was not satisfied with the answer.   This morning my pastor gave a short definition that has stuck with me through the five minutes of research ha.  She said (as best as I can remember) that Advent was the season of preparation for Christ's coming and the hope that we have in Him.

This is a solid definition but now how can we prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth?  This year, every day of Advent, I am going to write a short devotional about a name of Jesus.  Please join me on this journey of discovering a deeper understanding of Jesus' role here on Earth.  All of the names I drew from the Bible and each day will come with a scripture.  Sign up on the right with your email to receive each day's devotion right in your mailbox!

The first name of Jesus I chose was the Word.  I never really understood this name until I starting to study Genesis and Exodus closer.  

"And God said"
Genesis 1:3a
 
God spoke and there was light, earth, the whole universe as we know it! Wow His Words must be powerful! He also keeps His covenants or promises, therefore His Word are always true.  Now if we think about Jesus, He was powerful and the Word He spoke were always true.  He resisted the Devil's temptations with scripture---God's Word (Matthew 4).  Jesus was also the Flesh version of God.  John says the "Word became Flesh".  God became Man--Jesus! 

Jesus' life here on Earth is an example for us to live and strive for.  He was living out God's Word by the actions of His life.  Jesus was the Word because He was the message from God.  Therefore, this Christmas season as your stress levels rise, please be careful of the words that come out of your mouth or stick in your brain.  Human words are powerful, but God's Words can heal.  So when you are angry, open your bible and read the Love Letter God has written to you and remember Jesus is the Word. 

With His Love,
A

P.S. This reminder is really for me :D I need to hold back my tongue and only let words of life flow from my mouth


Sunday, November 23, 2014

God's leaders do the hard thing

Wow.  It's been a long time since I have written.  The last post I published was on July 20th!!  I have five other posts in draft mode but never got around to writing them.  I took a bit of a break from social media because I felt like I was bragging and not glorifying God.  I also needed to learn moderation and restraint from constant checking of my notifications and social media sites.  Then I became busy.  I had prayed for months for something to do, then suddenly my plate was full.  I went from 0 to 60 in less than a month.  Don't get me wrong, all the new activities in my life were great but I needed to learn again how to manage time and structure my days.  Along the way I lost my voice.  There were topics I wanted to write about, five in fact, made the draft but never wrote.  I knew what I wanted to say but couldn't write it down.  But now I'm back.  I have learned so much in the past few months and I want to share it!! I have a special Advent project in the works and I will announce it later this week! Now onto the main show!

One of my new activities is becoming a children's leader at my bible study.  I attend Bible Study Fellowship and I encourage you to go to the link, find a class and GO!! I have learned so much in the past two years that I have attended.  It is a nondenominational bible study and this year the study is the Life of Moses.  Last week and this week's lessons are my inspiration for this post.

Let me give you a background of the scripture that influences these thoughts.  God has brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt where there were enslaved for 400 years.  He gave them His commands through His servant Moses.  The people are wondering in the desert on their journey to Canaan or the Promised Land.  Right now they at Mount Sinai.  God's Glory and Presence has engulfed the mountain in cloud and smoke so the people cannot see Moses at the top, learning from God and spending time with them.  So they go to Aaron, Moses' brother, who is in charge while Moses was on the mountain receiving instructions from God.  The people said "Come, make us gods who will go before us" (Exodus 32:1).  They were impatient waiting for Moses.  So Aaron, the leader of the God's chosen people, cast a golden calf from the gold jewelry the people had acquired in Egypt!  They bowed down and worshiped this idol after God had given them the Ten Commandments strictly stating they were to only worship Him!  Aaron didn't say no even though he was the leader of the people and heard the same commandments from God Himself.  He didn't stand firm.  He said yes under pressure and built an idol.

God's leaders do the hard thing, they say no.  The phrase doesn't say God's people (although it could) but leaders.  Those who lead others need to say no to things.  Aaron needed to say no to building other gods and point back to God and reassure the people that Moses would come back down from the Mountain (He had been gone 40 days) What could those things be that you need to say no to?  They are different for everyone.  For me, it is food mainly.  I was on my run this morning (I usually keep Sunday's as rest days but due to scheduling conflicts, I got up early before church) and grumbling to God and myself about how terrible my eating and exercise patterns have been for the past few weeks.  Then that phrase we learned this week at BSF popped into my head (I'm assuming by Divine intervention, aka God placed it there!).  This morning I had said no to sleep so that I could say yes to a run and exercise.  (Another note, running is the only sure time that I can be alone.  Therefore, I usually pray or talk about my life with God.  It makes the run go nicer and I can spend some extra time with God just resting in His presence and strength to get me through the miles). 

So here I am, grumbling about my lack of discipline and I realize that it's my inability to say no.  I usually can't say no to food.  Even if I'm not hungry, I will eat.  If I make cookies, I can't just eat one, I'll eat four.  These thoughts also arose because last week at BSF, we learned about the tabernacle God was instructing the Israelties to build.  This was going to be the place where God would dwell among the people.  Then we learned that when Jesus died, He torn the veil between us and God (physically in the temple that separates the Most Holy Place where God dwelled and the rest of the tabernacle, and metaphorically the separation of our sinful lives and the purity of God) so now we can approach God.  Then God sent the Holy Spirit to us at Pentecost (Acts 2).  As a result, God (in the form of the Holy Spirit) dwells within us!

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." 
John 1:14a

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own." 
1 Corinthians 6:19

Both of these verses made an impact on me this morning as I was running and trying to figure out how and why I need to say no to certain things.  The Greek word for dwelling is ἐσκήνωσεν and means tabernacled among us! Our bodies are a temple or tabernacle for God!!  That means we need to take care of them.  All I could keep thinking was that I want to encase my tabernacle with gold on the inside and outside just like the physical tablernacle the Irsaelites bulit.  The Ark of the Covenant, where God dwelled, was covered inside and out with gold (Exodus 25:10-22).  Now this doesn't mean I want literal gold but gold was the best and most precious substance that could be used.  That's how I want to treat my body.  Once and for all I need to learn to say no so that my tabernacle can be healthy and useful for God.  Also saying no to all treats isn't the answer but saying no to that second cookie or waiting til tomorrow to eat another one is the answer.

When you say no to one thing, you are saying yes to another.  Often times your struggle may not be with food or exercise but with overbooking your schedule or watching TV.  What do you need to say no to so that you can be a leader for God? However I want my life to be an example and I want to be a leader for God.  This revelation doesn't just apply to the care of my body but all areas of my life.  If the activity is going against God and His commands, then I need to say no.  Often times they could be thoughts or feelings.  So every day I'm going to be diligent in my pray life, asking God to reveal to me those thoughts, feelings or actions that I need to say no to so that I can say yes to a life pleasing to the Lord.  Would you join me??

With His Love,
A


p.s. For more in depth study read Exodus and Hebrews together for the parallels between the Old and New Covenants!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Twenty-Something: When Not Enough turns to Bitterness

I want to share a bit that has been on my heart for awhile.  This past week was rough for me.  Nothing out of the ordinary happened but my attitude was poor.  My anger was out of control and I did not treat my mom, sister and even the dog with the care and gentleness they deserve.  I know exactly why the week was rough: I believed all the lies that Satan was feeding me.

I'm going to share some, most of them have the word enough in them.  Not good enough, my fitness transformation isn't big enough, I'm not pretty enough, smart enough, worthy enough of love, I don't pray enough, read enough, and the list goes on and on.  I let every single one of them take root in my heart.  You know what happens, God is pushed out.  I stopped reading my devotions and praying and wanting to spend time with Him because I was drowning in lies.  My heart hardened and I become Bitter, just like Naomi

After my week of blogging and the freeing feeling of writing, the devil strikes.  I wasn't prepared and my heart wasn't guarded.  In some aspects I feel ashamed because I should know better but then I can't beat myself up.  We live in a broken world where sin is rampant.  That is not an excuse but a reality.  I can be better prepared and pray more to keep the devil out.  Another way is to fill my heart with the Truth of God.

I also starting reading a book this week called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  It struck a cord with me because she is trying to find solace in giving thanks to God always and in all things.  It has challenged me to rethink many things in my life and my relationship with God.  There are many aspects that I need to tweek or add to nourish and grow the relationship.  I will write another post about it later but it got me starting to think.

When I don't feel enough I become bitter but how do I turn enough into plenty?  In Matthew, Jesus feed the crowds, not once but twice, with only a few fish and loaves of bread!  Ann points out a very key aspect of this miracle.  

"Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves....They all ate and were satisfied." 
Matthew 14.19-20 (emphasis mine)

"Then He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks, he broke them....They all ate and were satisfied." 
 Matthew 15. 36-37 (emphasis mine)

Do you see the key in there? Jesus gave thanks!!! He didn't just simply say some magical words and the food multiplied.  He acknowledged the One who had supplied the original amount in the first place and thanked Him.  All the people who ate were satisfied and there were even leftovers.  How can we be running over in plenty? Give Thanks!!

Maybe that's what I need to do! Thank God for the little patience He has given me and it will multiply because I acknowledge the Giver.  Also because I ask for more of His patience and rely on His strength to get me through each day. 

Also another thought occurred to me.  Friday was my sister's Birthday, after a week of screaming and yelling I was determined not to ruin her birthday.  Why did she only deserve one day of the "nice" me??  Why can't I wake up every morning thinking that I won't be responsible for ruining anyone's day (believe me I have ruined probably a total of 10 years in days of my mom's and sister's lives over my lifetime).  Why do I still hang on to those relics of my past life before I found myself in Christ?

It's a journey for me and I know this post is a bit jumbly but I need to get it off my heart and work though this past week. 

So next time the voice in my head tells me that I'm not enough, I won't believe it and go straight to the Word and read that God has chosen me and loves me and died for me, which is enough for me!

This is going to be my focus this week:


Comment or message me your thoughts and how you deal with the devil whispering lies to you.

With Love,
A