Sunday, December 25, 2016

Jesus's Birthday: He is our Savior!!

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

Today is it.  We celebrate Jesus and the greatest gift every given.  Despite all the chaos and stress, Christmas comes and goes.  For me it feels like just another day but it's not.  It's a time to stop and reflect.  The way I make the most of it is where I put my focus.  It could be on hosting dinner, finding the perfect gift, attending a record number of church services or it could be on Jesus.  I will never give or receive any better and greater gift than that baby born to a virgin in a barn 2000+ years ago.  He is the True Reason for our celebration.  God has out-gifted us all. 

Jesus was born to die for us.  He is the Perfect Lamb of God to pay the price for all of our sins.  He is the Messiah, the long awaited one.  He fulfilled many scripture prophecies that night He was born.  All of Heaven was waiting and rejoicing.  Angels were crowding in to see their Creator born on Earth.  What a sight that would've been to be a shepherd when the heavenly hosts were praising God.  We will see that one day :)

Is Jesus the One you have been waiting for in your life?  Is He your personal Savior?  Run to Him because He is waiting with open arms in love to receive you.  How will you praise Him for saving each one of us?  What words of worship will you offer Him on this Christmas Day?

Merry Christmas and Enjoy the Day with your family celebrating our Lord!!!

In His Love,

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve: Jesus is with us, 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 27 days since I started this journey of blogging during Advent.  Today is THE day before THE BIG DAY.  Tomorrow we celebrate Jesus' birth, but today is the last day to prepare our hearts and we really should be celebrating each and every day.  The second to last name for Jesus is Emmanuel or Immanuel (Greek vs. Hebrew spelling).  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,

Friday, December 23, 2016

27th Day of Advent: Jesus is the Living One


"I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!"
Revelation 1:18 

When Jesus died on the cross, the whole world shook (Matthew 27:54), it certainly wasn't the death of an ordinary human.  He was the only unique One that is both Human and God.  Therefore, although He died a real death and bled real blood, only His body died.  His Spirit did not die because He is also the eternal God.  Three days after His death, His body rose from the tomb and was made new.  This is a foreshadow of what will happen to our bodies one day :) 

Anyways, Jesus is ALIVE and living in Heaven.  John saw Him there during the visions he saw that he recorded in the book of Revelation.  He is not dead.  He is working in our lives and in this world.  We just may not see Him due to our lack of faith or belief that He doesn't care. 

How is God alive in your life?  Does the Holy Spirit inside of you make you feel more alive?  I know that when He came to live in, I felt more alive, like my life was significant and worthy.  He can do that for you too!  All you have to do is ask :) 

In His Love,

Thursday, December 22, 2016

26th Day of Advent: Jesus is 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 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. 

How has being redeemed and set right with God changed your life?  In what way do you thank Jesus for redeeming you: Pledging your whole heart and life to him? Praising Him daily? Think of the magnitude of this gift and respond!! In your prayer time today, what words of worship can you offer to show your gratitude for redemption?

With His Love,

25th Day of Advent: Jesus is the Bread of Life

"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
Jesus sustains our life because we have eternal life because of Him!! The Word of God is alive and feeds us when we read the Bible.  How is your soul being feed by Jesus?  Do you rely on Him to fill you instead of food?  I've been trying really hard lately to break my idolatry of my stomach and food and remind myself that "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).   

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. 
I try to daily confess my sin to the Lord and ask for strength to overcome the desire to overeat or replace worshiping food with worshiping Him.  So this year, Jesus as the Bread of Life is especially important in my praise and worship of Him.  He sustains and satisfies me more than any other food.  And now that I'm gluten free, I truly can't have that great of bread anymore, so I turn to Him :)
Are you feeding on Jesus and drinking in the Words of God?

In His Love,

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

24th Day of Advent: Jesus is the Bridegroom


"The bride belongs to the bridegroom.  The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice.  That joy is mine, and it is now complete."
John 3:29

This is still one of my favorite artist images when it comes to Jesus.  He is our Lion Bridegroom.  The imagery of the Church as the bride of Christ isn't anything new to me.  However, it wasn't until the song "Even So Come" by Kristian Stanfill that it hit me hard.  Take a minute and check it out if you haven't heard it yet! 

Each one of us is the bride of Jesus, but also collectively as a Church.  He has a personal relationship yet a communal one at the same time.  It is even more meaningful to me in this season of my life as all my friends are marrying.  I want to be Jesus' bride before I can be any man's bride.  I want to see Him as the True Love of my life before anyone else.  I will worship Him only and not my spouse or the desire to be married or love.  This is a truth that I still struggle with applying daily. 

I cannot wait for the day here on Earth where I will get to wear a white dress and walk down the aisle toward a man who is ready to profess his love to me and we will be together forever.  However, that is just a shadow of the day where I will wear white robes signifying my righteousness and purity, walking towards the One who has loved me my whole life and I will spend eternity with Him.  Even if the first day never comes for me, I have the hope that the second one will come no matter what!

Have you ever seen Jesus as the Bridegroom of your life?  Who do you worship or devote all your time to?  How can you take time to worship, the One who longs for your heart?  He is the ultimate Bridegroom, so let us wait for Him!! 

In His Love,

Monday, December 19, 2016

23rd Day of Advent: Jesus is the Alpha and Omega

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." 
Revelation 1:8

Alpha and Omega.  They are the first and last letters of the Greek Alphabet, so translated to English Jesus is A and Z.  He is the Beginning and the End.  The One who was at the beginning of your life will also be at the end.  He is waiting for us there, yet simultaneously right with us today.  That's the amazing infinite and eternal nature of Jesus!!  He was in the beginning as Creator and will be at the end of times as Judge.  He is part of and in everything.  

What words of praise can you offer Him for revealing such completeness about Himself?  In this scripture, He also reveals His eternal nature, which intertwines with His infinite nature of beginning and end.  Does it comfort you that He is the beginning and the end?  How has your praise for Him increased this Advent season?

In His Love,

P.S. Can you believe that it's Christmas Week already?!  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

4th Sunday 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, eternal name again.  How amazing is that!!! Then He says He is the Light.   He shines even when the darkness of this broken world tries to consume, even when our dark sins try to consume, even when no one else is a light in our lives, He will remain bright. 

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 (not just physical darkness but that spiritual dark pit I fell into before Him) and I don't need to be afraid anymore because Jesus is always with me.  What parts of your life do you need to bring into the Light? 

After we are all in the new Heaven/Earth, there will be no need for the sun or moon or stars because Jesus and His Glory will shine bright enough to illuminate everything! (Rev 21:23)  Does this truth impact your relationship with Him?  Who in your life may need a little bit of Jesus' light?  The Holy Spirit shines through us, so let Him :)

With His Love,

Saturday, December 17, 2016

On the 21st Day of Advent: 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

"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.  What does Jesus say personally to you?  What is God trying to tell you?

This Christmas season as your stress levels rise, I challenge you to 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.  He came down to rescue you!! <3

With His Love,

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

20th Day of Advent: Jesus is Lord


"Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:9-11

Hearts eyes all day long!! This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible because I long for this day.  So many days I just wish everyone around me would surrender their lives to Jesus because we would truly have world peace, peace that is everlasting and from Him.  I can't change hearts, only God can.  I can live a life that points to Jesus though.  I can be His light in a world of darkness.  Through His power, I try each day. 

Jesus wasn't just a prophet, teacher or good man who taught us to love each other.  He is the Son of God.  He is Lord of All.  The Truth about Jesus requires a response.  You either stand with Him or against Him.  There is no middle ground.  If you stand with Jesus you will receive Eternal Life and if you stand against Him you will receive eternal punishment. 

When you see that little baby in the manger this week, remember He left all His glory behind in Heaven to come down to Earth and save you.  That's the Christmas message.  Who in your life needs that reminder this Christmas Season?  How can you deeper your relationship with Jesus if you allow Him to be Lord of your life?  He will if you ask Him.  Daily (and some days I forget) to give Him the reigns to allow His work to be shown instead of my own. 

In His Love,

Thursday, December 15, 2016

19th Day of Advent: Jesus is the Desire of all nations

 Image result for jesus is all i want 
'I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory', says the LORD Almighty
Haggai 2:7

Throughout the Bible, I have noticed this theme where people have a desire for God but only on their terms. The Israelites wanted to have God providing for them and saving them from the Egyptians but they wanted luxurious traveling accommodations.  They also want Jesus but they want Him to be a King and Conqueror of the Romans, not of sin and death.  We try to fit God into our lives instead of giving our lives to Him.

Although people desire God, I think they desire more than that.  They desire Peace, Love, and Life.  Jesus is all of that!!  He is our true Desire.  I tell the students that I teach at my bible study that we all have a Jesus-shaped hole in our hearts.  We all know that we are missing something in our hearts and we try to fill it.  When we finally realize that Jesus fits all our desires that is when it starts to click.  

Jesus fulfills our desire of peace because He reconciles us to God, so that we can have a restored relationship and eternal life.  He is Love because He loved us so much that He died for us.  He came to Earth, lived a full life and suffered as the sacrifical lamb for our sins.  He is also life because through belief in Him, we have eternal life.  If we believe all that He says He is, then we become part of God's family.  How amazing!!!  

Have you filled that hole in your heart with Jesus?  I have tried to fill it with many things but now I know only Jesus fits!!  I still need to work on allowing Him that whole space.  Often times I still try to cram other things in their with Him and it never works.  How are all your desires fulfilled by Jesus?

With His Love,

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

18th Day of Advent: Jesus is 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

In this passage, 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.

But WAIT there's more.  Again in John 7:37-38, Jesus invites all who are thirst to come to Him for a drink.  He made this invitation during the Feast of the Tabernacles when the Israelites where celebrating the Exodus out of Egypt.  When the Israelites needed water, Moses struck the rock, water came out.  Well it was no coincidence that Jesus made this statement during this commemoration.  Jesus is the Rock and the Living Water flows out of Him.  Ahhhh!!! Mind Blown!! That's my new favorite revelation about Jesus!!

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,

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

17th Day of Advent: Jesus is our 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 at 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.

Who is your Rock?  Do you build the foundation of your life on the ever-true and everlasting Rock of Jesus or something temporary?  What words will you use to praise Him as the Rock on which you can stand firmly? 

In His Love,

Monday, December 12, 2016

16th Day of Advent: Jesus is the Son of God

"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all--how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" 
Romans 8:32 NIV

This image from #SheReadsTruth 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. 

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. 
God literally gave us everything He is and had.  Jesus is not only the Son of God but He is also Himself God.  God gave up part of Himself, to come to Earth.  He was separated from Himself when He died on that cross to take ALL of the sins of EVERYONE who ever lived.  If that is not truly amazing and shakes you to your core, then pray that God would open your eyes and your heart to know the Truth of His Word.  

I want to shout from the rooftops my praise for Jesus the Son of God.  We are now fully reconciled to God and can be a child with the ability to spend eternity with our Triune God :)  We need to praise God DAILY for this privilege and gift.  But how will you praise Him?  By song?  Prayer?  Completing tasks He has given you?  Telling someone else?  Jesus is worthy of our praise each and every second of the day.  He is the only one that should consume our thoughts.  What do you need to change to make this a reality?

What impact does the fact that Jesus is the Son of God make on your life?  I would love for you to share down in the comments :)

In His Love,

Sunday, December 11, 2016

3rd Sunday of Advent: Jesus is the Son of Man

Image result for jesus is son of man 

"No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man" John 3:14

"For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost."  
Mark 19:10
Jesus was fully Man yet He was also fully God (I'll write about that tomorrow!).  It's crazy to wrap our minds around but there is an importance for both aspects of His duel identity.  Jesus was born of Mary, therefore He was human (despite His Father is God). He came into the world just live every one of us.  He was in the line of David, meaning He has human ancestors.  He had a job and career that I touched on yesterday.  He was human. 

Why is it important that Jesus was Man?  Well He needed to fulfill all the Old Testament Prophecies but also our sins required a human death for the penalty of sins.  God had temporarily accepted animal sacrifices to cleanse from sin but that wasn't sufficient enough to cover the mass amount of sin that we commit as humans (some days I feel like the majority are mine).   His Perfect Life offered as a sacrifice satiated God's wrath for all time!!! He lived the perfect life that we cannot which brings me to my third point.

Jesus is our example.  Hebrews 4:14 tells us that we don't have a high priest who can't empathize but He was tempted just like us (paraphrase mine).  We can look to Scripture and study Jesus' response to varies issues and use it for our own lives.  It is often hard work to response and act like Jesus but guess what?! helps us to relinquish the hold sin has on our lives.  That is a wonderful reason.  

Do you believe that Jesus was fully human?  How can you praise Him for giving us an example to live by?  Where in your life do you need to act a little more like Jesus?  (don't worry my list is long!!!).  He is seeking you and waiting with arms wide open if you need to run to Him!!

With His Love,

Saturday, December 10, 2016

14th Day of Advent: Jesus the Carpenter

Image result for jesus as carpenter 

"Isn't this the carpenter?  Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon?..."
Mark 6:3a 

Jesus was 30 years old when He was called to His ministry.  He spent 30 years on Earth as a carpenter.  A few year ago, I visited my friend's church and the pastor said a comment that spoke to my heart.  She said that Jesus probably made the most beautiful woodworks.  Image that, the Creator of the world as a carpenter.  I immediately began to envision Jesus' hands running smoothly over the wood, perfecting it to beauty.  Just think, the hands that created you, created so many works, made wooden objects for 30 years, then were pierced and hung on wood.  Jesus waited 30 years so why am I complaining that I'm 26 and still waiting?  I still have four more years on Jesus.  In this culture of immediate gratification, I want the results of my hardwork right now.  I don't want to wait another year for a permanent job, I want God to send me out this minute to work.  What if I'm not ready? Perhaps God knows something that I don't.  Maybe He wants to change me.  Why doesn't this ever cross my mind?

Ephesians 2:10 tells us that God has specific work He has planned out for us.  How are you waiting on His timing?  Jesus did an ordinary job for 30 years before He went out to officially minister, although that doesn't mean He didn't glorify God in His work or use it as a platform.  Let's just stop for a minute and ponder on the beautiful truth that Jesus came down and lived a real human life and performed monotonous jobs just like us.  How can you use the ordinary to glorify the Extraordinary God we serve?

In His Love,

Friday, December 9, 2016

13th 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.  Jesus is The Life, without Him we are destined to go to H-E-double hockey sticks (HELL).  He gave His life as a sacrifice so that we are not bound by these human, mortal lives but so we could have eternal life with Him forever and ever!! 

The other two are also 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!!

Do you allow Jesus to guide your way in life?  Is He the Truth on which you stand?  Have you found eternal life in Him?  These are questions that are invoked by this attribute of Jesus.  How can you praise Him today because He provided a Way when we couldn't?  Does it take a burden off your shoulders?  Can you feel the peace that only He provides?   

With His Love,

12 Day of Advent: Jesus is the Righteous One

"You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murder be released to you."
Acts 3:14

Righteous.  A word that can never describe us as humans.  We are sinners.  We can never be right with God on our own.  Once we believe that Jesus saved us from the penalty of sin, we are washed by His blood, meaning all of our sins are wiped away.  Gone forever.  We are a clean vessel to serve God.  We are now in a right relationship with God.  Through Jesus' righteousness we are made righteous!!

How awesome is that?!  All we have to do is believe and say "yes" to God.  Have you taken that first step and asked God to be part of your life and given your life over to Him?  You can go anytime to Him and ask for forgiveness and He will respond with a loving embrace.  Even if you are already His, we need to be regularly cleansed from the filth that infests our hearts. 

Recently the Lord has been reminding me that I truly need DAILY cleansing of my heart.  If I don't clean it out regularly it becomes hardened and black.   I've been trying to be more open and honest with God (He knows everything already) because that forces me to face the condition of my heart. 

How will you praise Jesus because He has made you right with God?  We can have a real and personal relationship now because God sees us through the lens of Jesus, the Pure and Holy One.  Therefore, God sees us as pure, holy, and righteous.  Can I get an Amen?!  THAT deserves praise and worship from the rooftops.

In His Love,

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

11th Day of Advent: Jesus is the Branch

Image result for branch of jesse 
In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. 
Isaiah 4:2

When we think of branches, we often think of trees and then family trees.  When it comes to Jesus, His family tree was unique.  He had human ancestors: He was in the line of David whose father was Jesse, all Jewish men in Israelite tribes.  However, He also had a heavenly family tree.  God is His Father and He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, both of which are Himself as well!  Out of the ashes of these desolate men, a Shoot and Branch will emerge bearing fruit.  That's Jesus!!

Another way I think of branches are olive branches.  Olive branches are a sign of peace.  You know the old saying, "Extend the olive branch".  Well it came from the Bible (shocker!!).  When God sent the flood, Noah knew the water receded when the dove came back with an olive tree.  There was peace on Earth once again (at least for a short while) (Genesis 8).

Jesus is that olive Branch that God extends to the world.  He is offering Peace through Jesus, reconciliation to Himself.  If you believe in Jesus, He restores us to a right relationship with God the Father because He paid the penalty for our sins.  We no longer have to be at odds with God because Jesus, the Branch, connects us to God.  

He is so beautiful and deserves all the glory.  The fruit He bears is transformed lives.  Transformation isn't an expedient process but rather a slow journey.  Jesus has transformed my life, one day and one thought at a time.  How have you seen the fruit of Jesus in your life?

In His Love,

10th 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

There is no other King like Jesus.  He rules over all other kings, humans, animals: all of creation.  He isn't a ruthless King, but loving, gentle and just.  He is the best King we could ever ask for.  One who laid down His life to pay the price His subjects couldn't. 

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!
So this year when you look at that manger scene, will you see the babe as a King?  The One who holds the power to open the scroll of God.  The One who had all the glory in Heaven, yet left it so that He could save you.  How will you worship Him as the days are dwindling until Christmas Day?  What words of praise will you savor these next couple of days as you reflect on His majesty and grace?

In His Love,

Monday, December 5, 2016

9th Day of Advent: Jesus is the Gate

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  He will come in and go out, and find pasture."
John 10:9

How Jesus be a Gate?  Where are we entering that we need to go through Him?  The answer: Heaven.  There is only One Way to Heaven and it's through Jesus.  What does that mean?  We need to believe in Him as our Savior.  We cannot save ourselves.  No amount of good deeds will outweigh all the bad ones.  The entrance to Heaven also cannot be earned.  God gives it to us freely by grace, but we must believe.  If we are in Jesus, meaning we have confessed with our mouths, Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead by God, we are saved (Paraphrase Romans 10:9).  That's the entrance fee to Heaven.  

Jesus is standing as the Gate, waiting for you to come.  Run to Him and make that confession because what is waiting for us there is not only eternal life but eternal worship of our Creator and Savior.  That is the hope we have to hold onto in this world.  It is also the Power, Truth, and Reason we celebrate this season (and always truthfully).  Jesus' birth provided the perfect human life that could take on the sins of the world while His infinite and eternal Godly nature could take them on for everyone.  His birth gave way to His death, so that we could live forever and ever with Him in Heaven.  

How will you worship Him knowing that He was born to die and be the Gate for your entrance into Heaven?  Do you acknowledge Him as the Gate?  What words of praise can you offer Him this morning as you reflect on Him as the reason for our Christmas celebrations?

In His Love,

Sunday, December 4, 2016

2nd Sunday 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
Here's the background.  The Israelites (God's People) were slaves in Egypt.  God sent Moses to ask Pharaoh to allow ALL the people to be freed (there were more than a million Israelites enslaved).  Pharaoh repeatedly said no.  Therefore, God sent plagues to Egypt to punish Pharaoh and the Egyptians for their disobedience.  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 the coming days.  Normally we talk about Jesus as the Lamb of God during Easter when He was crucified, but at His birth, He was just as much of God's Lamb as on Calvary 33 years later.  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, although it can be difficult to implement at times. 

Have you applied the Blood of Jesus to the doorposts of your life?  What would happen if you did?

With His Love,


PS Isn't beautiful that some of the first people to see Jesus the Lamb of God in this world were Shepherds?!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Jesus is the Good Shepherd on the 7th day of Advent

"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 what is right  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!

Today let's worship Jesus and reflect on His role as the Good Shepherd in our lives.  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!!

Not only is Jesus the Lamb of God but He also is the Shepherd.  His role as the Lamb is for sacrificial purposes, but His role as the Shepherd is for leadership.  How is Jesus the Shepherd of your life?  Do you recognize Him as the One leading your life?  Where in your life do you need to give up that control and allow Him to watch over, guide, and protect you like a shepherd would for their flock?  What praise can you give Jesus for being the Shepherd who watches over all His sheep?  

Go and end the day knowing that Jesus is in control and that He is watching over you, not letting you stray away from the flock of God's children.
In His Love,

6th Day of Advent we see Jesus is Judge

"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.  God gave Him this responsibility. He is also referring to the final Judgement. In the Book of Revelation, John gives a glimpse into the throne room of God, as he sees it revealed to Him by Jesus. 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.    God is sitting on the throne and Jesus comes also out of the throne, proving He is God as well but also that He has the authority to judge (Revelation 4-5). 

Recently, I've been studying John with BSF. In John 8, the Pharisees bring an adulterous woman to Jesus to try and trap Him in His answer to how to deal with her. He shocks them all by responding that whoever is sinless can throw the first stone at her. Everyone walks away, starting with the older Pharisees. They all knew they were not without sin and can't condemn this woman just because she was caught in the act and it was public. It's the same with us. Who are you throwing stones at when you deserve the stones to be thrown at you?

Why do we think that we can do a better job at judging than Jesus?  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.  

Do you submit to His authority or do you try to take judging into your own hands (guilty here)?  Repent and give that role over to Him!! Have you thought about the end times and the fact that Jesus is coming back to judge?  How will you change your life because of the certainty of His judgment? (2 Peter 3: 8-18)

In His Love,

Thursday, December 1, 2016

5th Day of Advent: Jesus is Creator

Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness....."
 Genesis 1:26a
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word with with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.  
John 1:1-3
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.  Jesus was present at Creation! Jesus didn't just come into being that night in Bethlehem.  Jesus is Eternal so He has always been (just not in human form) and will always be!!  Therefore, Jesus created us.  John 1 solidifies this idea.  He is the Word and so He was right there with God when He created the world and everything we know!  How awesome is 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.
Just earlier I was thinking about a new project and how I love to create things.  The Holy Spirit reminded me that since I was made in the image of God who created, I too am able to create.  I can't create mountains but I can craft so that's basically the same thing ;)
So Jesus not only was there when the world was formed but when you were formed as well.  He knows you inside and out because He knit us together in our mother's womb (Psalm 139) 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. 
How does it impact your relationship with Jesus to seem Him as Creator and Savior all wrapped up in one?  Will you praise Him today for something He created?  Whether it is you, someone else or even the mountains, sky and stars.  It was ALL made by Him.    What words of worship can you offer Him for this amazing Truth?
With His Love,