No matter what they said and no matter what they believed or did, they could not stop God’s plan to save us. “They”, the people who wanted Jesus to die, thought they were seeing the last of Jesus when they hung Him on a tree. Oh, but that was just the beginning! God’s plans cannot be stopped! Here is a song…
They said he was guilty. They lied. They sent him to dark Calvary. They didn’t know that this man Was fulfilling God’s plan, And would love them to death on that tree.
Chorus…He died. He died, for everyone, and for everyone He arose, Even those who rejected and abused him, who denied they knew His name. Even those who harshly accused him. Even me. He died for me.
They tore up his clothes and cast lots. They mocked Him as king of the Jews. They told him to save himself. But all because of His love, It had to be them that He’d choose.
They said He was guilty. They lied. We should have died on that tree. The innocent lamb was killed Son of the only God, His blood made the guilty ones free.
Chorus: He died. He died, for everyone, and for everyone He arose, Even those who rejected and abused him, who denied they knew His name. Even those who harshly accused him. Even me. He died for me.
They said what they said…but He had the final Word.
As a child, I loved the song, Deep and Wide, probably because it had a good rhythm and fun hand motions to go with it. In case you are too young to know the song, here it is, in a video.
It is so precious to hear children singing about the fountain of Jesus’ blood that cleanses us from sin, isn’t it? That fountain is very deep and very wide. Now, as an adult, when I consider the fountain’s depth and width, I understand it better and this verse comes to mind immediately:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV
We are supposed to mature as Christians and this is a good example I think, that kids can understand a simple version of how amazing God is and then mature in their understanding of Jesus’ forgiveness and love. They can learn as they grow spiritually how awesome He is. I personally think all Sunday School teachers and workers deserve a “thank-you party” every year, for the lives they touch, just saying:)
Though the children’s song is simple, it can also blow your mind when you really consider how much love it takes to forgive the entire world, oh, and to pay for it with your life, too. Isn’t Jesus amazing?
I hope you know Him and I hope you know how much He loves you!
Ever hear the expression, “I can’t quite put my finger on it”? It means you can’t quite figure something out. Aren’t you glad we serve a God who has it all figured out? He never ever has to say, ” I can’t quite put my finger on it,” because His fingers, His hands have created everything that He wanted to create. The fingers of God created you and me!
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:3-4 NIV
Thank you, Lord, for who You are to us. You didn’t just form us and go on to something else. You love us and want to care for us and keep us in Your will and way, every single day. We are made by your hands, held by your hands. We are YOUR handiwork!
As Jesus gives us abundant peace, we can share it with others, abundantly! It’s amazing…when we give away His peace to others, it does not get depleted. It actually multiplies in our hearts and in others.
The Lord does that; He multiplies what is used for His glory. Loving others has its rewards:) Loving Jesus is the best reward!
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV
With love from our Father who does everything abundantly, as He sees fit, I hope you have a peace-filled day and weekend!
Do you ever look back at your life and marvel at how God led you to where you are? I do. Why? Because it will always amaze me that He cares about each one of us so much! Also, it amazes me to think I try to self-guide and self-plan my life. As far as my writing journey, it was not really my choice to take a writing journey.
I just wanted to get closer to Jesus. I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I will create a blog.” I would never say that, as un-tech as I am! And I never called it a journey until now, when I look back and see what God did with me. The “journey” started in 2018, when I was desperate to be consistent in my Bible-reading. I decided to make a time for Jesus every morning and I began writing down anything I learned from those special devotional times.
As day after day I kept my appointments with Jesus, a pattern began to emerge in my notes. It seemed I was organizing my thoughts in the form of an outline. All the pages begin to look alike! They had a main “wow” thought that God showed me, along with supporting points from His Word. Honestly, I was having so much fun, I didn’t realize what was happening, that I was writing devotions, but God knew. He knew I loved to write, even though I had forgotten that. He guided me to develop a passion for writing about Him! It is still SO MUCH FUN:)
With His call on my heart to write about Him, I still wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. Know what I felt Jesus say to me in my confusion? “Just keep writing.” So I did. I made a Facebook group, then a Facebook page, then another Facebook page and then, in 2020, I felt the Lord asking for even more, so I considered a blog. I had no clue where all this was leading and, honestly, I still do not. There is no shame in saying, “I am not positive what God’s exact will is.” It is enough to desire it and take each step as He guides. I think the Lord knows each one of us so well that He guides us in different ways, depending on our unique personalities. It is both scary and exciting that we do not have it all figured out, because we know HE does! Say, “He is God” out loud now, several times if you dare, and marvel that you know Him and He knows you better than you know yourself. Wow, God knows me!
The very day I felt the Lord leading me to start a blog, I looked up Bible verses to see what it took to do God’s will, what kind of commitment and purpose. Here is my actual notebook. I hope the verses will encourage you in your seeking the Lord and His job for you:)
Just remember, God will always be with you and guide you, but He may not tell you the destination, but just the next step. Even so, there is joy in following Jesus! I pray you keep or find anew that joy that comes from following Him.
For my birthday, one of my daughters bought me a beautiful planner. I love it because it asks me lots of questions, so I can nail down my goals for each week; it even asks me why I chose those goals. Then, later in the week, it asks me if I met those goals. I love thinking about the future but sometimes I do not know exactly where to start, so this planner makes it simple. And I like simple! And I like getting things done!
My writing friend from church is a good planner. We got together to talk about our writing and I realized how much my lack of a clear goal defined how little I get done. My friend knows exactly what she wants to write and is working on a sequel to a book she hasn’t even published yet. I admire her because she has a plan and is sticking to it:)
That begs the question, do we accomplish things for the Lord? If not, is it because we are not sure what we want to do? What if we had a planner that was just for our spiritual goals? What would those goals look like? Paul suggests this to Timothy…
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 2 Timothy 2: 3-4 NIV
Don’t you love how Paul says things plainly, so we are clear? Suffering as a soldier of the Lord is a worthy goal. Paul would know! Any goals that really matter are ones that involve doing the will of our Father. Knowing this now, my “spiritual planner” might have questions like this? What does HE want me to do? How can I serve Him with my writing?
What about you? How can YOU serve Him with your talents that I could never begin to do? DO you sing? Draw? Build? Teach? In addition to the verse above, this verse may help us do whatever we do, with the goal of honoring the Lord.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
So, today’s devotion is just a reminder of sorts. God has a special purpose for us that is not about us. It is above us, more important than us and helps others to know the love of God. We can plan all we want but it is God’s plan that matters most!
Lately, I am disturbed by my own use of social media. There are such great parts to it; don’t get me wrong! Social media is wonderful for businesses and churches and families, artists and authors in many ways. But it is the time I personally spend on Facebook that can be a hindrance of sorts to me. It is like I have a confused heart that needs to get my priorities straight. The Lord has been trying to tell me something. In reading John this morning, I came across these precious and helpful words of Jesus:
—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:17 NIV
Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20
What a miracle that is, that we have the TRUTH, GOD in us! Maybe when I am too invested in Facebook, I cannot hear clearly what the Lord is saying to me. Maybe it is something else for you. The important thing is that we talk to Him about it. We definitely do not want to miss what He wants to say to us. Maybe you have felt the Lord talking to you lately, too?
He talks to us, but do we hear Him clearly? If we feel Him whispering to us, we really need to stand still for a bit and listen. This “standing still” may look different for you than it does for me, but the important thing is that we do stop some of our activity and focus on and listen to God with no distractions. Facing Him, listening and seeking and loving Him is the most valuable time we will ever spend anywhere! Giving Him the time and focus He deserves, His whispers will come through loud and clear.
My daughter would probably move to Florida at the drop of a hat. She has always loved the sun and looks for any opportunity to lay there and soak up warmth (after applying much sunscreen.) It relaxes her and makes her happy. My other daughter? She loves the sun, too, but is not content to sit or lay still; she would rather play volleyball or cornhole. Because we have had sunny weather lately, I have been thinking about how almost everyone loves the sun. People get out of the house, travel, work in the yard and moods improve. It is like the sun transforms an ordinary day to a celebration somehow!
In the same way, the light of Jesus transforms us! In His light, everything is better. We can relax in it, feel His warmth and caring and love. His light makes us happy. It improves our mood and attitude, if we let it. His light can transform an ordinary heart to a heart that is joyful. Every day is a celebration of the SON.
Questions for reflection…
Do you choose to be in the Son’s light? Do you feel a celebration coming on when you feel His love and light on you? In what ways has Jesus transformed your life from dark to light, from ordinary to a celebration? How has Jesus also transformed the amount of light in your heart?
I do not usually quote The Message version, but this is helpful today. It is about conforming or being transformed. Do I sometimes conform to the world’s negative view and darkness, rather than choosing the light of Jesus? ( I admit I do!)
Romans 12:2…”So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Maybe things of the world are too influential and we naturally resort to a negative view. It is worth our time and effort to follow this guidance from The Message “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”
Light cannot help but be bright. I am so glad we have an everlasting and transforming source of light, aren’t you?
With love from our Father to you, keep shining in His love,
Not everyone gives grace, as I found that out the other day at Walmart. Someone, not in or near a crosswalk, got mad because I did not stop the car to let them cross the road, so they gave me “the finger.” As I passed her, I saw her finger in my rear view mirror. How dare she!! I honked my horn vigorously, but all that did was to scare the people in the crosswalk ahead of me. They started scurrying like little ants, thinking a crazy woman was coming! I told my husband…I wish they made a car horn for the rear of the car so that lady would know how mad I am! After much deliberating for two days on how awful the lady was to treat me like that, I came to a jerky stop. I realized…
It is not about me. It is not about me. It is not about me. It is not about me. IT IS NOT ABOUT ME.
SO the lady got mad. So she had to wait two extra seconds to cross the road. So she felt like expressing her anger to a stranger, with her finger. Know what? I could put my finger up too, but I don’t do that. What I should be doing is pointing my index finger to Jesus. So should we all, with our actions. One of our jobs on earth is to give grace to others, to point them to Jesus. And you cannot really do that without grace. Why? Because we are all imperfect. Especially me!
What if I replay that situation at Wal-mart and make a grace-filled reaction to her anger? What would that look like? I suppose I would consider what her day or week had been like? Maybe she was not looking forward to Mother’s Day, like many others. Maybe she lost a child. Maybe she had a fight with her boyfriend or husband. Maybe she had someone sick in the family and was stressed. Whatever the case, and I will never know, I know this. People who hurt others are frustrated or hurt themselves. I should have held my hand outside the window and motioned that I was sorry. I really could have let her cross in front of me.
We have been given grace by God over and over. So how do we pass it on? How, in everyday life do we show grace? So many times it is in our reactions, responses and reaching out. When someone hurts us, we have to realize it is not about us necessarily. It could be about them and their unhappiness. Why not react with grace and in effect say, “I do not expect you to be perfect because I am not. I will pray for you and love and accept you with the grace of God. He loves you, so I do too.” It is all about considering and forgiving each other, as our verse today says.
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:13 ESV
Easier said than done sometimes, huh?
Lord, help us to remember we are only saved sinners. Help us to see the good in people and also their need for grace. You are a great example of love and grace to us. You perfectly love our imperfect selves. Thank You for Your grace that lights our way to loving others. Amen
With love from the Father, I hope you have a great Monday!