His Blood Covers All

Cross, Crucifix, Jesus, Crucifixion

Do you ever wonder why people do the things they do? Do you shake your head in amazement at the crazy things going on in the world today? I do, but then I remember….all is not hopeless! God has a plan to save us from our sin, so there is hope for the world! The blood of His Son, Jesus, covers a multitude of sins.

Today’s devotion is simple, because, well, sometimes the simple, basic truth needs to be dwelled on the most. There was and is a problem, sin, and God solved it. It is that simple and wonderful!

Here is the problem as Paul describes it…

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. Timothy 3:1-5 NIV

We all have sinned, have lived for self, then Jesus’ blood saved us to a better life and purpose! He is the answer to our problems. My words do not seem to be sufficient so here is God’s Word with the answer. Inspired by God, Paul writes…

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. Titus 3:1-8 NIV

There is a problem and God solved it. I wanted to stress this simple but profound truth because…God has the answer to every problem we face. He is the answer. No matter the craziness and evil that goes on in the world and hearts, Jesus’ blood covers all. We cannot give up believing that men and women can be saved from sin. Jesus’ blood was shed for all of us and it covers a multitude of sins.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 NIV

I think we need encouragement or at least I do this morning and, as usual, God delivered! We should not lose hope! Just as God had an answer for sin, He has answers for all of life’s problems. Trust Him and His plan and have peace and hope! Do not stop doing good, as Paul describes above. Do not stop believing that people with all backgrounds and histories can be saved. All is not lost. Jesus can be found.

Dear Father,

Thank You does not seem to express how grateful we are for Your answer to sin and answers in Your Word, for all of our fears and problems. You have it all covered, so we do not need to lose hope. We do not deserve Your goodness but You give it every day. We see it when we focus on You. Thank You for being our answer and our hope. Help us to share this answer with the world and do good, believing that all can be saved, not because of the good we do, but the good You do. We love You! Amen

With love from the Father to you, be encouraged that God is on the throne, in control of our world:)

Christina

Taking the Short cut or the Long Haul

Path, Diverge, Two Ways, Mood, Dark

 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Hebrews 10:35 NLT

Last night, my hubby and I streamed a movie titled “Shortcut to Happiness.” Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Love Hewitt make a deal with each other. Alec is a struggling, frustrated writer and makes a deal with the devil, Jennifer Love Hewitt. She will grant his main desire of success as a writer if he will give her soul to him. When John and I got the premise of the movie, we almost turned it off, but something made me want to see how these famous actors portrayed a very real struggle in today’s society.

What is the struggle? Everyone, including Christians, wants to be happy…and not eventually, but right now. Feeling that way is not wrong but responding to that thought should be based on what we know to be true in the end. We know that things and events can make us happy and we like that feeling, don’t we? So, we want more and more happiness. When frustration or trials come, we are desperate for that happiness. The truth is…there is only one lasting happiness and it is found in God.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

He has already made a way for us to have it, through His Son and the Holy Spirit. The joy we have in Jesus is true, loving and forever! We just have to make right choices based on His truths. Life is all about making lots of choices, isn’t it? Every minute of the day we can choose to commit to Jesus for the long haul, even in really tough times. You know what? Short cuts that promise instant happiness will let us down. It is the long haul commitment that gives us lasting joy. Don’t let the enemy make you think there is a short cut to forever joy. There just isn’t. Jesus is the only way.

Let us not choose to take the short-cut to happiness by making a temporary deal with the enemy.

Let’s be in this race for the long haul, for eternal joy, eternal life with our Savior!

Let’s not set up for ourselves idols here on earth that make us happy , like fame and money and houses and cars and popularity. These things will not last and they do not matter in the kingdom of God.

Lets be in this life with a purpose, to take the burdens of life as God allows, knowing that He has a plan for us that makes us better versions of ourselves and more like Him.

Let’s fully embrace the joy of Jesus with our eyes on our heavenly home. He is our prize, waiting for us after the long haul of life.

Let’s make Him proud in the way we run our life’s race. Let’s not make deals with the enemy, knowing that there really is no shortcut to happiness.

Let’s make our lives, not about ourselves, but about others, so they can have the joy we have!

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11 NIV

Here is the best way I can describe joy. To me it is a glimpse of heaven. “To know Jesus is to know joy and to know joy is to catch a glimpse of what waits for us in heaven.”

With love from the Father to you all,

Christina

God’s Signals

Traffic Lights, Red, Yellow, Green

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. Job 23:10-12 NIV

As my husband and I were heading home from a recent beach trip with family, I was thinking of how blessed we are. Though we have had trials, God has always been there to help us navigate them. How God directs us made me think of traffic signs. Traffic signals are meant to warn us, prepare us for possible danger and to send us the route that will get us where we want to go.

God does that for us! When we choose HIS way, He signals us in the way and direction and time we should go. Just as a traffic light has three different colored lights to tell us what to do to stay safe on the road, God also tells us how to stay safe. When we pray and ask Him about something, He may, like a red light, direct us to stay put and not make a move, because it is not time yet. Maybe other things need to happen first, maybe He wants us to be still a bit longer or maybe He has a reason we do not know about. But the truth is…

He knows what He is doing and what we should be doing. For that reason, we need to stop, be still and trust Him sometimes, even when we want to forge ahead. Whatever His reasons, they are good ones and we need to look for and obey His signals.

The warm yellow of a traffic light kind of makes me think of the Holy Spirit. It is the loving light within me that guides me, way better than I can do myself. After all, who am I to know what is best, according to God, unless I have Him in me? Isn’t that an amazing thought that we have the Holy Spirit of God as a resource and ever present guide? We have God in us! We do not have to make decisions blindly with our own knowledge, or lack of it. The Holy Spirit tells us when to slow down and proceed with caution. He sees what we do not, that sometimes slower is better.

Sometimes, we get the “green light” from God. It is a very special feeling when we have prayed for a certain direction and He gives us the go ahead! To know we are on His path in the right direction and He is with us, cheering us on…well, there is nothing better. To purpose to please Him and to be given encouragement in the form of a “green light” is to know we are in His will. His approval means everything. We can proceed, knowing it is the right time and right way, because He said so.

God,

Just…thank You for Your truth, wisdom, guidance and encouragement. You knew we would need all of it to navigate the highways of this life. Please forgive us for going ahead sometimes without asking Your opinion first. Guide us please in YOUR way and not our own. That is where we will find purpose and fulfillment of this life You have given us. With Your Holy Spirit, urge us in the way to go and at the right time. You are good and we love You so much! Amen

With love from the Father to you, have a great day,

Christina

The Soul Knows

Quote, Pallet, Sign, Handmade Sign

Our country is in crisis; we all know that. We might know, or think we do, some of the causes and the necessary solutions and where to place the blame. But what really matters is that we absolutely know who is in control of it all. That is what will keep us in the place God wants for us…in the know.

What am I talking about? Well, to remain “in the know,” we must know what is worth knowing and that is what our soul knows to be true. What our soul knows to be true can carry us through anything. Even though we cannot know or control all that goes on in the world, we can know in our souls that our God can carry us through anything.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

Being “in the know” also means we know who is responsible for good works and we praise Him accordingly.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 NIV

The most important things to know are those that never change, things you can count on. Just to name a few, for encouragement:

God loves the whole world and made a plan so that we could be with Him forever.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

God is in control of the whole world. He sees everything going on in the world.

Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? Psalm 113:5-6 NIV

God knows all that we do not. Being “in the know” means knowing we do not need to know it all, but trust the One who does. We are “in the know” if our souls know who our Savior and Lord is and we trust Him like no one else in the world. There is a great peace that comes from knowing He has our present and future in His capable hands!

With love from the awesome Father to you, have a great Monday!

Christina

Good Morning, God

Religion, Faith, Cross, Light, Hand

Good Morning everyone,

Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we want it, right? This weekend I had a back issue pop up again, just when I thought it had so improved. No worries, I am good now, but it did force me to lay low for a couple of days and let John wait on me. Instantly, I was angry about it. “This again? There are things I want to do this weekend!” But you know what? So many people have it worse. And there is always something to praise God for. Always.

So this morning, as I rolled out of bed and put my feet on the floor slowly, to see if my back would let me get up, I realized something. I have so many other blessings! I have this home, a beloved husband, family and great children, a wonderful church, an upcoming wedding where I will gain another son! How dare the enemy try to make me focus on what I wish was different. It’s great to focus on what is the same…each day. And what IS the same every day? Every day is a day that God loves us. Every day is a fresh new day to love Him more and praise Him more than we did yesterday!

So…What do I want to say, at the end of today, that I accomplished? I want to say that I filled it up with praise to God. There are so many minutes and hours to fill! Isn’t it great to have those hours?

Read this beautiful verse and feel David’s love for our Father. In this chapter, David’s spirit is failing. He needs hope and direction, so he goes to the unfailing source, God. That’s a perfect way to start each day, to bask in God’s love and declare that He is the One we trust with our day.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8 NIV

Dear God,

Thank You for always loving me and guiding me, when I do not understand things and when I need encouragement. You are the best! Thank You for this day that You gave me. Thank You for my blessings of husband, family and friends. Please send comfort and guidance to the people stranded in Afghanistan. Let them feel You near and feel Your love and our prayers. Please bring them home. Please guide our leaders to make good decisions for them. Protect them, Lord, as only You can do. We ask these things in Your name because we know for sure You can do them. Amen.

May your day be filled and felt with God’s love.

Christina

We Need Each Other

In my devotions today, I read in Exodus 17 that Moses was praying on the mountain while Israel was at war. Just that thought stopped me in my tracks. Up on the mountain, seeking God, is where we should all be when we are in trouble, isn’t it? Moses had his arms stretched high as he prayed to his Father, but his arms grew weary and dropped. Aaron and Hur came to his side and held them up again. Isn’t that just like what our friends do for us? They support us in prayer. 

When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Exodus 17:12 NIV

Did you notice in this verse, that they helped him to rest and made his hands steady? So should our hands be in prayer to God. Steady and always raised to Him who is able. Sometimes we need encouragement and support from our friends, though, just as Moses did. Know what’s cool? Moses did not ask for help, but His men supported him at just the right time.

Prayer props up people, plus, a holy purpose provides people with possibilities.

(I just had to have some fun with the letter ‘p’!) Seriously, though, Just as Aaron and Hur did for Moses when they propped him up, we are the prop that someone needs! How special of a job do we have! Think about that. WE are the answer to a need. We serve God well when we respond to a request for help. But, oh so much better and obedient, that we take it upon ourselves, to the glory of God, to seek out someone whose need we have the ability to fill:)

By the way, what I didn’t reveal….Whenever Moses’ hands were up, Israel was winning the war. When his hands were down, the Amalekites were winning. Know what? This tells us that prayer can change things. We must always remember, though, that GOD has the ‘upper hand.’

As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. Exodus 17:11 NIV

Dear Father,

We know that we can go to You in prayer and You will listen. We feel Your love and care surrounding us. Help us to surround others with love and care by meeting their needs and praying with them. Thank You for being our God and our friend. We do not deserve being loved by You but we praise You for Your goodness. Help us to do Your will and be a prop for someone else. We are Your willing servants. We love You so much! Amen

With love from the Father to You,

Christina

Our Enemy Has Scissors

White Male, 3D Model, Isolated, 3D

I know that sounds like a weird title, but that is the thought that came to me when I was reading my Bible today. I could not think of a better way to describe the thought that our enemy wants to cut all of our ties to the Lord. He is relentless and sly in his attacks.

He wants to cut our:

1. Confidence in God-

The opposite of confidence seems to me to be doubt. Because God can do the impossible and does not change, we really have no reason to doubt Him. Our confidence is sure and secure in the solid rock that never, ever varies. The enemy would like to cut that tie. He wants us to NOT have faith in God, so we will listen to HIS lies. Then, he can make us fear and doubt things. Fear is of the devil. It comes when he cuts our ties to God by tempting us to doubt God.

 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.2 Cor. 10:5

2. Communication with God-

The two-way communication we have with our Lord strengthens our relationship with Him. Through that bond, He can teach us and mold us and help us navigate our lives to the glory of God. And therein lies the problem, according to the enemy. He does not want us to glorify God, but ourselves. He tries to make us glorify ourselves and neglect the bond of communication with God. When he tempts us to rely on our own ability, we fail, and we may not rely on talking to God as much.

 He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.John 8:44

3. Commitment to God-

The enemy wants to cut our determination to stick with God. In hard times, he is only too happy to lie to us and make us think God has left us. God NEVER leaves us! The devil will also distract us with wordly things. He will lie and say other things warrant the love that is meant for God. He will tell us material things will make us happy, when in reality, the more we get, the more we want. (Been there, done that!) The enemy will do whatever it takes to make us not prioritize a right relationship with God.

James 4:4 …You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

Why does he do all these things? Because he wants our soul to belong to Him. He wants to take us from God, not because He loves us, but because he hates God and He wants to ruin us. That’s why he chases us with scissors, to cut us apart from God.

What to do? Pray always about everything! Also… we should chase God as hard as the enemy chases us. Let’s pursue God with all that we have each day. Our God is able to keep us supplied with peace and His wisdom and love and that will never change.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great day. With all that’s going on in the world, remember to communicate with God often, have confidence that He is in control and commit to keep on keeping on with Him. It WILL be worth it all! It is worth it now, too! We serve an awesome God!

With love from the Father to you,

Christina

A Sea of Red Words

Bible, Hand, Designate, Read, Christian

I am reading through the new Testament in the Bible. Right now I am in Luke. It is packed with Jesus’ recorded words. I love seeing all the red words. I love imagining that I am in that time period listening to Jesus talk. I love REALLY getting the meaning. I love that God’s Word is so powerful and changes hearts like mine. I love the sea of red in Luke’s book and many others, especially this passage in Matthew where Jesus tells us a story with a purpose.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 NIV

I don’t know about you, but I want to be like the wise man. See how God’s Word inspires change in us? Real change, not a temporary fix like much of today’s self-help books. God’s Word penetrates our souls. No other words can do that!

Isn’t it amazing to know we are reading words that God inspired and knew we would be reading today? His Word is so powerful! As far as red words in the Bible… There has been a debate in certain circles, about whether Jesus’ words should be red, because the WHOLE Bible is the inspired Word of God. I was shocked the other day when I went to buy a journaling Bible and had trouble finding one with red words. There weren’t many!

Having said all that, it is imperative we hold precious the red words of Jesus, but revere and hold precious the entire Bible. Every verse is valuable! Every verse is a part of a story God wrote with real people that He made…with events that He planned or allowed or used to tell the Story of Salvation.

In my simple mind, I think Jesus wants us to really hear what He is saying and why. It is so selfless of Him to try so hard to get us to see the truth of what our lives should be all about…and it is not riches or popularity or being perfect. It about us being imperfect but coming to know Him, God and the Holy Spirit. They are our riches. We want to bow to THEIR opinion.

Dear God,

Thank You for always teaching me. It seems like I am re-learning and firming up things I think I should have down by now. You know me best so You know I am trying to be more like Jesus, but I do fail. Thank You for loving me enough to send Your Son to save me. You are my teasure. I love You so much! Amen.

May you enjoy some red words today and always and hold your Bible, God’s Words, as a treasure above all others:)

Christina

The Rich Fool.

FreeBibleimages :: Parable of the Rich Fool :: Jesus tells a parable about  an ambitious but foolish rich man (Luke 12:13-21)

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.  He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Luke 12: 16-17 NIV

As a child, I loved stories, especially fables, because they had a point or a warning of what NOT to do. THe imaginative stories made a point about how an animals or person’s character, whether greedy or impatient or patient or wise affects a situation. They teach a lesson.

To learn life lessons, the best and true resource is God’s Word. It is our hope and is vital for our learning journey. Jesus makes it easy to learn by telling us parables. He is our authority, so reading a story of His means we am getting the “scoop” straight from the One who knows our hearts! His stories parallel real life and get us to think about our choices line up, or don’t, with what God expects.

In Luke 12, Jesus tells a story about a man with a great harvest who did the wrong thing. The Parable of the Rich Fool goes like this… A rich man had an abundant harvest. The problem? He did not have enough storage for all of it. He decided that he was going to tear down his small barns to build bigger ones, to store all of his abundance. That way, he could rest in comfort knowing he had all he needed for years to come. He wanted an easy life!

That hit me like a ton of bricks! We ALL want easy lives, don’t we? We definitely store up things to that end. After hearing this parable, I am thinking our goal needs to be one of wanting easier lives for OTHERS. What do we have stored up that others can use? How tight do we hold onto things that make our lives easier and maybe a bit lazy? I am preaching to myself here, so no judgement.

A personal note…the backstory to why these verses spoke to me so strongly…

A few months ago, I started having a strong desire to get rid of all my extra stuff in the basement. I started to realize someone could be using those old chairs or curtains and blankets, craft supplies and dishes and clothes. What if I have them all away and trusted God to supply my future needs? Should I be saving so much? NO!

Meanwhile, a friend of mine started doing a “death cleaning.” She is in good health but is doing a certain process of cleaning. This is an idea based on ridding ourselves of things others will not want when we are gone. (You can look up Swedish Death Cleaning.)

If you think about it…Our abundance of things can help others today, instead of being a burden for others to go through after we are gone. Little did my friend know how freeing it would be! When she posted on facebook about it, I had to tell her I was cleaning out my house too and donated several car loads to Salvation Army. It IS freeing! What a bonus!

Both my friend Pam and I feel this is a God thing. We feel God is trying to do a good work in us and it requires us to follow His leading. It is rather exciting to follow God and not be sure of where He is leading! This is NO credit to us at all, as He is the only One worthy of praise.

From the only authority, God’s Word…We just are not meant to store up treasures on earth, says God. Here is what God said to the rich man in the parable…

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:20-21 NIV

Jesus makes the point with this parable…We are to be rich toward God, rich in what HE desires. That is a matter for prayer, for sure! As we navigate this sometimes confusing life course, I hope we appreciate the wisdom of God and Jesus here. Isn’t it awesome to have His recorded words to read whenever we want to? Isn’t it great to be told the absolute truth that matters? Jesus tells us what God expects of us. Does anything matter more?

Dear God,

There just aren’t enough words or the right words to tell You how much I appreciate having Your Word as my guide. You know how imperfect I am and selfish and greedy I can be. Though I will never understand how You could go to such lengths to save us, I will always love You for it, as best I can. Thank You for showing me how to please You, through Jesus’ parables. I love You so much! Amen.

I love you all with the love of the Father! Gotta go clean the basement, not even joking!:)

Christina

I Can Fix This Myself (or can I?)

Error, Www, Internet, Calculator, Server

Fridays are a great day for encouragement! You have made it through the week! That is no small thing sometimes, right? Trials can drain us, especially if we try to handle things on our own, without God. When we do that…and I am admitting I do that often, as I have always had an “I can do it myself” attitude…we tend to mess up or go a different direction than God intended.

Then, we end up needing help. We may have to back up a step or two and talk to God about what went wrong. Only God can truly FIX us or set us straight again. I would like to have that power myself, but that is not God’s plan.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5

I really like this verse and refer to it often. Why? Because it amazes me that God has a plan for our individual life, wayyy before we are born! God knows what He wants to use us for and what things He will allow or not allow in our lives. He knows ALL. When we try to do things all on our own and get turned around or broken in the process, God is there to help.

Like children, we can’t fix broken things or messes.
And like a Father, God says,”Come get your hug and we’ll do this together.

God doesn’t just know how to fix the problem, He knows how to fix US. He knows what we need to get through the trial. He knows we are imperfect and need Him. That’s why He stays close!

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19 NIV

Dear God,

Thank You for being the answer to all of my needs. Thank You for loving me, even though I forget to ask You first about some important things. Show me as I read Your Word, what Your will is for each day. Remind me to stop and ask what You think about my plans. You know best! I love You so much! Amen

With love from our Lord to you, have a father-focused Friday!

Christina