Hope for Today will inspire you to live a life connected to Christ by empowering you to fall in love with Jesus through personal spiritual growth. Teaching you the power of your identity and authority in Christ. Encouraging you in your inheritance as an ambassador for the kingdom of God!
…and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
Righteousness is one of those words that has been misconstrued through generations and cultural preference. Like many words it has lost its true meaning and has been skewed to fit a cultural climate. Some, perhaps many, might say born again believers are self righteous. That followers of Jesus feel they are morally superior. [If you feel this way, I am sorry and hope you can forgive anyone who has caused you to feel this way]. The truth is those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior are challenged by moral behavior just as anyone else who walks this planet. The difference is followers of Jesus have the help of Holy Spirit to guide them in and to desire a righteous lifestyle.
Several years ago I heard from a sermon that we never take off our breastplate of righteousness. Through the years I have often thought about this and realize this thought doesn’t resonate with me.
When you make a choice to follow Jesus [asking for the forgiveness of your sins and committing to learning about and living like Jesus] righteousness becomes your identity in Jesus. You have the divine approval of God; you are approved in His sight. Therefore, you cannot loose your righteousness. Sin, however, causes a break in our fellowship with God and He graciously offers the gifts of confession and repentance and Holy Spirit is faithful to help us confess and repent and we enjoy restored communion with God.
The breastplate of righteousness is God’s divine approval of all who believe in Jesus, however, Paul tells us to put on the breastplate of righteousness. This is an action we are instructed to take. The breastplate of the Roman soldier described in the Armor of God passage in Ephesians [Ephesians 6:10-17] was meant to protect a soldier’s heart. Paul encourages us to put on God’s righteousness to protect our hearts. When we actively choose to spend time with Him by reading and studying His word and through prayer and praise we are protecting our heart from a thief who wants to steal Truth from us.
The breastplate of righteousness is a choice. Will you go about your day believing you have everything under control? Or, will you seek Holy Spirit lifting your arms and choosing to have Him fit your customized breastplate over your head, cinching it into place, protecting your heart as you choose to ask Him to continue to guide you in living a life of freedom?
Wherever you find yourself today I encourage you to choose the better part. Choose Jesus and He promises any time spent with Him will not be taken from you. He invites you in to lay all your cares and burdens at His feet.
So many times we are quick to quote John 3:16 and many times we forget to add the verse that holds its hand. John 3:17 tells us Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, He came to save the world through His actions on the Cross.
I understand that many of you believe the Bible is only a group of stories written over two thousand years ago by men not God. I get it. Before I became a believer I couldn’t get past the first sentence on the first page. I understand that some of you who are believers struggle to understand this Book as well. All of this is okay. God knows, He sees and He understands. Most importantly He loves you and I pray He blesses you with the faith to believe in Him and understand these words written over centuries ago.
I am thankful for the storms of life because they cause my wayward heart to turn toward Jesus with an opportunity to trust Him more. Storms whip up my faith and remind me of God’s promises. Jesus rebukes the wind and tells the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Are you telling God how big the storms are in your life or are you telling the storms how big, mighty and powerful your God is? #peacebestill#omnipotentGod#tetheredtoJesus#seekHimfirst
Whatever your situation is right now at this moment, God sees you. He promises after a little while He WILL restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. #standandresist with #firmfaith and on the #promises of a Mighty Warrior God who fights for you.
In June I attended the SoCal Christian Writers Conference. I had planned three full days of mostly non-fiction writing workshops. During one workshop, which was actually on website building etiquette, I overheard another instructor mention her workshop was next and that it was on magazine writing. I felt God nudge me to change my plans and attend this particular workshop, so I did.
As soon as the instructor started speaking God began showing me an article He wanted me to write. The information was coming so quickly I had to ask Him to slow down! I ended up pitching God’s idea, quite informally, to the instructor who happens to be the editor for SoCal Christian Voice. She loved the idea and encouraged me to write the article.
Then the doubt set in. “You’ve never written a magazine article before” “You don’t even know how to write a magazine article.” “What does writing a magazine article have to do with writing Bible studies?” Lies, lies, lies, because my God knows all about writing magazine articles.
Throughout the remainder of the conference God kept creating opportunities for me to talk with this editor, to the point it was becoming a bit awkward for me. One of the last conversations I had with her was when I noticed one of her latest books (it was hot off the press!) she had written with three other authors, one of the authors was there with her. I exclaimed that this was my passion and her colleague handed me her business card and told me if I ever needed help to contact her.
And that is what magazine writing has to do with Bible study writing. You see, their latest book was a Bible study.
Here is my third published piece (first of many with SoCal Christian Voice) and I am as giddy as if it were my first and I hope I ALWAYS feel that way! I encourage you to subscribe to SoCal Christian Voice (its free) as well as their national site One Christian Voice.
All praise, glory and honor to my Savior Jesus and you know, BUT GOD!!!
For as much as the Old Testament is filled with violence, rules and regulations, it is also filled with the sweetness of His love. He is with you, He saves you, He takes delight in you and He rejoices over you with singing. Imagine that, God sings!
I wonder if you ever feel as if your living your life in the desert. Alone, hot, dry and parched. You may wonder how you found yourself there. What were the choices and paths you took that led you to a place that can be both beautiful yet overwhelming?
We read in God’s word the story of a mom named Hagar. Hagar had a son named Ishmael. Due to circumstances beyond Hagar’s control she found herself walking with her young son in the desert. Their water had run out and Hagar, not wanting to watch her son die, placed him under a bush to shield him from the hot desert sun and went a short way off, sat down and began to weep.
Many times because of the steps we’ve taken God lures us to a desert place out of His love for us. He blocks our path and walls us in and waits patiently until we’ve come to the end of ourselves, sit down and begin to weep. He speaks tender words of restoration and hope while He removes the idols from our life, those things that we turn to hoping they will do only what God can do, fill the empty space in our heart.
He cleanses our heart and takes the desire to sin from our heart so that we will love Him with all our heart and soul so that we may live as recipients of His blessings. (Deuteronomy 30:6)
Precious One the desert isn’t barren or a place of punishment. It is God’s gift and love for you. Restoring you.
Choose God. Choose His will and righteousness. Choose His blessings in your life.
Oftentimes, blessings find their birth inside adversity. Life this side of heaven is tough. Many times things go wrong more often than they go right. But when we choose to hang out with God He leads us in the right direction where everything goes right according to his will and we are filled with His peace, joy and comfort regardless of our current situation.
As a little girl my daddy always worked hard to provide for our needs. We always had everything we needed yet there was always a sense of lack and scarcity. My daddy, was himself, a Great Depression age child. Scarcity and lack was a way of life for him and his family. The unwanted legacy for me was scarce and lack imprinted on my soul before I was born.
In Christ I have all I could ever want or need or imagine. I don’t need to strive according to the world’s standards. This is my inheritance, here and now, and my identity in Him.
When we choose to give we will receive. Any gift we give in Jesus Name, whether it is monetary, our time or talents, will be given back to us pressed down, shaken together, running over and poured into our laps. And this we cannot do of own thoughts and efforts, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit who determined before our existence the good work we would do in His Name. It is by faith we have been saved not good works regardless of how charitable we are.
Praise and thanks be to God for the many faithful promises He has given us to remind us of His love and care for us.