Opulence

Sitting at my desk looking out the second story window of my home office to the tree lined street I am struck by the plethora of color. Bright orange, deep maroon and rusty red. I am praising God for Who He Is and the word opulent comes to mind.

Opulent, such a beautiful word. I imagine light hitting a chandelier and producing fragments of multicolored sparkles on all that it touches.

I’m led to explore the definition of opulent; not satisfied I look up opulence. From one online source the definition is abundance, an opulence of fruit. Still not completely satisfied I search for the Biblical definition which is riches.

In this moment I sense the Spirit’s abundance as He richly shares His fruit with me to be shared with others.

As you journey with Him may He lavish you in His opulence as you touch those around you and your sphere of influence.

Looking for Your Articles

Hello Friends!

Interesting story about the above picture. I saw it some time ago as I was searching for a picture to use in an article about writing. When I saw it I thought those look like my daughter’s hands. I took a screen shot and sent it to my daughter telling her the picture looked like her hands. Imagine my surprise when she responded, “They are!” I use this picture whenever I have the opportunity!

Some of you may not know I am the Editor of NorCal Christian Voice[www.norcalchristianvoice.com]. We are an online magazine and one of many divisions across the nation of One Christian Voice. We report local, state, national and world news as well as many other areas of interest, such as, movie and book reviews, recipes, technology, sports, poems, testimonies, short stories and inspiration to name a few.

I enjoy reading your blogs and very much appreciate when you have the time to stop by to read and comment on mine. You each have a unique gift of stringing words together to create a work of written art.

Submissions are open at NorCal CV and we would be honored to read and consider your work for publication. You can submit to news@norcalchrisitianvoice.com.

Have a blessed week everyone!

Counting Sheep

She stood just outside the make believe perimeter. A part of, yet not. She longed for their companionship, their understanding, their love and their acceptance. She doesn’t remember, really, how she came to be where she currently found herself—on the outside.

She had known this group for years. Her children grew up with their children. They had shared graduations, children getting married, the birth of grandchildren along with close calls and the grief of losing loved ones.

These were her people, her community, her tribe. Yet somehow she felt so disconnected from them. Did anyone notice? Did anyone care? Was anyone praying for her? Would anyone reach out to her?

In this moment she felt like the one lost sheep that unknowingly wandered away from the flock and couldn’t find her way home. She needed help, yearned for it, for someone in her tribe to help her find her way back into the fold.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the pasture and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, comes home, and calls together his friends and neighbors to tell them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ In the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is addressing the lost sheep as a sinner that is found and saved. But what about those within the Body of Christ? The ones that aren’t lost physically or spiritually rather emotionally. The ones that once were included but now feel disconnected not sure why nor how to reconnect.

Surely Jesus wants us to go after those within our believing communities that have lost their way, to ‘find’ them and carry them back to the fold.

Jesus wants us to be inclusive not exclusive.

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:20.

Who is Jesus asking you to include in your circle of friends/influence? More importantly, what will you do?

Heavenly Appearance

I’m sure you’ve heard of her. She has the figure that has been impossibly unattainable since the day she arrived on the shelves of toy stores. What was most likely meant to bring little girls hours of make believe fun has become the subject of poor taste and irresponsibility to generations of young girls and women striving to look like her. And it doesn’t end there. In the late 70’s early 80’s a plastic bust was made of this doll with hair that could be styled and makeup to be applied teaching little girls how to eventually do this for themselves. Nothing wrong there.

I experimented with makeup my later years in high school and I have absolutely nothing against wearing makeup. Wearing makeup makes many women feel special. I’m so practical in my ways that applying makeup is more a chore than satisfying. Our two daughters went through the teenage phase of heavy makeup [my husband would always tell them, “don’t ruin the Rembrandt!”] to their beautiful natural look with the occasional application.

Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, an Azariah: “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations.

Daniel 1:11-13a

Some theorize that Daniel and his friends chose not to eat the meat from Nebuchadnezzar’s table because of the possibility that it had been offered before idols. Others believe that their decision had nothing to do with vegetarianism. Still others theorize that because Daniel and his friends were held against their will they took the opportunity to exercise the few choices they had and preserve their distinct identity. They chose to stand apart from all the other people around them by choosing to eat food that would cause their appearance to look healthier.

There is something deeper in this story. The spiritual appearance of Daniel and his friends. In addition to requesting a veggie only diet to improve their appearance they had a relationship with God. One in which they honored and revered Him resulting in an outward appearance that couldn’t be matched regardless of dietary habits.

Precious Friend. Jesus loves you and when you allow Him to settle in your heart something happens. The power of Holy Spirit begins to transform you from the inside out and your appearance takes on one of heavenly dimensions. Your appearance shines with the joy of Jesus in your heart. No coverup is needed because He infuses you with His confidence and boldness.

Don’t ruin the Rembrandt.

Eternal Accountability

For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.

2Timothy 1:11,12.

Trust me. You’ve probably heard this phrase so many times you’ve lost count. Or perhaps you, like me, have used these two words in the past.

When we decide to trust someone we are relying on their character or putting our confidence in them to follow through on what they’ve promised to do for us.

Jesus left us with specific directions to go and make disciples of all the nations. Like Paul we are heralds and it is our responsibility to share the good news of the gospel message with everyone!

Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and my sin. When we choose Jesus we are cleansed of the sin that once plagued us and while sin will still tempt us, sinner is no longer our identity. We are righteous in the Righteous One.

When you place your trust in Jesus he safeguards your salvation until He comes again or calls you home. You can trust the character of Jesus and place your confidence in Him to follow through on all the promises you find in His word.

As heralds of the good news of salvation through Jesus we also bring with this message an eternal accountability to all who hear The Message. If you haven’t placed your trust in Jesus, what will you do with this message of salvation? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready to make the choice for Him! If you already believe, what will you do with this message? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready or continue to nurture a deep and intimate relationship with Him walking in His will in complete surrender! We all have room to continue to grow.

Of all the things I could ask you to trust me with, this one thing, salvation in Jesus, is the only thing that will stand up against the test of time.

Worthy To Hear The Gospel

She ran out to meet him as she did every afternoon. He greeted her with, “Hi sweetie!” as she reached to carry in his thermos. This had been their daily ritual for many years now and it made her feel like a princess. Although she had four older brothers, he was her hero. She was the little girl he had always said he wouldn’t stop trying to have.

He was a quiet man but strong and mighty in her eyes. He rarely raised his voice at her and the few times that he did she knew she had pushed the envelope just a bit too far.

On her thirteenth birthday she ran out to meet as usual but this time was different. In her newfound teenage mind she thought it best that he no longer called her sweetie. She said to him, as she reached for his thermos, “You don’t need to call me sweetie anymore, I’m thirteen now.”

In the proverbial blink of an eye things began to change. He started to withdraw not knowing what to do with the young woman that ‘just yesterday was his little girl’ and she thought her hero had simply stopped caring.

Many years later after he had passed and upon reflection she realized how hurt he must have been by her triumphant declaration when she was thirteen. And he didn’t have the words to tell her she would always be his sweetie.

She realizes now that she felt unworthy of his love which led her to feel unworthy of the love of God.

We all fall short of the glory of God but we aren’t unworthy to hear the gospel message of His love.

Precious Friend, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been Jesus wants you to hear His message of His saving grace. You are worthy of eternal life and the forgiveness of all your sins by simply believing in Jesus as Messiah, Emmanuel, the King of kings, Lord and Savior.

And her hero, well before he passed he became the best nanu to her three children.

Reading His Word Touching His Robe

She was most likely iron deficient. She probably suffered extreme exhaustion from the daily loss of blood from what had afflicted her for twelve years. And because of the culture she lived in she would have been considered unclean which meant she could not be an active part of the community she called home.

She saw Him crowded by a sea of people that made it look as if it were impossible to reach him. Steadily, without taking her eyes off of him, she made her way through the crowd, who were pushing and shoving to get close to him to. She knew He held the healing she had been seeking for so long.

She said to herself, If I only touch is cloak, I will be healed.

Matthew 9:21

With more boldness that she probably felt she reached out and touch the edge, just the edge of his cloak and instantly she was healed and restored.

How marvelous that must have been to be in the very physical presence of Jesus, The Messiah!

Where does this leave us? We don’t have the ability to actually reach out and touch Jesus but we can touch Him through his word.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart

Hebrews 4:12.

Whenever we read God’s word we engage with Him in a very alive and active way. Healing is still found in Jesus. We simply need to look to the right source. And keep an open mind and be alert to what Jesus is speaking to you about your healing. I’m a miracle seeker but my own physical healing has come over a period of several years and is still not complete and may not be complete until I see Jesus in eternity. But I can rest in the truth that I can ‘touch’ Him through his word.

Read His word, touch his robe.

*pic is a mural in the Encounter Chapel of the Duc in Altum Spiritual Center, Magdala

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Are You Ready?

There isn’t any judgement in these questions as I ponder them for myself. Am I ready for Jesus to return? Will He find my house in order? Will I be engaged in what He anointed and left me to do? Or, will I be chasing after idols that don’t matter now or in eternity?

One of my deepest prayers is for the Church to arise. To desire true discipleship and to disciple. To no longer gloss over the hard truths, teachings and sayings of Jesus. To live sold out for Jesus regardless of life’s challenges and struggles.

I’m working toward this. Will you work with me too?

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

(NASB 1995).

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Thursday Thoughts

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