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!
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.
Like a treasure trove of a long lost sunken ship, it’s shimmering precious jewels-rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds yet to be discovered, is God’s word.
Paul wrote these words in a letter to the Colossians that he entrusted friends to deliver as he sat in prison.
One of his friends and co-laborers that stayed behind with Paul was Mark, the author of the Gospel by that name.
Early in Paul’s missionary journey Mark had deserted Paul. I imagine Paul was most likely hurt and also a bit bitter.
But, here this verse is lavished with forgiveness, grace and love. The same virtues Jesus lavishes us with.
This course correction, this heart realignment, this forgiveness can only come from spending intimate time nurturing your relationship with Jesus.
Try this: Ask Holy Spirit to lead you to a book of the Bible to read. Write out two or three verses and ask Holy Spirit to reveal His heart to you, asking Him what He wants you to know. Journal your thoughts and put into action what He has given you.
Diamonds are considered one of the most valuable natural gemstones. They are formed by heat and pressure from deep volcanic eruptions. Once ‘birthed’ they are transformed from their rough state by cutting, shaping and polishing.
As we stay tethered to Jesus a similar process begins to take place in us. We are transformed from a rough interior and exterior by the work of Holy Spirit in us.
We are encouraged to teach and admonish one another.
Admonish. Maybe this word is a negative to you. By Biblical definition admonish is to reason with another by warning through instruction in the truth of God’s word. Applying positive pressure to one’s thinking and encouraging the choice for God’s best. His good and perfect will.
We accomplish this by meeting Jesus daily in His word and asking Him to shower us with His wisdom. We encourage one another with psalms, hymns and songs of the Spirit. We sing to God with gratitude in our hearts.
YOU, are so precious to God that your value cannot be fathomed. You are priceless.
Transformation can be hot and pressure filled. It is an ongoing process and the responsibility of Holy Spirit to renew you to be more and more like Jesus. How He thinks, how He speaks, how He acts.
He’s making a diamond out of the rough. Will you let Him?
Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall. Which season is your favorite? I love everything about Fall. The bright, crisp days, the turning of the leaves from green to vibrant yellow, orange and deep red. The sense of accomplishment of the first half of the year and the readiness to hunker down for the shorter days ahead.
As we celebrate the seasons of the earth we realize that life has many seasons. Seasons that come and go. Some that are long and others that are much too short. Many of us are in a season of letting go. Some of us have been through this season before and find ourselves in the last of its kind. For some this is your first experience in this season.
Even as God has been preparing me over the last five years I find this final season one of the hardest. Yet, I know He will never leave me nor forsake me. The season of empty nesting is both sad and exciting at the same time. If you find yourself in this season I encourage you to embrace it as gladly as you do your favorite season of the year!
Precious One, your identity is found in Christ not the season.
He looked down from His holy heights— the Lord gazed out from heaven to earth— to hear a prisoner’s groaning, to set free those condemned to die, so that they might declare the name of Yahweh in Zion and His praise in Jerusalem, when peoples and kingdoms are assembled to serve the Lord. Psalm 102:19-22.
Let’s be that future generation that wasn’t yet created when these words of truth were breathed into existence. Let’s be the Church and arise across denominational lines and theological differences to praise the One true God. Let’s raise our voices as one and declare His name, which is Yahweh in Zion. Let’s be a people that includes all with one purpose…to serve the Lord.
Stand in a circle?! And pray?! That is exactly what Honi the Circle Maker did. He was an ancient Israelite scholar mentioned by Josephus in the book of “Jewish Antiquities.”
Honi drew a circle and stood in it and told God that he would not move until God provided the rain that had not come that winter. Honi prayed and God brought rain.
Rulers, scholars and religious types all thought Honi had a special relationship with God. Actually, what he had was prayer. He was so closely knit to God he knew the goodness of God’s character.
Honi wasn’t satisfied with just rain. Honi’s heart ached for the people of God. He not only desired the seasonal rain, he wanted God’s rain of favor, blessing and graciousness. Honi didn’t give up, he prayed consistent and persistent, big audacious prayers, that could only be answered by God. Then he waited in expectant anticipation for God’s answer.
Audaciously bold prayers our part of our inheritance in Jesus. You will never know unless you ask and when you ask let it come from a heart that has been steeped in the truth of God’s word and promises.
Boldly go where every man, woman and child ought to go…before the throne of God, drawing circles around your prayers.
Are you stuck in Egypt? I have been and not just once but on several occasions. How many times have I sojourned away only to find myself right back in the circumstances I so longed to be done with? And, like the ancient Israelites, I cried out to God, “Don’t you see what I’m going through?” “Don’t you care?” “God, WHERE are You?!” And every time I would leave, I would complain that things weren’t any better on the outside, and although the circumstances in Egypt were anything but ideal, I kept going back because at least I knew what to expect in captivity even if it was spiritually unhealthy. Leaving meant taking a substantial, huge, ginormous, (how many adjectives do I need to use here?!), venture in faith.
One day I was finally tired of yo-yoing back and forth, back and forth, (that and the Holy Spirit had been nudging me for months to explore what was beyond my captivity). With some help from my spiritual father and a whole lot of Jesus, I packed my bags and never looked back!
Have you over stayed your welcome in Egypt? I encourage you with these words of Moses.
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14.
When I was a little girl I grew up in a time where we practiced duck and cover under our school desks to the sound of an air raid siren. This was a post WWII mechanism that was still in effect after the Viet Nam War, the world that was my reality then; free love, hippies and the peace sign, but I digress. I really despised that siren, even though it was designed to give us a chance to be safe, in the event our country were attacked by airplanes dropping bombs.
My childhood home was in the flight path of NAS Moffett Field, where the mighty P3 Orion could be seen and heard on descent into the air field. Sometimes, as I recall, there would be more than one flying in formation and multiple times throughout the day. For some reason, in my five-year old mind, I thought these mighty aircrafts were the reason the air raid sirens would sound. I remember every time I would see or hear the P3’s I would run and hide in our house. I did a lot of hiding back then! You see, I believed something as truth about my reality that was a big fat lie!
This morning as I was traipsing through Galatians 3 and absorbing all the goodness and truth there and I was stopped along the way by some verses that jumped out at me.
Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Galatians 3:6
God counted Abraham as righteous simply because he believed God. He believed the truth that God would bless all nations through him, that God had called him to be the physical and spiritual father of the Jews and eventually all believers including Gentiles.
The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham. Galatians 3:8a
Even then, Scripture, which is Jesus Himself, was moving toward his creation with the gift of salvation for EVERYONE!
Precious One, the gospel has been here since before time, as we know it, began. Waiting for you to believe and receive and nurture the truth in your heart through your relationship with Christ.
And as I reflect back, I see that air raid sirens can be very beneficial especially when one goes off in your heart when Satan is tempting you to question the integrity and truth of God’s word. But, instead of running and hiding, you can stand firmly on the truth of Scripture which invades your heart every time you spend time with Him.
By the way, I eventually married a P3 Flight Engineer.
This morning I found myself journaling my way through Galatians 2.
This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. Galatians 2:4.
What struck me about this verse is the word spy. The word spy in this verse means to closely inspect or to look down on someone with a hostile perspective. I think about those who are hostile to the gospel just as the Jews Paul was preaching too. I think fear breeds hostility. Perhaps, in the case of spreading the gospel, fear of the unknown or fear of living life differently than one does now, causes some to look down on believers from a hostile perspective. How gracious is God to reveal this to us so we can pray for the wisdom, the right words, a soft heart for those we will share with and for ourselves; to understand it is about building a relationship with others as we share? Many times we are so on fire for God and want to bring others along that we go in head first without asking God how to proceed. Prayer is left out when prayer ought to be the foundation of everything we do. It is God who gives his creation the faith to believe. It is our responsibility to ask God to give faith to those we minister to, so they can choose to believe!
Two other verses stood out at me.
“We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:15,16.
Did you catch in v. 15 that Paul called those not born into Jewish heritage Gentile sinners? Beloved, please don’t allow the enemy to pervert this in your mind. During this period of time that is what the Jews thought of and called Gentiles. Paul is speaking to a Jewish audience and speaking to them in terms they understood to make a point. The truth is we are only justified, Jew or Gentile, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ and profess with our lips that he is the Christ.
The law won’t get anyone into heaven, the law and doing good things won’t get anyone into heaven. It is only faith in Christ as Lord and Savior that will bring salvation and the hope of eternity spent with our precious Jesus.
Precious One, when others spy the gospel in you may it turn from hostility to curiosity and desire to have what you have because you have committed yourself to praying for God’s wisdom and understanding to reach others with the love of Christ.
When you see your friends, how do you greet them? With a handshake? A hug? “Hello, its good to see you”? What about people you pass by in the store or when you are out and about? Do you offer a smile to complete strangers or do you simply pass on by looking straight ahead?
I love Paul’s greeting to the Galatians in Chapter 1.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen. Ephesians 1:3-5.
What would this world look like if we greeted people with grace and peace? If we greeted one another with God’s favor, his extension of Himself that he freely gives away because he is always moving toward his creation? And his peace? If we greeted others with the concern of their welfare and God’s gift of wholeness?
As you ponder true grace and peace let’s step over to Vv. 6,7.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Some believe that this letter of Paul’s to the Galatians was due to his first visit there, others believe it was written after his second missionary trip to Galatia. Regardless, I am struck by his astonishment that these new believers had quickly turned from God and began following a false gospel and I wonder was there no one in Galatia to disciple these beloved children of God? This is why it is so vitally important to be in God’s word consistently, so that we will hear God’s discernment about false teachings. Also, old habits are sometimes hard to break even as a new creation in Christ. An excellent reason to seek out mature believers to mentor and disciple you and study God’s word together. Truly, it doesn’t matter how long we have been in relationship with Jesus, we ought to make it a daily practice of mentoring and discipleship of each other and then pouring into the lives of even more people. Effectively spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world!
Verse 7 also tells us that the gospel of Christ was perverted. This is one of the enemy’s main tactics, to tempt believers to think God’s word is not truth, that is wasn’t divinely given; just like in the garden. I think some of Satan’s favorite words are, “Did God really say?” when he knows exactly what God says because he knows the truth and hates the truth. That is why I believe the sword of the Spirit is the most powerful weapon of spiritual warfare because it IS the word of God and Holy Spirit freely shares his sword with us. Think about that for a minute; the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead not only lives in each believer in Christ, but freely shares HIS sword!
Oh, Precious One, do you see? Everything about your relationship with Christ comes back to the truth of His word and reading and studying for yourself. Won’t you start today?
Walk tall, carry His sword and greet others in the grace and peace of Christ!