See the created and the redeemed

Ephesians 4:16 (TPT) For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love.

Without a relationship with the Holy Spirit you will not see the body that you are called to in His image. What do I mean by that? There is not a person in the Bible (except Jesus) that did not have an issue with what they saw in the people God called them to. When we start getting close to people we can fall into the trap of identifying them by the flaws that they have instead of the benefits to your life. We are so quick to cut people out of our life when they disappoint us, anger us, hurt our feelings, etc. Yes, the ones that do not want the best for you separate from, but a member that wants to help and their help might have hurt your feelings.

We are His Created and Redeemed. Isaiah 48:12-13,17 (AMP) “Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called; I am He, I am the First, I am the Last. “My hand founded and established the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together [in obedience to carry out My decrees]. CREATED This is what the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says,“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit (benefit), Who leads you in the way that you should go. REDEEMED Start seeing each other as God’s created and redeemed!

1 Corinthians 12:21-26 (TPT)  It would be wrong for the eye to say to the hand, “I don’t need you,” and equally wrong if the head said to the foot, “I don’t need you.”  In fact, the weaker our parts, the more vital and essential they are. The body parts we think are less honorable we treat with greater respect. And the body parts that need to be covered in public we treat with propriety and clothe them. But some of our body parts don’t require as much attention. Instead, God has mingled the body parts together, giving greater honor to the “lesser” members who lacked it. He has done this intentionally so that every member would look after the others with mutual concern, and so that there will be no division in the body.  In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices.

We are connected. What profit is it not to see the value in others, because you do not think they know what you have been through? Receive the gift anyways. There are those who have knowledge and wisdom in areas. Why not tap into that? Are you afraid they are going to be like Job’s friends and say that everything you are going through is your fault or you deserve it? Well, you might have some people like that, but that does not mean you cut them out of your life. I have been that person and I have been on the receiving end of it as well. That will definitely make me want to go into hiding, but the benefit of the body outweighs the chances of trying to go at it alone.

2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (TPT) My friends at Corinth, our hearts are wide open to you and we speak freely, holding nothing back from you. If there is a block in our relationship, it is not with us, for we carry you in our hearts with great love, yet you still withhold your affections from us. So I speak to you as our children. Make room in your hearts for us as we have done for you. In the Message Translation it says, Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! Blocking relationships withing the body that you are called to can make you feel small and insignificant. Start living your life in a bigger way!

Get back into the local church and get plugged in! Get into some relationships when they have fellowships and gatherings, make up your mind to not stay away any longer. Start seeing them as the created and the redeemed…a gift to Him and to you. Be blessed!

Who does not like gifts?

Matthew 7:11 (AMP) If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.

We are coming up on what my husband likes to coin the “trifecta.” In May is my birthday, anniversary and Mother’s Day. Each of these days are less than a week from each other. Some years Mother’s Day and my birthday will even fall on the same day, and just a few days after that is our anniversary. This time of the year use to stress my husband out for getting gifts, but do you know that he has learned, to not just gift me on these days. He gifts me just because.

There is a book by Gary Chapman called God Speaks You Love Language (How to experience and express God’s love). If you have never heard of love languages there are five main love languages, and one of them is what you mainly speak. They are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. My love languages that fills me up are words of affirmation, second gifts and then acts of service. My husband’s are quality time, physical touch and gifts. I have learned to speak his love language and he has learned to speak mine.

When we look at the above verse, then look through it the eyes of God speaking your love language, what can you see in your life? Do you see how God shows His love to you in personal ways? I do. I was crying in disappointment for something that I was preparing for. We are doing everything right to get our church in the place it needed to go. We are speaking the vision. We have had our eyes on a piece of property for a year. We are working on saving up to purchase it debt free. We, in the natural, were nowhere close. However, I serve a God of the supernatural. We found out that the land was gifted to a mega church in our area. It was disheartening. Just as I was weeping in grief, a friend, who I had not heard from in a long time sent me a text, “I was just thinking about your beautiful face…” I have had messages from complete strangers to encourage me not to give up hope. These are the moments that God shows up. I knew that He had something better in mind. He is the God that sees.

I want to encourage you today to look at the different ways God shows you His love. Then I want to challenge you to show God your love for Him. Pick one of these areas: acts of service, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation and/or physical touch. You might say that you already show God love on a daily basis. Then can I challenge you one more time? Show love to someone that you do not usually show love to. Pick one of these love languages to show love to a stranger, a co-worker, your neighbor, your pastor or someone that knocks the rough edges off of you (Paul called him a thorn in his side).

Can I be honest? The love language I struggle giving to those that are not in my family, is physical touch. I can give gifts, serve others, spend time with others, and speak positive words of encouragement to people (right now I am working on jewelry to give to all the women who attend church on Mother’s Day for the message that I am preparing, while serving that day in my usual roles). When I do hug someone, usually they initiate the hug first. I have no idea why, I am not alone in this, and it does not mean we do not walk in love. That does not mean that if it is your love language, physical touch, that I will not refuse to speak it. Why? It is not love when we refuse to try to speak someone else’s love language. We should look at it as a growth opportunity, an offering to the God that we love.

I hope you will take me up on the challenge to look for all the ways God loves you. That you will speak a language of love back to Him. Also, that you will love His creation, those that were created in His image, by being more intentional with speaking these love languages. Have a blessed day!

I kept looking

Daniel 7:13-14 (AMP) I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, on the clouds of heaven one like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him (the Messiah) was given dominion (supreme authority), glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and speakers of every language should serve and worship Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away;and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.

This year is coming to a close and tomorrow we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! As I read this verse yesterday I began to thank God for redirecting my focus this year. I was able to read more of His Word than I had ever before. This completes my second year as a stay at home mom, to now teenagers. I started out strong in my first year, then I got lazy. I filled my days with binge watching shows on Netflix while my kids were at school. At the beginning of 2020 I did not allow the television to come on until sundown for the twenty one day Daniel Fast we did. Then Covid-19 shuts everything down in March. I had to make a choice. What should I fill all that time with?

Last night my youngest son and I sat down to watch Christmas movies. We watched “Santa Claus” with Tim Allen. It is one of our families favorites. There was a part of the movie when Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is reading his son the Twas the Night Before Christmas. It brought back the memories of my grandfather reading that to my sisters and I when we were little. He would read it to us every Christmas Eve. As I told my youngest about that memory, he asked why I never read it to them when they were little. I told him that as fond as those memories were, I wanted them to focus on Jesus at Christmas.

We do celebrate with gift giving at Christmas, but our children have never known Santa to bring those gifts. We all have a choice on how to celebrate this season and our choice has been the miracle of the birth of Jesus. Jesus came to this world as a man, born in a manger, to put us back in right standing with God and to restore our relationship. He is a God of grace and mercy. I can never be enough without Jesus.

We also take time to bake for our neighbors. We will go and serve in a local organizations as a family, not just in the four walls of our church building. We want to teach them that giving is what Jesus did and that is what we should do also. We will also take a trip every year, just the four of us. Many years we are not even home on Christmas Day. It is about making lasting memories with them. They will forget what gifts they got, but they will not forget the time we spent with them.

This Christmas and all throughout the year, all I want is a little more of Jesus.

Author Unknown

As I read Daniel 7 it started out with, “I kept looking….” That is the perfect statement for this year. A couple of nights ago we were all looking at the night sky to the Christmas Star. The world was focused on one part of the sky. This same star is said to be what led the wise men to find Jesus. This year has made us think and readjust many things, but one things cannot change, His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away;and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.

I do not know what you are focused on today, but I pray that you take time to focus on the miracle that we celebrate. Dr. Michelle Bengston posted this morning, “I don’t know what you are wishing for this Christmas, whether it is tangible, physical, relational, or emotional. But God wants to hear about your desires from you. What a joy to know there is a safe place to come and share our innermost desires.”

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas! Glory to God in the Highest, peace on earth and good will to all men!!

Do we know our impact?

Yesterday was the Christmas service at our church. My husband’s message was topical, titled “From: God, To: You.” His main point was that God gave us the gifts of love and forgiveness when He sent His Son. In do so, those are two things we should freely give, but it is a choice.

He started it off with Luke 2:7 (NKJV) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. The King of the World was here. He was not born in a castle. He was born in a manger and wrapped with cloth that Mary had brought along with her. My husband reminded us to not despise the small beginnings. He reminded us that God celebrates when we begin, it is a step towards His promise.

The King of the World was here.

We ended the service with the song “Mary Did You Know.” We sung it by candlelit.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You kiss the face of God
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven's perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you're
Holding is the great, I Am
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? Oh

As we began to sing this song I gave this verse from Luke 2:19 (AMP), But Mary treasured all these things, giving careful thought to them and pondering them in her heart. Does that answer our question that Mary would know the great impact her son would make on this world? That because of Him I can come boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). That two thousand years later He is still changing lives. I felt the impact of that moment.

2 Corithians 3:2-3 (NKJV) You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men, clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

The Passion Translation states, For your very lives are our “letters of recommendation,” permanently engraved on our hearts, recognized and ready by everybody. As a result of our ministry, you are living letters written by Christ, not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God – not carved onto stone tablets but on the tablets of tender hearts.

We have a choice in taking this two ways. We can say that is too much pressure, I am not perfect, how dare God expect me to live a perfect life. We could also see it as a challenge to be better. That I took the command that Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19),” literally. Wherever I go I have the potential to make a disciple because I am a living epistle. When we allow Christ to do the work in us, the living epistle is written on our hearts. Do you know the impact you make when you allow people to see that transformation? My prayer is that I draw deeper in my relationship with God and encourage others to do the same.

Merry Christmas!