Bold & Persistent

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

If you have children, you know how persistent they can be. I know I wasn’t the most patient at times but I did enjoy accommodating them when possible. Well, today we see how God responds to his children in their persistence. Let’s top up our coffees and take a look…

Readings for Sunday, July 28: 7th Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 18: 17-33; Psalm 138; Colossians 2:6-19; Luke 11:1-13

Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord,

though I am nothing but dust and ashes…

Genesis 18:27

Could you imagine standing with Abraham while he is questioning God by asking if he would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of a few righteous people? Wow! “Come on Abraham, do you know to whom you are talking? You’re going to push him too far. Aren’t you worried you’re going to make him angry?”

Not only does Abraham not make God angry, but God seemed to delight in accommodating his requests. Think about it… God knew how many righteous people were in Sodom and Gomorrah – four, along with some son-in-laws perhaps. Did God’s plans change because of Abraham’s bold pleas? We’ll never know. What’s important is the relationship between Abraham and God.

Abraham knew his place. He knew he was simply dust and ashes before the Lord. Yet his love for his nephew and family was so strong, and his confidence in the Lord’s compassion and goodness so great that he was bold to confront the King of all kings, and not just once but multiple times. And God welcomed it. He welcomed it and accommodated it.

boldWe too can humbly approach our Lord in prayer and boldly present our requests. Just as Jesus stated about the pesty fellow who kept knocking on his neigbour’s door in the wee hours of the morning,  “he will not get up and give [him] the bread because of friendship, yet because of [his] shameless audacity he will surely get up and give [him] as much as [he] need[s].” (Luke 11:8) In the same way, God welcomes our bold requests, and he desires to respond. It pleases him to bestow his grace and blessing upon us, especially when that request is desiring the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, and I believe in the lives of our loved ones, just as Abraham boldly spoke on behalf of his nephew, Lot.

So take your requests and, in humility, persistence, and boldness, lay them before the Lord like a little child who continuously pulls at his parent’s shirt tail until he has received what he is asking for, and trust that the Lord will gracious respond in a way that is beyond our comprehension. For Jesus reminds us:  “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

Prayer: Dear Lord! I know I am but dust and ashes but I lay before you (name your request for for yourself or a loved one here).  In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Seems impossible?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

I love the topic for today because it is the setting for miracles to happen. Let’s top up our coffees and dig in…

Readings for Sunday, July 21: 6th Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 18:1-14; Psalm 27; Colossians 1:21-29; Luke 10:38-42

Is anything too hard for the Lord? Genesis 18:14a

mountain.jpgIs there anything in your life that just seems out of reach; simply impossible? Whatever it is, give it to the Lord, especially if you believe it is something he has placed on your heart. Seek him. Entrust him with it and watch miracles happen. Just like Abraham and Sarah, who trusted in God’s promise that they would have descendants as numerous as the grains of sand even though they were old, old, old, we too can trust him to fulfill his promises. Hold him to it and be prepared to see miracles, despite any feelings to laugh it away like Sarah did. Nothing’s too hard for the Lord!

It doesn’t mean that it will happen right away. You may have to wait. Sarah and Abraham had to wait. In fact, because they got tired of waiting, they even tried to take things into their own hands with their servant girl, but that was not God’s plan. How many times do we do that; take things into our own hands? I know I am tempted often and many times give in. (Oh woe is me!) It takes patience to wait. It takes trust to wait.

May I encourage you to wait patiently, trusting that God, who loves you so much that he died for you to pay the penalty that your sins deserve in order for you to spend eternity with him, is fulfilling his plans for you and it pleases him to do so. Then, as you wait for his miraculous answers, continue to seek him, rejoice in him, and proclaim his goodness, just as David proclaimed, “I will sing and make music to the Lord… Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:6b, 14)

Prayer: Dear Lord, I know nothing is impossible for you. Today I lay before you (state desire/need here) and ask for patience as I wait for your answer according to your will. All praise and glory to you, Lord, for caring for me and working all things, even those that seem impossible to me, for my good. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN!

The Qualifying Race

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Have you ever been part of a club or team where you need to qualify for a particular, prestigious competition or race? Well I have, and it can be quite stressful. Let’s top up our coffees and check out where we stand in our qualifying race for Eternity…

Readings for Sunday, July 14: 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Leviticus (18:1–5) 19:9–18; Psalm 41; Colossians 1:1–14; Luke 10:25–37

…giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 

Colossians 1:12

I dragon boat and at most regattas, for particular races, like the 2km race, teams need to qualify for the race by having the best times in earlier races. Well, needless to say, all 20 teammates are mentally psyched to give it their all and paddle their best in order to qualify for the race-of-all races. Unfortunately, there are regattas where we do not qualify for such races. We are not good enough to be considered worthy to race in such races, and some teams seem to give up when they learn that their times will not qualify them for the ultimate race.

Isn’t it easy to look at our life of faith and our qualifying for our heavenly home in the same way? Don’t we at times get caught up in striving for heaven as if we are qualified by our acts of love and ability to keep God’s laws? Some people are confused of their salvation because they’re not sure if their ‘times’ are good enough to qualify, or simply, if they are good enough to qualify. Well, in such thinking, let me tell you that you will never qualify, I will never qualify, to be considered worthy of life eternal.

However, at some regattas, the ultimate 2km race is open to every team, and every team member qualifies for this prestigious race. In such circumstances, I have found that our team continues to strive to do their best in preparation for the big race. Each race leading up to it is just a stepping stone in getting you ready for this give-it-all-you-got 10 minute challenge, and just making it over the finish line is what matters.

In the same way, in Christ, and only in Christ, are we qualified for life eternal. Thanks be to God, our heavenly Father, for he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14) There is no qualifying race because those participating in Jesus’ regatta are considered qualified already.  As a result, we can look forward to each day as a race which is preparing us for the ultimate goal. We do not need to worry about if we did well enough or compare ourselves to others. We simply get to stay focussed on the finish line and strive to give our personal best as Christ coaches us to the end. In Christ you are already qualified!

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help me to always remember that in Jesus, the Son you love, you have qualified me for life eternal. Help me not to get caught up in comparing myself with others or letting the burden of my sin keep me from you. Please forgive me all my sins and wash me clean as only Jesus can. In His name I pray. AMEN!

Lambs among Wolves

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well! Happy Canada Day!

It certainly is a joyous time for Canadians. We love our country and all that it offers and we are proud to proclaim it! We rejoice in our freedom and revel in the diversity of our land and our people. I am thankful and proud to be Canadian!

As followers of Christ, we too can rejoice in our freedom.  This week we look at our freedom as innocent lambs among wolves. Let’s top up our coffees and dig in…

July 1, 2019

Readings for Sunday, July 7: 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 66:10–14; Psalm 66:1–7; Galatians 6:1–10, 14–18; Luke 10:1–20

Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

Luke 10:3

Can you picture a few lambs, not full grown sheep but young innocent lambs, wandering amidst a field of wolves. What a scene! …That’s us!

Yes, that’s us… the lambs, not the wolves. How many times have you experienced Christians acting like wolves, ready to devour others and rip them to shreds. This should not be so. The believers in Christ’s redemption are to be the lambs.

lambYes, that’s us! We are the lambs! We are the lambs that are to go out in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22b-23) We are privileged to go out in innocence to simply rejoice and proclaim God’s goodness in our salvation in Christ and his constant presence in our lives. We are called to go out and fulfill the law of Christ; to love your neighbor as yourself [which] is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Mark 12:33b) We are privileged to carry each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2a) We are free to love and serve.

There is no need to be a prowling wolf as if God needs our protection. Nor do we need to be worried about the wolves that we fear will devour us. There is no fear for Christ is our Shepherd and he will protect us. We simply need to listen to his voice, trust in his promises, and rejoice in his blessings as we ba-ba-ba (that’s ‘speak’ in lamb language) his goodness all the way home – to our heavenly home, that is.

(And remember… we are not the wolves that devour each other or those that oppose us. When tempted to attack… Stop! … Then just knock the dust off your hooves, and walk away.)

Prayer: Dear Lord, you have called me to go out as a lamb among wolves to proclaim your love and salvation. Help me to be that lamb that hops and baaahs because of all your goodness and eternal care which permits me to be fearless and joyful always, despite the wolves that may have surrounded me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Walk Resolutely

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Have you ever let fear and anxiety keep you from something God was calling you to do? Well, take heart! We have a God greater than any fear. Let’s top up our coffees and learn from him…

 

Readings for Sunday, June 30: 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

1 Kings 19: 9b–2; Psalm 16; Gal. 5:1, 13–25; Luke 9:51–62

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.        Luke 9:51

walking1.jpg

A few weeks ago, I spoke at a Christian women’s convention, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) – Ontario Convention to be exact. There were about 150 women and clergy present. In November 2018, after prayerful consideration, I had accepted their request to be their keynote speaker. I truly did feel that it was something that God was calling me to do and I spent much time preparing for the talks.

However, as time got closer and the event was upon me, I must say that I was very nervous. What was I thinking? I had never done such a thing before? It’s a big task keeping 150 people engaged for a longer period of time; I’ve seen what happens to listeners when speakers are not seemingly engaging enough. (Just speak to any pastor, and they only need to speak for about 20 minutes.) Mankind can be a tough crowd! Besides, what did I have to say that people wanted to hear….  Well, despite my own fears, I resolutely headed onto the stage. Yes, I continued to move forward with a purpose because I trusted that God had brought me to that moment, even though I felt the full strength of those undesirable feelings.

Perhaps it’s because these feelings of anxiousness, and worry are so fresh for me that the above passage really stood out for me. “…Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Jesus knew what he was in for when he got to Jerusalem and yet he moved forward anyways, and with a purpose. Jesus knew exactly, or should I say even more so, how I had felt; how we feel, when faced with such scary, anxiety filled events in our life. Maybe it’s a surgery, maybe it’s a consequence to a sin, maybe it’s something that requires you to step into the unknown and step outside of your comfort zone, or maybe it’s the last steps of this earthly journey, like Christ’s. In any case, we can trust that Christ knows how you feel, he knows what you’re going through, he knows your fears, and he is desiring to walk with you through it.  In Christ, we too can walk resolutely in whatever lies ahead, despite our own fears.

(P.S. The talks went well. God was faithful to his promises and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ were gracious.)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please calm my worry and fears about__________________. Help me to walk resolutely and keep my eyes focused on you. Help me to trust that you are guiding me and with me every step of the way. I know that you will never leave me nor forsake me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

The Royal Children

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

I have always loved the Royal family. Have you ever considered yourself royalty? Let’s top up our coffees and ponder this for a moment….

June 17, 2019

Readings for Sunday, June 23: 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 65:1-9; Psalm 3; Galatians 3:23-4:7; Luke 8:26-39

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith… Because you are his [children], God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 3:28, 4:6-7

royalty.jpg
Photo by Jared Subia on Unsplash

My husband and I have just started watching the TV Series entitled, Crown. It is based around the life of the British Royal family in the twentieth century. One thing I’ve noticed is that being an heir of royalty has its privileges. There was one scene where young Prince Charles was riding his tricycle, in a beautifully manicured courtyard, in and out of the guards with nannies fritting around after Princess Elizabeth up and left to oblige a beckoning from her father, King George VI. The guards remained tall and still as the young heir just nipped the side of their pant legs as he vroomed by and the nannies paid full attention to the young lad and his sister. Although the children had freedom to do whatever tickled their fancies, they were being watched over with great care for their well-being and safety.

In the same way, although we may not currently live in a breath-taking castle with beautifully manicured gardens and courtyards, (those will be coming later!) faith in Jesus’ salvation has instantly made us heirs of the greatest royalty of all, sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! What a privilege. In Jesus, we are 100% his children FOREVER!

Also, just like those guards and nannies, God himself, in the Holy Spirit, comes to us and guards our hearts to seek him and call out his name. He sends his angels to attend us. Therefore, bask in the assurance of his unseen guidance and protection as the events of your day and week unfold and that no matter what tickles your fancy, God is with you and you are His as you trust in Christ Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for making me an heir of your royal, holy Kingdom, your daughter/son, now and forever! I am not worthy of such a calling and yet it pleases you to lavish upon me the gifts and care as your beloved child. Guide me all my days and keep me in the saving faith of Jesus, my Saviour, always. In His name I pray. AMEN!

Who do you think you are?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Thank-you for your patience as I rested and rejuvenated over the past couple months. I can’t tell you what it means to have you join me again!

It is an especially exciting time in the church year as we celebrate Pentecost, the sending of the Holy Spirit to the believers in Christ. For “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in [Jesus’] name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

For this series of devotions, I am going to use the readings for the following Sunday as prescribed by the LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) Church Year Calendar-Three-Year-Series. The number of devotions/ weeks have not been determined. I am hoping however, to go through a full calendar year, the Lord willing. With all that being said…

Let’s fill up our coffees and get started…

June 10, 2019

Readings for Sunday, June 16: 1 Sunday after Pentecost- Trinity Sunday

Prov. 8:1–4, 22–36; Psalm 8; Acts 2:14a, 22–36; John 8:48–59

Exalted to the right hand of God, [Jesus] has received from the Father

the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Act 2:33

“Who do you think you are?”

John 8:53b

“Who do you think you are?” Have you ever been asked that? It’s one thing if we are acting in arrogance and someone confronts us. However, could you imagine confronting God with such a statement? How arrogant! How self-righteous! Ugh… those pious Pharisees! Yet, don’t we – you and I- do that all the time?

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Photo by Richard Felix on Unsplash

When things don’t go our way, don’t we question our Triune, omniscient and omnipotent, all-knowing and all powerful, God?  When we don’t get the answer we want to a prayer, don’t we confront Him? Don’t we lay blame when we find out we have a chronic or life-threatening illness? Don’t we see God according to what we feel will fit our wants and needs? …and if he doesn’t fit our vision, don’t we yell out, “Who do you think you are?” If we are honest, I think we need to say yes; I need to say yes. Therefore, how are these actions and views any different than how the Pharisees saw God and how they saw Jesus? They’re not. Oh Lord, have mercy on us.

To see God rightly, you need to be in his Word and get to know him, get to know his character; His all loving, his all just, his all gracious character. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit together as the one who created, redeemed and keeps you sanctified through faith in Jesus’ salvation. God created every single part of you. He knows you intimately, and he loves all of you. He paid the consequences that your sins deserved because of his love for you. He even chooses to live in you and draw you back to him continuously. It pleases him to bless you inside and out because he loves you so much. Therefore, you can trust in His love, mercy and guidance. There really is no need to question him, ever. But if and when you do, go to him in repentance, trusting in his full and complete forgiveness. And may you shout from the mountain tops, “Do you know who He is? Come, let me tell you.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me when I question you. Please help me to seek you all aspects of my life, and trust you always, even when I don’t understand why. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon: The Victory of the Wise

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! A blessed Easter to you! He is risen: He is risen, indeed!

I pray your week and weekend went well.

 

Devotion 34   The Victory of the Wise

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

Proverbs 21:30-31

cross 2How appropriate to end our time with Solomon in Proverbs while rejoicing in the resurrection of our Lord, in his victory over sin, death, and the devil. Alleluia! Praise the Lord! The One who is wisdom has succeeded in his plan to reunite his created ones with the Creator. Through his actions he has redeemed his loved ones- you and me- from the foolishness of this world. He is victorious! For “there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.” (Proverb 21:30-31) Thanks be to God!

May your thoughts and actions over the next few weeks of the Easter season be nestled in this joyous reality of God’s love for you; a love that sent him into a battle against Satan, the world, and sinful man in order redeem you as his own and pay the penalty that was yours to pay. And may you keep your eyes focused on him through any and all adversity that may come your way, even unto death. For “the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 56-58) For in Christ we have the victory! AMEN! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive me for sending you into battle because of my sins! Thank-you for willingly going into battle on my behalf in order to pay the price that my sins deserve.  Thanks be to God that through your death and resurrection to life eternal, I too have life eternal even though I die. In the name and through the precious blood of my Saviour, I pray! AMEN!

Please note: During this Easter Season, I will be taking a sabbath from writing in order to rest and reflect personally. Also, Rick and I have been building a new home and are preparing to move, and I have been finding the responsibilities of work, the build, packing, as well as, other duties on behalf of my family, church family and other commitments a bit overwhelming. It’s time for a rest. As Jesus states, “… the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41b)

I will be back for our CoffeeTime at the start of Pentecost- Monday, June 10, 2019- with a whole new series of devotions based on the readings for the upcoming Sundays throughout the remainder of the church year and into the next. Please join me.

Shhhh…I may also have a little surprise to release to you at that point, as well.

In the meantime, a blessed Easter season to you and your family! …He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

Coffee w/t Solomon: The Foolish & The Wise Go Head-to-Head

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 33 The Foolish & The Wise Go Head-to-Head

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

It seems fitting that as we enter the week leading up to our Saviour’s arrest, judgement, death, and resurrection, that we have come to the final weeks of our time with Solomon in Proverbs. So, as we ponder the events of this Holy Week, may we see first hand the wisdom of God and the foolishness of man as they go head-to-head into battle.

Let’s top up our coffees and have Solomon commentate the events and actions of individuals on the night of this great battle…

Between now and Good Friday, take time to read Matthew 26:36-27:56

crucifixConsider the events that take place from the time that Jesus and his disciples are in the Garden of Gethsemane until Jesus’ last breath on the cross. From all the proverbs and themes that Solomon has shared, connect verses that reflect the actions of the individuals and ponder their wisdom and foolishness. Below are just a few verses from Solomon’s Proverbs that fit nicely:

Judas- whom to choose: Jesus or High Priest?

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. 13:20

A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. 21:6

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. 27:6

Pilate VS Jesus

A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it. 16:14

Caiaphas VS Jesus

The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright. 21:8

Jesus VS Satan

One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust. 21:22

 

During the Battle of Holy Week, we can see the wisdom of God in all the actions of Jesus, as well as, the multiple levels of foolishness by everyone else, ranging from Peter’s reckless sword handling and denials to Judas’ greed, betrayal and burden of guilt to the jealousy and corruption of the religious leaders. Oh how sad to see the depth of foolishness in these individuals due to their own sinful desires, which brought about the death of our Saviour.

Isn’t that us as well though? Are we not foolish to some extent. In fact, many of us can probably relate to Peter very well. Yet, isn’t it because of our foolish actions, our self-centered desires, our sins- yours and mine- that Jesus, in his Godly wisdom, permitted himself to be obedient to such foolishness and evil, in order to release us from the penalty of our sin? He did not – does not- desire us to remain in our sin and guilt and be overcome by it like Judas, but to obtain that complete forgiveness, as Peter did, and receive the Holy Spirit to strengthen us and help us to be wise unto salvation. Therefore, during this Holy Week, may you contemplate the depth of self-control, patience and wisdom Jesus revealed in his actions that led him to an agonizing death by the hands of mankind because of his immense love for you!

Prayer: Dear Lord, you permitted yourself to be left in the hands of foolish, sinful man in order to redeem me; a lost and condemned person. And my Heavenly Father “demonstrates his own love for [me] in this: While [I was] still [a sinner], Christ died for [me].” (Romans 5:8) Forgive me Lord! Thank-you Lord! In Jesus’ redeeming name I pray. AMEN!

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