All are justified freely. Believe it!

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

This Sunday we will be celebrating the Reformation, lead by Martin Luther in the 16th century. It was a cry within the church to turn back to proclaiming our salvation is attained by God’s grace alone, in Christ’s redeeming sacrifice alone, through our faith alone; not by works. Let us top up our coffee’s and remember…

Readings for Sunday, October 27: Reformation Day (Oct 31st)

Revelation 14:6-7; Psalm 46; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36 or Matthew 11:12-19

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. Romans 3:22b-25a

Have you ever felt like you just didn’t measure up? Maybe it was an academic subject, or a job, or a relationship? No matter how hard you tried or what you did, you just didn’t feel adequate or have what it took to do what was expected. Well I have. There have been many times and situations in my life where I felt like I just didn’t do the job well enough. I was not as good of a friend, wife, sister, mother, grandmother, co-worker, or teacher that I should have been. Many times those feelings were my own insecure thoughts, the world’s haughty expectations, or Satan’s whispers which were meant to deflate me and show me the reality of my inabilities.

Yes, we can easily see how we fall short of this world’s expectations. In this light, we should be able to clearly see how we then fall short of the glory of God. Personally, I know that no matter how hard I try, there are so many times in a day that I do not measure up to his laws. How about you? I believe, one look into the mirror of our souls and we will see our frailties and flaws, our inadequacies and imperfections. We will see our sins and our inabilities to turn from our sinfulness. There is no way that we deserve or could justify ourselves to be in the presence of our omniscient, all-powerful, and great Heavenly Father. Yet, through faith in all that Christ has done for us, we are justified freely by his grace. We can stand in his presence now and forever.

believe.jpgIn Christ, we don’t need to put on a façade or front, but can lay our sins and weaknesses before him. He knows exactly what they are and has bestowed his forgiveness and cleansing upon us.  He sees that many times we don’t measure up to the next guy. However, as we seek him as our Saviour, he prepares and strengthens us for the tasks he has prepared for us; not to compare ourselves to the guy next to us, but to work in the strength, the talents, and the abilities that he has given us. In all things we are justified freely by his grace, to do the good works he has prepared for us to do, until the day he calls us home. So, live as God’s child who has been freely justified through faith in Christ’s redeeming blood. Go and be all that he desires you to be until the day he desires you to be with him.

Prayer: Dear Lord, we are bombarded with how inadequate and sinful we are, especially before you. Yet you have taken care of it all for us. Yes, your law shows us our sins, but it will never redeem us. We will always fall short, each and every one of us. But thanks be to God, that you have worked out our salvation through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, our Saviour. You have freely given us life eternal, through a faith that proclaims Jesus is Lord. Thank-you! Please instill that seed of faith in all people. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Sleep Like A Baby

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

Happy Thanksgiving, from Canada! There are so many things to be thankful for. Where do we start? This week’s devotion focusses on God’s salvation, faithfulness and Word, for which we are forever grateful. Let’s top up our coffees and get started…

Readings for Sunday, October 20: 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 32:22-30; Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3:14..4:5; Luke 18:1-8

… he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you…  He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:3b-5a, 7b-8

Like parents lovingly watch over their precious little baby, so God watches over us. Like a helpless, totally dependent baby sleeps with the greatest of peace and contentment, so we can rest in knowing that our God is watching over us with the greatest of care and diligence. His care is perfect and always there. There is nothing we need to fear. He will not let our foot slip. He is our shade. Not even the sun can harm us by day nor the moon by night. He will keep us from all harm. Where else can such help come from?

Only in God our maker, who loves us so much that he took upon himself the remedy for our sin and redeemed us through his own son, can we find the help we need to get through our days. Only in him can we be confident in our life’s journey. Only in knowing him through his word can we fully know what he desires for us. He has given us his Holy Word to help guide us. For “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy3:16-17)

His word equips us for every good work he has in store for us, every trial that comes our way, every sin we may commit, every choice we have to make, and every reason to celebrate. He gives us his word to remind us that he is watching over us day and night. It reminds us that he will never leave us. May it always remind you that he loves you, that in Christ he has redeemed you, and that he will never ever leave you no matter what comes your way. So take heart and rest in knowing you are being watched over with such great love and care. Sleep like a baby knowing he is watching over you always, and forever!

Prayer: Dear Lord, I life up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2) Thank-you! Help me to always remember that you are watching over me. When I am seeking help and guidance, help me to always turn to your living word. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Here is a trustworthy saying…

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

Can you think of sayings that have shown themselves trustworthy from generation to generation? Well, today Paul shares with us a trustworthy saying. Let’s top up our coffees and dig into it…

Readings for Sunday, October 13: 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Ruth 1:1-19a; Psalm 111; 2 Timothy 2:1-13; Luke 17:11-19

Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him, we will also live with him;

If we endure, we will also reign with him.

If we disown him, he will also disown us;

If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

2 Timothy 2:11-13

Stop and take a moment to think on your life. Think about some of the things you may take for granted: Do you have people who love you? Did the sun rise today to give you light? Did you have a place to sleep this past evening? Do you have food in your stomach? Did you hear the birds singing? Did you see a beautiful sunset or budding flower? Do you have the health to get done what you feel you need to do today? Is your body taking in fresh breaths of air?

Have you acknowledged God and his faithfulness for any of these things? Whether we thank and acknowledge him for his care and creation or not, God remains faithful. Even if we are ignorant of him and faithless, he will always be faithful to his creation for he cannot disown himself and what is his. We are his whether we accept it or not. He is our creator and despite our sin and rebellion, he continues to lavish his blessings upon us all – those who believe in all he has accomplished for us and all who do not. The sun rises and sets on all creation!

However, the ultimate difference is what happens for eternity. God has set in place his plan of salvation for those he created in his image, for all of humankind. “He provided redemption for his people.” (Psalm 111:9a) He desires us to cling to his words of truth in the saving works of Jesus who paid the penalty for our sins. Therefore, if in this life we hold fast to the truth that our sinful flesh died with Christ, then we too will live with him… in eternity. If we endure and hold fast to Christ, our King, during our earthly days, we too will reign with him… in eternity. However, if we close the door and deny all that God has done for us and the redemption he has provided, then the door will remain closed… for eternity. Therefore, my prayer is that all people see God’s grace and mercy in all that they encounter today and always, here on earth and for eternity!

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank-you for your faithfulness and care during each moment of each day! Please forgive me for taking for granted so many blessings that you bestow upon me and the means by which you fulfill my needs for this life. By your Holy Spirit, keep the door of my heart open to all that you have accomplished for me through Jesus, my Saviour, and because of him, I look forward to walking through your opened door to eternity with you. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

A Life Of Purpose In His Power

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

This week’s passage really played on my heart. Do we, God’s children, really know how purposeful our lives can be?

Let’s top up our coffees and dig in. May we be empowered to live our lives to the fullest!

Readings for Sunday, October 6: 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4; Psalm 62; 2 Timothy 1:1-14; Luke 17: 1-10

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our lord. 2 Timothy 7-8a

Let me ask you… Where do you stand in relation to the above passage? Do you start each day acknowledging the power of the Holy Spirit in you? Do you acknowledge the divine ability to be loving in all your interactions with people, or self-disciplined with your time to go to worship in order to nurture your faith? Or, do you live your days focussed on your own abilities and thoughts, your own ‘to do’ lists and all the things you want or need to accomplish for your own good, with little to no regard to the power within you to be loving to all people and self-disciplined in your words and actions. Well, for me, the above passage confronts me with my sinfulness of being so caught up in my own limited strength and self-centredness.

Like most of humankind, we can think our days are just hours that can be spent frivolously on the whimsical desires of our hearts, and that the time spent on trying to satisfy these desires fill so much of our days that we cannot make time to attend worship and be an active part of the body of Christ. At times we can even consider that the mandatory hours spent at our jobs are simply a ‘necessary evil’ that we must do to actually be able to have the means to obtain those desires of our heart. How shallow and empty, weak and frivolous can we make our lives?!

powerful.jpgHowever, if we took to heart and truly believed that God has equipped each of us with his Spirit’s power to enter each activity and relationship in our day with love and self-disciple, and then stood tall and with pride in all that Christ has accomplished for us, wouldn’t we see our earthly days with a much greater purpose?

How much more purposeful would our jobs be if we saw them as our divine callings from God himself to use our gifts and abilities for the good of humankind and a means by which to display his power. Although many of the activities in our days may be the same, each relationship, event, and even interruption would simply be an opportunity for the Spirit’s power to work in us and be shared with others. Everything we do and say would be an act of praise and a testimony of our life in Christ. What a purpose-filled life!

Therefore, may we all be encouraged to take to heart the power we have received from our Heavenly Father to be a living testimony of our Lord in all we say and do, and to be assured that the activities of our days have been ordained by God, himself, to display his love and fulfill his purpose. Finally, hold fast to his self-discipline to make time to praise and worship, learn and seek him in his word and worship. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our lord. 2 Timothy 7-8a

Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me for getting so caught up in my own desires and activities that I lose site of the purpose and power you have given me to display your love to all and to proclaim Jesus, my Saviour! Help me to be willing to hold fast to your divine self-discipline in order to seek you first and foremost in my days and to fulfil your purpose for me. In his name I pray. AMEN!

Don’t stumble, little one!

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

When little ones are learning to walk, there legs can be pretty shakey. Let’s top up our coffees and see how God desires us to help keep his young children from stumbling…

Readings for Sunday, September 29: 16th Sunday after Pentecost

Daniel 10:10–14, 12:1–3; Psalm 91; Revelation 12:7–12; Matthew 18:1–11

“If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble,

it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck

and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Matthew 18:6

My husband and I had the privilege of watching our eleven month old granddaughter this past weekend. She is a very busy and independent girl. She crawls to her desired destination, grabs the piece of furniture in front of her and pulls herself up into standing position all in the time you can say, “Hey little miss, where are you going?” Over the past few weeks I have seen her legs get stronger and stronger. Where she used to be wobbly and unsteady, she is now becoming surefooted and solid. With her determination, I am awaiting the day when she decides that going back down on her knees to get to her desired object, especially her Mama, will be just too much excess work, and she will take her first steps. Of course, at this point in time, we are calling out to her, and coaxing her to come to us. We are clearing the path between her and us in order for there not to be anything that would make her stumble, just in case ‘today’s the day’. We are all looking forward with anticipation to the day she takes her first steps.

In the same way, we have a responsibility as brothers and sisters in Christ to spur one another on in the faith and remove any stumbling blocks that may be in each other’s way.  Even more importantly, we should always consider if our actions or words are creating stumbling blocks for other believers, especially our children. This does not mean that we remove all things that would cause our children sadness or to avoid things they don’t like. Children need guidance, boundaries, discipline, and examples from which to learn. Children need parents and mentors. Children need to experience routines, like meals and brushing teeth, like playtime and sleep time, like going to church and praying at bed and before meal time. They need to experience grace, mercy and forgiveness. They need to hear of their Heavenly Father’s love.

Just as we guide and watch over our children to meet their physical needs, we too must guide and watch over our children for their spiritual needs. This is a great privilege and responsibility, and is to be done, not with a heavy hand, but with great humility and patience, just as our Heavenly Father is merciful and patient with us. He has removed all stumbling blocks that would keep us from him, even the greatest stumbling block – our sin. Just think, if we as parents and fellow Christians, took this most precious saving faith, this life in union with God, as seriously and with as much care as he did, oh how our families, churches, and communities would be so much better off.

Oh how God desires us to welcome his children. For Jesus says, “whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:5) Therefore, may I encourage you to be a guardian of the way of truth and life, and to be steadfast in welcoming your children and those children-in-the-faith by removing the stumbling blocks that would keep them from walking towards Jesus, the Saviour of the World, who is sitting with arms open wide, calling their names – calling your name- and desiring to sweep them up into his embrace with the words of, “Come to me, my precious one. I love you.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to guide people, especially my own children, to know and to trust you by removing all stumbling blocks so they can see you clearly. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

The Wave of Praise

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

Get ready for the Wave of Praise! Let’s top up our coffees and get started… (but make sure you set it down before you get into the Praise Wave.)

Readings for Sunday, September 22: 15th Sunday after Pentecost

Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy 2:1-15; Luke 16:1-15

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,

the name of the Lord is to be praised.

Psalm 113:3

Have you ever been to a sporting event where the crowd does the wave – one section of people stand with their hands rising, then the next row of people and it continues along the bleachers until it goes all around the stadium? It is quite something to see and quite exciting to be part of. Especially in large groups where there could be tens of thousands of people, there is great anticipation when it is your turn to stand up and sit down with arms raised and lowered in eloquent sequence. Although you don’t personally know the multitudes that join you in this unified act, you all are part of something exciting and moving, and together you all share in the joy and love of the event.

Countries of origin of my readers in 2019 so far.

Well, is not our love and joy, thanksgiving and praise not the same in Christ. Although there are quite a few of you reading this that I know personally, there are many, many more that I do not. Together we reach all around the world, as you can see from the countries listed. Yet, we are all connected by the saving grace of our Saviour Jesus, and our faith that has united us as brothers and sisters for eternity.

So, I was hoping we could try something this week. …Wherever you are you can read the words of praise posted below, and when you get to ‘Praise the Lord!’, you can raise your arms as in ‘the wave’ motion. Together, from one end of the earth to the other, from the rising of the sun to its setting, the wave will be done, hands will be raised, and praise will be given for all that our most gracious God has done for us.

The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.

Praise the Lord!

Who is like the Lord our God, the one who sits enthroned on high,

who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?

Praise the Lord!

My Lord who has redeemed my life from the pit.

Praise the Lord!

(Taken from Psalm 113 and Jonah 2:6)

 

Prayer: Dear Lord, you are worthy of all praise, honour and thanksgiving. May your praises be heard and seen around your creation, from the rising of the sun to its setting. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

The Search

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

Readings for Sunday, September 15: 14th Sunday after Pentecost

Ezekiel 34:11-24; Psalm 119:169-176; 1 Timothy 1:5-17; Luke 15:1-10

For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.”  Ezekiel 34:11-12a

Rejoice with me. I have found my lost sheep. Luke 15:6b

Have you ever lost anything of value? It’s a terrible feeling. It’s bad enough if it’s your only set of car keys or money or an item of value that you’ve lost. It’s another thing if it’s your pet or a loved one, especially your child that’s gone missing. There is nothing more terrible than that sickening feeling of having a loved one lost. Your whole being goes into search mode. You retrace your steps. You call their name. You recruit others to help in the search. You search high and low. You search and you search and you search.

lost1In the same way, God himself searches for us when we stray. Just like the child who wanders aimlessly after his own fancies, unaware of the impending dangers of where he is going or what his a getting himself into, we too wander, our loved ones wander, away from God’s precious embrace. Whether it’s the burdens of life, the temptations of money, prestige, self-indulgence, self-centredness or a plethora of reasons, we are enticed away from the faith and the new life we have in Christ.

Yet, it is God himself who leads the search, calling his children back home. His Holy Spirit nudges on our heart, calling our name. Others are recruited to shower love and grace upon us.  He persistently searches for us in order to bring us back into his redeeming embrace.

God himself will search for his children and rejoice over their return. This is a promise! Trust him to be seeking you. Trust him to be seeking and calling your loved ones back to himself. Consider his plea for you to join in the search, and then to participate in the glorious celebration upon their return.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you are our Shepherd and we are your sheep. Oh how you care for us. Help me to always hear your voice and not to wander too far from your path. Be with my loved ones. Be with_____________.  I trust you are seeking and searching for them. You are calling them back home. Help me to be and to do whatever you need me to be and do to help in their search and rescue, and I look forward to the celebration to come. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Choose Life!

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

Have you ever pleaded with your children or loved ones against making choices that you know were not good for them and were, in fact, deadly, and then had to watch as they denied your pleas and walked down that path of self-destruction? Well, you’re not the only one.

Let’s top up our coffees and dig in…

Readings for Sunday, September 8: 13th Sunday after Pentecost

Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-35

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. . . . Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life. . . Deuteronomy 30:15, 19b-20a

choice 1As parents we so desperately desire our children to make choices that will keep them safe and healthy. We can lay before them the pros of healthy choices and the natural consequences of unhealthy choices. We can plead with them to listen to us and to choose the path that keeps them healthy and prosperous. However, when they choose the more tempting, dangerous path which leads to self-destruction, our hands are tied, and we feel like our words fell on deaf ears. Oh how we tried to warn them and guide them. Oh how it breaks our heart!

Is this not exactly the plea that God is laying before us, his children, today? Is he not sharing with us the path to life and the consequences of a life without him? “Choose life! Please choose life! Choose me!” he cries.

choice 2

Yet, we have the free choice to deny him, to turn a deaf ear to him, and walk down a path that he has warned us against. (Oh and don’t be fooled; because of our sinful nature, the pull to follow our own desires is stronger than the pull to follow him. You can thank Adam and Eve for that.) And because of free choice, he lets us walk that path. He has not created us to be his puppets. He created us to make choices. He desires us to willingly heed his words, just like any parent.

No he does not desire us to go down that road of self-destruction or pain. He desperately desires “all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) He desperately desires us to choose him, to walk with him, to cling to him. He himself says, “How often I have longed to gather [you] together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37)

So today, be willing. Today, may you lay before him those acts that have lead you away from him, and be cleansed in the forgiveness you have in Christ. He is waiting for you and will rescue you in a blink of an eye. For today, and always, he desires you to live in his grace and to be wrapped in his eternal embrace. Dear child, choose life!

 

Prayer: Dear Lord, you have told me which way is the path of life. Please forgive me when I follow my own destructive path and temptations. Please help me to always focus on Jesus, my life and salvation, for he is “the way and the truth and the life”. (John 14:6a) In his name I pray. AMEN!

Sacrifice What?!?

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

Readings for Sunday, September 1: 12th Sunday after Pentecost

Proverbs 25:2–10; Psalm 131; Hebrews 13:1–17;  Luke 14:1–14

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruits of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:15-16

To begin each morning devotion, I say/pray the following liturgical verses (part of a Family Morning Liturgy from LCMS):

Oh Lord, in the morning you hear my voice.

In the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

My mouth is filled with your praise and with your glory all the day.

Oh Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

sacrifice.jpgMany days I get caught up on the phrase, “I prepare a sacrifice for you…” My mind often ponders the Levitical laws that required God’s chosen people to sacrifice so many animals for so many purposes. But now, because of Christ, those sacrifices are no longer required. He is our perfect sacrifice – our lamb without blemish or spot, who takes away the sin of the world! We are free from sacrificial laws.

So what do I have to sacrifice? What do I have to lift up to the Lord? Well, it always comes back to one thing…ME. The only thing I have to give is my life, my love, my praise, my hands and my voice. So Lord, I give you my tired, worn out, crumbled self. I am yours, and may you fill my mouth with your praise so that my lips confess the name of Jesus. May my life be a sacrifice of praise in response to your own sacrifice on my behalf and your steadfast love.

No we don’t need to do all those animal sacrifices anymore. No more blood needs to be shed for our cleansing. Christ has shed his blood once and for all. We can simply present to our Heavenly Father our less than perfect selves with our praise and thanksgiving. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ… (2 Corinthians 2:15a), and know with confidence that such sacrifice pleases our Lord. 

Prayer: Oh Lord, in the morning you hear my voice.

In the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

My mouth is filled with your praise and with your glory all the day.

Oh Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑