It’s not over till God says it is over! The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 24th)


Ever felt like you were getting to the end of your rope? Ever felt like you were near the breaking point? Ever felt like things were getting to be too much? Ever felt like it was the end?

But then discovered that it wasn’t! God intervened and things changed? God spoke into your life and things turned around? God stepped in and helped you through it?

I have so many stories of my own like when I was deceived and started a downward spiral. Or when I was being called to step into a role that felt and looked like it would be too big for me. Or when a group looked to want to try and sabotage my career.

God stepped in and taught me to forgive! God stepped in and showed me that if He calls me to it that He will get me through it! God helped me to forgive first and move forward and then to begin the journey of getting out of the boat I had been working in for nearly 20 years. There are many stories throughout this blog, a few others can be read here.

It’s not over till God says it is over! When He says it is over it usually means there is something new ahead of you! Other times He is able to birth something new into the situation! So don’t lose hope! So don’t give up! So don’t give in to the lies of the devil! Put your trust in God! Lean not on your own understanding but rather put your trust in God! As we do that we can be overcomers through Jesus as He shared to give us hope because He has overcome the world! Sometimes they are trials to helps us grow stronger in our faith and able to give a testimony to others who need to receive a word of encouragement. So we don’t have to be downcast because we can put our trust in God! We don’t have to give up because we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds!

Imagine being Lazarus… Imagine being Mary… Imagine being Martha…

Today’s reading comes from John 1 and speaks to the story of Lazarus

The Death of Lazarus

1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night,he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them,“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death,but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

–from John 11:1-16

Everyone thought it was over! Everyone thought that Lazarus was dead! People were feeling that it was hopeless! God’s timing is perfect! God’s ways are not our ways but rather they are higher than our ways and better than our ways! Reading the rest of the chapter we see how Jesus comforted the others in their grief, He wept with them, He demonstrated His power to resurrect and heal, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and through Him we can return to and be reconciled to the Father!

So don’t lose hope because sticking with God and pressing on while standing on the Rock of Jesus Christ, we can live lives that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory, like the story of Lazarus did! We need to share our testimonies that others may learn and hear of the power of Jesus to heal, to restore, to forgive, to reconcile, … We do not need to fear what is ahead of us, rather we can believe that Jesus will be there in our moment of need and that He has gone before us preparing in advance the good works He has for us to do!

Today’s reading also imapcted the world of the arts… The raising of Lazarus by Rembrandt…

Jan 24th - John 11_1-16 - The_Raising_of_Lazarus by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for the truth that comes from seeking Your Word and Your face daily. I thank You Lord that Your Word never returns void and that You have given me milestones or landmarks or road markers to help me to remember what You have already done so that I don’t lose hope for what You are about to do. I may not know what today will hold but I do know that my hope and my trust are in You! I know that my hope is built on nothing less that Jesus’ blood and righteousness! I know that I wil look to live out my faith actively and that my works will be from the overflow of the Spirit that I may produce fruit that will bring You the praise, the honor, and the glory! Help me today Lord to see beyond the fog and take hold of my next steps. Help me today Lord to know what to do and what to say in order to bring You the praise, the honor, and the glory. Help me Lord to live as a living sacrifice for You that is pleasing so that I can finish the race strong and get to hear You say “well done my good and faithful servant”. I ask all this in Jesus’ name, Amen!

Let’s praise Him!


We should be able to do it daily! Today is Friday for me and how many times will someone say “Thank God it’s Friday”? Who is up for saying “Thank God it’s today” everyday! This is the day that the Lord has made so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

So today let’s submit our today to Jesus, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and the prince of peace! Let’s praise Him in all we do! Let’s give Him the praise, the honor, and the glory! Let’s make our lives living sacrifices that are poured out to Him and for Him that through every thought, word, and deed we give and get Him the praise, the honor, and the glory!

Will you stand up? Will you take a stand? Will you get out of your comfort zone in order to glorify God? Will you get up and make a difference in the lives of those around you so that God will be lifted up and praised? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Will you open the door to invite others into a moment of worshipping God?

Why not opened up the door today! Help others to come into God’s presence and praise Him!

Isn’t He worth more than a sporting event? So why not make sure we can have the same energy, the same exuberance, the same excitement when we come to praise Him? Only God deserves to get worshipped and praised! Everyone else is human and we need to put first things first and align to God’s purpose and plan for our lives! So will He be your focus for today? Will you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Will you lean not on your own understanding but rather put your trust in God? Will today be the day of breakthru? Will today be the day of new beginnings? Will today be the day of transformation?

Need somewhere to start getting some of that Hallelujah feeling? Check out Psalms 146–150!

Don’t know Jesus yet? Why not invite Him into your heart today? Why not ask Him to forgive you and to lead you for the rest of your life? Want to discuss it more? Feel free to reach out to me as I would be happy to talk with you and help you plug into a Christian body by helping you look for a church in your area.

For those of us who receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, for those of us who have invited Him into our heart, one day we will get to be a part of the Hallelujah party! Let’s put on the full armor of God that we can stand firm until that day! Let’s lift Him up so that He receives the glory! Let’s lift Him up for all He is doing, has done, and is about to do! Let’s participate in God’s victory by sharing our testimonies for we know that we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimonies!

Let’s be God’s people! Let’s not allow darkness to get footholds but rather let’s be salt and light into this dark world! Let’s be the people who will praise and worship God!


Hallelujah — Day 361: Bible In One Year 2018

  • The Hallelujah psalms … Psalms 148:1-6
  • The Hallelujah party … Revelation 18:17-19:10
  • The Hallelujah people … Nehemiah 7:4-8:18

Adversity…


Ever faced a hard time? Ever wondered how you would get through it? Ever wondered why did it have to happen to you? Ever come out the other side stronger? Ever come out the other side smarter? Ever come out the other side wiser? Ever come out the other side and thinking that you would never wish this upon someone else but with all that you learned through it you wouldn’t give up the experience?

That happened to me and the lesson learned for me was the power of forgiveness! It was a hard time when I had to deal with lies, deception, trickery, misrepresentation, mistreatment, and more but had to learn the hard way how I should have responded.

We can’t control what comes our way, but we can control our response. Unfortunately that time my response was to become bitter, angry, upset, and frustrated. Every night on the radio the songs would tell me to forgive but I could always come up with a reason why I shouldn’t and to tell God how He knew what they had done, so how could I forgive them. It kept going, the downward spiral had begun and was continuing, and it took another totally unrelated life even to happen for me to stop and give it up to God and what did He do, He went back to the fact that I needed to forgive using the song 7×70. It broke me and I am not sure how I was able to drive down the highway with so many tears running down my face. Then after forgiving them, God’s Word came to me again about how as we forgive others, He will forgive us.

Wow! The weight was gone! The chains were broken off! I was free! God’s power of forgiveness set me free! Jesus broke the chains when He came and sacrificed it all! I just needed to receive it and live it out! I had to stop listening to the lies of the devil and just turn back to God! Had I not strayed off and believed the lies, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I did. Had I not almost hit rock bottom, I wouldn’t have the wisdom to be able to speak life and truth into the people at work as many others started to show up with issues and spontaneously asking me questions because they had been mistreated, lied to, … and were starting to go down the bitter, angry, upset spiral and God put me in that place to speak the hope and truth that they needed to forgive them. Forgiveness breaks their power over you! Forgiveness removes the burden off of you! It may not change the situation but it does change your heart and ability to move on!

In this world we will have troubles! In this world we will face trials! We can’t control what comes our way but we can control how we will choose to respond to it! And now can you choose to consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Knowing that when we let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

People thought Jesus was defeated at the cross, but we know the rest of the story!

People may think we were defeated in that trouble or trial situation, but we can tell them the rest of the story!

We need to take it and turn it around so that in those times of defeat, we give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory for helping us get through it and out better, stronger, wiser than we were before! We need to also share it so that others can learn through our experiences rather than having to go through it and learn it the hard way on their own!

Here is a summary of my story that I got to share with my co-workers…

Let’s turn the world upside down by taking what looks like it could be bad or could defeat us or could destroy us and turn it around to glorify God! Don’t let your circumstances keep you from accomplishing all that God has planned in and through you! God’s plans are for good and not for evil! God’s plans are to give you a hope and a future! God’s plans are to give you peace and well being!

So let’s take hold of this word from Paul which says…

 ‘Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you]’

–from Colossians 4:6 (AMP)

 

 Pray for wisdom to know when to speak, what to say and how to say it!

–from Day 281: Bible In One Year 2017


Glorified in Defeat

Day 281: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. God can bring success out of apparent failure … Psalm 118:17-29
  2. God can use you in spite of your circumstances … Colossians 4:2-18
  3. God can make the ‘worst of times’ the ‘best of times’ … Jeremiah 16:1-17:27

Today’s reading from God’s Word…

Do you have to hit rock bottom before things start to look up?


Will you turn back? Will you look up? Will you choose to do so before you hit the bottom?

When you hit the bottom will you choose to bounce back? Will you choose to start looking up? Will you choose to start looking for other alternatives? Will you lie their moping and bitter?

The devil wants you to believe the lie that you aren’t loved and that nobody cares for you!

The truth, the one that will set you free is that God does love you! God loves you so much that Jesus came to die on the cross to forgive you for everything that you did and to transform you life!

Don’t lose hope! Not even if you let it keep dropping till it hits rock bottom!

When you hit rock bottom, bounce up! Cry out to God! Seek God! Search for God! Look for opportunities to hear about God through His Word in the Bible! God’s love letter to you from God! Want to get a snippet of that in your own language? Checkout this Father’s Love Letter page. More of a person who likes to hear and see about it? Checkout these videos!

An amazing man I heard speak said “A setback is a setup for a comeback

No matter where you are on this journey called life, don’t allow the lies of the devil to rob you of the promises and purpose of God! God created you on purpose! God created you with purpose! God created you for a purpose!

I’ve seen and heard people try to jump to a certain part of the bible and watch everyone freak out! The challenge is that without getting the context and allow the Bible to help you understand the background, people can totally misinterpret the words being shared. Consider Ephesians 5, we can’t just jump to the sections with a header that someone put in there without understanding the context of what was said before it. So let’s take a look at this example and read from verses 15-21. With knowledge we can in! Information enables us to win! Walking in without it we aren’t prepared or setup for success!

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

–from Ephesians 5

So let’s make sure we do our research and don’t just go rushing into situations with guns a blazing! Let’s come in prepared and educated for the conversation and not be acting stupid or speaking foolishness!  We need to try and grasp the purpose for this situation! We need to grasp God’s will, God’s devision purpose for us! If we can get aligned with that then we are in a better position to accomplish His will! Consider how we live and how the things we put into ourselves cause things to come out of ourselves! Are they good? How about if we lived out our lives with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? There is nothing bad about these things or as the Bible puts it, “Against such things there is no Law.” So consider the words you will use and that you speak into, over, or even at other people.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification or to try to build each other up!

So why would we submit to anyone? Be it your boss? your wife? your husband? your friend? your neighbor? your leaders? It would be to glorify God and reverence for Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

So we need to take a hold that having a relationship (not rituals, routines, schedules) but an actual relationship with God which has been made possible through the sacrifice Jesus made for you and me out of love! It goes beyond actions, it’s about building a relationship with Jesus! It’s about building an intimate relationship with Him where you invite Him into every situation! You allow Him to speak life, wisdom, discernment, peace, hope, love, into and through your life via the Holy Spirit!

The bouncing back from hitting rock bottom, the bouncing back from a heart of stone that gets softened, the bouncing back of betrayal, it all comes back to grace! Grace – the unmerited love and favor of God! So when we go through things being able to share how God worked in and through it and sharing it with other to encourage them that they can move forward bounces the glory up to heaven giving God all the praise, the honor, and the glory!

I got the opportunity to do that at work where I got to share the power of forgiveness! I was asked if I would do a story slam to share part of my story as part of a work effort to help connect employees at a more personal level but it couldn’t have to do with my work at the company. Forgiveness seemed to be the right story for me to share and when I gave them 4 various stories of when God had worked in and through my life and I had to bounce back, they chose this one – without having heard the full story themselves. It went like this…Have you ever had a problem where it started with someone saying “have I got a deal for you?” and then they did the opposite…

So how can we give God the glory for helping us bounce back? What can we do or could we do if we wanted to speak hope, life, love, truth into the people God brings into our lives? How could we serve them? How could we be God’s arms and hands extended in this hurting world? How can we do it in a way that will glorify God?

WHAT WILL YOU DO TODAY?

Let’s reflect on it as we read through today’s reading from God’s Word…


Bounce it Back Up

Day 273: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Why glorify God? … Psalm 115:1-11
  2. How to glorify God? … Philippians 1:27-2:11
  3. When to glorify God? … Jeremiah 1:1-2:30

What is God telling you to do? Will you do it?

What is God telling you to speak? Will you say it?

Where is God telling you to go? Will you go?


 

 

What’s it going to take to make things great again?


Will you return to God? Will you be faithful to God? Will you turn back to God? Will you come back into God’s presence like the lost son? God is great! God is faithful to His covenant! Do you love God? Do you faithfully keep His Word? Will you confess your sins? Will you confess the sins of the nation? Will you confess the sins of the people? Will you confess the sins of previous generations that have cause so many to walk away? Because of the sins the people have been scattered rather than coming together in unity. Will you choose today to humble yourself before God? Will you choose to honor God today? Will you give your life into God’s hands and ask for favor and completing the work He has given you to do?

Will you ask? Will you tell what God has put onto your heart? Will you go and do what God has instructed you to complete? Will you go and complete the work that God has given you? Will you inspect the situation? Will you survey the situation of things as they are today? Will you rally the troops? Will you put your hope and trust in God and not be deceived? Will you put your hope and your trust in God and not be deterred? Will you be a doer of the Word rather than just a hearer? Don’t be overwhelmed by the size or scope, but divide the work and allow the people assigned to do their part of the work. Stage by stage allow the work to be completed!

Don’t lose hope if or when people resist doing their part. Someone will step up to complete that work. Trust it all to God!

Are you ready to make it great again? Are you ready to be an instrument of God into the world around you? Are you ready to receive God’s vision and wisdom? How will you respond? Fear Not, just believe! If God calls you to it, He will bring you thru it!

Don’t lose hope … ask God for help! Don’t worry … ask God for help! Fear Not … ask God for help! Worry changes nothing … prayer changes everything!

So let’s meditate on God’s Word as this reading series draws to an end. With just over a week left before a new series, a new journey will begin, let’s reflect together on today’s reading from the New Testament and hear what God has to say to us.

Friendship with the World

1Where do all the fights and quarrels among you come from? They come from your desires for pleasure, which are constantly fighting within you. 2You want things, but you cannot have them, so you are ready to kill; you strongly desire things, but you cannot get them, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have what you want because you do not ask God for it. 3And when you ask, you do not receive it, because your motives are bad; you ask for things to use for your own pleasures. 4Unfaithful people! Don’t you know that to be the world’s friend means to be God’s enemy? If you want to be the world’s friend, you make yourself God’s enemy. 5Don’t think that there is no truth in the scripture that says, “The spirit that God placed in us is filled with fierce desires.” 6 But the grace that God gives is even stronger. As the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. 8Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners! Purify your hearts, you hypocrites! 9Be sorrowful, cry, and weep; change your laughter into crying, your joy into gloom! 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Warning against Judging One Another

11Do not criticize one another, my friends. If you criticize or judge another Christian, you criticize and judge the Law. If you judge the Law, then you are no longer one who obeys the Law, but one who judges it. 12God is the only lawgiver and judge. He alone can save and destroy. Who do you think you are, to judge someone else?

Warning against Boasting

13 Now listen to me, you that say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of money.” 14You don’t even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. 15What you should say is this: “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.” 16But now you are proud, and you boast; all such boasting is wrong.
17So then, if we do not do the good we know we should do, we are guilty of sin.

–James 4

We need to walk in humility! We need to resist the devil! We need put our hope and trust in God! So how will you walk out today? Don’t boast! Trust in God! Let’s complete the good work God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish! Let’s seek the truth! Let’s not be tricked or deceived! Let’s walk in love! Let’s live out love! Let’s allow God’s hand to complete the work it has begun in us so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s not grow weary in doing good!

False Teachers

1False prophets appeared in the past among the people, and in the same way false teachers will appear among you. They will bring in destructive, untrue doctrines, and will deny the Master who redeemed them, and so they will bring upon themselves sudden destruction. 2Even so, many will follow their immoral ways; and because of what they do, others will speak evil of the Way of truth. 3In their greed these false teachers will make a profit out of telling you made-up stories. For a long time now their Judge has been ready, and their Destroyer has been wide awake!
4God did not spare the angels who sinned, but threw them into hell, where they are kept chained in darkness, waiting for the Day of Judgment. 5 God did not spare the ancient world, but brought the flood on the world of godless people; the only ones he saved were Noah, who preached righteousness, and seven other people. 6 God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying them with fire, and made them an example of what will happen to the godless. 7 He rescued Lot, a good man, who was distressed by the immoral conduct of lawless people. 8That good man lived among them, and day after day he suffered agony as he saw and heard their evil actions. 9And so the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials and how to keep the wicked under punishment for the Day of Judgment, 10especially those who follow their filthy bodily lusts and despise God’s authority.
These false teachers are bold and arrogant, and show no respect for the glorious beings above; instead, they insult them. 11Even the angels, who are so much stronger and mightier than these false teachers, do not accuse them with insults in the presence of the Lord. 12But these people act by instinct, like wild animals born to be captured and killed; they attack with insults anything they do not understand. They will be destroyed like wild animals, 13and they will be paid with suffering for the suffering they have caused. Pleasure for them is to do anything in broad daylight that will satisfy their bodily appetites; they are a shame and a disgrace as they join you in your meals, all the while enjoying their deceitful ways! 14They want to look for nothing but the chance to commit adultery; their appetite for sin is never satisfied. They lead weak people into a trap. Their hearts are trained to be greedy. They are under God’s curse! 15 They have left the straight path and have lost their way; they have followed the path taken by Balaam son of Beor, who loved the money he would get for doing wrong 16and was rebuked for his sin. His donkey spoke with a human voice and stopped the prophet’s insane action.
17These people are like dried-up springs, like clouds blown along by a storm; God has reserved a place for them in the deepest darkness. 18They make proud and stupid statements, and use immoral bodily lusts to trap those who are just beginning to escape from among people who live in error. 19They promise them freedom while they themselves are slaves of destructive habits—for we are slaves of anything that has conquered us. 20If people have escaped from the corrupting forces of the world through their knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and then are again caught and conquered by them, such people are in worse condition at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been much better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than to know it and then turn away from the sacred command that was given them. 22 What happened to them shows that the proverbs are true: “A dog goes back to what it has vomited” and “A pig that has been washed goes back to roll in the mud.”

–2 Peter 2

 


Today's Reading: Nehemiah 1, Nehemiah 2, Nehemiah 3, Psalm 120, James 4, 2 Peter 2