mandag 24. desember 2018

Adventcalendar: Dec. 25th - A son

Dec. 25th - A son - John 3:16

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

One of the greatest joys of Christmas now that all our kids are grown is their coming home! There's not much better than having all four of them (and all new additions) under one roof!!! This makes me wonder how the incredible joy God the Father must have been when Jesus, His Son, rose from the dead and then went home!

"fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Hebrews 12:2

You see, the Christmas story doesn't end at the cradle, nor did it end at the ends with a crown! Our verse today is probably the most well known in the Bible, and in it we find the brief summary of the entire Bible...all 66 books! God sent His Son Jesus that we might have eternal life!

Jesus not only died on the cross that He might go home to the Father in Heaven, He died so that He can take us with Him for the grandest homecoming ever! Jesus spoke so much about the Kingdom of Heaven and His return.  Matthew 25 records two parables (stories with a spiritual lesson) about His Second Coming of when He will come to take all of those who have believed (trusted) in Him home to Heaven, and then says the following in verses 31-33:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left."

This Christmas let every son (or daughter) remind us of all that God's Son has done for us and that "that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
Homecoming...what time for celebration!!!  Let's keep looking ahead to the Son's return and our Homecoming in Heaven!

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Adventcalendar: Dec. 24th - A Son

Dec. 24th - Your Church - Matthew 16:16-18

 "Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it."

When you think of your church, what images come to your mind? The first that came to my mind, as with many, was the actual building, but that isn't really the church. The Church, His Church, consists of people.

In our verse today, Jesus is speaking to His disciples after asking the question "But who do you say that I am?"  Peter answers correctly that Jesus is "the Christ (Messiah/Savior), the Son of the Living God." I love that Jesus tells Peter that no one revealed that to him, but God, the Father. No one can be "talked into" becoming a Christian; if we could, then we could also be talked out of it. Faith goes beyond intellect. We are also not automatically born a Christian.  God Himself reveals His Truth to us and gives us the choice to trust Him or not.  It is an act of our will to believe on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. (John 3:16-18; 1 John 5:12)

But Jesus goes on to say "Upon this rock my church will be built"...upon this truth that Peter confesses.  His church is built like a building with many stones.  I wonder if Peter was remembering this when God had him pen 1 Peter 2:5 -

"you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

Take a look at some buildings today and notice the "stones".  During this first century stones would have been cut by hand with no two exactly the same.  Each would be unique and fit together a lot like the photo of the stained glass above.

Each one of us are individually so unique in our personalities, our backgrounds, our life experiences, our spiritual gifting, etc.  Yet God chooses to connect us together as His temple - His church - His body to uniquely fit together for His glory.

I love how this truth is seen in stained glass especially as sunlight beams through the pieces.  May we realize today how the Light of the World desires to shine through us as His church!

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 5:16

PS: Fordi dette er en engelsk julekalender, får du også 25. med på kjøpet idag. Se neste blogginnlegg :)

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søndag 23. desember 2018

Adventcalendar: Dec. 23rd - Bread

Dec. 23rd - Bread - John 6:35

"Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst."

I LOVE how God works!  I was thinking about what direction to take this Christmas devotion and the following song came on! Take a quick listen if you can, and then we'll talk!

It caught my attention because it talks about God's love coming down and our praise going up.  In our verse today (one of His seven "I AM" statements), Jesus calls Himself the "Bread of Life."

Just a few verses back He explains more:
"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."  John 6:33

Back in chapter one of John and verse 14, it says -
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Jesus, the Bread of Life...God in flesh, stepped down out of Heaven and came to earth in the form of man to live among us.  His love for us caused Him to lay aside His majesty and glory for a time, to walk in our shoes, and to reveal Himself to us...that we might see with our eyes and touch with our hands.  To show He is real and He is near!
I love to bake sourdough bread.  Bread just seems to complete a meal.  My daddy used to call it the "staff of life."  This "Bread of LIfe" though is meant to sustain more than our physical bodies; it represents the gift of Christ's life. 

As He took part in the Passover meal with His disciples -
"And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." Luke 22:19

He came down from Heaven giving His very life for us...and we are to remember.  Today as we eat or see any type of bread, may it cause us to remember all He has done for us and be thankful.  May our praises go up!

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lørdag 22. desember 2018

Adventcalendar: Dec. 22nd - Water

Dec. 22nd - Water - John 7:37-38

"Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

How often do we look at a glass half empty rather than half full?  Even a glass half empty can be a positive shows that someone is drinking!

Water is one of the few things that can actually quench our thirst.  Here in this verse Jesus point to a balance that takes place in our lives when He becomes our Living Water quenching our spiritually parched lives and flowing into the lives of others.

A's a constant flow of water.  Can a fountain of Living Water actually flow in our lives? The answer is simple...YES! Life is so hard to balance.  We want to do it all and do it well, but something seems to always fall to the wayside and not get done. There lies the key to balance - it's not in the "doing," but in the "being."  Balance comes when we are allowing Christ to both fill us and pour us. Being filled - "if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink". 
Yes, this comes at the point of our receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but it does not stop there.  We are to be continually "filled" with His Holy Spirit.

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,"  Ephesians 5:18

This occurs as we choose to abide in Jesus - spending time in His presence allowing Him to fill us. But also, we are to be poured - "from His innermost being will flow rivers of living water."   

How many times have we left our coffee cup or a glass filled with something left sitting for days on end?  I tend to do this often, and trust me, I do not wish to drink it after it has been sitting so long!

God did not mean for us to be filled with Him and left to sit.  We are to be allowing Him to flow in and through our lives, overflowing and pouring into the lives of others for His glory.  When others see the evidence, the fruit of the Spirit in us, our lives will make others thirsty for what we have - Jesus!

As you see or drink water today, let it be a reminder of this balance in our spiritual lives.  And if you have never tasted of this Living Water - Jesus, why not seek Him today for your thirsty soul.  He promises that if we seek Him with our whole heart, He will be found!  

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fredag 21. desember 2018

Adventcalendar: Dec. 21st - Green

Dec. 21st - Green - Psalm 23:2

"He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters."'s all around us!  God has woven it into the very fabric of the earth.  It points us to life, to refreshing, to new beginnings.

Winter…a time when the earth seems to take a break and rest. Although these times may appear dreary and confine us, even these times are needed for the new growth coming in Spring again.

The winters of our life can seem dreary and even hopeless, but there is new growth taking place even when we can't see it.  God is at work!

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

God knew not only the earth needs intervals of rest, but we as His children also need times of rest.  He even set the example in the beginning.

"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done." 

Genesis 2:1-3 NIV

Our verse today reminds us of this important truth - "He makes me lie down in green pastures..."

How are you handling this Christmas season...the rush, the busyness, the weariness?  Take time to allow Him to help you stop and enjoy His presence, be renewed.

If you're anything like me, when I am tired...I get grumpy! I am not at my best.  I do not reflect Christ's joy, light, peace, life or anything good. And usually those closest to me get the brunt of my "winter chill".  

As you look around and see "green".  Let it remind you, nudge take time to lie down in His green pasture of life and renewal.  You may be thinking you can't afford to, but in reality we can't afford not to! When our four kids were young and I would hit "a wall" of exhaustion, my husband would encourage me to lie down and rest a few minutes...if not for myself, then for everyone else! Haha!

It doesn't have to be long...just a few minutes remembering His many gifts of blessing,  remembering He's in control, remembering abundant life is when we abide in Jesus not in our own strength. 

And if you are struggling in life feeling that deep loneliness or depression of an emotional winter, know that God is near; He is at work.  I love the verse below because it doesn't mean "to know about God", but "to know Him intimately."

"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."  Psalm 46:10

My prayer for this Christmas devotion is that we each experience the new life of Jesus Christ budding out in our lives...even during winter because we have found rest in Him.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

Matthew 11:28

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torsdag 20. desember 2018

Adventcalendar: Dec. 20th - White

Dec. 20th - White - Isaiah 1:18

"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool."

When you think of something "white", what are the first thoughts that pop into your mind? Some of mine were clouds, clean, pure, and a wedding gown - hence the photo I chose for this Christmas devotion.
You may not have thought of white being a Christmas color or for that matter a color at all.  What would a candy cane be without "white"?  How would we have snow on our gingerbread houses without "white"?  The sheep, the much of Christmas is colored "white"!

White occurs when all the colors of the spectrum of light are reflected off of an object.  I love the idea that white is a product of light being reflected. There is such a deeper spiritual truth here!
Our verse today speaks of our sins being cleansed to be white as snow or wool.  

Put all of this together - Jesus is the Light. When He is our Savior and Lord, He cleanses us from sin; we become reflections of Him. From then on God only sees us as clean, as pure, as white as Christ. 
We become a part of His Bride clothed in "linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints."  (Revelation 19:8)
What a beautiful spiritual truth built right into the fabric of nature!
Today as you look around and see things that are "white," let it remind you that Jesus has paid the price for our sin...paid in full!  There is hope for forgiveness making it possible to have a relationship with God!
Some stains seem impossible to remove...But with God all things are possible! (Mark 10:26-27) Nothing you nor I have done is so sordid and dirty that God cannot cleanse if we but turn back to Him and ask -
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  1 John 1:9
This Christmas and on into this new year, may "white" remind us of the hope found in Jesus Christ!

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onsdag 19. desember 2018

Adventcalendar: Dec. 19th - Red

Dec. 19th - Red - Matthew 2:28

"for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."

"and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." 1 Peter 2:24

When I think of the color red especially at Christmas, it causes me to remember the "red" of our verse for today - Jesus' blood of the covenant. God's promise to provide a Savior was sealed by the blood of His Son. It was poured out for many - to all who will believe, receive.  It is for the forgiveness, the complete washing away of sins.

RED is for LOVE...God's love! - 

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."  John 15:13

Earlier in this chapter - Matthew 26 - Jesus is telling His disciples about His upcoming death and as they now are sitting down to this "Last Supper," He is telling them to remember.

When we see the color red this Christmas season may it too remind us to remember - to remember His blood and His sacrifice, to remember the hope that can only be found in Him, to remember this world is not our home, to remember all the blessings of God, to remember His goodness and mercy, to remember His grace and love, to remember...
And like the reflection in this glass ornament, may we be a reflection of His love to those around us.  Satan would want us to fall into the trap of business and stress and forget.  Christmas is all about remembering though and sharing Jesus with those around us looking for hope and meaning in life!

So...."red" -  A Christmas devotion to Remember & Reflect.

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tirsdag 18. desember 2018

Adventcalendar: Dec. 18th - a Nail

Dec. 18th - a Nail - Acts 2:23

"this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."

In the verse above, the font doesn't show it, but the "M" in Man is actually capitalized showing this wasn't just any man...He was God!  And yet for nails to be able to pierce His hands and feet, He was indeed God in flesh. 

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."  John 1:14

Many that looked on that day surely thought those nails were destroying all Jesus came to do on this earth as they caused His lifeblood to flow down that cross to where they stood.  And yet, as in the verse above, this had all been "by the  predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God."  This did NOT take God by surprise! Just as nails were made by man to build and create, so God used these nails not to destroy, but to build His Kingdom. 

"The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."  Colossians 1:15-17

In Him (Jesus) all thing hold together.  Because of the nails...His sacrifice on the Cross...His body, the Church, is held together!
Louie Giglio does a wonderful job of how God in His infinite wisdom and forethought has even "built" this truth into our own flesh - our body - our very DNA.  The video below is about 6 minutes and so worth the time to watch it!  Be amazed by God!

If God can hold the universe together and all that is within it, God can certainly hold our lives together.  We can count on Him; He is faithful and trustworthy!
If this has been a difficult year for you and you feel as though your life is falling apart, turn to Jesus and find hope!  The difficulties in life may hurt and seem like nails destroying...but in God's hands, they can be used to build for GOOD!  

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28

So when you see a nail or something held together by nails, let it remind you of the wonderful Truth of this little Christmas devotion - in God's hands, nails are used to build for our good!  He can rebuild our lives from even the remnants left by sin's destruction.  We can trust Jesus; He gave His life so that in Him we may have life - eternal & abundant!

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."  John 10:10

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

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mandag 17. desember 2018

Adventcalendar: Dec. 17th - The Cross

Dec. 17 - The Cross - Philippians 2:8

"Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Today I want us to look for the Cross! Watch's everywhere! Anytime you see two lines cross each other, see the cross; it may be the letter "t", it may be a pane in a window or the connecting of floor tiles. Look around you...

Yesterday we talked about the Cross being the first Christmas tree and letting trees remind us of the Cross of Christ. Today let's be looking for the cross and how we can point others to Jesus!  Let's become "Cross-pointers!"

In our verse above there is one word that is is the word - "obedient." Did you ever think about Jesus having a choice?  He did. In fact when we look at Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, He asks God three times, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me." (Matthew 26) Yet, there was no other way for our salvation, our rescue, our Jesus yielded to the Father's will and obeyed. Think about it, what if Jesus had chosen not to obey. There would be no reason to celebrate Christmas; there would be no hope.

But Jesus did obey, and because of that we do have hope - "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)  And we are to share that hope! Jesus told the disciples a few chapters over in Matthew 28:19-20: 
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

My question to all of us who are believers, born again and filled with hope - "Are we obeying?" Are we pointing others to Jesus?  It matters.

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  Romans 10:13-15

So today, during this Christmas season, throughout this next year and beyond...let us be looking for the Cross and pointing others to Jesus.  Let this little Christmas devotion challenge us to become "Cross-pointers" every day!

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