Saturday, September 8, 2018

September 8

Who ever thought that we would be attending a Grandparents Day lunch with one of our grandsons? It’s not something you think about when you’re younger. We loved every minute of it! Liam was so sweet and loving, he made sure to introduce us to his friends. There was a particular area that we were to eat which had a huge black curtain that divided the children who didn’t have grandparents there and the ones who did. It was a little sad for the children whose grandparents couldn’t make it, however, Liam, being a very social person, kept thinking of friends he wanted us to meet, but the big black curtain kept us separated. You could tell that he wanted to break down the wall of division, and bring us all together. The Bible says that Jesus broke down the dividing wall of hostility between the Jews and the gentiles by abolishing the law of the commandments that kept us separated. By doing this He made us one and brought us peace. Liam was being the example of Jesus trying to bring the two sides together. A better idea may have been to let us sit with all the kids, so there would no longer be a division and we could eat in peace together as one. 

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. Ephesians 2:14-16

Friday, September 7, 2018

September 7

We can’t do anything to earn our salvation, it was a gift to us for having faith in Jesus. I think this can be confusing because of our human nature, at least it is for those of us who have dignity, we want to earn what we receive. Because we are grateful for what He has done for us, we can’t help ourselves when it comes to serving Him. He has already prepared us to do good works. We can’t do it in our own strength; if we try, it will be exhausting. 

The hardest and the easiest thing I do is serve Him. I serve in the women’s ministry at my church. We meet once a month and my partner and I take the lead. That’s why it’s hard, the “I.” It’s when I stop taking the lead then things become easy. There is no stress when it’s done God’s way. We must be diligent in preparing, but we are not the leader, He is. I’m not going to lie, I get scared every time our monthly meeting rolls around, but I’ve made a commitment to Him and as long as I’m consistent, dedicated, and listen to the Holy Spirit, He carries me through.

When it comes to this daily devotional, it has been a matter of stepping out in faith. I took small steps, knowing that God’s word is powerful, I began by posting a verse on a picture. Then I got a little bolder and posted a short commentary on the verse. Before long, God began showing me everyday parables for me to share. It has taken consistency, dedication, and faithfully listening to the Holy Spirit. You must step out in faith! He prepared you beforehand for good works, walk in them! 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Thursday, September 6, 2018

September 6

There are many people sitting in jail for crimes they have committed. They went before a judge and were found guilty. They have sinned against humanity and have broken the law of the land and must pay the price. God sent a law down with Moses, most notably, the Ten Commandments. If we break even one of those laws, we deserve punishment. As an example, if you have ever lied or used God’s name as a cuss word, you have broken His law. We have all committed crimes against God. When the enemy brings the accusation against us before God, who is the judge, we are guilty and should pay the price for that crime! However, because we have put our trust in Jesus, He stands before God, and tells Him that we are not guilty, and that it is He who will take our punishment, and He did, by dying on the cross. We did absolutely nothing to deserve this favor. You can’t work to pay Him back, you’ve been set free and are found not-guilty. The crime no longer exists, it completely disappeared and is no longer acknowledged by God. This is the grace, unmerited favor, that we have received from Jesus.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September 5

Here it is again! You may think I mention this too often; well, it’s not my fault, talk to God about it! He brings it up all the time! For those of you who do not believe that spiritual beings exist in this world, you might have your head buried in the sand. For most of my life, I’ve belonged to a denomination that never mentioned anything about spiritual beings other than the Holy Spirit, if they did, I completely missed it. It wasn’t until I spent nearly four years learning how to study God’s word that I realized how much I’d been missing. I’m sure it was unintentional being the writer was from the same denomination that I had always belonged to! Like it or not, there are powers and principalities of the air, - you can’t see them. Before you were saved by the grace of God through your faith, you were a part of that world. There are no gray areas when it comes to that; you are either alive in Christ, or you are dead and of the darkness. We’ve all lived in that world at one time or another, but thankfully we heard about Jesus and were brought out of the darkness of sin and wrath, and now live in His light. Take your head out of the sand; you can’t fight against something you don’t believe exists.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September 4

When my children were small, I dreaded the summer because I had to come up with things to keep them entertained, otherwise they would drive me crazy. We didn’t allow video games in our house, so they had to find entertainment outside. I love wildlife and nature, so I picked up an Audubon book on bird, wildflower, and snake identification. By the end of the summer we had identified every weed in our yard, every bird that visited our lake, and watched a rat snake gobble up a nest of duck eggs. I had no doubts that they were well educated on nature. The rest of their time was spent playing in an old boat in the lake. Never once did I worry about the things in nature hurting them, not even the alligators; no one on our lake fed them, so they were afraid of humans. However, I’ve always been careful about other humans and what unscrupulous ideas they might have for them, but never nature. I looked out the window one day and saw Richie, our youngest, carrying a three foot alligator! I snapped a picture and made him put it back. These things were normal for my children. I didn’t raise whiny kids who were afraid of their shadow. They are warriors, able to protect and defend themselves. The point I’m getting at today is about the church. When someone says the church, your first thought might be that these people are soft and timid; but the truth is, if they are, they might need to check their salvation! The church, which is the body of Christ, is a vast weaponized army who has been trained to take on the powers and principalities of this dark world. The church is not timid, it is mighty! Jesus is our commander and He is not frail! The training of mighty warriors should begin when they are young, so like the training of my children, when they go to war, they don’t go alone, they are accompanied by our Savior, the commander of angel armies and the head of the church!

Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:21-23

Monday, September 3, 2018

September 3

After a whole summer of rain and red tide, we finally got to spend some time at the beach. The red tide is still around, but the wind has pushed it away from the shore of the beach that I like to go to. Most people don’t know that it has cleared, so it’s empty. I got all my necessities packed and walked out to the beach. I found the perfect place to set up and get comfortable. I see a few people down about a mile, just the way I like it, me, Jesus, and the shorebirds. Then, out of the corner of my eye I see people, “yep, there are people.” I’m okay with it until they set up right next to me, as if the beach were crowded and the only place they could find was fifteen feet from me! “Seven miles of beach and this is the spot you choose? Where is your beach etiquette?” I was listening to a sermon, so I turned it up a little, not really, I turned it up a lot! It didn’t phase them at all, and they proceeded to get comfortable. As I was complaining to my friends in a private beach group, I noticed the verse of the day that my friend had posted: 

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Romans 12:16. 

“Well, that was a kick in the pants!” I got over it. They enjoyed their day and so did I. The lesson is this: 1. Be careful with your thoughts. God heard me and responded! 2. Love people even if they rub you the wrong way. 3. It’s your attitude that makes the difference.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

September 2

Today is my brother’s birthday. He became the image of my dad, who was the image of his dad, and my nephews are two more to carry on the family name and the tradition of a loving family. I am fortunate to come from a family that, not only speaks their love, but shows their love. It’s quite remarkable to see my brother turn into my dad, but to see my nephews take on his characteristics is almost comical. He has a daughter too, and she is a gorgeous, brilliant, and loving girl, who will make a great wife and mom someday. There is a lot of power in love. Love really does conquer all! Many know this to be true, especially those whose own family life was less than desirable; they know the power of disappointment and hurt, but when they overcame their heritage and accepted Jesus as Savior, they realized God’s love, their life changed, and their hearts changed. God’s power becomes real in those of us who believe. Imagine a love so great that He created a way for us to be with Him for an eternity. When He raised Jesus from the dead, the forces of evil no longer had a hold on us. That’s the love of a Great Dad and an amazing power working within us. Just like watching my brother and nephews become my dad, we want to become like Jesus, a heritage worth continuing for generations to come.

Side note: It’s also my mom and dad’s anniversary. I suppose my brother was the best anniversary gift they’ve ever gotten. 

and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, Ephesians 1:19-20