Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Two Leashes

This morning in my pre-coffee daze, I neglected to grab my dual leash for my dogs. Instead, I grabbed them each their separate personal leashes and got them ready for their morning walk. I always use the dual leash for walks; if you ever tried to walk two dogs without one, you’d easily figure out why it is nice to have a dual leash.  No tangles. No tripping. Smooth sailing with the canines and God.

As I walked to the next block, I realized that I had forgotten the dual leash, but I also realized that the dogs were still walking as if they were using the dual leash. In using the dual leash for years, they developed a habit. They were trained. The dogs knew the path to walk. They knew their limitations. They knew the distances they needed to be located. They had it all memorized. It became a way of life.

In this same way, as we continue to drown ourselves in the Word of God and aim to live it out, we find ourselves not having to think so much on some things. It becomes second nature. Spending time daily in the Word helps us navigate our day better understanding true obedience and better discerning the will of God.

Continue to add more time with God and His Word as you go through the week. Start a YouVersion reading plan. Pick up a daily devotion book. Download the Dwell app. Do whatever works for you to hear and read more of God’s Word. Take small bites. Enjoy big feasts. Remember, God’s Word always produces fruit.

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” – Isaiah 55:11 [NLT]

 

 

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Stooping Down in Gentleness

We live in a broken world, a world filled with pain and suffering and things that are not right. From the very beginning, when God created the world, He foreknew that sin would enter the world. He knew that brokenness would be a way of life for us. He knew that nothing could be done to save the brokenness without Him moving in a mighty way.

God sent His one and only Son to save us, to redeem us, to pay a price we could not pay. He reached out to restore us and bring us back into a relationship with Him. Every day we have the opportunity to enjoy a relationship with our heavenly Father. Because Jesus suffered the wrath that was to be our punishment, we can enjoy His “wrap-around presence.” This is because God has stooped down to us to bring us back into His holy presence.

When the world is beating you down, when you are lost in your brokenness, be reminded of the stooping down gentleness of God. Who am I that He would even consider me? Yet, our God moves through the brokenness with gentleness. He does not attack our brokenness, but beautifully works through it and makes us new. Strange enough, when we take something broken and try to repair it, the end result is never something better. Superglue and duct tape only go so far. But we serve a God of the impossible. With God, we are a masterpiece. He makes us great—better than we ever were. With Him moving through us, navigating through the brokenness, each day we are made more into the image of His Son. All because He has stooped down in gentleness.

“You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great!” – Psalm 18:35 [TPT]

 

My Forever Firm Fortress

Life is uncertain. It seems that at the moment you think you have everything together, something else is just around the corner to show you otherwise. You may plan for a “good day” but other things come up. You may think work is going well, your relationships are solid, finances are good, and one thing happens to change your situation. Life is comprised of seasons. Every day brings changes. Some you celebrate; some you grieve. Thankfully all is in God’s hands.

He is a forever firm fortress. May you declare Him your forever firm fortress. While the world is spinning out of control, while people come and go, while nothing seems solid, we can rest in knowing that He is a bedrock. He is a firm fortress. He is a mountain, a pathway, a tower. No matter what comes your way, when you are in His hands, you are safe and secure. In His hands, in His refuge, He is your secret strength and your shield.

No matter what comes your way today, remember that God, the Creator of all, the Maker of heaven and earth, is the champion of your cause. He is your forever firm fortress. There is no better place to be than in His embrace.

“You’re as real to me as bedrock beneath my feet, like a castle on a cliff, my forever firm fortress, my mountain of hiding, my pathway of escape, my tower of rescue where none can reach me. My secret strength and shield around me, you are salvation’s ray of brightness shining on the hillside, always the champion of my cause.” – Psalm 18:2 [TPT]

What is Love Series – Love is Kind Outline

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 

or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 

it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

2 Timothy 3:1-4 English Standard Version (ESV)

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 

heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 

treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

 

KIND

chrésteuomai: to be kind

Phonetic Spelling: (khraste-yoo’-om-ahee)

Definition: to be kind

Usage: I am kind (full of service to others), gentle.

Kindness is an inner quality (ATTITUDE) of compassion, being gentle… caring

Kindness results in goodness (ACTIONS)… serving one another, being generous… doing something because you care

 

KINDNESS

chréstotés: goodness, excellence, uprightness

Phonetic Spelling: (khray-stot’-ace)

Definition: goodness, excellence, uprightness

Usage: goodness, uprightness, kindness, gentleness.

 

Colossians 3:12 (ESV)

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

 

Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

 

Luke 6:35-36 English Standard Version (ESV)

35 But love your enemies, 

and do good, 

To do that which is good

To do something which profits others

To do someone a favor

To do what is right

and lend, 

To be generous

expecting nothing in return, 

and your reward will be great, 

and you will be sons of the Most High, 

for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 

36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

An Epiphany

Epiphany Sunday

Epiphany means…. A Sudden Realization of something…. 

But it also means Manifestation

Epiphany Sunday celebrates the Manifestation… the Revelation of God the Father in His Son Jesus Christ

IT IS ALL ABOUT JESUS!!!

For some, it means writing with chalk on the front door to protect the house for the coming year. 

For some, if the Christmas decorations are not removed on the Twelfth Night, they must be kept in place for the entire year to avoid bad luck.

Today we will look at an Epiphany we can have in our walk with Jesus… we will look at how we can run well and leave a good legacy.

Typically, three moments in the life of Christ are recognized on this day… three moments that point to Jesus. 

1. Wise Men – Matthew 2:1-12… fell down and worshipped

Matthew 2:11 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

2. Baptism of Jesus – Matthew 3:13-17 (ESV)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

3. Wedding in Cana – John 2:1-11 (ESV)

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 

11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

These three moments reveal God through Jesus Christ.

John 1:18 The Passion Translation (TPT)

18 No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor except the uniquely beloved Son, who is cherished by the Father and held close to his heart. Now he has unfolded to us the full explanation of who God truly is!

Jesus has the highest honor…

Philippians 2:9-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

Not only do we have the Great Commission which commands us…

Matthew 28:16-20 New International Version (NIV)

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

But most importantly we are to raise up our children…

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 English Standard Version (ESV)

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 4:9-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10 how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’

Psalm 78:4 English Standard Version (ESV)

We will not hide them from their children,

but tell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,

and the wonders that he has done.

We think often of our legacy… as we run the race we discussed last week, we think…  How can I leave a legacy? How can I leave a mark on the world? 

But too often, our legacy is all about us… about our name

We want to make sure people remember us… people to remember our victories, our trophies, our good works.

Our Legacy…. Only Jesus

Casting Crowns “Only Jesus” song…

Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself

Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else

Make a name the world remembers

But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams

I got lost in the light when it was up to me

To make a name the world remembers

But Jesus is the only name to remember

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

And I, I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus

All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won

Will crumble into dust when it’s said and done

‘Cause all that really mattered

Did I live the truth to the ones I love?

Was my life the proof that there is only One

Whose name will last forever?

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

And I, I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus

Jesus is the only name

Jesus is the only name

Jesus is the only name to remember, oh

Carols Series – Prepare Him Room Outline – Christmas Eve Message

Make Room for the King

“Joy to the World”

Joy to the world, the Lord is come

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room

OUR HEART NATURALLY DOESN’T WANT TO PREPARE ROOM  

WE ARE ALL SINNERS… WE ARE ALL IN NEED OF JESUS

 

Ezekiel 11:19 English Standard Version (ESV)

19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.

 

WHEN JESUS WAS BORN, THERE WASN’T ANY ROOM

Luke 2:7 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room for them in the inn.

 

THE SHUNAMMITE WHO MADE ROOM

2 Kings 4:8-9 English Standard Version (ESV)

One day Elisha went on to Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to eat some food. So whenever he passed that way, he would turn in there to eat food. And she said to her husband, “Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. 10 Let us make a small room on the roof with walls and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there.”

 

THE GREAT PROMISE OF GOD

Jeremiah 24:7 English Standard Version (ESV)

7 I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

 

How can we prepare Him room?

 

#1 Accept the love God offers

John 3:16 English Standard Version (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

#2 Draw near to Jesus through prayer and reading of God’s Word

James 4:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

#3 Honor Jesus with obedience

2 John 6 English Standard Version (ESV)

6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.

2 John 6 The Message (MSG)

4-6 I can’t tell you how happy I am to learn that many members of your congregation are diligent in living out the Truth, exactly as commanded by the Father. But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room

Carols Series: Gift for a King Outline

Gift for a King

Matthew 2:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

What did they bring? – Gifts fit for a king

  • Gold – King / Kingship [[KING]]
  • Frankincense – Priest / Priesthood / God [[GOD]]
  • Myrrh – Anointing Oil / Death / Humanity & Suffering [[SACRIFICE]]

 

Little Drummer Boy 

Come they told me / Pa rum pum pum pum

A new born king to see / Pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest gifts we bring / Pa rum pum pum pum

To lay before the king / Pa rum pum pum pum…

So to honor him / Pa rum pum pum pum

When we come…

I have no gift to bring Pa rum pum pum pum

That’s fit to give our king…

I played my drum for him / Pa rum pum pum pum

I played my best for him / Pa rum pum pum pum,

Rum pum pum pum, Rum pum pum pum

 

 

1. THANKSGIVING

Psalm 116:12-19 English Standard Version (ESV)

12 What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,

14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

16 O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.

17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.

18 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,

19 in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

 

2. LIVING SACRIFICE

Romans 12:1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 

6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

3. YOUR HEART

 

Matthew 6:21 English Standard Version (ESV)

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

Psalm 51:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

 

Ephesians 3:14-19 The Passion Translation (TPT)

14 So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, 15 the perfect Father of every father and child in heaven and on the earth 16 And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. 17 Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.  

18–19 Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!

Handle With Care: Fasten the Zipper

Week 4 – Fasten the Zipper

[John 17:20-23]

CARING FOR UNITY

Why?

  1. Jesus Prays for Unity
  2. Unity points to Jesus

 

 

1 Corinthians 1:10 – I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. [ESV]

  • Agree in what you say / No division
  • Same understanding – Same conviction

Aim for Unity

  1. Stay Connected to the Vine
    1. Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches.
    2. Ephesians 4:16 – from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. [ESV]
    3. Knit together. Properly working as each other individually.
  2. One mind. One purpose.
    1. 1 Peter 3:8 – Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. [ESV]
  3. Live your gifts
    1. Romans 12:4-5 – For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. [ESV]
  4. All about Jesus
    1. Don’t let pride get in the way.
    2. Romans 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. [ESV]

 

Psalm 133:1 – Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! [ESV]

 

 

Breakout Sessions

1) Read Romans 12:4-5 and Ephesians 4:15-16. Paul writes to the Ephesians about walking in unity. What did Paul say was important for us to do as followers of Christ in the Ephesians passage? Why do you think this action is important? What would be the result(s) of doing this? How do we ensure we are doing our own part? How do we encourage others to do the same?

2) Read Romans 12:16 and 1 Peter 3:8. These passages speak about the unity—one mind, one purpose—and the humility we should live by so we may live in harmony. How can we live with one mind, one purpose? How do we humble ourselves?

 

Handle with Care is a 6-week series focused on studying God’s Word and responding with care. The six weeks of messages may sound like instructions for laundry care — but you will soon find Handle with Care beckons you to examine within, to gauge how you truly love God and love others, and to grow inward and outward. Caring starts with the heart and pours out into the community.

 

 

Taste and See

The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.

Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.

Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?

Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]

Observation

As the dogs and I were walking along, I noticed that Marci was walking differently. I picked her up and found something on the bottom of her foot that I quickly removed.

Observation – paying attention – requires us to be intentional. It is necessary to be intentional to understand the needs of the people around you. In this busy world, we often don’t listen when someone is talking with us, because we are trying to contemplate the best answer to the conversation or even thinking about the next task we must accomplish, looking beyond the current interaction. Many times, we are so stuck on ourselves and our goal is to be heard instead of to listen. Also, we are rarely present in the moment, and yet this presence is what is needed to show love and compassion to others. Time is precious, and how you use time is a choice. Do you choose to run around on empty and allow the situations around you to dictate your actions? Do you attempt to be in the moment wherever you are at, being at attention, and calmly following the leading of your Father?

Notice that Jesus was always intentional—always present – and able to understand the needs of those around Him. He spent much time in prayer. He spent much time interacting with people, whereby He invested in their lives, actively listening and engaging in conversation. Conversation, such a lost art today.

Today, be mindful of what is happening around you. Wherever you go, be there. Slow down. Listen for His still small voice. Invest in those before you. Enjoy the people God has put before you, and ask God how you can bless them today to bring Him glory.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” – James 1:19 [ESV]

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3 [NIV]