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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!  Mother's and grandmothers are special and have a purpose that God created them for before they were born.

I am thankful to have had a mother who taught her children by the way she lived life. She was perfect in my eyes--a wonderful Christian woman--humble, gentle, and full of such a deep love for her family. She taught us how to love God and others. Although she is in heaven, I still miss her so much and am comforted by the fact that one day we will be reunited. 

I want to share the following excerpts from the Wisdom Hunter's Devotional, entitled "A Mother's Love", written by Boyd Bailey.  It speaks to my heart and expresses my own feeling as to the Christ-like characteristics my mother possessed.

"As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children” (1 Thessalonians 2:6b-7).

"A mother’s love reflects the love of the Lord, deep in its capacity and generous in its application. She awakens in the middle of the night to nurse a hungry infant or care for a sick child. Her intuition injects love at points of pain and in situations that require extensive encouragement. A mother’s love lingers long in conversation and understands with her sensitive heart. She loves, because Christ’s love compels her to love like Him.

Moreover, a mother’s love is loyal and longstanding. A child may be in trouble, but Mom is always close by, full of compassion and acceptance. Her love can be blind in its loyalty, but her offspring never doubts where they are welcome. Jesus was rejected by angry, jealous men and abandoned by His closest friends, but His mother was waiting with Him to the bitter end, “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother…” (John 19:25a).

A mother’s love even has the capacity to be a mother to those who are not biologically her own. She opens her home, shares her food, gives her time, dispenses her wisdom, and encourages obedience to follow Christ. Paul experienced this. “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too” (Romans 16:13). Moms sometime mother greatness not their own.

Lastly, a mother’s love is gentle; the way God is gentle toward His children. He calls us to love and to lead like Jesus. Love serves people and does not rule with rigor. “God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey” (2 Timothy 2:24, TM)."

Thankfully, my mother was the type of person Mr. Bailey speaks of in his devotional. How thankful I am for always knowing mother would  welcome me home in spite of my failures and poor choices. This is also how our heavenly Father is.  He loves us in spite of our failures and bids us to come to Him for rest, safety and comfort.   For me, knowing that He loves me that much gives a peace deep within that nothing else can even come close to giving. I pray that each of you have, or will, experience this peace in your heart and life.  God bless.

Prayer: Father, God.  Thank You for the privilege of motherhood.  Help each of us to continually look to You for guidance in our role as mothers and grandmothers. Lead us in love to be the kind of role models that You desire, so that we might gain the respect and love of our families.  I pray this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Standing on the Promises

Last night at my Bible study class, I learned that there are over 30,000 promises found in God’s Word.  God, through the Holy Spirit, reveals Himself to non-believers through the promises and instruction found in His Word.  For the believer in Jesus Christ, these promises will strengthen and provide encouragement through each season and circumstance of life.

God showed His great love for mankind through the promise of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  (Luke 2:8-14 and Matthew 1:21)   There could never be any greater love shown to us than that of Jesus Christ laying down His life, so that we might believe on Him and one day spend eternity with Him in heaven. 
God’s promises are also meant to help Christians grow spiritually.  The more we study His Word, the more we trust God in all circumstances. The many promises found in God’s Word are needed at different stages in our life and in the varying circumstances that we face.   If we are hurting, afraid, anxious, discouraged, doubting, tempted, needing peace or guidance, or overcome by guilt, trials, and monumental circumstances that have left us feeling defeated, rest assured that God’s Word will never fail. His Word comforts beyond what we can imagine. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8).  He is God.  He does not change (Malachi 3:6).  Through His Word, He says what He means and means what He says.  
I am very thankful for God’s Word and the promises found therein.  His Word is a “light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet.” (Psalm 119:105) Therefore, I rest in Him with the joy, peace and calm assurance that I am His and He is mine.  I have everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose by a life spent serving Jesus Christ.
I found the list below in my Bible.  I do not know how long it has been there or where it came from, but these thirty-two scriptures and references prompted my writing tonight.  These promises of who we are in Christ give us reason to rejoice. Truly, we have been set free through His shed blood on the cross.
The Word of God says we are:
1.      “Justified by faith, at peace with God and standing in His grace.”  Romans 5:1-2
2.      “Justified by His blood and saved from the wrath of God through Him.”  Romans 5:9
3.      “Reconciled to God through the death of His Son, and saved by His life.” Romans 5:10
4.      “Made righteous by the obedience of Christ.” Romans 5:19
5.      “The righteousness of God, in Christ.”  2 Corinthians 5:21
6.      “Crucified with Christ and no longer a slave to sin.” Romans 6:6
7.      “Dead in Christ and freed from sin.” Romans 1:7
8.      “Dead to sin, but alive to God in Jesus Christ.” Romans 6:11
9.      “Not under law, but under grace.” Romans 5:14
10.  “Freed from sin and have become a slave to righteousness.” Romans 6:18
11.  “Made dead to the law through the body of Christ, and joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead.” Romans 7:4
12.  “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
13.  “Set free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:2
      14.  “Not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.” Romans 8:9
15.  “Led by the Spirit of God, and are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14
16.  “Called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
17.  “A conqueror through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
18.  “Sanctified in Christ Jesus, a saint by calling.” I Corinthians 1:2
19.  “Alive in Christ.”  I Corinthians 15:22
20.  “Comforted in all affliction so that I may be able to comfort others.” 2 Corinthians 1:4
21.  “In Christ, and therefore a new creature.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
22.  “Reconciled to God, through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:18
23.  “Delivered out of this present age.” Galatians 1:4
24.  “Not justified by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 2:16
25.  “No longer a slave, but a son, an adopted son, an heir through God.” Galatians 4:7
26.  “Set free by Christ.” Galatians 5:1
27.  “Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 1:13
28.  “Raised up with Him, and seated with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6
29.  “Saved by grace, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
30.  “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Ephesians 2:10
31.  “Delivered from the domain of darkness, and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Colossians 1:13
32.  “Reconciled in His fleshly body, through death, in order to stand presented before Him, made holy, made blameless, made beyond reproach.” Colossians 1:22

If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus today, please ask God to reveal Himself to you through His Word.  He is not willing that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9). You must come before Him with a willing heart and believe that He is who He says He is; that He can do what He says He can do; and that through Jesus Christ, you can begin a new life of forgiveness, salvation, peace and eternal life apart from that which you are presently experiencing. 
Prayer:  Dear Lord, You alone are God.  There is no other. Thank You for the many, many promises found in Your Word.  So many times, we hold on to these promises in desperation, and at other times, we look to these promises with joy, anticipation, and excitement.  Thank you for meeting our needs during the different seasons of life’s circumstances.  Bless all who read these words and use them for Your glory and Yours alone.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.
Song: Standing on the Promises, written by R. Kelso Carter (1849-1928), sung by Alan Jackson.