The Last Prayers of Jesus

How encouraging is it when you know someone is praying for you?  Today I hope this post encourages you to know that in Jesus’ last hours on earth He spent His time not teaching another message, but in prayer for US!

How Jesus spent His time on earth is so telling of His character and His heart for us.  Even when Jesus knew He only had hours left to live, He spent His last precious moments in prayer in the presence of God our Father and the disciples.

The last three prayers Jesus spoke on this earth teach us so much about what God desired for us.

John 17:  The Overcomer Prayer:

One of the holiest of prayers in the entire Bible is a prayer Jesus prays in John 17, which was prayed sometime after The Last Supper.  Throughout this whole prayer, Jesus is praying for our security, our joy, our unity and our future.  He prays on our behalf so we know what He’s done for us, given to us and all that he will do for us when we get to heaven.

In the first part of John 17, Jesus first turns to His Father and prays for Himself.  Jesus knew after He left we would still experience trouble in this world but prayed that we would know we are overcomers in Christ and share in His victory.

In John 17:6-19, Jesus then prays for His disciples.  Here Jesus is praying for our protection against the enemy, that we would know the fullness of joy and we would be molded according to His holiness.  In John 17:13-26, Jesus prays for our unity, for us to carry out His mission of spreading God’s love and our future.  The prayer in John 17 shows us how much Jesus cares for us and how He desires the best for us.  He knew we were going to have struggles and prayed for us on our behalf before He left this earth.

A Prayer in the Garden– Mark 14:35-36:

I don’t know if you have ever sat and read the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but it is filled with lots of sorrow and suffering.  Jesus knew the time was coming before he was going to be arrested.  He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, a quiet place to pray and sit with God.  He took His disciples Peter, John, and James with Him to keep watch while He prayed.

Jesus was very troubled and distressed and told His disciples, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death”  (Mark 14:34).  Jesus knew it was only hours before he was going to be arrested and persecuted.  His soul was heavy with the burden of what God was asking Him to do on behalf of everyone else–to bear the penalty for all our sins.

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Mark 14:35-36

Jesus knew His Father was capable of all things.  He turned to Him in His sorrow asking Him to please take this cup from me.  A cup’s symbolism is of deep sorrow and suffering.  Jesus felt as though God was leaving Him behind and turning away from Him when He who had no sin was made to be the sin offering for us.

A Prayer From the Cross–Luke 23:34:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

This prayer that Jesus prays on the cross is one of the most powerful prayers I believe Jesus prays.  Even in death, Jesus cared about our salvation.  He takes His last dying moments to pray for us on the cross and still had the power to make people right with God. It amazes me even as Jesus was ridiculed, persecuted, beaten and crucified He still prayed for those who crucified Him. He even forgave one of the criminals on the cross whom He was sentenced with.  These last moments show how much Jesus cares about our hearts and what they are filled with.  He knew unforgiveness would be the death of us and spent every last moment showing us He is the way to our salvation and the path to our freedom.

The last prayers of Jesus are so telling of how much He loves us.  He spent every last moment praying for us up until His last moments of death.  The prayers Jesus prayed didn’t die that day on the cross.  His prayers continue on from heaven.

We can learn so much from the last prayers of Jesus.  He didn’t allow persecution, being arrested or suffering to keep Him from praying.  He prayed all throughout His suffering and turned to God for His every need, leaving His mark in our lives.

There may be so much suffering and evil in this world, but we can be encouraged that God is praying for us and loves us very much.

There is power in the prayers of Jesus.Click To Tweet

How have the prayers of Jesus marked your life?

How can our prayers leave a mark in others or in this world?

If Jesus was standing before you and asked, “How can I pray for you?”  What would you say?

Praying this Easter Holiday is filled with the prayers of Jesus, his abundant joy, and love in your life!  Happy Easter!

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Lamb of God

With the Easter holiday approaching, I wanted to take us back to the reason for the season of why we really celebrate Easter.  As I enter into stores my eyes are bombarded with empty plastic eggs, Easter baskets and bunnies.  Really the Easter bunny has nothing to do with why we celebrate Easter.  The world has made the most holy of holidays into propaganda.  The Easter and Christmas holidays have become a reason to spend money on gifts that have nothing to do with what is actually being celebrated.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus is called the Lamb of God?

In the Old Testament, those who sought forgiveness for their sins would choose a sheep or a goat to sacrifice on an altar.  A person would receive atonement for their sins from the blood of the animal being shed.

 “The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.”  Exodus 12:5

Specific instructions would be given to choosing an animal without blemish or broken bones and how to prepare and celebrate the animal after being sacrificed.  The animal wasn’t just a sacrifice for sins, but something to be consumed by the community afterward, not to be wasted.

“It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.”  Exodus 12:46-47

Passover is a holy holiday that the Jewish community celebrates the Passover in which “the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”  Exodus 12:27.  (To read more about the Passover read Exodus 12:21-28).  Every year the Jewish community celebrates Passover by sacrificing and consuming a Passover Lamb.

The last week that Jesus was alive on earth, the Jewish community was getting ready to celebrate the Passover.  Little did they know their lives would be changed forever.

The turn of events that happened before Jesus’ death was orchestrated by God Himself.  Jesus told Peter he would be the one to deny Him and that Judas would betray Him.  Once Jesus was in the hands of Pilate and the Roman soldiers He was…

flogged and a crown of thorns was placed on his head.  John 19:1

He was struck, spit on, the crown of thorns was twisted on his head and He was given 39 lashes.  Mark 15:19

The horizontal crossbar of the cross was tied around the arms of Jesus in which He was made to carry up the hill of Golgotha (which weighed 75-125 pounds, the whole cross weighed 300 pounds) John 19:17.

Jesus’ arms and feet were nailed to the cross.  Each wrought iron nail was 7-9 inches in length.  Mark 15:24

The Nails they used were 7-9 inches long

This is merely a glimpse of what Jesus endured and went through.  There were two other men hanging on the crosses with Jesus.  The Sabbath was approaching.   The Sanhedrin went before Pilate to ask him to not allow any bodies left hanging on the crosses during sundown on the Sabbath.  This particular day was the day before Passover their most holy of holidays.  They asked Pilate to have the ‘ legs broken and the bodies taken down’ (John 19:31).

Death was lingering too long, so Pilate ordered the legs of those hanging on the cross to be broken. The weight of a person’s body usually caused their death on the cross after their legs were broken, from asphyxiation–crushing their own lungs.

The Roman soldiers broke the legs of the other men first.  When they came to Jesus they discovered He had already died and did not break His legs.  “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.  The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true.” John 19: 34-35.

Why is this all so significant?

Isn’t it amazing that after all the beatings, the flogging, the crucifixion and piercing Jesus endured that not one bone was broken in his body?

These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled. Not one of his bones will be broken” John 19:36'Click To Tweet

While Jesus was on earth He was without sin and defect, He was perfect. 

“but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” 1 Peter 1:19.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed”  Isaiah 53:5.

Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities and received a punishment we deserved.  All of His suffering was not for nothing.  It was to fulfill the greater plan of God.

Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). Click To Tweet

Jesus is the Passover lamb. He is the Lamb of God.  In the Old Testament, when instructions were given for the Passover Lamb, it was to be prepared by roasting and cooking it by the fire. From the beginning of time, God was preparing us.  It wasn’t enough to just sacrifice the lamb but to also partake in it. The lamb wasn’t meant to just be observed, but also be consumed by the people (Exodus 12:46-47).  Jesus didn’t come to just be observed on the cross, but to be consumed in our everyday lives.

What does this mean for us in our everyday lives?

“God made him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” 2 Corinthians 5:21Click To Tweet

Jesus dying on the cross for our sins changed everything!  The sacrificial lamb no longer needed to be sacrificed for every sin.  That lamb can only atone one person for their sins.  Jesus, the Lamb of God, came to shed His blood making it possible to atone all for their sins.

Jesus died once to pay the price for all.

Jesus isn’t just a figure in our lives that we observe on the cross.   He desires to have an active role in our lives, a relationship with us–to give us life-giving sustenance. When we choose to partake in the beautiful message of Easter, in the good news of the gospel, we are loving God with all of our heart, all of our mind and all of our soul (Matthew 22:37).

We can nail our sins to the cross

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross”  Colossians 2:13-14

When Jesus died on the cross, it gave us a chance to nail our own sins on the cross.  Jesus’ act of taking our place, dying on the cross for our sins is something He did one time but is something that gives eternally forever more.  Jesus loves us so much, He took our place for us so we can be in heaven one day with Him.  You are loved!  I pray this Easter you will partake in the Lamb of God and celebrate the reason for the season.

'For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord' Romans 6:23Click To Tweet

His gift to all of us is eternal life.  Have you accepted God’s gift of eternal life this Easter?  When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, death has no power over us.  Have a Happy Easter!

Isn’t it amazing how Jesus became sin for us, took our place and suffered for us?

Why do you celebrate Easter?  What does Easter mean to you?

He is our Redeemer, our Savior, our Healer, our God is capable of anything.  God makes the most perfect and amazing plans.  

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”  John 3:16-17

It’s all about meeting Jesus right where we are. In Him, we have life to the full that is complete and everlasting. Have a blessed week!

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Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Have you ever prayed a prayer to God pleading on your behalf to please take this sorrow and suffering away?  Have you ever questioned God and asked, “God, if you’re a loving God, then why do you allow so much suffering?”

I don’t know if you have ever sat and read the prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but it is filled with lots of sorrow and suffering.  Jesus knew the time was coming before he was going to be arrested.  He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, a quiet place to pray and sit with God.  He took Peter, John, and James with Him to keep watch while He prayed.

Jesus was very troubled and distressed.  He even told His three disciples, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death”  (Mark 14:34).  Jesus knew it was only hours before he was going to be arrested and persecuted.  His soul was heavy with the burden of what God was asking Him to do on behalf of everyone else–to bear the penalty of all our sins.

Jesus found a quiet spot and fell with his face to the ground praying and pleading with His Father, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You.  Take this cup away from me, nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will”  (Mark 14:35-36).

Jesus knew His Father was capable of all things.  He even turned to Him in His sorrow asking Him to please take this cup from me.  A cup’s symbolism is of deep sorrow and suffering.  Jesus felt as though God was leaving Him behind and turning away from Him when He who had no sin was made to be the sin offering for us.

Jesus didn't want to suffer but in the end, submitted to God and said not what I will, but what You will.Click To Tweet

God allowed Jesus to be arrested even though he was innocent.  He even allowed Jesus to be flogged, beaten and crucified despite never sinning.  God allowed His own Son to suffer, not because he didn’t care, but for US.  God doesn’t need us, yet He chose us.  He didn’t allow His own Son to suffer for nothing, but all for His glory.

God doesn’t like it when we hurt.  He doesn’t like it when we suffer.  We are His children when we hurt, He hurts.  God doesn’t desire for us to suffer but has made a plan to carry us through to the other side of our suffering where His greatest blessings reside.

If anyone knows suffering it’s Jesus.  He suffered too.

If anyone knows scars it’s Jesus.  He has scars too.

If anyone knows heartache and burdens it’s Jesus, He had them too.

In our trials, God doesn’t leave us, He’s right there with us.  In the Bible, God let Peter fall in the water, but He didn’t let him drown.  God allowed Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den, but He didn’t allow the lions to eat him.  God allowed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be thrown into the fiery furnace but He didn’t allow them to get burned.

God’s plan for us isn’t to fail but to succeed in His plans for us.  The trials we go through may hurt a lot, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us.  God is always for us not against us.  We can hold onto God’s promises of who He is.  Two promises God always keeps is He is good all the time and He loves us.  If He didn’t, He would have never sent His only son to die for us.

Are you going through a trial right now that seems hopeless?

We can learn from Jesus, that in our trials when we are filled with sorrow and suffering, we can always turn towards God, Our Father, who makes all things possible.  We can give God our sorrows and sufferings just like Jesus did so He can turn them into something so much better.  Whatever you are going through know you are not alone, God is with you.  You are loved!

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Developing a Prayer Plan for the New Year

Welcome back!  Last week’s post Making a Successful Plan for Your Upcoming New Year we discussed–What were some of your goals?  Did you pick a word for your year?  I hope some of you will share what your goals are and what word you picked.  Picking a word will help give our year more purpose and vision.  

How did it go when writing your goals?  Was it fun or painful!?!?  Goal setting can be tough because it asks tough questions about ourselves.  Was I successful?  What did I accomplish or haven’t accomplished?

The word I picked for 2018 is Difference. in 2018, I want to make a difference in all areas of my life–with my time, my finances, my family, friends and with my faith.

Others have shared their word with me;  Presence, Hope, Believe, Freedom, Intentional and Restored.  Whatever your word is, apply it to all areas of your life to live fully in God’s design for you.

Goal Writing Tips:
Write goals with meaning and purpose instead of performance.  For example, we may write, I want to make more money in 2018.  That is a good goal, but there is not a measurable outcome.  When is it enough money?  Instead, write– I want to make enough money to provide for my family’s needs.  It is not realistic for all of us to be millionaires but it is realistic for us to be happy with what we have and enjoy the process.  Goals are not meant to suck the joy out of us, but to put purpose and direction back in.

Coming up with a Strategic Plan for Prayer over our goals is just as important as writing your goals.  Keep the goal lists handy to be constantly praying over the goals.  

Be Specific in Prayer in these 5 areas:

1.  Roadblocks–  Ask God to take away anything that is hindering us from accomplishing our goals.  Taking away roadblocks, can help move us forward, go farther in reaching our goals and see so much clearly when accomplishing our goals. “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every obstruction from my people’s way” (Isaiah 57:14).  

2.  Time–  Give God our time that he has already given us.  There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week.  The time God has given us is all we have.  Give God your time and he will give you all the time you need.  Ask God–‘help me keep the scheduled time I have with you.’  “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand”  (Psalm 31:14).

3.  Desires of your heart–  Ask God for Him to place the desires of your heart when setting goals.  When we live in the design that God has created us to live, we experience His abundant joy, hope, love, and freedom.  “Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”  (Proverbs 4:23).  

4.  Wisdom–  Ask God to help you be realistic but not sell yourself short.  When setting goals it is important to be intentional with your time.  Asking for wisdom will help you make better choices that will set you up for success in the future.  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

5.  Strength–  To accomplish our goals we need perseverance and endurance.  There will be times we want to quit and feel as though we can’t go on.  Anyone can quit, but it takes courage, drive and passion to make it to the end.   Never underestimate what you can learn in the process, these will be some of the most valuable lessons we learn.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippine 4:13

What Prayers will make an impact in your upcoming year?  

When making your goals ask yourself these two important questions.

1.  Are these goals adding value to my life or taking away value?
2.  Am I living in the Plan God has for my life?

Prayer-  Dear God, I pray this year we will be more purposeful and intent full with our time and money you have given us and use them the way you have designed us to use them.  Please guide our steps to teach us, show us how you want us to accomplish and achieve our goals as we start our New Year.  We love you, God.  Amen.

 

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Keep Praying for your Goals!  Praying for a Successful New Year that will be Filled Abundantly with God’s blessings in your life!  Happy New Year!  

I would love to hear from you.  Leave Your Comments Below.


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Making a Successful Plan for Your Goals in the New Year

New Years Resolutions, Goal Setting, and Fitness Challenges are all the hype at the beginning of each year.  Making resolutions for healthier living, setting goals and signing up for challenges are great, but will never be successful without making a plan or a strategy.

Goals are great.  They give us a focus, a direction and motivate us to move in a positive direction.  They initiate growth and help us reach something we thought wasn’t attainable.

Are you seeking Financial Freedom?  Dave Ramsey Financial Peace guru has a financial success plan for you.  Are you a writer that has been wanting to write a book?  Chances are Michael Hyatt who has developed Platform University has the keys to success that you need.  Want to become a better parent?  Drs. Fay have developed Love and Logic parenting strategies that take the struggle out of discipline.  Want to develop healthier habits of living without feeling overwhelmed?  Rick Warren has written the Daniel Plan that focuses on Faith, Family, Fitness, and Food.

When we set goals, we turn to the experts for advice.  In goal setting and planning, there is no better expert than God.

Did you know in the Bible, God gives us instructions on how to use our time wisely and write a plan for our goals?

God provides Scripture of how to be successful in attaining our goals.

Setting our goals is just the first step.   Initiating a clear cut plan will set us up for long term success.

'The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps' Proverbs 16:9Click To Tweet

5 Ways God Helps us Make a Plan for our Goals-


1.  Write them Down–  We have to start somewhere.  Putting the pen to the paper and writing them down is a good place to start.  A goal becomes a reality when we write them out.  “Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets, For still the vision awaits its appointed time;  If it seems slow, wait for it;  it will surely come; it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:2-3).  Start first by reviewing your year.  Ask yourself what areas did I succeed in?  What areas do I still need to work on?  I separate my goals into 5 categories;  Faith, Family/Friends, Finances, Fitness, and Fun.  This will better give you a vision for our goals.

2.  Pray for your Goals–  When setting your goals, ask God what are the desires he has for your heart.  “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart”  Psalm 37:4.  It is okay to set your own personal goals.  God has probably given you certain skills and talents to be able to achieve your goals.  Allow room for God’s plan to take place, so he can do his work within you.  Once your goals have been written, keep your goal list nearby and continually pray over your goals for the upcoming year.

3.  Be Intentional–  When writing your goals, be specific and purposeful.  This will allow your goals to have vision and direction.  Give your goals an attainable and measurable outcome.  “Plans of the diligent leads to profit.”  (Proverbs 21:5).  Give your goals a realistic time frame, be diligent and your work will pay off in the long run.

4.  Prioritize–  Review your goals and star 1-2 of them that are highest priority or most important to start working on first.  This will help provide you with a direction and focus of which goals to start working on.  No one gets anywhere by being lazy or taking on more than they can handle.  To make your goals a reality, they take proper planning, commitment, dedication and motivation.  Giving your targeted goal the quality time they need will set you up for success for the future.  “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth”  (Proverbs 10:4).  

5.  Make a Schedule–  Be realistic with your time commitments.  The best way to be successful in reaching your goal, is to schedule time in your calendar and stick with it.  Make your goal a priority and you will reap the rewards of attaining them.  Most importantly, plan your time with God, put him in your schedule, but let him do the planning.  Scheduling time with God will be the best plan of your life.  For He knows the plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11).  

How do you want to be more successful in this upcoming year?  

What Goals  Would you like to Accomplish in the New Year?

God isn’t interested in us becoming better, he wants us to be better than EVER!

Our goals become a reality with prayer, proper planning, prioritizing them and making a schedule.  Writing goals not your thing?  Make it simple and just pick one word to describe your year–it’s a good place to start.  

What word describes your upcoming year?  Join me next week and we will talk about what our word is and how to make a strategic prayer plan that will set you up for a successful new year!  I want to hear your goals and what word you picked!!!

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Praying for a Successful New Year and that is filled Abundantly with God’s blessings in your life!  Happy New Year!  

I would love to hear from you! Leave Your Comments Below.


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Top 10 Things I would like to Leave Behind in 2017: A Year in Review

At the end of every year, it’s always fun to reminisce about all the fun and happy memories one has had over the year.  It is also a good time to write goals and get rid of any junk or clutter getting in the way of reaching our goals.

I don’t know about you, but I love getting rid of clutter to help clear paths to achieve goals.

I asked my family what is something you would like to leave behind this year?  What is something you do not want to take into the New Year?  Here are our Family’s responses.  (You can Probably guess which ones are our kids’ responses)

Top 10 Things to Leave Behind in 2017:
1.  Negativity–  Nobody likes a Negative Nelly.  Negativity is a sure way to a bad attitude which never leads to anywhere good.  In 2018 I want to trade negative attitudes in for positive ones.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”  (Ephesians 4:29).

2.  Fear–  Being Scared of the unknown is a sure way to get into a vicious cycle of worry and anxiety.  Who wants that?  Not me.  The best thing to trade our Fears in for is more Faith.

“Trust in the Lord with All your Heart, Lean not on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

3.  Poor use of Time–  I want to trade in any Lack of Planning in for being more intentional and purposeful with my time.  The best person to give our time to is God.  God will provide all the time we need when we give it to him.  Time spent with God is time well spent.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

4.  Busyness–  Filling my time with busyness and distractions is a guarantee for burnout and being tired.  This year I want to let my ‘yes’ be ‘yes and my ‘no’ be ‘no’ (James 5:12) so I don’t overcommit or overextend myself.

5.  Regret–  Allowing fear to dictate actions is a good way to get into a pile of regret.  Living a life of love the way God intended us to live, helps to leave regret behind and look forward to the life that God has designed for us.

6.  Accumulating Stuff–  This year is a year to live with less.  When I have less, I have more room for what God has intended for me.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

7.  Silly Arguments–  Maybe you are a better person than me, but I would like to trade in silly arguments for positive, encouraging remarks.  Who really cares if the toilet seat wasn’t put down?  Instead of being quick to start a silly argument I want to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19).

8.  Sweating the small stuff–  Worrying about every little thing leads only to more worry.  Worry never changes the situation or the outcome, it only brings more grief and worry.  In 2018, I want to trade worry in for more Trust in God.  He’s Got it!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”  (Matthew 6:34).

9.  Disorganization–  When you consistently can’t find your keys, clutter starts to pile up and life starts to spiral out of control;  maybe it’s time to trade in the clutter and chaos for more order.  Take the time to get rid of clutter and organize your spaces.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”  1 Corinthians 14:33

10.  Disconnected–  I have gotten into a bad habit, of spending time on social media when I should be present with whoever I am with.  Just because there is downtime doesn’t mean I have to pick up my phone.  This year I want to be present with whoever I am with, not trading face to face interaction in for screen time.

Have you made a list of things of your Fun Happy Memories from 2017?  

What would you like to leave behind in 2017?  

It is a good activity to do with your family to start with a clean slate for the New Year!

Prayer:  Dear God,

I want to start my New Year off to the right start.  Help me identify the clutter in my life, anything getting in the way of reaching my goals you desire for me.  Help me use the time you have given me wisely and keep my path clear of junk and live how you designed me!  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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May your New Year be Filled Abundantly more with God’s Blessings of Love, Joy, Peace and Freedom! I would love to hear from you.  Leave Your Comments Below.


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Wise Men Seek Him

 

Have you ever been behind the scenes to a concert or TV/movie set?  Going behind the scenes really gives a different perspective of what actually goes into producing a live performance or show.  You get so much more in-depth information and details about the performance going behind the scenes.

Prophecies in the Bible do the same thing–they give us a behind the scene glimpse of what is to come.  The Christmas story is the fulfillment of many prophecies foretelling the birth of our Savior.  In Micah, we learn Jesus would be born in the town of Bethlehem.  In Isaiah, we learn Jesus would be born a king of the line of David and that a child would be born of a virgin.  One of my favorite prophecies of the Christmas story is in Psalms when we learn Kings would bring him gifts and fall down before him.

Psalm 72:10-11  “The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him;  the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts.  All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.”

Over 2,000 years ago there was a lot going on behind the scenes of The Christmas Story.  Baby Jesus had already been born in Bethlehem and the Magi had already set out on their journey following the star that had come from the east (Matthew 2:1-2).

The Magi were a group of wise men probably from the area of Persia, who were some of the most intelligent men that existed during their time.  They studied astrology, maps, and stars things most of us wouldn’t pay attention to.

Have you ever wondered how did the Magi a group of Gentile men, end up in Jerusalem in search of the king of the Jews?

Matthew 2:1-1  “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?”  We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him”

According to the prophecy in Psalms, the kings were to come out of Tarshish, a land very far from Jerusalem.  They merely had one single star from the east as their beacon to guide them to the location of Jesus.

It makes me wonder, how did the Magi end up in Jerusalem?  Did they have copies of Old Testament Manuscripts and closely followed the prophecies that a star shall come out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel (Num. 24:17)?  Or did they have a revelation from God Himself?

It amazes me the far distance these non-Jewish men traveled, to worship the newborn King of the Jews and how they recognized the star as the announcement of Jesus’s birth.

The Magi’s question, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?”  caused the priests and Jewish scholars to provide the answer they were looking for.  They referred to the prophecy in Micah, that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:9-10 “….After they went on their way, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star they were overjoyed.”

This star from the east was quite the miracle, now leading them to the actual house where Jesus lived!  Contrary to what modern day nativity scenes display, the Magi did not visit baby Jesus in the manger the night he was born.  Because of the distance of their travels, they did not arrive until months later.

Matthew 2:11 “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”

In Matthew we see the prophecy in Psalms being fulfilled–kings will present him gifts, bow down to him and all nations will serve him.   Can you even imagine traveling for months, carrying the weight of these treasures, not really knowing where you’re going and depending on a star for directions?  
The Magi went far lengths to not just offer these gifts to Jesus, but to open them in His presence.  These gifts were worthy of a king depicting the picture of what one day will be given to the Messiah.  The Magi give us a wonderful example of what distance are we willing to go to worship and give God gifts the way He has given us.  
Even the wisest men were seeking Jesus the new king.Click To Tweet

Have you opened God’s abundant gift this Christmas?

What is you’re favorite part of The Christmas Story?

Even wise men need Jesus.  I hope you enjoyed behind the scenes of The Christmas Story!  May you open the abundant gift God has given you this Christmas, the gift of Jesus!  Have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

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Would you like to know more about the Christmas story and what it means to you?  Message me below, “I want more information,”  or message me privately.  Merry Christmas!

 Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 22). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

What I am Most Thankful For……

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s a season for giving thanks, fellowship, serving one another and sharing a meal with each other.  It’s a time we can enjoy each other and share what we are thankful for.

Or maybe it’s not.  Maybe Thanksgiving reveals everything we don’t have and haven’t accomplished.  Thanksgiving may be like a magnifying glass examining the little details of our lives that expose everything we are not.

To cover up our flaws, we assemble the perfect table and meal, making it seem like we have it all together, but really we’re falling apart on the inside.

Can you relate?

Of course, I am thankful for my family, our health and how abundantly blessed we are.  It’s so easy to thank God when things are going well in our lives.  It’s not so easy when they are not.

When things are falling apart and I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread, I am most thankful for Jesus.  I am thankful that even in my messes, I am complete in Jesus.  Even in my suffering, I am blessed.

It’s amazing when Jesus meets us in our messes, our storms, and flaws–He turns them into life’s greatest blessings.  

If I never experienced failure, I would never know the deeper meaning of perseverance–How God makes the impossible, possible.

If I never trained for a marathon, I would never have known the power of God’s strength.

If I never went through the loss of our son, I would never experience the deeper meaning of God’s love and His glorious plan that one day we will see him again.

If I never had trials in my marriage or as a parent, I would never have realized the value in growing my patience and building a stronger foundation in Jesus.  

To remove our messes, our struggles and flaws are to remove God’s glorious blessings.  


What am I Most Thankful For?  Jesus.  

I am not thankful for my trials but am thankful to have Jesus to walk with me in my trials.

When I struggle, I think of Job.  When his cattle was destroyed he still gave thanks.  When his family was killed he still gave thanks to God.  When his crops were destroyed he gave thanks.  When his health was at stake, he gave thanks.  When everything was taken away from him, he never stopped thanking God.  His thankfulness in his devastation produced a greater blessing he could have ever received than if he focused on everything he didn’t have.

No Jesus + Everything = Nothing.

Jesus + Nothing= Everything

Even when I have nothing, I have everything in Jesus.  There is always something to be thankful for.  I am nothing without Jesus.
  
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”  (1 Thes. 5:18)

Behind every trial, there is a greater blessing.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks not just for what we are grateful for.  Thank God for everything in between–the struggle, the trial and our flaws and you will be blessed beyond measure.

When we GIVE THANKS in our trials, it helps us focus on God’s GOODNESS and that His LOVE endures FOREVER.  

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1)

A Thanksgiving Prayer-  

THANK YOU, Lord Jesus, not only for our family, our health and the food we will eat this THANKSGIVING But also for our TRIALS we have endured this year.  We are not thankful for our suffering, but thankful that you are good and know what is BEST for US!

THANK YOU for giving us what we NEED not what we WANT.  You Always have the best plans ever!  THANK YOU for going AHEAD of us and PREPARING  a place for us, even in our STRUGGLES we know this is only our TEMPORARY HOME.

THANK YOU for our circumstances that are beyond our control, they TEACH US to depend and lean on you making us closer to YOU.  THANK YOU for unanswered PRAYERS, they help us to TRUST in you, in your PERFECT PLAN.

THANK YOU for WALKING with US in the fiery furnace.  If you we didn’t have your hand to hold onto we would never know you are ALWAYS with us and will NEVER leave US.  THANK YOU for your FORGIVENESS when we fail and make bad choices.  THANK YOU for your LOVE and ALWAYS being there even in our MESSES.

THANK YOU for our DESPERATE Moments when we feel like we have nothing left, we can always depend on YOUR STRENGTH.  THANK YOU for our roadblocks and detours, they show us that when we follow Jesus, He knows the WAY!

THANK YOU for our failures and losses, they show us there is no greater reward than Jesus.  THANK YOU for your perfect gift of ETERNAL LIFE!  No matter what we go through it does not compare to the glorious reward of HEAVEN when we accept Jesus as our Savior!  THANK YOU for your PERFECT LOVE AND PLAN!  AMEN

What are you Most Thankful For this Thanksgiving?

What will you give Thanks for?

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Unexpected Easter Blessings

Have you ever received a blessing from God that was beyond measure than anything you have ever received?

Easter in itself is a blessing that I will always cherish when God gave his only son for us. But there are two Easter blessings that will forever be engraved in my heart.

Last Easter, it was our second year living in Alaska. Last Easter was also my husband and I wedding anniversary. The day started out like any other day for me. I got up early intending to go to the sunrise Easter service then come back and all go together as a family. This morning however everyone got up early and somehow someway we all got dressed and made it to the sunrise service at the chapel on base on time. On this particular day it also had been snowing. I had experienced white Christmases before but never a white Easter.

Have you ever had one of those amazing moments orchestrated by God?

Well this day was one of those moments. As the choir was singing, they sang a song about how much Jesus loves us and washes our sins white as snow. It was snowing outside on Easter Sunday, my whole family was with me, it was our anniversary, the choir was praising Jesus—it was one of the most beautifully orchestrated moments in my life. Because I knew that this orchestrated moment was never going to happen the way it was at this moment again. Then it happened. I started bawling like a baby. Once I started crying I couldn’t stop. I was so overwhelmed with emotion and the beautiful gift God had given me that day it was all I could do but not cry. My husband looked over at me and said “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” I said “yes.” He said, “then why are you crying?” I said, “because everything is just so beautiful!”

It was the one of the best Easter blessings God ever gave me besides sending Jesus.

Have you ever gone through a tragedy, then God turned it into your biggest blessing?

Easter 2011 was the worst and best Easter we have ever experienced. If you can only imagine, in April 2011 my husband and I endured the loss of our son from a fatal genetic kidney disease. Even though our son fought a good fight for almost 2 weeks, God had other plans for him to be with him in heaven. Our son died in our arms on Holy Thursday. It was the most surreal experience to go through knowing Jesus sacrificed his life for us on the cross on Good Friday while mourning the loss of our son. It was like our son and Jesus were going through the death, the burial and resurrection at the same time.

“He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” Luke 24:6-7

Then 3 days later if you can even believe it, we all got up and went to church Easter Sunday. Needless to say the emotions of our son’s loss and honoring what Jesus had done for us were intense. As I was sitting in church that day, I have heard the Easter story hundreds of times before but never had I looked at the death of Jesus from God’s eyes. As I was sitting in my seat mad at God, I asked him ‘why did you take our son?’ After asking this question, I realized if there was anyone who knew the pain I was going through it was God. God understood the loss of a child as well.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”

I now had a glimpse of the pain God went through when he sacrificed his own son for us. This pain brought me to my knees and viewed God in a whole new light. This pain gave me a new perspective of what God really did for us and how much he loves us.

John 3:16 says,“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Even though the pain of losing our son was unbearable, that Easter Sunday turned into one of the most amazing blessings God could have ever given to us. I don’t think the timing of our son’s death was a coincidence. Celebrating Easter the same weekend our son died, encapsulated everything God had already gone ahead of us and done. Easter has a whole new meaning for me. Not only is it a celebration of what God did for us but also the celebration of our son living in heaven. What an amazing gift from God to let us know our son is safe in the arms of Jesus. He is taking care of him. He is no longer suffering or in pain.

“From his abundance we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16 NLTClick To Tweet

Heaven also took on a whole new meaning. Heaven isn’t just a far away place we get to visit one day, it is real right now. Heaven is where our son lives right now and where we will see him again one day. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord in our lives, heaven is a place that is right here right now. Where God’s love resides there are places of heaven here on earth.

Sometimes God’s blessings are found in the most unexpected places.

What Easter Blessing have you received?

Have you experienced an unexpected Easter Blessing? Please Share!

It’s all about meeting Jesus right where we are. In Him we have life to the full that is complete and everlasting. Have a blessed week!

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