Thursday, December 17, 2015

It Was Always the Plan

God had a plan from the very beginning. Look at these beautiful verses in the Old Testament that tell of our Savior's birth.  That's right, I said "Old Testament".  Hundreds of years prior to Jesus' birth, the Bible told us of His coming. Jesus, The Creator, would become flesh and dwell among us, and ultimately die and be resurrected for us all. It was always the plan. Today I'm thankful for God's amazing plan for us!

Isaiah 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

 Michah 5:2  But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.

Isaiah 9:6  For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Cake for Jesus!

I'm missing my Mother-in-Love today. She always made a birthday cake for Jesus and brought it to our Bible study class for our Christmas party.  Today was our Bible study party and we had no birthday cake for Jesus.  It was a great party, but I couldn't help but think about that cake. Today I want to share with you how to make the most perfect birthday cake for Jesus in hopes that you might make one for your family and friends:

Jesus Birthday Cake

  • You will make three layered round cake. - Round like the world in which Jesus was born into.
  • Bottom layer - Chocolate  - Brown represents our sin which is dirty & ugly.
  • Middle layer - Add red food coloring to 1/2 of a white cake mix.- Red represents His blood which He shed for us.
  • Top layer - Add green food coloring to 1/2 of a white cake mix.-Green Represents how we should grow more like Him.
  • White frosting all on the outside of the cake represents the purity of Jesus' sinless life, and how we can be seen as righteous in God's eyes because His blood has covered our sins.
  • A Yellow star in the middle of the cake represents the star which shown and provided direction for the wise men. 
  • One candle in the middle of the star represents Jesus' being the light of the world. 
  • Each child takes a candle and lights it from the one on the cake and puts it in the cake around the edges. This represents us letting Jesus' light shine through us.
  • Sing Happy Birthday Jesus and blow out the candles.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

How Will You Celebrate?

I have witnessed the most amazing thing this week. I've watched Church members helping Church members AND non-Church members in their times of need. It's beautiful. I'm so moved that I could just sit in my room all day long and cry tears of joy over what I have seen. Why would someone help a complete stranger in such a caring way? Why would someone sacrifice financially to help a stranger in need? Why would someone spend their time putting together a gift for someone they have never met. I have found the answer.  Are you ready for this? Here it is: GIVING IN THE NAME OF JESUS IS BETTER THAN RECEIVING.

It truly is that simple. This giving thing is where it's at. Oh yeah, we all want that special gift under the tree on Christmas, but how many of us can remember all the gifts we've unwrapped Christmas morning? I can't remember them all. I'd have to really think about it to tell you what I got just last year. However, forever etched in my mind is the memory of watching others give to others this week in the name of Jesus. I will never forget what I've seen. Unconditional love. Sacrifice. Concern. All of these on display while the gift givers were pointing to Jesus our Savior.

What are your plans for Christmas? How will you and your family celebrate?

I'm going to celebrate the Biggest Gift ever given by giving. And I'm going to celebrate every day this month!! It's going to cost me something - maybe time, money or other resources - but selfishly I'm looking forward to the faces that might just get a glimpse of Jesus. Selfishly I'm looking forward to the amazing memories and the adventure of it all.

Happy birthday, Jesus. I'm so glad you came to save us. Help me to get over me this Christmas season and look for ways to point others to you. What a gift you have for us all. I want to share that gift with others. You are the reason for the season and I thank  you! ~ Amen.

For a deeper study:
  • Read Matthew 1, Luke 1 & 2, and John 1. Discuss or journal what God tells you about the Christmas story.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I'm Thankful

Thanksgiving is a time that we express to God our thanks for all that He has provided for us. Today I would like to express my thanks for the following things.  Please note that these are not all the things for which I am thankful.

1.  I am thankful for hair color. I am so thankful that at 45 years of age I don't have to show the world I have a head full of grey hair.
2.  I am thankful for being able to drive to and from work in my car by myself. This is precious quite time for me. Sometimes you just have to be alone for life to be sweet.
3.  I am thankful for coffee. It is one cup of coffee and a few Bible verses each morning that make me a delightful person most days. (I said MOST days for those that see me everyday. I realize that some days I should have had more than 1 cup and more scripture, but I usually figure that out a little too late.)
4.  I am thankful for my family. Even when I do not like them I always love them. AND THEY LOVE ME BACK! Go figure!
5.  I am thankful for my church. I've been a member there for 17 years and as far as I know they have never considered kicking me out. AND, they actually gave me a job.
6.  I am thankful for my home state of Mississippi. It is because of Mississippi that I know the finer things in life like country music, grits, sweet tea, and cornbread dressing.
7.  I am also thankful for Texas. I wasn't born here, but I got here as quick as I could. God Bless Texas!
8.  I am thankful for God's grace to me. There is not enough room on the internet for me to list all the reasons I need God's grace.  Trust me.  I need a bunch of it!
9.  I am thankful for animals. Isn't life more fun with animals! (And more costly - life is more costly with animals - said the mom that has a horse lover in her household. Pray for me!) But I'm thankful!
10.  I am thankful for my Bible. Tell me that the stories of Jesus don't blow your hair back.
11.  I am thankful for the friends I study the Bible with. Those women laugh and cry with me all the time.
12.  I am thankful for school teachers. I do not home school my children and, for the love of Pete, that is the best thing for my children.

What will you thank God for this week?

Lord, saying thanks doesn't truly express my heartfelt gratitude. You are an amazing God and I love you. With a thankful heart ~ Amen.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving

    and His courts with praise;
    give thanks to Him and praise His name.

Psalm 100:4 (NIV)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Warriors, Rise Up!!!

These are scary days we live in. Unless you've been hiding under a rock then you are aware that terrorism is once again on the front pages of the news. Actually, I'm not sure it's left the front pages in quite some time. The events in Paris this past weekend are horrendous to say the very least. It was confirmation that evil is real and it exists in this broken world. In my humanness I want to gather my family together and live with them in a remote place to stay away from the world. While that thought comes to mind when I look at the news, the next thought that comes to mind is spurred by the Holy Spirit within me. "Do not fear!"

As a Christian, I do NOT have to live in fear. My Daddy made the world and is still in control. Even when things seem discombobulated to me they are not to My Father in Heaven. Think about what Jesus said in Matthew 25: 53-54 to the Disciples that were trying to protect Him after he was betrayed and arrested:

"Don't you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and He would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?"

God is in control.  And, He is trustworthy! Now, trust can be hard, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't trust. My trust in God grows each day as I live life. I actually trust God more after walking through some battles in life with Him by my side.

So what do we do as we are sitting around and trusting God? Well, we pray. When my kids are fearful of the unknown I want them to talk to me about it.  Prayer is talking to God. The Bible says we can cast all our fears on God because He cares for us. And, through our conversation with God we can make petitions to Him for our country's leaders. That's called intercessory prayer when you pray on the behalf of someone else. Whether you agree with our leaders right now or not, you can agree with me that all of our leaders need prayer!

I recently saw the movie "War Room". If you haven't seen it I strongly suggest you do. It was a great reminder of the power of prayer. We need a mighty army of prayer warriors to rise up in our country. We need to pray for each other and for our leaders. Oh, and we should definitely be praying for our military! 

  • How's your prayer life?
  • What keeps you from praying?
  • How can you remind yourself to pray?

Lord, I pray that a mighty army of prayer warriors would rise up in our country for Your glory. To You be all the glory and honor and praise. Trusting You fully ~ Amen.

For a deeper study read and highlight the following verses. Discuss or journal what God teaches you through these verses:

  • Isaiah 65:24
  • Philippians 4:6
  • Ephesians 6: 10-20

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Love - It's Greater than Faith and Hope

1 Corinthians 1(New International Version) 

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

How are you loving others?
Are you patient with others?
Are you boastful or proud?
Do you keep a record of how you've been wronged, or do you forgive quickly?
Do you seek truth in a conflict, or do you seek to win in the conflict?
I have to constantly remind myself how to love others. Love can be hard, but when I use this truth from 1 Corinthians it reminds me of where I fall short and where I can improve. We will never be perfect in how we love until we get to Glory, but I think we should all keep on striving for perfect love.

Lord, thank you for Your perfect love. Thank you that you love me enough to die for me on The Cross. Please forgive me when I haven't loved others the way I should. and help me to follow Your guidelines for loving others. - In Jesus' Name ~ Amen.
For a deeper study:
Use your Bible Concordance or the web site to look up verses on LOVE. Journal or discuss what God reveals to you in those verses.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Don't Give Up

I'm so glad my parents didn't give up on me. There were days I'm sure they wanted to throw in the towel and give up on trying to help me live a good life, but they didn't. 

I'm so glad my mentor hasn't given up on me. I know I've driven her crazy a time or two, or three, or four thousand, but that sweet woman puts up with me and loves me in spite of me.

I'm most certain that Jesus has not and will not give up on me. He's seen me at my worst and died for me even though I'm a sinner. That's a concept that I still struggle getting my head around, but yet I'm so thankful for his unconditional love.

Is there someone you are thinking you want to throw in the towel on? Is there someone you've been trying to reach for Christ and you feel like you're just losing the battle? DON'T GIVE UP! Hang in there. Fight back with love and grace. Here's some scriptures to encourage you:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 
James 1:12

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against
 the devil's schemes. Ephesians 6:11

Jesus - we're all imperfect, broken humans with hurts, habits and hangups, but You love us anyway. Thank you. Help us to love others the way you love us, and help us not to give up the fight for good. In your precious name we pray, Amen.

For a deeper study:

  • Read the following verses and journal or discuss what God teaches you through these verses:  Romans 10:9-15, Philippians 4:13, Romans 8:28, and James 1:2-4.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Be The Hope

I am and will forever be amazed by the stories in the New Testament. How amazing it must have been to see Jesus heal a blind man! Can you imagine the crowd's response when Jesus fed thousands of people with just a few fish and a few loaves of bread?!?!  Or, what about the time he brought Lazarus back from the dead.  I said BACK FROM THE DEAD!! If I would have been standing in that crowd I'm not sure what my response would have been, but I bet you I would have been filled up with HOPE by witnessing the amazing miracles. Jesus seemed to have left behind hope most everywhere He went, even when He wasn't performing miracles.

Hope is a great thing to leave with others. We all need hope. Without hope we are all in trouble, but where there is hope there is life. There's a lot of things we can do while we're on this earth, but I think the best thing we can do is to mimic Jesus and leave behind hope as we walk life's path.

Are you leaving behind hope on your life's path? Do you leave others feeling refreshed and encouraged, or do you leave them in a mess?  These are great questions - particularly for those of us that call ourselves Christians. 

If you're unsure on how to leave hope behind, let me offer these suggestions:

  1. Stop and pray for someone that's having a bad day. I always feel better when someone has prayed for me and over me. It reminds me that my hope is in God and His plans for me are good.
  2. Give someone a hug. Look for someone that is having a bad day and just hug them. I love a good bear hug. It puts a smile on my face and hope in my heart.
  3. Say a kind word to someone that is stressed. When someone encourages me by saying, "You'll do better next time", or, "I loved what you wrote" it gives me hope to keep on keeping on. Hope abounds where there are kind words of encouragement!
  4. Remind someone of a favorite scripture. One of my favorites to hear is Jeremiah 29:11 because it reminds me God has great plans for me, but there thousands of good scriptures in the Bible that would interject hope into one's life.
  5. Listen. Did you know listening is one of the best things you can do for someone? There are times that I just want to be heard, and then once I'm heard I feel so much better.
There are lots of ways to spread hope.  I'm sure you can think of more ways than the above list. Why don't you go out and be the hope in someone's life today?

Jesus - help us to remember to remind the world around us that there is hope in You. I love that Isaiah 40 teaches us that if we hope in You, You will renew our strength and we will soar like eagles. I love You and the hope You give. In Jesus' Name ~ Amen.

For a deeper study:

  • Read Isaiah 40: 28- 31.  Record in your journal how this makes you feel.
  • Read Luke 19: 1 - 10. Record in your journal what you think Zacchaeus must have felt that day? Do you think there was hope?
  • Make a list of the verses in the Bible that give us hope. Look for ways to share the scriptures with others in the coming week. Journal what God teaches you through this process of pointing others to hope in Jesus.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tell Them About Heaven and Hell!

This is an excerpt of an email to Ray Comfort from an atheist. (See for a copy of this as well as for more information on sharing your faith!)

You are really convinced that you've got all the answers.  You've really got yourself tricked into believing that you're 100% right. Well, let me tell you just one thing. Do you consider yourself to be compassionate of other humans? If you're right, as you say you are, and believe that, then how can you sleep at night? When you speak with me you are speaking with someone who you believe is walking directly into eternal damnation into an endless onslaught of horrendous pain which your 'loving' god created, yet you stand by and do nothing.

If you believe one bit that thousands every day were falling into an eternal and unreacheable fate, you should be running the streets mad with rage at their blindness.  That's equivalent to standing on a street corner and watching every person that passes you walk blindly directly into the path of a bus and die, yet you stand idly by and do nothing. You're just twiddling your thumbs, happy in the knowledge that one day that 'walk' signal will shine your way across the road.

Think about it. Imagine the horrors Hell must have in store if the bible is true. You're just going to allow that to happen and not care about saving anyone but yourself? If you're right then you're an uncaring, unemotional and purely selfish (expletive) that has no right to talk about subjects such as love and caring.

James Franz 

Wow.  What a letter!  I've read this letter several times, and each time I'm convicted. I do believe in Heaven and I do believe in Hell. I believe, with all my heart, that the Bible is truth.  Those that have a personal relationship with Jesus will inherit eternal life in Heaven, while those that do not will inherit Hell. It is my responsibility to share my faith with the others around me, not out of judgement but out of love for them.

I'm finding there are many ways for Christians to witness to others about their faith in Jesus Christ. Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  The Roman Road -  Highlight the following verses in your Bible: Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10: 9-10, and Romans 10:13.  These verses tell the story of the Gospels very clearly. It's an easy way to point someone to Jesus.
2.  One-Verse Evangelism using Romans 6:23 -  This is a great technique for sharing your faith using one verse. You can write out the verse like what is shown below on a napkin or piece of paper.
3.  Your smart phone - There's a phone application for everything these days, including applications for how to share your faith.  Just search for "share Jesus" on your phone application store and see all the applications you can use.  There's even one called Roman Road which uses the Romans Road mentioned above!

  • How do you share Jesus with others?
  • How can we direct those we encounter to spiritual conversations in order to have more opportunities to share our faith?

Jesus, help us to be bold in our faith and help us have courage to share our faith with others every day. I believe Your Word so I know that hell is real. I don't want anyone to go to hell because I failed to tell them about You.  You are an amazing, loving, grace-giving, and faithful God and I love you. - In Jesus' precious name ~ Amen.

For a deeper study:
  • Read the Roman Road as referenced above and highlight it in your Bible. Practice telling someone about Jesus using the Roman Road.
  • Draw Romans 6:23 as suggested in the above picture. Practice telling someone about Jesus using Romans 6:23 and this diagram. (Search for "one verse evangelism" on YouTube and you will find some great examples of this!)
  • Find a smart phone application on sharing your faith. Practice telling someone about Jesus using the application.
  • Check out the web site .  Follow the button "getting equipped" to learn more about their witnessing tools and even watch videos of them witnessing to others on the streets. It's a great way of using the 10 Commandments to bring people to Jesus.  Also, on this site you will find other witnessing tools such as tracts that you an hand out.

Monday, October 12, 2015

I Have Some New Friends

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Mark 2: 15 - 16 (New Living Translation)

I'm convinced that Christians shouldn't just be hanging out with Christians. As a matter of fact, if we Christians were to truly follow Jesus' example we would find ourselves having meals with outcasts and in the homes of people that are not active in church. Jesus was often seen with "sinners" while the religious leaders turned their noses up at such a thought. 

I'm embarrassed to say that up until a few months ago if you judged me by who I was hanging out with you would have said I was more like a religious leader than Jesus. Like I said, I'm embarrassed about that. Now, I love my Christian friends and I'll always have them in my life. Acts 2 clearly lays out what a community of Believers should look like.  I'll always have a community like that in my life. But, what about those without a community? How are they to hear about true hope unless we tell them? And, how are we to tell them if we aren't with them?

I've started hanging out with people some may consider outcasts. Several of my new friends are actually homeless. While I had thought this was going to be hard for me, I find that I want to be with them. I love hearing their unfiltered stories of what is going on in their lives. They make me laugh, although some have made me cry. They are real people with real stories, some of which I can relate to.  I think my Real God loves them ever so much. I think if Jesus were to return today we would find Him hanging out with the outcasts, and not necessarily in a church. And quite frankly, that makes me want to be with them even more.
  • What about you? Think about where you spend your time each week. Have you spent any time with non-Believers in the last month? Are you purposefully engaging in relationships with others outside the walls of the church? If not, what is stopping you? 

Jesus, thank you for opening my eyes to the different people in my city outside of the church walls that are truly amazing, colorful, bright, hurting, funny, and lively people. You've made some great things and I'm thankful for the opportunities you've given me to be around these precious creations. I pray I won't ever close myself up in a church and forget about the rest of the world. Forgive me for when I have done just that. To You be all the glory - Amen.

For a more in depth study read and journal what God tells you with these scriptures:
  • Luke 19:1-10 (Zacchaeus was the "chief" tax collector - oh, dear!)
  • John 4: 1 - 42 (The outcast woman at the well!)
  • Romans 10: 5 - 15 (Here's the key to have pretty feet!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What's Your Story?

Your story is important.  Where Jesus has given you victory in your life is an amazing tool for God's glory. Sharing your past struggles with others while emphasizing how God got you through those struggles can have a real impact on the lives of others. There is power in your story of God's victory in your life. Just look at these verses from The Message Bible:

Revelation 12: 7 - 11 
War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon. The Dragon and his Angels fought back, but were no match for Michael. They were cleared out of Heaven, not a sign of them left. The great Dragon—ancient Serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, the one who led the whole earth astray—thrown out, and all his Angels thrown out with him, thrown down to earth. Then I heard a strong voice out of Heaven saying,
Salvation and power are established!
    Kingdom of our God, authority of his Messiah!
The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out,
    who accused them day and night before God.
They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb    and the bold word of their witness.

The power to defeat evil in this world is rooted in the Blood of Jesus, and we can plug into that power when we tell our stories. The BOLD WORDS of our witness, our testimonies, are like a knife in the back of our accuser.

If you have lived through cancer then you have a testimony that is powerful to others that are going through cancer.

If you have lived through the loss of a loved one, then you have a testimony that is powerful to someone going through the loss of a loved one.

If you have an conquered an addiction, then you have a testimony that is powerful to someone struggling with an addiction.

2 Corinthians 1:4 says, "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."

What's your story? I think you should write it down and then start telling others your story. How can you purposely use your story to help others? I bet if you look around there are others that need to hear your story of God's victory in your life!

Lord, thanks for giving us victory in all kinds of different ways in our lives. We give you all the glory for all the good gifts you give us and for all the good things you have brought to us through our struggles. Help us to live and shine for you! - In Jesus' Name ~ Amen

For a deeper study:
  • Pray and ask God to direct you in writing your story.
  • Write out your story using this format:

1. What was your life like before Christ (Include words that others can relate to. Use descriptive words like lonely, living defeated, self-centered, angry, fearful, etc.)
2.  How you came to know Christ. (How did God get your attention? What was the clincher for your decision?)
3.  What difference has Christ made in your life?
Practice telling your story to others.

*It is good for you to have a testimony of how you came to know Christ and also testimonies of the victories God has given you in your life. You might not use all of them when talking to someone, but God will direct you to what victory story is appropriate with each conversation. Write them all out and be ready!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fear, We're Done!

"There is a world around me that is one conversation away from a change of eternity and that's why the Church exists." ~ Chris Hodges

What stops us from sharing the unconditional love of Jesus with other people? Why do we not engage in conversations with others outside the walls of the church each week in hopes to point them to our Amazing God? I think it's fear. I think some of us are scared we won't say the right thing. I think some of us are scared we will be rejected. I think some of us fear we won't know the answer to their questions, while others are scared of what other people will think about us. Fear is a jerk and keeps us paralyzed. 

Fear hangs out with the devil.  You see the devil is the father of lies and he sends those lies our way on a regular basis. But we Christians don't have to put up with it.  The truth of the matter is that the most repeated command in the Bible is "do not fear". Our God did not give us a spirit of fear! Our God said we can do all things through Christ Jesus. And, in Romans it says if our God is for us, who can be against us? 

So really, if our God is for us then who can be against us?  Huh, nobody I can think of is big enough for that task. I can't think of anything or anyone that can stand up to The Creator - my Father. 

I'm going to break up with Fear.  He's lied to me and made me think that Jesus can't use me. Well, not this week mister. I'm going to listen to my Father. I'm going to do share God's love with others whether Fear likes it or not. Fear can kiss my grits.

Lord, help me to be your hands and feet and mouth. I know sometimes I'm one conversation away from a change in someones eternity and I don't want that person to miss out on Your Love because I'm scared for dumb reasons. I love you, Jesus. Your unconditional love is amazing and I should share it with everyone. Help me with this, Lord.  - In Jesus' name, Amen.

For a deeper study look up the following verses and journal what God teaches you through His Word:
  • Romans 8: 31 - 39
  • 2 Timothy 1: 5 - 8
  • Philippians 4: 6 - 7
  • Psalm 56:3
  • Psalm 91
  • Joshua 1:9

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

From a Relationship for Relationships

You were created from a Relationship (The Trinity) for relationships (with God and each other). 

Genesis 1:26 "Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us." 

Romans 5:11 "So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God."  

Acts 2: 44-47 "And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved." 

Relationships are important to God. If they are important to God, then they should be important to us. We were NEVER meant to walk through this world alone. God made us so that we could have a relationship with Him and others.

Relationships have changed my life. It was through relationship with other Christian women that I found myself studying God's Word for the first time years ago and growing in my faith. It was relationships with other Christians that helped sustain my husband and I when we have walked through hard times in this broken world. I bet you could also think of times when your peeps have helped you through some hard times.

Because I know that relationships are so important, it grieves me to think there are people in my neighborhood and my city that do not have a community of Believers around them. There are people walking through very hard life situations (homelessness, illness, loss of loved ones, financial chaos, etc.) feeling like they are alone in their circumstances. God created The Church as the plan for helping people. The Church is Plan A.  There is no Plan B. 

How do we build relationship? Well, we have to look where we are planted. We have to ask God where we can serve others. We have to be intentional in doing this or if your schedule is anything like my schedule it will never happen. We must be real, and we must be approachable. But the number one thing you can do to build relationships, is to LISTEN. 

  • Who in your sphere of influence needs to be in a relationship with other Christians?
  • What can you do to schedule some time to be intentional with building relationships with others?
Lord, forgive us when we have missed opportunities for relationships. We want to be a Church that is useful in helping others and bringing glory to your name. Open our eyes to the possibilities we have with relationships, Lord. - In Jesus' name - Amen.

For a deeper study read:
  • Acts 2: 42-47.  Make a list of what a community should look like according to these verses. Where do you need to do better with being a community member?
  • Read Isaiah 58. Make a list of how God wants us to spend our time according to these verses. What will be the result of us living that way according to these verses?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I'm looking for my friend, Grace? Have you seen her?

Jesus told His disciples to "wake up and look around".  They had missed an opportunity.

Jesus had just finished ministering to a woman. She was not any woman, but an outcast woman that was a Samaritan. The disciples were actually quite taken back that Jesus would even be talking to this woman.  The Bible says they were "shocked". I mean after all, she was a woman and men didn't approach women, much less shady women.  She was also an outcast, so what was a rabbi doing talking to an outcast? And to top it off, she was a Samaritan. Jewish people did not hang out with Samaritan people. 

The disciples were confused,but Jesus was not. Jesus saw a hurting woman and He wanted to help her. Jesus knew of her past, and He wanted her to be sure of her future. Jesus loved her in spite of her. Jesus wasn't concerned what others would think. He was trying to get the disciples to understand, while all they could do was to think about getting some lunch.  Bless them. I have to imagine when he said "wake up and look around" it was more like "WAKE UP AND LOOK AROUND!!!!!"

Do you need to wake up and look around? Is there someone that you are missing that God has intentionally put into your life, but yet you're so focused on going to lunch that you walk right by her every day? Maybe we should all be more concerned with what is around us verses what we are going to put in our belly each day. I know I should. Jesus said His nourishment came from doing the will of His Father.  

Today I'm looking around for "the one" that needs me. Where is she? What if I'm the only Jesus example she ever sees?  I take responsibility for her today even though I don't know who she is. I'm going to name her Grace until I know her real name.

Where are you, Grace?  I'm looking for you!

Lord, help me to see others. Help me to wake up and look around every day of my life from here on out. I don't want to miss an opportunity to share the unconditional love of Jesus with anyone! Open my eyes, Lord.  I'll give you the glory and honor for all who come to know you in my efforts. In the precious name of Jesus ~ Amen.


For a more in depth study:

  • Read John 4: 1 - 42
  • Journal or discuss with other how Jesus' actions and words were different from the words of the others in the story.
  • Would you have acted any differently than the disciples?
  • How can we keep our eyes wide open looking for Grace?