Inspiration, Christianity and My Life, Children

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

Connected


IMG_1590Blessed is how I feel right now. Yesterday I experienced a time of blessing when I got to spend time with Connie McKenzie. She taught me when I was at CFNI and became a good friend.  We enjoyed a meal and time catching up with what is going on with our lives and our families. It was a great time of sharing our ideas, concerns, opinions and lives. It reminded me that we need to make time for friends whom we don’t get to see on a regular basis. I came away feeling blessed and refreshed. It reminded me of staying connected.

John 15 give us Jesus’ narrative about the vine and branches. If we are connected to the vine–which is Jesus then we will bear fruit and be pruned to bear more fruit. However if we do not remain with Jesus and His word then we will break off and be burned.

What does it mean to remain in Jesus?

John 15:5-8

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Clearly Jesus tells us here that to remain in Him we must love each other. We are to follow His example of selfless love and we will remain in the vine and bear fruit. Sounds simple, right? But really difficult in the execution because negative emotions start to rise when we see certain people and that makes the love one another part very difficult. The problem is not with the command it is with our perception of the people we don’t exactly like. It is a matter of changing our minds-repenting from opinions that get in our way of loving each other.

I leave you with this. Love one another and if you have a hard time figuring out how remember to look at those you struggle with through the eyes of Jesus, He understood

  • that God created them, just like He created you
  • God loves them just like He loves you.
  • They are imperfect just like you
  • They can be forgiven just like you

Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

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Show Me How


As I began reading the book of Luke, I saw two very different reactions to angelic messages. First you have Zechariah who was a priest in the holiest of places.

Luke 1:8-10 (NIV)

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

My observations of Zechariah’s reaction to this news is that he did not believe in what he was doing. He was “gripped with fear” that tells me he was doing his job but not expecting that God would show up or answer his prayer. He was in a place where God should have been expected but instead of understanding his visitation he expressed his doubt in the messenger and made excuses for how it could not happen.

Six months or so after this there was a girl who was at home minding her own business when she received a message from an angel. She was not in a place where you would expect God to show up and she had a very different reaction.

Luke 1:26-38 (NIV)

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary’s reaction was being a bit troubled about what the angel said to her but she believed it. She basically asked the angel to show her how this would happen, never doubting the word of the angel. She had a heart of faith and believed that even though she was not in a “Holy” place God could speak to her and she would listen. Her reaction was humble and believing. I really love the story of Mary and her innocent faith that accepted immediately what the angel told her, even though it frightened her. If you read on you will see that God made a way for all that needed to happen to keep Jesus safe until His time had come. I take comfort in this story and pray that my reaction to God’s prompting will always be one of faith and “show me how”.

The real question is, how will we react to His messenger in our lives? I would like to react like Mary did, “Show me how this will happen”, rather than like Zechariah by asking  “How can you prove this will happen?” By the way if you read further on about Zechariah you will see he was mute until John’s birth, he was given those months to understand that his sign was silence until the fulfillment of his promise. Sometimes God has to teach us a lesson the hard way, but in the end, we understand what He was saying and believe.

I see humility in Mary’s reaction and I believe that is the key. So will you join me this week in strengthening our faith by keeping a humble heart before God. Enjoy you week and I will be back next week with more.

 

Living Without Hope


HOPE in darkness

How can you live without hope?

I have been pondering this question lately.  I don’t have a reference point for not having hope. As a child even when I was sick I always believed that I was well.  I remember one time when I was in eighth grade and suffering from something the doctors were puzzled about. I had to spend time in the hospital for tests, back then they made you stay in the hospital for as many days as it took to give you all the tests to figure out what was wrong. When I got out my mother was so glad that she bought me new pants. For us that was a really big thing. You only got new clothes when you totally wore the old ones out or outgrew them.

Through good and bad times I have been blessed with a faith in God. So I don’t understand those who do not believe in Him. I don’t know how to live without knowing Him. Daily I feel compassion toward those who do not know Him or have rejected Him because of what others have told them. I grieve over the many people who embrace ways to escape from the reality of this life just to survive another day. Is that really living? I say that it is not.

There will always be times of fear and doubt and times when things are really dark, but in those times we should always remember that we have HOPE as long as we believe in God and what Jesus did for us on that cross. Jesus did not come to the world to become a celebrity. He came to make a way where there seemed to be no way for salvation. He came to bring forgiveness because He knew the nature of man. He came to give us HOPE for an eternal life with Him and the Father.

It is much easier to live rather than just surviving another day when in the midst of the darkness you can see a light that directs you. If we could see what God sees we would be able to understand everything, however God does not show us everything so we have to trust in what He has given us and believe in the promise of our future with Him.

Join me in asking God for His perspective and to show His light in the midst of any darkness. Our world is full of darkness but we are called to be the light. My prayer this week is that we will provide the light to the world that is too dark for comfort.  I will be back next week with more.

Don’t Ignore the Signs


IMG_1740Every day, all around us there are signs of things going wrong. How many of us ignore the signs that something has gone wrong, hoping the problem will fix itself? I know that I have. Take for example, this flower that my daughter gave me this year. It looked gorgeous and Bob hung it outside where I could see it from my seat in the living room. One day 2 weeks ago I looked out and it looked like this. IMG_1739

This is definitely a sign that there is something wrong. I admit I might have ignored it for a while thinking Bob would fix it. Then without any understanding of what had gone wrong I tried to fix this with water, but it did not help.  Bob also tried to fix it to no avail. However today after doing a little research I found out that it might have a fungus from the humid weather we have been having. So even though the label says it can take the heat, it cannot take a fungal infection.

My husband and I usually notice things and try our best to take care of what is within our wheelhouse to do. But there are things that are so much bigger than us that we have no idea what to do to fix them. An example is when I look around at the people in the news; I wonder what went wrong to shape the thinking that they have. And why is our news filled with so many people who ignore the obvious to entertain the ridiculous? It seems the ridiculous has become the norm and you better not call it what it is.

I know from personal experience that most of the people I encounter have some sort of common sense and understand that you cannot ignore what is obviously wrong and call it right. I will take a TV show for example “Orange is the new Black”, I honestly had no idea what that meant until I looked it up today. To me orange is orange and black is black. Dogs are dogs and cats are cats, a frog is not a polar bear and a giraffe is not a snake. Deception is not good.  It may sound funny for a while and it may be entertaining but it is not reality. The fact that many people have begun to believe these deceptions is a sign of how dark our society has become.

Malachi 2:17

You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”

Are there people in our world doing evil and being told that it is good in God’s eyes? Yes, this has been happening for many years. The worldly view is that anything goes and as long as you mean well God will delight in you. But scripture does not bear that thinking out. Just like my plant that might have a fungus attacking it, if it is not dealt with the plant will die. If the Body of Christ does not address the darkness, it will take over.

You might ask, “But what can we do when there is darkness around us?” Shine the light of Jesus into the darkness. Watch and listen to what is going on and take it to God in prayer. This world will not be changed by those who do not act. It will be set free by those who do their part with prayer.

Pray for those who don’t see the truth to have their eyes opened and pray for those who see the truth to have the strength to follow and share it.

Enjoy every moment that God gives you. I will be back next week with more.

When Is Easter Over?


bunny and cross

When all the eggs are gone and the bunny is nowhere to be found is Easter over? Is that what it is all about? Unfortunately some people believe that Easter is only about fun, candy and food. That saddens my heart.

I believe that all of the events that lead up to Resurrection Sunday, commonly known as Easter define a Christian’s life. The hope that is in the death and resurrection of Jesus is what motivates my faith. To me knowing that the Creator of the Universe made a way for all of us to be saved from our sins is a tremendous gift. The fact that we are able to communicate with Him because He sent His Son to show us life more abundantly and to suffer and die on the cross for our sins, amazes me. I feel awe and wonder when I think that Jesus did not let the grave hold Him and he brought the hope of eternal life when He rose from the dead.

And yet I am sad because there are children and adults in the world that have been lulled to sleep with presents from Santa Claus at Christmas and stuff from the Easter bunny at Easter and have never really learned the truth about these celebrations. I am not against having games and fun to celebrate as long as those games are not the only thing you do to celebrate. I believe that Christian parents, whether they frequent church or not are responsible to help their children understand the true meaning of these days of celebration.

It has become apparent in our society we have forgotten why we celebrate, we just look forward to time off work or school because of a holiday. I would bet that a lot of children and possibly adults could not tell you what the 4th of July is all about. That is a celebration that every citizen of this country should understand. So if we don’t understand celebrations around recent history, how will we ever understand celebrations about what would be considered ancient history.

 John 3:16 (NKJV)

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The bible may be very old but it is still the living Word of God. It still speaks life. Join me this week in spending time in God’s Word and then sharing the hope we find in the Word of God with those around us. Lets do our best to awaken the world around us  to the real truth around our faith holidays.

 

Are you Hooked?


hooksI have been trying to learn more  and hone my writing skills in order to write picture books. I took a webinar this week and one of the action items I was given to do was to read my manuscript and write a hook sentence. This is one sentence that captures the plot and theme of your story, without giving away the ending. It compels the reader to want to read the whole manuscript.

I started thinking about this and know that it will take a while to get it right. Then I paused and wondered if I had to narrow my life down to one sentence what would it be? How could I condense my years of life and dreams and motivations down into one sentence? Is it even possible? I realized that usually it is either at award ceremonies or someone’s funerals that people try to sum up a life. But what if I were to do it today?

For me my life is summed up in the words of a friend who told me during our conversation, “You just want to do the right thing.” Thanks Kathy. That really sums up my life in a short sentence. It does not expand on the ideas but gets to the core of who I am. To make it a hook sentence I would have to expand a little on it.

Kitty is a Christian who desires to give Glory to God and do the right thing throughout her life, but when life gets in the way amazing things happen.

Are you hooked on following my life? Would you read a blog based on this statement? If yes then I have done a good job. If no then I need to keep working on it.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost and through trials, temptations and triumphs He made a way for all of us to be saved.  How about that hook sentence for Jesus? Would you look into His life because of it? To find out more about this salvation you can read His book, The HOLY BIBLE.

Now I want to give you a challenge. Write a hook sentence for your life. It might take a while but I think it would be a good lesson in discovery for all of us. Make sure you convey your journey and plot for your life so far without giving away the end. And share your sentence with me in the comments. I would love to know what you come up with.

Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

When All Hope is Gone


when all hope is goneWhen your life hasn’t gone your way, what do you do? The answer can be found in John 20. This takes place after the suffering and death of Jesus. The disciples and women who followed Jesus were in mourning. The disciples plan was for Jesus to become King of Israel on this earth now, to deliver them from any and all oppression of the Romans, to set the Pharisees/Sadducees straight on doctrine, to continue to heal and deliver people from their personal issues. Their plan failed and Jesus died on the cross and was buried in a tomb with a big stone and guards. All their dreams had ended. They were mourning and confused how this happened.

Before we go any further, let’s explore our own lives. Have you ever had a situation where you put everything you had into what you were doing and then suddenly had it all taken away from you?

This is what happened to the disciples. They had it all and were living the dream. Healings and deliverances followed Jesus and His disciples.

  • Maybe your dream is a certain job. You are at the top of your game. You are putting everything into what you are doing. You work extra hours to complete all that is before you and you don’t complain because this is what you want to do. You pour 100% of your energy into what you are doing. And suddenly, out of nowhere—it seems—you get fired. Maybe they say it is downsizing, maybe they have another excuse, but those things don’t matter, they have taken away your dream. What do you do?
  • Maybe it is your life. Suddenly out of nowhere you have been falsely accused of a horrible crime and your freedom has been taken away from you. You know you are innocent, but it seems no one who is has the power to help you will believe you. You have been framed and suddenly your life is over—or so it seems.
  • Maybe it is a relationship that has gone bad. One day you are happily married and what seemed to be overnight you are divorced. Life is hard and you are mourning the loss of the relationship. Or maybe the person you were in a relationship with suddenly died. Your life is filled with grief and suffering because a part of you is missing. You don’t know where to turn.

I believe that most of us have suffered great losses in our life, whether the losses were people who are no longer with us, or jobs or our reputation. They are all losses. What matters when we experience a loss is how we react. What can we do?

Lets look at John 20:1 “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.”

Mary had unfinished business that she was going to do at the first opportunity. So she went to the tomb early so she could put the embalming oils and spices on Jesus’ body. She had a purpose that was brought on by the death of Jesus. But she couldn’t complete her duty. Her purpose had not changed since Jesus’ death. She was still serving Him as she did when He was alive. This was to be her last act of worship of her savior. Honestly she wasn’t sure how she was going to get the stone moved when she got there. And then she saw that was not a problem, the stone was rolled away. Good, one problem solved, but now there was no body. How could she complete her duty, if there was no body?

Verse 2: “Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.’”

Ok. She overcame the stone obstacle. Now she has gone for help to overcome the missing body obstacle. Do you ever have days like this? You know it is going to be rough and then things just keep getting worse. You have your heart set on finishing well even though things have ended abruptly and not in the way you planned. You set out to finish, but someone changes the game. Suddenly your plans once again have been rendered useless. What do you do?

Mary goes for help from some people who are in the same condition she is. Maybe she thinks they will be able to figure this out better than her.  It is great to get advice and help when you are in a situation that has really thrown you out of your comfort zone.  But you need to look outside the area of people who are experiencing the same thing you are.

In verses 3-10 her help comes and goes. They came, they saw and they left. They gave her no explanation and no help in finding Jesus’ body. She found herself, once again standing and weeping. Do you ever get into that position? You are confused and grieving. All the people that come around you offer you no real help, they just come and go. They seem to be just as confused as you are. They bring no comfort into your situation. You are once again left by yourself to weep and wonder.

Look at Verses 11:-18. But Mary decided not to just weep; she decided to look inside the tomb. She looked to the last place she knew her savior had been seen. And when she sought, she found her answer. Mary tried to get help from people, but they left her short of her answer. So in her wondering and wandering she stumbled onto the answer. She didn’t know that looking into the tomb would answer her question.

She saw the angels and explained her problem to them; someone had taken her Lord’s body. And as she turned she found her answer. Jesus didn’t tap her on the shoulder. He made no move to call her to Himself. But she turned and saw Him. Sometimes we need to go where we know God was last time to get our bearings and then turn in order to find where God is now. Looking to the past will not always take you to the future, but if you retrace your steps and then turn you can go the right way.

She didn’t recognize Jesus when she turned. She was so focused on finding His dead body she didn’t recognize His live body. She didn’t even recognize His voice. (Jesus said my sheep know my voice. She was so distraught that she didn’t recognize the voice of her master. She was not expecting His voice—but the voice of a gardener.) So she asks if He has removed the body. Now Jesus must reveal Himself to her, he sees her anguish and her confusion—to the point of not recognizing Him. (John 10:4 &27)

Sometimes we get so confused that we cannot recognize the Lord when He stands right in front of us. We let the fact that our plans have been destroyed send us into such anguish on how we will accomplish our goals that we don’t see Jesus in our midst.

I have been in this position. It is very difficult to find your way when this happens. You cry out to your friends because the pain you feel is so intense. They come around, look and leave. They may say a few words, but they can’t remove the pain and anguish. They don’t help you navigate through the confusion. Your mind gets so caught up in what your plans were that you can’t see Jesus, even though He is standing right aside of you. You cry out and weep and mourn because the old is gone. You cannot see the possible good of the new. All you can do is look at the past, when things were the way you wanted them to be. Now things just hurt and you feel disappointed. You used to feel appointed—anointed and set in place, but now that is over. You just hurt and you turn from person to person to try to get your bearings on life. But life keeps sending you into more confusion.

Then comes the moment in verse 16 when Jesus says her name, “Mary.”  This makes all the difference in the world. The confusion is gone. She found what she was looking for, but now her sorrow and confusion has turned into joy, unbelievable joy. Personal recognition from the Master changed her whole perspective and brought her out of her confusion. She had a clear direction. She spoke “Rabboni” which acknowledged that she recognized Him. Then she clung on to Him for dear life. She wasn’t about to lose Him again.

Encouragement from others and prophetic words that confirmed what I felt in my spirit, let me know that I was hearing God’s voice. All the confusion in the world is gone when God speaks. When Mary heard Jesus, her heart melted. Then Jesus gave her clear direction on her next step. There was to be no doubt in her mind what to do. Jesus made sure He gave her specific directions. She had been confused and lost but now she knew exactly what to do.

It is time to clear the cob webs from our minds and hear the voice of God. He has never left us or forsaken us (Hebrews 13:5). He has been right by our side all the time. Today is the time for the confusion to leave and the voice of the Lord to come. One word from the Lord will drive away all confusion. We must remember that the plan that we live by must be His plan. If we live by a plan that we conceive we will end up in confusion. Jesus is the Lord, we are His servants. Servants do not tell the Lord what to do, the Lord tells the servants. Mary may have had her plan, but that was not what Jesus’ plan was. Jesus plan had to do with life; Mary’s plan was contingent on there being a dead body.

God’s plan always has to do with life. God’s plan has to do with abundant life. Abundant life is multidimensional it includes body, soul and spirit.

Join me in this prayer. Father today, this moment in time, we want to give up our plans and take on your plan for our lives. We acknowledge that any plan that was not birthed in your Spirit is not a plan of life but a plan of death. We ask that you give us clear direction and life. Forgive us for our failed plans. Help us to walk in your strength and peace. Forgive us for walking only in our strength. Lead us in your path and open our eyes to your direction. We pray this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.

Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.

 

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