God Will Not Forget

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A doctor asked me when I was a teenager if I wanted to have babies. It seemed like a silly question at the time, but I said, “yes.” I wanted to get married some day and have a family. The doctor commented that child bearing would be easier if I wasn’t overweight, so I lost the extra pounds. It was so much easier then than now!

The miracle of new life came to me, and I loved taking care of my babies. Holding, feeding, dressing, and bathing my babies were precious moments I didn’t forget as they grew into toddlers, then children, then teens and adults. I loved and prayed for them and still do.

Today my heart breaks to know how some babies are treated. They are not treasured but abused, and I am thankful for organizations that rescue suffering children. We need more and more of them because the abuse is out of control.

THINK ABOUT IT

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16). This is good news from God for everyone. Whether you have suffered from abuse or illness or other infirmity, God has not forgotten you. He loves you with an everlasting love. You may think because you suffer, God doesn’t care. That is not true. You can know His presence and love. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Is it hard to believe that God’s mercies fall down on you all the time? It’s true! So you ask, “How can I experience this amazing love?” The key to receiving God’s love is in the asking. Prayer unlocks the door! God stands at the door of your heart, waiting for you to invite Him in. You may not know how to talk to God. At first I didn’t either, but I found some of the most powerful prayers are “Help me, Jesus,” “Thank you, Jesus,” and “I love you, Lord.” Be blessed today as you seek God’s presence in your life.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Holy Father, thank you for your amazing love. Thank you for your faithfulness. Be present in our lives today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Yehudim

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The Hebrew word for the Jewish people is Yehudim. It means praise, thanksgiving and worship. A Jewish existence is that of praise and worship, thankful for all they have. How then did the name, Jew, become a profane term or a curse word? Because of sin–our own selfish, self-centered choices to live for ourselves and not God.

Jesus’ life as King of the Jews is a perfect example of Yehudim–praise, thanksgiving and worship. Yet, He was hated, persecuted and finally crucified. The sign over His head on the cross said, “King of the Jews,” and that is what He was/is. Jesus lived and taught what it is like to live for God. He lived a life of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus’ life was that of praise and worship. Even in death on the cross He glorified the Father in Heaven. His resurrection was an act of giving and faithfulness.

THINK ABOUT IT

Jesus was not destroyed by all the evil attempts on His life. He overcame evil with good. He blessed those who cursed Him. He even died for their forgiveness. If this is how Jesus lived, believers are called to live by His example. We are to be Yehudim–praising and worshiping God, thankful for all we have.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you Father God for Jesus. Help us to live our lives by His example and teaching. Empower us with your strength and boldness to stand firm in this dark world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Who is Asenath?

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Do you know who Asenath is? She was the daughter of an Egyptian priest, but she is in the lineage of Christ. How could that happen?

It happened with Joseph, a son of Jacob who had visions. His brothers hated him because he was Jacob’s favorite, and they sold him to some Midianite merchants who took him to Egypt. He served Potiphar the governor until he was falsely accused and put in prison.

Years later because he had the ability to interpret dreams, he was allowed to tell Pharaoh about the coming of a famine. The king put him in charge of the harvests, and he stored up food to feed the people during the famine.

He married Asenath and she bore him two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who became two of the twelve tribes of Israel and ancestors to Jesus.

THINK ABOUT IT

As Asenath was a pagan to Israel, we were too. We were lost in our selfish, sinful lifestyle until we experienced God’s amazing love. He demonstrated his love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). By no effort of our own, Jesus brought us salvation from sin and gave us new life, abundant life (John 3:16).

As Joseph had an Egyptian bride, Christ does too. His bride is the church, which is made up of people who believe Jesus’ sacrifice was for them personally and who became a kingdom of priests so others might be brought in to God’s family. Listen! There is room for everybody! If you have not received God’s amazing love, it is not too late. Do these three things and you will be joint heirs with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven: Admit you need Jesus’ love, believe that He is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6), and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9). Then find a Bible teaching church and be baptized.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Father God, for Jesus our Savior. Teach us to live in the light of our salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Summer Harvest

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What thoughts come to your mind when you think of summer? Time at the beach, river rafting, lake fishing, kayaking, hiking trails, mountain biking? Summer is the time for vacations and relaxing, but that’s not all. It is the time between the Spring harvest and the Fall harvest. Is there a Summer harvest?

One hot summer day after a long journey, Jesus came to Jacob’s well and asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. It was the middle of the day–not when most women came to the well. But Jesus had to talk with her. She had questions about worship, and she was the first person to whom Jesus announced that He was the Messiah. Inspired by such news, she ran into town and to tell others about a man who knew all about her. Could He be the Messiah?

While she was gone, the disciples returned and urged Jesus to eat something. He said He had food they knew nothing about. They thought someone else brought food to Him, but He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:34-35).

Jesus was talking about the harvest of redemption when He said, “Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. One sows and another reaps . . . I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits or their labor” (John 4:36-38).

THINK ABOUT IT

The woman at the well understood! She was the first evangelist in the Bible–not educated or prolific in speech. Moved by her time with Jesus, she shared things Jesus said. Could He be the expected Messiah? She got their attention, and they went to the well to hear what He had to say. Then they believed.

Listen! Jesus said to the disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). As you go on your way, will you consider how you can enter into a conversation with others to tell them how they can experience God’s amazing love and inherit eternal life? Someone needs to know!

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Father God, for Jesus who demonstrated simple ways to strike up conversations that impact people for eternity. Open our eyes to see opportunities and empower us to reach out with your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your Inheritance

Did you know you have a royal inheritance? If you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are adopted into the family of God, and you have a mansion in Heaven, a robe and a crown.

Check this out: “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me in garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10). When you accepted God’s amazing love for your life, He provided you His robe of righteousness. So now when the Father looks on you, He does not see your sin or shame or guilt. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for you on the cross, your sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12).

Furthermore, when we enter Heaven and hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21), God will hand out rewards, one of which is a crown. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). What we do for God’s glory on earth is not forgotten–preaching, teaching Sunday school, leading Bible study, mentoring, evangelism, serving the poor, singing in the choir, playing a musical instrument . . . The list goes on, but if you have done any of these or other things, which facilitated someone’s salvation, God has rewards. He loves us and wants us to live today and forever abundantly.

Now we have a robe and a crown. There is more–a mansion created just for you and another created just for me. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-4 NKJV). Listen! There is room for everybody! It seems too good to be true! Most of the time here on earth when things seem too good to be true, they are. This is different. God said it, and that makes is so.

THINK ABOUT IT

If God is so loving and generous, why would He send anyone to Hell? Be sure, He does not send people to Hell. But by their own choices, they choose Hell–choices to live for themselves and not God, to follow their own compassions and desires instead of God’s.

But if they knew about their inheritance, why would they choose to ignore it–to live for themselves, to choose things of this world and not for God’s kingdom? Maybe they don’t know. Maybe someone needs to tell them. Will that person be you? Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). Who is it that you know who needs to know Jesus and His amazing love? Will you think of a way to reach them of God’s glory?

PRAY ABOUT IT

Father God, thank you for adopting us into your family. Thank you for Jesus and the sacrifice He made so we could enjoy your presence and your abundant life today and forever. Help us to reach as many as possible for your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Agent

white dove carries a gift for the feast , wild nature

When Abraham was old, he commanded his servant to go as an agent to his homeland to get a wife for his only son Isaac. The servant took ten camels and gifts of gold to Nahor where Abraham’s relatives lived. At the springs he prayed that the woman who gave him a drink would volunteer to water his camels, and she did. Rebekah was beautiful and willing to go back with the servant (agent) to marry Isaac (Genesis 24). The servant’s name was Eliezer, which means “God is the helper.”

Before Abraham began to think about a wife for Isaac, God asked him to do something unthinkable. He asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Although heartbroken, Abraham obeyed. He traveled to Moriah, built an altar and took his son to slay him. God said, ” Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12). God provided a lamb caught in the thicket for the sacrifice.

God did not spare His only Son, but gave Him to be a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus promised His followers a helper, the Holy Spirit, symbolized by a dove. His bride is the church made up of believers, and He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us live our lives pleasing to Him.

THINK ABOUT IT

Since God gave all He had, His only Son, for His bride, the response of the bride is to devote her life to loving Him and others. That’s challenging in today’s world. It was just as challenging in the world Jesus left to be with the Father. But we have a helper, the Spirit of the living God, who counsels us, comforts and encourages us when we reach out to show love and compassion as He shows love and compassion.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Father, for giving us Jesus our Lord. Raise up your people in the church to reach a sick and dying world so those who come to believe in you will not perish but have eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Reflections of Christ

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People who follow a king in some way reflect his image. Do you find that true of Christians you know? The people I know who love and follow Jesus exhibit the fruit of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Well, for most of us, it’s a work in progress.

You may ask, if Jesus is King of the Jews, then why don’t the Jews follow Him? Maybe they have the gift of the Spirit, but they do not believe Jesus is the Messiah or in His sacrifice for salvation. But the mystery is that they reflect the life of Jesus in ways we may not.

Jesus was an outcast, a man of suffering, falsely accused, mocked, persecuted and executed. The Jewish nation has also been an outcast, hated, persecuted and executed in the holocaust. But, you might say that Jesus was resurrected, and He was. So, too, was the Jewish nation. The Jews were gathered from all the countries where they had been scattered over the whole world, and they became a nation again in 1948. No other nation has done that.

THINK ABOUT IT

The Jews have unintentionally reflected the image of Jesus, the King of the Jews. How much greater should our intentions be as we know and follow Jesus? We are His light in a dark and dying world.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Heavenly Father, help us to conform to the image of Christ–to show love and compassion as He shows love and compassion. Humble us to live at peace with those around us. Raise up your people to bring love and justice into this world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Birthright and Blessing

Silhouette of two greedy and selfish men can not divide the crown. Concept of selfishness in politics and society

“The babies jostled each other within Rebekah, and she said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ The Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other and the older will serve the younger” (Genesis 25:22-23). The first child born was Esau and the second was Jacob. Esau, Isaac’s favorite, grew up to be a skillful hunter. Jacob, Rebekah’s favorite, grew up to be a quiet man and stayed among the tents. Desperate after hunting all day, Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew that Jacob had cooked. Later Jacob deceived his father Isaac into giving him Esau’s blessing. After that, Esau plotted to kill his brother, but Jacob escaped to Paddan Aram.

Esau’s descendants were called Edomites and Jacob’s descendants were the Israelites. The Edomites lived under the dominion of Israel until the days of the Roman Empire. An Edomite, Herod, became King of the Jews, and when he heard about the birth of the Messiah, the real King of the Jews, he plotted to kill him by ordering the death of all baby boys under the age of two years old.

THINK ABOUT IT

Because Esau lost his birthright and blessing, he spent his whole life in an effort to compensate for his loss. Esau and Herod were not the chosen leaders of Israel. Jacob and Jesus the Messiah were the men God chose to lead Israel. Through Jesus Christ we have redemption and blessing. Have you aligned yourself with Him or with the false leaders of this world? God so loved the world that He gave His only Son Jesus so that whoever believes in Him will not die separated from Him, but will live eternally with Him (John 3:16, my paraphrase). Did you know that you will live forever–even after your physical death? Choose today whether you will be in Heaven with our Lord or in hell, totally separated from Him.

PRAY ABOUT IT

O Lord, our God, I know you don’t want anyone to live outside of a relationship with you. I pray that you open people’s eyes to the truth of who you are that they might experience your presence and amazing love in their lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Here is Your Son

Jesus suffered betrayal, denial, rejection, ridicule, beating, mocking and crucifixion. Yet, from the cross, through His grief and pain, he did one more thing for His mother.

“When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple He loved standing there, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother'” (John 19:26-27). Through excruciating pain Jesus made sure Mary would be cared for when He was no longer on earth.

THINK ABOUT IT

We might think when we are sick or in the hospital that there is nothing we can do for our family. I remember a time when my mother was in the hospital and my grandson had major surgery. Life and death stood in the balance for both of them. My mom said, “I wish I could hold Luke. I wish I could do something.” We all felt helpless. We had to trust God and rely on the skill of the surgeon with our three-year-old little boy. I told Mom, “There is something you can do.” She asked me what that was and I said, “You can pray, Mama.” She said, “Yes, I can pray. That’s something I can do,” and she did. I couldn’t wait to tell her the day Luke came home from the hospital. “Mama, Luke’s surgery went well. He’s fine. Thank you for praying.” Tears filled my eyes when I heard her shouts of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. It was one of the last things she did before she died, and it pleased God.

Whether we are sick or well, we can pray for our family–the family we were born to and the family of God. We can pray for salvation, protection, provision, health and healing. We can reach out to those we love with encouragement, texts, emails, written notes, phone calls and visits.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Father God, for Jesus, for His teaching, His example and His sacrifice for our sins and to give us eternal and abundant life. Help us to live our lives in light of your amazing love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Father, Forgive Them

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Wednesday last week was Ash Wednesday, and I saw people in town with ash crosses on their foreheads. It’s a solemn reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for our forgiveness. He had dinner with His friends, and then He washed their feet. He knew that Judas would betray Him and Peter would deny he ever knew Him, but it must have broken His heart to see His friends sleeping while He prayed with drops of blood for the Father to let His cup of suffering go away. The priests and elders of the temple took Him from the Garden of Gethsemane to Jerusalem and falsely accused Him. Pilate could see no reason to execute Jesus and sent Him to Herod who didn’t find any reason to kill Him either. Yet, the people kept yelling, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Jesus was beaten, mocked, spit on and crucified. From the cross He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

THINK ABOUT IT

My heart breaks every Lenten and Easter season when this is the story. It is hard for me to imagine all Jesus experienced for my redemption. When He said, “Father, forgive them,” He wasn’t just talking about the priests and the Roman soldiers and the people who yelled, “Crucify Him!” He was speaking about me too. “Father, forgive her because she does not know what she is doing.”

“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Yes, Jesus died for me while I rejected Him. I chose my ways over His for too many years. “O Lord, I am so sorry for my rebellion.”

Brothers and sisters, no one is too far gone, too bad or sinful that Jesus will not say the same words over you: “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.”

PRAY ABOUT IT

Holy Lord, merciful Father, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for loving me even when I was unlovely, self-indulged and sinful. I pray for others that do not know your amazing love: “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing against you. O Lord, send your Spirit on them to open their eyes to your presence in their lives and your amazing love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”