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He Calls Me Friend

“For all the promises of God find their yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

Perfect and majestic Father!  How is it that you open your heavens, reach down and invite us in to your perfect world each and every minute of every day?  I don’t want to miss a chance to say “yes!” back to you when you put out your glorious hand to me.  Holy Spirit, I RSVP today to you, “Yes and Amen!”

A few weeks ago, my church was studying Proverbs 27 and the theme of friendship which runs throughout it.  It hit me how God is always inviting us into relationships that mirror what He wants with us.  Jesus, himself, changed the status of His relationship with the disciples in John 15:15 when he said, “No longer do I call you servants…but I have called you friends.”

The role that Jesus plays in the work of the Trinity allows us to create a personal relationship with the most holy of all holies – God almighty.  In fact, a few of my friends who have spent years in Christian denominations where fearing God the Father is placed higher than other parts of the Trinity, recently discovered that it’s this close, personal friendship with the Lord that has brought them farther along in their sanctification.

God knows the value of friendships.  He has defined what a healthy, beautiful friendship is through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus provided gentle honesty, selfless attentiveness, stubborn loyalty, and intentional pursuit.  He didn’t overlook sin and He didn’t call out sin without love.   He doesn’t lie to us or betray us.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Jesus didn’t meet a couple of guys, sit around having a beer listening to their woes and their sins then sign off for the day with a “see ya!”  He invested.  He pursued.  He sharpened.  Isn’t it amazing that God wants this type of relationship with little ‘ole us?

The sermon that day about friendship featured a pin drop moment.  The pastor said, “Me and Jesus, it isn’t enough.”  The crowd was silent.  We’ve always heard that’s all we need, right?  But we were made to be loved and to love.  We were made to be in communion with other believers; to be friends, loyal, intentional and wise.  We know that because it’s what God wants with us and models for us.

Friend, today ask the Holy Spirit to put someone on your heart to reach out to.  Someone that you need to make an effort to get to know.  Let’s honor and glorify God by making a new friend to whom we can sharpen and they will sharpen us, in His name.

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Beauty In The Battle

"Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to our holy name and glory in your praise."  Psalms 106:47

Holy God, the heavens are your battleground!  You fight against the cosmic forces over darkness.  Your power and majesty are at work all around me through the unseen world of the spirit.  And through my earthly worship I take up your sword each day to withstand any evil, in your Son’s name.  Amen

One of my favorite lines by Jesus in the Bible is, “Get behind me, Satan!” as He rebukes Peter for having the wrong mindset about Jesus’ work. His exact words are repeated in Matthew 16 and Mark 8.  Jesus also uses similar words in speaking directly to Satan in Matthew 4:10 with “Be gone, Satan!”  I jokingly use these phrases when donuts appear in front me.  Recently, however I heard teaching about spiritual warfare and I realized I had the completely wrong approach to it.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him." Psalm 28:7

We so often talk about rebuking Satan or fighting our “Goliaths” when in reality we shouldn’t be speaking to the devil at all.  It’s dangerous work that I would venture to say most of us are not prepared to withstand.  Even the archangel Michael used God as his shield rather than his own words.  Instead, we should be relying on the incredible power of the Trinity to fight our spiritual battles.  

Along this same line I once told a friend we shouldn’t be asking, “What would Jesus do?” but rather what would Jesus want me to do? We are not fully man and fully God.  We are just man.  And we need to acknowledge that alone we only have the power given to us through the Spirit.  God, through His great love for us, will take care of the rest.  Isn’t that beautiful and amazing?

So what do we do?  We enact the famous lines from Ephesians 6 and put on our armor of God.  We stand firm in God’s truth.  We fit our feet with Jesus’ gospel of peace.  We arm ourselves with the shield of faith and the sword of God’s Word.  In other words, we allow God to fight His glorious fight with the devil while we do the seemingly mundane acts of worship, studying our Bibles, praying for intercession, baptizing in His name, and spreading His Word of peace and salvation.

Friends, we need to start saying, “Get behind my Lord and Savior Jesus, Satan.”  He is the blinding shield, the kryptonite against evil.  He is the most powerful weapon we could ever imagine to ward off the arrows lobbed at us.  Each time we open our Bibles, go to church, show love to a stranger, speak the Gospel truth into a friend we place that shield firmly in place for God to enter into battle.

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My Every Need

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

“Dear Lord, before I even put my feet on the floor this morning I want to thank you for meeting all my needs today. I know not all my “wants” may be met but each time I am able to eat a meal, rest easy in my home, drive safely on my errands, pay my bills, find peace in my mind and joy in my heart I thank you and lift you up in glory for the love you have for me.  Amen”

My BSGs recently studied the intricacies of the trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It was great getting to know and understand to the best of our human abilities how each of the three interact with each other and with creation.  The foundation of the study was that God is love.  He didn’t need to make us humans because He was already complete within the trinity.  They love each other and are fulfilled by each other.  And glorify each other.  So creating “us” became a pure act of love.  

“It would be wrong to think of ourselves as God’s primary focal point and purpose; that is not the message of Scripture.”  says Christian teacher, Tara-Leigh Cobble.  “He created us and invited us into pre-existing joy.”

Pre-existing joy?  Think about it.  Throughout the gospels Jesus talks about how God loved Him before and how they glorify each other.  They had love and joy and everything they needed before “us.”

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." John 17:24

So given this truth, how much more amazing is it that God cares about us?  About your bills.  About my aches and pains.  About our fears and worries.  There are those who believe that God created the world and then left us alone (deists).  But every single day He answers prayers.  For me, that good night sleep was an answered prayer.  The fact that my husband still has a job and can provide for us is an answered prayer.  That my oldest daughter has yet another day to decide to turn to Him and that my younger daughter already has are answered prayers.  That I have food to eat and a strong body to serve others.  For just having another day to glorify Him before my time is up.

He loves me.  He loves you.  He is providing for us.  So each morning let us lift up our eyes and present ourselves to Him as His servants.  Ready to glorify Him, ready to acknowledge His holy presence in our lives.

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His Word

"…encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory."  1 Thessalonians 2:12

“Jesus what would I be without your red letter words? Without the revealing words about our Father God?  Thank you Lord, for each time I open my Bible that your desire is to teach me about your kingdom and glory. Amen”

For many years I sat in a church pew without ever cracking open a Bible.  I didn’t even open it when the pastor told us what page to turn to – because the scripture was up on the screen.  My own Bible sat gathering inches of dust.  It wasn’t until just a couple years ago, when I was unable to attend church, that I realized all the teaching needed was available right at my fingertips.

“..my friends, stand over this volume, and admire its authority. This is no common book. It is not the sayings of the sages of Greece; here are not the utterances of philosophers of past ages. If these words were written by man, we might reject them; but oh, let me think the solemn thought — that this book is God’s handwriting, that these words are God’s.”

Charles Spurgeon on the Bible

How glorious is it that God – that omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being – gave us all we need to know about Him and how to best have a relationship with Him?  Not only did He write down what we need to know He sent Jesus to reveal even more!  If we needed to summarize the purpose of Jesus’ brief physical walk on this earth it might be to say so that we could be pulled even closer in this relationship.  To know the one who created us like we know our own hand.  To want to be so close to Him that we become one with Him.  To know how simple it is to receive His full mercy and grace by just saying, “yes I do and I will.”  Throughout Jesus’ life He pointed us back to the Father and forward to the Holy Spirit.  Reminding us who sent Him and why.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Yes, my friends, there’s still a lot about God and the Trinity that are a mystery.  His thoughts and ways are greater than ours.  But sometimes we just need to shrug and say, “maybe that’s not for me to know just now.”  Until then we can lift up our voices in praise for the gift of His Word.  It shouldn’t be taken for granted.  For most of our human existence we didn’t have this gift widely available.  The Bible is now translated into about 1,500 languages.  And for that we should give glory!

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To God Give The Glory

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11

Holy Father, Loving Jesus and Ever Present Spirit, today I will exalt you; I will praise your name forever.  Great are you, Lord!   You are worthy to give all glory and praise!  I will speak of your glorious splendor and majesty.  I will tell of the power of your wonderful works and I will celebrate your abundant goodness and proclaim your great deeds. Amen*

A few years ago, I started a prayer project.  I had no problem asking God for things to happen in my life.  I also didn’t struggle with asking for forgiveness.  And I always added others to my petitions.  What I had a difficult time doing was praising God.  Not just thanking Him for what He has done for me, but praising Him for who He is.  It seemed silly and flowery.  

As my faith has progressed, I’ve realized how important it is for us believers to acknowledge God’s magnificence, power and well, just plain awesomeness.  It helps to put our whole lives into perspective.  It reminds US who really is in charge.  So, I started the 30 Days of Praise series.  Eventually I went on to write 30 More Days of Praise and then 30 Days of Thanksgiving.  

Recently, I kept seeing the word “glorify” in the study I’m doing about the Trinity.  I started looking into the differences between praising God and giving God the glory due to Him.    I found this helpful description of praise and glory:

Praise (ἔπαινος; epainos) means the excellence of a person. Glory (δόξα; doxa) means splendor and greatness. Honor (τιμή; time’) means respect and high status or value. 

Dr. Thomas Clothier

And it got me thinking how I need to up my praise game.  God isn’t just excellent in the ways He shows up in my life.  He, without anything to do with me, is full of splendor and awesome in power!  Jesus’ every move was to glorify the Father.  The Father loved and glorified the Son.  The Holy Spirit came to live in us to glorify Jesus’ act of salvation and to continue the work of the Father.  The Trinity uses us to glorify the work of creation – it’s beauty and mystery.

We glorify him when we care more about what he wants than about what we want. Even better, we glorify him when we want the same things he wants. 

Peter KrolKnowable Word: Helping Ordinary People Learn to Study the Bible

I’m not sure I can fully describe the glory of God through words but I’m going to make an attempt to show how our everyday lives can be lived to give Him the glory due.  Please join me on this 30 day prayer journey of glorifying God and watch as His love for us unfolds into a beautiful story.

*This prayer was taken from parts of Psalm 145, “David’s Psalm of Praise.”

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A Promised Foundation

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;

    he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.

He will be the sure foundation for your times,

    a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;

    the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Isaiah 33:5-6

I don’t know about you but I sure can use some stability this year.  As a child my life, viewed from the outside, looked very stable.  My parents were married, we had a nice home, two kids, dogs, cats, a little garden in the backyard.  I was a Girl Scout and did well in school.  And I felt so alone.  

I blamed all my family problems on moving from the Los Angeles area down to San Diego when I was in 4thgrade.  Everything seemed to change.  My mom was extremely unhappy and angry so often and my father rarely spoke.  My brother was fast approaching a time when the hidden timebomb of a manic-depressive disorder would take over his life.  My parents weren’t what you might call a “team.”  Having the benefit of hindsight, I realize now it had nothing to do with the move and everything to do with a lack of a solid rock within our family unit.

Not being raised in a Christian (or any faith) environment I found myself searching for stability through my parents and then friends and boyfriends.  As my mother’s own mental health issues began coinciding with my brother’s, the atmosphere around my house became so volatile so I searched for peace and love through insecure friendships and lopsided romantic relationships.  This led to competitive relationships and risky sexual behavior.   All the while I longed for a firm foundation to set my hopes, my fears, and my need to find joy.

Thankfully, through God and a wonderful husband, I have found that “sure foundation,” as written by the prophet Isaiah.  The promise God makes in this passage is that He is our solid rock, He is the stability for which we all yearn.  He is the same today as he was yesterday.  And He will be the same tomorrow.  There’s no rug pulled out from under us.  There’s no switching of loyalties.  There’s no character flaw that suddenly comes to light and bites us.  He is perfect.  He is solid.  He is the “rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.”

Lest we miss the agreement part of this promise let me remind you of the last sentence of Isaiah 33:5-6: “The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.”  There’s that other half of the covenant.  Our part in this relationship requires us to exalt God and respect His place in the universe.  He is God and we are not.  And when we try to place others above Him, they will surely crumble, at some point. 

I was reading today about an astronaut’s “lifeline.”  NASA (the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration) considers there to be two lifeline systems for astronauts:

“From lift off through landing, the astronauts aboard the Shuttle along with the thousands of people supporting the flight on Earth depend on NASA’s team of experts to manage this complex communication system. Maintaining good communications is critical.  The lifeline is comprised of two systems – a ground-based network composed of communication stations, and a space network operating orbiting satellites. As the Shuttle orbits the Earth, the NASA team monitors and continually adjusts the communication pathways to ensure that command, tracking, telemetry, video, and voice communications are clear and secure. “

I like that visual – a large team of incredibly talented people making sure our astronauts in space are able to accomplish their mission goals and come home safely.  As Christians we have our own talented team that makes up our solid rock – God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
You believe in God; believe also in me.
John 14:1

When we live in constant communication with our Holy team, they can continually monitor our progress, provide a firm foundation, and keep us on the right track – completing the mission and bringing us safely home. 

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His Amazing Identity

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.  After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Luke 2:41-50


Who have you believed Jesus to be? 

The world has so many depictions of what Jesus “looks like.” White Jesus, Black Jesus, Buddha Jesus, Italian Jesus — it seems as though everyone has taken their idea of Jesus and made it reflect their own image. This practice is a dishonoring habit by churches everywhere who spend so much time painting Jesus to reflect their faces, instead of painting themselves to look more like Jesus.

No matter where you are at in your walk with Christ, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had different perspectives of who Jesus is. For me, I’ve always thought of him as a Mediterranean- looking trim man with brown flowy locks. I can thank several movies and documentaries for that image. I’ve also thought of him as God’s Son who sits on a seat lower than God, answers to His requests and working as the hands and feet of God’s Kingdom — another misconception that again, devalues the full power and glory of Christ. Why? Because Jesus isn’t less than God or inferior. Jesus is God as a part of the Trinity. Three-in-One, Father, Spirit, Son. Jesus sits at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19) and was present at creation (Genesis 1:26). 

See, here in Luke 2, Jesus’ parents knew he was a seed planted in Mary by God, but they still couldn’t wrap their heads around what that really meant. When they lost Jesus in the crowds in Jerusalem, they searched tirelessly for Him everywhere but one place – the temple. If they truly understood who Jesus was, that would’ve been the first place they looked. But to them, all they could see was their young son who was just a little boy. Where could he possibly have gone? Once found, they were amazed at what they were seeing. That same little boy was teaching/preaching in the temple courts, communing with His Father. 

Duh, where else would He be? 

I challenge you to ask yourself this: What lies/misconceptions/myths are you believing about Jesus? And how are those misconceptions hindering you from being truly amazed by his power and presence in your life? Where are you looking for Jesus and missing Him, when in reality, you simply need to go to the Father to find Him? 

The best way to find out who Jesus REALLY is, is to read through His words and interactions with others in the gospels. Study His character and you will discover God’s character. Study His love and you will understand God’s love. Study His kindness, grace and compassion and you will see what an amazingly kind and compassionate God we serve. 

Knowing Jesus means knowing the Father – I encourage you to get to know Him today.