Inherit the earth … Jesus loves you

Momo & Popo - 1

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

Church; a big, well-worn Bible; fishing; watermelon and rhubarb pie; many conversations about Jesus. These are some of my memories of my Momo and Popo. They laughed; they loved; they prayed; they served; they worshipped. They helped plant a church in a poor section of Lawton, Oklahoma.

Momo and Popo didn’t have much, but what they had they gave to others. Popo would spend all day fishing and return that night with a load of croppie. He cleaned them for the next hour or two and then packaged them to give to friends, family, neighbors, and church members.

Momo and Popo were not focused on their gain, but rather on the welfare of others. They were controlled by the Holy Spirit and trusted in God to control their lives.

It is the distinguishing character of the people of God that they are the meek ones of the earth; this is their badge; it is their livery. They are modest, and humble, and low in their own eyes; they are mild, and gentle, and yielding to others, not soon angry, not very angry, not long angry; they are the quiet in the land, Ps. 35:20. And they are subject and submissive to their God, to all his precepts and all his providences. Actuated by this principle and disposition, they have wrought his judgments, that is, have obeyed his laws, observed his institutions, have made conscience of their duty to him, and have laid out themselves for the advancement of his honour and interest in the world.

Moses was meek

Miriam and Aaron, sister and brother of Moses, spoke against Moses because he had married an Ethiopian woman. The Bible says that Moses was “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3

Moses did not defend himself. God defended Moses and struck Miriam with leprosy. Moses humbly let God defend him, and then he prayed for Miriam to be healed … Moses was meek, and he was strong. He led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert following the commands of God.

Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. Numbers 12:13

Jesus was meek

“SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION,
‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
GENTLE, [humble, meek] AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY,
EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’” Matthew 21:5

King Jesus entered Jerusalem not on a stallion declaring victory, but on a donkey in peace and humility. Jesus was strong. That same day, He entered the temple, “drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.” Matthew 12:12

Jesus’ destination was the cross where He would take on the sins of the world – past, present, and future.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth. Isaiah 53:7

Like Moses, Jesus did not defend Himself.

Jesus loves you

Jesus chose to allow Himself to be nailed to the cross by sinful men. Jesus chose to hang on that cross and take on the sin of the world … your sins, my sins, paying the price for sin forever. Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross and died. But the third day, He rose from the dead, declaring victory over sin and death. He purchased our salvation, so that we could live with Him forever.

Jesus is gentle, humble, meek, and He loves you and me.

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation. Psalm 149:4

Are you beautified with salvation?

This week, ask God to show you meekness in His Word. Ask Him to show you meekness in your life. Then, share what God has taught you below this post.

My prayer

Father, You are so gracious. Teach us what it means to be meek. Guide us into meekness. Thank You for Jesus and His redeeming love. Bring us closer to You. We love You, Lord!

Is your “Yes” sacred? A review of Your Sacred Yes

Cover Art

How many categories of “Yes” do you have? Susie Larson, in Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligations for Freedom, Passion & Joy, groups 12 reasons for saying “yes” into three categories: the “sloppy yes,” the “shackled yes,” and the “sacred yes.”

Larson has filled each chapter with nuggets of practical truth and application, beginning with a Bible verse and a quote. Personal anecdotes illustrate the topic of the chapter, and practical application follows with ample Scripture references. Prayer wraps the chapter with grace. Larson asks the reader to reflect upon her personal experiences. Then, “A Wise Word” serves as a memorable metaphor of the chapter. If the reader is using the book as small group study, “Group Discussion Starters” encourage conversation. Each chapter ends with a “Faith Declaration” resounding in “I refuse the rat race because God has called me to the sacred race.”

Because I’m in the rat race, I found this book especially convicting … in a good way. So much so, that when my husband and I finish our current study, we’ll take six weeks to work through the free downloadable workbook if you sign up for the study that begins July 13. We’ve also purchased the 30-minute DVD lessons that Larson has developed. That’s how much I value this message!

“We’re not called to a busyness that drains us; we’re called to an abundance that trains us.”

One of the Personal Reflections captured my attention:

“Dream with me for a moment. If you imagined your life to be above and beyond all you could ever dare to ask or think according to Christ’s glorious work in and through you (see Ephesians 3:20-21), what would that abundant life look like on you?” (Chapter 3 Personal Reflection Question)

Seldom, do I read a book other than the Bible, that inspires me to slow down, take some time, and reflect upon it with my husband. Your Sacred Yes has done this. Imagine, if all Christian “A-types” did this. Dream about that moment! It would change the world.

Thank you, Susie, for imagining the abundant life!

My prayer

Father, Thank You for Susie Larson’s reflection upon the abundant life You have planned for each one of Your children. May readers capture the essence of their sacred “yes” and honor their “yes.” Teach me to honor my sacred “yes,” so that I can point more people to You and all that is sacred about You. Thank You!

Author’s page

I received a complimentary copy of Your Sacred Yes from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for an honest opinion.

Colliding with destiny … Finding hope in the legacy of Ruth, A Review

colliding

 

This book is a must read for women who are in the middle of challenging times. I have read the book of Ruth quite a few times, but I had never approached it from the perspective of a young woman emerging from great loss, isolation, and the unknown.

Sarah Jakes offers practical insight about the possible thoughts of Ruth, the unseen challenges she may have encountered, her faithfulness to Naomi, integrity, and God.

Although this book has not been referred to as a devotional, it is the perfect 30-day devotional for someone who is working through difficult times. With each of the 30 short chapters, Jakes focuses on several verses in Ruth, illustrates the verses with everyday examples, provides thought-provoking questions for the reader to journal about, and ends with a prayer.

Jakes shares her personal collisions with destiny and the guilt she felt over a failed marriage and past mistakes. The book of Ruth provided hope as Jakes walked with this young widow from the land she knew to the land of the Israelites. From following the women in the fields and picking up leftover bits of grain to finding favor in the eyes of the field’s owner, Boaz, Ruth did not give up. Jakes urges the reader to persevere and wait upon the Lord to work.

When you collide with destiny as Ruth did, you will discover a beautiful point of intersection between the longings of your heart, your experience, and gifting, and the opportunities God opens before you.

A beautiful story about the redemption of the church unfolded before my eyes as a picture of the Christian walk through the challenges of life, through the loss of a loved one, loss of job, loss of health, loss of spouse, or loss of possessions.

So often we remember Ruth with Boaz and her ultimate blessing, not with her struggle. This outcome gives me comfort. It means when all is said and done, my legacy will not be what broke me but how God blessed me. Only those who care to see my scars will understand that the blessing did not come without wounds and that I did all I could to survive.

There is hope, and your story is a legacy.

What is your legacy?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review.

My prayer

Our Legacy-Maker, thank You for Sarah Jakes and her compelling look at the book of Ruth. Father, enable us to see You at work in our lives, transforming the hurts, the bruises, the scars of our lives into beautiful legacies that touch other lives with the beauty that only You can create. Thank You for being the Great Artist in our lives.

Need a miracle, healing, blessing? Cry out to God

Jordan RiverThe Jordan River

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.

O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Isaiah 30:18-19

Isaiah warned Judah against making an alliance with the Egyptians, but they rebelled against God’s plan for them and chose their own path. They even told the prophets to be quiet.

Judah ignored the Word of God and did what was right in their own eyes.

The consequences were oppression and deprivation.

God longed to bless them. All He wanted was for them to cry out to Him. He was waiting to be gracious to them.

God longs to bless you and me. He is waiting for us to turn from our plans, to cry out to Him and turn to His plan for us.

He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left. And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold. You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, “Be gone!”

Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture. Isaiah 30:20-23

Do you need a blessing? A miracle? Healing?

My prayer for you

Father, I am astounded that You would wait upon us, that You are longing to bless us. Thank You for Your great patience with us. You are our Teacher. You are our Miracle Worker. You are our Healer. You are our Blesser. We cry out to You. We turn from our plans and take You by the hand, so that You can walk us through Your plans for us. Thank You for Your great compassion and love.

Cry out to God. He’s waiting to bless you.

What blessings do you possess?

Moses

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us. Ephesians 1:3-7

As children of God, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, and Jesus has lavished the riches of His grace upon us.

Several weeks before her grandson’s 17th birthday, his grandmother looked through the years of photographs she had taken of her grandson. She chose five photographs that depicted the wonder of life, celebration of holidays, and significant growth. She designed a card and wrote about their adventures together. She uploaded the card and ordered it to arrive before his birthday.

On the day of his birthday, she called to sing him “Happy Birthday,” but he was sleeping. She told his mother that a card awaited him. Then she texted him. He texted her that he would pick it up soon.

Now there was a history that birthday cards contained money. A week went by. The grandmother called to remind him that a card awaited him. He said that he would make the 5-minute trip to her house soon.

Another week went by. No grandson.

The gift awaited him. A gift filled with love and creativity. A gift of substance and provision. Yet, he took 2 1/2 weeks to receive the gift.

Once he received the gift, he realized the love, the time, and the love that the grandmother poured into the preparation of the card. He was touched and blessed.

I wonder how many blessings Jesus has for me that I have not taken the time to come to Him and receive?

My prayer for you:

Heavenly Father, show us the blessings that we have not taken the time to receive from You. You have lavished every spiritual blessing upon Your children, and yet, we have not reached out to You to receive the blessings and to possess them. Thank You for Your patience and the blessings that You have created for us from the foundation of the world.

What blessings are you possessing? What blessings do you need to possess?

Blessings from pain

As He [Jesus] passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, “ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3

Have you reflected upon this and thought this might apply to you? It applies to me. I was a sickly child. Hospitalized many times in my teens. Later, I developed fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. For years, I suffered and cried out to God.

I found many blessings in the pain and fatigue.

The greatest blessing came to me as I lay on our living room couch in the middle of the night in pain. Many nights, I turned to the Psalms and observed David’s agony turn to praise. David taught me to cry out to God and then turn my focus upon God. Gratitude filled my heart as I saw how small my pain was in comparison to how great God is. Those intense, painful moments melted into moments of blessing and love.

I also learned how much my husband of 41 years loved me. He is the embodiment of a servant-leader, giving and caring with no expectation of return. Without the pain and limitations, our relationship would not have been as intimate as it is today.

Blessings from the pain turned into opportunities to minister to others in pain and suffering. Coworkers, family, friends and their friends knew that I had walked a similar path of pain for years and that I understood what they were going through. They also saw a woman who had been delivered from her pain, and they wanted to hear about how I had been healed. They wanted prayer. They wanted compassion. They wanted practical insight in coping with the pain.

I am grateful for the years of pain. The pain opened doors into people’s hearts that would never have been opened without the pain.

This life journey has truly been a gratitude adventure.

My prayer for you:
Great Comforter and Healer, we honor You and praise You for what You are doing in our lives and for who You are. You have promised that You would never leave us nor forsake us. We trust You and lean upon You in these times of trials. Jesus, we thank You for love beyond measure that You bestowed upon us. You were beaten and scourged for us, and by Your stripes we are healed, whether it is today or tomorrow or when You take us home. You hung on the cross to pay the price for our sins, so that we could be with You for eternity. That is the greatest blessing of all. What a friend we have in You, Jesus. Pour out Your Spirit upon us, so that we can point people to You. It is because of You that we have blessings and we can bless others. Thank you. Amen.

Wishing you a gratitude adventure as you contemplate the blessings that we experience in our pain and limitations. We can turn them into opportunities to impact the lives of others.

What are you doing to turn your pain into blessings?