Declare

Abide

To Abide is to remain, to stay, to dwell, to reside, to submit, to connect

Ever find yourself trapped in a frantic pace?  You’re running every night, your husband is complaining he never sees you, you can’t remember what your kids look like and you’re not sure when you all sat down to dinner together.  Oh yes… and you are tired, cranky and overwhelmed.  To top it off, you have convinced yourself that this is all in the name of ‘Serving Jesus’.

You’re working hard to produce fruit for Jesus, but you have never consulted Him about any of your decisions.  You’ve said yes to anyone who asks, because that’s what ‘Good Christians’ do and it’s left you feeling alone and empty.  You mt dear, have become disconnected fro the only one who can sustain you, Jesus.  Jesus warns us what will happen when we disconnect from Him –

The Vine & The Branches

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;for without Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

 I am the Vine

Jesus declares that He is the Vine, the stem that is full of all the nutrients we need to produce fruit in our lives.

 You are the Branches

A branch is the subdivision, a limb, an off-shoot of the main stem.  The branches are dependent upon the stem to sustain life.  Jesus declaration is clear He is the Vine – We are the branches.

He (or She) who abides in Me

We choose rather our branch stays connected to the Vine or not, we choose to abide.

  • We choose to stay connected to Jesus
  • We choose to submit to His way of doing things
  • We choose to dwell in His presence
  • We choose to pray
  • We choose to listen
  • We choose to remain in Him
 Bears much fruit

Here is the promise for those who abide in Him- they bear, bring forth, produce, give birth to much fruit. 

What kind of fruit are we to be producing?

His Love 

His Joy

His Peace

His Patience

His Goodness

His Faithfulness

His Gentleness

His Self-Control

 

This is spiritual fruit and we cannot produce it on our own.  It’s impossible! It flows from the Vine into our branches that touch the world around us. We can try to muster it up ourselves, but we cannot sustain this fruit on our own.  Before we know it our branch is wilting.

 for without Me you can do nothing

In case there is any question, when you separate your branch from the vine, you may have some left over fruit for a time, but be assured apart from Jesus, there is no way to produce His fruit.

When we plunge into serving without staying connected to Jesus, we will find a whole lot of work, a whole lot of running that leads to one withered lady. The only place we’ll be finding fruit is in the produce isle.

Pray, listen, graft yourself into Jesus, say yes to the fruitful things and no to the fruitless ones.  Then you will feel him flowing through you, nourishing you, sustaining you.  Instead of feeling exhausted and cranky you will be healthy and vibrant, producing beautiful and delicious fruit, that draw all those around you to Jesus.

 

 

Declare

Declare

 

Within scripture, Jesus spoke many declarations that fall upon believers today.    Sadly we often miss them or forget them, that can leave us far from applying them to our lives.

A declaration is a formal statement that is announced, avowed, or proclaimed.  Scripture is filled with Jesus’ declarations of salvation, promise, love, provision as well as His declarations of correction, wisdom and guidance.

Jesus was literally the living, breathing Word of God.  John states, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

Hebrews reminds us that, The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

 We have the powerful, sharp, piercing Word of God, Jesus, declaring over our lives today.  Our thoughts and the intents of our hearts are laid bare before Him and He knows how to speak to us, if we will only listen.

What if we grabbed a hold of these declarations, studied them, memorized them, declared them over our lives and then lived them, would our lives change?  Would we find the peace, hope, direction and confidence we long for.  I believe we will.  Let’s take this journey together!

Each Sunday you will find a new Jesus Declaration post to Women of Worth Page. 

 Throughout the week:

 Use the Devotion to help you break down and study each Declaration

  • Memorize each Declaration (You can do it!)
  • Begin declaring Jesus’ Declaration over your life today
  • Ask the Lord to teach you how to live what you are declaring

Be free to post your thoughts in the comments.  Interactive study is the best kind of study!

Loved

When You’re Wondering if Jesus Really is Enough

We talk as if Jesus is enough, but are we believing and living in the fullness of who HE IS?

There are days when we need a reminder:

If you are spiritually hungry –  Jesus says:

“I AM the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35

If you find yourself walking in darkness – Jesus says:

 I AM the Light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life John 8:12

If you find yourself wondering how long Jesus has been around – Jesus says:

 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

If you find the doors in your life are closing – Jesus says:

I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 

If you find yourself lost – Jesus says: 

“I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  John 10:11

If you find yourself dead inside – Jesus says:

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

When you have lost your way – Jesus says:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 14:6

When you find yourself disconnected – Jesus says: 

 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.   John 15:5

Loved

Bread

We say we trust that the Lord will provide, but do we really trust Him to do the hard and impossible thing?

Do we trust Him when the checkbook balance is at a negative?

Do we trust Him when we are at the grocery store and the total keeps climbing?

Do we trust Him to provide college tuition?

Do we trust him with those unexpected medical bills?

Our trust list can go on and on –

Let’s take a look as to how our Jesus rolls when it comes to providing –

Feeding the Five Thousand

John 6 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tibe′ri-as. And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”

Jesus and Philip are looking out over a multitude of people.   Five thousand men, plus their wives, and all of their children.  We could roughly say that this crowd was 20,000 strong.

Jesus does not come out with His plan, He simply poses a question – a test of sorts, for Philip.

Philip, how are we going to buy enough bread for all of these people to eat?  

This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.

Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”

Two hundred denarii equaled about 8 months wages and even that would have only filled there bellies ‘ a little’.

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?”

Then we have Andrew’s bright idea, take a lunch from a child.  Even in saying the words, Andrew knew that this little lunch wouldn’t make a dent. We never hear from the lad but was he saying, Hey that’s my lunch!

Jesus goes to work…

10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.”

I see a few Jesus principals here:

  • Jesus gave thanks
  • Jesus wasted nothing

I see a miracle:

The people ate as much as they wanted and were filled and satisfied.  Oh how I would have love to have been the mama that packed that lunch.

1So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten.14 When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!” 

Jesus Took Little and Made it Much

Look at the abundance even in the leftovers:

  • Twelve full baskets of bread (with fragments from the original 5 loaves)

Instantly everyone was Jesus biggest fan.  Amazing how when our need is satisfied our faith soars, but it can fade just as quickly.

 

Jesus did the hard and impossible thing, He fed 20,000 people as He multiplied five loaves of barley bread and two pickled fish.

Don’t you think He can work in the impossible situations in our lives, if we ask Him?

If We Will Only Believe

For more on the Bread from Heaven you can listen here Loved Lesson 9 BREAD

Podcast · Praying the Psalms Project

Praying the Psalms Project Psalm 2

Psalm 2

Why are the nations so angry?
    Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
    the rulers plot together
against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.
“Let us break their chains,” they cry,
    “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”

But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
    The Lord scoffs at them.
Then in anger he rebukes them,
    terrifying them with his fierce fury.
For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne
    in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”

The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son.
    Today I have become your Father.
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
    the whole earth as your possession.
You will break them with an iron rod
    and smash them like clay pots.’”

10 Now then, you kings, act wisely!
    Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
11 Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry,
    and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
    But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

Flag of Surrender

Lord, why are the nations so angry?  They are busy building bombs, kidnapping and selling  women and children, and torturing their own people.  Their people are scattered and desperate.

I could go on and on Lord, but You know.  You know.  It makes me sick and sad just thinking about it.  Some nations have been fighting against You, since they were formed.

They see you as the chains, instead of the chain-breaker.

 They have never known life in your peaceful presence. Their children have never heard your name.  Why would they want to live with Your anger blazing against them? How foolish how sad, no wonder you laugh, Lord.  They are denying themselves so much.

You have already sent us a King, your Son, our Savor, Jesus.  He is a King who came down from His throne and gave himself for his people.  Anyone who chooses Him can become part of His kingdom.  The gates are open, but one day they will close.

I pray for these nations that You will teach kings and leaders to be wise and courageous, that they will stop running from you and run to you, lifting their flags of surrender high.  Surrendering to You Lord, makes the weak, strong.  

I pray over the children of these nations, that they will know the hope and peace than comes from you. Don’t let them live their lives without you, Lord.  Help us to raise up a generation of  missionaries and open the doors to for them to declare Your Good News all over the Earth!

You are mighty, holy and powerful, Lord.  One day every nation will bow.  In the mean-time I stand in the gap for them, because they just don’t know.  Holy Spirit, soften their hearts and make them ready for the good News of Jesus, the only way to salvation.  Remind me to never stop, lifting them up in prayer.  

Thank you God that in Jesus, all those who believe have refuge.  Amen and Amen

Listen here Praying Psalm 2

SINCE 1991 (2).jpg

An Advent Journey with Mary

The Christ Candle

As we light our final candle tonight, who better to tell us about her Son, than Mary herself ~

The Christ

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Everything about my Jesus was miraculous. Shortly after his birth visitors began to come. First shepherds, who had been heralded by angels, declaring his birth came to see him for themselves.  They left declaring all that they had seen.

We had such a wonderful greeting from Simeon and Anna at the temple, as we came to offer our first fruit to the Lord. They knew who we were, they said they had been fasting, praying and believing for the Messiah to come. And Jesus was He, just as the Lord has said.

I have always remembered, the words Simeon said to me, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.  As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

His words were unsettling to me. What had he meant when he had said, a sword would pierce my own soul?

Oh how I loved my son, I held him close, nursed him, cared for him. We enjoyed every milestone, his first smile and coo, then crawling, his first words and finally Jesus took his first steps.

It was about that time there was a knock on the door. Three Kings from afar stood before us. They said they had followed a star in the sky that they were searching for the promised Messiah. With gifts in hand they came to worship the new King.

The first knelt down with a gift of gold for a King

The second, bowed low with a his gift of frankincense for a Priest

The third stood before our little son with his gift of myrrh for the Sacrifice.

Myrrh, what a strange gift to give a baby, I thought to myself. Like many other moments since Gabrielle’s visit. I tucked all of these thoughts deep into my heart. One by one I would recall them.

We longed to go home to Nazareth, but Joseph was warned in a dream that it was not safe, that we should take a detour to Egypt. It was difficult being so far from home with a new baby to care for. Finally, it was time to journey home.

Once at home with family and friends we settled into normal life. More children came and our family grew

I can only think of one time that Jesus gave us a fright. We had gone on our annual journey to the temple, for the Passover festival. As we returned home we realized that Jesus was not with us. We turned back and found him sitting among the teachers in the temple.

We did not know what to think. “Son why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” I cried.

“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” We didn’t understand what he meant that day, but we would.

I felt a slight twinge in my heart as I stored that memory in my heart with the many others.

We gathered him up and brought him home to Nazareth and he was always obedient to us. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

Jesus grew from a boy to a man. He was a skilled carpenter, but soon he would be called to something else. His life mission I would call it.

I was present the night it began.  We were at a wedding, the wine skins were empty. I called for Jesus, “Jesus, these wine skins are empty.” 

Jesus looked at me intently and said this words, “Woman, it is not yet my time.” 

Did my son just call me woman?  There it was again that pricking pain in my heart.  I simply said tot he servants, “Do whatever he asks,”  and I walked away.

That night would be the beginning of the miracles.  Jesus turned the water into wine, not the wine served at the end of the wedding feast, the best wine served at the beginning.

I watched as Jesus laid his hands upon the sick and they were made well.

As he took the hands of the lame and they stood up and walked.

He touched the blind and they would see, the deaf and they would hear.

Demons scampered from their human hosts at his command.

I sat in the backround listening as he taught the people and as the crowds gathered and grew.

I watched as people loved and adored him and listened intently as the whispering and the threats came form those who would hate him.

I would remember the words of Simeon as the piercing of my soul began…

He was arrested and  taken to prison in chains.

As he was beaten and tortured almost beyond recognition.

As he was mocked and spit upon, his beard plucked from his face.

Just when I thought I could bare no more…

A crown of thorns was pressed deep into his skull until blood began to trickle down his swollen face.

I watched as his blood soaked body shake with pain as he carried his cross, my cross, your cross through the streets and up the mountain.

I stood there as nails pierced his hands and his feet, as they nailed him to his cross.

With each strike of the hammer, my heart felt as if it would burst with pain.

All I could do was stand there as the sword of grief slashed at my heart, watching my dear son struggle for each breath.

Even in his last breaths, he still had love and concern for me and said these words to John and I, “Woman, behold your son!”  Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour John took me into his own home.

Then my Jesus took his last breath, with these words he gave up his spirit, “It is finished!”

I found myself holding my son in my arms once again.  I cleaned his body, wiping away the blood, just as I had done after his birth.

I began to wrap him for burial, just as I had swaddled him as a baby.  As I reached for the burial spices, I remembered the third King kneeling before Jesus giving his gift of Myrrh, Myrrh for the sacrifice.

My son was the sacrifice for all, even for me.

My Son had become my Savior

I was merely the one who was honored to wrap God’s Gift to all man-kind, once at his birth and once at his death.

The grave would not hold my son, for in three days his wrappings would fall away and He would rise again!  Defeating death and the grave not only for himself, but for all who would call him – Savior.

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Merry, Merry Christmas dear friends – May you see and celebrate our Savior this day !

 

 

 

An Advent Journey with Mary

Love

We all think we know love, we have felt romantic love, maternal love, family love.  This love that was coming was would be perfect, flawless, agape love.  It would be a feast of love for all man kind.  If we allow it, it can overtake us and flow through us.

The Agape Love of  Jesus.  His birth, his life, his death and  his resurrection poured out love.

Mary is about to feel one of the strongest facets of love a human can feel, a love for her child.  She wouldn’t know it or understand it until it happened.

The moment baby Jesus took his first breath, let out his first cry and then nestled close to nurse from his mama, would change the way Mary loved for always.

Even the love for mother and child does not compare.  It would be Jesus who would show Mary and the rest of creation what true agape love would look and feel like.

This kind of love can be heart piercing.  Have you ever loved someone so much, it hurts.  That is a glimpse of Jesus Love.

Jesus was born and the whole world was rejoicing.  As was custom Mary and Joseph took their little bundle of joy to the Temple to present their first fruit, their first born, God’s first born son – to God.

There were two waiting for them. They had been waiting long, but their faith had endured and their reward was coming in the form of a tiny babe.

Simeon a man who was just before God and who was waiting, waiting for a promise to pass.  The promise given to him by Holy Spirit, that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s Christ.

Anna an old woman who had been widowed, she had only had seven brief years as a married woman. From then on, she would spend her days and nights in God’s Temple, praying, fasting and waiting.

The moment they laid eyes on this couple carrying a baby along with two turtledoves they knew.

They knew because they had been listening, praying and believing.

Both rejoiced and gave thanks to God and Simeon said these words as he held the long awaited baby Jesus in his arms and blessed God-

“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
    as you have promised.
 I have seen your salvation,
     which you have prepared for all people.
 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
    and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him.  Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” Luke 2: 28-35

In order for our salvation to come, God sent a Light, a Glorious Light.  Many would fall because he would reveal Truth and many would rejoice.

He was the sign of God’s Love, though many would oppose him.  Our hearts would be laid bare because of him.

Mary would see it all, feel it all.  She would get a glimpse of Jesus Love, Agape Love.  Her heart, her very soul would feel as if it were being pierced by a sword as Jesus’ life mission walked out before her eyes.

I wonder how often these words of Simeon would came back to her?

Love

As we light our Love Candle tonight let’s think about this Love, this Jesus Love, the kind of love that pierces hearts and souls.  That is the love that Jesus has brought to us, a love so deep, so wide, so sacrificial that its only result is salvation for all man-kind.  Agape Love 

Next week we are going to gather with family and friends.  Due to sin, mistakes and hurt feelings that fill this broken world we may find this very difficult, almost impossible.  This is not a love we can drum up on our own, but when we let Jesus Love move through us, all things are possible.

Let’s Live the Love !