My precious niece Denise has again so deeply touched my heart with truth shared.
I like the word joy. It brings a smile to my face just saying it…go ahead and try …”JOY”…aahhh, sweetness. Wouldn’t you know it though, obedience doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so smoothly. I don’t feel like partying when I hear that one! Who wants more joy in their life? We all raise our hands. Who’s interested in becoming more obedient? Cue the crickets.
When I say obedience, it conjures up the same feelings I tend to get when I hear words like, selflessness, humility, sacrifice or surrender. No smile appears on my face, rather I often feel a sense of dread, like I need to brace myself, or even fear, wondering what’s this going to cost me? My self centeredness is showing again. Anyone out there know what I’m saying?
As a child I had a healthy fear of Dad and I can remember, especially during the summer…
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Have you ever gotten so caught up in reading something that time gets away from you, or you read more than ‘assigned’ for a daily reading? Well it happened to me again. In my daily scripture writing (see Facebook group DAY BY DAY SCRIPTURE & JOURNAL), all of March to date has been from John 1. I got so caught up in the happenings of verses 29-31 yesterday that I didn’t notice I had completed the day’s scripture assignment and wrote verse 32 as well. Today I wrote the remainder of today’s writing: verses 33 & 34. It stood out to me (1) how John heard from God ahead of time what he would see, what it would mean, and Who would be in his presence, and (2) how important that knowledge was for the entire future of all mankind, and (3) how important it is to hear God when He speaks to each of us!
(NKJV). John 1:32-33 “32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
Remember, John the Baptist was the cousin who, pre-birth, leapt in his mother Elizabeth’s womb when Mary, mother-to-be of Jesus, entered Elizabeth’s home and spoke. The Spirit in John recognized being in the presence of Christ! (Luke 1:41 NKJV And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.)
So John heard the Spirit tell him that he would see the Spirit descend upon and remain upon The One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. (Jesus Himself.) Because John listened, he took note when at the Jordan baptizing people in water, when he saw the form of a dove landing upon a man. And when it remained, he knew that this was who they had been looking for; it was Jesus, the promised one!
Just before coming into the living room to write out my scriptures for the day, and as I walked through our kitchen, I wondered if there are any answering machine messages. I don’t usually think that while here in the house, but that is what came to my mind. And I figured likely not…we haven’t had any for quite some time. Yet because I ‘heard’ that thought, I looked … and there was the flashing light and little beep telling me we had a message waiting for us. Now I am not saying that it was God who alerted me to check for a phone message, but at the same time, I enjoy these little ‘reminders’ that it just could be Him making me aware to “stay tuned”, as the old tv shows used to tell us!
I want to be so in tune with Him that I hear Him. I do not want to miss even the little things He has for me, much less the big things God has for not only me, but those whose lives I can influence for good by hearing His directive and obeying.
My prayer: Dear Lord, cause my heart to listen to You above all the distractions and interruptions of my days, so I can follow You and not miss out on the blessings that hearing Your voice and directives will bring me and those in my sphere of influence. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!
While visiting with a young man I know and love, he referred to a harmful habit he had as being a part of his identity, having been a part of him longer than some friends in his life. It seemed more like a comfort to him than he could even explain. A caution arose in my spirit, because I knew this habit had the potential to give him a horrible disease, robbing him and his family of years of his life, and yet he did not break the habit.
Not too long after our talk, this writing just started pouring out of my heart. I sent it to him, and it greatly impacted his life.
As you read the following, please be open to the voice of the Lord speaking to your heart. Is there something — a habit, a relationship, anything that you are so comfortable with that you consider it a friend, a comfort, rather than recognizing what destruction it can do to your life spiritually, physically, financially, emotionally or mentally? Please read prayerfully and ask the Lord to shine His truth in your heart and enable you to release whatever you might be hanging onto that is actually a negative in your life.
WHAT’S IN YOUR HAND, MY SON?
“What’s in your hand, My Son? Are you hanging on to things disguised as ‘friends’ that would rob, steal from or kill you? Are you clinging tight to comforts that bring isolation and loss? Open your hand. Release what you’ve clung to. Then stand back and watch Me replace the old with treasures undreamed of as well as with dreams thought unreachable. What’s in your hand, My child? Open and release — and see the Salvation Of The Lord. Let Me bring you to new heights and new depths in Me. Step into the waters. Put your toes in. Go ankle-deep in Me. Go calf-deep, knee-deep, thigh-deep, waist deep … float, swim, dive…live joyously and care-abandoned in Me. Let My river of life surge through you and carry you away to places in Me you’ve never gone and experience My Love in greater measure than ever before. It won’t remain within you. It will overflow. My passion and love will overflow and pour out on those that are hungry and dry around you. You have stepped into the water…you are wading out deeper…and it is a journey you will never regret. My love and joy will WASH AWAY regrets, mistakes, and wish-you-hads…and will replace with “With God All Things Are Made New.” ”
February 21, 2014 ©2014 Patricia A. Hunter
The closing line of a movie caught my attention. I quote: “GIVING IN ITS PUREST FORM EXPECTS NOTHING IN RETURN.” I got to thinking. While that may be so, what joy it brings when that same love flows reciprocally back to you. It may have been an act of kindness or an item given that you know your loved one is fond of. Whatever the gift, the love that prompted it is the true and lasting treasure. And certainly if we love someone, we want to protect them, so we give them our attention, our care, our nurturing, our best counsel and encouragement.
Before time began, God thought of us. He knew us entirely, and loved us completely. He knew what we would experience, yearn for, reject and respond to. He knew what we would gladly embrace; He knew our hidden thoughts and deepest feelings. Before we were, He was aware of what would be our insecurities and hopes, our failures and joys. He knew what dangers and temptations we would be susceptible to. Knowing us as He did, and loving us as only He can, He gave us His most prized and priceless treasure, His love gift; the gift of His only Son, Jesus.
Giving in it’s purest form “expects nothing in return”? Perhaps. But does not the heart long for acknowledgment from those it loves? Is there not pain when love is not returned? Is there not a sense of loss and sadness when a gift of love is overlooked, or worse yet, refused entirely? God loved. And because of that love, He gave. God so loved you, He so loved me, that He gave His one and only Son Jesus, to die for our sins. Why? So that anyone- you, me, whosoever would believe on His Son should not perish in eternal payment for our sins, but might have everlasting life.
But how much greater it is, when love is returned. God loved, so He gave. Does He demand we accept His gift and give Him our love in return? No. But what joy we can give Him by returning His love. Loving and giving, expecting nothing in return, is selfless and can be fulfilling. How wonderful when love is reciprocated, shared. And of course there is the benefit of eternal life rather than eternal punishment for us by receiving His gift!
Have you accepted God’s gift to you? Do you return the Lord’s love? He knows you in minute detail, and loves you infinitely, with a non-stop, regardless of us love, an everlasting love.
And that, my friend, is why we celebrate this holiday. That answers the question “Why Christmas?” Because, GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. (John 3:16 New King James Version -NKJV)
What love! What a gift! Accept His gift of Jesus, who paid the price for forgiveness from your sins. Love Him back! It’s a win-win situation. We receive His love, He receives our love. Return that love He has given you, and pass it on to others needing to learn of and accept this awesome gift.