The Only Question That Truly Matters in Life


There is only one question that truly matters in our lives. Do you know Jesus? The answer to all other questions may impact your earthly life. But the answer to this one simple question, “Do you know Jesus?” will impact you for eternity.

If you do not know Jesus, I challenge you to find a Bible and to read the book of John.

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Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me

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“Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me”: 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’ (Matthew 16 : 24 – 28 – ESV)

“I am with you…”


In the last 3 days, I have worked 27 hours with less than 6 hrs sleep each night. As a 60 yr old this has certainly taken it’s toll. I came home early yesterday to rest..

This morning in my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young, I read these Words :

REST IN ME A WHILE. You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days.”

These words grabbed my attention. I read on with excitement and anticipation. I knew God was speaking directly to me!

“Look neither behind you nor before you, focus your attention on Me, your constant Companion.”

“Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence.  The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment. I am with you, watching over you wherever you go.”

Praise God that He is watching over me as I head into another 10 hr day.

Psalms 143:8 NKJV

“Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust ; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.”

Lord, thank you this morning for speaking to me through Sarah Young and through your Word. Thank you for the promise that you are always with me. Keep me focused on you as I go through this day, neither looking forward or backwards. Moment by moment may I focus and rest in You.

In Jesus Name
Amen

Where is God on Your Priority List?


Are you a list maker? We seem to be a list society. Some of us keep lists on computers. Others keep lists in a little spiral book. Some have fancy day timers and still others may write a quick list on their hand. We seem to be such a busy, active society that we must write everything down so that we can “check items off” as completed. Some of us even do that when we go on vacation. We plan out every day, with every activity and it the end of the day we check off those things that we accomplished.

We are encouraged to set goals for ourselves in our education, in our career and even in our relationships. We are urged to be involved in organizations, societies, athletics, exercise gyms, and volunteer organizations. We take on Parent-Teacher Organizations, Band Boosters, choir, study groups, cooking classes, or other “for fun” classes and with each activity or responsibility comes either a new list of priorities or at least an item on one of the other priority lists.

Our days are often so active that we not only need a list of the things we wish to do during our day, but we must also have a calendar to organize our time – meetings we must attend, places we must go, people we must see. We even schedule time to organize our priority lists!

As you think about all the lists in your daily life, I wonder where you have placed God on your list of priorities. Is He the last thing on your list when you are so tired at the end of your day, that you fall asleep talking with Him or reading His Word? Is He somewhere scattered throughout the day sandwiched between other priorities maybe as a quick prayer or reading break? Is time with God even on your priority list?

Scripture tells us that as Christians we are to put God first in our lives – FIRST – “preceding all others in time, order, or importance”

– Wow! PRECEDING – “to surpass in rank, dignity, or importance” ”

ALL OTHERS – that means everyone and everything!

God is to come before our husband, our wife, our parents, our children, our grandchildren, our family members, and our friends; before everyone we know. God is to come before our own desires. God is to come before our jobs, our hobbies, our wants, our tasks; before any item on our lists.

I have found that the most wonderful days of my life, are those days when God is in His rightful place on all my lists – FIRST before all things.

Jesus replied, “Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”

Matthew 19:28 The Message

Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Matthew 22:37 The Message

Father, may we always remember to put you first so that we may experience the abundant life that you have planned for us each day.

In Jesus Name
Amen

Written by Marilyn Hoeth, 09/28/07 — Posted 5/8/2012

The Wonder of a Child – We should learn from them.


Recently my husband and I were visiting our son and his family. We were outside when our grandchildren spotted a bird with a twig in its mouth. My daughter-in-love quickly pointed out a bird nest tucked tightly in the corner of the eave in a dark corner above the patio. The mother bird started to fly in to the nest, only to get close then fly away after realizing that humans were all close by.

Each of us quickly forgot the mother bird. Our grandchildren, a boy age 5 and a girl age 2, began to play. As they played and ran in circles around their daddy and granddad, I pulled out my phone video camera. My grandson soon became engrossed in his playing, so I turned my attention to my granddaughter.  She was dancing around, looking up, laughing softly and was obviously happy about something. She was so cute, that being the dutiful grandmother I am, I began to video her with my Blackberry phone.

As I filmed, the joy on her face became obvious. I wondered what she was seeing when she would look up but was so engrossed in filming her, I didn’t want to look away. After a minute or so I stopped the video and continued to watch her from across the patio with a smile on my face and love bursting inside at the wonder of this beautiful child. Suddenly she was clapping her hands and as I looked to see what she was watching, I saw the mother bird fly away from the nest. At that moment, I heard my granddaughter turn to her daddy and say “Look” …  daddy and granddaddy were so engrossed in their conversation that neither heard her so she quietly walked away still smiling.

As I reflect back on that day, I realized that my little granddaughter and I were both experiencing the wonder of the moment — me watching her and her watching the mother bird.  Out of the six of us who were there, no one else saw what I saw as I watched this child and no one, including me, had seen the wonder of nature and God‘s creation as the mother bird built her nest and cared for her eggs.

Just as I didn’t understand what my granddaughter was doing, I’m sure that she didn’t fully understand what she was watching. Each of us were in awe and appreciation of the moment — God’s creation’s — precious moments unblemished by the world around us. Our reactions were different however. I sat quietly, secretly experiencing the love and wonder of my grandchild. She, however, was animated, fully engaged and eager to share her experience with others. And although her sharing was unnoticed, she didn’t allow it to dampen her joy. She knew, even at age 2, that she had just connected with something special and wonderful and she was happy.

As I have looked back on this time, I began to better understand what Jesus’ was telling us when he told us to become as little children. We are to be animated with the joy of our relationship with Jesus, fully engaged in whatever God is doing in our lives, never taking our eyes from Him, and eager to share our experiences with others. Even if rejected by others, we are to trust what we experience and rejoice in and know that we have experienced something special and wonderful as we open ourselves to Jesus as our Lord and Savior — the greatest wonder in life – that Jesus would lay down His life for us so that we can be redeemed from our sins and experience eternal life with him in Heaven.

Oh Lord, give me the heart of my granddaughter, the heart of a child. Amen.

  • Matthew 18:3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
  • Matthew 18:4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
  • Mark 10:15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.
  • Luke 18:17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.

Unconditional Love


There are many different definitions for love. We love spaghetti. We love our cloths. We love the book that we are reading. We love our family members. We love our spouse. We love God.

Isn’t it interesting that we use this powerful, beautiful word so loosely in our everyday lives?

Several years ago, while preparing to taking a Divorce Recovery class, I learned a definition for love from my mentor that significantly changed my life. The definition she gave me was: Love is the unconditional, self-giving to the highest gain of the other person.”

Nice words, but what do they really mean? If we were to write an “amplified” version of this definition, it might read something like this: “Love is free from imperfection, restrictions, exceptions, or qualifications and is reflected by a committed, sacrificial giving of oneself with an inner attitude of esteem and respect for the other person while placing their best interest always in the forefront of your actions toward them with no expectations of reciprocation.”

Love is a choice, an action, not just an emotional response. We are to love even when we may not “feel” love or even if the other person is not being loving or nice toward us. Our actions toward others are to come from a loving heart, an inner attitude grounded in love, without any requirements or expectations from the other person.

With God, WHO IS LOVE, as our foundation we will know when and where to place healthy boundaries in all our relationships, whether marital, familial, friendly, neighborly or societal. God is our example of unconditional, self-giving love which is given even when it is undeserved by the recipient. When we do not feel love toward another, we can love as unto the Lord, and He will help us come from a place, a heart, of love when interacting with others. It is easy when we remember that it is God who we are accountable to and not others. It is God’s opinion of us, His rewards, that ultimately matters  – not the judgment or opinions of our fellowman or even our own personal emotions.

One of the great ironies in life is that when we are focused on pleasing God by showing unconditional love toward others even when we may feel others are undeserving, and we choose to interact with them from a loving heart and with loving actions, we are rewarded by God for our obedience. Even if the person we extend love to never loves back in their actions toward us, others will see our actions and God will bless us both here on earth and in eternity.

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked “Him a question,” testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”   

Matthew 22:34-40 NKJV

MY PRAYER

 Oh gracious and forgiving Lord, help each of us to be extenders of Your unconditional love to those who touch our lives. Give us Your heart, Your grace, and Your mercy toward all people. As we encounter difficulties with others, take us to our knees in prayer, renew our hearts and help us to remember that all love is from You – it begins and ends with You. Help us to see that Your desire for us is to allow Your love to flow through us, through our actions toward others, knowing that our reward will be from You in Your perfect time.

 In Christ’s Name,

Amen

First written on 9/23/06

Spiritual Insight — “…an awaken soul…”


In reading my devotional this morning, I was reawakened to the fact that God wants my heart — ALL of my heart.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  Duet. 6:5

And whatever you do, do it heartly, as to the Lord, and not to men.  Colossians 3:23

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope for you will not leave my sour in Sheol. Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of Joy; At Your righthand are pleasures forevermore.   Psalms 16:9-11

A New Beginning


A new beginning — Life is always full of new beginnings. At age 60 I have had many. The typical new beginning that fill most of our lives. Our physical birth, the birth of younger siblings that change our relationship with our parents, the first day of school, my first pair of high heels, a driver’s license, a first date, a wedding, the birth of a first child, then a second child, the death of a parent, a divorce, a new job — you understand what I am saying. These are the ‘new’ beginnings we make often in our “flesh” life.

However, the new beginnings in my spiritual life are the ones that have the greatest impact – that have genuinely made the difference, giving strength and meaning to the fleshly life.  There have been several since I came to first know Jesus Christ as my Savior in June 1960. Then from 1999 to 2003 reaching a new level of intimacy with the Holy Spirit and writing Thought of the Week devotionals in 2007-2008.

I realized today that I have allowed life to get in the way of my daily intimacy with Jesus and I find myself at a new spiritual beginning. A spiritual beginning that I pray will keep me Walking in the Spirit every step of the rest of my days. When I heard the following scripture from Galatians 5:16-26 read this morning at church, the Holy Spirit brought me to my knees in my soul. The words ripped through my soul as I realized how much of my time I spend each day in “fleshly” actions and thoughts — the words “outbursts of wrath” especially crushed in on me.

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.    19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[c] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

The words of Paul in Ephesian 4 echoed in me as I grieved my behaviors, realizing that I, in my fleshly walk, have grieved my Jesus. How his heart must break when we choose to live in the flesh — to be in and of the world — instead of walking with the Holy Spirit — being in the world but NOT of the world.

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

So this afternoon I have taken my first steps on my new beginning. Those first steps have given birth to this blog. Day by day, I will share with others in hopes that they too will come to know my Jesus and the intimate walk with the Holy Spirit.

As I enter this journey, I am excited to see where the Holy Spirit will lead me — I know not the next steps, but I know this — it will be a walk engulfed in His Peace, a walk filled with His Joy and a walk filled with adventure as He reveals the walk — One Step at a Time.