June 28, 2015

Heavenly Father,

 

Since this week is Independence Day for the United States of America, I have been planning lessons and activities to celebrate America’s birthday. I’ve gathered up maps and flags to color, songs to sing, history to read, parade and decorations. It’s a great blessing to live in this country where we have freedom to choose our own leaders, vote on laws, worship, speak out…Our freedom is so very precious. It has been fought for, protected, and died for. It has come at a very high cost starting with those who fought to establish this country to all those citizens who have left their mark up until now. One of my teaching goals for the week is to help children see how they can be good citizens so they can help make an even better nation.

 

However, as proud as I am to be American, I am even more blessed by my eternal citizenship in Your Kingdom, Lord! Someday, it won’t matter that I am an American with certain rights guaranteed by our constitution. That’s OK! Nothing can take away my citizenship in Your kingdom because it’s been paid for and guaranteed by the blood of Jesus Christ…and it is an eternal citizenship. There are no citizenship tests to take. It doesn’t recognize earthly borders or ethnic groups. Everyone is invited to be a part of Your family, Your kingdom. Sadly, many are not ready to accept.

 

I recall coming back from a trip to another country where the government was unstable. As much as I enjoyed the experience, I was so happy to be back in the USA, my homeland, where I knew I had certain rights. Yet even being an American is not a secure thing. But my citizenship in Your kingdom is an eternal security. The day will come when I will take my last breath as an American and step into my eternal Homeland!! I am just passing through this country til I get to my true Home. My Home is with You, Lord! My heart belongs to You! May I live my life so all will know where my citizenship truly lies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”    1 Peter 2:11-12

 

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”   Philippians 3:20-4:1

 

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”    Ephesians 2:19-22

June 14, 2015

Heavenly Father,

 

I challenged each of my friends in the Women’s Bible Study I lead to find some way to lavish You with love the way Mary did when she poured her most expensive oil over Jesus’ head and feet and wiped it with her hair. She didn’t come to Him wanting anything. She didn’t worry about what others thought. She just wanted to lavish Him with love!  I gave them some suggestions, like: sit down on the back porch each morning simply to have a cup of coffee with You, or sing to You with all their heart. So this week I had this challenge in the back of my mind for myself as well. How could I show You my love?

 

My answer came in a most unexpected way! I had a really bad day with an unnamed child who threw a giant tantrum, was extremely disrespectful and fought against me in every way possible. I love this child, so it broke my heart to see the way they acted. I tried every tactic all my training and experience afforded me to no avail.  I tried to explain to them that I loved them and didn’t want them growing up to be mean. Nothing seemed to get through. As I prayed for this child, You showed me Your heart. You seemed to be saying, “Don’t you wish they simply obeyed out of love for you?” It was like You opened the eyes of my heart to see how much it means to You… for us to obey You out of sheer love!

 

Then You followed up on this lesson through today’s sermon. The message was asking us to think of someone who needs You, earnestly pray for them and care about them enough to bring them to You. Of course, this child was on my mind, so I couldn’t help crying and praying for them to find the peace of a life with You…Then I thought of all the other children who will be at Vacation Bible School this week who desperately need You. There is no greater love than to truly care about someone’s eternal life. You loved us so much that You sent Jesus’ so we could have eternal life. If I really love You with all my heart, mind and soul, I will love others enough to pray for them and draw them to new life through Jesus Christ. After all, what You want most is obedience of the two greatest things You ask us to do- Love You and love others!

 

 

 

 

 

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“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me.’” John 14:23-24

 

“Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”  Matthew 22:37-40

 

“Again Jesus said, ‘Simon, son of john, do you truly love Me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of My sheep.’”    John 21:16

June 3, 2015

Heavenly Father,

 

Yesterday on the playground, a little boy kept getting right in front of my face and staring at my eyes through my sunglasses. No matter where I turned my face, he would move to stay right in front of me! It took me a bit to figure out what he was doing. He was looking at his reflection in my sunglasses! When I took my sunglasses off, he said, “You have pretty eyes!” I never know quite how to respond to that since I had absolutely nothing to do with the color or shape of my eyes. I do, however have control over what I look at…and I believe with all my heart that who and what you look at makes a difference for the sparkle in your eyes!

 

Human eyes are a miraculous creation! Even when I look at the chart in my optometrist’s office that scientifically explains each part of the eye and how it works, I am totally blown away. What we look at near or far away is somehow transported through our eyes and into our brain so we can absorb what we are looking at.  In many ways we reflect what we look at! Wow! That is truly something to think about! Lord, I know that is true, because when I look too long at the world, my eyes become dark and fearful, lacking hope and love… but when I look at You and all Your amazing ways, I can tell it changes my mind, body and spirit! It changes my whole outlook when I look to You! Everything looks beautiful, peaceful and full of love!

 

The more I look to You through prayer, singing, worshipping, reading, hearing and practicing Your word- the more I see You! The more I look for You- the more I find You! The more I gaze at You, the more beautiful and fulfilling life is! The more I look at You, the more I reflect You! I will take that little boy’s sweet compliment about my eyes. I hope he saw You and the love of Jesus Christ in my eyes! There is nothing more beautiful than that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jesus said: “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”    Matthew 6:22-23

 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened  to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Matthew 7:7 Jesus also said this!

 

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”    2 Corinthians 3:17-18