Prayer Challenge

I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said to me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You, God, are Holy. Your word is the truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Jesus – A Piece of the Relationship Pie

For years, the amount of time that I spent with Jesus was a very small part of my life.  
Honestly, on Monday through Saturday, Jesus had about ten percent of my time.  In contrast, I gave Jesus about half of my day on Sunday.  The pie chart above represents this weekly relationship "pie."

I am not saying I did not have a relationship with Jesus.  
I did and do have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  I AM saying that my relationship with Jesus consisted of slices of time because I didn't know enough about the New Testament teachings to understand my relationship with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.                                                                                  Romans 10:9-10 NIV

Truthfully, I was looking for a way to connect the Bible with my daily life.  
My question was, "How do I take this biblical information and use it in my daily life?"  In fact, I asked this exact question one Sunday morning during my Sunday school class.
A long pause followed the question, while all of the women in the Sunday school class stared at me as if I had suddenly turned into an alien from another planet.

Had I done something wrong?  
It felt like I had, but the question was sincere.  However, not one woman tried to answer my question and the class resumed with our weekly lesson as if I had never asked my question.  Maybe I had phrased the question poorly, or no one understood exactly what I was asking.

In my quest to understand how to use the Bible in my daily life,I visited a Christian bookstore and bought a Discipleship Study Bible with life helps in the back of the Bible.  At last, I felt as if I might have a way to learn how to implement biblical information into my daily life.

My time spent with Jesus began to grow.  
About 20% of my average day became using the new Discipleship Bible and reading the different sections of the life helps.  The new knowledge began to help me see how the different books of the Bible fit together like pieces in a puzzle.

Slowly, I began to see how I could put the Bible information into action in my daily life.  My personal relationship with Jesus was deepening as my Bible knowledge continued to grow.  However, I still divided my relationship with Jesus into slices of time.

In the meantime, I took a college night class entitled, "The Teachings of Paul."  The college professor was also a pastor who truly wanted the class to connect with the Apostle Paul and to see the context of Paul's life in the New Testament.
A weekly class assignment was to find a current news story and pair it with verses from Paul's writings.  Students had to explain how and why the chosen verses were applicable to the news story.

Hallelujah!  I learned a method to apply the scripture to my daily life, in a practical manner that I understood.  The Lord sent me a teacher!  Woohoo!

Now fast forward to an afternoon in February 2009, a video about the Holy Spirit is playing and a woman is leading a group prayer for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  Head bowed, I am silently praying with her.  Suddenly, tears began flowing from my eyes as I find myself reliving my baptism
With crystal clarity, I recall and feel all of the emotions - the joy, and the sense of completeness I experience the moment I sink beneath the baptistery water.
Moments later, my face emerges back into the air; a reborn child of God entering the world.

Yes, I am a daughter of the King!
The moment I came up out of the baptistery waters in 1994, I was a daughter of God.  What I had not understood during my actual baptism was the fact that I had the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of me.  

That understanding came to me during the recollection of my baptism. I became a holy child of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit from the inside out!  I belong to Jesus.  I am a coheir of the kingdom!  What a revelation I received from participating in that video prayer!
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.                                Galatians 4:6-7 NIV

The revelation that Jesus loves me from the inside out has forever changed my life.  I loved Jesus for years without understanding that I had the Holy Spirit living inside me.  I am in awe that Jesus loves me from the inside out!  He knows EVERYTHING about me and STILL loves me unconditionally!
and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"  They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
                                                                                                                            Acts 19:2 NIV
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.                                                                                                                                John 14:16-17 NIV

Do you want to know how to use the information in the Bible in your daily life?  The answer is simply this, "Jesus lives inside you.  The Holy Spirit dwells in you to give you guidance from the moment you give Jesus your life.  This is God's plan to reconcile you to Him."
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.                                                                                     1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.                                                               Acts 15:8 NIV

In conclusion, Jesus no longer gets slices of my time.  He gets all of my time because I truly understand that I belong to Him.  The Holy Spirit dwells inside me to guide and help me understand the teachings in the Bible.  I understand my relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.                                                                                               John 14:20 NIV

Prayer for Receiving the Holy Spirit from the book, The Holy Spirit by Andrew Wommack
"Father, I recognize my need for Your power to live this new life. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. By faith, I receive it right now! Thank You for baptizing me. Holy Spirit, You are welcome in my life!"  I am so grateful You gave me this wonderful gift. Please help me to walk in all of its benefits! Amen

Monday, December 21, 2015

Psalm of the Week - 98:4-6 - December 21, 2015

Celebrate the birth of Jesus this week! 
A baby was born in Bethlehem who was to change the world. Rejoice that the Lord loved us so much that he sent his son, as man and God, to live among us for a short while. A living God and eternal life are the joy and reward for all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Celebrate Christ as King! 

Verse of the Week - Hebrews 1:1-2 - December 21, 2015

In the Sunday School play I narrated, one phrase repeatedly drew my attention,"When heaven touched earth...".

When heaven touched earth, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. His birth fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Redeemer, the Lamb, the Prince of Peace, and Heir of all Things. 

Jesus continues to be the link that keeps heaven touching earth. Amen? 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Verse of the Week - Galatians 4:6-7 - December 14, 2015

Christmas 2015 started before Thanksgiving this year. I have to admit, I did buy a few Christmas items in October. However, I was on a Christmas party committee that kept me focused on the true spirit of Christmas, Jesus Christ.

Jesus' sacrifice and ascension into heaven occurred so that you and I could become heirs of God through Christ. In return, Christians were given a holy spirit that dwells inside of us. 
Happily, we have the Spirit of Jesus with us all year - not just in December at Christmas. 

Pastor and bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote about the advantages of being heirs through Christ and having the Spirit of Jesus with us in his bible commentary:

The great and invaluable advantages which Christians enjoy under the gospel
1. We receive the adoption of sons
  •  It is the great privilege which believers have through Christ that they are adopted children of the God of heaven. 
  • We who by nature are children of wrath and disobedience have become by grace children of love. 
2. We receive the Spirit of adoption. 
  • All who have the privilege of adoption have the Spirit of adoption-all who are received into the number partake of the nature of the children of God; for he will have all his children to resemble him. 
  • The Spirit of adoption is always the Spirit of prayer, and it is our duty in prayer to God as a Father. Christ has taught us to pray to God as our Father in heaven. 
  • If we are his sons, then his heirs. It is not so among men, with whom the eldest son is heir; but all God’s children are heirs. Those who have the nature of sons shall have the inheritance of sons.

Knowing that I am an adopted heir of God through Jesus Christ fills me with joy - capital J-O-Y. The Spirit of Jesus helps me to resemble him more and more as a child of love, not wrath. How marvelous is that? 

Psalm of the Week - 148:11-13 - December 14, 2015

As Christmas 2015 approaches, let's not forget to praise God for sending Jesus to us.The angelic host appeared to proclaim God's glory to the shepherds. Our Father God loves to hear his sons and daughters praising him. As you listen to the song below, praise God for everything he is above the earth and heaven. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Safe By God's Grace and Jesus Christ

who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.         1 Peter 1:5 NIV
It is completely dark as I drive down the highway
Ahead, on the road shoulder, two flashing lights catch my attention. It's some type of delivery truck with the flashing hazard lights on. Without warning, the light of my low beam headlights reveal a large, brown shape lying in the center of my lane. 

My brain screams,"DEER!" 
My eyes search for oncoming traffic. None. The car literally seems to jump sideways even though I am not aware of having turned the steering wheel. I feel the right front tire graze something. At the same time, the car slips sideways slightly. However, lightning fast reflexes turn the steering wheel slightly to the right. The car's front end swings right and the back end stops sliding. 

Now, I am heading south, BUT I am in the northbound lane. My hand seems to be moving independently and steers the car back into the southbound lane as I take a deep breath. Suddenly, I am aware that I have been holding my breath. Shakily, I let out the oxygen depleted air and take a deep breath to calm my frantically beating heart. Safe.

Then, I realized that I was still holding my phone in my right hand. 
Yes, the entire incident happened in a split second, AND I was holding my phone in my right hand the whole time. Why?

I had wanted to call my husband and tell him I was on my way home. Normally, I call him while the car is still parked. Tonight, I forgot until I was on the road. I hadn't wanted to stop on the road shoulder in the dark to call. However, I am not writing this to tell you about my poor choice. 

I am writing this to praise God and Jesus for protecting me from a potential disaster. 
Thank-you Jesus, from the bottom of my heart for keeping me safe. You kept a crowd from stoning an adulterous woman. Thank-you for keeping me safe from the consequence of my action just as you did for her. 

Thank-you Jesus, for giving me a wise counselor who can tell my reflexes what to do instantaneously, without thought on my part. 

Jesus, you calmed a storm, walked on water, fed 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and fish, and turned water into wine. Miracles are your business. Thank-you for intervening in my life and for keeping me safe.  

Thank-you Father God,  for arranging the timing so that no one else was involved in this incident. I know you have a plan for my life, just as you had a plan for Jesus' life. 

Thank-you Jesus for being faithful to God's will. I will continue to be faithful to his will and to your will. My life is yours, to do with as you will. I am your grateful servant. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Verse of the Week - Galatians 4:4-5 - December 6, 2015

 "That we — Whether Jews or Gentiles, who believe; might receive the adoption of sons — Might stand related to God, not only as his people, ...but also as his sons and daughters;...favoured with his special guidance, protection, and care; might have continual liberty of access to him...might have all our wants...supplied by him here, and might be constituted joint heirs with his beloved Son of the heavenly inheritance hereafter."                                                                                          Benson Commentary
Isn't this verse amazing? God sent Jesus to redeem us, that we could be adopted as sons and daughters of God. How do you feel about that? 

I find it amazing that God loves his people enough to come up with a plan that includes sending his son to Earth to be born as an ordinary baby. A baby that grew into a man who knew he was going to die on a cross. 

Psalm of the Week - 148:1-3 - December 6, 2015