Beautiful handiwork

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

I received an invitation to attend the retirement celebration of Dr. Virgil Gulker, who created the Kids Hope USA ministry. It’s amazing to think about all that has happened with Kids Hope since it began. The passion that God has for the children is evident as the ministry grew by leaps and bounds throughout the country and even in parts of the world. Thousands of mentors became the hands and feet of Jesus to a child through Kids Hope were created for such a time as this.

God created us for good works each day. We may have a schedule put together for our day, but God’s schedule for us has added opportunities of kingdom worth. Through our journey of today, could we bring encouragement to someone, help a person with a task, share Jesus with someone not familiar with him, bring a cool cup of refreshment to another … the possibilities are endless. Our schedules need to be flexible to have God’s woven into it, and experience his beautiful handiwork.

Prayer: Lord, each day I thank you for the opportunities you give me to share your light. I pray that I don’t focus too much on my own schedule and be open to yours. Amen

Faith Tip: Look for the ways God wants to use you today.

We’re Covered

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, – 2 Timothy 1:9

Wedding hugs

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The past couple of days, I was part of a Bible study taping for a DVD that will be offered by Zondervan. I reconnected with some ladies I met two years ago when we did the taping for Made to Crave, and their hugs of reconnecting were wonderful. I imagine it will be like that when I get to heaven. I will walk into the throne room and recognize people from my life and the hug fest will begin … starting with Jesus.

We do not have hope like this because of anything we have done. This wonderful hope comes only from Jesus. His grace covers all that we have done in life that was not honoring to God. We could try to list everything, but it is humanly impossible to remember and know all of our sins. Don’t fret though. Jesus has it covered.

Prayer: Lord, I am so thankful for your grace that covers all of my bad choices. I pray that I live into the hope you have given me. May there be evidence of that in my life today. Amen

Faith Tip: Live a victorious day today … Jesus has purpose and grace for you.

Separation Anxiety

I lack a knife appendage, so like many, I curs...

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For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

Have you ever tried to open one of those plastic clamshell coverings on items you buy at the store? Many have ended up in the emergency room because of cuts caused by opening these shipping ease and shoplifting detractors. It takes a lot to separate the product purchased from these death-defying coverings. There is a way, however, to do it. Simply take a rotary can opener and go around the package as if it were a can. Then take a knife to separate the two layers.

There is one thing that cannot be separated ever. We can never be taken away from God once we accept him as Lord and Savior. Nothing. There is no power greater than God’s. We can take great comfort that we cannot control this, for if we could, Jesus sacrifice would not be necessary. We would consider our thoughts and actions as winning or losing our eternal place in heaven. God says we’re in. Today, we can live knowing the power of God is in us and we never need to fear being lost again. Hallelujah!

Prayer: Your gift, dear Jesus, has saved my life. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your family. I pray that I celebrate today in honoring you with all I do. Amen

Faith Tip: If you have been given eternal life by asking Jesus to be your savior, celebrate that today in word and action.

 

Freedom to Really Live

English: "Done by a prisoner." Found...

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What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. – Romans 6:1-4

“It doesn’t really matter if I sin or not. God will forgive me anyway.” I still remember the pain of hearing those words from a friend. She didn’t understand that our new life in Christ begins when we accept him as Savior, not after we die. Yes, it is true that God will forgive the repentant, but there are still consequences to our actions that affect us and those around us. We don’t need to suffer the consequences if we make the right choices.

Dying to sin means freedom to live … really live to the fullest as God has ordained. If we don’t turn our backs on sin, we are still imprisoned in it. Our life will reflect the imprisonment rather than the glorious freedom we have in Christ.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the freedom you give to me through your sacrifice on the cross. I pray that I never take it for granted and live in freedom in you rather than imprisonment in myself. Amen

Faith Tip: Is there a sin in your life that you considered not really significant to God? It’s time to be free from it.

 

What Will Be Left?

 

Christmas gifts.

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But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives… – 2 Peter 3:10-11

The season of overabundant marketing has come. Television, email, newspaper, magazines, mailers and more all stating “Buy Our Stuff!” I realize this employs many copywriters and other marketing staff, so the more savvy they are the more successful in the business. As a consumer, I sometimes feel like a target especially at Christmas time with messages that I need a product to have a merry Christmas.

God says all the stuff is going up in smoke. After all the chaff is burned off, what will be left? We will. Who we become in Christ Jesus and what we have done will be the measure of success. The playing field will be leveled where there will be no poor or rich, no popular or unpopular people, just us and God. The relationship is more important than the stuff.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for the relationship we have together. I know you initiated it and I had the opportunity to respond. I pray I take advantage of the ways we can build on it. Amen

Faith Tip: Attempt to fast from all the media frenzy of the season and focus on the relationship opportunities you have with God.

 

 

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Communion

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…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; – Romans 3:23-24

Tearing the piece of bread from the loaf, I heard the familiar words, “This is Christ’s body, broken for you.” And as I dunked the piece into the cup, the reminder given to me was, “The blood of Christ spilled for you.”

The act of communion is so important to Jesus, because he does not want us to forget. We are not to forget the great sacrifice made, but also that the price was paid for our freedom in Christ. We tend to remember the sacrifice, but sometimes forget that we are free to live holy lives, and we still act like we are under Satan’s reign.

This Advent season, reopen the gift of your freedom in Christ and enjoy the riches that are meant for you. This is the best deal of the season for you and someone you love.

Prayer: Jesus, I thank you for the wonderful gift of freedom you have given me though the price was great to you. Your love for me is the perfect fit for each day of my life, and I pray that I can focus on you rather than what the world has to offer. Amen

Faith Tip: Each day during Advent, starting with today, find a new freedom you have in Christ and enjoy it to the glory of God.

 

Winning

Scrabble

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“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:14

I love to play Scrabble. I have reconnected with a high school friend through Facebook who lives in Pennsylvania and happens to be a Scrabble master. Playing against him has sharpened my Scrabble skills to where I can actually be close to beating him. I press on…

Pressing on means to persevere and work towards a goal. Each of our calls differs, but they all lead us heavenward. In Jesus, we have everything we need to press on and reach the goal set before us. The prize is within our grasp. Don’t give up, but press on.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the call you have put on my life. I pray that your Spirit will refresh me on those days I don’t feel like pressing on. It’s all for you, Jesus. Amen

Faith Tip: Feeling discouraged in reaching your goal? Look to Jesus for the strength to go on and finish the race victoriously.