Friday, December 26, 2008 be a Blessing

Often when we hear the Christmas story, we look in chapter 2 in the book of Luke and hear about the birth of Jesus. However, the story actually starts back in chapter 1 when some extraordinary events happen.

Let's say you're sitting alone some evening. You are scheduled to be married soon to a local carpenter. You've kept the purity ring and are looking forward to your wedding night. All of a sudden, from nowhere, an angel appears! Aside from being freaked out would you be able to stay and listen to what the angel came to say? Mary, the mother of Jesus had an experience with an angel:

Luke 1 (NLT) 28
Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Mary is told she has found favor with God. She has been hand picked to carry out an amazing mission. She will become the mother of Jesus, he'll have a kingdom...she'll be the mother of a King! She must have felt very overwhelmed. She was young and now she would be pregnant. What would her soon-to-be husband say? What would other people say?

She did not seem to hesitate as she gives her response, I am the Lord's servant. She sings a song of praise.

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

46 Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation.....

She mentions being blessed. Because she is willing to accept being blessed, she becomes a blessing for generations to come. She is not the only one God has called.

In the Old Testament, when God called Abram to leave his family, God promises to make him a great nation. He did! By being willing to be blessed, he became a blessing.

Genesis 12:2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to receive being blessed by someone. Consider this a little reminder that if we let someone bless us, we can become a blessing to someone else. That seemingly little act will ripple outward in a wave of blessings.

Have a blessed life and watch for those little opportunities to either be blessed OR be a blessing to someone else.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Free to be.....ME!

Just heard this song, Free to be me by Francesca Battistelli. (see below, not the greatest video, just the album cover) A great reminder that we don't need to be perfect for God to love us. Very good song!

Reminded me of a devotional I wrote awhile ago. It's called How Much is Free?

John 8:34-36 - Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (NIV)

Luke 14:28 - Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (NIV)

My mom told me that when I was a small girl, I had a hard time figuring out what "free" meant. I would ask, "How much is 'free'?" Everything has to "cost" something, right?

Now that I am a grown-up, I appreciate "free". I like a bargain. I also understand that sometimes something can appear to be free, but have hidden costs. An e-mail message claims to give that desired item for free, but in the small print it states that to earn the gift, many "offers" need to be completed first.

There are many things that we can do that are free in terms of monetary cost -- like showing appreciation and giving encouragement. They may cost a little time and effort, but the rewards ripple into others' lives, and we feel good as well.

Jesus offers us the most real free deal of all. Grace, mercy, understanding, and everlasting life are all ours for the asking. If we ask how free Jesus wants us to be, He'll reply with His arms open wide as He did on the cross. "This much!"

Psalm 118:5 - In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. (NIV)

Ephesians 2:8-10 - For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

Prayer: God, thank You that we don't have to ask You how much "free" is. You freely offer everything You have to us, not because we're good enough or on account of anything we do, but because You love us enough to cover any costs for us. Help us to not be afraid to ask that You set us free, today! Amen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Wish.....desire, dream!

I heard this song by Point of Grace on the radio and before I even knew who/what it was, I could relate! I heard the line, "I wish my hair was smoother" and KNEW I would like the rest of it. :) I heard the song on JQ99.3, a Christian station. I first thought, what is a song about wishing doing on a Christian station? Yikes, I still judge quickly.

BUT, when I dig a little deeper, I find that wishing can and is a very Christian principle AND it is in the Bible numerous times.

John 15:7 (NIV) If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

Now, you know that is not the kind of genie wish like in Aladdin! That verse shows some real Godly power behind it. Does that mean we'll get everything we want/wish? I don't think so. Think of our kids. They wish for LOTS of things. As their parent we know that some of the things they ask for are not good for them and we say no. I believe God, as our loving heavenly father does the same thing.

Sometimes, wishing is not enough. There needs to be action with the words.

James 2:16 (NIV) If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

I looked up the word "wish" on and the word is a verb (meaning action in case it's been awhile since you've been to English class!). The main definition and synonym involved the word "desire".

Hmmmm, also Biblical. Psalm 37:4 (NIV) Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Another cool thing? We're not limited to three! So dream big! What do you wish for?

The video I liked on YouTube was removed, so you can still hear it here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Field of Dreams to come....God style

I was thinking of a scene from the movie Field of Dreams recently. You know the one, "If you build it, he will come", "Ease his pain" etc. in a haunty, whispery voice.....

In the scene, the brother-in-law is not able to see the "baseball men" in the field that Ray built. He thinks the family is looking at an empty field. Until a tragedy and one of the players crosses the boundry and helps the little girl. Then, the brother-in-law says, "When did these ball players get here?" Just in case you don't remember, I included it below.

Revelation 7: 13 Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?" 14 I answered, "Sir, you know." (NIV)

I was blessed to be brought up in church. Still didn't understand the whole relationship with God aspect until I was much older. However, I was thinking that there are people in the world that probably have similar thoughts about Christians. "What are they looking at anyway?" "God, Jesus, who?" They might be a neighbor or someone in your family or someone God brings across your path. Maybe they notice something different about you, the way you handle stressful situations or that you go to church.

It is our assignment to help them be able to "see" and be brought into God's light where they can meet God and realize He's been here for them all along....waiting for them to recognize he's here waiting to be noticed.

Revelation 21 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (NIV)

Romans 14:10-12 (NIV)
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11 It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' "12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Forget the baseball field and the field of dreams. Help somebody find that foundation you have. "If you build it, HE will come." AND when we go Home, we'll hear "well done, good and faithful servant". OR in Field of Dreams quote, "Hey Rookie! You were good."