My Cup Overflows

Something a little different for you today; Thought I would take you into my world for a brief moment and share what is near and dear to me on many occasions:

Morning Coffee. There is something special about the smell of fresh morning brew (love Gevalia Traditional roast, none other than the bag with a crown). This quiet time is endearing as I soak in the Scriptures. Occasionally this is when you get brought in for a little TACS time.

You see, reading the Bible is only the first step. We must never become a forgetful listener. “The one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and DOES NOT BECOME a forgetful listener, but one who lives it out – he will be blessed in what he does.” (Jas. 1:25, NET) This is why, in addition, I do TACS. There is always more to glean from God’s word. Must we never stop learning!

Do you continue to learn from God’s word? Or are you only listening then walking away never changing who you are? Do we hear a great sermon, walk out revived and refreshed, then fall back into the same ‘ole us? Or do we continue in our faith and do the thing?! You see, if we have faith our works will show. Works alone will not bring you faith, more yet, will not bring you salvation. However, they are fruit of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. “In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.” (James 2:17) James encourages us to DO THIS THING!

My beloveds, thank you so much for coming to this blog. My prayer is that you take with you any nugget or seed from Our Glory, Our Lord. It’s there for the taking. He’s waiting with open arms.

Will you enjoy this cup with me?

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The Perfect & Royal Law: Love

This one is so so fun. I’m excited to dive in with you!

Matthew 5: 23-24

T: If you are in right relationship with God yet have a grievance with somebody, you need to go and make right with that person first. Otherwise you are not right with God. Do not be hypocritical by coming to God if you have given up the perfect royal commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). This is God’s second and most important command immediately post his command to “love God first”. In a nutshell, do not be spending so much of your time looking UP that you aren’t looking OUT. It cannot be an excuse for being “too busy” with your relationship with God that you are not reconciling with others. If you are doing right by looking UP then you should be naturally looking OUT when you are loving others as yourself.

A: We praise God that we know how to love others as he has shown us what love is. By his loving us we have a perfect example and model of love. God loved us so much that he gave his one and only son. This is so powerful, let not the words be cliche for you. Soak on this concept… His one and only son as part of the original trinity, and yet he sacrificed him for US. For us, dear Lord Jesus… We thank you.

C: We often times get caught up in our Bible studies and church work that we fail to leave the alter and make right with others. We brush them to the side and think it will go away or be forgotten. God does not forget. We need to make right before coming to the alter an unblemished soul.

S: Father, in your son Jesus our Christ and Savior, we ask you to open our eyes and expose the parts of us that need reconciling. We ask that we love others as we love ourselves. It’s the greatest freedom from your perfect law.

Amen.

He Purifies Until He Can See His Reflection in Us

During struggles and hardship God is not silent. Even more so, he’s like a silversmith refining until he can see his reflection(in us). When we are in the midst of enduring pain for a long period of time God is doing his best work. We must persevere and wait. This is not the kind of wait where you do nothing, this is an active “wait”. Such as, waiting upon The Lord with prayer and seeking Him knowing his timing is all-perfect and just right (remember it’s not our timing to which we are bound on earth).

Malachi 3: 1-5

T: Malachi means “my messenger”. The Lord delivered a prophesy through him and here references the coming of John the Baptist (v. 1) just prior to God himself we know is Jesus. When Jesus comes, Lord in flesh, the second part of the trinity, who can endure? He provides the all surpassing truth and wisdom that grows conviction within us. The ugliness of our hearts (sins of man, v. 5) will be exposed and we will be faced with a decision on what to do with this. This is God working as the silversmith, refining and refining until he can see HIS reflection in us. His chosen! Oh how he never fails to seek after the lost (Matthew 18:12).

A: We praise God that even through Malachi he gives us a glimpse into what is to come. We praise him that he still speaks and uses his people to bring messages and wisdom to the lost or broken hearted today. We also rest knowing that God is a just God and we are not. People will have to stand his trial and speak for what they have done.

C: We don’t always see God’s hand in every situation. We fail to trust him and to call on him when burdened, evermore so when things are going right. We also don’t have patience to wait. Waiting can be the biggest blessing to us. Oh how we grow when we wait on The Lord!

S: Father God, we ask for patience to wait actively on you. To give our burdens and joys to you always. That we can look up and say, “That was you God!” Thank you for your messengers and knowing that you still speak to us today. You are present and alive. Search our hearts, Lord, for any ugliness. Expose the things we may not be aware if so that your grace and deliverance can heal us.

Amen.

Rejoice Even In Hardship

Do you come under struggle? Under persecution? Feel like the whole world is caving in? Take heart! There is yet room to rejoice and be joyful amidst your pain. Being a Christ follower never promised that we would no longer have struggles. In fact, we will encounter even more persecution as the enemy wants nothing more than to steer us away from the truth. Remember however, that once you have been sealed, you are forever His child.

2 Corinthians 6: 3-10

T: During Paul’s ministry he encountered many hardships and severe persecution yet he persevered. Even through all of the attacks against his character and who he was as a person, he rejoiced despite the sorrow and pain (v. 10).

A: We can praise God here for giving us strength to endure. By the Holy Spirit dwelling within us (v. 6) and God’s love. Love conquers all things. Agape, God love, is stronger than anything. Thank you God for showing us what this looks like!

C: We often cripple under hardship. Sometimes we look for the quickest and easiest way out. By doing this we are missing growth we would have gained by persevering with endurance. Again, this takes things into our hands because we don’t quite trust Him with ALL of it. We are saying, “Lord, I know you are there but this one part, this little one over here, I am going to hang onto and manage that for now.”

S: Father in heaven, we ask for the ability to see how alive and free we really can be by giving it ALL to you! Your word is living proof of the fact that we can be set free and nothing you have for us is meant to harm or hurt us. Give us also the strength we need to endure hardships. Let us rejoice with our mouths, but even more importantly, by our doings (James 1:22). It’s not enough to hear the word but we must obey by doing your word. Show us, Lord, what this looks like so that we can be a beacon of shining light into the world, that people will see you through us and know not us, but you.

Amen.

Why to Us and Not the Whole World?

Why say, Lord, … “to show yourself to us and not to the world”? – John 14:22

Keeping in mind the text makes note this is Judas, the brother of James, not of Judas the traitor.  What does he mean by this? And what is Jesus’ reply?  Perhaps he’s feeling unworthy that such greatness would be given to them and not to the whole world?  Or it could be a haughty sense in that, “How great are we, and tell us Lord, what makes us more special than the rest of the world”.  However in Jesus’ sublime reply giving us back to the commands we learn:

John 14: 22 – 31

T:  Jesus explains that “anyone” who loves him will obey his teachings.  He speaks of the Holy Spirit coming upon his departure to be with the Father.  The Holy Spirit will dwell (not among) but within us!  If the Holy Spirit is within us, Jesus is IN us and he is in God the Father.  Do you see the connection?  Exciting right?!  The reason we obey his teachings are out of love and fear.  This fear is not the scary kind.  It’s the reverence kind, like you have with your own parents.  You do not want to disappoint.  It’s a respect kind of fear.  

A:  We praise God for giving us the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us.  How great a gift to have part of the trinity within us, a wretched and deranged people, yet there is the power to save!  

C:  Like Judas, we question God and often times are too afraid to give it all up to him.  We live in such a closed minded fear of the unknown (lack of trust) that we continue to take it upon ourselves to “help our own way” through.  When something makes you fearful (and this is the scary kind of fear) we have a hard time seeing the glory and goodness that God intends to come out of it.  This is where we lack our faith and trust in Him.  The peace that we have been given can be ours for the taking if we let it wash over us and trust God.  He knows the end result and like a parent to a child, knows best in the long run.

S:  Father God, we thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We so often ask, “Who are we to receive such a gift?” and it’s because we feel so unworthy.  We are unworthy but that is why you give grace.  There is no other explanation for the all surpassing power and strength you provide and we know we could not possibly do it on our own.  We ask for trust in you 100%.  In your son’s precious name, Jesus.

Amen

A Glimpse Into the Future: Foreshadow of Jesus

I love how the Old Testament ties in to the New. You see, God knows the beginning from the end so it was just a matter of timing for when the books were written and His story is laid out.

In this chapter of Isaiah we are already seeing the foreshadow of the Good News getting to the Gentiles. Let us begin…

Isaiah 42: 1-9

T: The beginning speaks of one whom God has chosen, a special one who will bring justice to the earth yet will not do it with a raised voice. Jesus. Because of Jesus Jews will become Christians and such be a light onto the world, meaning they will spread the good news across the nations and to the ends of the earth. Foreshadowing that people like Paul will be a light to the Gentile nations so that they, too, will know the good news of Jesus.

A: Praise God for his plan! That he gives us a look into what is yet to come. Through his words written by many men at different times we have confirmation of the truth. Let’s not forget, also, that God is a man of his word. He is not bound by time like we know time. Our life is a blink in eternity.

C: We become impatient for God’s plan in our life to play through. We think we know best for our situations and tell God what we would like to see him do for us. We also take it upon ourselves to perform our own justice in the world instead of relying God to do what he says will be done. He is the Justice maker. We are not gods nor do we need to play the role.

S: Father God, we thank you for your son Jesus who saved us from the chains of this earth and provided life. Thank you that it is not us who needs to ensure justice is done here on earth but let us have a faith and hope in you, that we may rest in you, knowing you are true to your word, that we do not need to carry that burden. Because of your son Jesus people have received the Holy Spirit and continue to be lights in the world shining into the darkness that the darkness may also turn to light.

Amen.

Be Strong & Courageous… I Command You

OH that we may glean from Old Testament writing. How great is our God to have it all pulled together before it even began. So even though we are bound by time constraints and limit ourselves to the boxes we try to keep things in, know that as this was ordained so was also our Savior Jesus. Old & New, how beautiful they are:

Joshua 1: 7-9

T: After the death of Moses The Lord spoke to Joshua, who was Moses’ aid, and put him in charge of now leading the people into the Promised Land. He commands Joshua to be “strong & courageous”, also to keep the Book of the Law always on his lips. This is likely the first five books written and in Joshua’s day they had an actual book which would be read from and used as a guide for living. The Lord tells him to not be afraid for The Lord God is with you wherever you go.

A: Our initial reaction is to praise God here for always being with us, never to leave us. Let us remember from where we draw our strength and that is from The Lord himself. We also thank God for his Book, that here being the Book of the Law. In it he commands us to be strong & courageous… COMMANDS us! Thank you Lord for allowing us to give it up to you as our protector and provider! That we may not need to do it on our own..

C: When we try to do this on our own we ignore God’s plans for us. He intends good for us and to stray off of that path leads to death and destruction. If we only gave up our pride to set aside and let God work in us he will lead us [too] into the Promised Land of living.

S: Father, we ask that you search our hearts and show us what needs to be cleansed by you. What can we set aside so that you have room to work? Like you commanded Joshua, let us also keep your commands on our lips and speak of them often. In your name..

Amen

Take Hold of the Promises

A song comes to mind with this one, perhaps you are already familiar with it. I cannot recall artist or name but in my mind it replays, “Take hold of the promises, we take hold of the promises…” And I could be a little wrong here, but it’s my brain and this morning it’s the praise we sing to:

1 Chronicles 17: 16 – 27

T: This is David’s prayer as he sits before The Lord. He acknowledges the Lord’s blessings on him and his household and recalls the promises The Lord has made. Asking The Lord to do as he promised. David does this out of great faith and confidence knowing The Lord is as good as his word, he is The Word!

A: God does not go back on his promises. The pillar of truth, God will not go back on his word. He is faithful.

C: It’s when we fail to believe him. We misunderstand God’s will for our lives when we put him in our box of thinking. Often times we tell God what we know is best based on how we see things instead of unabandonly giving it up to him for “his will be done”. If we take him at his word we will have trust and faith that he will accomplish for us what’s best in his sight. He is the beginning and the end, he can see the expanses we aren’t capable to fathom.

S: Father God, we ask for open hearts and open minds to have enough faith, even as little as a mustard seed, to trust in your good purposes for our lives. To pray with the confidence of David having known your promises to be true. If we genuinely believe this we will no longer tell YOU what we desire, rather let you guide and lead us. In your everlasting love and grace…

Amen

Godly vs. Worldly Sorrow

2 Cor. 7:10

T: Godly sorrow brings repentance. Repentance leads you to salvation and life. There is no room for regret here. Worldly sorrow leads to death. When you are sorrowful of the world you are thinking of how you can please others to correct this. Pleasing others is not our desire, but to please God is. There is a difference in being sorrowful to God. You want to please him and be righteous so will come to him with an aching heart and ask him to show you your wrongdoing so that he can lavish his grace upon you. In worldly sorrow you are only concerned about other people whom of which could cause you to stumble and fall.

A: God cleanses us. He lavishes his grace upon us that we do not feel any regret. We have a freedom in Christ that is life. Everlasting life in him who made us his own children. God will not cause us to stumble in a worldly trap.

C: When we worry about what others are thinking of us. We act in a way that we think is pleasing to other “people” and therefore may be living in lie (or sin). We become self-conscious and start regretting things we do or say and feel very sad, hurt, and upset.

S: Ask God to show you what Godly sorrow looks like. Examine our hearts Lord and show us where we may be struggling with worldly sorrows. Give us strength to turn those sorrows into Godly sorrows that will lead us closer to you.

Amen

How did Jesus and His Family Go “Down” to Nazareth from… Jerusalem?

Luke 2:42 & 51

Open your Bibles and read these two verses. I have to admit it tripped me up some and I’m wondering if it did you? (For those geographically inclined. Or, can use Google maps proficiently!)

If you are saying, “Hurry up, tell us the answer”, let me help you out with that and when I learned of it, was one of those ‘ah ha’ moments:

Jerusalem is set high and mountainous. Also, the temple in Jerusalem was set on high ground which explains the going “up” to the festival (that is Passover) and the going “down” to Nazareth.

Don’t you just love when the light bulb clicks?