God is Our Provider: Seek Him & Be Faithful.

God was our Provider from the very beginning. He is the only One Who can enter through the door to provide for and protect us, His sheep.

He showed evidence of Himself as He provided food, rain, and kindness to us, His children.

Acts 14:17: yet He did not leave Himself without some witness [as evidence of Himself], in that He kept constantly doing good things and showing you kindness, and giving you rains from heaven and productive seasons, filling your hearts with food and happiness.”

Acts 17:28: For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

And God not only gives us our daily provisions, He gives us all. Because He didn’t even hold back His one and only Son! He cares about us so much that He has numbered the hairs on our heads!

Matthew 6:25-33: “Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life?  And why are you worried about clothes? See how the lilies and wildflowers of the field grow; they do not labor nor do they spin [wool to make clothing], yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive and green today and tomorrow is [cut and] thrown [as fuel] into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Therefore do not worry or be anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted), saying, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ For the [pagan] Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; [but do not worry,] for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right–the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

So we don’t have to worry about what will happen today, or tomorrow or next week or next month. As long as we seek God and His Kingdom and righteousness first, He will take care of and provide for us. Following and obeying God leads to blessings we could never imagine! When we give to Him, of our lives, time, talents, and money, He will give us more, overflowing. He blesses us when we’re faithful in our lives and what He give us.

Malachi 3:10: Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it.

Luke 16:10-11: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little thing is also dishonest in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of earthly wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?

Ouch. So if we want God to bless us in such a way that we have no more room for His blessings, we need to be faithful in what He gives us and what He provides us with.

From the basics to big blessings, God provides for us. We need to only trust Him and be faithful and honor Him with what He gives us.

Always.

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Christmas 2017 – The Birth Story of Jesus Christ

This is it. This is what the prophets and Israelites had been waiting for. The birth of their Savior. Jesus was born to a young woman, a virgin, in a smelly little stable in a crowded city on a night that changed the world. His birth is what we celebrate during this season.

Jesus, tiny and mighty, the holy Son of God, born as a baby to a lost and dying world had finally come.

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin, betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. — Luke 1:26-27 NKJV

Luke ch1 vs28 NKJV.2

A young unmarried woman was chosen to bear the Savior of the world. And as we all know and can imagine, she was troubled by the angel and his greeting but he assured her that she had found favor with God. (Luke 1:30 NKJV)

He told her of the greatness of the Child she would bear and answered her obvious question of how could she have a child if she was a virgin.

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:31-34 NKJV)

Luke ch1 vs35 NKJV.2

And humble and faithful Mary believed the angel of the Lord.

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38 NKJV)

But Joseph, her betrothed, didn’t believe her. It took an angel visiting him in a dream for him to believe.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife,  for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:18-21 NKJV)

Matthew ch1 vs22-23 NKJV.2

So he obeyed the angel and took young Mary as his wife.

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. (Luke 2:1-5 NKJV)

I feel like that while this was a difficult journey and they most likely missed their family, they were glad to leave the judgemental stares and whispers going on around them. A man married a young woman who was pregnant already.

Luke ch2 vs6-7 NKJV.2

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. (Luke 2:8-9 NKJV)

I mean, can you imagine?? When the solar eclipse covered most of North America earlier this year, everyone went crazy with the minute or two or darkness during the day. But here, the flip-side happened. In the middle of the night, it was suddenly so bright. God’s beautiful glory was shown to a group of dirty shepherds. And you know they had to be dirty if they were living out in the fields!

But that’s really what happened right? The infinitely majestic glory of God came down to earth to us dirty sinners. In the form of a tiny infant, God fulfilled His promise to save us all! Glory to God indeed!

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12 NKJV)

Luke ch2 vs13-14 NKJV (2)

Without hesitation, as soon as the angels were gone, the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known (Luke 2:15 NKJV).

And they found Him. They found their King and they spread the knowledge far and wide. Everyone marveled at the things the shepherds told them. But sweet and humble Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19 NKJV)

She thought on the things that had happened to her and most likely wondered what the future would bring her and her sweet and most innocent Child.

Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” (Luke 2:20 NKJV)

And the brightness of God’s glory didn’t completely disappear that night. Instead a star shone in the sky and it led a group of wise men from far in the East to bow down and worship the King of the world. For roughly 2 years, a star hung over where Jesus lived! I wonder what the people of Bethlehem thought of that. Do you think they marveled at it for a while and then got used to the glory? They had to have forgotten that special night because Jerusalem was troubled at the thought of a King being born. So the news could not have traveled very far, despite the constant reminder in the sky every night.

That is something we need to watch out for. We can get so used to moving through the motions and reading our Bible and going to church that we get used to the glory God sent down to us from Heaven. This Christmas season, let’s be careful to not forget what Jesus did for us when He was born that wonderful night. Don’t get used to the glory. Be like the wise men and rejoice with exceedingly great joy (Matt. 2:10 NKJV) at the Star in our lives that is Jesus.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: (Matt. 2:1-5 NKJV)

Matthew ch2 vs6 NKJV (2)

 

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. (Matt. 2:7-9 NKJV)

Matthew ch2 vs10-11 NKJV (2)

They immediately fell down and worshiped Him when they saw Jesus. This tiny Child was the King of the world and they knew it, though His people did not. These star gazing wise men from the East had found the Savior of the world and presented Him with the most costly gifts they had. I doubt He wanted them then and truthfully does not want our costly gifts. He wants us. He wants our hearts full of love and obedience to Him. He wants us to follow after Him with everything we have. He wants us to go out like the shepherds did and share the news of His birth, life and death on a cross. The news that He came to save us all.

During this season, don’t get used to the glory of Jesus and the wonder you felt when you were first saved. Remember it and share it with this dying world so that they too may come to the foot of the cross and worship the King.

Christmas 2017 – The Prophecies of Jesus Christ

This week, I’m going to share about the prophecies of Jesus’ birth. The first prophecy is in Genesis chapter 3, verses 14 and 15:

Genesis ch3 vs14-15 NKJV.2

Soon after the Fall, God promised Jesus would come to help and save us . He promised that Satan would be punished by Jesus, crushed by Him. Through the descendants of Adam and eventually Abram, Jesus is promised to be born.

‘Instead, he will send you a prophet like me from among your own people, and you are to obey him. 

“On the day that you were gathered at Mount Sinai, you begged not to hear the Lord speak again or to see his fiery presence any more, because you were afraid you would die. So the Lord said to me,

‘They have made a wise request. I will send them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will tell him what to say, and he will tell the people everything I command. He will speak in my name, and I will punish anyone who refuses to obey him.’ (Deuteronomy 18:15-19 NKJV)

Here, Moses predicts Jesus’ coming and tells the Hebrews about Him and what He will be like. How He will be from among them, that He will tell people what God tells Him to say and speak in His Name. He also tells them how Jesus will punish the non-believers. Punishment is not something that is normally thought about at Christmastime. His Birth is celebrated during this time because He finally came to save us.

‘O Lord, I will always sing of your constant love; I will proclaim your faithfulness forever. I know that your love will last for all time, that your faithfulness is as permanent as the sky. You said, “I have made a covenant with the man I chose; I have promised my servant David, ‘A descendant of yours will always be king; I will preserve your dynasty forever.’” ‘ (Psalm 89:3-4 NKJV)

David was promised to always have a king on the throne. I imagine he believed it would always be an earthly kingdom. But Jesus is King over all instead of just Israel and Judah. And His forever reign started one night in Bethlehem…

Isaiah ch7 vs14 NKJV.2

Immanuel. God with us. God came down in human form, taking the likeness of a tiny newborn, and He came to be with us. He lived among us and died for us. So that we could one day come to be with Him in Heaven.

One of the most remembered sections of the Bible that tells about Jesus’ coming is Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV:  

‘A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called,

“Wonderful Counselor,” 

“Mighty God,”

“Eternal Father,”

“Prince of Peace.” 

His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace. He will rule as King David’s successor, basing his power on right and justice, from now until the end of time. The Lord Almighty is determined to do all this.’

Through exiles and disobedience, a new King rose from the stump that was the line of David.

 The royal line of David is like a tree that has been cut down; but just as new branches sprout from a stump, so a new king will arise from among David’s descendants. (Isaiah 11:1-10 NKJV)

The spirit of the Lord will give him wisdom and the knowledge and skill to rule his people.

He will know the Lord’s will and honor him, and find pleasure in obeying him.

He will not judge by appearance or hearsay; he will judge the poor fairly and defend the rights of the helpless.

At his command the people will be punished, and evil persons will die.

He will rule his people with justice and integrity.

Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with young goats.

Calves and lion cubs will feed together, and little children will take care of them.

Cows and bears will eat together, and their calves and cubs will lie down in peace.

Lions will eat straw as cattle do.

Even a baby will not be harmed if it plays near a poisonous snake.

On Zion, God’s sacred hill, there will be nothing harmful or evil.

The land will be as full of knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of water. 

A day is coming when the new king from the royal line of David will be a symbol to the nations. They will gather in his royal city and give him honor.

When Jesus comes back, those who were saved through His death on the cross will go with Him to heaven, where He will rule forevermore in peace and justice. Nothing will harm us anymore and there will be no more evil as we give honor to our King!

 

Isaiah ch40 vs3-5 NKJV.2

 

The voice crying out was John, proclaiming the coming of our Lord and Savior. While John wasn’t present at Jesus’ birth because he was just an infant himself, he was still destined to lead Israel to Jesus.

He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17 NKJV)

Jesus was coming soon. And John was going to prepare God’s people for His arrival. One day, Jesus will come back. What are you doing to prepare for His return?

Hosea Chapter 10

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Here we go with Chapter 10!

 

Jeremiah ch2 vs28 NKJV

We see here that Israel has taken all of the fruit for himself and increased the altars. As there is only one God, they only need one altar. But they are back to their old idolatrous ways. Pillars are erected and embellished according to the bounty of Israel. The bounty God gave them but they aren’t giving Him the glory and credit.

The heart of Israel is divided between idols and against the Lord who rescued them from slavery. He holds them guilty, of course. They have sinned and they must pay for it. God will destroy their altars and pillars they have for their false gods.

 

Zephaniah ch1 vs5 GNT (2)

2 Kings 17:3-4: Emperor Shalmaneser of Assyria made war against him; Hoshea surrendered to Shalmaneser and paid him tribute every year. But one year Hoshea sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, asking for his help, and stopped paying the annual tribute to Assyria. When Shalmaneser learned of this, he had Hoshea arrested and put in prison. GNT

They say they have no king and even if they did, what use would he be to them? They don’t fear the Lord and they’ve lied. A king anointed by God is of no use to the Israelites. Judgement will come upon them for their evil ways.

 

1 Kings ch12 vs28-29 GNT (2)

Because of their idols, Samaria lives in fear. Shame will come upon Israel and Ephraim because of idols and unwise counsel. The idol will be carried to Assyria and will increase their shame.

1 Kings 13:34: This sin on his part brought about the ruin and total destruction of his dynasty. GNT

Samaria and Israel will be cut off and destroyed due to their sin. Their altars will be overrun with weeds and thorns. In their anguish, they will want the mountains to fall on and destroy them.

Isaiah 2:19:  People will hide in caves in the rocky hills or dig holes in the ground to try to escape from the Lord’s anger and to hide from his power and glory, when he comes to shake the earth. GNT

 

Revelation ch6 vs16 GNT (2)

The Israelites have sinned for a long time so when God desires, He will punish them. Other nations will gather against them and bind them. The Israelites will be in slavery once more for their wickedness.

Jeremiah 50:11: The Lord says, “People of Babylonia, you plundered my nation. You are happy and glad, going about like a cow threshing grain or like a neighing horse, GNT

He will cause the Israelites to work and plow. Despite telling them to sow righteousness in order to reap mercy, they plow wickedness, reap iniquity and eat the fruit of lies.

Job 4:8: I have seen people plow fields of evil and plant wickedness like seed; now they harvest wickedness and evil. GNT

Because of their sin and trust in themselves instead of God, He will destroy them, cut them off and dash them to pieces.

 

Galatians ch6 vs7-8 GNT (2)

Sorry it took so long to post chapter 10! Blogging and babies do not go hand in hand! 😀 I’m finding time to do little bits here and there now that she’s older. So tell me what you think of chapter 10 in the comments!

The Reason for Christmas

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This post is more of a reflection than a devotion. I had something else planned for Christmas but came to a realization.

I am so human. My mortality has become increasingly apparent to me since my sweet daughter was born in September.

She is growing so fast and I have been savoring my days with her as much as I can, knowing that she will be grown and gone before I know it. But as I was listening to one of my favorite Christmas songs this month, I realized how much I truly love her. As ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ played in the background while I talked to her, I realized just how much God truly loves us. I think it is something that you don’t really come to terms with until you become a parent. Because when a tiny little child is born to you and looks up at you with those beautiful eyes, you realize you would do anything to protect them.

Anything.

I love my daughter so much and I would do anything to protect her. I can’t imagine what Mary went through as she saw her Son hanging on that cross but what truly blows my mind is what God had to have gone through. Not only did he send Jesus to die for us, He turned His back on His ONLY Son as He died. I knew He loved me, loved us, but it really hit me as I listened to that song.

How much love could God have for us, for the entire world, past, present, and future, that He would let Jesus die for us? I could never let my daughter die for someone who hated her, spat at her, didn’t believe in her. I wouldn’t let her. But God has so much more mercy and forgiveness than I do.

And Jesus loves us too. He proved it when He was born this season, coming to us in human form, taking the servant role instead of the King of Kings role that He deserves, just so that we could all live with Him in Heaven some day.

I had planned to talk about the prophecies throughout the Bible of Jesus’ birth last week and then write about His birth this week but this thought came up and wouldn’t go away. It’s not the usual blog post about Christmas but I felt it was important. I felt like I had to share about Jesus’ coming this way. He came so that we could live with Him in Heaven one day and God’s love for us is more than infinite. I know that probably doesn’t make sense, but really, neither does His love for us.

Remember His love for us this Christmas and show that love to others, especially your family. God gave them to you just as He gave me my sweet little one.