Summer Devotional: Psalm 86:11

Image result for undivided heartPsalm 86:11:  “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

We cannot serve two masters.  We are stronger together.  Stay united for Jesus.  One heart.  One soul.  One mind.

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The Cross

THE CROSS

Jesus was the son of God
He was also one of us
He felt the same pain and sorrow
That anyone of us does

The thought of what Jesus went through
Makes my heart burn and ache
What He went through for me and you
The strength and love it had to take

He could have said “enough” at any time
Legions of angels would have come
To put a stop to such a crime–
Then the devil would have won

Jesus died upon that cross
It seemed like such a terrible loss
Not even the apostles knew
That Jesus was not yet through

The Resurrection was the proof
What He had told them was the truth
He had arisen, He was alive

O death, where is your victory?
O death where is your sting?

By :
Lissette Trahan

COMMENT ON THE CROSS

The cross represents Jesus’ victory over sin and death.
It is the greatest symbol that Christianity has.

Jesus could have avoided his death but He knew why He
had come into the world.

We had to have both, the cross and the resurrection.
The cross cleansed us of our sins, The resurrection
gave us eternal life.

He had to be sinless, the lamb of God. It was a
spiritual transaction. The human race sinned, it
had to be a sinless human who paid the penalty for
our sins.

Someday I hope to understand the spiritual warfare
that is still going on today. Someday I will fully
understand what a great price Jesus paid for me and
how much love He had for me.

On the cross Jesus became the sacrifice for my sins,
He did what I could not do for myself. Because of Him
I have eternal life.

Because he was resurrected I know that God accepted
the sacrifice. I was guilty, now I am free.

Thank you for the cross, Lord.

Philippians 2:8
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming
obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross

Eternity

ETERNITY

My thoughts on eternity,
Hard to fathom how it will be
It is a promise God gave me
To live with Him eternally

God sent His Son, a sacrifice
The lamb of God, he gave His life
A price so great had to be paid
Couldn’t there have been another way?

I can’t explain or understand
Someday it will be revealed
How God had it all planned
Why Jesus came to intercede

Thank you Jesus for the cross
Without the cross I would be lost
When God looks down, what does He see
It is Your blood, that covers me.

Life with no pain, no grief, no tears
Age of no importance there
Faith gives me certainty
My life awaits eternity.

By :
Lissette Trahan

Comment on Eternity

I am a child of God. My eternal life will be in heaven.
I love to meditate and imagine how incredible my life will be.
Thinking of seeing Jesus face to face, to see the one who gave
His life for me makes my heart flutter with excitement.

Living in His presence for eternity.
No sin, no fear, no injustice. Only love.
I lead my life thinking of eternity. No matter what happens
in this life nothing will change the glorious future that awaits me.

All God has ever done in my life is shown me how much He loves me.
My part was to allow Him in.

It was His love that planned creation, that planned redemption.
It knows no failure. Nothing will change His plan or purpose.

As my friend Ken Cayce said. “The greatest gift that we could ever
receive is the gift of eternal life with Jesus. To know we would be
separated from Him for eternity would be more hell than I could bear.
The only life worth living is with Him.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet
no one can fathom what God has done from
beginning to end.

The Legend of the Candy Cane

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg tells the story of a man who moves to a new town and opens a candy shop.  He explains to a little girl the meaning of the candy cane, saying it looks like the letter J for Jesus and if you turn it upside down, its the shepherd’s staff.  The white represents us after we’ve given ourselves to Jesus (washing away our sins we become pure) and the red stripes represents Jesus’s suffering and blood when he died on the cross.

The story is followed by the true story of what we know about the candy cane (it was made to resemble the shepherd’s staff) and what we don’t.

Great read.  Great Christmas story.  Great ideas.  Great way to talk about Jesus to kids who know Him and those who don’t.

Age Old Lessons

“Her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”  Luke 7:47

Jesus is explaining how the man who was forgiven a bigger debt ($500 to make it simple) loves more than the man who was only forgiven a small debt ($50).  He expands this to the sinful woman, who loves Jesus more because of her sins (she anoints him, washes his feet with her tears, and kisses his feet); whereas Simon did not of these things.  Therefore, he has less love.

I read this and thought of how I’ve been through a lot and all this year in Isaiah we’ve learned life is not hunky-dory and God gives us trials to grow us and force us to turn our faces towards Him.

I think this is true.  Those who have an easy life do take things for granted and don’t appreciate the good life when it’s there if they’ve never had a bad life.  Someone who has suffered would love more.  Someone who’s lost someone close to them–spouse, parents, child–would love more.  Would hold on tighter. Would look at each day as a gift and not just move callously through it.

I hope I have more love.  I don’t know.  I think I’ve walled off my heart so much I don’t see this love portrayed to others.  I’m trying though.  I recognize it and am trying to be better with those around me.  My instinct is to push others away instead of embrace them and I have to fight that tendency every day.  So I pray slowly it will happen–and love will shine through.

What Does it Mean to “Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus?”

I’m reading my Bible (part of my goals this year is to finish the Bible) and I’m in Mark.  My Bible is an NIV Study Bible so periodically, it offers explanations, insights, and questions.  One question is “For you, what does it mean to ‘take up your cross’ and follow Jesus?”

I have often heard this asked and wondered myself.  So, first thing I usually do it google whatever I’m curious about.  What a great tool–the Internet!

I found an awesome explanation about what it meant back in Jesus’s time and how it’s meant today:

http://www.gotquestions.org/take-up-your-cross.html

In sum, it means are you willing to lose everything to follow Jesus.  Not that you have to give up everything. Not that this will happen.  Just are you willing.

From our BSF study of Isaiah so far, we’ve learned it’s more about what’s in your heart rather than actions or deeds.  You can go through the motions of doing God’s work but if your heart is not in it, then it’s meaningless to God.

I just finished Matthew and half of Mark and the Pharisees figure prominently in these books.  They are the Biblical men who are always trying to trip up Jesus.  Jesus chastises them over and over again for their empty actions.  Their hearts aren’t in their work for they do not care about the people.

This is a great question that is often misunderstood.  People, some of whom are defined by their things, have a hard time with this one.  But it’s not about the doing of giving up your things.  You can give up all you have and still not have a heart for Jesus.

It’s about having the heart for Jesus and striving every day to be more and more like him. This is our calling and what God desires for each of us.

And it’s a challenge.  Usually every day I must repent for something or other.

Luke 9:23:  Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

We must deny ourself, die to self, and follow Jesus, His will for our life, every day.  His will not mine.

Today is a new day and as long as God is the one in front I can do better.  For my heart is with Him.

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 3, Day 2: Isaiah 5:1-7 & John 15:1-17

Summary of passages:  Isaiah speaks of a vineyard (the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem) and describes how they have the expectations of bearing good grapes but they only yielded bad fruit.  In John, Jesus is speaking at the Last Supper, charging his disciples to go forth and bear fruit–fruit that will last and giving them the command to love one another as He has loved them.  He uses the vine and fruit analogy as well, saying, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (verse 4)

Questions:

3a) The song was sung to and about the house of Israel and the people of Judah and Jerusalem.  It was sung by Isaiah.

b) Yes.  Who expects to plant a crop and it to fail?  God planted us and we thrived until the Garden and sin slithered in.

c) The crop was bad but the owner expected the best grapes (he planted the choicest vines, built a watchtower, cleared the stones, and chose fertile ground).  He expected to make a profit as all business owners do.

4) God expected a garden filled with delight, justice, and righteousness.  Jesus describes fruit that will last.  Galatians list the fruit of the spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  I’m inferring this is what Jesus was inferring as well.

5) Personal answer.  Mine is:  He has put people on my path who has led me to Him (parents, friends, BSF invite) and spoken to me.  He helps others know him through people as well.  He has provided all I need and want and loved unconditionally.  He has sent His son, Jesus, for me.  He has provided His word (the Bible) forever.

Conclusions:  I enjoyed the imagery of the vine.  It ties into the whole Branch as the Messiah we have been talking about.  I liked seeing it in other places of the Bible as well.