What do we see when we look at Jesus?

Photo by Aaron Burden

Luke 23:33-24:53

Jesus, Son of God, creator of everything that exists, walks willingly to his death, and by his side are two criminals, walking to their deaths also. They see him; they see his pain, see his actions and they see the sign that has been nailed to his cross, “This is the king of the Jews”. They hear his words of kindness and forgiveness spoken to the crowds. Two men have an opportunity to meet the Savior of the world and to experience who he is, to witness his love, forgiveness and sacrifice for mankind. Two men see and experience the same thing, yet one accepts him as Lord and the other rejects him.

It’s the same today, some people see a perfect, righteous Savior, and others see a down on his luck, want-to-be-leader, and man; just like themselves. Open your eyes people, what do you really see?

Darkness. The light from the sun is gone, the light of the world is dying. As the temple veil, dividing the Holy of Holy’s from the world, is torn in two, the Son of God dies.

The captain of the Roman soldiers saw an innocent man, the crowds of people watching the crucifixion were saddened as they saw their healer and miracle worker pass into death, and Jesus’ friends stood back and observed it all.

Jesus, God incarnate, dies on the cross to atone for the sins of the world, and yet life goes on. Shouldn’t the world have stopped spinning at that moment? Shouldn’t tears from heaven have rained down on the earth? The biggest and most important event in the history of the world has just happened and yet life goes on. A dead body needs to be buried.

How slow is the human brain? When will we see and know Jesus for who he really is?

The women couldn’t comprehend where Jesus’s body could have gone, the apostles scoffed at reports of an empty tomb, and even Peter wondered what could have happened.

We cannot see or understand the things of God without God, and the Lord doesn’t expect us to. He comes to us and reveals himself to us. He wants us to understand. He wants us to see.

Jesus explained the Scriptures to his followers on the road to Emmaus, and he presented himself to his disciples, so they could see, touch and hear that he was alive in every way. What is it that causes us to doubt? Even when presented with all the evidence? We need the Lord to open our minds to understand. God in the flesh, suffered and died and rose on the third day. There is now forgiveness of sins for all who turn to Jesus.

What do we see when we look at Jesus?

Prayer:

Holy Spirit reveal to us who Jesus is in the fullness of his deity. Reach us where we’re at so we can see the Savior of the world and a Savior that loves us right where we are today. Don’t let us be bystanders on the most important event in the history of the world, but people that are actively loving and following our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

I Will Trust in Him

Encouraging_Light

I grew up in a Christian community church in the country.  When I was in high school, my boyfriend at the time led me to Christ. I went to Beaverton Foursquare Church in high school, college and as a young adult. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I really dove fully into studying the Bible. I took college level Bible classes and thoroughly studied the Old Testament. My husband, Mark, is my Barnabas (Acts 4:36) and he encouraged me through the many hours of reading, studying, and memorizing maps and verses from the Old Testament. I have continued to always be in a Bible study, listening to great pastors and speakers and always growing as I seek Him. For the past three years, I was an associate teaching director to Linda Colby in an international women and children’s ministry. 

My husband and I are raising our teenage twin boys to be strong in their faith and knowledgeable in the Word to strongly face life’s joys and trials. We have been through many trials.  The loss of a dear friend to cancer, our young sister-in-law to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and father-in-love to Parkinson’s disease. We have a niece who has bravely fought cancer and disabilities, another niece with Autism, my mother-in-love fought breast cancer and now has Alzheimer’s. Recently, we were victims of an awful crime that shook us upside down and caused us to relocate. Yet, when I shake or falter while going through these trials, I always find my strength in Him. “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalm 91:2. 

Some more Good News that I cling to is that we all have been created with gifts of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 lists the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is through these gifts that God strengthens us believers, edifies His church and evangelizes the world. It is through our gifts that we are able to serve and love one another.  Be encouraged as you read about your gift. 

Dear Lord, I pray that many women (& men) and children’s lives are changed as they read the Word, attend, and answer our future Bible studies. I pray that as our lives are changed that our families grow closer in Him. I also pray that as we grow and mature in Christ that it is everlasting so that we may shine and change lives around us for generations to come. In Your precious Son’s name, Jesus, Amen!

Trust in Him and be encouraged!

Are you listening?

This photo was taken in Israel 2016 with my husband Derek and my daughter Carly. Taking a step in faith and going somewhere we had never been before.

Acts 14:8-10

In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

I wonder why this specific story is in the Bible? Was it to show the Holy Spirit was authenticating Paul’s preaching of the gospel? And yet many people believed without witnessing a miracle. Did it show God’s compassion to the hurting people of this world? Though this man never specifically asked for healing, there were many sick people that Paul preached to that never received healing and still felt the compassion of the Lord.

Yes, the Lord was authenticating Paul’s message, and yes, the Lord did show compassion on this man, but maybe there is more to the story.

The word tells us this man was listening to Paul, listening so intently that in the midst of a crowd he got Paul’s attention. What Paul saw was a man that believed the message of the Good News. Paul saw his faith in Jesus Christ and then challenged him to do the very thing he probably most wanted to do; walk. He didn’t know how it would feel to walk, or even how to walk, but he jumped up and gave it a try.

When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit’s help to do something we’ve never done before. Do you hear the Lord speaking to you? Are you listening? Just because you’ve never done something before doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

What is the Lord asking of you today? Listen carefully, then jump up and give it a try.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Fill us with faith, and help us be better listeners, so we can do the things you ask us to do. Amen

Our Heavenly Father is always thinking of us.

June 23, 2018

Psalm 139:1-3, 17-18

Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. How precious to me are your thoughts, oh God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

I can’t tell you how many times a day I think of my sweet grandson Clark. I wonder what he’s doing, if he slept good the night before, or what new foods he’s trying. He is on my mind, off and on all day. He brings me so much joy just thinking about him.

And yet the Psalms tell me, my Heavenly Father is always thinking of me, not just off and on, but constantly. What do you think about Lord? What do you see as you gaze into my soul? Are you searching for something good? That may take a while to find. Or Lord, are you thinking about my anxieties and fears, my insecurities and doubts, my questions about the future that I don’t share with anyone? Not even you, Lord.

If you search my heart, and the word says that you do, then you know all those things. I think your continued thoughts of me or for good, to bless me and encourage me. As you think of me and know me so well, you know just what I need to help me conquer my fears, challenge my insecurities and give me trust and peace about the future.

Prayer:

Oh Lord how blessed we are to have a Heavenly Father that loves us so much He never stops thinking of us. Thinking of ways to bless us and to grow us. How precious are your thoughts to us. Thank you Lord for your heart of love for us.

Put your hope in the Lord

Psalm 131:1-3 My heart is not proud, oh Lord, My eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.

But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Oh Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forever more.

June 19, 2018

Why does life have to be so challenging? From mourning the loss of a best friend to picking new paint colors for my great room, everything seems so hard. Sometimes I just want to check out; go somewhere else, somewhere I don’t have responsibilities. Where no one is asking me to do anything and I can just be.

Where this place is, I don’t know, but I do know I can always go to my Heavenly Father. I can steal away to that secret place of peace when I read God’s word, and listen for His voice. I can choose to quiet my soul and rest in the Lord’s perfect covering over me as I trust him with my challenges, as a young child trusts his mother.

My hope is in the Lord, for all things. For healing from sorrow and even for creativity in picking wall colors for my home.

I encourage you to quiet your soul, and escape your daily grind by spending time with your Heavenly Father that loves you, and wants to give you rest from your challenges.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father that loves us, keep us humble to hear your voice through your word, that we may have rest from the cares of this world and help us put our hope in you forever more. Amen.

The key is to just start!

If you’re like me you have all kinds of great ideas and lists of things you like to do but sometimes you just don’t know where to begin. We can all be too busy to spend some quiet time to read and meditate on God’s word, but really all it takes is just doing it.

I always thought I had to be in a quiet, perfect spot alone with my Bibles and study tools , but I’m learning that even a few minutes reading the Bible on my phone I can hear from God and get the encouragement I need for the moment! I think the more we do this, the more we will desire time with the Lord, and as we are immersed in his word He will give us that desire to create that time alone with Him.

We can spend a lot of time planning a meal, but I’m reminded of the verse in Matthew 4:4 where Jesus says- “people do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

To really live, and have the peace and strength and encouragement we need, we first must regularly feed on the word that comes from the mouth of God.

Then we need to talk to someone else about what we’re hearing from God, we need to pick a friend or co-worker to encourage and to share what we are learning.

That is my encouragement for you today- just start with a little and talk to someone about it 🙂

Let’s Journey together!

Welcome to EncouragingWord.Life! Together we can be encouraged and restored as we consider the Word of God and discover his desire to give us peace and joy!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul….