Tag Archives: Jesus
I recently shared with my family that my biggest regret as a mom was not helping our children learn to read and study the Bible. As a rather young mom and new Christian, it took me awhile before I realized the importance of daily Bible reading in my own life. This happened several years after receiving Jesus as my Savior.
With the busyness of the Christmas season, I was determined to read The Sparkle Box book to two of our grandchildren last night. I’ve read it to all our grands the past few years and each time it helps me to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of Christ and sharing the love of Jesus with others.
The story depicts a little boy, Sam, who anxiously wants to open the sparkle box that sits on the fireplace mantle. His mother tells him that they must first fill the box up before opening it on Christmas day.
Unknowingly to Sam, his mom begins writing down acts of love their family offers throughout the Christmas season and puts the slips of paper into the sparkle box. There are several, but not to give the whole story away, here’s the one that touches my heart (and the heart of our grandchildren) the most.
“Mittens and candy bar given to a man in need.”
While driving back home from dropping off some blankets and other items at the homeless shelter, Sam noticed a man curled up and lying on a park bench. Sam’s mom said, “That’s someone who might get one of our blankets.” A few days later, while shopping with his mother, Sam bought some mittens for the “mitten tree” at his school and a candy bar for himself. But as they were leaving the store, the man they had seen lying on the park bench entered the store. Immediately drawn to the tired-looking man, Sam ran by him sticking the gloves and the candy bar into the man’s hands as he and his mom left the store.
To read The Sparkle book online, you may go to this website https://www.thesparklebox.com/ It is free to read through December 31. 2018.
After finishing the book, our grandkids said that they would like to go by and visit their friends at the nursing care facility and take them some Christmas gifts. Emy recalled that her friend enjoys ceramics, so she said she’d like to buy her a paint set. And Max said he’d like to take his friend some sugar packets because his friend loves lots of sugar in his coffee.
Our grandchildren’s ministry, Lights Shine Bright, makes routine visits to a local nursing care facility. Each grandchild has been assigned a special friend who doesn’t receive many visitors. They (Lights Shine Bright) will present the Tale of Three Trees at the nursing care facility during the Christmas season.
I am thankful for the time God gifts to me, to intentionally spend time with our grandchildren, as we live out a love for Jesus and others.
Reading books to children and grandchildren can be a cherished memory. Our daughter started a Christmas tradition of reading 25 Christmas books with her children throughout the Advent season. One-a-day!
What if I begin the New Year with full assurance of God’s love?
What if I begin the New Year knowing I am in a right relationship with God?
What if I choose to look more like Jesus and less like the world in 2016?
What if I read and mediate on God’s Word every day?
What if I let go and let God?
Psalm 91 (NLT)
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. 4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
God’s Word…Life and Truth
A Christmas card from a long-ago neighbor arrived with sad news.
Her beloved husband of fifty-seven years went home to be with Jesus.
Our family lived next to Bud and Iris for ten years.
Bud was kind and friendly to everyone, including our rambunctious children.
I think it appropriate, learning of Bud’s passing through a Christmas card.
He and his sweet wife know Jesus as their personal Savior.
There is joy in death, when we know our loved one is in the loving arms of Jesus.
May the Psalms draw you near to God.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).
“1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. 2 For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.
3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. 5 They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. 6 Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.
7 Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. 8 Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. 9 Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. 10 Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—he is the King of glory” (Psalm 24 – NLT).
As I shop for just the right gifts for our family, as I lay awake pondering on all the activities of the season, as I decorate our home, as I recall loved ones who have passed,…there’s a longing in my heart to simply be with Jesus. Do I give the King of glory full entrance into the innermost and uppermost place in my soul? In all the “pomp of external ceremonies,” is there room for Jesus?
Matthew Henry Commentary
This psalm is concerning the kingdom of Jesus Christ, I. His providential kingdom, by which he rules the world (v. 1, v. 2). II. The kingdom of his grace, by which he rules in his church. 1. Concerning the subjects of that kingdom; their character (v. 4, v. 6), their charter (v. 5). Concerning the King of that kingdom; and a summons to all to give him admission (v. 7-10). It is supposed that the psalm was penned upon occasion of David’s bringing up the ark to the place prepared for it, and that the intention of it was to lead the people above the pomp of external ceremonies to a holy life and faith in Christ, of whom the ark was a type. A psalm of David.
Who is the King of glory? (Matthew Henry Commentary)
He is Jehovah, and will be Jehovah our righteousness, an all-sufficient Saviour to us, if we give him entrance and entertainment. He is strong and mighty, and the Lord of hosts; and therefore it is at our peril if we deny him entrance; for he is able to avenge the affront; he can force his way, and can break those in pieces with his iron rod that will not submit to his golden sceptre. In singing this let our hearts cheerfully answer to this call, as it is in the first words of the next psalm, Unto thee, O Lord! do I lift up my soul.
May we simply be with the King of glory this Christmas season.
A crucifix (from Latin cruci fixus meaning “(one) fixed to a cross”) is an image of Jesus on the cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself attached to the cross is referred to in English as the corpus (Latin for “body”) — Wikipedia
Several years ago, a friend made a ceramic crucifix for us. The crucifix depicts an image of Jesus bleeding from his side, while dying on the cross. Since that time, I set the crucifix out in our home during the Lenten season. It serves as a visual reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for me, our family, and for the entire world. Jesus suffered and died a horrible death, so that we could be reconciled into a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).
This year, I placed the crucifix on our kitchen hutch. I thought to myself, “This will be a good location for it, so the grandchildren won’t knock it over and break it, yet still at eye level so they can easily see it from a distance.”
The first week passed and nobody noticed it, or at least they didn’t mention it. A week later, our four-year-old grandson, Max, pointed to the crucifix and said somberly, “Nana, look, there’s blood on Jesus.” We walked toward the crucifix, and I said, “Yes, isn’t this sad?” We then dialogued about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.
The following week Max asked his mother to come and see Jesus on the cross. As they walked over to the hutch Max said, “Look mom, Jesus is bleeding. He died on the cross.” There was a slight pause,–then the most beautiful declaration of “He is risen!” resounded from my precious grandson’s mouth: “But Jesus isn’t dead anymore!” My heart began to melt as Max realized the Easter message with such an exuberant simplistic faith.
I have to believe that this special encounter between our Savior and Max put a big smile on the face of God.
Each Easter my heart is full of thankfulness and gratitude to our LORD, who loved me, our family, and the entire world, enough to reconcile me (a sinner), to the One True God, through His (Jesus’) death and resurrection.
I encourage parents to display Christian symbols, especially the cross/crucifix, pictures, and other home décor inscribed with Scripture, around their homes. This is a simple, yet very effective way to share the love for Jesus with family and guests.
The Saturday before Easter morning, I will remove the crucifix and replace it with an empty cross or an empty tomb. Just like Max said, “Jesus isn’t dead anymore!”
The cross of Jesus Christ symbolizes the epitome of love and self-sacrifice. “Greater love has no man, than that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice of love that reconciles us to God. Crosses and crucifixes are powerful visual reminders of God’s love and serve as a witness of hope to the world.
I invite my friends to reflect upon God’s love while reading through the following Scripture and notations.
Peace and Hope (Romans 5: 1-11)
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
The Crucifixion (Notation of Mark 15:15b-32) – From Bible Gateway:
The brevity of Mark’s report is striking. Jesus chose to endure death fully conscious rather than drink the sedative offered him (see Pr 31:6). The division of his garments (see Ps 22:18) underscores the humiliation of the Crucified One. The notice affixed to the cross, the taunts of the passersby, and the mockery of the chief priests and teachers of the law are all ironic. They communicate a fundamental truth that would not have been lost to the Christians of Mark’s day: In the suffering and weakness of the Cross, God’s power is manifest.
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified” (Mark 15:15).
The Crucifixion of Jesus (Mark 15:21-32)
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the Jews.
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus (Mark 15:33-39)
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
Jesus Has Risen! (Mark 16:1-6)
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
May the remembrance and affirmation of Christ’s death and resurrection bless you and your family this Easter.
He is risen!
All Scripture is NIV unless otherwise stated.
Passion (from the Latin verb patere meaning to suffer) is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, compelling enthusiasm or desire for anything. (Wikipedia)
1 often capitalized : the sufferings of Jesus between the night of the Last Supper and his death 2 a plural : the emotions in general b : strong feeling or emotion 3 a : great affection : LOVE b : a strong liking c : an object of desire or deep interest (Merriam-Webster Student Dictionary)
People have a great passion for many things. Just to name a few:
Football – On September 29, 2014, the Kansas City Chiefs fans reclaimed the record for loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium. Chiefs’ fans made enough noise to register a 142.2 dbA reading at Arrowhead Stadium while playing against the New England Patriots.
Vacations & Fitness – (Online Advertisement) Take Your Passion For Fitness on Luxury Adventure Vacations With Reebok Fitness Vacations by Austin Adventures – Two leading brands in the active lifestyle and fitness worlds are teaming up to offer Reebok Fitness Vacations by Austin Adventures. This partnership seems to offer a series of vacations that promote fitness as a way of life. Now you can combine two passions at the same time!
Food – (Quote from chef blogger): “I have a passion for preparing and serving great food. I have a goal of getting a great meal on the table every evening in around 45 minutes.”
Attempting to trick Jesus, a religious “expert” posed the following question.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38).
I believe this is the greatest passion.
There’s no room to be lukewarm as a Christian. In fact, being lukewarm makes God nauseous.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:14-16).
From the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promises the following:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”(Matthew 5:6).
My life passion (mission): To intentionally pass down my faith in Christ to my children and grandchildren. 2 Timothy 1:5
So, what’s your greatest passion?
In 2015, why not cultivate a great passion for loving God, in your children and grandchildren.
Break the record for loving God.
Pray fervently and often.
Give up a favorite beverage (Starbuck’s, soda, etc.) for a month, and set aside this money for a work and witness trip or other service project.
Skip the family vacation one year (or more), and instead, spend this allotted time and money towards serving at a local or global mission.
Rather than wasting endless hours on social media / T.V., etc., use this time for personal and family Bible study.
Purposefully reach out to your neighbors with kindness and the love of Christ.
Intentionally share your faith in Christ with unsaved friends, relatives, coworkers, etc.
Use your gifts and talents at your local church. Serve together as a family when applicable.
Have a Happy and Fulfilling New Year….
by living a life of passion for Christ.