Music Mondays- Loved Me First by Philippa Hanna

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Jesus loved us first. He showed his great love for us when he died for us and defeated death for us even though we did not deserve it. He brings healing into our souls, spirits, and lives.

Our love for Jesus is finite and a response to his eternal unconditional love for us. Jesus calls us to love one another with the love of God- God’s unconditional love. We can only love with that kind of love through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

What If The Church Stepped Up?

With the recent Supreme Court decision and possible ramifications of it, my post is not about the decision itself or debating it. My post is about things the church could have been doing all along that will be sorely needed now. When I say church, I mean it in the overall nationwide sense not regarding any specific individual church. I also mean the members of the church as in Christians.

I have worked in Title I schools for thirteen years. Though my work is specifically with refugees/immigrants, my work has made me very aware of the plight of those living in low income neighborhoods. I have often wondered why Pro Life has not included adding being the hands of Jesus for people struggling in life.

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Foster care is a huge problem. There are far too many children living in foster care. I will never forget a little boy in Kindergarten Jump Start, which is one week for the little ones to experience school before all the kids start. The first morning he told me he was nervous. As I listened, he told me he does not live with his mom or dad. His expressions and body language showed me he felt shame. What could happen if more Christians stepped up as foster parents?

A huge need for single moms and moms with partners in low income areas is childcare for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. What could happen if churches put more emphasis on something like supporting both financially and with staff free childcare centers in low income areas?

Adoption is perhaps going to be needed now more than ever. What could happen if more Christians stepped up to adopt babies who for whatever reason the birth mother cannot or in some cases it would be harmful for her to keep the baby? The video I am sharing is a powerful message about what can happen when a loving family adopts a baby.

These are just a few thoughts/questions that come to mind as I think about not only what could happen if the church steps up in such ways, but also what could have happened all along. If the church had been doing such things all along, how many of the 65 million babies aborted over the past 70 years could have been born?

Thank you for reading. God Bless,

Ephesians 1- Because of Jesus, We Can Be Forgiven

Becoming a Christian is a humbling thing because we have to acknowledge we have sinned and need our Savior Jesus. At the foot of the cross is the one place where we are all equal, equally guilty of sin and equally in need of Jesus. Jesus himself said in John 14:6:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Because of Jesus, we are not only forgiven when we trust in him, God lavishes his grace upon us. In Ephesians 1 we see:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding

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It is not a matter of God saying, well you don’t deserve it, but have eternal life because of Jesus. That is not at all what God says and does. He LAVISHES his grace upon us. He LAVISHES his love upon us. We do not deserve it, but he LAVISHES upon us his grace, mercy, and love because of Jesus. He chooses to love us. That is worth more than all the gold in the world.

If we have come to know Jesus and trusted in him, we can say with all certainty, “God has lavished his grace upon me.”

Story Time- Matt’s Peanut Chili

It was a Super Bowl Sunday years ago and I had invited a few friends to watch it with me. I bought chips. sodas, popcorn, and told them I would make chili- a soup with ground beef and beans. My friends arrived and we were all set for some fun watching American football.

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It came time to eat the chili. One of my friends was the first to try it and he had a look of dismay in his eyes. He asked me, “are these peanuts?” I asked why. He told me they were hard and crunchy. So I tried some and found out what he was talking about. The bean were not soft.

Realizing the chili was a no go I called for delivery pizzas. My friends asked me if I soaked the beans in water. I told them I had not and asked if I was supposed to. The chili was called Matt’s peanut chili.

In my defense the beans did not tell me they needed to be soaked in water. How was I to know? 🙂

It may surprise you to know that I am not known as a great cook. lol

People know us by what they see us do, how we treat them, and how we make them feel.

Jesus said in John 15:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

How can people tell if we belong to Jesus? By the way we treat them and each other.

Thank you for reading. God Bless

Remembering Jesus’s Death on the Cross

Today we remember Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf. He died to take on our penalty for sin. He did so out of his great love for us. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s forgiveness. We can only trust in what Jesus has done for us and believe in him.

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Becoming a Christian means to humble ourselves before God at the cross of Jesus. It does not matter what our station in life is. Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, successful or unsuccessful, there is only one way to receive God’s forgiveness and eternal life. That is to humbly come to God realizing we needed Jesus to die for us. The cross of Jesus is truly the most equalizing place. No one is rich, poor, educated, uneducated. successful, or unsuccessful at the foot of the cross of Jesus.

Likewise we cannot earn God’s love. God loves us because he is God. He wants relationship with us. His love is a free gift for any who will receive Jesus. But it came at a great cost, Jesus dying on the cross for us.

Jesus loves us so much, so deeply, it is amazing to ponder.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- I Belong to Jesus by Brooke Ligertwood

With all of the chaos and uncertainty in the world, it is so comforting to be able to say I belong to Jesus. I belong to Jesus not because of anything I have done other than to receive him as my Savior. It is a free gift to all who will believe in him.

Nothing can take us away from Jesus. Nothing can separate us from his love. Nothing can take our heavenly home away from us. All of this because of Jesus., which is comforting to know because we falter all the time.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Slap That Echoes Through The Ages

Monday morning I saw the news and at school I commented to people, “I read that an actor whose movies I don’t watch slapped a comedian who I also don’t watch on an awards show I never watch.” My post is not about that slap which in the grand scheme of things is inconsequential.

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There was a slap about 2,000 years ago that that echoes through time. It is a slap that is part of the drama of the Passion Week when Jesus allowed people to arrest, torture and crucify him. We can read about it in John 18.

“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.  Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 

Jesus was unjustly arrested and in the midst of a farce of a trial. When he was slapped, he did not back down. He called on the person to give the reason. Throughout the whole ordeal of his arrest, torture and crucifixion Jesus spoke the truth. He endured all of it because of his great love for us.

This is the slap that has echoed through the ages.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Get Rich?

There used to be a show called Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. There are many get rich schemes promoted by infomercials. When the Powerball Lottery gets high, people buy more tickets. Not that there is anything wrong with being rich, but the obsession with it reveals something about us.

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Do you know what God is rich in? He doesn’t need anything. Gold, jewels, all of those things that represent being rich, he created. He does not need anything from us. Yet the bible describes God as being rich in something.

Ephesians 2:4 says

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy

God is rich in mercy which means his mercy will never run out. The reason he is rich in mercy is because of his great love for us.

This causes me to think that if we want to store up treasures in heaven like Jesus talked about, we should focus on showing mercy and love to others as we share about Jesus rather than focus on doing great things for God.

I love the way Mother Theresa said it.

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

Thank you for reading. God Bless.