Music Mondays- Color by Ellie Holcomb

I love this song by Ellie Holcomb, It expresses how with Jesus our lives are full of things we could not have imagined before knowing Jesus. She uses color to express the beauty Jesus brings to our lives.

We do not feel worthy of Jesus and all he gives us, but because he loves us to immensely, we are worthy to receive from him.

No matter what has happened in our past, struggles we have now, or uncertainty about the future, nothing can separate us the love of Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- I’m Not Alone by Riley Clemmons

I thought my worth was lost but my worth was not lost on you

If we ever wonder if God thinks we are worthwhile, we only need to stop and think about Jesus. Jesus on the cross was God reaching out to show how much he loves us.

Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Out of all creation, we are what he values most. No matter what pit we are in, depression, divorce, family problems, health problems, financial problems, memories of past trauma or abuse, we are worth so much to God that he sent Jesus.

God loves you. That means you are worth so much to God.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Gives Life Full Meaning- John 10

In John 10, Jesus continues speaking to the Pharisees, religious leaders, he was speaking to in John 9 when he told them they were guilty of sin. Last week’s post- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished– deals with that part of the conversation.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In this part, Jesus uses analogies to teach spiritual truths about himself, the analogies of gatekeeper, sheep and shepherd. Jesus begins with a statement to get the attention of the Pharisees.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees”

Though he is addressing the Pharisees directly, there were others around to hear what Jesus had to say and what he says is recorded for our benefit to understand some important truths about Jesus.

Jesus contrasts the thief with the shepherd.

“anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.  The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.”

The thief tries to get at the sheep by jumping the fence and does not want to come to the gate because the gatekeep will stop him. The shepherd comes to the gate.

Sheep are not very bright animals. They are helpless and unable to defend themselves. They get lost easy. They need the constant guidance and protection of the shepherd. No offense, but in this analogy we are the sheep. Without Jesus, we are lost and stumbling around spiritually.

But sheep do know one thing- the shepherd’s voice. Jesus said:

 “the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

If we know the voice of Jesus, we will not follow anything or anyone else. We need to know his voice which comes through prayer and study of the bible.

The Pharisees did not get it, so Jesus explained it for them by saying He is:

The gate- the way to enter

The shepherd- guides and protects the sheep

and Jesus contrasted himself with

the thief- comes to steal and destroy

a hired man- runs away at the sight of trouble leaving the sheep alone and helpless

In contrasting himself with the thief, Jesus shares this beautiful truth:

 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Because of Jesus, we can have eternal life and also have relationship with God now. We can have a life full of meaning.

Jesus also pointed to why he came which was to die for us and defeat death for us by saying:

“I lay down my life for the sheep.”

and

“I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”

The question is do we want to follow Jesus the one who gave his life for us and wants to give us eternal life and a life full of meaning or do we want to follow religion?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- The Purple Evidence

When I was a boy, only blocks away from my home was a small creek that had some wild mulberry trees. In the summer time my friends and I would ride our bikes there with our Boy Scout canteens full of water. We had what each time we thought was our secret mission. The mission? Eat some wild mulberries.

Photo by Fabian Reitmeier on Pexels.com

We would rinse them off with the water in our canteens and have a feast. We would spend a few hours there eating mulberries, exploring nature, and getting into the typical endeavors of 11 and 12 year old boys.

The first few times when I would come home, my parents would ask if I had gone to the mulberry trees. I confessed my endeavors wondering how they knew. I asked them how they knew. They told me my purple lips and fingers gave it away. It was the purple evidence.

Just as I could not hide my mulberry adventure from my parents, we cannot hide our sins from God. Fortunately for us, God still loves us even though we cannot hide our sins from him. Romans 5:8 says

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Sadly the small creek was turned into part of an underground sewer system and the mulberry trees and other trees taken out as part of residential development. God’s love for us will never go away and can never be taken away.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Still Wearing Masks

We are 13 months into this pandemic and the whole mask wearing thing. This week has been a good example of why wearing a mask is a mixed bag for me. Tree pollen is my main allergy and normally by now I would be taking two allergy meds each day. By wearing a mask when I walk around outside, my allergies have not been so severe.

However, yesterday while sitting in a celebration of life, the flip side of wearing a mask occurred. Breathing my own recycled air through a mask can set off my asthma and sure enough in the middle of the service my asthma cough kicked in.

Teaching a language while wearing a mask has certainly had its drawbacks. I cannot model pronunciation for my students. It makes it more difficult to hear my students while they wear masks.

But overall, the main benefit to wearing a mask that outweighs everything is not what the CDC says. I am not convinced they stop the spread of anything. The biggest benefit in my mind is others feel comfortable around me. I realize people are living in fear and if I want to be able to share the love of Jesus with them, they need to feel comfortable being around me.

So I will continue to wear one until such time as it is deemed no longer necessary more for the comfort of others than anything else. By doing so I can show kindness to others.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Was No Victim- He Permitted His Arrest

Even while being arrested for a mock trial, Jesus showed he was no victim. He voluntarily went to his torture and death on the cross because of his great love for us.

Imagine you are one of the detachment of soldiers sent to accompany the religious leaders to arrest Jesus. There are over 400 of you armed with swords, spears, and shields. A man comes out and asks, “Who are you looking for?” The religious leaders say, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

The man who asked, “Who are you looking for?” was Jesus himself. His response when the religious leaders said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth was, “I am he.”

BUT

Something happened when he said, “I am he.” Simply by saying those three words, he knocked you and all of your fellow soldiers down on your butts. We see it in John 18:5-6:

I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)  When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Just to make it more dramatic, imagine one of Jesus’s followers cuts off the ear of one of your fellow soldiers. We read about in Luke 22:49-50:

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

And then to amplify the intrigue, you see Jesus heal the soldiers ear. We read that in Luke 22:51:

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

So you came with over 400 fellow armed soldiers to arrest one man, Jesus. Jesus knocks all of you down on your butts with three words. Then when one of his followers cuts off the ear of a fellow soldier, Jesus heals the man’s ear and then lets you arrest him.

Perhaps you would be thinking, “this is no ordinary man” or “this is freaking me out.”

Dear readers, Jesus was no victim. He could have stopped all of it, but instead he permitted it all to happen because of his love for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- You Are Loved by Ellie Holcomb

But you are loved oh
Not because of what you’ve done no
Even when your heart has run the other way
Nothing’s gonna change His love
And you are wanted
Not because you are perfect
I know that you don’t think your worth that kind of grace
Look into His face you’ll know that you are loved oh

Ellie Holcomb is an artist whose music I have come to appreciate recently.. I love her upbeat music and her videos. I love how in her videos one can tell she is a mom. In this video we see many children playing with their moms. Moms with their children conveys LOVE.

We are loved by Jesus. His love for us does not depend on what we do or who we are. He loves us because he love us. We cannot earn his love or do anything to make him love us more.

Whatever we are going through, we can know one thing that will never change. Jesus loves us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Hold Onto Me by Lauren Daigle

I shared the lyric video for Hold Onto Me a few weeks ago. I love Lauren Daigle’s heart for helping others. I already knew she was supporting a school in the Congo. I watched a video about the reasoning behind the rooms in her music video for Hold Onto Me where she also shares about teaming up with charities that help people. So I want to share both the short explanation video and her new music video.

My plan for my book will be to donate some of the proceeds to help fight human trafficking. It is my personal conviction that if Christians would give money to boots on the ground efforts that actually help people instead of to televanglists so much more could be done to reach people. help them, and share Christ’s love.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Hold On To Me by Lauren Daigle

,Hold on to me when it’s too dark to see You
When I am sure I have reached the end
Hold on to me when I forget I need You
When I let go, hold me again

God is faithful even when we are not. Jesus is always with us even when we falter in life. There is never a moment that Jesus will leave us. Nothing can separate us from his love.

I LOVE this new song by Lauren Daigle-Hold Onto Me. No matter what difficulties come in life, God will hold onto us. It reminds me of what Corrie Ten Boom, who suffered in a Nazi concentration camp, said:

There Is No Pit So Deep That God’s Love Is Not Deeper Still

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Alabaster Box by CeCe Winans

In honor of Black History Month, I want to share a beautiful song by Ce Ce Winans. Our black brothers and sisters in Christ have contributed so much to our Christian faith over the years. I think of preachers like Tony Evans one of my favorites.

Musically Andrea Crouch paved the way for many contemporary Christian musicians. He was one of the pioneers in Christian music that today’s artists owe a debt of gratitude to.

Ce Ce Winans has such a beautiful voice and her song Alabaster Box poignantly shares the experience every Christian must go through which is to experience the forgiveness and love of our Savior Jesus. The song focuses on the Mary who poured out her expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair out of appreciation for his forgiveness and love.

I hope this song blesses you as much or more than it did me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.