Thirsty Thursday: Rejoice – It’s a Choice

It has been said that you should keep positive people around you and keep negative people away. But what if people in your family are negative? What do you do when your boss is negative? How should we react when we are having a great day and a person in our life, who we can’t avoid, descends on you like a tornado of negativity, hostility, and criticism tearing everything down? I loose my happiness. I loose my good attitude.

I shouldn’t be that way.

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

It doesn’t say try to rejoice. It doesn’t say rejoice until someone treats me poorly. It says rejoice and be glad. You can choose to be glad when things are going badly. You can choose to rejoice when someone’s war path tramples your day.

How?

Sometimes it is a difficult choice. But you can do it. Here are some ways you can have a good attitude:

Sing – Wrap yourself up in the garment of praise. It doesn’t matter what you sing, sing to the Lord until your attitude changes. You can’t sing “Jesus Loves Me” without smiling when you’re through.

Smile – Even a fake smile will release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that naturally occur in your brain. When released, they increase your threshold for pain and increase your good mood.

Random Act of Kindness – Do something nice for someone out of the blue. It is a great feeling. Even better, do something nice for the person causing you strife.

Laugh – Laughing reduces stress and increases endorphin levels.

Gratitude – List on paper or aloud five things for which you are thankful. It is easier to have a good attitude when you see all the blessings you have been given.

Move Your Body – Dance, walk, run, jump, do something active!

I hope you choose to rejoice in the LORD and be glad today.

Thirsty Thursday: Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number

Many people I know are turning 30 years old. For some reason, this is a sad prospect to most people. They are no longer considered “young” by our youth obsessed culture and feel that their relevance is slipping. Dreams vanish. Life is over.

I don’t think so.

In Numbers Chapter 4, God chose people who were aged 30 – 50 years old to do one of the most important jobs: breaking down and setting back up the tabernacle. I know what you’re thinking: That sounds boring.

Does it?

These people were moving the holy of holies. They were moving God’s throne on earth. This physical place was where God came to meet with Aaron and his sons, the High Priests. This was where the sacrifices happened. This is where blood atoned for the sins of the people. Since the Israelites were moving through the lands, the tabernacle had to come along.

The furnishings from the sanctuary were so holy that if the people accidentally touched something, they would die. They weren’t even allowed to look at these things. Automatic death. Aaron and his sons had to go in first and cover all the things in the sactuary before the Kohathites were to come in and move it.  Other guys had to cover up the pieces of the tabernacle correctly and carry it to the next destination. That was a huge responsibility and an honor. I am sure that there were guys who were 29 years old wishing they were 30 and guys who were 51 wishing they were 50.

You have been given a similar calling. You are moving a tabernacle from place to place in order to help bridge the gap from this life to eternity. As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, you carry holiness inside you: Jesus Himself and the Holy Spirit. You carry a tabernacle with you wherever you go. You can make it available to others or you can close it up. You can clothe it in righteousness or you can hide it.

God has a specific calling on your life that does NOT quit once you reach a certain age and it isn’t waiting for you to reach a certain age. It is now. It is being kind to a stranger. It is calling that family member. It is sacrificing your time to sit with a friend. Or sacrificing money to help out. It is being the arms of God to hug someone, the hands of God to feed someone, and the feet of God to walk with someone. It may sound boring, but when you change your view to look at it from the throne of heaven (God’s perspective), it is everything.

 

Thirsty Thursday: We’re Thomas

What happened after Jesus rose from the grave?

He appeared to different sets of people to let them know He was alive. He appeared to His original eleven disciples, but Thomas wasn’t there. When they told Thomas that they had seen Jesus, he didn’t believe them.

But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of His nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe.” John 20:25b

Thomas gets a bad rap for this: “Doubting Thomas.” But in reality, Thomas loved Jesus and did not want to believe something about Him that wasn’t true. Everyone was talking about seeing Jesus, but he hadn’t seen Him. What if everyone were lying? What if they were hallucinating? What if they wanted to see Jesus so badly that they believed it happened even though it really hadn’t? Thomas needed more than his friend’s word.

Eight days later, all the guys were together in a locked room. Jesus showed up.

Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” John  20:27

When Jesus saw Thomas, He didn’t condemn him or judge him. He knew Thomas needed proof and He gave Thomas what he needed.

Do you think God doesn’t know your thoughts? He knows every one of them. He knows you are wondering if He’s really there. He knows that you think He doesn’t see you suffering. He knows what you need. He wants to show His love for you. He will show His provision in your life, and He will prove that He is real in a way that is meaningful to you.

You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

30 Days, 30 Scenes {Day 10} Behind the Scenes Scene One

Yes, it’s the 20th of April and I am ten days behind. Between sickness and not having a laptop, it’s amazing that I’m not further behind.  I am finally feeling well enough to sit up and type.

Today is Easter Sunday and I wanted to share what the first one was like. This scene is taken from John 20.

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I love that Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus until He says her name.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27

We are His! Hallelujah!

Thirsty Thursday: Forgiven

Tomorrow is Black Friday. I know the real title is “Good Friday,” but there is nothing good about the perfect Godman taking the punishment for every evil thing I’ve ever thought, said, or done. I am eternally thankful and grateful that Jesus died on the cross for me and for you. The good part about Jesus dying on the cross happens on the third day, the day He rose.

Easter is about forgiveness. Forgiveness for ignoring God. Forgiveness for treating our friends and family poorly. Forgiveness for EVERYTHING. Jesus forgave the people who put Him on the cross.

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Instead of praying, God, these people are ignorant! Repay them for what they are doing to me!, Jesus prayed forgiveness.

What happens next is Hunny’s favorite part of the Bible.

Two criminals were being crucified at the same time as Jesus. One on the right and one on the left.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

One criminal believed that Jesus was the perfect Son of God. He believed in his heart that Jesus was Lord. He confessed it with his mouth. He was saved. That’s all it takes.

 

Thirsty Saturday: Loving You

Yes, it is supposed to be Thirsty Thursday, but I did not have my laptop or any means to write a post. My laptop is back and I MUST continue sharing why there is an Easter celebration: Jesus. In the first post, I wrote about how Jesus willingly left heaven to be the son of an unwed mother. The second post talked about God’s love for us. In this third installment, I’m letting you know an important fact that gets over looked from time to time. Jesus openly loved the people around Him even though they were awful and horrid.

Excuse me?

Jesus hand picked twelve men to be His main disciples. Out of twelve men; who saw Him all the time: traveled with Him, listened to Him, prayed with Him, ate with Him, saw miracles He performed; only ONE followed Him to the cross. ONE.

Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus. They were His friends. Lazarus got ill and then died. When Jesus showed up with the express purpose to raise Lazarus from the dead, Martha starts in on Him. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” (John 11:21) Jesus didn’t stop loving her.

Think about the last time you were in a large crowd of people. What was running through your mind when you were amongst all those people? Were any of those thoughts kind or nice? Compassionate? Jesus looked at the crowds and had compassion on them (Matthew 9:36). He saw all the people who needed Him, and He loved them.

Palm Sunday is tomorrow. That is the day we remember all the people shouting, “Hosanna, Hosanna,” and waving palm branches at Jesus. These are the same people who will shout, “Crucify Him!”

It doesn’t matter what you do, did, or are about to do, Jesus loves you. He always has and He always will.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friend. John 15:13

 

30 Days, 30 Scenes {Day 6} Whatevs Scene One

This past weekend sucked. There really isn’t a better description for it. Other than a few bright spots, it was a crap fest.

I decided to use my Whatevs category to write a love letter to myself and to you. If you’re feeling bad, if  other people’s expectations of you are wearing you down, if the comments from others are crippling, then this is for you. This is for us.

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A little reminder that His all encompassing love for us is more than the circumstances of our life. His love is more than enough. We are enough to Him.

Thirsty Thursday: The Famous and The Forgotten

Easter is an important holiday to me. It is the day I celebrate God’s ultimate gift to humanity: Salvation.

The most quoted New Testament scripture and most “famous” is John 3:16 (the reference is well known, but the actual text may not be), which says:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Most people have heard this verse or they roll their eyes when they see people hold up signs with “John 3:16” on them. Do you know what the following verse says?

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world may be saved through Him. John 3:17

So, God didn’t send Jesus to tell us how awful we are and how dirty our lives are? No! God sent Jesus to the world to save us.

God WANTS us. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for US. He LOVES us.

There may have been a person in your past who told you all the things that were wrong with you and why you needed to “get right” with God. Someone may have told you how unworthy you are or how bad you are. But God looks on you with LOVE. He looks at you with COMPASSION. He sees you and DESIRES YOU. His desire is for you. If He didn’t want you, He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die on the cross. When Jesus prayed that God would take this cup from Me, meaning not die on the cross (Mark 14:36), God wanted Him to do it anyway. He wanted you so much that He tore Himself apart for you. He did this to give you an opportunity to have a close relationship with Him while on earth and to spend eternity with Him in heaven.

Thirsty Thursday: A Lamb for The Lamb

For the four Thursdays leading up to Easter, I’m going to be focusing on the reason there is a holiday: Jesus.

In my personal devotion time, I am reading through the Bible. I saw something in Leviticus that reminded me of something I had heard before that I would like to share with you. The twelfth book of Leviticus contains instructions for purification after childbirth.

“And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, and he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her. Then she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, either male or female. And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.” Leviticus 12:6-8

After Mary gave birth to Jesus, she was considered unclean for thirty three days after his circumcision (Leviticus 12:3-4). Then Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and to give the sacrifices according to the law in Leviticus. Mary was unable to afford a lamb. She brought the two turtle doves or two pigeons (Luke 2:22-24).

The Lamb who was slain for my sins was born to a woman who could not afford a lamb for an offering.

Not only did Jesus give up everything to be human, He gave up His status and was born to a poor unwed mother (Joseph and Mary weren’t married until after the birth of Jesus. See Matthew 1:24-25, Luke 2:5). Instead of being worshipped and adored, he was scorned as the bastard child of Joseph’s fiancee. His paternal lineage is questioned to this very day.

Jesus went through that humiliation for something bigger than other people’s opinion of Him. He went through it because God loved you and me. God loved us so much that He couldn’t bear for us to be apart from Him, so He sent His Son to be our sin offering.

Mary didn’t have a lamb for her offering. She unknowingly raised the Lamb to be her ultimate sin offering and ours.

Thirsty Thursday: Mad Skillz

Have you ever thought about the natural talents you possess? What are they? Why do you have them? How are you using them?

When God told Moses to have the people build a tabernacle, He called specific people to come:

And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work. Exodus 36:2

“Every craftsman in whose mind the LORD had put skill.” The LORD has put skill in your mind. He put it there for His glory. However, whether or not your natural talents are given for the work is up to you. There were people who the LORD had given skill to work on the temple that didn’t. Their hearts weren’t stirred to help. So they didn’t.

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

I almost always hear this scripture in reference to tithes and offering. Money isn’t even mentioned here! A cheerful giver means giving in a manner that is noticeably happy and optimistic. You can give of your time, your resources, your talents, and YOURSELF cheerfully. I have not been cheerful about giving of myself lately. I have been giving grudgingly and in an obligatory manner. That attitude is not pleasing to God. The good news is that I can change my attitude and I can ask God to forgive me for being selfish. Because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, my bad attitude is covered when I ask forgiveness.

I don’t want to miss out on the blessing of building the plans God has for me.