National Anthem

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The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

September

This month I remembered 9/11 and as I remembered such a difficult time in our nation’s history, I started thinking about the national anthem.  As the national anthem of the United States is making headlines over and over but not in the way, Francis Scott Key ever intended when he penned the words so many years ago on Sept. 13, 1814.  As he witnessed the attack at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry and then raising of the US flag to show their victory over British forces in the War of 1812.  He penned these words after a night full of fighting and years later our country took these words as our national anthem.  These words for me represent pride for my country and respect for the men and women who have fought and died to protect my rights and freedoms.  As I ponder the Star-Spangled Banner and its words, I see a connection to Christ.

Connection to Christ

Christ who paid the ultimate price and sacrificed himself for me, so that I might live eternally with my Father in heaven.  “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18.  This sacrifice reminds me to not just be proud to be a American but proud to be a Christian.  “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  Matthew 23:12.  As a proud Christian, I must show myself as a humble servant not one who stand and looks down on others.  I must live by example so that other may find Christ and have the same sense of pride in their relationship with him.  “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21.

Proud American

So just as I show by living for Christ, I must stand as an American that others can see my pride in this country.   “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” John 8:32.  It is sad to see so many in this country state so firmly their disgust for a country that was founded to protect their rights.  Sometimes I even wonder where I am living and long for my eternal home.  “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16.  As long as I am here, I will choose love not hate.  “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.

 

Closing Verse:  “Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14.

Challenge:  Stand up for Christ in your life! Live as an example for others of his sacrifice.

A Favorite Rendition:

Did you know?  The song has 4 verses.

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Searching For a New Heart

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Recently, I started looking back at some of my post and find this random 4 part series on the heart back in 2013.  I was not writing regularly back then so decided to repost this series over the next few weeks with some edits.  (First posted on March 13, 2013)

Open My Eyes to My Heart

kablam_glossy_heartSometimes I sit in awe of the Lord and how he leads us and draws us near to him.  Recently I have been praying and asking God to help me let go of some things which were causing me to become a person I did not want to be.    It is funny sometimes how something you have always known just really comes to light and you have to accept it for what it is.  I guess the finality of acceptance is something we as humans try to avoid.  I know that I have in many areas of my life.  As God recently opened my eyes to this ugly person I did not want to be, he sent me searching through scripture and everywhere I turned he introduced me to my heart.  Not this heart that I can be proud of but the real heart inside of me.  I will get to that.  I feel lead to share where God is leading me on this in-depth discovery of the heart.  I long for the new heart the scriptures speak of but to have that heart I must understand the heart as a whole.

Good vs Evil

The heart can be root of both Good and Evil, but more often the heart will lead us down the easiest road and usually that is not where we truly want to go.  As I read various scriptures, I decided to turn to Strong’s Commentary for some guidance and here I found a plethora of verses that speak of what is seeded in the heart.  I was lead to all this because I was not right and I quietly and silently began really listening to God.  He began to show me so many things about myself as I read the scripture.  Everything kept leading toward the heart and that caught my attention.  Specifically I began a 6 day devotional study on Love & Marriage I found and guess what Day 1 was on – you guess it – the Heart.  This first devotion is the initial cause of my digging.  I felt God calling me to the scriptures for more.  One of the verses shared in the study on day 1 was Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” I felt completely and utterly a failure because following my heart without God would always lead to wickedness because the heart is wicked.  Who can know our heart?  The simple answer is only God and he knows all our wickedness.  So begins this journey to know my heart.

Following Scripture

I have been visiting verses lately that speak of what is rooted in the heart.  These verses can sometimes seem good but if you really look at what can come from the heart you see the wickedness.  The first verse from Jesus in Matthew 5: 28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  So our sin before it is revealed has already been committed in our heart.  But what of lust as I noticed a verse was listed that spoke specifically to this word found in Romans 1:24 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.”  So God pulled away and their hearts took over which lead back to Matthew 5:28.  What of our desires?  Romans 10:1 says “…my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”  At first read, this sounds good but looking deeper I see that we have to have control of what our heart desires.  Left alone we become the heart in Matthew 5 and Romans 1.  As I sit speechless and pray that the Lord will help me find my new heart with him.  I am almost afraid to continue on but the draw is powerful to read more.  What more words did Jesus have to say about the heart?

Mark 11:23 reads in the words of Jesus, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  This verse sounds so awesome, but to have this faith.  It is so easy to say yes Lord I have this much faith when really my heart doubts.  Jesus says in John 14:1 ” Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”  I must not let trouble and doubt fill my heart just the Lord so my faith can overcome the wickedness my heart desires.  These words are similar to those from Isaiah 35: 4 “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with a vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”  With such words from our Lord why do I let me heart be my guide?

Time to meditate on these words from scripture.  Putting this puzzle together is encouraging but also brings me to my knees in need of prayer.  Before seeking more it is time for prayer.  Time to start seeking my new heart.

Closing Verse: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Challenge:  My prayer is that God will be my guide and work in my heart. May he also be yours.

 

 

Security Blankets

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What Is My Security Blanket?

Harley and I flew again this week and as I did my usual preparations for the flight, I watched Harley crawl into the safety of her crate with her blanket.  “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4.  Something about watching her at the airport and on the plane in the safety of her “special place” sent me to thinking about my own security blankets. Security blankets can be a great thing to have, but sometimes I feel I can’t let go of my blankets.  I am going to bet we all have some.  You know those things or “that thing” you just can’t let go of in life.  You think it is your safety net and what you need to keep your life complete.  But then you sit around and dream all those big dreams, so at moments like this I ask myself why am I not living some of those dreams.  Why don’t I trust that if God is putting the dream in my heart that maybe he just might open the doors and pave the path for those dreams.  Why am I holding on so tight to my security blankets?  Obviously, I am longing to feel secure but finding that security in the wrong places, when the only place I need to look is in His Word and to His Son.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.

What Should Be My Security Blanket?

I know that my humanness has me holding on so tight to what I know, to what is easy, yet my heart is willing to dream and walk with God.  “My humanness” makes things messy while God makes them simple.  The only real security blanket I need has already been provided to me.  ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.  God gave me His Son.  He sacrificed him to protect me from myself.  He promises he has me secure, so that I can let go of my security blankets and dream, and live, and service him even more.  “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45.

Closing Verse:  “But made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:7.

Challenge:  Let go of your security blankets and serve the Lord.

 

 

 

Child of God

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I read this in my devotions written by Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 ministries.  I just added my name.  As you read today replace my name with yours.  You are a Child of God.

Allie, the forgiven child of God.” and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”  Romans 3:24.

Allie, the set-free child of God.1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2.

Allie, the accepted child of God.  “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:”  1 Corinthians 1:2.

Allie, the holy child of God.  “ And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”  1 Corinthians 1:30.

Allie, the made-new child of God.“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Allie, the loved child of God. ” even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love” Ephesians 1:4

Allie, the close child of God. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13.

Allie, the confident child of God.“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” Ephesians 3:12.

Allie, the victorious child of God.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

I am Redeemed…

 

Closing Verse:  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” John 1:12.

Challenge:  Place your name in the statements above.  Search the scriptures.  You are a Child of God.

He Lives

Reflection and Fast

Today is Good Friday, the beginning of our Easter weekend and the culmination of Lent.  This has been a time of reflection and fast for many.  This time of year causes me to just pause and evaluate my life and relationship with Christ.  I choose to give up a little something to only slightly feel the impact of what Christ had to sacrifice for me.  His sacrifice is one that I alone can never match, but my walk here can be for him!  In the words of Paul found in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

Celebrate the Life of Jesus

My words will not be the words that should be typed or read this weekend.  Stop and read the resurrection story and celebrate the sacrifice and love Christ had for us all!  This story can be found:

Mark 16

Matthew 28

Luke 24

John 20

Each is story is  powerful and shares how much Christ loves each one of us.

Renewal

Easter is like a New Year.  I feel a sense of renewal.  A reminder of my walk and relationship and an opportunity to make it stronger.  Let the gospel work.  I pray you stop and read.  Stop and Listen

Closing Verse:  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:  25-26

Challenge:  Find time to reflect on Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Celebration in Heaven

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Saying Good Bye

Over the past week or so, I have watched the country say good-bye to a man who believed in the walk to Heaven.  He has preached to Louis Zamperini and was known as the Pastor to the Presidents, as he prayed and advised many.  He has loved so many people and so many have been touched by his passing.  Even as he made his last trip from Montreat, NC to Charlotte, NC, the roads were lined with so many people who needed to say goodbye.  I struggled to watch news report about him because for some reason losing him has brought forth in me so much emotion.  I did not know him or his family, but he was just a person who seems to easily connect with people – thousands and thousands of people.  This past Sunday night, I watch the short documentary and just cried, but I know that living or dead, Billy Graham belongs to God.  “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”  Romans 14:8.  It feels like the world has lost something good. Someone who found the good when there seems to be so much hate.  Rev. Billy Graham personally touched me at a trying time in my young life with his words, and for that I am thankful.

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Zola

In November of 1987, I said another goodbye that caused more pain than I had felt in my 19 years of life.  My grandmother, Zola Williams White, passed away.  She was such a role model for me, and I saw and knew her love for Christ.  What she and I failed to do was talk about death and her not being in my life one day. What would that be like?  I was a Sophomore in College, I needed to know where she was or if she was.  Seems strange to tell this story now, but back then without a laptop, smart phone, etc to do simple research, I began a journey to find some answers. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  Hebrews 11:6

(my grandmother)

Heaven

This journey began by finding Christian bookstores and visiting each looking for answers about Heaven.  I looked at so much material.  I read many, but we all  know that there is not really an answer to be found.  I have to stand in my faith just as she had done for some many years.  I know looking back she was not afraid, but where I found my comfort was in a book written by Rev. Billy Graham.  Facing Death and the Life After was published in 1987 released just about the time of her death.  I feel like it was written for me, and reading this book began a turning point for me to walk in faith after being so angry with God about losing her. I realized that Heaven is a place that Christ promised us while on Earth.  “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”  John 14:2.  I long to be there.

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Goodbye is not Forever

So watching the funeral and events leading up the funeral have been painful knowing that a great man of God is not among us anymore, but how happy heaven must be to have Billy Graham home.  One day I pray that I meet Billy Graham in heaven standing along side my grandmother who I know is loving both Christ and Billy today.  How do I know?  God’s Word Tells Me -“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119″105.

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Closing Verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Challenge:  Christ is challenging us to follow him and walk by faith.

 

Seeing Sin Through Rose-Colored Glasses

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Life of Sin

I know I want to write this post but my mind and fingers just can’t find the words to type what I feel deep down inside.  Although, I know that I am born a sinner and will die a sinner, as a Christian, I do strive to be an example of Christ’s love to others.  This means not letting sin shine from me but allowing Christ to shine the brightest in my life. But, sometimes sin can really bring me down into the trenches of life.  I know that my flesh is sin as Galatians 5: 19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  I want to shine, but I find myself buried in the guilt of sin, and in need of some time with my Father to seek myself again.  To know that I am loved and forgiven.  This is hard when I feel like unconditional love should not belong to me anymore.  I don’t want to deceive myself, but recognize my sins, cleanse myself, and as 1 John 1: 8-10 reads not believe that I am not a sinner, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Rose-Colored Sin  

Knowing that I am a sinner and a Christian, my eyes are open to my sin.  I can not be a Christian who appears better than others, who does not understand others, and one who believes less of others.  Galatians 5:16 reminds me, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  I know that I am blessed to walk with my Lord and Savior through life and I pray that I am an example to others, but I can’t do that if I am looking at my sin through rose-colored glasses.  I can’t compare my sin and believe it is less than others.  Sin is sin.  My sin can not be sugar-coated or viewed differently than others.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”  Romans 3:23.  I know wearing rose-colored glasses to look at my life is easy to do.  I want to see how good I am and not the sin.  It is easy to compare myself to others and believe the lie that I am better, but I know deep inside that I am not.

God’s Word

So what does one do, dig and dig and dig into God’s Word and know that He is my Father.  Yes, He is a Father of wrath, but his is also a Father of forgiveness.  God provided me a gift through the sacrifice of his Son.  A gift of forgiveness that I can not even fathom.  Just thinking of this sacrifice makes my eyes water and tears fall.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23.  and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.  I search scripture to cleanse myself of unrighteousness and seek the comfort of His word for forgiveness.  I find myself on my knees with head bowed praying and begging for the forgiveness and love of my Father.  Thank you Lord for your gift, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17

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Sin Scriptures for Study

Closing Verse:  “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  James 4:17

Challenge: Look closely at your life and ensure that you don’t perceive your sin differently from others.  Sin is Sin and the rose-colored glasses will not change it in God’s eyes.

God’s Perfection – Me!

Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about CREATING yourself.  -George Bernard Shaw

Who Am I?

Maybe I have been trying to find myself for too long, and now I finally realize that I should have been creating myself.  So, if I want to create myself then I must look deeply at who I am.  So who am I?

I Am A Christian

First and foremost, I am a Christian.  I am not a perfect Christian because I fall short of God’ glory each and every day and seek his forgiveness and mercy in my daily life.  I believe in and love the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.  Sometimes, I forget what an important piece this is in my life and that nothing else that I do is more important than my life as a Christian.  I am reminded by John 3:16 ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  This famous verse in the core of my faith.  God has provided an opportunity for me to show the world how God has saved and blessed me.    Recently, My husband and I were given the chance to share his grace with a neighbor.  We did not have a sit down and discuss, but just modeled his love and blessings in our lives and tried to help her refocus all her anger and bitterness on the positive.  She has just let life get the best of her like so many of us and learning to lean on Christ in both the good and the bad is what should truly define our lives.  I pray that I continue to CREATE myself as a Christian so that others will always see Christ as Matthew 7:16 reads, “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”  I pray I bear his fruits.

I Am A Wife And Mother

As I really look at the life I am creating, I see the blessings I have from a loving husband of 28 years and two beautiful adult daughters.  I know that as a mother I failed them both many times, but I hope that above all they knew I loved them and Christ.  Psalms 127:3 brings me joy, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  I hope that somehow I showed them how to love those that God will place in their lives both now and in the future.  Being a mother never really stops as I continue to pray for their futures, their lives, and that they will be blessed.  I could not have been a loving mother without a loving husband by my side.  He is my greatest blessing from God.  Ephesians 4:32 defines my marriage blessing, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  My heart hurts when I think about how I have let him down, but the life that he has given me is one of laughter, fun, and dreams lived.  He helps me see the future so that I can believe in my own dreams.  Each day and each year just gets better and I can’t wait for the future with him.  He is the gift God gave me so that I could CREATE the real person that I truly am.

I Am An Educator

God has given me the great opportunity to work with so many children in my career.  I get excited when I bring a child and learning together.  I love the sparkle in their eyes when the learning means something to them deep inside.  I know that this comes from the Lord because Jesus has a special place in his heart for children, Matthew 19:14 reads, “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.””  Over the last twenty years, I have been a school librarian and this has changed my life.  Working with both students and teachers in this role has allowed me so many opportunities to see not just the success in the classroom but around the world.  Proverbs 8:10 clarifies this purpose, “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold,”  I hope that my future somehow holds a piece of this in it because I truly love this part of me, but I know that it is not the definition of who I am or who I want to be.  It is just a piece of me, but a piece that I love.

I CREATING Myself To Be Free

What I have learned about myself is that I want to live a life as free as the life Christ has established for me.    What does that mean? Psalm 119: 105 explains it this way, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  I look for the path where I feel free and I find that is when I am on the sand and near the water.  This is when I feel free.  I want a simple life that is what is deep down inside.  I want to CREATE that person who needs less, loves more, and explores the beauty of God’s creation all around me – (but especially those areas near a beach and the water!)  Digging deeper into myself has allowed me to really see what I have been created to love and to be.  I am ready to start CREATING a new part of me!  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Closing Verse:  Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Challenge:  Stop trying to find yourself and look deep inside so you can CREATE who God planned for you to be.

 

Perfection

Blue Angels Fly

After a weekend celebrating the birth of this great country, what better way to capitalize on this celebratory time then to experience the Blue Angels.  This past weekend my husband and I had the honor of watching the Blue Angels perform.  This was our first experience watching them fly and it was sweeter because we were in their home base of Pensacola, Florida.  The Blue Angels are heroes here, and I was continuously reminded the ultimate hero in my life.  As I watched each performance of perfection,  I thought of Christ perfection and his call for such precision in our lives.  Christ’s life is an example of the perfection we seek as we walk through this life.  Such perfection is hard to attain, but watching the Blue Angels fly is as close an example of human perfection one maybe able to find on this earth.  These navy pilots can not risk imperfection because it will and has cost a life.  They must be exact in their precision of moves while in flight or the results will cost them theirs.  This precision causes many especially at their home base look upon them with awe.  This is the same awe we should wake each morning with as we focus on our Savior.  We must also train like the Blues so that we can walk with precision through our daily lives.  2 Timothy 3:16 provides the way, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”

Aspiring for Perfection

Watching the Blues really had me focusing on Christ’s life and how he provided the perfect model for us all to follow, but knowing we would fail he open the door for us all be becoming the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  I look at my life and I want to see someone aspiring for perfection, but usually I just find a sinner who desperately needs her savior.  I know that my life is a work in progress, and that I must always be striving to attain the perfection that Christ showed us all when he walked this earth.  It seems so simple to think, say, and write, but I believe we all know it is extremely difficult to even come close to Christ.  Knowing this struggle, I am thankful for the sacrifice the Lord made in sending his son and that Christ himself was willing to hang on that cross so many years ago to wash away the sins of my imperfection.  My comfort is found in 1John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”  I long for the day that I stand cleansed before the Lord.

Christ’s Perfection

Christ walked on this earth to show us all the perfection of the Lord and the provide us with the greatest gift of all.  This gift of sacrificing his only Son so that we might all live forever in His Glory.  I am thankful for the vivid reminder of Christ’s perfection and sacrifice.  Hebrews 10:14 reads, ”

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”   This scripture,  refocuses me to strive to live a life for Christ.  He asked very little of sinners in return, but to follow him.  Follow him I will as Matthew 10:38 commands, “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Closing Verse: John 3:16, ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Challenge:  Are you walking toward the cross today?

 

Choosing Freedom

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Freedom!

July 4th celebration is a reminder of our freedoms here in America, and that these privileges that we have came at a cost.  The price that so many paid by sacrificing their lives so that this country could stand as it does today.  These sacrifices can never be forgotten.  There will always be sacrifices that will have to be made for the United States to continue to stand strong in the world.  This week is when we stop and remember.  These freedoms and sacrifices should also cause us all to pause and remember the ultimate sacrifice that was made for us so long ago by Jesus Christ.  “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” Acts 13: 38-39

Freedom through Sacrifice

Freedom was purchased for us by Christ as he sacrificed himself for our freedom from sin.  Christ’s sacrifice may even have been a model by which revolutionaries and patriots chose to fight and raise up this country so many years ago.  Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  These words were not just words that the first signers used without regard to their true meaning.  The signers were purposeful in choosing these words for our country to stand strong for 241 years now.   These words are significant not just to our country but our faith.  Galatians 5:13 reminds us, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  We must love our neighbor just as we would love ourselves.  Sometimes we maybe called to sacrifice.  Now, I must use the freedoms given to me to use for good as 1 Peter 2:16 reads, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”

Christ’s Sacrifice

I began my focus on Freedom before the July 4th holiday after reading a devotion that focused on this verse.  (I am sharing two versions as I prefer the NLT translation.)

Psalm 119:45, “ I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments” (NLT)

 “and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.” (ESV)

As I read this verse, I could not help but make the connection from the sacrifices made for America and the sacrifice made by Christ for our souls.  Christians of different sects come together to create a country that would be accepting of different beliefs but allows for the compassion and tolerance that Christ modeled in his life.  Christ sacrifice brought Hebrews and Gentiles together into one family through his love and sacrifice for all our sins.  The Patriots chose to build a country that brought many together through their own blood and sacrifice. 

Christ is a Firework

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While watching fireworks explode across the water, I saw the beauty even though it was brief.  What a powerful symbol not just to celebrate our country, but as a symbol of Christ’s short life.  Although he only walked on this earth for around 30 years, his impact is still felt today.  He is like a firework exploding in the sky.  These are quick and beautiful and we remember that beauty until we get to see some again.  I cling to Christ’s beauty until I am able to behold him with my own eyes.   John 8:36 confirms my freedom through the Son, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Closing Verse: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32 

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Challenge:  Be thankful each day for the sacrifices made for both your country and your soul.