God Calls Us His Children

Bible Journaling page was traced from a Pinterest post from Carmen Ramirez.

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from I John 3:1-3, “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” (NLT) God loves us so much that He calls us His children! What an awesome thought!

God refers to Believers in different ways. He says we are His children; He says we are lambs; He says we are His bride! I love that He calls us His children! That makes Him my Abba Father! I can go to Him with everything that concerns me. Joys, sorrows, victories, defeats…anything that I experience, I can tell Him about it. His love is never ending. His love is more than I can comprehend.

There is one requirement for a person to be considered God’s child. Each person must decide in their heart what they will do with Jesus. Will He be accepted into that person’s life or rejected? To be God’s child, we must accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, ask forgiveness for our sins, and promise to live for Him. From that moment on, our lives must be lived for Him in everything we do and say. We must exhibit a pure life that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. When we do this, the Bible says we are Born-Again. (John 3)

There are several references in the Bible where Born-Again Believers are called children of God. The Apostle Paul states in Galatians 3:26, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (KJV) Jesus said as much in Luke 20:36, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” (KJV)

As His children, we are required to keep ourselves pure (verse 3), and as human beings, that can be difficult at times. But we must stay close to Him to accomplish purity in our lives. Once we wander away from Him, it makes it more difficult to stay pure. Obedience to God is needed in every area of our lives. We realize that we are not perfect, and God knows that also, after all, He created us. But He requires that we persevere in living holy, pure lives for Him. Daily Bible Study and prayer, fellowshipping with other Christians, church attendance…all these things help us to live holy lives before Him. We often stray and get off the pathway He has laid out for us, and when that happens, God, as our Father, disciplines us. He disciplines out of love, not as an overbearing task master, but He gently leads us back to where we belong. The writer of Hebrews explains, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11 KJV) Job 36:10 (NASB) says, “He opens their ear to instruction, And commands that they return from evil.” As a loving Father, He disciplines us so that we overcome our rebellion, our mistakes, and our sin.

He knows what is best for us, just as earthly fathers know what is best for their children, and desire to keep their children safe and happy. God wants us to experience the best in life that He has to offer us. He loves us and wants our obedience and a close relationship with His children. He wants us to talk to Him every day, He wants to shower us with His blessings. He wants us to get to know who He is and enjoy His presence with us. I am so glad He loves me enough to discipline my rebellious ways. It is then that I can truly enjoy a life of peace and joy with God as my Abba Father!

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God Provides

 

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Acts 17:24-25, “The God who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.” (NASB) As we continue to look at God’s provision for us, today’s Scripture reminds us that it is God who gives us all things, even our breath and life!

This passage comes from Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill in Athens, Greece. The Greeks worshipped many gods, and were, as Paul states, “very religious” (verse 22). They erected altars to all the gods they worshipped, including one to “AN UNKNOWN GOD”. Paul preaches to them and explains just who that UNKNOWN GOD is. The climate in that day was full of idols and as Paul was teaching about God and His love for us, the philosophers of the day became curious and encouraged Paul to teach them about the One True God. He explained that it was God who created heaven, earth, and us, and provided life and breath to us. It is to Him we must worship! It was God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrifice for our sins, who died, was buried, and rose again, and it is through His shed blood that we are forgiven.

Sometimes, I think we lose track of the fact that our very life is because of God’s love for us. He created us, He loves us, and He wants us to live lives that are fruitful, full, rich, and blessed. He provides everything we have, right down to the very air we breathe. He loves us so much that He provided a way of escape from our sins, and a pathway for eternal life. For that I am eternally grateful!

When we come to those times when we begin to worry and fret over our needs, God reminds us in His Word. Jesus Himself told His disciples, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” (Matthew 6:31-32 ESV) Jesus states that God, the Father, already knows what we need, and He provides those things for us.

Why do we worry so? Why don’t we rest in the knowledge that God knows our needs and He will provide? I think it is because of our impatience sometimes. We want it now, not tomorrow, not next year, but now! How like a 2-year old throwing a temper tantrum we can become! It is during those times of waiting on God’s provision that we must learn to trust His plan and His purpose for our lives. Circumstances may not be in place for the thing that we desire to come to pass. Maybe we are not able to handle what it is that we ask for, even though God wants to give it to us. Sometimes, when other people are involved, it could be that they are not in a place they need to be for the provision to come about. The song, “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller, comes to mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6X71sXagUY

As you listen to the song, think about what it is that you are waiting for from God. If you are impatient in waiting for God’s provision, ask Him to help you wait. If it seems like God’s provision isn’t coming anytime soon, do as the song states, “worship while I wait.” You will find that He is faithful. Philippians 1:6 says, “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (CSB) That includes His provision for you.

My Father Gives Good Gifts

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Matthew 7-11, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” (KJV) God is such an incredible Heavenly Father! He loves us so much! He loves to give us the desires of our hearts. Sometimes, though, what we pray for may not be what is in His plan or may not be good for us. Just as children ask their parents for the fad item of the time, they desire it with all their little hearts, but it may not be good for them or maybe it’s something Mom and Dad want to give them but not right now. God is like that also.

We pray for things that we desire…sometimes it is more of a want than a need, sometimes it is a need, but God wants to give it to us in a different way or at a different time. So how do we react when God says, “No” or “Not right now”? I know there have been times I have not reacted well when I didn’t get what I wanted. I had a plan of how things should go, but God’s plan was so different from mine, and later I found out His plan was way better than mine!

One instance was when I lived in Montana. At that point I had been married for a little over 20 years to my first husband. We were unable to have children and we had looked at adoption when we were younger, and due to a lot of factors, our adoption attempt failed. I was so devastated! I yearned to have my own baby and it was a feeling that lasted for many years after that. At the time a gentleman came to the TV station I worked at to do an interview on adoption of Chinese children. I was the receptionist and as he has waiting, he showed me pictures of little ones who were available, and I fell in love! I tried to convince my hubby that we should try again to adopt, but he wasn’t exactly on board with it. In fact, he really was against it because of how old we were and the busyness of our lives. But I dug in my heels and begged and pleaded for him to do this and finally he agreed, but under protest. We went through the home study, and the social worker we were working with was not of the same frame of mind of us, being that we were Born Again believers, and we disagreed on everything from child rearing to what we were going to name the child. Now, at this point you would think maybe I would start to get the idea that this was not in God’s plan for me, but I became more stubborn, even to the point of rebellion, telling God, “I want this baby regardless of what You want!” I was in total rebellion! Needless to say, we were rejected, and I was so angry! Angry at the social worker, angry with my husband, and angry with God! It took me several years before I finally came to the point of asking God to forgive my disobedience.

You see, God had a better plan! Life went on, my first husband passed away and then God brought me a man who had a ready-made family! Kraig has three children and six grandchildren! When I married him, I became a Stepmom and Grandma! My heart is so happy! God has given me the desires of my heart, I just had to get in line with His plan and His timing. He has given me such an awesome gift!

God desires for us to live lives of obedience, contentment, peace, and joy. Some of the things we want may very well be what He wants for us, but the timing is off, or we may not be at a point where we can have that thing. Maybe we are not mature enough for what we desire, or maybe emotionally it would be overwhelming, and we would not be able to handle what we desire. We must remember that God wants to give us good gifts, but in His way, in His timing, and in His plan. What are you asking God for? Is it something that would be in line with His plan for your life? Is now the proper time for what you desire? Seek Him in all of this. Ask Him if now is the time, ask Him if this is something that is good for you, ask Him if this is part of His plan for you, then listen to His answer and wait for His provision.

Our Gentle Shepherd


Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Isaiah 40:11, “He protects His flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them in the fold of His garment. He gently leads those that are nursing.” (CSB) Have you ever watched a shepherd with his flock of sheep? I have. My husband and I were on vacation in the mountains of Wyoming. Our campsite was on the edge of the forest and went up into a pasture high in the mountains. When we woke up the next morning, we heard what almost sounded like a great crowd of people talking. When we looked out the window of our camper, we saw a whole flock of sheep grazing on the mountainside. The shepherd was sitting and watching over the sheep and his dogs were carefully keeping their charges in line, not allowing them to stray too far.

We went up to talk to the shepherd. He told us about taking care of the sheep, all the while keeping his eyes on the sheep, making sure they were safe and not getting into trouble. He had a cook/camp wagon where he slept and fixed his meals. He stayed with the sheep all the time until it was time to take them back to the ranch. He had raised each one of them, and he ensured that they were safe from predators like coyotes and wolves, which roam freely in the mountains.

Our God is like that shepherd. He watches over us constantly! When we are hurt, He gathers us up in His arms to minister healing and comfort to us. When we get ourselves into sticky situations, He is there to rescue us. He also administers discipline when we get out of line. Like the shepherd my husband and I talked to, God must dole out correction to His sheep. The shepherd’s staff has a crook at the end to reign in the wayward sheep, and much like that shepherd who must guide his sheep back to the fold, God must reign us in and get us back on the right pathway.

Both do correction lovingly, not harshly. Why? Because of their love for the sheep. Like that shepherd, God exhibits His love for us in how He takes care of and watches over us. The sheep of the shepherd we talked to also knew their master’s voice. He would call to them and they would listen. John chapter 10 talks about that also. Jesus is telling the people how the sheep know the shepherd’s voice and will respond, but a stranger they will not listen to because they don’t know his voice. Jesus also talks about how the shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep because he loves them. Jesus is our shepherd; He is the Great Shepherd.

In Bible times the shepherd would sleep in the door of the sheep fold to protect the sheep at night. The website, http://www.gotquestions.org describes this: “There were two kinds of sheepfolds or pens. One kind was a public sheepfold found in the cities and villages. It would be large enough to hold several flocks of sheep. This sheep pen would be in the care of a porter or doorkeeper, whose duty it was to guard the door to the sheep pen during the night and to admit the shepherds in the morning. The shepherds would call their sheep, each of which knew its own shepherd’s voice, and would lead them out to pasture.

The second kind of sheep pen was in the countryside, where the shepherds would keep their flocks in good weather. This type of sheep pen was nothing more than a rough circle of rocks piled into a wall with a small open space to enter. Through it the shepherd would drive the sheep at nightfall. Since there was no gate to close—just an opening—the shepherd would keep the sheep in and wild animals out by lying across the opening. He would sleep there, in this case literally becoming the door to the sheep.” Jesus used this illustration in John 10:7 where He says that He is the door. “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’” (NASB)

We are like sheep, wandering anywhere we choose, getting ourselves into all kinds of trouble, not too bright, and in need of a keeper. Sheep are not known to be very smart; they will go into places that will most certainly bring instant death, without the benefit of a keeper. They need guidance and constant watching. A shepherd will go to any lengths to save his sheep from harm, including putting his life on the line.

Jesus loves us to the point of dying for us. He gave up His life so that we could have eternal life. Like those sheep, the only door through which we must go, is the one our Shepherd provides for us. We must go through Him for safety. By accepting Jesus as our Savior, living our lives in a manner that brings Him glory and honor, and being obedient to Him, we can know peace, safety and life!

A Father’s Love

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Matthew 3:16-17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” (KJV) In this month of celebrating fathers, we look at our Heavenly Father.

God is our Heavenly Father and He loves us more than we can ever imagine. As I was thinking about this and looking at our Scripture passage I began to do my art journaling and ended up doing something other than I wanted to do, and I think God wanted me to go in a different direction than what I had intended. What I had intended was a pretty, speckled background overlaid with pretty roses. However, it didn’t come out that way and looked a little more like a mess. Then I got to thinking. God meets us in the middle of our mess and loves us just like we are. That spoke volumes to me!

In our Scripture today we see Jesus, God’s Son, beginning His ministry by setting an example for us, and God, the Father, and God, the Holy Spirit, are both giving their approval. We see here, in picture form, the Trinity. Even though the Bible never uses the actual word, “Trinity”, the concept is shown in so many instances throughout Scripture. Jesus, God the Son, is being obedient to God, the Father; and God, the Holy Spirit, is sealing the Father’s approval upon Jesus. This is God’s love shown, not only for Jesus, but also His love is shown for us.

The Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins. He shows us His love by providing a means for us to escape the penalty of death that is required as atonement for our sins. Jesus shows us His obedience to His Father as an example. Water Baptism is an outward showing of what has happened to us on the inside when we ask Jesus to be our Savior and to live in us. When we are plunged under the water, it signifies the washing of our sins by Jesus’ blood, we are, in essence, under the blood. When we come up from under the water we are washed, cleansed from all our sin, completely clean, just as Jesus’ blood has cleansed us from all our sin.

God loves us even when we don’t love Him. (I John 4:19) He doesn’t require that we get ourselves all cleaned up before we approach Him. He meets us in the middle of our mess – dirty, confused, unlovable, rejected, sinful, and feeling worthless. There is nothing we can do to keep God from loving us. No act, no thought, no attitude, can keep God from showering us with His love.

God is my Heavenly Father, my Best Friend, my Anchor in the storm, the Rock upon whom I can stand for a firm foundation in my faith. He is the One who will love me unconditionally. I don’t deserve it, but He loves me. There is nothing I can do to earn His love, yet He loves me anyway.

My responsibility is to show Him how much I love Him by living in a manner that gives Him glory and honor. I am to live in obedience to His will and follow His law of love, and He showers me with His love!

What an amazing, awesome God we serve! He loves us no matter what!

Confidence is Mediated by the Holy Spirit

Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Ephesians 1:13-14, “In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.” (CSB) The Holy Spirit’s purpose is not only to draw us to Jesus, but to help us in our daily walk with the Lord. One way He helps us is in assisting us to have confidence in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Our confidence is then mediated by the Holy Spirit. Mediation, in this instance, is defined as “intervention in a process of relationship; intercession. The Holy Spirit helps us have confidence in Jesus, He encourages us to step forward when God is leading us into territory that is unfamiliar. As an example, when I felt God calling me to begin to minister through a blog, I was very hesitant. I didn’t know the first thing about blogging, didn’t even know how to begin. The Holy Spirit, through the counsel of my Pastor and others who journal and blog, encouraged me to begin. It was a slow beginning, and in some ways, it still is. But, without the prompting of the Holy Spirit to step out of my comfort zone, I would never have begun my ministry through Bible Journaling and this blog. I don’t claim to be an organized ministry to the point of being incorporated or needing licensing or any of the things full-time ministries do, but to the few that read my journaling, I am endeavoring to minister hope, healing, salvation, and encouragement. I have no grand ideas that my blog will develop into some huge ministry with thousands of followers. I am content to share with those who find my blog or read my entries on Facebook. God never said it would be earth shattering, but it is what He has called me to do, and I pray that it influences the tiny corner of the world I reach.

There may be something that God is calling you to do, but you have been hesitant to step out in faith. It’s scary beginning something new. However, if you truly feel God is leading you to begin something you are not accustomed to doing, rely upon the encouragement of the Holy Spirit and the confidence that God will guide you in the way you are to proceed. Is God calling you to minister in your church? It may not be something as prominent as singing or playing on the worship team or teaching a Sunday School class, but there are other positions that are needed in the church, that a lot of times, must be done by the pastor because no one else will step up. His or her calling is to be the shepherd of the congregation, not the janitor. Maybe there is a need for nursery duty or hospitality. Our church has a dear lady who quietly ministers by sending cards to those in our church who need encouragement. She sends our pastor something almost every week to help him and lift him up. He needs that little push to be able to minister to us. That is her ministry! Something like that, even though it seems so trivial, can be just the thing to help someone who is struggling.

The Holy Spirit seals us so that we have the assurance that we belong to God, and because of this, we have confidence that whatever God has for us in our walk with Him, we know that it is for our good, and will help us to grow daily as we seek to live our lives in glory and honor to Him.

Our Confidence is in Jesus – A Better Covenant

Today’s Bible Journaling is from Hebrews 7:22, “so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” (NASB) As we investigate from where our confidence comes, we see in this passage that our confidence can be placed in Jesus because He guarantees our salvation. The writer of Hebrews points out in this chapter that the Law of the Old Testament “made nothing perfect” (Hebrews 7:19 NASB) and therefore couldn’t be a guarantee of entrance into Heaven, it couldn’t save us from our sins, rather it pointed out our sins.

Verses 18-19 say, “For, on the one hand there is a setting aside of a former covenant because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (NASB) Only through Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for our sins, and our acceptance of His sacrifice, can we be guaranteed a home in Heaven.

As we place our confidence in Him daily, He walks with us, He guides us, and when we fall, He picks us up and sets us back on the right track. We are not worn down by the weight of sin that we bore, because He took our load of sin upon Himself. We can now walk free of that burden. He promises never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5), He promises to be our help in time of trouble. (Hebrews 4:16) He is our High Priest, (Hebrews 3:1) the one we confess our sins to, and who is able to save us from our sins and He is continually making intercession for us to the Father. (Hebrews 7:25) He has promised that not only will He save us from our sins, but He will remember them no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

Chapter 8 tells us that under the New Covenant a New Law will be placed into the hearts and minds of His children. (Hebrews 8:10) This Law is a Law of Love. We obey because of our love for Jesus, not because we must follow a Law that is impossible to keep and that shows us our shortcomings. The Old Testament Law had a purpose…to show us how far from God’s perfection we are. The New Covenant shows us that because of God’s love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we can be obedient to His Law because of our love for Him and the salvation He paid in our stead.

Because of His faithfulness to us we can have confidence in whatever He promises. We know that He will never leave us, never go back on His promise to help us, never turn His back on us. He will always walk with us. We can trust Him to bring us through whatever we are facing. We can trust that He has our best in mind. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The New Covenant has made the Old Covenant obsolete; it no longer is useful. (Hebrews 8:13) The New Covenant, salvation through Jesus Christ, is a better covenant, and that is from where our confidence comes.