Is Your Name Written in Heaven?

Today’s Bible Journaling study is from Luke 10:20, “But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” (NLT) The disciples had gone out witnessing as Jesus told them to do, and He gave them instructions on how to minister. When they returned, they were rejoicing about the great things they were able to do, they had healed the sick, cast demons out of people, and did the same things Jesus did as He ministered to people. Jesus reminded them that the greatest miracle is not being able to make the demons subject to them, but the fact that their names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in Heaven…they were redeemed by Jesus’ blood and saved from the penalty of sin.

In this month of Thanksgiving, this is the greatest blessing…our salvation. Nothing compares to the peace and joy we receive once we have asked Jesus to be the Lord and Master of our lives. The blessing of knowing our sins are forgiven, we are washed in the blood of Jesus and are looking forward to an eternal life in Heaven with Him, is more than we can comprehend!

As awesome as that is, we are still living on planet earth, and God has given each of us a job to do, and it is up to us to fulfill that mandate. What is that job? Collectively, our job is to reach the lost! That is our primary focus. We aren’t meant to arrive in Heaven without bringing someone we have led to Jesus as well. That is the primary purpose of these posts. My hope is that someone will read these and realize their need of Jesus. The second purpose is to encourage Believers as they walk out their faith in Jesus daily.

Our first response to the question, “What will you do with Jesus?” is to take an account of our life. Have we accepted His sacrifice on the cross for our sins? Have we made a conscious decision to live for Him and allow Him to have total control of our lives? If not, today is a good day to do just that. II Corinthians 6:2 says, “…behold, now is the accepted time behold, now is the day of salvation.” Don’t wait, make your decision now. My first husband used to say, “Put your finger on your wrist and feel your pulse. We are only certain of this very moment that our heart will beat…we don’t know what the next minute will bring, or if we’ll even take our next breath!” Once our life is over, there is no more opportunity to make that decision. When we pray and ask Jesus to save us, come into our hearts and lives, and the ask forgiveness for our sins and promise to live for Him, He takes us into His family. We become a Child of God, and we inherit all that God has to offer us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We become new creatures in Christ, (II Corinthians 5:17), we are changed! The process is so simple even a child can do it!

Once we have decided to follow Christ, then our responsibility is to live for Him, let Him have complete control of our lives, and then witness…tell others about what Jesus has done for us, and offer encouragement to others. God also gives us gifts, talents, avenues of ministry to reach the lost. For me, God has gifted me the ability to play and sing music. He also has directed me to reach out through my posts and my Bible Journaling. For each one, the gift is designed to be specific to what they are the best at doing, to reach others for Jesus. For some it is the gift of hospitality. I know ladies that can put together a bash that would make a White House dinner look dim in comparison! Some are given the gifting of administration…our Pastor’s wife has this gift…she is the ultimate organizer, director, and planner! She keeps our church going on an even keel, everything is planned out and rolls smoothly! She’s a super access to our Pastor! Some are given the gift of teaching. They minister to the Body of Christ through teaching the Scriptures, helping us to understand concepts and principles in the Bible. Once you have found your gifting, pursue it with all diligence.

So, my encouragement to you, my dear readers, is to take stock of your life, is your name written in Heaven? If not, today is a good day to be sure that it is. Then live your life so that others may know that Jesus reigns in your heart and bring others to the foot of the cross to be redeemed.

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God is Able

 

Today we’re looking at II Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need you will abound in every good work.” (NIV) The New American Standard Bible (NASB) says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” What jumped out at me is, GOD IS ABLE!

That is such an encouragement for me. No matter what I’m going through, God is able! He is able to bless me above anything I can even dream of, He is able to hold me tight when I am going through a trial, He is able to guide me in wisdom, HE IS ABLE!

What a blessing to know that I don’t walk this walk alone, He is with me! I have Pandora on at the moment, and a little bit ago, it was playing, “Good, Good Father”, and that song just resonated with me. He is able because He loves me, and He is a good Father who desires to give me all that is good for me. When discouragement hits me, He is there to bring encouragement and remind me that I have peace, joy, grace, and salvation through Him and Him alone. When I am burdened, He is there to lighten the load, for He tells me to “take my yoke upon me and learn of me.” (Matthew 11:29 KJV)

As I write this, my heart is heavy. In the middle of working on this post, my sister emailed me to let me know that my nephew is in the hospital after a heroin overdose, and he almost died. How “on time” God is…to remind me that He is able, and then to hear news that could shake my foundation of faith in Him if it weren’t for that reminder that “He is able!” He can take my nephew and turn him 180° in the opposite direction, save his life, physically and spiritually, and set him on a new course. My faith in God is not shaken. I’ve already put my nephew on a couple of prayer boards, and I’ve heard from so many who have said they’ve been there, and sent me encouragement, and are praying for my family. How good God is to surround us with a body of Believers who uphold each other in prayer, give encouragement, and sometimes even wrap their arms around us physically to keep us on our feet.

That is such a great blessing from God! I am so grateful to Him for His care. He knows right where I am. He knows what is heavy on my heart, He knows just what I need, He knows! We do not serve a God who is distant from us, nor unconcerned with our lives and what we experience. He loves us with an everlasting love, He walks with us, His desire is to bless us immeasurably, and He is faithful!

As I just looked at the verse again, I notice it says that He is able to bless us abundantly so that at ALL TIMES we have what we need. Do you need encouragement? He is able. Do you need healing? He is able. Do you need financial freedom? He is able. Do you need peace? He is able. Do you need your marriage restored? He is able. Do you need chains broken? He is able. Whatever your need is…HE IS ABLE!

My friends, even in the depths of despair, GOD IS ABLE! Take courage and gain strength in the knowledge that God is able no matter what your situation. Reach out to Him and give Him whatever it is you need for Him to do for you. Remember, “the God of Angel Armies is always by your side!”

Abundant Blessings

Today’s Bible Journaling is from Isaiah 58:8, “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.” (NLT) The very first thought that struck me was, “My salvation will come like the dawn.” Dawn is a very special time. I’m not an early riser, but I have seen a few sunrises, and they have been spectacular! I’m always amazed at the artistry of God! They are so special when you see them. Our salvation is like that, special, precious even!

As I said yesterday, our salvation is the greatest blessing that God could ever bestow upon us. God loves us so much that He wants us to be with Him and be part of His family. He is concerned with every part of our lives. Once we have become His children, He sets us on a journey with Him. Sometimes He smooths out rough places in our walk with Him, and in the times when He doesn’t, He walks with us, sometimes carrying us, through those difficulties.

Today has been a little difficult because I’ve been easily distracted, and it’s taken me a long time to get my thoughts together. I had a hard time figuring out how to display this thought of salvation coming like dawn. I asked my husband for his input, and he saw this verse from a totally different perspective. For Him what stood out was the end of the verse, “the Lord will protect you from behind.” I had already done the background of my page, a scene with a sunrise, meadow, creek, and a lamb. He said, “What about the Shepherd? He protects the sheep.” Another blessing from God! I looked at the verse again and I saw another blessing…healing!

In this one verse I see three blessings from God! His salvation, His healing, and His protection. These are all evidence of God’s love for us and that also is a blessing! God is so amazing! He overwhelms us with His blessings. There are so many that it is hard to count them all. What more can we do but to lift our voices in praise to Him!

Even in times of discouragement, God blesses us. He gives us fellow Believers to walk along with us and encourage us. He is our rock, our fortress, and yes, He is our Shepherd! When we don’t know what to do or where to go, He guides us. He brings joy, peace, and strength during times when we are despondent, in turmoil and feel weak.

He blesses us with family who love us, He provides for our needs financially, physically, and Spiritually, and if it is good for us, He will even bless us with our wants. He brings healing – physical, emotional, and Spiritual, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

My heart is full of thankfulness for His overwhelming mercy and grace to me. I don’t deserve all the things He does for me, but He does it all because of His love for me. Many times, I fail Him, but He is always quick to forgive and set me back on the right path to continue my journey with Him, and even to witness some of those amazing sunrises He creates!

We must have hearts full of gratitude for our loving Father as we think of His lovingkindness to us. I’m so glad there is a whole month designated to being thankful, because often we don’t realize just how blessed we truly are, and this is a good time to take stock of all God has done for us. Thank you, Jesus, for your blessings!

God Supplies

 

Today we are looking at Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory.” This is a verse that is so familiar to Believers, that I think we sometimes just rattle it off without really thinking about what it says. When I first look at this verse, I notice something that I think most people either skip right over or don’t really consider. Notice that the Apostle Paul says that God will supply all our NEEDS, not necessarily our WANTS. I may want a lot of things, but they may not be good for me, so therefore; God will not supply anything that would do me harm.

When I look at my life, I see that God has indeed supplied every need I have. I have food on my table, I have a house to live in, my finances are in good shape, He gave me a husband to share my life with, a family that loves me, and He has directed me to a church family that surrounds me and upholds me in times of distress and in times of victory and joy. All these things are things that I NEED. My wants can get out of hand and will bring joy for only a short time, and then they are quickly forgotten and possibly even discarded.

God supplies Spiritual gifts also. He gives me salvation, peace, joy, strength, courage, and a friendship that goes beyond anything I can experience. As I stated yesterday, the gift of salvation is the greatest blessing we can receive. Because of that blessing we can then walk in victory, joy, peace, and have a relationship with Him that is everlasting.

The second thing I notice in the verse is, He gives according to HIS riches. He has riches far above anything we can even imagine. So, the best thing that we can imagine for ourselves is nothing compared to what He has for us. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

We sometimes find ourselves in a period where we are discouraged, nothing seems to be going our way, life is throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at us, and we come to a point of only looking at our circumstances and not looking at the Savior, who can help us overcome those circumstances. We don’t see the blessings He has already provided, and we become mired down in the pit of discontentment, complaining that nothing is going our way, and throw a 2-year old’s temper tantrum, shaking our fists at God, stomping our feet on the floor saying, “I want it MY way!”

It is then that we need to stop, take account of ourselves, count our blessings, ask for forgiveness, and thank Him for all He has done for us, then lift our voices in praise to God for His unsurpassable riches and blessings!

Being thankful for what we have has added benefits. Our spirits are made lighter, we find joy in everything around us, the sun seems to shine a little brighter, friendships are a little dearer, physically, we seem to enjoy better health, and we find a contentment that settles into peace in our hearts. God has given us more than we can ever desire. Today is a good day to thank Him for all He has done, all He is, and all He has given.

God’s Blessings

Today my Bible Journaling took me to John 1:16, “From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.” (NLT) Today has been a fun day. Our church is participating in a fundraiser for our youth group. The kids decided to “decorate” an old toilet and the purpose is for the congregation to pay to have it removed from your yard when it arrives. Of course, you could buy insurance to keep it from showing up on your lawn, but what fun is that? LOL. Well this morning we got blessed! LOL It was passed along to us from some friends who had it yesterday. We’ve had a lot of laughs over it today with friends and family.

Today I am grateful and beyond blessed with the gift of laughter and with good friends who are so dear to us who feel free enough to prank us. But there is one blessing that is better than even having the ability to laugh or having great friends to joke around with, and that is the blessing of salvation. The Apostle John said that God has an abundance of blessings and He gives to us graciously. The best blessing is the offering of His Son, Jesus to take the punishment for our sins so that we could be saved from sin’s penalty of death.

Many people think that just going to church is what makes one a Christian. However, that’s not what God says. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (KJV) That means every single person has been born with a sin nature because of Adam’s sin at the very beginning. Every heart has a spirit of rebellion which is born in natural man. That is a spirit of rebellion against God. This creates a broken relationship with Him. God loved us so much, from the very beginning of time, that He created a plan to redeem us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV) God provided a way of escape through His Son, Jesus. He is the only means by which we are saved. John 17:3 says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know the, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (KJV)

Jesus Himself said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9 KJV) Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (KJV) Each one of us must decide whether to accept God’s gift or reject it. If we decide to accept God’s gift, He brings us into His family. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become sons of God, even to those who believe on His name.” (KJV) Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that faith comes only through the grace of God. “For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (KJV) There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. No amount good works will save us, only faith in God through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus is standing at the heart’s door of each person, asking to be invited in. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (KVJ) All that is required is that we ask Him to forgive us of our sins, invite Him into our lives, and then promise to live for him for the rest of our days, and endeavor to follow Him. That is the greatest blessing we can receive. The Bible says, “Today is the day of salvation.” (II Corinthians 6:12) We never know if we have even the next second. Once we have closed our eyes in death, it is too late, no more opportunities will be offered. If you haven’t yet asked Jesus to come into your heart and life, today is a good day to receive the best gift you could ever receive and blessings above anything you can imagine.

Be Grateful for God’s Blessings

Today we start a new devotion on blessings. Today’s Bible verse is Genesis 1:22, ‘“God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”’ (NASB) November is the month when our hearts turn to being thankful for the many blessings God has given us. This is the first blessing from God in the Bible. Today as I reflect on our verse, I am so grateful for God’s work in my life.

As I think about how He has blessed me, I am so thankful for the husband he brought to me in my later years. The man makes me laugh! That is such a blessing after spending such a long time in grief, despair, loneliness, and depression. I am so grateful to God for bringing me two amazing men to share life with. My first husband was my anchor…he kept me from flying off in all directions, and he taught me so many things, in the natural and Spiritually, that have stayed with me. My second husband is my joy. As I said, he makes me laugh and he is a solid Bible scholar. They both have added to my life immensely. Not many people can say they have had two awesome husbands who loved the Lord with all their hearts, were called by God to minister, one in broadcasting and the other in literature evangelism and hosting a website of commentaries on different books of the Bible. Both men have been a huge blessing in my life.

God has also chosen to bless me with a calling of ministry in my life as well, and my husband has been such an encouragement! He backs everything I do and lifts me up in prayer daily. This is an area I never would have dreamed of launching. It started with a prophetic word being spoken over me, and then God just opened doors for me to step through. At this point, it is just a small beginning, but I know this is where God wants me because He has given me such a peace in my heart as I minister.

There was a time when it was hard for me to see the blessings God had granted me. Life wasn’t looking all that great and I was in a deep hole. But as I look back, I’m grateful for that time even though it wasn’t easy, because I can see how God was taking care of me, holding me, guiding each footstep, and slowly, but surely, leading me out of that pit of despair I was in. Today, even though it is raining outside and gloomy, I’m walking in the sunshine of God’s love and mercy.

Being grateful isn’t just for Thanksgiving time, it’s for every day! The Bible says that we are to live with gratefulness in our hearts. Psalm 136: 1-3 says,” Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” (NASB) I Thessalonians 5:18, says, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)

Gratefulness for the things God has given us helps us, not only physically, but Spiritually as well. When we focus our eyes upon what things God has done for our good, we see that we are truly blessed despite the difficulties we may be facing. Gratefulness promotes good health. Those who are living lives of gratefulness are less likely to be facing physical ailments. Gratefulness also brings health to our Spiritual lives. We are more likely to keep our eyes on the Savior instead of the circumstances, thereby allowing us to walk in victory even though life may be hard. So today, even though it may be difficult, say “thank you” to God. Think about all the things He has provided that are working out for your good. (Romans 8:28)