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Are Your Goals Biblically Oriented?

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THIS is a gift!

Happy stick figure 5 stock vector. Illustration of person - 111482584
This is the best I could do at a self-portrait

On January 7th 2021 I began a journey with YouVersion The Bible in One Year 2021 With Nicky Gumbel. This morning’s reading/audio led me to write this blog today titled “THIS is a gift.” THIS refers to ME, my person, my life – THIS, I have come to realize, is a gift from God Himself. I am on day 134 in the Bible in One Year, which you can read here:

BY: Nicky Gumble – The Bible In One Year – Day 134 in part: https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/23472-bioy21en Compared with God’s help, human help is worthless. ‘With God’, David says, ‘we shall gain the victory’ (v.12). He was speaking about physical battles. The apostle Paul writes that our main battles are not physical. They are not ‘against flesh and blood, but… against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12).

David prays, ‘Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered… Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless. With God we shall gain the victory’ (Psalm 60:5,11–12a).

Lord, thank you that with you I can be confident. In all the battles I am facing, I trust in you today.

John 8:12-30

Give God pleasure

Do you realise that you can give God pleasure? Jesus says, ‘I always do what pleases him’ (v.29). This should be your aim in life – to please God.

Jesus models for us a life with God. He says, ‘I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me’ (v.16). He says, ‘The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone’ (v.29a). Throughout this passage, we discover something about Jesus’ relationship with his Father.

Jesus says, ‘I know where I came from and where I am going’ (v.14). So many people struggle in life because they don’t know where they came from or where they are heading. They struggle with a lack of purpose and direction in their lives. In a close relationship with God, you can know where you came from and ultimately where you are heading.

Jesus’ relationship with the Father was also the source of his purpose and direction day by day. He says, ‘I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me’ (v.28). He says, ‘The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone’ (v.29a).

This is the model for us. God was with Jesus. Jesus knew he was never alone. There was not a single thing he did without God. At every moment his desire is to please God: ‘I always do what pleases him’ (v.29b). This is what gave his life such power and effectiveness. ‘Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him’ (v.30).

Not only was Jesus with God, he was God.

Twice in today’s passage Jesus says, ‘I am he’ (8:24,28). The words translated ‘I am he’ are the same words that are used in the Greek translation of Exodus 3:14–16. There, God revealed himself to Moses as ‘I AM WHO I AM’. This name came to express both the identity of God and the closeness of God to his people.

Jesus uses this name himself. We do not possess existence. We are born and we die. We receive our existence. Jesus is existence. He is telling the people that God has once again come near to them in him. Jesus is Immanuel, God with us.

It is as you look to the cross that Jesus says you have the clearest demonstration of his identity: ‘So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be.”’ (John 8:28).

Jesus had complete confidence in his own identity. The key to Jesus’ confidence and identity lay in his relationship with the Father. The same will also be true for you. As you spend time with the Father in prayer, in worship, or in reading the Scriptures, your sense of identity and confidence in who you are in God will grow. You can know where you have come from and where you are heading.

No matter what people say about you, you can walk confidently with head held high. Your identity is in Christ. It is rooted in what he says about you and his presence with you.

Father, thank you that you are with me, you have not left me alone.’ Help me, like Jesus, always to do what pleases you and always to speak just what you have taught me.

Nicky Gumble The Bible in One Year

Do you see now? THIS … is a gift. YOU are a gift – your body and mind, your spirit and soul. Whether you live in desperation or in plenty, your life is a gift. Now it is up to you how you live it out.

Will you be struggling, not knowing where you came from or where you are going throughout your life, OR will you please realize that God made it possible for you to be on this Earth.

Maybe you are not a miracle baby like I was – part of triplets and twins miscarried in 1954 and my sweet mother did not realize she was still pregnant… with ME. She always told me God had a special plan for my life. And He certainly has had that! From the jobs I have had and have now, the places I’ve lived and the people I’ve met all the way to my dear husband and wonderful children and grandchildren – He has planned it all, purposed it all for me each step of the way.

Maybe your life is wonderful and you feel you need nothing else to make it complete – but if you do not know Jesus as your Savior, you have been misled or have missed the boat. Maybe you’ve never been to church or had the opportunity to learn Biblical teachings as a child – all of that is okay! It is never too late to make a new start.

This is all accomplished by accepting Jesus, God’s only Son, as your Lord and Savior. Stop living your life just for yourself and realize that YOU are a gift from our Creator God. You can learn all about accepting, following and living for Jesus here https://www.annegrahamlotz.org/about-anne-graham-lotz/be-sure-of-heaven/.

Prayerfully for you and with gratitude for my Gift,

Ava

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What Do You Think?

I don’t know about you, but I am missing the presence of the policemen and policewomen in my community. I was driving to work one day this week and wrote a poem to express my thoughts and feelings. I wonder what you think?

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Setting My Goals…

My boss once told us to “Plan our month, organize our week and execute our day.”

I took that idea and turned it into my activity calendar, which I keep daily.  I missed January this year because it kind of snuck up on me.  But I got back on track in February.  This is what they look like and how I set my goals, based on Scripture and Biblical values:

Month of FEBRUARY GOAL:  No Critical Spirit – Be SINCERE
Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from SINCERE faith.  1 Timothy 1:5
For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly SINCERITY, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.  2 Corinthians 1:12
Month of MARCH GOAL:   A Clear/Clean Mind
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?  Or who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol nor sworn deceitfully.  Psalm 24:3-4
Month of APRIL GOAL:  TRUST
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.  Proverbs 3:5-6

So, I’m preparing my calendar for May and started thinking of what my goal might be.  I thought of the word RETURN as I am contemplating returning to work after this Corona Virus is over.  These are some of the verses I found…

  1. Psalm 90:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Return, O Lord!  How long?  And have compassion on Your servants.

For a greater explanation of this passage please visit this site https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ecclesiastes/12.html.  It helped me understand mostly what I already knew, but Matthew Henry’s commentary is great at really digging in and getting to the meat of the Scripture.

  • THEN I read the 3rd Chapter of Malachi on my search for the word “return” that shows up in verse 7… Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’
  •  I ended my searching with Matthew chapter 12 focusing on verses 43-45…

43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

After all of that I have to tell you that I don’t know if I’ve used my at-home time wisely!  I’ve been sewing – making masks and snappy bags and mailed them to loved ones. I’m involved daily with staff on ZOOM in devotions, but I’m wondering…

  1. Have I learned all that God has for me to learn in this time of seclusion?
  2. Have I been seeking Him during the stay at home order?
  3. Have I organized and swept my house clean and done all I can do here while I have had the opportunity?
  4. Is my heart free from evil and negative thinking or am I allowing a bad attitude to overtake me and evil to move in?
  5. Am I allowing the Holy Spirit that dwells within my heart to give me all those wonderful fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self-Control) to invade my life each and every moment of each and every day?

As I work from home I’ve found creative ways to enjoy the day, like working in my Outdoor Annex. My laptop works great outside so I can access my work email remotely and take care of work tasks and enjoy the outside too before it gets too hot!

When my husband is home we eat lunch outside and are enjoying each other’s company. We have both worked full time for 46+ years so for the first week or two I wasn’t sure I liked being home. Now I appreciate it and when I do go in to the office I feel like I’ve had a Sabbath Rest, as Anne Graham Lotz calls it.

Praying you too are learning from this time we’ve all been set-aside. I’m also praying for you moms out there who have children at home, or are dealing with being out of work completely. My answer is go to God’s Word, make your own list of goals and find even just one word that helps describe your life right now. Then look in the concordance of your Bible and find that word or one like it, and start enjoying your journey. Ask yourself some important questions that set you on a renewed course following hard after Jesus.

Blessings,

Ava Zettel

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A Strange New Day

We have entered … the Twilight Zone? No, it’s not that. But it is weird, strange, or at least not the normal we are accustomed to. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what this new day is exactly. With the Corona Virus at large, schools canceled, working remotely from home, social distancing and all that is bringing with it in addition to those few things mentioned, we have entered a strange new day.

Rather than be depressed or allow myself to wander around in some sort of self-induced mental fog, I am working hard to understand and keep my mind busy, positive and productive. Work helps with that, of course, but there are a lot of times when I am just me, not working, not enjoying the team work we do on-line, our morning devotions… on-line – all the I.T. questions and fixes I have the opportunity to address throughout the day… on-line, and it’s in those times, when my mind is at rest, that I begin to wonder, to feel something that is quite different. It doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m working on it.

This morning I picked up my Daily Light first and read Scripture that reinforced my faith. Then I opened Jonathan Cahn’s Book of Mysteries and read today’s entry, day 84 (March 24th)

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And now I have a name for this period of life, at least for me. I’m calling it “Barach” which means in Hebrew to bless, or to kneel. This virus is creating in us an opportunity to re-evaluate our thinking, our way of life, and what we deem as of most importance. When God did that in the Bible it always ended up being a blessing, “Barach” to those who received it. Think of Abraham and Sarah at 90+ years old having their first child (Read Genesis 17) What about Zechariah and Elizabeth as they were blessed with John the Baptist, the forerunner for the Gospel of Jesus! All blessings! Certainly blessing for us who received the promise of eternal life.

So, as the Queen of England would do as she grants knighthood upon her honored subject, I name this day BLESSED – or BARACH. May this day be a blessing to you.

Ava Zettel – March 24th, the 84 day day of 2020

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In Which Camp Are You?

I am reading a book by Steve Green (not the singer). This Steve Green is the President of Hobby Lobby and the founder of the Museum of the Bible. The book title is This Beautiful Book, referencing the Bible.

Steve gives us his interpretation of “The Mess of Separation from God,” with which I agree – you know, the account from Genesis 3, where Adam and Even begin thinking that God is holding out on them, per the suggestion from the stinking serpent.

In the next section of Steve’s book, “The Fall” you will find a great definition of sin, which is “an act of disobedience that brings judgment” – a very basic definition to be sure.

The section that is of most interest to me, and the topic for this blog, is the section “Spiraling out of Control.” Genesis 4. Here the author talks about these two camps (my translation) of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve following their expulsion from The Garden of Eden due to their sin and disobedience.

I believe that society’s dividing issues today can be described as each individual person being in one camp or the other – the Cain Camp or the Abel Camp. Here’s a list of their attributes according to Steve Green and Genesis 4:

Now don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that farmers are bad and shepherds are good, or vice versa. The point I want to get across to you is that Cain did what pleased himself, and Abel did what pleased God. You can be from any walk of life or profession, but you’re most likely in one camp or the other.

You have to understand here that God had previously established a sacrificial system for atonement for one’s sin, which was the spilling of blood. Remember that God killed animals for the skins in which to cover Adam and Eve. Prior to their disobedience where they ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they didn’t even know they were naked. It was only after their disobedience that they were ashamed and hid from God. When God found them they relayed the story of the serpent’s involvement in the deal and then played the blame-game about who was really responsible. In the end, we realize that Adam and Eve are responsible for their own sin. We cannot say “The devil made me do it.” Well, we can, but the choice is ours – to sin or not to sin. Ultimately, whether we admit it or not, we alone are at fault when we make choices that we know are not godly.

So, although Cain was a farmer and his choice was to give of what he had – fruits and vegetables, he knew of the sacrificial system that had been established, but still Cain gave what he wanted to give, not what God required. If you sacrifice a few fruits and vegetables, what is that? You can grow more. They are fruits and vegetables, nothing significant has been sacrificed.

Abel, on the other hand, gave as required. Although he was a shepherd, and what he had was a lamb, he gave the best lamb he had, the first born of his flock. He did not go to the field and get Cain’s fruits and vegetables. And he did not give a crippled old sheep that he did not need or want. No, he gave his best, and sacrificed it – taking it’s life and blood in order to make the required sacrifice to God.

We are no longer required to kill a little lamb and spill blood today. By God’s grand design Jesus did that once and for all on the Cross. Since Jesus was God’s sacrificial lamb given for us in order to make atonement for our sin, if we accept Him into our lives, all who will accept Him are recipients of His grace and forgiveness.

So, I challenge you to read God’s Word. See for yourself and pray asking God what it is that He might be requiring you to sacrifice in order to live a life pleasing and acceptable to God. It is not for me to say to you STOP doing this and START doing that. And it is not really a matter of DOING, but it is more a matter of BEING . . . Being a person who lives out Galatians 5:22-23 “The Fruit of the Spirit (your inner behavior demonstrated in an outward manner) is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

Do you need to stop being angry at your neighbor, friend, family member or co-worker and stop using harsh language that causes hurt feelings and breaks relationships?

Do you need to have an understanding heart and think before you speak?

Do you need to stop worrying which team or group or race or religion or political party others belong to and love others as God loves you?

Do you need to ask yourself some difficult questions?

  • *Am I immature? Am I petty? For help see Hebrews 5:14
  • Am I selfish, legalistic or demanding? For help see 1st Thessalonians 5:14-15
  • Am I easily irked because “someone is getting away with something?” For help see Psalm 37:1
  • Am I envious or jealous? For help see James 5:8-9
  • Am I materialistic? For help see Colossians 3:1

If you have never asked for God’s forgiveness by accepting Jesus as your Savior and the Lord of your life, then you can do that now by praying through these 4 things:

  1. ADMIT your spiritual need. “I am a sinner”
  2. REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin.
  3. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross
  4. RECEIVE, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life.

*What to Pray:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*Taken from The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook.

Just a note from me: Until you follow through on receiving Jesus into your heart, you will be hard-pressed to do any of the previous on your own. When you ask Jesus to come into your life He actually comes into your life in the form of His Holy Spirit. Much like Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she conceived Jesus as the angel said she would physically (see Luke chapter 1 in the New Testament), we receive Jesus spiritually. It’s an amazing thing! (See Acts 1 and 2 in the New Testament.). I know His Holy Spirit lives in me because He helps me behave in a manner that I would not behave if He were not at home in my life. Oh, I still make mistakes and sin and slip up, but forgiveness is just a prayer away.

I pray this speaks to your heart and if you have questions please feel free to contact me through this website.

Many Blessings,

Ava

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Hope in the Cross

This morning I woke up early and could not stop thinking about my family. I am referring to ALL my family . . . my children, grandchildren, sisters, brother, husband’s family too. Aunts, uncles, cousins, you know, the whole bunch! For some my thoughts are fearful they are going in the wrong direction. For some I am thankful that they are walking, to the best of their ability, according to their faith in God and belief in a Savior. So, instead of lying their awake worrying I got up.

I went downstairs to get my coffee and yogurt. Just yesterday I put up our Christmas tree. I plugged it in and right there I received my answer to all the questions, worry and fear for my family.

Then I opened my Daily Inspiration on my phone. Click the link and read what I read. God is so good to offer to me on this early morning that I need not worry because my HOPE is in the Cross of Jesus Christ. I am so thankful that He directed my path to Him when I was 10 years old. For some it does not arrive so quickly in life. Many are still searching for that one thing that makes life meaningful. I’m praying today that you, family, friends, acquaintances and people who just happen to read this post, will find this hope, this blessing, this awesome Jesus who loves you more than you can imagine …

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21.

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Forgiveness…Who Knew!

I’m reading Priscilla Shirer’s book “FERVENT – A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer,” and let me just say WOW! In addition to reading this book I am also in a small group of women who, every Sunday at 7:00 PM, use ZOOM (like Skype) to video chat about the book chapter (Strategy) we have read the past week. This week we are on Strategy 9 Your Hurts – Turning Bitterness to Forgiveness.

What an amazing, breath-of-fresh-air Strategy for successful living in Christ. I like to mark my book up with Washi-Tape so I remember the important parts that I want to look up later – this book is full of highlighted text, taped up paragraphs and margins because there is so much of it that is worth recalling, remembering AND using in my daily life. Read these excerpts and be blessed then RUN, don’t walk, RUN out and buy this book, or get it on your Kindle, iPad or whatever so you too can be FREE!

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Jesus In Me ~ Launch Team Activity

I am enjoying Anne Graham Lotz’ new book Jesus In Me.  Signing up to be on the Launch Team meant the publisher sent out an advance copy!

Rather than underline and highlight throughout as I read, I am using scrapbooking tape to mark important parts I do not want to forget.

Loving and learning more about the Holy Spirit who IS Jesus In Me!

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Unrealized Realities

This thought came to me two weeks ago and I’ve been pondering on it since. I was driving to work and, as my usual ride goes, I pray, listen to praise music and get ready for the work day in that way. By the time I get to the Angus Barn, right where Highway 540 enters Highway 70, my spirit is primed to hear a word from the Lord. I call this area, The Catch-Basin of the Holy Spirit.

On this particular day I was giving thought to heaven and wondering what it must be like. Having not been there yet my mind wandered to the city of gold that I’ve read about in Revelation 21:18. What will life be like in a place where there is no death, or sorrow or tears as it says in Revelation 21:4?  Because I believe in the Bible as God’s Word and that every word is true and put there for my learning. In 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 He even tells us that,

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I thought about that and gave it my own definition. Heaven is an “Unrealized Reality.” I’ve read about it; I know people who have gone there. They have never come back to tell me so, but because they believed as God’s Word indicates they must believe in order to go there, see John 3:3, then I believe they are in Heaven.

I wondered if there are other “Unrealized Realities” and I thought of one. It’s when you are a baby inside your mother’s womb. You did not know anything about the world you were about to be born into. You knew nothing of thinking, reading, eating, using your hands and feet, combing your hair, putting on clothes, playing games, running, etc., etc., and a myriad of things you learn as you grow. Yet, here you are, and doing all those things and more if you are capable. If you are not capable, then the human condition creates alternatives for reading in braille if you are blind; for speaking in sign language if you are hearing impaired; of navigating the whole wide
world in a wheel chair if you are unable to walk. Yes, here we are, doing all those things. Our “Unrealized Reality” eventually became Realized didn’t it!

And so it will be with Heaven, one day… There is an old hymn by that title. I remember when I was in my 20’s sitting behind the piano playing that song for the congregation in church. The words seemed to print themselves onto my soul and I long for that One Day… but until then, I’ll keep on learning and loving, and working and wondering.

One Day
Verse 1
One day when heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin—
Dwelt among men, my example is He!
CHORUS
Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming—O glorious day!
Verse 2
One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain,
One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected;
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He.
Verse 3
One day they left Him alone in the garden,
One day He rested, from suffering free;
Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil;
Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He.
Verse 4
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore.
Verse 5
One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
One day the skies with His glory will shine;
Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing;
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!
Lyrics:
John Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918)
Music:
Charles Howard Marsh (1886-1956)
A newer version has been arranged and is performed by Casting Crowns.

Their title is
Glorious Day and you can listen and watch at this YouTube link

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