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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God Loves You and Me

God Loves You and Me

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Layer Upon Layer?

I read in my devotions this morning from Anne Graham Lotz’s book Fixing My Eyes on Jesus.  The focus verse was from Romans 8:1-2 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

I pondered on that for a moment before reading on.  I wondered about my own life and realized that as a person, God created me for a specific purpose, in this particular time and place in the world.  However, due to my own preconceived notions of who I should be, along with the preconceived notions of who and what others think I should be, I seem to have added layers upon the original creation of ME.

Have you ever seen those transparent layers that cartoon artists lay over their initial drawing?  The artist adds layer upon layer of  the character in a slightly different pose on each transparent sheet.  When transferred to paper they flip through their “book” of layers and it appears as if the character is moving.

I wondered about the layers of my own character.  Do I place a layer of sweet and kind over what may actually be grumpy and unkind?  Do I place a layer of patience over a layer of impatience?  Do I place a layer of godliness over a layer of ill-will and wickedness?  I sure hope and pray I do not.  But it all made me more aware of who I am in Christ and what I am supposed to look like – no layers – just the fruit of the Holy Spirit living within me because I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, a very long time ago.

So, if I have layers I pray they are transparent layers of those fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23

Love                    Patience                Faithfulness
Joy                       Kindness               Gentleness
Peace                   Goodness              Self-Control

I want to be exactly what God created me to be, no more, no less.

Have a blessed Day!
Ava Z

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“Lazarus Come Forth”

Do you know that God created you for a specific purpose?  We read in Genesis 1:27-31 that God intended for man and woman to DO something:

27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

When an artist creates a painting or sculpture it is created with a purpose in mind.  Maybe it is to hang in an art gallery, or hold a place of prominence at the entrance of a park, but it has a specific purpose.

When an architect puts pencil to drafting paper and plans a building, it is with a specific purpose in mind.  The architect wants to convey everything that will be needed in order for the structure to be properly built.  Foundation, plumbing and electrical lines, walls, windows, nails, joints, dividers; everything necessary to make a building possible are considered and planned in advance.

When I sit down to knit my grandchild a sweater, I first decide what material the project will require.  I select a pattern to follow; I find just the right texture and color of yarn and determine the quantity needed to complete the project.  I review the pattern before I begin to see if there are any instructions I do not understand and I try to figure it out.  If I am still unsure, I search for help on my computer or I call my sister who is a master knitter!  And THEN I begin my project.

Just as we create, draw, knit, build, sculpt, manufacture, plant, paint or prepare something into existence for a specific purpose, so did God when He created man and woman – for a specific purpose.

Yes, YOU have a specific purpose!

I am writing these words on what appears to be paper from my computer for a specific purpose in mind.  I have a particular message to convey to you.  I am building my creation with the hope that you will read it, understand it, and use it to enhance God’s creation – that one thing that God had in mind when He created you.

I was driving to work yesterday, minding my own business, and suddenly a thought popped into my head.  There was a sermon on the radio and the name Lazarus was the subject.  My brain took that name and created a word-picture of the scripture from John 11:43-44.  I came to the part, in my reverie and in the story, where Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth!”  And I could almost hear and see the scene before me as I continued on my route to work.

Just as Jesus called Lazarus out of a tomb of death and destruction, He is calling you and me.  He is speaking our name and calling us forth from a life without Him to a life with a specific purpose in mind; to complete the creation God began in us.

Just as He stood there and saw Lazarus emerge from his tomb of death, ”The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.”  John 11:44, Jesus sees you and me, wrapped in our “grave clothes” of doubt, fear, anger, self-absorption, self-consciousness, and hate – and He is telling us to take off the grave clothes.  Put aside the stinking wrappings of sin and put on a new robe of righteousness that we receive when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Jesus is saying to you, “Come forth!”  Will you answer His call today?

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In Between

Are you at a point in your life and you seem to be in between?  You’re not old, but you’re no longer young either.  You’re still working, but not quite ready to retire.  Your house is too big, but you don’t want anything smaller.  You know you’ll need a smaller place, but your location is perfect.  You need to start downsizing but packing up things you love seems overwhelming.

That’s where I find myself today.  But I realize my blessings as well because I’ve found these audio messages that give me reason to pause and think it through:

  • The life of Joshua from the Old Testament book of Joshua chapter 3 has been providing me with exactly the encouragement I’ve needed to keep my focus on Jesus and not so much on my age or circumstances. You can hear a 24-minute message about that at this title link entitled  JUST DO IT! by Anne Graham Lotz.
  • As we study Joshua chapter 4 we find reminders from God’s Power in Your Life by Anne and I’m challenged, once again, to remember that my purpose in this life is to glorify God.
  • Moving on in the book of Joshua to chapter 5, I find that there are definite “Strongholds” in my life that this next audio message points out. It gives me new determination to ask God to help me with those things in my life that keep me from conquering my own strongholds in Get Tough With Your Strongholds by Anne.
  • Obviously, it’s impossible to attack and overcome these sins in your life by yourself. Just like Joshua couldn’t defeat Jericho all alone.  He needed the people.  I also need a helper to march around my sin.  I have the Holy Spirit, that Jesus left behind to help me.  But how do I find out the information I need in order to overcome?  Well, it’s through prayer, which Anne points out in this next message from Joshua chapter 7 titled Wrap Your Strongholds in Prayer.  I love this message and hope you will be blessed by it too.
  • Continuing in Joshua chapter 7, I realize that these strongholds (just a nice word for sin), that God sees everything that I’m up to, that I think and that I say. When I’m unkind to someone, He sees that.  If I have negative thoughts, God sees that too.  So, this message by Anne, God Sees Our Sin, points out that God cannot work in and through me if there is “sin in the camp.”  OUCH!  This one hurts, but in a good, lesson learning way.

You can find all of these messages and can download them free to your computer or device at www.annegrahamlotz.org or from this link http://www.annegrahamlotz.org/living-light-weekly-podcast/.

I am a task-master at heart and want everything planned out and ready to be activated at a moment’s notice.  But I’m finding out that life works best when you take one day and one project at a time.  Lesson learned!  Check that off!  OOPS, back to that task-master mentality again 😊 Old habits are hard to break, but I’m working on it and that’s a step in the right direction.

Be blessed,

Ava

 

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One of Those Things…

I’ve been watching the popular British TV series Downton Abbey.  When shopping a couple of weeks ago I saw the 6th and final season on the shelf, so I bought it.  It didn’t take long to watch the whole season and now it’s over!   I’m not going to give anything away, just to say it was very good!

After completing season six I decided to start all over at the beginning with season one.  Generally in the evening I have my dinner while watching TV and then play a game or two on my iPad.  I love words games and have achieved high levels on Word Bubbles.  It’s kind of like a circle word game, but the words can take twists and turns all over the board until you find your word.  I was searching for these letters … P E R S U R F L U O U S  and I continued to attempt to fill my puzzle with those letters in THAT particular order, saying over and over in my mind “persurfluous, persurfluous,” etc.

Finally giving up and taking a break I popped Downton Abbey, season one into the DVD player.  As Matthew was walking down the lane with Lord Grantham talking about how he didn’t see the need for a valet to dress and care for his personal needs, stating that he saw them as being “SUPERFLUOUS,”  my ears perked up!  I picked up my iPad and opened my Word Bubbles game.  Sure enough that was the word I was attempting to use, just a little turned around.  Don’t you just love it when things like that happen!?

The mixing up of two or more words, coming up with a funny term like gubble-bum instead of bubble-gum, is called a spoonerism.  I thought the mixing up of letters, like I did with SUPERFLUOUS and PERSURFLUOUS was called something too, but I was in error… it’s called … A MISTAKE!  HA!

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F-A-I-T-H

FAITH

F-A-I-T-H

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What is Thanksgiving to You?

What is Thanksgiving-Blog

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November 20, 2015 · 7:26 PM

FAMILY

Family … a subject familiar to most.  Some love their families, some hate their families, some could care less about their families.  There are those who take their family members for granted and think they will always be there to call upon when something is needed that no one else would do for them except . . . FAMILY.

I used to think my family had it all together.  We have 3 sons and their growing up years were pretty normal; the normal amount of disobedience, sports, trouble in school, success in school, girlfriends, and the list could go on.  They all married young and all three are in the military.  All three have children so we have seven grandchildren.  I truly thought everything was right, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

We raised our sons to love God, to go to church (we took them, we did not send them).  We were actively involved in their school events and extracurricular activities.  In their younger years we coached Little League, taught Sunday School and loved watching them in whatever sport they were playing.

Now divorce has entered our family.  Two of our sons have chosen this path and it is a heartbreaking time in the life of a family because in a divorce the family is fractured.  It is not only the splitting couple who suffer from this disease, but their children suffer emotional setbacks that may take years to heal.  Relationships are divided…our daughters-in-law were like daughters to us.  When the boys were on deployment it was the girls who kept us informed, visited, or we visited them.  They sent cards and gifts and called to keep us attached to their family and to our sons.  The divorces removed this relationship – eight people no longer play a part in our daily lives; 2 sons, 2 daughters-in-law and 4 of our 7 grandchildren.  Our two sons quickly remarried and made it clear that they want nothing to do with us.  I miss my sons, the ex-daughters-in-law and my grandchildren.

The only thing that keeps me grounded is God’s Word.  I am continually reminded that these things happen in life and I am not to be discouraged – John 16:33 in the words of Christ says, “I have told you these things, so that in  me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  And so my focus must be on God’s Word, on His peace and not on my family’s failures or successes whatever they may be.  I will rejoice when they rejoice and I will weep when they weep.  I love my family and God’s Word has something to say about that too…”Love one another.”

We pray for our sons – all 3 of them – oh did I mention that while all of this family division ensued our third son, wife and 3 children deployed to another country taking them out of the family circle for a time.  Interesting, I thought, that all of this happened at the same time AND my husband began a 2nd shift job.  After 42 years of marriage we no longer have dinner together, not connected like we were, and I find myself at home, quiet, blogging, or working on a Bible study, watching a  movie or playing a search-n-find game on my iPad.  BUT life goes on.  I’m adjusting to my quiet time, knitting more, actively involved in a women’s prison ministry and finding joy in life and my full-time job.   The 3rd son is about to move back into the country – HURRAH!  We get to visit over Christmas – DOUBLE HURRAH!  FAMILY, up close and personal, not just FaceTime is what I am looking forward to.

The moral of the story?  Don’t take your family for granted – LOVE ONE ANOTHER EVERY DAY!

UPDATE:  WOW does God answer prayer!  Those two sons have remarried the most lovely women and we are thankful.  We communicate with one another and enjoy the company of one another.  The son who had moved to Japan, then CA, now lives just 4 hours away from us and we visit often.  Our middle son’s new wife has 3 children so we now have 3 new grandchildren and are blessed to be able to visit them too.  Our oldest son, though he lives Waaaayyyy up north, we have a sweet relationship with his wife and him.  God is good!

We pray for and still communicate with our ex-daughers-in-law.  My prayer is for all of our family to forgive past hurts.  In the Bible Jesus’ words are clear to us… “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”  Matthew 6:14.

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