Pentecost in Acts: Acts 3:11-26 Connection Restored

After Peter declared to the paralyzed man to get up and walk in the name of Jesus, the people around saw him jumping, running and walking and praising God. The people who saw this were utterly astounded. Peter once again preaches to the crowd that gathered. He explained how the Jesus they had handed over to be killed had risen from the grave and there is power in the name of Jesus, the risen Lord.

“And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.” Acts 3:16 ESV

And concluded that repentance, turning from their wickedness to God so that Jesus may restore all things.

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.” Acts 3:19-21 ESV

Jesus came so that what was lost, our relationship with God and our original design—us as God’s image bearer—could be restored. This comes through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, uniting us with Him. Our connection to God that was lost through sin is reconnected by the Holy Spirit’s filling of us. This connection gives us power and boldness to declare Jesus name over impossible and to see God work miracles in the lives around us!

May we repent, turning from our wickedness to God, and be filled with His Holy Spirit, connected to Him, so we too may bring glory to God in the words we speak and the deeds we do!

Reflections on John 17:13-26: That They All May be One

We really don’t know what it means to live in unity, oneness. Back in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned, separation became all we knew and still is all we know. Sin separates us from God and others. Death separates us from loved ones. We live our lives very familiar with being separated from the ones we were meant to be in unity/ oneness with here and now. It may be physical separation, emotional separation, or spiritual separation. We know nothing but separation, but Jesus came to end separation.

In this section of scripture, Jesus is praying to the Father and speaks of something that as a sinful human being seems impossible, even scandalous to believe.

“that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:21 ESV

Jesus speaks of Himself being one with the Father and being “in” Him. Then He prays that we are in them, the Father and the Son. We are invited into a life where separation from God is no more. We are invited to participate in His nature and to be His representative here on earth. We are invited to such closeness to God that we are one with Him: Having His mind, the mind of Christ, Having His Spirit, the Holy Spirit connecting us to Him. It is all about relationship with God, which is fellowship or friendship.

We settle for far less than we were intended to have by living after ourselves (our flesh) and not God. We want our own ways and to follow our own paths. YET We have the greatest invitation of all, to be united in oneness with God and to go with Him.

Jesus longs for us to be in Him and to experience Him fully. May our hearts cry be the same!

Reflections on John 15:1-17: Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing

“…apart from me you can do nothing”—Jesus

Do I really live like I believe what He said?

In this section of scripture (John 15:1-17), Jesus compared us to a branch that hangs down off a vine. That vine provides the very life flow of nutrients to the branch. The branch’s responsibility is to receive what is given to it and to bear fruit by staying connected to the vine. The branch has to stay connected, “remain in the vine.”

I have lived as a rebellious vine more than once. I was convinced that I could do things my own way, live without seeking to absorb the Vine’s nutrients- His living water, His Word (The Bible). I have thought I was ok disconnected and on my own. Living for me…

The truth is NO BRANCH prospers when it is disconnected from the VINE! You and I are the Branches. Jesus is the Vine! May we examine ourselves today. Are we trying to live our lives without being fully connected to Jesus? Do we come to Him in prayer and search for Him in His Word knowing it is THE VERY LIFE OF GOD that flows into us if we only open ourselves to it’s flow? Jesus spoke words that are soooo true, do we hear them? “…apart from Me you can do nothing!”

If life seems to be far from His peace, His joy, and His love, check your connection. He longs for us to be closely connected to Him for our good and His glory!

Christmas in Luke (Day21)

To be honest when I skimmed over the text this morning, I was having a hard time finding Christmas in this chapter. Much of it is a description Jesus gave of future events that included hardships, persecution, and death. He encouraged His disciples to stay faithful, to “stand firm” (Verse 19), to “stand up and lift up your heads…” (Verse 28)

But I looked once more at the first four verses of the chapter. Jesus was at the temple and watched as a poor widow came and “out of her poverty put in all she had to live on,” (Verse 4) into the offering box. She came and worshipped God with all she had.

In the account of the first Christmas there were several ordinary people who willingly laid aside their plans and gave all they had in order to be instruments of worship. Joseph obeyed the angels instruction to take Mary as his wife when he had found out she was pregnant and the baby wasn’t his. Mary was willing to go through the humility of becoming pregnant with God’s Son when those around her would not believe. The shepherds came to worship a King when they were not affluent or royal.

Today I find myself poor in spirit as well. Life’s circumstances and my mother’s sickness weigh heavily on my heart. But if I look at the widow as an example, I find myself wanting to give out of my poverty in my heart. I haven’t got much to give, but I can give my gratitude. I have a hope that no matter what my day, my week, my month may bring my God is bigger. His love sustains me.

Yes the worship of the first Christmas was the same as the poor widow. It was worship given out of lack to the one who supplies all our needs. May that be the worship of my heart as well. If all that I have is a hallelujah may I give it because He is worthy.

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“I could sing these songs
As I often do
But every song must end
And You never do
So I throw up my hands
And praise You again and again
‘Cause all that I have is a hallelujah
And I know it’s not much
But I’ve nothing else fit for a King
Except for a heart singing hallelujah

WOW Devotion- 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13

I have been writing weekly devotions for a local ministry, Women on Wednesdays.

Here is the latest written about how a heart that is wholly devoted to God loves:

Click on Link Below

Praying With Your Eyes Open- originally written October 2011

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God”….. Brother Lawrence

This morning I was reminicing about how my life has been since having 4 kids and homeschooling them. “Busy”, is the best word to describe my days. Usually it is an early morning cooking, teaching, cleaning, driving, refereeing fights, trying to spend one on one time with each of the kids, grocery shopping… the list could go on and on. I was reflecting on how life was pre kids and then pre marriage, how I had time.

In all this, there has been a gift given to me.Something I did not recognize as a gift at first.It has been how my relationship with God has changed. Out of necessity I have found myself praying at all times of the day in all situations. I find myself praying while doing dishes, cooking supper, waiting for my kids to finish their assignments, cleaning toilets… It is the “continual converstation” that Brother Lawrence was talking about, and it is the most sweet and delightful thing in this world.

Here lately, I have been trying to pray for people if I think about them. If I find myself thinking about situations that a loved one or friend is in I breathe a short prayer for them. I’ve also placed a list of people on my refrigerator that I feel particularly impressed on to pray for. I figured that with my job, that is the place I will see the list the most.

In all this God has shown me that spending time with Him is not complicated. He is there waiting all I have to do is speak and recognize His presence with me.

This gift is not for me alone, but for anyone. God loves it when we reach for Him. His promise is to fill us if we hunger and thirst for Him.

In saying all of this, I am reminded of a funny story about a time of prayer that I had…One time, while I was driving, I began to pray under my breath for something. One of my daughters was pretty little and asked me what I was doing. I replied, ” I’m praying. ” She then asked me, ” You do have your eyes open right?”

So remember if God draws you into this ongoing blessing of a life of prayer to always pray with your eyes open while driving : )

Dangerous Prayers

I’m not sure when it started, the drift. My best guess is 5 years ago, maybe more.. That’s why it’s called a drift. You just slowly give up on or slowly release your determination to believe one way and shift another way. Then all of a sudden you wake up and realize you’re not where you used to be spiritually. Those around you may not even know you’ve been evolving slowly because you’ve been looking for and developing reasons to justify your unbelief.

My drift has stopped! Thank God! The past couple of years God has pulled me out of it and set me back on course. But every once and awhile I find myself thinking like I did when I was adrift. God has been faithful to point out “Is that really the truth?” To me over and over.

The past few weeks my eyes have been opened to another area I had let drift away- a desire to listen to the Holy Spirit’s direction, to hunger for Him to show me His will, and the earnest prayer for Him to fill me full of Him. I had put them in a file in my head called “Dangerous Prayers”.

In my mind “Dangerous Prayers” were… well… dangerous. Dangerous because it would require me to step out in faith as opposed to hovering in the shadows of fear. Dangerous because I would have to let go of my plans, my choices, and my will and obey God. That’s the irony of it all “Dangerous Prayers” are dangerous to a heart that wants to drift. Because once you pray them, sincerely and from the heart you are no longer drifting and flirting with unbelief.

“Dangerous Prayers” are really only dangerous to one person, our enemy, Satan. Our enemy knows the moment we sincerely pray from our heart to the Holy Spirit asking Him to fill us full of Him and to make us sensitive to His voice with a heart of sincere obedience, his plans for our demise are done. No wonder the enemy wants us to believe that prayers of surrender are dangerous!

Maybe it’s just me the enemy tries this on, but I bet it’s not. He tries to convince me that if I pray “Dangerous Prayers” then he will put me in his crosshairs and aim his firey darts more frequently. I assure you as one who has been there and done that, this could not be any more false. His attacks are relentless no matter if you cower in a corner afraid to pray or stand boldly declaring God’s Word and His Power. All the more reason to pray the “dangerous prayers”. The only safe place to be is “IN THE LORD our refuge and fortress”, and the best way to get there is to pray the “Dangerous Prayers”. Prayers for the Holy Spirit to help me to hear, obey, and abide in His presence alone are the only safe place to be. They are prayers of safety for the believer. But dangerous to our enemy.

I’ve discovered a pretty good rule of thumb to operate in here lately. If I hear a fearful voice shouting that praying sincerely from my heart, “I want the Holy Spirit to lead me in every area of my life” is dangerous because… “What will God make you do…” Then DUH… PRAY IT! That’s just another “Dangerous Prayer” that needs to be prayed. Why would I not want to follow the only voice that promises to lead me in “Paths of Righteousness for His names sake” i.e., “Good paths/ Peaceful ones” the voice of the One who promises a “Future and a Hope” for me? So, when I hear the lying voice say, “Don’t pray that! That’s a Dangerous Prayer!” May my reply be, “Well thank you for the reminder I believe I will.”

Name Drop, A Brush with the Greatness, Relationship

I’m not what I would consider a musician. I can play the piano some. I have family members that are musicians, which is how I became familiar with a phenomenon of the musician’s world, “Name dropping”. Name dropping is naming someone you have played music with while in a conversation with someone who may not know what level of a musician you are. The more popular or talented the musician is that you can name you have played music with/ the more talented you appear to be because of the association. All it takes is one performance/ gig with the mentioned musician and you have developed your cred.

Another game people who want to impress another might play is talking about your “brushes with greatness” Here’s a couple of mine… prepare to be blown away… #1. When I was in college I went to church with the “Miss America” of that year. She was super sweet and I’m sure she still is. #2. When my husband and I were first married and poor, we had a small duplex we rented. One time we had the then House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt’s daughter over for dinner that I cooked a meal for her in our humble abode. Long story, but she was a friend of a friend and the friend asked if I cared if she came along for the meal. Now I know you are hooked with all the credibility I have since I have spent time with some pretty famous people and on one occasion cooked for one. . Ha Ha.

I’ve been involved in this Bible study about “Abiding in Christ”. After reading today’s study on what it really means to “Abide”- live in Christ, close relationship, tight with Him, it occurred to me, so many “Christians”,including me at times, are content to “Name Drop” God instead of living in the relationship with Him. Or throw Him into the category of one of your “brushes with greatness”.

Here’s how I would define “Name Dropping God”- Saying “Yes, I believe In Jesus, I go to church at such and such place, I am most definitely there on Easter or Christmas… ” Maybe even having some religious artwork hanging around your house. OR “Brushes with greatness with God” – When I was nine, I had an experience with God, I prayed a prayer. Or 5 years ago I prayed, and God did a miracle for me, but those are my only experiences with God.” All of these are good things, but God wants to go past our “Name dropping” and “Brushes with greatness” that we have with Him. He wants us to experience Him on the regular/ daily. He wants relationship. He wants to take us from knowing of Him, to knowing Him, from feeling His occasional touch to being connected with Him like Jesus talked about in John 17:33 When He said He wanted us to realize the “I in them, and You in Me”, the interconnectedness of truly finding ourselves living in Him.

Maybe a more practical illustration would help to wrap this all up. I’ve been married for 29 years, not an easy feat in today’s world, but it has been a great 29 years, because of the “relationship” I have with my husband. We’ve been together long enough that I often know what he is thinking, finish his sentences, can predict what he will do next. And the same goes for Him with me. Now imagine if all our relationship revolved around was “Name dropping”. “My husband has street cred for being the best husband, because he can mention knowing me, but he hasn’t ever hung out with me… or “My husband is legit! One time he met “the most famous husband in the world” But he rarely sits next to me in our living room.

29 years together requires lots of time, weekends away, old people dates to Menards together, holding hands- my favorite 🙂 , working through arguments- not my favorite, being together, etc. A “name drop” or “brush with greatness” simply is not enough. We have to be as the Bible describes it “ONE”. And this is what Jesus desires from us as well. He wants us to “be in Him, and He be in Us” not just conveniently bearing His name so we some how seem “legit” spiritually and have heavenly “cred” with Him. He loves us! He wants more and may the cry of our hearts be “more of Him”!

I Thought I Knew (Poem 5/24/2022)

More than once in my 40 year walk with the Lord, I’ve come to conclusions that my way is best, and more than once in my 40 year walk with the Lord, I’ve figured out it isn’t. Every so often God allows me a course correction, usually entailing me having a brief glimpse of who I really am and who He is. It’s at that point I feel all the feels Isaiah did when he exclaimed, “Woe to me!! … I am ruined!!” I think God allows us those peeks every so often so we can see just how much it was that we thought we knew and we didn’t.

I Thought I Knew

I thought I knew how to grab ahold of You, to be close to Your side.
But how can I know how to dwell in unapproachable light?

I thought I had you figured out, what to say to move Your heart.
But how can my earthly words command You, the One who orders the stars?

I thought I could impress You by all the good I've done.
But how can I compare to You, whose righteousness outshines the sun?

I thought I had perfected the tricks to make me be alright.
But how can my performance compare to the price You paid when on the cross You died?

I thought I could fix myself, present to You my best side.
But all You wanted me to do was surrender and Abide.

Isaiah 6:5
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”