Saturday, December 24, 2016

No Returns this Christmas

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness
alight has dawned.(Isaiah 9:2)

And so this is Christmas…..

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Songs that remind us, it’s here again.

It happens every year. We promise that we will not get ourselves worked up or stressed. We say we will not run around until we exhaust ourselves. But some of us have not been truthful to ourselves again.

It’s all in the planning!

We get the food; we invite family and friends for the pinnacle event of the year.

We have visited every mall and craft event. We tell ourselves, “I have to get the perfect gift”.

A long, long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible says

Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ, Was born on Christmas Day.

Promises from long ago echo and our world is about to change.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given. (Isaiah 9:6a)

I heard on the radio, “Before the apple was fully digested, God had a plan”.

Christmas began before we started celebrating.

He did not rush, he did not stress. The One who never tires or sleeps was very careful to choose a Gift for us. A Gift that would unravel us; a treasure that we would be able to share with all; a prize to the ones that seemed to have lost everything.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. (Isaiah 9:2)

The Gift.

The day after Christmas is just as hectic as the days preceding it. Why you ask?

That perfect gift we choose will soon be returned. We the gift-giver failed to fully know what the recipient needed. Yes, grandma does not need new slippers. Actually, last year’s package is still in the closet. Mom and dad would love to go on that trip but what they really desire is to spend more time with the grandchildren. All that time you spent in Toys R Us getting the latest toy –yes it will be in the toy box with the rest of the trinkets very soon. Oh, and the husband that gets his wife an 80” TV. Oh sure that was for her. Let’s not forget the Christmas sweater! It will be obsolete in about 10 days.

Fruit cake. Well, need I say more?

Wow, I sound like the Grinch!

OK, let's re-focus here.

In our search for the perfect gift, sometimes we miss the mark.

We put a lot of effort in the temporary.

The eternal joys come from glory.

Our Father in Heaven knew exactly what we needed.

Truly He taught us to love one another

His law is love and His gospel is peace

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother

And in His name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,

Let all within us praise His holy name

This gift comes straight from the King’s palace.

This Gift is multi-faceted.

Receive it and it continues to unfold more.

From the depths of the Father’s heart he offers reconciliation, love, joy, peace.
Once you get the gift, he is delighted if you pass it on!

Oh, but please don’t reject it.

Once you experience the Gift he causes a heart transformation that leaves us with a mark, a great seal that we can’t wait to share! There is no returning this Gift!

Take the Gift and wrap it in a conversation. Take it to the homeless or the king’s court. 
Share in the Valley or shout it from the rooftops. 
Please, share the “Good News”.

Good Christian men, rejoice,

With heart and soul, and voice;

Give ye heed to what we say:

Jesus Christ is born to-day;

He gave His best.

"Fear not, then," said the angel,

"Let nothing you affright;

This day is born a Savior

Of a pure virgin bright,

To free all those who trust in him

From Satan's power and might."

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy,

O tidings of comfort and joy!

Merry Christmas and to all a good night!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

God bless you!~Liz

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Ransom for Many

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45(NIV)
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
We gather together as free men and women to celebrate Christmas. As Christians we celebrate the birth of our Lord.  In addition, we look to the cross, the place that was destined for this little innocent life held by Mary and Joseph.
A Miracle in the barn!
Yes God in the flesh, Emmanuel.  
The Scriptures read like this, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
A Ransom.  
This little baby came to free men and women that were jailed.  A people confined by their sin and destined for separation from their Creator forever.
He stepped into time and became an exchange, a payment to free those trapped by their disobedience. 
They had traded life for death.
Here comes the Redeemer.  
"He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to deatheven death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:7-8)
He indeed is the Savior of the World.
A ransom for many.
Are you in the many?  Truly he came to die for ALL but not all have responded.
Imagine you are held captive by an enemy.  You have been deprived of living a full life.  You have been separated from Love.  In the middle of the night the rescue plan begins to unfold. Truly the plan has been a long time in the making.  Your ransom has been paid. You are free to go.  Who would remain in the deplorable condition?  Who would choose to live life as a prisoner? Who would turn away "the rescue plan"?
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
A ransom for many.
Are you in the many?  
God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I got the Power!

"And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)

Last night as I leisurely reclined on the couch I pulled out my tablet to get some work done. 

Getting my stylus together I wanted to use it but quickly realized there was something wrong.

I called tech-support (my son) and asked him to look into the dilemma. I connected the pen via Bluetooth. Great, pen connected! I began to use it and once again I cannot get it to work.

I installed some updates on the tablet. I double checked settings. I eventually dismissed my son and proceeded to once again start from scratch. Uninstall, install, disconnect, connect and on and on it went.

About 90 minutes later I am just as frustrated as when I started. See I could click the pen and get it to open the software but it would not do anything else. It might as well be dead!

Once again you could hear my voice echoing through the house. Another call to tech support, “Mike I need your help again”.

Sometimes in life we need assistance.

We need help but often fail to tap into the answer; the simple solution.

What is the meaning of life? 
Wow, where did that question come from? 
Well, we all have a life. If you are reading this then you are actually experiencing yours! 

Is there a God? 
Well, truly there are many gods. Ask Paul .

For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. (Acts 17:23-25)

Yes, I am a born-again believer, surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I believe he came to die for my sins and my surrender has caused new life to emerge.

Not life without meaning or purpose, but life empowered by the Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity! Life with direction and purpose.

After the resurrection Jesus spoke to his disciples and shared about a gift he would send. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Life without the Holy Spirit is powerless.

So, tech-support arrives and he examines the tablet. 

He takes the stylus in his hand and asks the question, “does this battery have power?

I could have said, “now what kind of question is that?” Instead, I said, “let me check my bag”.

Well, sure enough the stylus had a battery in it but it was the old dead battery.  No matter how many times I would have tried, the results would have been the same –ineffective, powerless to accomplish anything .

I never installed the new battery.

New battery and it worked powerfully!

No power, no victory.

Jesus, not just any god but Almighty God! Jesus the Savior of the World. 

Born in a stable. Died on a cross. Walked out of the tomb. 

Yes, he sits at the right hand of the Father.

He takes what is dead and brings it to life. 

He sent what he promised –the Holy Spirit!

He inhabits my life and gives me power to live life!

Without the Holy Spirit life is powerless.

It’s a simple solution.

He has drawn us but we must respond.

He offers the gift. Emmanuel, God with us. He sent his Spirit who guides us!

No power, no victory.

"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." (Acts 4:13)

Have you been with Jesus? Have you been empowered by the Holy Spirit?

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

God bless you!~Liz

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Are you sick?

Luke 8:46 (NIV)
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

A leader falls to his feet and a sick women reaches to touch him.

Both receive healing. One intercedes for his 12-year old daughter. The other unashamedly reaches to touch just the hem of his cloak.

It’s all about Jesus.

How desperate are you? How acute is the need?

This morning as social media pings all over the world, I too would like to make my mark.

I’d like to pray for the sick.

My brother-in-law Ivan is in a hospital undergoing treatment for cancer.

I’m the one running to Jesus and kneeling to intercede for him. Lord have mercy.

Heal your servant’s brother-in-law.

Perhaps you are reading this and you too need a touch from the Master.

Add your name in the reply.

I’ll pray for you.

We take every opportunity God gives us to pour out our hearts to him.

Let’s pray – this is the only day we have promised.  

Let’s come with thanksgiving and gratitude to God Almighty. Plead your cause before the Healer.

Give him praise –he alone is worthy!

Lord have mercy on us.

Touch your people. 

Draw us close to you. 

Forgive us for our sins and our casual expression of Awe for you. 

Help our hearts and even our deep cry bring your Name honor and reverence.

Help us Father.

God bless you!~Liz

Saturday, December 3, 2016


Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. John 8:8

Many years ago when we were building the extension of our home, during the foundation process we did something to remember all who had toiled with us in preparation to our new living room.

Many had come to assist my husband in pouring cement to what would be the place where we would gather for many years.  Friends and family would come and gather, fireplace lit and laughter filling the room.  A place where God’s grace would echo.

The foundation that held this room together was purposely inscribe with the laborers of the day.  If you are reading this, you know who you are.  Bless you!

My mom and my father-in-law were there that day.  Today they are in glory with the Lord.  I love the fact that their names are still written in the concrete foundation; beneath the living room floor where I gather daily.  

Those who gave of their time have made our living room what it is today.

It was a simple gesture but a warming sentiment in my heart.

Today that memory came to my mind when I read Jeremiah 17.

The Lord was speaking through Jeremiah about those who sinned and turned away from the Lord. 

Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.” (v. 13)

We always have an option to turn to the Lord.  Let’s not wait until the Lord has to get our attention because we refuse to obey.

In the Book of John, we see a women caught in adultery. Her accusers bring her to Jesus.  

They expected Jesus to condemn her. What they encountered was grace for the sinner. 

The Bible says that Jesus stooped down and began to write in the dirt.  The Scriptures doesn’t elaborate on what was written. 

After reading Jeremiah today, I wonder if the accuser’s names were being written down, one by one. 
Names in the dirt that will be blown away with the winds of the day. Never to be remembered.

Jesus came was to minister grace and mercy; the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God
(1 Peter 3:18).

When the self-righteous accuse –they find God himself speaking directly to them.

Are we listening?

No one is good, except God. (Romans 3:10)

The Lord is always giving us opportunities to experience and also to exercise his mercy and grace; to be imitators of Christ. 

Let's do as he does.

As we receive his mercy and grace, our lives become alive in Christ.  It causes us to be victorious over death!

“The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.” (Revelation 3:5)

”Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10-11)

Mercy and grace extended to us that we in turn would do the same.

God bless you!~Liz


 Acts 9:32-34 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas,...