THANKSGIVING-DON’T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED!

As we conclude our GRATITUDE series I pray we never stop giving THANKS to God!

In the frustration, discouragement and sadness, sometimes even anger, about all that we are “losing” in North America, my prayer this Thanksgiving season is that we do not take for granted this North American holiday.

Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States of America. It is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. These New England colonists were in practice of prayer and fasting to give thanks to God and to ask Him for protection and guidance. The first Thanksgiving was a three day long feast thanking God for the successful harvest, their families and new friendship with the Native Americans who helped them!

Thanksgiving was celebrated nationally with a proclamation by our first President George Washington in 1789. However, Thomas Jefferson chose not to observe the holiday and it was put on hold until 1863. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Lincoln called on the American people to also, “With humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience- fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal wounds of the nation…”

Sounds like the perfect proclamation for our Nation today!

Abraham Lincoln declared it to be observed on the last Thursday in November.

On June 28, 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law in the ‘Holidays Act’ that made Thanksgiving a yearly appointed federal holiday. President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date to one week earlier and there it has stayed.

The observance of a holiday, a day set aside to Give Thanks to God for His provision, is nothing to take for granted!  

As Halloween becomes one of the most popular holidays in America and the most decorated, only to be surpassed by Christmas immediately after, Thanksgiving is in danger of becoming ‘The Forgotten Holiday.’ I believe as Christians we need to thank our God and our country for a day to “Give Thanks” to God. It is an opportunity for us to demonstrate God’s Love. We can invite others to feast with us. We can have hearts full of gratitude and thanks and ask God to forgive us when we fall short. 

Above all we can remember to be thankful and grateful for the privilege of celebrating Thanksgiving!

“Give thanks with a grateful heart, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

I Thessalonians 5:18

TRUTH BOMB

GIVE THANKS WITH A GRATEFUL HEART, IT IS A PRIVILEGE!

LET’S PRACTICE

T – Time – Thank you God for time with those I love.

H – Hot Chocolate – Thank you God for the joy of drinking hot chocolate with my grand babies.

A – Apples – Thank you God for apples. I especially love them with almond butter and cinnamon.

N – New Friends – Thank you God for bringing new friends to our church.

K – Kettle corn – Thanks you God for kettle corn at Apple Hill enjoyed every year with my family.

S – Snow – Thank you God for SNOW! I LOVE the snow! I love skiing in it, sledding in it, building snowmen in it and throwing snowballs from it. I even love just staring at it!

G – Green Grass – Thank you God for luscious green grass that looks like a velvet blanket spreading over the rolling hills.

I – Invitations – Thank you God for invitations to meet new people and to invite people to church!

V – Vines- Thank you God for grape vines that show your splendor through every season.

I – Ice -Thank you God for Ice.  I really do not like warm drinks!

N – November – Thank you God for the month of November when the weather turns cool and we get to celebrate Thanksgiving.

G – Gifts – Thank you God for the many gifts you so generously give us.

Now it’s your turn! What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

May we never take for granted the true gift that it is to give THANKS to our Great God!

Speak Truth Love

GROW IN GRATITUDE

I have a question for you! Are you growing? 

I’m not talking about in size and I’m not even talking about your plants outside. I am asking if you are growing in gratitude?

Last week I challenged myself and anyone else who wanted to join me, to practice habits of gratitude. I suggested we write five things every day that we are thankful to God for. 

How far did you get? Shamefully, I got as far as the five things I wrote on my blog last week! Oh sure, I thank God throughout the week as I thought about giving him gratitude. I sat in church on Sunday and I thank him during prayer. I even got up several mornings during the week and thanked him for the day. But did I name five things every day, on purpose and offer thankfulness in my heart to develop a habit? No, absolutely not. I blew it!

I sadly allowed this “INSTANT” culture that I have allowed to seep into my character prevail.

We live in a world that is “INSTANT” driven.

INSTANT COMMUNICATION, we have cell phones that never leave our hands except to be transferred to a nightstand.

INSTANT SOCIAL MEDIA, we can make a response simply by clicking an emoji! One source even bears the name “INSTAGRAM!”

INSTANT POTS, that cook the food we dump into them in half the time as normal.

And INSTANT FOOD, better known as “FAST FOOD.” It is handed to us in an INSTANT through a drive-through window.

INSTANT has not just become second nature… It has in many cases become our very nature! We have become so accustomed to having everything in an INSTANT, that working hard and developing a habit towards some thing can seem like a flat out failure!

As sincere as we may be about having GRATITUDE, and giving praise to God, it can become an almost impossible task!

We cannot simply push a button, flip a switch, drive through and pick it up or have it delivered to our doorstep! Therefore, it can easily get tossed in the “non-valuable“ pile!

GRATITUDE is not some thing that happens instantaneously! it is some thing that is developed, it is a process and it takes time! It is possibly, the most valuable trait we could possess.

If we would stop trusting the world, and begin trusting the Word of God, we would soon see that developing a habit of gratitude and growing in gratitude, is as vital to our well-being as breathing in air!

Shout  joyfully to the Lord all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.”  

Psalm 98:4

We are commanded to shout, to break out in song, to rejoice and to sing our praises to our great God! If we his people don’t, then his earth, his creation will!

To praise our God should be as easy as breathing or eating to us. No one should have to remind me to breathe! And no one has ever had to remind me to eat! Yet again, and again, and again I naturally fall into complaining and forget to praise my God. He is so deserving!

A form of gratitude is praise. Praise is defined as, “The offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship.“

So this week, I am determined to do better than last! I am determined to grow in gratitude and to develop a character of praise! I am also determined to fight against the INSTANT culture that I live in and take the time that is needed to Praise my Great God who is SO deserving!

TRUTH BOMB

GROWING IN GRATITUDE GOES AGAINST THE “INSTANT” CULTURE WE LIVE IN!

Any one else need a “re-do?” If so will you join me?

I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOU AND FOR SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH CHANCES!

Speak Truth Love

GRATITUDE

Let’s make it a HABIT!

A habit can be positive or negative.  

They can help us or hurt us. When the word ‘HABIT’ is spoken it normally brings up negative connotations. However, the definition of a ‘HABIT’ leans as much toward positive behavior as it does to negative behavior!

In the dictionary a ‘HABIT’ is defined as;

“An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.”

The problem is not in the definition, it lies in the action! A HABIT can be either positive or negative depending on the action taken.

Look at these examples:

1. The habit of exercising regularly.

2. The habit of eating healthy foods in smaller portions.

3. The habit of drinking 8 or more glasses of water a day.

All of these “Healthy Habits,” take time, commitment and sacrifice. They call us into ACTION. We will feel better in the long run, but we are sacrificing the momentary pleasure.

Now look at these examples:

1. Eating a sweet or salty treat every day, or maybe several times a day.

2. Drinking alcohol after work every day. 

3. Using narcotics regularly to get through the day.

All of these “HABITS” are done quickly and easily and the “feel better feelings” come instantaneously. Instead of sacrificing momentary pleasure, we have made a habit out of momentary pleasure.

The HABIT I would like to make in my life is that of GRATITUDE. Research shows that it is a positive HABIT not just spiritually(with my relationship with God), but also physically, mentally and emotionally!

People who are grateful are known to be depressed less(mental/physical), get better grades in school(mental), sleep better and stay healthy(physical), and have deeper friendship(emotional).

BASICALLY, GRATITUDE IS GOOD FOR YOU!

AFTERALL, GRATITUDE IS GOD’S WILL FOR US!

“GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; FOR THIS IS GOD’S WILL FOR YOU IN CHRIST JESUS.”          
I THESSALONIANS 5:18

As we read God’s Word we see the theme of GRATITUDE! There are literally hundreds of verses telling us to give thanks or offer praise to God.

God knew that GRATITUDE would affect our lives positively!

TRUTH BOMB

LIVING AS GRATEFUL PEOPLE IS GOD’S WILL FOR OUR LIVES.

So, whether your life is moving along smoothly or you feel like you are walking in quicksand, GRATITUDE is the antidote.

William Penn put it this way;

“The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their trouble.”

So, let’s make it a habit! Through the month of November let’s focus on a way each week that we can make GRATITUDE a HABIT.

This week let’s make a daily habit to write down five things that we are thankful for.

I’ll get us started;

1. God

2. Family

3. Friends

4. Church

5. Music

Now it’s your turn!

Speak Truth Love

I AM, THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

Life, what is it?

We spend so much time trying to live it, but do we ever define it?

A baby is born and we celebrate life.  A loved one dies and we grieve life.  

We tell a small child reaching for the flower on a stem, not to pick it or it will cease to live.

We even see a dead animal on the side of the road and feel sadness at the loss of life.

Last week my husband came home from work and said he saw the saddest sight. He was driving home on his usual route which winds through some beautiful wine country. It was Fall and he was marveling at all of the beautiful autumn colors on the vines and trees. There were brilliant yellows, golds, oranges and reds. It looked like the plants were virtually on fire with color. All of a sudden his admiration turned to shock as he saw a beautiful deer, lying dead on the side of the road. He commented that while it was not a baby, it was young. It was too soon for this life to be over!

Life, what does that mean?

The scientific definition is fairly simple to wrap our minds around:

“The condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms.”  

Basically, Life verses Death!

What I am referring to is more than physical existence. I am referring to the gift we have been given by God.

God desires that we be full of Life, lively, animated and spirited (full of His spirit)!

God sent His Son, Jesus to give us Life. Through Jesus Christ we have both Life here on earth and Life eternal forever in heaven with Him!

In this incredible I AM statement that Jesus makes here in John 11:25-26, Jesus is declaring that Yes, we will have LIFE through the Resurrection in the end where we will join all the righteous of The Lord! We will also have that life daily as we live and breathe as “organisms” on this earth. We have LIFE through the Resurrection and The Life Himself, Jesus Christ!

“I am The Resurrection and The Life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus was talking to Martha here, a very dear friend. Her brother, Lazarus (also a very dear friend), had become ill and died. Martha desperately mourned her brother’s death and told Jesus that if he had been here her brother would not have died.  

Jesus, loving them both, replies to Martha, 

Your brother will rise again.”

Martha responds like most of us would, out of her limited understanding of who God really is.

I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  John 11:24

In Truth and Confidence, Jesus declares this I AM statement to convey greater Truth about who He is!

He is The Resurrection and The Life. If we believe in Him we have life eternal forever with Him and Life on this earth.

To prove this point Jesus raises Lazurus from the dead. I cannot even imagine the life Lazurus must have lived on this earth after that!  I can almost guarantee he lived with greater purpose than ever before!  I bet he lived with greater life, animation and spirit than he did before.

Lazurus did eventually die a physical death on this earth like we all will. But due to “The Resurrection and The Life” Himself, Jesus, and Lazurus choosing to believe in Him, Lazurus now LIVES the eternal LIFE promised to all of us.

The question I have for us today is, Are we living to die, or are we dying to live?

I hope that we are not just passing the days here on earth virtually “lifeless,” demonstrating no joy or gratitude for the life we have been given, AKA: “Living to die.”

Instead, I hope that we are “Dying to live!” Living every day God gives us life on this earth with a spirit that reflects God’s Love.

TRUTH BOMB

IN JESUS WE DON’T JUST COUNT OUR DAYS, WE MAKE OUR DAYS COUNT!

Let’s live fully until we die, to honor the One who is The Resurrection and The Life, Jesus Christ!

Speak Truth Love

THE I AM’S OF JESUS, THE GOOD SHEPHERD 

Does anyone feel like they’ve “got it all together?” Does anyone feel like they are solid in their emotions and feelings? Does anyone feel like they are the first one to raise their hand when asked if they are a leader? These are not rhetorical questions that I am asking. I am dead serious. If you answer YES to all of these with no hesitation, you may have another issue altogether, and it is not a lack of confidence!

Most of us would actually answer NO, to all three or at least two of these questions at one time or another, if not on a daily basis. 

Why? Because we tend to be more fearful than brave. We struggle to be bold rather than timid. We can panic far quicker than we can maintain a level head. And we force ourselves to stand alone instead of following the crowd.

As much as we may fantasize about being a “super hero,” truth is, we fall more into the category of SHEEP than anything else. We are prone to follow the mob psychology of the day and find ourselves too easily in a stampede headed for the cliff. We have little or no means of self-defense, we can only run or flee, and we become vulnerable to our enemy.

No one knows this more than our Creator, God. That is why He sent us a GOOD SHEPHERD.

“I AM The Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays His life down for His sheep.” John 10:11

“I AM The Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”  John 10:14

God did not just send us a shepherd to corral us and keep us in line. NO, our Great God sent us a GOOD SHEPHERD who knows us. He understands our propensity to follow the crowd, to wander and get off course. Still, He is there for us and guides us back to the safe path. He knows our hearts and is sympathetic when we are afraid and panic. He is there to comfort and calm our scared and fearful souls.

More than anything, we have a GOOD SHEPHERD who laid His life down so that we can live! He did not lay it down out of pressure or persuasion. He laid it down out of His deep LOVE for us, HIS SHEEP!

“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”      

John 10:18

In this phenomenal I AM statement of Jesus we not only have the assurance of our protection and comfort knowing Jesus is our Shepherd. Greater still is the truth that Jesus is establishing Himself here as our once and for all GOOD SHEPHERD. He is our Savior and our Redeemer. The 23rd Psalm is the beautiful Old Testament shepherd metaphor, reserved for God Himself.  Jesus is pronouncing that He is unequivocally the salvation that God promised. HE IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD, His VICTORY is won on the cross when He willingly gives His life for His sheep!

TRUTH BOMB

SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD GO ASTRAY, OUR GOOD SHEPHERD KEEPS US ON THE RIGHT PATH.

No matter how you are walking today, wobbly, straight, courageous, timid, panicked or sure-footed, you have a GOOD SHEPHERD who will gently guide you along the way!

Speak Truth Love

I AM, Truth Part 2

Last week we talked about the fact that JESUS IS TRUTH!  In His “I AM” statement He tells us that HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE!  

He, JESUS, being THE TRUTH, leads us in THE WAY we should go, and in choosing HIM we have LIFE eternal!

So knowing this makes it easy to determine what TRUTH is, right? WRONG!

Like we shared last week, we have many things in life vying for the position of TRUTH. Who do we listen to or not listen to? Who do we follow or not follow? Who do we trust or not trust?

The answer once again is JESUS, JESUS and JESUS!

I am not being facetious here! I am dead serious.

The only way to determine who to listen to, who to follow and who to trust is to listen to JESUS and know His TRUTH! The TRUTH, JESUS, is LOVE!  Love is JESUS!  Love is not an attribute He has, it is who He is. 

I John 4:8 tells us that “GOD IS LOVE.”  Love is who He is, therefore anything He would want us to listen to, follow or trust would have to have these traits:

Patience

Kindness

Hope

Endurance

Belief

Protection

Trust

Perseverance and

Eternal value.

It would be void of:

Envy

Strife

Arrogance

Rudeness

Selfishness

Irritability and

resentfulness.

Jesus spells it out for us in I Corinthians 13:4-8.  It is a so-called the “laundry list” if you will, to determining TRUTH.

THE TRUTH OF JESUS CHRIST WILL ALWAYS SEEK TO CONVICT YOU OF WHAT IS FALSE IN YOUR LIFE TO BRING YOU CLOSER TO HIM. IT WILL NEVER CONDEMN YOU AND FILL YOU WITH GUILT AND SELF CONDEMNATION.

TRUTH BOMB

JESUS IS TRUTH AND HIS LOVE CONVICTS US OF SIN, IT NEVER CONDEMNS US.

When Jesus convicts us, He is speaking the truth in love to us, calling us out to change our ungodly behavior. If we feel condemned, as if we are bad people and we can never change or become acceptable to God, that “voice” is not the voice of Jesus. That is the voice of the enemy of our souls. 

What is the truth?

There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus.” 

Romans 8:1

Jesus convicts us of our sin so that we will change and become more like Him. 

So even though change is hard, it is profitable as we seek to walk in the truth, aka Jesus Christ. So walk freely in Jesus, friends, free of condemnation because Jesus is LOVE and HE LOVES YOU!

Speak Truth Love

I AM, Week 5

TRUTH, do you care about it and do you want it?  By this point you are more than likely feeling like this is a rhetorical question!  Of course we want the TRUTH. The alternative is lies! None of us want to be lied to. The problem is, WHAT IS TRUTH?

Is TRUTH an opinion or a point of view? Is TRUTH determined by our intellect and the education we received? Is TRUTH acquired by the family of origin we were raised in?

Is TRUTH taught through the news channel we tune into or through the podcast we listen to? Is TRUTH delivered to our fingertips as we scroll through our social media? Is TRUTH indicative of our feelings and rights?

If your definition of TRUTH is defined by the culture we live in then the answer is YES, YES, YES, YES, YES and YES!

The world has defined TRUTH as a “Conformity with fact or reality.”  It is also defined as, “Agreement with a standard or original.”  Finally, it is defined as, “An obvious or accepted fact.”

Conformity, Agreement, and Accepted…all of these terms imply or even dictate that we be in some kind of understanding or agreement of the facts in order for it to be TRUTH!

When we allow these definitions of TRUTH to determine our definition of TRUTH we are in a world of trouble. We are frustrated, confused, angry, afraid and find ourselves in all kinds of quarrels and disputes! We are easily led astray and can find ourselves way too far down a wrong path. 

The world cannot define TRUTH for us! We must rely on the TRUTH Himself to not only define TRUTH in our lives, but to direct us how to SPEAK THAT TRUTH IN LOVE!

Sound familiar? I hope so!  That is the statement of my Blog Site, “SpeakTruthLove.com”

“Instead, speaking the TRUTH in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, CHRIST.”

TRUTH is not a definition, it is a person…TRUTH is JESUS CHRIST!

Jesus tells us Himself in the I AM statement for today, that HE IS THE TRUTH!

“JESUS ANSWERED, “I AM THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME.”  

JOHN 14:6

TRUTH BOMB

THE ONLY DEFINITION BY WHICH WE MUST DEFINE TRUTH IS JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF!

Do you feel anxious? Are you ever frustrated and confused trying to make heads or tails out of all of the information coming your way? Have you ever been misquoted, misunderstood or misinformed? If you have, you are in good company!

When Jesus speaks this I AM statement, He is in the Upper room having His last and final meal with His closest friends, His Disciples.  They are tired and frustrated and confused. They have received three years of instruction and modeling from JESUS Himself, yet they are wrought with anxiety as Jesus addresses them for the last time before His crucifixion.  Jesus tells them He is leaving them and that they are not to be troubled.

“DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED…..”   JOHN 14:1a

Thomas’ heart wrenching outcry here, chills me to the bone and reminds me of myself!

“Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  John 14:5

Does this sound familiar, it sure does to me!  “Lord, I believe I am right. This person is accusing me and they did not even ask me for the truth!”  Or, sometimes it goes more like this, “Lord, this person is credible, they must be speaking truth!”

Softly and lovingly I hear my JESUS whisper these words of TRUTH to me, “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE! No one comes to the Father except through me.” “You know the WAY to the place I am going, for I am also THE WAY, and you will have LIFE because you can come to the FATHER through me!”

TRUTH is not a definition left to debate, TRUTH is a person, TRUTH IS JESUS CHRIST and in that TRUTH you are set free!

Then you will know THE TRUTH, and THE TRUTH will set you free.”  John 8:32

TRUTH is not a relative word left to our conformity, agreement or acceptance, TRUTH is JESUS CHRIST and Him ALONE!

JESUS is the way, the truth and the life! There is no other life worth living!

Speak Truth Love

I AM, Week 4

I am sure you have noticed that there are different taste buds that we all have. For some of us there is nothing better than a big bowl of tortilla chips with a side of salsa and guacamole. For others, it is sheer delight to see a bowl of candy and have that sweet tooth satisfied. And for some, nothing will satisfy unless it is pure decadent chocolate!

For my family it is BREAD!  We love it sliced, pulled from the loaf, covered in butter or just plain! We love it served warm or cold and topped with seeds, grains or just plain sourdough! WE love bagels, rolls, muffins, croissants, cinnamon rolls, cookies and cupcakes. We certainly would never turn down a delicious slice of cake. But more than anything, we love BREAD!

From the time my first granddaughter could sit on the top of the kitchen counter without falling over, we have baked together. Every season it is a new batch of the seasonal favorite. We have aprons for every occasion and we plan our times together around our “Baking Adventures!”  Her third birthday party was actually a Baking Party! She had a chef’s hat and apron for that event. She calls herself, “Mamma’s Little Baker,” and earned her nick name “Cami Cakes”, from her love of baking. She is now 9 and has begun to bake on her own at home. She has a wonderful Mom who lets her try out recipes and cook up a few favorites. The family baking tradition continues as our second granddaughter is being schooled in the art of baking and loves to sit up on her kitchen counter and help her daddy make waffles from scratch or her mommy make cookies.  

My grandma taught me to bake and my favorite recipes to this day are the ones she handed down to me! In case you haven’t figured it out yet….YES, my family also loves to eat all of the delectable baked goods we make. However, at the top of everyone’s list is BREAD. That same first granddaughter was not even two when she was caught gnawing on a sourdough loaf as her PAPA pushed her in a stroller (She still does that today, aloughth she can now sit upright and hold the loaf, and does not require a stroller)! Bottom line, WE LOVE BREAD!

Bread is nourishing, satisfying and filling. Bread can be defined as food or sustenance. To “Break Bread,” is to eat a meal in companionship with others. It is also the definition we give to what we in the church call COMMUNION. We remember together the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on our behalf as His body was broken.

You may have already guessed it…this week the I AM statement of Jesus that we are reflecting on is,

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE.”  JOHN 6:35

In the very first “I Am,” statement of Jesus He declares Himself to be “THE BREAD OF LIFE!  Jesus finds Himself in a discussion about manna. Manna was the miraculous bread that God provided from heaven for His people, Israel, as they wandered in the desert. This BREAD kept the people of God alive while they wandered! Yet, they eventually did die. 

Jesus is telling us here that He is not only our BREAD of sustainment as we “wander” this earth, but He is more, so much more than that! He is THE BREAD OF LIFE! Not just life on this earth, that is sustainment, but LIFE ETERNAL!

“FOR MY FATHER’S WILL IS THAT EVERYONE WHO LOOKS TO THE SON AND BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, AND I WILL RAISE THEM UP AT THE LAST DAY.”  

JOHN 6:40

Jesus makes a bold statement here and declares that believers in Him will have endless life if they believe in and follow Him!

PRAISE GOD! Not only do we get to savor sourdough, but we get to be sustained and saved into eternity by the One True BREAD OF LIFE, JESUS CHRIST!

All we have to do is believe in and follow Him. He has made that as easy as “following a recipe!”  Now we can all be cooks!

Bon Appetite!

Until next week, savor the flavor of the Savior! He loves you SO!

Speak Truth Love

I AM, Week 3

Last week I wrote about the “warm and fuzzy” feeling I get knowing that Jesus is my Gatekeeper. Jesus not only tucks me in at night by knowing where I am, but He also stands guard over me giving me protection and security.

This week those “warm and fuzzy” feelings help keep me grounded as I face one of my greatest fears.

I am afraid of the dark!  I wake up to natural light and I always have a night light glowing in the dark. I do not cover my windows with drapes or heavy coverings and I never have. I love the natural glow of the light streaming through from the sun or from the moon.

One of my favorite memories of all time was on a family trip we took to Lake Tahoe.

True, Lake Tahoe is my favorite place and it is breathtakingly beautiful every time we are there. But on this particular trip, we were blessed to be staying in a cabin right on the Lake front. My bedroom was on the second floor and the entire wall facing the Lake was glass. I never shut the curtains once on that entire trip! I went to bed looking at the moon shine its’ light clear across the entire lake and I woke up to the sunrise peeking over the top of the Sierra mountains. Even if I awoke during the night, I felt warmed by the light of the moon beams as they danced over the rippling water of Lake Tahoe. I felt God’s presence every morning in the sunlight, and drifted to sleep secure in the light of the moon.

There is not a single moment or incident that I can put my finger on as a child that made me afraid of the dark. I only know that from my earliest memory I always wanted light in my room, someone else in my room with me, (It was super convenient that I had three sisters and was really never alone) and hated it when the sun went down and could not wait for the sun to come back up!

How happy am I that the second “I AM” statement of Jesus is Him declaring Himself to be THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!  

“I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. WHOEVER FOLLOWS ME WILL NEVER WALK IN DARKNESS, BUT WILL HAVE THE LIGHT OF LIFE!” JOHN 8:12

Jesus spoke this I AM statement to the Jewish people in the temple courts during the Festival of Tabernacles. This was a festival to commemorate Israel’s wandering in the desert. This festival was also called the “Festival of Lights!” It was celebrated with a grand display of bright lights to remind them that even when they wandered in the “darkness” of the wilderness, God was their LIGHT! He even came to them as a pillar of fire at night so that they would not walk in darkness.

Jesus takes what they already understand and if you will excuse the pun, “BRINGS LIGHT TO IT!” In this I AM statement of Jesus, He is telling them that He is a better light, He is an eternal light! Anyone who follows Him will never walk in darkness.

JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. HE IS NOT JUST A LIGHT FOR ISRAEL – HE IS THE LIGHT FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD!

TRUTH BOMB

WE NEVER WALK IN DARKNESS WITH JESUS AS OUR LIGHT!

Now that’s a night light that never burns out!

Speak Truth Love 

I AM, Week 2

As we continue in the “I AM” statements of Jesus, there is one that gives me warm and fuzzy feelings. One that makes me feel like a young child again, cared for and protected.

One of my favorite childhood memories was being carried from the car by my dad, into my room and tucked under the covers of my bed. I felt loved, protected, cared for, warm and cozy. It was not only the covers that made me feel warm, but the care and protection from my dad to make me feel secure and safe. I loved this so much when I was little, that I must confess, there were times I faked being asleep so that my dad would carry me into bed!

I believe this feeling is innate in all of us, and not just when we are children. We crave the feeling of warmth, security and love no matter what our age is.

The “I AM” I am talking about feels to me like Jesus Himself is tucking us in and keeping us safe. He not only tucks us in, He Himself lays across the entrance and becomes the gate for us!

“Very truly I tell you, I AM the gate for the sheep.”  John 10:7

In the ancient world where Jesus walked on this earth, the sheep pens held the sheep safely at night and there was only one entrance. The walls of the pen allowed the sheep to sleep safe and secure at night keeping dangers out.

In those days during the pasturing season, shelters would have been temporary as they traveled. In these temporary shelters the shepherd himself would lie across the opening 

during the night and literally become the “gate” for the sheep. 

In this I AM statement, Jesus is claiming to be the GATE for us. He is our protection!

We can have life and have it to the full as we are safe and secure in His protection.

TRUTH BOMB

WE ARE SAFE, WARM AND SECURE WITH JESUS AS OUR GATEKEEPER.

Sleep warm and secure my friends knowing Jesus is protecting you!

Speak Truth Love