November 24, 2014
As we celebrate this Thanksgiving, I thought I would point to a wonderful and powerful word in the Bible that reminds us and points us to reason to be thankful. The word gospel is a New Testament term repeated in over a hundred verses. The Greek word, euangelion (the root from which we get the word evangelical), means the “good news” of the kingdom of God. In the Gospel of Mark, we read, “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV). Jesus proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God.
So what is the “good news”? The good news is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ. The good news is that God loves us and reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. The good news is that we are justified through faith in Him, not by our own righteousness but by His. The good news is that He has given us His Holy Spirit, to regenerate us, sanctify us, and empower us to live with strength and victory. The good news is that God will never leave us or forsake us. The good news is that we have the promise of eternal life through Jesus. The good news is that God is our Abba (daddy) Father and we are His children, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. The good news is that God is continually at work in our lives; He began a good work in us and will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. We are no longer slaves to sin, for we have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son who God the Father loves—that’s good news! Recently I heard it put this way: “The gospel is not good advice on how we can work our way to heaven—rather it is good news that God offered His Son, so that all who believe may be saved by His grace.”
I’m reminded of what Harry Foster wrote: “The gospel is the gospel of a happy God, because he now has an ever-growing family of those who by faith share the perfect life of his perfect son.” As Christians we have received great and precious promises. Funny thing, when the word gospel has been translated into different languages the translators have used phrases such as “information that causes one joy” or “words that bring smiles” or “news that makes one happy.” Remember what the angels declared to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth? They said they were bringing,” good tidings of great joy.” They were announcing the gospel! When we recognize all that God has done for us and continues to do through us, we can’t help but be filled with joy. May the joy of the gospel overflow in our lives as we live each day for His kingdom. Let us be bearers of good news!
This blog contains excerpts from her newest book, Becoming a Woman of the Word. For more encouragement visit her website at www.PositiveLifePrinciples.com
November 16, 2014
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7
The apostle Paul, while being held prisoner for preaching the gospel, gave the early Christians a charge which powerfully applies to our lives today. Don’t be anxious, but instead pray about everything. Then did you notice he added “with thanksgiving?” Now hold on! I can easily be filled with thanksgiving when I’m praying for those I love and when I’m experiencing less stress in my life. But Paul is saying in the midst of anxiety, give your cares to God, and while you are at it – thank Him! What can we thank Him for in the middle of our stress? We can begin by thanking Him for His love for us and His presence in our lives. We can continue to thank Him for His Son Jesus. We can thank Him for His help and comfort in time of need. We can thank Him for His power to redeem and bring something good out of any situation.
Let’s practice what Paul preaches this week. As we prepare for a festive week of Thanksgiving, worry and anxiety may try to creep in at times. Questions swirl in our heads. How will I keep the kids occupied? How will I get all the shopping and baking done? How will I be kind and loving to everyone? How will I get the house clean? Let’s take each of our personal worries to the Lord and then let’s go the extra mile and thank Him.
Paul tells us that a peace that transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. It’s amazing when we take our minds off of our worries and turn our focus on that which we can be thankful, a peace fills our heart. Paul went on to say, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Each morning as you wake up this week, lay there in bed for just a moment (if you can) and give your cares to God, thanking Him for His help and blessings. Then each night as you tuck the kids in bed, pray with your kids and help them learn this daily practice of thanking God as you give Him your worries. May you overflow this week with the thoughts of thankfulness as you recognize God’s care in your life.
And as you celebrate, here’s one of our favorite Ladd recipes:
Corn Spoon Bread
1 stick butter (or margarine)
1 pkg Jiffy Cornbread
8 oz. sour cream
1 16 oz can kernel corn, drained.
Melt butter. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Pour into 8 by 8 baking dish. Bake at 350 30 – 40 minutes until set and lightly browned on top.
November 11, 2014
Ever look at someone else and think, Why do they have it all together? What’s the matter with me? The first lie we tell ourselves is that others’ have it all together. No one has it completely together (whatever it is). God did not create us to live in the dark dungeon of comparisons, anger, jealousy, envy and discontentment. No, each and every one of us was created for a divine purpose. He has given us a unique assignment that only we can carry out. Augustine wrote, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”
Often we become restless with comparisons and rivalry when we lose sight of the fact that God has a beautiful plan that He wants to play out in our lives and no one else’s life. His unique plan includes both triumphs and challenges.
Charles Spurgeon said, “The cure for envy lies in living under a constant sense of the divine presence, worshiping God and communing with him all the day long, however long the day may seem.” Let us worship God in the midst of our heart aches and longings and watch Him work in mysterious and glorious ways.
The only time we should be looking at others is when we are looking in compassion not comparisons.
You have unique gifts, talents and abilities to offer this world. God has equipped you with a plan designed just for you to carry out in your life. Let us delight in what God has purposed for each one of our lives, because ultimately it fits into His divine plan for this world. We can take joy in what He is doing in other women’s lives, because we know there is a bigger picture. Whenever you feel that temptation to compare with others, and begin to feel discouraged or afraid, turn your eyes to the God who sees all and knows all. He has a beautiful design just for you. Wait patiently for Him. Your story is not finished.
October 26, 2014
I’m glad you joined me as we take a look at seven of the most loving words in Scripture. This week we will concentrate on the word “atonement.”
The word atonement is primarily used in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word is kaphar, meaning to cover, placate, or cancel. It was a technical term in Israel’s sacrificial rituals. In some ways, the word atonement can be likened to a material transaction or ransom. In Exodus 32:30, Moses ascended to the mountain a third time to make atonement for the people’s sin. The word is most often used in regard to the priests and the ritual sacrifices. In Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers we find the priests smearing the blood of the sacrificed animal on the altar during the sin offering. The most important place we see the word is in “Day of Atonement.” Only on this day could the high priest enter the holy of holies in the temple on behalf the Israelites and make atonement for them before God.
So why is atonement important to you and me, especially if it is an Old Testament word? The need for atonement is a central theme to the Bible. Our sins must be atoned for in order for us to come before a righteous God. J. Gresham Machen wrote, “To deny the necessity of atonement is to deny the existence of a real moral order.” Isn’t it amazing to think that God seeks to reconcile sinful people to Himself? The fact that a holy and righteous God would make a way for sinners to be forgiven is a beautiful truth in and of itself.
Oh what peace and joy flow from knowing that God sent His Son Jesus to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Jesus did the work on the cross. We are not forgiven of our sins because of what we have done, it is what Christ did on our behalf. We receive this gift of His love through faith. I like how Thomas Brooks puts it, “Christ hath crossed out the black lines of our sin with the red lines of his own blood.” Take time to thank Jesus for His atoning sacrifice for you today. If you have never placed your faith in His atoning sacrifice offered for you, I want to encourage you to visit www.ChatAboutJesus.com right now.
This is an excerpt from my new book, Becoming a Woman of the Word.
October 19, 2014
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is a magnificent masterpiece portraying God’s unfailing love for His people. I marvel at the beauty of God’s plan and design as He painted a picture of redemption and grace on every page of His Word. My deepest desire is for you to experience His great love for you in a very real way. I want to introduce you to seven of the most loving words ever uttered. In the next seven weeks we will examine words that you may have heard of, but perhaps didn’t see them as loving and positive words. This week, we start off with a word that may surprise you.
Repentance. In Matthew 4:17 we read, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” Jesus began his earthly ministry with a call to repentance, so it is important for us to understand how the word should be applied to our own lives. The word repentance (Greek metanoia) literally means “change of mind.” Repentance is more than just regret or feeling sorry about what we did; it means turning from sin and changing the way we think. It refers to a new outlook; turning from old ways and seeing things in accordance with God’s will. The parable of the Prodigal Son is a beautiful example of repentance, in which we find the son who left home and squandered his inheritance, returning to his father with a humbled heart and ready to change his ways.
In Acts 11:18 we read, “Even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.” God gives us the ability to repent, to see things in a new way. Repentance not only refers to turning away from sin, but it also encompasses a turning to God in faith. Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). He came to call us to a change of mind, turning our minds from the direction of sin and turning toward the love of God. Each of us must come to a point of recognizing our own sinfulness and turning to God for help. In His great love for us, God knew that running toward God was best for us, and that running away from Him only brings destruction, disillusionment and ultimately death. God loves us, so He calls us to repentance. If He didn’t love us, He would just let us wander aimlessly through life without His help or direction.
There is no more loving place to be than in His warm embrace. Like the prodigal, may we run to his open arms and experience the joy of repentance.
This is an excerpt from my new book, Becoming a Woman of the Word.