…because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. Ephesians 1:11 NLT
As another year comes to an end, many of us begin to look back over the months and days of our lives. Often, we begin pondering our purpose.
Why are we in the place we are in? Are we making a difference with our life? What has been accomplished in the nearly 365 days we have just lived?
If you are pondering such thoughts, or asking God such questions, I want to encourage you that each moment you have spent this year was not in vain.
…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 NKJV
As a believer in Christ, God has a plan and purpose for you—one that is good–one that He will bring to fruition in His time.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremaih 29:11 NKJV
Psalm 138:8 ESV says: “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;” Therefore, you can be sure that He is always at work day and night to bring about what is needed in your life to fulfill His purpose for you.
Perhaps your circumstances were not as you thought they should be this year. Perhaps you suffered setbacks, adverse situations, or delays.
Perhaps you encountered obstacles that you had a hard time overcoming or perhaps you were slowed down from moving forward because of some difficulties.
Just trust and believe that God was with you through it all and know that He is working all things out to accomplish His purpose in your life.
Know that nothing can stop the plan and purpose He has for you.
So, as you look back over this year, I encourage you to pause and praise Him for what He has done, is doing, and will still do for you.
For we [believers] are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged 54 Spiritual Blessings in Christ, believers, bible, blessing, blessings, Christ, Ephesians, Ephesians 1:11, Ephesians 2:10, God, God's will, Jeremiah 29:11, Jesus, life, plan, plans, Psalm 138:8, purpose, year
Hot day! The lake looked so inviting!
The clear water had a slight green tint revealing what appeared to be a sandy base.
However, the scene changed as people entered the water!
It’s green color turned to a muddy brown! The lake’s base was not sand but clay dirt!
Most of the people who entered stayed in, either because they didn’t really realize they were swimming in muddy water, or they chose the momentary refreshment of the water over it’s potential health hazard.
As I sat on the shore watching all of this, it caused me to realize how deceptive things in life can be sometimes.
We can easily get mislead by things that seemingly look good.
Once we enter into them we may not notice how bad they are because we are in the midst of it enjoying the moment, but in the long term we may find the things have done us harm.
Or, we may see they are unsavory, however once involved, we decide to overlook the danger in favor of self satisfaction, or just because everyone else is doing it
This is where we should take wise counsel to heart, because those who are sitting on the shore can see the whole picture. They can issue a warning, and if they do, we should listen and obey.
As believers we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit as our guide and God’s Word which is truth. If we listen and obey them we should not get caught up any of life’s muddy waters .
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged believers, bible, blessing, choices, deceiving, deception, God, God's word, good, guidance, guide, Holy Spirit, hot day, lake, life, listen, muddy brown, muddy water, obey, truth, unhealthy, water
Colossians 3:15 says: “…let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”
What comes to mind when you hear the word “peace”?
Serenity, quiet, calm, freedom from disturbances, no problems?
Yes, peace can be all that, but it can also be much more.
In fact, the Peace that Jesus gives us believers, can be found in chaos.
His Peace is not dependent on outer circumstances, for it dwells within us.
A good example of this would be in some events that unfolded in my life recently.
I was awakened early one morning by a text message from my bank. It said my account was over-drawn.
My half-awake mind tried to process the validity of this as I got up to find my checkbook.
Not being an early morning person, my day already had the tendency to be off to a bad start.
Then, my grand-daughter, who was spending a few days with me, woke up and said “Happy Friday the 13th!”
Now, I am not superstitious, but under the circumstances I was a little bit tempted to be swayed towards negativity.
In looking over my checkbook, I could not find any reason that my account should be overdrawn, but because I and grand-daughter had
a busy day planned, I decided to just deposit some money from my savings into the account and deal with going in to talk with the bank
on another day.
After an un-eventful breakfast we drove to the ATM where I planned to withdraw some money from my savings.
The ATM had a sign “Out of Order”.
Going inside, I told the teller, and she said since I have e-banking only, I would have to drive around and use the drive up ATM because
if she processed my transaction she would have to charge me a fee.
Trying to keep my cool, I left and proceeded to the drive-up ATM, which of course, had two cars ahead of me.
Then it started to pour rain, on what was supposed to be a bright warm sunny day.
What did I do? Did I lose my temper? Did I let frustration overcome me? Did I get discouraged and blame it on “Friday the 13th”?
No! Because something inside of me said “enough is enough” I was not going to let the enemy steal my joy and destroy my peace.
Right then, I prayed out loud—“In the name of Jesus Christ, I will not be tormented! I will not be oppressed! In Jesus’ name I have peace!”
As I claimed the day for Jesus, a peace came over me and the enemy retreated. Instead of just going to deposit the money in the supposedly overdrawn account I decided to take the time to go inside the bank and talk with them. I prayed for God’s favor.
I ended up being greeted by a very pleasant young lady banker who reviewed my account and finding no errors, credited the overdraft fee back into my account and got everything all straightened out for me very easily.
When I went outside the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. My grand-daughter said “Well, I guess that prayer worked!”
That gave me an opportunity to witness to her about faith, belief and the peace that believers have in Jesus. It is not just about saying a prayer “that works” but living a life where we are in constant communication with the One in whom we believe—receiving His peace as we abide in Him.
Do things always work out easily or with out problems? No, but Jesus’ peace can be felt in the midst of the chaos or problem, for His peace does not depend on circumstances.
In John 16:33 Jesus said: “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.”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 1:2 NKJV
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged 2 Timothy 1:2, 54 Spiritual Blessings in Christ, abiding, account, awakened, bad start, bank, belief, believe, believers, blessing, busy day, calm, chaos, Christ, circumstances, claimed, Colossians 3:15, communication, day, dependent, discouraged, disturbances, dwells, early, enemy, enough, events, faith, Father, freedom, Friday 13th, frustration, God, God's favor, good example, grace, half awake, hearts, Jesus, Jesus Christ, June 2014, Leona J. Atkinson, life, Lord, mind, money, morning, negativity, opportunity, oppressed, overcome, overdrawn, Peace, pleasant, pray, prayer, problems, process, quiet, rain, reason, retreated, rule, savings, serenity, straightened out, superstitious, swayed, temper, tempted, tendency, testimony, text message, tormented, trouble, unfolded, validity, within, word, world
Recently I came to hear of an interesting idea called “My One Word”.
It is based on a book titled “My One Word” written by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen
The idea is that, in the New Year instead of making resolutions, we should pick just one word to focus on for the year.
This word would be something that you hope God would do in you during the year. The thought is that by doing so, this one word focus could perhaps change your life.
I have not read the book—yet—but I may do so. However, I did pick my word for this year, only because I had felt prompted to do so
even before hearing about this one word idea. My one word was in my mind even before the New Year began and it was based on
something I had written back in 2009 that I hoped someday I would use as a foundation for a new devotional series on my ministry website.
Well, this seemed to be the year I was to do that, because the feeling was still strong after I prayed long and hard about it.
Therefore, on January 2nd I began my new devotional series titled “P-O-W-E-R” which focuses on believers living in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I also felt led to begin a new scripture memorization titled
“His Power”–which focuses on memorizing “power” scriptures from the bible.
Both of these decisions I feel are something God wants to do through me, as neither are easy tasks, and not something I feel could be done without His help.
So, it is my hope that as I do what He seems to want done, that I too will come to know more about His Power and how I might live in it daily.
Therefore, when I heard about the “My One Word” idea, it was not difficult for me to choose my one word for this year–it is indeed “Power”
It is my hope this year “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, Philippians 3:10 NKJV”
For I, as a believer, have been blessed to receive His Power–the Holy Spirit–within me. Therefore, I want to know more how to use that Power in my daily life.
I want to know more how to walk in the Spirit, and pray in the Spirit, and just live my life daily in the Spirit’s power and then to also share what I learn with others.
Such a blessing should be recognized and put to use daily–don’t you agree?
Perhaps all we believers should choose the word “Power” to focus on this New Year!
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see what happened if we all did!
“P-O-W-E-R” Daily Devotional http://www.smilegodlovesyou.org/DD/
“His Power” Weekly Scripture Memorization Group http://www.smilegodlovesyou.org/mindfulgroup.html
“My One Word” http://myoneword.org/
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged "My One Word", believers, bible, blessed, blessing, book, change, daily, decisions, focus, foundation, God, groups, help, His Power, Holy Spirit, hope, idea, January, know, life, live, living, Mike Ashcraft, Mind Full of Him, ministry, new devotional, New Year, one word, P-O-W-E-R, Philippians 3:10, pray, prayed, Rachel Olsen, resolutions, resurrection, scripture, scripture memorization, SGLY Ministry, smilegodlovesyou, thought, walk, year
Christmas….it comes into our lives and changes things…once it enters, nothing is the same.
Those were my thoughts yesterday as I packed away the rest of my Christmas decorations.
Nothing interrupts, invades, or changes my life and surroundings like Christmas does.
My ordinary days, surrounded by everyday mundane things, are suddenly transformed by Christmas!
A tiny Christmas village completely overtakes the table in front of my window, and the other table in my hallway holds a small Christmas Tree filled with various sentimental ornaments collected over the years. Varied other decorations are placed here and there around the house, a nativity, an advent wreath….all reminders of Christ’s birth. Christmas Carols, Christmas Cards, and Christmas lights all add to the joy of the season.
Oh, my home and life are so changed by Christmas, just as the world was changed, on that first Christmas so many years ago!
For when Christ came, His presence changed this world forever.
His birth was a miracle–one never to be repeated–It was a life changing event for many.
His birth interrupted some shepherds ordinary night, and their life was forever changed.
His birth transformed a lowly stable into the birthplace of a King.
As His star shone in the sky it changed the lives of the wisest of men.
His coming changed the world then and it is still changing lives now.
How blessed we believers are to know Him and celebrate His birth as Christmas.
How blessed we will be to be a part of His second coming–which will change our lives even more!
“looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” Titus 2:13 NKJV
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20 NKJV
Posted in Daily Blessings--2014
Tagged birth, birthplace, blessed hope, blessing, celebrate, change, Christ, Christ's birth, Christmas, Christmas Cards, Christmas Carols, Christmas decorations, Christmas lights, Christmas tree, decorations, glorious appearing, God, great, home, interruption, Jesus Christ, King, life, lives, miracle, mundane things, ordinary days, Revelation 22:20, Savior, second coming, shepherds, shone, sky, stable, star, suddenly, thoughts, tiny Christmas village, Titus 2:13, transformed, village, wise men, world
It wasn’t that I didn’t spill the milk…I did. It wasn’t that I didn’t admit to spilling the milk…I did. It wasn’t that I didn’t say I was sorry…I did.
But….He acted as if it never happened. He acted as if He never saw it. I was dumbfounded.
I grabbed some paper towels and wiped all the spilled milk up. It made me feel better that all was clean, and back to normal, except,
the milk jug, it was almost empty and there was no way I could replace what had been lost. No amount of apology or cleaning would bring more milk into that jug.
I went to Him with head hanging low. With tears in my eyes I said ” I am sorry, I really didn’t mean to spill the milk, it just sort of slipped out of my hand. I don’t know why.
Now there is not much left for us for supper and there is no way I can get us anymore right now. I am sorry. I just won’t drink any milk tonight. You can have what is left.”
He looked at me and said ” What milk? What spill? Child, My Son, Jesus has this covered. In Him you are blameless. I do not see anything of which you are speaking.
Go your way and rejoice that in Him you are forgiven.”
Blamelessness is a Blessing we receive in Christ. We don’t deserve it, but God in His grace offers it to us because of our belief in His Son Jesus.
In Christ we are holy and can stand before God in love, not blame, because we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
When God looks at us He only sees Christ. Any sins we may have committed are covered by Christ’s blood which was shed for us on the Cross at Calvary.
In Christ we are blameless, forgiven, accepted. What a Blessing!
He (God) chose us in Him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame (blameless) before Him (God) in love, Ephesians 1:4 NKJV
Someone just posted a picture of a set of World Book Encyclopedias on Facebook asking if anyone remembered them.
I remembered them, but only as something I had wished to own and never did, as my parents could not afford to purchase those
wonderful books of knowledge. However, I do remember using them, for I had access to them through the school library or on visits to our local city library. And as much as I appreciated being able to use them that way, owning a set of my own would have been so much better.
I remember thinking as a child how wonderful it would be to have my own set sitting on a bookshelf at home available for me to pull out and use anytime I wanted to. I thought having access to all that knowledge would be such a a blessing!
Now, as a believer in Christ, I am rejoicing that I am blessed with Knowledge that is all my own.
In Christ, God has given me the knowledge to know Him and His truth. This knowledge is within me.
I do not have to go to anyone else or go anywhere else to receive it, for His Holy Spirit reveals His truth, wisdom and knowledge to me daily.
Voltaire said All men are born with a nose and ten fingers, but no one was born with a knowledge of God.
God said, in Christ are found all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3) therefore, if man wants knowledge of God he needs Christ, for it is in Him that man finds the knowledge of God.
Knowledge is one of the 54 Spiritual Blessings in Christ that believers receive.
Knowledge is such a wonderful blessing for with it the mystery of God’s will is revealed to us.
With knowledge God’s word becomes clear to us, our minds are no longer darkened to the truth, we have the ability to know God’s plan and purpose for our lives daily.
Let’s rejoice and give thanks daily that in Christ, we have been blessed with Knowledge!
He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself,
according to His favor and will, Ephesians 1:5
Born in spiritual darkness,
A child of Adam’s seed,
Having earthly parents,
Yet a babe so in need.
I opened my eyes to this world
only to see sin and despair.
I was lost and without hope,
A child un-aware
Of God in heaven who loved me
even when this world was nil,
One who had chosen to adopt me
according to His favor and will.
I was predestined to be adopted
by the One who created me
Through Jesus Christ for Himself
I would be saved and set free
To become His favored child,
A daughter of the King,
No longer lost, but richly blessed
abundantly, in everything.
©Leona J. Atkinson 2012
Posted in Daily Blessings 2012
Tagged abundantly, Adam, adoption, blessing, child, daughter, Father, God, heaven, hope, Jesus, King, lost, parents, predestined, sin, spiritual, will
Have you ever been rejected or felt like you weren’t accepted? Most of us probably have at one time or another in our lives.
My grandson and I were talking about this tonight at dinner. He said he felt that way in 5th grade because no one wanted to choose him for their basketball team as he was too small at the time.
I can recall such a time when I was in 4th grade. I was a very quiet, shy kid who was not good at playing outdoor childhood games like Pom Pom Pull Away or Red Rover. I didn’t like those rough games . I enjoyed sitting and reading books or writing poems much more. But in our little country school we had to play these outdoor games and I often felt rejected because I was always the last one to be chosen on a team. No one really wanted someone on their team who couldn’t play very well . So, it was a pretty miserable, lonely year for me because I wanted to be accepted but I wasn’t, just because I wasn’t “good enough”. That often happens in this world, we are rejected or not accepted because we are too small, too fat, too quiet, or just “not good enough”. If we are not accepted we feel we are not worthy, that we have no value.
However, God isn’t that way. “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b (NKJV)
In Christ, God accepts us just as we are. When I believed and received Jesus many years ago I certainly wasn’t “good enough” to be accepted by God, but in His grace He accepted me in Christ. I was accepted into His family, as His child, never again to have to ever feel unwanted or unworthy. I know I am valuable now because God has accepted me, not for what I can do, but for who I am in Christ.
Praise God for His glorious grace by which He received me with approval in Christ.
Ephesians 1:6 says: to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Do you feel accepted by God or do you think you need to work on “being better” first?
What does Ephesians 1:6 mean to you as a Believer in Christ?
Peace. Just saying that word brings a feeling of security for peace means mutual harmony. It brings freedom from strife. It offers tranquility and comfort.
Believers, Christ is our Peace. He is the only “Peace on Earth” we will find. He said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” (Romans 5:1 NLT)
As we have been greatly blessed, let us celebrate His coming to earth as a babe by pausing and rejoicing just as the angels did that night in Bethlehem so many years ago when they declared “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14 KJV) for Peace came to earth to bring goodwill to all men.
“Thank God for this Gift too wonderful for words!” (2 Cor.9:15 NLT) The Gift of His Son who is Our Peace !
Posted in Daily Blessings--2011
Tagged Bethlehem, blessing, Christ, Christmas, earth, gift, God, goodwill, Jesus, Peace, spiritual