Finding Easter

There are many traditional Scripture passages that are used at Easter to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Passages from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John the Beloved. Each is a beautiful passage full of meaning and passion.

For this Easter week, however, I would like to share the story of Easter from 1 Corinthians 13, commonly known as The Love Chapter. Because the entirety of Scripture is a means of pointing the nation of Israel and Gentiles like you and me to Jesus, the story of Easter can be found in many places. Let’s see how beautifully it fits into this famous passage.

 

Finding Easter in 1 Corinthians 13

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:

4 ~ Love is patient ~ In the fullness of time, and not one moment before, God sent Jesus to earth on a mission. Had I been God, my patience would have been exhausted about two minutes after Eve bit into the fruit. Not God! God’s love was and is patient, not wanting anyone to perish. He could have ditched all two of his creations and started over at that point, but He did not.

4 ~ Love is kind ~ All throughout His ministry there were times when Jesus could have chosen the un-kind way ~ The Pharisees who certainly deserved no kindness, the multitudes pulling at Him, the lame, the blind, the sick, and the lost demanding His attention. Yet, He was always kind. He was kind to the woman caught in adultery. He was kind to Judas, for heaven’s sake. He was kind to Judas the entire three years of His earthly ministry. Jesus is kind to you and me.

4 ~ Love does not boast; it is not arrogant ~ He was the SON. OF. GOD. for pity sake!! He had every right to be boastful. There had never been anyone like Him. He was royalty of the highest order, yet He took the attitude of a servant. He was beaten and stripped naked by men whom He had created. He was crucified like a common criminal. He could have pulled rank, but He did not.

5 ~ Love is not rude; it does not insist on its own way ~ Jesus said that He did nothing of His own accord. He did only what the Father instructed Him to do. You and I (probably more I than you) would have gone into control freak mode and decided that I had a better way to redeem humanity. Better yet, I would have decided that humans were not worth the price. Yet, Jesus never did. He was always obedient to the Father.

7 ~ Love bears all things ~ Jesus bore every stinkin’ sin that I have ever committed on Himself as He hung on that cross. Every hateful word I have spoken, every sexual sin I committed, every greedy desire, every prideful attitude, every lie I have ever told. Jesus bore it all because of love.

7 ~ Love endures all things ~ Not only did He endure having all the sins of all the people in the world heaped upon Him, Jesus endured being separated from His Father. The turning away of the Father, while Jesus hung on the cross, was the ultimate rejection. It was the worst break-up in history, and Jesus knew it would happen. He endured it anyway.

7 ~ Love hopes all things ~ Hope. The hope of the resurrection that would, once and for all, defeat eternal death for all who would believe in Jesus. The hope of heaven. The hope of restoration. The hope of purity and holiness for anyone and everyone who will believe. Hope for you. Hope for me.

8 ~ Love never ends ~ The love that Jesus displayed on the cross is a love that never ends. It is a love that offers eternal life to all who will believe. It is a love that heals and restores and elevates and renews. That same love will bring us forth from the grave one day, clothed in holiness and purity. That is the love in which we will be enveloped for all eternity…..if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and the payment for our sin.

Love is…..Easter. Love is…..Jesus. Do you know Jesus today?

SDG/FCA!

This post contains affiliate links.

One way you can share the message of Easter is by sponsoring a child through Compassion International’s Child Sponsorship Program. There is a child who shares your birthday who needs to hear about Jesus. Would you say ‘yes’ to sponsorship today?

 

Do You Have a Teen Girl in Your Life? Giveaway!

Do you have a teen girl in your life? If you answered, “YES”, I know you will want to meet my friend, Melanie Redd. Melanie is an encourager, prayer warrior, and a woman who loves Jesus. She is also the author of a brand new devotional book for teen girls entitled, Live in Light.

 

 

I have read some of Melanie’s book and it is good, y’all. I’m so eager for you to meet Melanie, so here is the interview I did with her.

Meet Melanie!

Leah: I may have readers who have not had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ you online. What would you like for my readers to know about you? Please introduce yourself to them.

Melanie: It’s pretty simple: I’m a woman on a mission to offer hope and encouragement to others. Raised in the south, I speak with a twang, very polite words, and a great big smile.

My husband and I have been in full-time ministry for over 20 years now. He’s a professor and a minister; I’m a writer, blogger, and speaker. We have two young adult kids and a very hyper Australian Shepherd puppy— all living under the same roof.

 

Melanie Redd

 

Leah: What occupies your free time? Hobbies, interests

Melanie: I love to laugh, talk for hours with good friends, and enjoy great food.

In addition, I spend a lot of time on the move – riding a bike in Spin Class, walking as many miles as I can, lifting weights, and trying to stay active. My husband and I love to hike and explore the woods as often as we can. We also love to try new restaurants and cook out on the grill.

Additionally, I’m involved in a couple of local Bible studies and leading the women’s ministry at my church. Each Monday night, I teach a class of future pastor’s wives called, “Leading Women to the Heart of God.”

Leah: What are some items on your bucket list?

Melanie: I’d love to travel more in the next few years. We’ve just finished paying for our kids to go to college. We’d like to get out and explore the world now – even if it’s just across some state lines!

A few ministry bucket list items – write and publish more books, speak as God opens the doors, launch a radio show, and maybe even launch a TV show. (We will see!)

Leah: How did you develop an interest in writing and when did you begin writing seriously?

As a child, I loved to write. English, creative writing, and penmanship were always where I excelled. My 3rdgrade teacher was one who especially encouraged me to write.

In college, I majored in education with a minor in English. My best subjects were those that required essays and long papers. Writing always came easy for me. (Melanie, you and I might be sisters separated at birth!!)

As a young adult, I was contacted by Lifeway to write Sunday school curriculum and materials. For over 10 years, I wrote with Lifeway. Then, a few years ago, I published my first book and started a blog. Five books later, and I am still having a blast typing out words!

Leah: Every book has a back story. What is the back story behind your book? What was the impetus for you to write this book?

Melanie: As a seventh grader, I was approached by an older girl in my church about spending weekly time one-on-one learning what it meant to walk with Jesus personally. Each week we met to talk about things like having a quiet time, prayer, reading the Bible, and living for the Lord. Then, in 9th grade, I attended a summer camp where God really got a hold of my heart. I completely surrendered my life to Him and began an incredible adventure walking with Him.

And, after all of these years, I’ve never gotten over it! 

What happened in my teen years affected and influenced the trajectory of my life for good. So, when asked to write a devotional book for teen girls encouraging them to walk with God, I jumped at the opportunity.

Leah: Share with us a bit about your book.

Melanie: Live in Light is a very easy-to-read and practical devotional that any girl can pick up and enjoy. There are 150 short devotions, complete with a Bible verse, a story or example, a Bible truth, and a challenge for the day.

The book can be read alone or shared as a part of family devotions. Mothers and daughters are choosing to read the book together. Even grandmothers and granddaughters are taking this adventure together.

Leah: Why should someone read your book? What does it offer them personally?

Melanie: I believe this little volume extends an invitation to girls to draw close to the Light – Jesus Christ. In a day when our girls are being pulled in every direction, my prayer is that the few moments teen girls spend reading each morning will make an impact.

We are praying that God will get the attention and the hearts of girls around the globe and create in them a thirst for the things of God.

Further, the book is written for teens to use quickly each day—maximizing their time. In just 5-10 minutes, they will be given scripture, hope, instruction, and ideas. It’s written to them, for them, about them, and with them in mind.

Leah: How can my readers find you? Blog? Social media?

Melanie: I’d love to connect with your readers on social media.

I’m on these channels:

Facebook

Twitter

Linked In

Instagram

Pinterest

Leah: When and will your book be available to the public?

Melanie: The book will be available on April 8. However, you can pre-order a copy on Amazon HERE.

Leah: What final thoughts would you like to share with my readers?

Melanie: Thank you for taking the time to read about my life and this new devotional for teen girls. I’m blessed and honored that you did. And, may I encourage you with this truth today – God adores you and has an amazing plan for your life. No matter where you are, what you are dealing with, or what you have just been through—He cares for you.

One of my favorite verses comes from Zephaniah 3:17. I’d love to share it as I close:

“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

 

GIVEAWAY! I am giving away a copy of Melanie’s book over on my Instagram page. If you are on IG and want to win a copy of this wonderful devo for teen girls, click over to my IG page, follow me if you do not already, and enter to win.

SDG/FCA!

This post contains affiliate links.

God Will Not Give Me More Than I Can Bear ~ Or Will He?

“God will not give me more than I can bear”.

Oh, YES, HE WILL, sister! He absolutely will.

It seems that, without forethought, intention, or planning, I have written myself right into a series here on the blog. Let’s call it, Lies We Believe. Here are the links to the two other posts in this impromptu series.

3 Reasons Why We Are NOT All God’s Children

I Just Can’t Forgive Myself and Other Lies We Believe

Today we are examining the lie that Christians fall victim to very often. It is a lie of reason, born of a lack of knowledge of what Scripture actually says. Here are two reasons why God WILL, indeed, give us more than we can bear.

 

God Won't Give Me More Than I Can Bear...or Will He?

 

 

God is Omniscient and He is Sovereign

Those are big, fancy spiritual words. God has infinite knowledge about everything and everyone. He knows everything there is to know about you and the things that impact you – that is Omniscience. God also has supreme power and authority.  He is working everything that concerns you out for your good. His goal is for your faith to grow so you will look more like Jesus to a lost and dying world.

Let me clarify that, when I talk about trials, I’m not talking about the temptation to sin. God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13). Neither does He allow us to be tempted beyond what we can resist. Paul assures us of this in 1 Corinthians 10:13. God will always provide a way to escape from temptation. The question is whether we will take it. If we choose to run toward temptation and not away from it, we cannot blame God for the consequences. We always reap what we sow.

In James 1:2-4, the Lord’s brother tells us to ‘Count it all joy’ when we undergo trials of any kind. Why? Because of God’s Sovereignty, He is working some things in and out of us that can only be accomplished by trials. What kind of things does He work in us? Patience, joy endurance, and humility. What does He work out of us through trials? Pride, hatred, selfishness, anger, and so many other lovely traits. Truly, if this working in and working out could be accomplished any other way, God would have chosen that way. He allows these trials to test and purify our faith in His power and wisdom.

Think about multiple examples of individuals throughout history, both biblical and non-biblical, who were, in fact, allowed to endure more than they could humanly bear. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. Stephen was martyred for his faith in Christ. Paul endured beatings, scourging, hunger, imprisonment, shipwrecks and so much more. Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and three other men were murdered because they tried to share Jesus with the Auca Indians. Corrie ten Boom was imprisoned by the Nazis and watched her sister, Betsie, die in the concentration camps. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was martyred because he tried to find a way to stop Hitler. Who can forget the twenty Coptic Christian men who were beheaded by ISIS because they would not renounce their faith in Christ? None of these people had the strength to endure these trials, but because they had a strong faith in Christ, they finished well.

So yes, God will give you more than you can bear in the human realm. He just will. It is the way of faith while we walk this dusty sod of earth. But, He also provides supernatural strength to equip you for victory in the middle of the trail. Trust His heart, dear friend. He will never fail you!

SDG/FCA!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

 

Praying the Promises of the Cross

It is my honor to be one of the contributing writers for my friend, Arabah Joy’s FREE 2019 Praying the Promises of the Cross event. This is a special time of focus, leading up to Easter, on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice. In a world of ‘self-centered’ Christianity, this challenge is a critical and relevant way of getting Christ-centered truth into our hearts. Please click HERE below to discover more about Praying the Promises of the Cross.

There is also an awesome Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle that contains some wonderful items like a 40 day Praying the Promises of the Cross Prayer Journal, 40 Daily Prayer Cards, and Scripture Coloring Sheets.

 

Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle

 

These items will focus your heart on the cross and help you be intentional in your prayers during the Challenge. You can purchase that by clicking on the link HERE.

In a recent Thursday Thoughts post, I offered a quote from martyred missionary Jim Elliot. Today I am linking to a new book written by Jim and Elisabeth Elliot’s daughter, Valerie. It is a collection of letters and stories about her parents’ remarkable love for each other and for Jesus. If you are reading this post via email, please click HERE to go to my website and see the link to the book.

Three Reasons Why We Are NOT All God’s Children

 

“We are all God’s Children.” Over the years I have heard people use this phrase to attempt to position themselves, or others, in the family of God. Their logic is that God created every person, so we must be His children. It always bothered me a bit, but I never felt I could dispute their logic….until now.

The thought that ‘we are all God’s children’ is a nice one. It makes for warm, fuzzy feelings in the heart; a bit like sitting around a campfire singing ‘Kumbaya’. The problem is that it is not Scriptural. So, today I want us to consider three reasons why we are NOT all God’s children.

 

Three Reasons Why We Are NOT All God's Children

 

Relationship

The basic assumption in the ‘we are all God’s children’ theology is that God created all of us, so we must be His children. To be someone’s child assumes a parent-child relationship. It also assumes that one of two things happened: the child was either born into the family, or they were adopted.

In the Old Testament, God had children. Those children were the nation of Israel. He was their God, and they were, for better or worse, His people. Only when an outsider believed in the God of Israel were they taken into, or adopted into, God’s family, i.e. Ruth, Rahab.

In the New Testament, and going forward, the Jewish people rejected God’s Son Jesus. In doing so, they set themselves outside of God’s family. From the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the only way to be part of God’s family, or to be His child, has been to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life. Jesus made this crystal clear in John 14:6 when He said that no one comes to God except through Him. Hebrews 2:11 also speaks to the issue of God’s family.

First, there must be a relationship in order to be God’s child.

Spirit

At the moment you ask Jesus to be your Savior and to forgive you of your sins, the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of Christ, comes to live within you, and He never leaves you. He is the seal, or guarantee, of your salvation.

Romans 8:9 (ESV) is the verse that spoke clearly to me on this issue of being a child of God. Paul is seeking to clarify what qualifies a person as belonging to God. Consider this verse:

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact, the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Also consider Romans 8:14 which tells us that anyone who is a child/son of God is led by the Spirit.

Second, in order to be God’s child, you must have His Spirit living within you.

Obedience

As a child, I was highly motivated to be obedient to my parents because I did not want the Bolo paddle applied to my backside. Other times, my motivation came simply from a heart of love toward my parents. Either way, as their child, I was expected to be obedient.

God expects no less from His children. He has set forth His commands in Scripture, and He expects His children to know the expectations and follow them. They are for our good because He knows what we need. He is not some cosmic judge just waiting to zap us when we are bad. He loves His children and wants them to be the recipients of His best for them. That best comes when we are obedient to His Word. (John 14:23-24, John 15:10, Romans 8:7, and 1 John 5:3)

Third, God’s children must be willing to be obedient to His commands in Scripture…..all of them.

I believe Scripture is clear that only those who are adopted into His family through the saving work of Jesus are God’s children.

Have you made sure that you are ‘one of God’s children’ by accepting Jesus as Lord? 

What are your thoughts about this issue? 

SDG/FCA!!

Want to read more in this “Lies We Believe” series? Click the links below:

I Just Can’t Forgive Myself and Other Lies We Believe

God Will Not Give Me More Than I Can Bear….or Will He?

 

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Praying the Promises of the Cross

It is my honor to be one of the contributing writers for my friend, Arabah Joy’s FREE 2019 Praying the Promises of the Cross event. This is a special time of focus, leading up to Easter, on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice. In a world of ‘self-centered’ Christianity, this challenge is a critical and relevant way of getting Christ-centered truth into our hearts. Please click HERE below to discover more about Praying the Promises of the Cross.

There is also an awesome Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle that contains some wonderful items like a 40 day Praying the Promises of the Cross Prayer Journal, 40 Daily Prayer Cards, and Scripture Coloring Sheets.

 

Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle

 

These items will focus your heart on the cross and help you be intentional in your prayers during the Challenge. You can purchase that by clicking on the link HERE.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 2.7.19

Our Thursday Thoughts quote is one that I have pondered often, given its author and the circumstances surrounding his death. Let me give you the quote, then I will share a brief story about the author of the quote.

 

Thursday Thoughts 2.7.19

In 1956 Jim Elliot and four other Christian missionaries attempted to share Jesus with the Auca Indian tribe (Operation Auca), located in Ecuador. All five young men knew the dangers of what they were doing because no outsider had ever survived making contact with this tribe of people. Yet, they all agreed that the only way for outside people to ever be able to have contact with the Aucas was to introduce them to Jesus.

For several weeks, pilot Nate Saint flew an airplane over the area where the Aucas lived and dropped gifts and supplies from the plane to them. The missionaries also used a loud-speaker to voice friendly Auca words to the tribe.

The time came for the men to attempt to make contact with the people of the Auca tribe. Their first attempt was successful and they visited with a man and two women. They ate a meal with the Indians and Saint took the man for a ride in the plane. The missionaries encouraged these three to bring others to meet them.

After several days of waiting offshore, the men saw two Auca women appear on the beach. The men began to approach the beach, but quickly realized they had been ambushed. The Auca warriors that appeared behind the women used spears to kill all five of the men.

Eventually, Jim Elliot’s widow, Elisabeth, her daughter, Valerie, and Rachel Saint, sister of Nate returned to the island, made friends with the Aucas and lived among them. Many were brought to faith in Christ and missionaries live among the Aucas (now known as the Waodani tribe) to this day.

Books were written and two movies were made about Operation Auca. Elisabeth Elliot authored a book and made the movie, Through Gates of Splendor. The other movie, End of the Spear, based on a book by the same name that was written by Steve Saint, was released in 2005.

Now that you know the story behind the quote, what are your thoughts about what Elliot said?

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

I am offering Amazon links to Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Through Gates of Splendor and Steve Saint’s, son of Nate, book entitled End of the Spear for your reading pleasure.

Fighting Fear With Faith

In 1996 my husband, Greg, and I were in transition. He was opening his first dental practice in a town about 25 miles from where we were living. We were living in the condominium I had purchased as a single girl and the impracticality of staying in the condo was obvious to both of us.

We listed my condo for sale and found a home to purchase that was one mile from his practice. We put a contingency contract on the home and prayed my condo would sell in time to purchase the new home. Soon, we were presented with a contract from a couple (aka Couple A) wanting to buy my condo. CELEBRATE!

 

Fighting Fear With Faith

 

Oh, but wait! The contract on my condo was contingent on the sale of Couple A’s home. We also learned that there was a contract (Couple B) on Couple A’s home that was also a contingency contract.

Every one of these contingency contracts had to go through perfectly and without a hitch in order for us to buy the home near Greg’s practice. Oh, there’s more. Every one of these contracts was set to close within 14 hours of each other. My anxiety and fear were at earthquake levels.

Recently I spent a week in Psalm 56 and HOLY MOLEY!! It is powerful. Psalm 56 offers us a picture of King David in a predicament of earthquake proportions. He has been captured by the Philistines and imprisoned in their country. He doesn’t know if he will live or die. He is fighting fear and desperation in his heart throughout the early verses of this Psalm, yet there is also hope and trust. Please click this link to read the Psalm or read it in your Bible. Don’t pass over the blessing you will receive by reading it thoughtfully and prayerfully.

David was in a mess and he was frightened and fearful. Yet, if you will look carefully at this Psalm you will discern that David was preaching faith to his heart. Go back and read the Psalm, breaking the verses into these sections:

  • 1 and 2 – I’m in a mess and I’m afraid
  • 3 and 4 – Preaching faith to his heart
  • 5 through 7 – I’m in a mess and I want them to pay for what they have done to me
  • 8 through 11 – Preaching faith to his heart
  • 12 and 13 – Praises flow out of faith and trust in God.

What caused David to have hope and trust? He knew God was for him (Verse 9).

God is for you, girls and boys! Think about it. GOD. IS. FOR. YOU!

What is the fear are you fighting?

What has been your reaction thus far?

How have your reaction and actions concerning this fear worked for you? 

How much control do you have over whatever is causing you to fear? 

WHO has a complete understanding of your situation? 

WHO is able to comfort you and assure that you are loved and cared for AND work the situation out for your good? 

In light of your answers to these questions, what should your next move be? 

Dear reader, God is FOR YOU. Put your trust in Him and praise Him. Preach faith to your heart if you need to. Preach it 50 times a day if necessary. That is what I did when we were trying to sell my condo and God worked it all out. We sold my condo and moved to our new home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If there is a situation in your life that causes you to fear or you are uncertain what your next move is, I would love to walk alongside you as your Life Coach. Together you, Jesus, and I will face that fear and walk toward a place where faith kicks fear and uncertainty out of your heart. Visit my website by clicking HERE to learn more.

SDG/FCA!

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Praying the Promises of the Cross

It is my honor to be one of the contributing writers for my friend, Arabah Joy’s FREE 2019 Praying the Promises of the Cross event. This is a special time of focus, leading up to Easter, on the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice. In a world of ‘self-centered’ Christianity, this challenge is a critical and relevant way of getting Christ-centered truth into our hearts. Please click HERE below to discover more about Praying the Promises of the Cross.

There is also an awesome Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle that contains some wonderful items like a 40 day Praying the Promises of the Cross Prayer Journal, 40 Daily Prayer Cards, and Scripture Coloring Sheets.

 

Praying the Promises of the Cross Bundle

 

These items will focus your heart on the cross and help you be intentional in your prayers during the Challenge. You can purchase that by clicking on the link HERE.

I would love to recommend a wonderful book by James G Merritt. It has been such a blessing to me in my daily quiet time. If you are receiving this post via email, please click here to go to my website and see the link to the book.

Pin It on Pinterest