I Am the Voice

Posted by admin on December 1, 2013 under Encouraging Words | Comments are off for this article

IMG_2370First Sunday of Advent in our Journey Through John

Read John 1:19-28

John the Baptist declared, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:  Make straight the way of the Lord!” (John 1:23)

I have a friend who was homeless for over a year, sleeping on other folks’ sofas and floors as she looked for work.  Though she struggled with the Lord through issues of abandonment and fear, she continued to read her Bible, pray, attend church, and seek opportunities to share her faith.  Wherever she went, she was a voice for the Lord.

John the Baptist was called before birth not to make a name for himself but to prepare the way of the Lord.  He did not promote himself–he invited others to open their hearts to God.  He was only a voice in the wilderness, a wild and inhospitable world where he subsisted on whatever provisions (locusts and wild honey) the Lord provided.  He was rugged and roughly dressed, but people flocked to him, as sheep to a shepherd.

The religious leaders did not recognize him as the last of God’s Old Covenant prophets.  “What can you tell us about yourself?” they demanded.

John could have said he was cousin to the Messiah; he could have pointed to his Levitical heritage.  He could have told the miracle of his conception and birth–how an angel had visited his father, how he had been born to an elderly couple far past the years of childbearing.  But John said nothing about himself; he was only “the voice crying out” to any who would listen.

John was first to recognize the Messiah when Jesus came down to the river to be baptized (1:29).  He said, “I have seen and testified that  He is the Son of God!” (vs. 34) Soon even some of John’s own disciples left him to follow Jesus. 

John was not focused on advancing his “own” ministry.  Only Jesus mattered.

Lord, like my homeless friend and like John, I may find myself in a wilderness. Yet You have preserved my life, and You still provide for me.   I am an unlikely and unworthy servant, but You have called me.  I am not called to make a name for myself but to proclaim Yours.  Prepare my heart to recognize You where I am.  Straighten in me what is crooked, and smooth what is rough and unfinished.   Give me a willing heart to open my schedule, my purse, and my voice to serve You.    May I be a faithful voice to announce Your coming and lead others to You.  Amen.

Grace After Grace

Posted by admin on November 22, 2013 under Encouraging Words | Comments are off for this article

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Spring Puppies


Read John 1:14-18

What is this grace to which John refers–Jesus “full of grace and truth” (vs. 14)? John says, “Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness” (vs. 16). “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (vs. 17).

This grace came into the world at Christmas. “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us” (vs.14a) The Word, the Logos, the incarnation and revealer of God the Father, lived among us in order to die for us.

John “observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (vs.14b)  John walked with Jesus day by day.  What must it have been like to follow the Man Without Sin?  To eat with Him, to sit at His feet as His student, to witness His miracles, to look in His eyes? 

John saw Him transfigured on the mountain, when His face shone like the sun as He talked with Moses and Elijah.  John heard the voice from the cloud proclaim:  “This is My beloved Son.  I take delight in Him.  Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:1-6 HCSB). 

John also saw Him disfigured and dishonored on the Cross, only to rise again in His new, immortal body and later ascend to heaven.

Yet those of us who have not seen Jesus but still believed are blessed too.  The Son has revealed the Father to us in all His grace, truth, and glory!

 God is love.  He is continually pouring forth His love, grace, mercy, and truth.  Like the sun, He cannot stop emitting His light, or else the universe would go dark.

In a great mystery, the Father revealed the Son, His Word to us; the Son revealed the Father.    This is the “grace after grace” which we have all received, ours to accept or reject.

Lord, I am amazed, thankful, and blessed by this grace.  You gave me Yourself.  You have shown me the Father’s love and forgiveness, poured out like Your blood.  You have not forsaken me, but You live in me by Your Spirit.

What a difference You have made in my life!  You satisfy my longings; I do not feel deprived when I focus on You.  You free me from the bondage of destructive habits and self-deceit.  Your truth has set me free.

When I slip back into compulsions and focus on my wants and anxieties, I remember the greater reality of my relationship with You.  I don’t have to “be all I can be” in the world’s eyes.  I don’t have to “get everything done.”  I can “abandon the outcomes” to God.

My relationship with You is primary, next are family and friends.  The cares of this world–work, finances, time management, illnesses, troubles of all sorts, and those everlasting chores–are far down the list of priorities.   Only a few things are necessary, and I long to choose the best.

I hear Your affirmation, Lord:  You are My child, and I have given you grace after grace.  Rejoice!  I give grace to the humble.  My grace is sufficient for You.  You are weak, but I am strong–strong to save you, strong to love you, strong to work in you and through you for My good purpose.  For by grace you are saved, justified before Me by grace.  You will have suffering in this world, but be courageous!  I have conquered the world, and You will see My glory.

What grace!

JOURNEY THROUGH JOHN

Posted by admin on November 14, 2013 under Encouraging Words | Comments are off for this article

     Here I am again writing on my much-neglected blog. The Lord has brought me through a year of challenges that required a lot of time and attention.  
     Since February I have been reading and meditating on John, using the ancient lectio divina method. Though I have read  John my whole life, since I first turned to that wondrous phrase, “In the beginning was the Word,” I am still captivated by his gospel. And I still maintain this website and receive encouragement to continue. So, from time to time, I will share some of my journal entries with you.
     The lectio divina method is not Bible study, and I don’t purport to be a Bible scholar or teacher. I am simply sharing meditations on certain passages that impressed themselves on my spirit. If you would like to learn more about lectio divina, see soulshepherding.org.

CHILDREN OF GOD

Read John 1:1-13

vs. 12 “the right to be children of God”

Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son, giving me faith to receive Him, and granting me “the right to become a child of God”!  Because of my sin, I had no right or even desire in myself to be included in Your family.  Like a helpless baby, I could not choose You, but You chose me. You adopted me and purchased me with Your life-blood.  You gave me Your name and filled me with Your Spirit.

I have not always appreciated this.  I focused on the rejection and abandonment I experienced as a child.

But You, Lord, fathered me and taught me to love You, to love Your Word, Your people, and Your worship.  You led me in the way of salvation.  I am so thankful, Lord!

Now I am Your child and will always be Your child.  I do not have to fear rejection or abandonment.  You will never be too busy for me or deceive me.  I don’t have to compete for Your approval, attention, or aid.   You call me to follow, and You lead me on the way. 

Your Word says to me:  I am the Lord God Almighty, your Creator, the Word Made Flesh, rejected by men yet offering Myself in love for their redemption. I have drawn you to Myself with an everlasting love.   I have called you, given you a new heart and name, and adopted you forever. Rejoice, child of God!  Be not ashamed; your sins are forgiven.  Fear not!  Rest in My love.  Trust Me to provide and shelter and lead.  I will never leave you or forsake you.  And at last, you will live in My presence forever and see My glory.

So be it, Father.  I believe and rejoice!

 

 

The Happy Birthday Imperative

Posted by admin on October 3, 2013 under Encouraging Words | Comments are off for this article

Australian Puppy Tin Tin Satterfield, March 2013

Today is my birthday, which is five years since a not-s0-happy “chemo-radiation” birthday .

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for healing me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually!   Thank You, Good Shepherd, for carrying me through the valley of the shadow of death!  I rejoice in all Your blessings and faithful provisions for me and my family.

Today my reading in the Gospel of John brought me to one of my favorite stories–The Man Born Blind in John 9!  (I encourage you to read the whole chapter before the journal entry below.)

A man born blind sat begging as Jesus passed by.  The crowds ignored his cries, but Jesus saw him.  He turned immediately toward the beggar.

The disciples, however, wanted Jesus to explain the man’s blindness: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” (9:2)

But Jesus,  dismissing their idea of a vindictive God, corrected them.  “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents.  This came about that God’s works might be displayed in him.”

And He added, “We must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day.” (9:3)

Jesus’ imperative was not to question God but to demonstrate His love, power, and glory, bringing Light into the darkness of a spiritually blind world.

Yes, God let the man be born blind but only that the Lord Jesus might heal him both in body and soul!(9:35-38)

I might ask, “Lord, did You give me cancer because of my sins?”

But Jesus declares, “Not at all.  This is God’s plan to display His wonderful work in your life.”

I used to wallow in self-pity and depression  when troubles came. Through cancer (and many other challenges in life) I found out that God does indeed work out all things for our good and His glory.

Satan would like to use our troubles for evil, but God intends and uses them for good.

Someday we will be “absent from the body and present with the Lord.” (2 Cor.5:8)  Death will be swallowed up in victory as our mortality puts on immortality.  What a blessing that will be!

But while we are here, as those who see clearly in darkness, we share one purpose–to do the works He sets before us.  “For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

No matter our age or abilities in the flesh, each of us who is “in Christ Jesus” are commissioned and then equipped to follow Him in doing good works. As folks used to say, we are “saved to serve.”

I had to give up doing some things I loved when got cancer.  But I am discovering new things the Lord has for me.  I know I still have a purpose and a high calling–and so do you, my friend,  as we walk in relationship with the Lord each day.

Thank You, Lord, for giving all of my life meaning and purpose. Open my eyes to see You and join You in Your work today.  Amen. 

 

 

 

God Is Love–Rejoice!

Posted by admin on March 30, 2013 under Encouraging Words | Comments are off for this article

 

 

 God proves His loves for us

in that while we were still sinners

Christ died for us!   

Romans 5:8

God is love. . .  

God sent His one and only Son

into the world

so that we might live through Him.   

                                                                                                                             I John 4:8-9

 

 

God is love!  Let all within me praise Him,

All within me praise Him!

God is love!  Let all within me praise His holy name!

 

You created us to be Your children.

We rebelled and ran away from You.

But You came in flesh to save us,

And on the Cross forgave us.

Now, no matter what, I know it’s true:  You love me!

 

God is love!  Let all within me praise Him,

All within me praise Him!

God is love!  Let all within me praise His holy name!

 

Now I have the joy of my salvation;

Your Spirit’s with me everywhere I go.

And I can trust You, Jesus;

You are the One who frees us.

You changed my heart,  You changed my life.

You healed my very soul–forever!

 

God is love!  Let all within me praise Him,

All within me praise Him!

God is love!  Let all within me praise His holy name!

 

In this world we have sorrow

While sin is on the throne.

But we wait for that tomorrow

When You’ll come to take us home.

And in Your perfect timing, by Your perfect plan,

You’ll descend in clouds of glory,

And Earth rejoice again, in You, Lord!

 

God is love!  Let all within me praise Him,

All within me praise Him!

God is love!  Let all within me praise His holy name!

Let all within me praise His holy name!

 

 

 

Words and music by Lela Satterfield.  Copyright 2010.  All rights reserved.