Thursday, March 29, 2012

joy in pointing up

"John responded, 'No one can receive a single thing unless it's given to him from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Messiah, but I've been sent ahead of Him.'
He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom's friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom's voice.
So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.'"
-John 3:27-30, Holman Christian Standard Bible

The verses above are an excerpt of John's account of part of John the Baptist's story.  It's neat to see how John the Baptist points to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, in his response to some people's question about purification.  He sees that his purpose is to prepare the way for Christ to come.

That was John the Baptist's unique mission, but I think it applies to Christians as well.  We are followers of Christ, through thick and thin, because God has changed us.  This is not because of what we have done but because of what Christ has done, as He died for what we've done against God, so we can have a good relationship with Him.  How can we share with others who Christ is?  We can share what the Holy Spirit has taught us about God in our own everyday life, invite people to join the body of Christ, and be with people as they want help understanding the Word of God.

I pray God gives us a heart like John the Baptist, who gladly points up to Christ.  I pray He gives us courage and wisdom to share this great news with others.

(illustration above by Trish York -

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

God Cares About You!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart."

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 10:29-31 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."

Isaiah 46:3-4 "Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been born by Me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save."

As a first generation Christian, from time to time God lovingly reminds me of the amazing ways He has faithfully cared for me and cared about me personally. My life is a miracle, there is not doubt in my heart that I would be lost without Jesus!

Without Jesus I would be lost in the old ways I was raised in. I was not raised in a Christian home. These are some of the old ways that God reminds me that He has saved me and set me free from: Lostness, Worldiness, Addictions, Emptiness, Aloneness, Rejection, Brokenheartedness, Great Pain, Abuse, Lack of Stability, Brokenness, Tears, Insecurities...the old defeated life! I did not hear the name of Jesus Christ or God (except in cuss words) until I was in my 20's. I will never forget the day I heard that God loved me and He desired to have a personal relationship with someone like me!

JESUS was shared with me during a Vacation Bible School follow up in my neighborhood, I knew that JESUS and His Love was what I was longing for my entire life as I ran to Him and He radically changed my life. My life changed in every way as God gave me a new heart, a new life, a new everything as it is best describe in 2 Corinthians 5:17; "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."!!!!

"Praise the LORD, my soul, and never forget all the good He has done" Psalm 103:2

"Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles..." 1 Chronicles 16:12a

God Cares About You, Dear Ones! No matter what, God Cares About You! Ask God to lovingly remind you of the amazing ways He has faithfully cared for you and cared about you personally. Your life is a miracle and we would all be lost without Jesus!

Maybe today is the first time that you are realizing your need for Jesus, please say YES to Him, He has great plans of Hope for your life! Please let us know if you have said YES to Jesus and please let us know if there are any ways that we can pray for you!

Who do we know that needs to know that God Cares? Who do we know that needs to know that God has a new plan for their life? Who do we know that needs to know that the old can pass away and that all things can become new life because of Christ?

Let's share Jesus today!! (Help Is On The Way! - Michael W. Smith) (My Chains Are Gone! - Michael W. Smith) (Mighty To Save! - Michael W. Smith) (Deep In Love With You! - Michael W. Smith)

Monday, March 19, 2012

God's waterfall

"Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. (Psalm 42:7)." 
I love the words of the Psalmist in 42:7. As I read it, i could not help but think back to when I visited the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. My cell phone captured the photos you see here. I could feel the mist from the powerful waterfalls and sense the power as it came rushing down. Like many who visit, i was overwhelmed by the beauty and the magnificent display of God's glory right in front of me. As i looked to the left, i could see a rainbow which seemed to frame the picture for me. God was reminding me that He was all knowing, all powerful, and in complete control. Nothing was too strong or mighty to overcome Him. And He was giving me a promise to remind me that He knew, He cared, and He was still in charge.

I don't know where you find yourself today, what you are doing, or what you need to be doing :), but what i do know is that God knows what you are going through. He has a plan and He will see it through. Let His mighty love shower you with His presence today...and tell someone else, the He loves them and has a plan. Promise.

You know you are loved.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Bare Necessity

"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13-14

Water is important to our health--a bare necessity!  About 2/3 of our body is water.  That water helps transport oxygen, keeps us detoxified and hydrated, and helps regulate our body temperature.  Because of that, doctors tell us we must have a healthy intake of water each day.  If not, dehydration will set in and cause all kinds of problems.  As much as we need physical water, it is far more important we have Living Water.  In the same manner, if we don't have Living Water, we will experience all kinds of problems. 

In John 4, the Samaritan woman was gathering her daily intake of water when she met Jesus.  After they talked, Jesus told her about his Living Water.  Jesus is tell us that we can drink all your favorite bottled waters in the world, but we will  still be thirsty, yet if we cling to the Living Water, we will never thirst.

So, is your water glass full and at your fingertips for easy access or are you parched and dehydrated?  Have you been going elsewhere to quench your thirst--reaching for other things to satisfy only to find yourself thirsty again?  When I find myself feeling spiritually dehydrated, I need to open the Word and spend more time with my Lord and Savior and inhale a healthy dose--wondering why I ever thought something else could satisfy my thirst OR that I could be so busy "doing" things that I forfeited time with Him.  God's Word  and a relationship with Christ is the ONLY antidote for thirst.  Let's share the Living Water with others!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Immanuel, God with us

"Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
'See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel, 
which is translated 'God with us.'"
-Matthew 1:22-23, Holman Christian Standard Bible

How can we share this truth today?  This past week, I have been reminded of how God can use even nature to remind us of Him.  Last weekend, a tornado warning came to the city I am living in.  Students were released from classes midday, and most workers I know were given permission to go home.  My school sent an emergency text message to students, letting us know to be somewhere safe.

Rushing home in traffic, I tried to keep calm.  I heard the first warning while I was at work on the 16th floor of a building that has a vast view of the sky.  Seeing the sky stressed me out, but as I drove home, God reminded me to pray.

One of the names of God that stands out to me is "Immanuel" meaning "God with us."  This is a deep thing.  God didn't just create the world and let us be.  He is still here, and He wants a relationship with us.  My friend today reminded me of a verse:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" (Isaiah 30:15). 

When I had gotten a couple of texts to take cover for an hour or so, God brought peace as I sat in a small bathroom, praying as I read part of the Psalms.  Later, as I heard and read about more friends' stories through the storm, I saw how God's grace was in all of it.  God was there bringing peace, prayer, laughter.  He was there as He brought people together during the storm, and He is here now, sending people to help the communities that were damaged by the storms.

In the storm, I saw how God is powerful.  And then, I was reminded how He can bring restoration, peace, and relief.  How can we help others see our need for God, who stays with His people?

Today, I pray we remember to share that Jesus is Immanuel.  He has been a part of God's plan all along, so that we could have a restored relationship with God.  I pray God works in us and through us, so we express this truth to others, so they can have a restored relationship with our Creator and find rest in our powerful God as well.

Photo from news source WDRB 41 Louisville

Monday, March 5, 2012

God provides the path to share Christ

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Have you ever gone into a maze and tried to get out, or worked on a maze in a puzzle book?  God’s path is not like a maze.  He has a straight path to follow.  He wants you to look for His path in your life as you share Christ with others. Lean on the Lord for everything you need to walk this path.

God’s path leads to open doors to share Christ

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:3-5

God opens every door for you to share Christ with others.  Picture with me a door with only one doorknob on the door…the doorknob is on God’s side of the door, not your side.  As you pray, He opens each door of opportunity to share Christ with people who He puts in your pathway.  The only thing that you need to be ready to do is to walk through the doors that He opens and share His simple message.  This is a lifestyle that is so exciting.

What are some of the doors that God may open up for you as a Christian to share Christ with others?  For example: at your home, with your mail carrier, at the store, at school, at the ballgame, on vacation, on an airplane, at church… The list goes on and on.  When there are many open doors for His message, your life becomes a life with purpose.

God’s path leads to open hearts that are ready to accept Christ

“God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”  Acts 17:27

“One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God.  The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.”  Acts 16:14

When you share Christ with someone, guess what?  God has already prepared his/her heart to listen to what you are sharing!  He/she is already searching for Christ.  God wants to use you to bring the answer to this person who has been searching.  God prepares the heart of each one to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.  He is looking for obedient followers with open hearts who are ready to share Christ.

NOTE: Today's post is taken from HeartCall: A New Heart and written by Tracy Jones.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

God provides the plan to share Christ

Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.  Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:20-21

God’s Word provides the plan of salvation that you share with others

As God sends you to share Christ with others, God sends you with His plan.  The plan of salvation is from His perfect Word, the Bible.  This is one reason that it is exciting to read God’s Word and get to know God personally.  His plan will fill your heart with courage and confidence because God never makes a mistake and never makes His plan hard to understand.  The Holy Spirit will help you understand God’s Word as you read it and share it.  Remember the small simple step of faith that you took to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior?  Don’t ever forget that God provides the plan to follow as you share Jesus with others.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.  Romans 10:17

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
I Thessalonians 2:13

The simple message of salvation that you offer to others is shared by faith.  The plan of salvation is found in God’s Word.  As you read and memorize God’s Word, you are being equipped to share Christ with others.  This is the greatest joy-filled plan to follow.  Begin today to make yourself familiar with and memorize the Scriptures in the “HeartTalk” witnessing booklet.  You will be ready to share His plan of eternal life through Jesus using this wonderful plan.
God’s Word provides powerful examples of His people sharing Christ with others

Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.  The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus…"  John 1:40-42a

God’s Word is full of examples of His people witnessing.  What a joy it is that God has given you these role models from His Word that encourages you to share Christ and cheers you on in many ways.  Even though they followed Christ many years ago, their footprints are provided as examples for every believer to follow today.  Get to know some of these biblical role models and let their lives be an inspiration and reminder that if they could be witnesses, you can too.
God’s Spirit will draw people to Christ

“When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement…" John 16:8

When you share Christ, do not feel defeated if the person you share with doesn’t say yes to Christ right away.  Christians need to be careful that they don’t fall into the trap of playing the Holy Spirit.  That is not your role to fill.  Your role is to pray, to share, and to leave the results to God.  You may be planting a seed in the heart of someone who needs the Lord, watering a seed that someone else has planted, or picking the fruit of a life that was planted and watered by someone else.  The results are all up to God.  He is not willing for one person to perish. 

NOTE: Today's post is taken from HeartCall: A New Heart and written by Tracy Jones.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

God provides the power to share Christ

Everything you will need to share Christ comes from God and His Power.  He provides the power through the Holy Spirit.  When you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you received His power to live as a Christian and share Him with others.  What has God done in your life?  When your life is changed and you share the life-changing details with others, this is God’s power at work.  As the people you are sharing with hear and see the ways that God has changed your life, they will be able to experience Christ’s power first hand.  Thank God for His power.     

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. I Corinthians 2:1-5

What has Christ done for you?  You have a powerful confident testimony to share with others.  When you share what Christ has done for you, you can trust in God’s power to work through you.  God tells us in I Corinthians 2:1-5 (written above) that He wants you to be totally dependent on Him for everything you need.  You don’t need to be concerned with fancy speech or persuasive words.  You only need to have God’s power and the words that He will give you to share.  As you share Christ through His power you can have confidence because… it is all up to God.

God promises to teach you how to share Christ with others.  

Are you teachable?  If you are, God will teach you.  He wants you to know how to share with others.  How special it is to know that your teacher is not only teacher of the year; but, Teacher of all teachers!  The more time you spend with your teacher in prayer and reading the Bible, the more you will learn how to be an effective witness for Him.  God has so much He wants to share with you.  It is an exciting purpose to get to know Christ and share Him with others.

God’s plan for sharing Christ with those who need Christ is so awesome that there is no room for worry.  He takes care of every detail Himself.  He teaches you and gives you the words that you need to be His witness.  He is looking for worry free followers of Christ that will trust Him for every word to say to those that need Christ.

God will lead you to the people that need Christ.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20
Your life is full of people that need Christ.  A great question that you can ask God is, “Lord, who do you want me to share Christ with today?”  As you walk with God, you will see the people He wants you to share Christ with.  You have the joy and privilege of going where the people are with the purpose of sharing Christ. 

Until Jesus returns, God sends you on a mission, a great commission, to go with a great HeartTalk permission slip signed by the greatest authority that there is...  Jesus Christ.  

NOTE: Today's post is written by Tracy Jones and taken from HeartCall: A New Heart.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mercy Ministry - A glimpse of a free health clinic

"But Peter said, 'I don't have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!'"
-Acts 3:6, Holman Christian Standard Bible

He was a little guy.  His eyes rested shut as he was sleeping, and the woman carrying him glowed as she introduced herself and the sleeping baby boy she was holding.  Every once and a while, his eyes would peek open, then he would fall back asleep.  I was told he loved to be held, and sure enough, when someone held him, his eyes opened with life as he scanned the person holding him.

In the Bible, we can read so much about how believers can come together in community and then go out to share their faith.  What does that look like, though?  We can love our brother and sisters in Christ, forgiving each other, and we can remind each other of the Good News of Christ.  A neat thing, too, is that Jesus asked us to go out and make disciples.  He not only wanted to take care of the body of believers, but He also wants us to go out and share His love and message with others.  That's so others may know God and have a relationship with Him, too.

Last weekend, my community group and some others helped my church host a free medical clinic in town.  From noon until about 4pm, the doors of the church were opened for people to have free health services.  I was a part of a group serving as advocates.  We walked a person or a family through the services offered.  Not everyone was a member of the church who was serving that day.  Some stations included nurses, a chiropractor, Pharmacy items, warm spaghetti, doctors, and a clothing room.  One of my favorite parts was when the lady and baby boy I was with were on the third floor, and a little girl ran up to show us her beautiful magenta fingernails - there was free nail painting, haircuts, and massages offered on that floor.  It was neat to see how many people came together to love and help people from the neighborhood in a way that they could.

I realized that really I am in need, too.  Sometimes, we do not see known physical needs, but we all of us need Christ, the Savior, who came to sacrifice for us.  We can come to Him in brokenness, seeing that we do not having anything to give that would match what He has to give.  He gives those who believe in Him the Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside out.  Even though putting on or serving at a health clinic is not something we all may do soon, we can share Jesus and who He is with others, wherever we go today.  

Here's a link to a video from the clinic last year -
and a blog post from the clinic this year -
Logo/photo created by Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky