List of Jesus’ Commands from God’s Word

Several months ago my husband/pastor was filling in at the pulpit of the church we were attending and shared the list of “49 General Commands of Jesus Christ” from God’s Word as part of a segment on keeping God’s commandments. John 14:15 says, “If you love me you will keep my commandments;” and John 15:10 says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love…”

I love lists. I try to keep myself organized by creating a list of things “to do” throughout the day so that I feel I have accomplished something that day.

In the “49 General Commands of Jesus Christ” (video link – https:youtu.be/TOC1P CrOGO and text from https://iblp.org/questions/what-are-commands-christ), you will notice that it consists of repenting, following Jesus, rejoicing, honoring God’s law, etc. The theme is to “love God with all our hearts and to love one another.”

The 49 commandments are as follows:

  1. Repent–Matthew 4:17 (Humility)
  2. Follow Me–Matthew 4:19 (Meekness)
  3. Rejoice–Matthew 5:12 (Joyfulness)
  4. Let Your Light Shine–Matthew 5:16 (Generosity)
  5. Honor God’s Law–Matthew 5:17-18 (Love)
  6. Be Reconciled–Matthew 5:24-25 (Responsibility)
  7. Do Not Commit Adultery–Matthew 5:24-25 (Self-Control)
  8. Keep Your Word–Matthew 5:37 (Truthfulness)
  9. Go the Second Mile–Matthew 5:38-42 (Deference)
  10. Love Your Enemies–Matthew 5:44 (Creativity)
  11. Be Perfect–Matthew 5:48 (Sincerity)
  12. Practice Secret Disciples–Matthew 6:1-18 (Faith)
  13. Lay Up Treasures–Matthew 6:19-21 (Thriftiness)
  14. Seek God’s Kingdom–Matthew 6:33 (Initiative)
  15. Judge Not–Matthew 7:1 (Discernment)
  16. Do Not Cast Pearls–Matthew 7:6 (Discretion)
  17. Ask, Seek, and Knock–Matthew 7:7-8 (Resourcefulness)
  18. Do Unto Others–Matthew 7:12 (Sensitivity)
  19. Choose the Narrow Way–Matthew 7:13-14 (Decisiveness)
  20. Beware of False Prophets–Matthew 7:15 (Alertness)
  21. Pray For Laborers–Matthew 9:38 (Compassion)
  22. Be Wise as Serpents–Matthew 10:16 (Wisdom)
  23. Fear Not–Matthew 10:26 (Boldness)
  24. Hear God’s Voice–Matthew 11:15 (Attentiveness)
  25. Take My Yoke–Matthew 11:29 (Obedience)
  26. Honor Your Parents–Matthew 15:4 (Honor/Reverence)
  27. Beware of Leaven–Matthew 16:6 (Virtue)
  28. Deny Yourself–Luke 9:23 (Determination)
  29. Despise Not Little Ones–Matthew 18:10 (Tolerance)
  30. Beware of Covetousness–Luke 12:15 (Contentment)
  31. Go to Offenders–Matthew 18:15 (Justice)
  32. Forgive Offenders–Matthew 18:21-22 (Forgiveness)
  33. Honor Marriage–Matthew 19:6 (Loyalty)
  34. Be a Servant–Matthew 20:26-28 (Availability)
  35. Be a House of Prayer–Matthew 21:13 (Persuasiveness)
  36. Ask in Faith–Matthew 21:21-22 (Patience)
  37. Bring in the Poor–Luke 14:12-14 (Hospitality)
  38. Render to Caesar–Matthew 22:19-21 (Gratefulness)
  39. Love the Lord–Matthew 22:37-38 (Enthusiasm)
  40. Love Your Neighbor–Matthew 22:39 (Gentleness)
  41. Await My Return–Matthew 24:42-44 (Punctuality)
  42. Take, Eat, and Drink–Matthew 26:26-27 (Thoroughness)
  43. Be Born Again–John 3:7 (Security)
  44. Keep My Commandments–John 14:15 (Diligence)
  45. Watch and Pray–Matthew 26:41 (Endurance)
  46. Feed My Sheep–John 21:15-16 (Dependability)
  47. Baptize My Disciples–Matthew 28:19 (Cautiousness)
  48. Receive God’s Power–Luke 24-49 (Orderliness)
  49. Make Disciples–Matthew 28:20 (Flexibility)

Matthew 22:37-40 says that “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hand all the Law and the Prophets.”

John 13:34-35 says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. As I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love toward one another.”

May the Lord bless you as you follow God’s commandments in your lives.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Faithful Men of the Bible

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” –Hebrews 11:1-2 (NIV)

The Book of Hebrews has been called the “Faith Hall of Fame” (Luci Swindoll quote) and a number of men have been given access to that hall according to their faith.

Hebrews 11:6 says: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

According to the Book of Hebrews, the men of faith included Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Others are mentioned at the end of the Book of Hebrews.

ABRAHAM–He was noted as the “father of faith.” God called him from his home in Mesopotamia to journey to the promised land, where God promised to multiply Abraham’s offspring and make them into a great people and a blessing to the nations. There were a lot of decisions along the way that Abraham made that appear to make him doubt his faith; but in the end he persevered and God did accomplish all that he had for Abraham to do and He blessed him accordingly.

Hebrews 11:8-12 says: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city, with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” (NIV)

MOSES–He was noted for leading the Jews out of slavery, unleashing the ten plagues against Egypt per God’s instructions, guiding the freed slaves for forty years in the wilderness, carrying down the law from Mount Sinai, and preparing the Jews to enter the land of Canaan.

Hebrews 11:23-30 says, “By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the King’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith, he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. By faith, the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.” (NIV)

ISAAC–By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. Hebrews 11:20 (NIV)

JACOB–By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. Hebrews 11:21 (NIV)

JOSEPH–By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. Hebrews 11:22 (NIV)

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16, NIV)

Hebrews 11:32-38 says “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated–the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.” (NIV)

All of these individuals were “commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39, NIV)

Men of faith are men who are faithful, have integrity, are great, godly, strong, and courageous. All of the above proved to have such characteristics as they believed in what God had promised.

Faith then is believing in what has been promised but not necessarily seeing the results of that faith before we die. Seeds of faith are planted every day without our knowing the outcome. Our actions speak louder than words. Planting a seed of hope, love, and grace in another person’s life should be our desire. Let God do the rest.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Love Letters From God

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Valentine’s Message

Today in church, the sermon was about Jesus being our “bread of life”. We had communion as well. But before we did that, the pastor–my husband–shared a video entitled, “Father’s Love Letter: An Intimate Message from God to You.” The video can be found on “GodLovesYou.tv” for those who would like to see this letter.

This week is Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2020) and many of you will be trying to decide on that special gift to get your boyfriend, girlfriend, and/or spouses. The following letter is what God is trying to say to each of us–how much He loves and wants to be our Father each and every day. I pray that this letter will resonate in your heart as you see how much our heavenly Father loves us as he tells and shows us from His Word.

Father’s Love Letter: An intimate message from God to you.

MY CHILD,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1.

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2. I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3. Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31. For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27. In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28. For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28. I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5. I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:22-12. You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16. I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13. And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6. I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. John 8:41-44. I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. I John 4:16. And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. I John 3:1. Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. I John 3:1. I offer you more than your early father ever could. Matthew 7:11. For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48. Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17. For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31033. My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:1. Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3. My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalm 139:17-18. And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17. I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40. For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5. I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41. And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3. If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29. Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4. For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13. I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20. For I am your greatest encourager. II Thessalonians 2:16-17. I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. II Corinthians 1:3-4. When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18. As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11. One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4. And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4. I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23. For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26. He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3. He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31. And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. II Corinthians 5:18-19. Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. II Corinthians 5:18-19. His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. I John 4:10. I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32. If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me. I John 2:23. And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39. Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7. I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15.

My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13.

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad…

Almighty God.

Share this love to others around you this week.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Inspirational Women: Mary and Martha of Bethany

Patience is a virtue

“Patience is a virtue” is a quote that I have heard over and over. It certainly had its challenges for me growing up in a household with 11 other siblings that’s for sure. However, even in smaller households patience could prove to be daunting as well.

Mary and Martha, sisters in the Village of Bethany, were as different as “night and day.” Mary, noted for being a “true worshiper”, and Martha, noted as a “devoted servant”, had their ups and downs especially when it came to running the small household. They also had a brother, Lazarus. Martha was the oldest, while Mary was the middle sibling, and Lazarus was the youngest of the three.

One thing that they all had in common was that Jesus was their cousin and according to some writings, Jesus often visited with his “cousin” family on a number of occasions. In Luke 10:38-41, it tells us that while Jesus was visiting at their home, Martha became concerned that Mary was not helping to prepare the food and all the preparations that had to be made upon Jesus’ arrival.

Martha approached Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (verse 40 NIV).

Jesus answered her saying, “Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (verse 41 NIV)

While growing up in my family, I was one of the older siblings and helped with the chores around the house. My oldest sister loved to cook and helped my mother in the kitchen preparing meals. I was often “stuck” babysitting my younger siblings and can remember feeling that my chores were “many” compared to my sister’s. We would often get in a disagreement as to our responsibilities. My mother often told us that our responsibilities around the house were equally important and she appreciated our willingness to help.

Jesus appreciated Martha’s willingness to prepare food for his visit; however, he felt that Mary took time out from the busyness of the preparations by listening to what He had to say when he came to visit them.

Often times we get so busy that we do not take the time out of our schedules to just sit quietly and “listen” to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. We have children to care for, jobs to rush to, chores, meetings to attend, and other responsibilities that crowd out “times to sit and reflect upon God’s grace, love, and mercy.”

Martha was trying to be the perfect host rather than taking the time to listen to what Jesus had to say when he visited this family. John 11:5 tells us that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus”. Martha was just trying to be “the hostess with the mostest” and prove that she was the hallmark of the family and could run the household.

How does this all relate to “patience”? When Martha reacted to Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet by grumbling, Jesus told her not to be upset by Mary’s actions because she had “chosen what was better”. Mary was eager to learn all that Jesus had to say and she could not do this if she were running around the house trying to “make preparations” for Jesus’ visit. Patience on Martha’s part was needed after Jesus’ response to her being upset.

Sometimes a little patience goes a long way in how we react to the circumstances around us. Patience is not an easy virtue to attain. Sometimes when we ask for it, we get “troubles” and things that make us lose our patience instead. That is when we have to stop, thank God for helping us to “learn” patience in our lives, and then continue to believe that he will develop this characteristic as we grow in his knowledge and his word.

I know that there have been many times when I have had to re-learn lessons about patience in my own life. God continues to chisel out the things in my life which helps shape the person that he wants me to become. That, my friends, is a “work in progress” every single day. But thanks be to God who gives me all the help that I need to “become more like Him.”

May the Lord bless you and give you the desire of your heart as you continue to live for Him.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Inspirational Women of the Bible: The Samaritan Woman (Woman at the Well)

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Living Water

“Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.”–Esther 4:14

Several months ago I was given an opportunity to share a sermon about the woman at the well (the Samaritan woman). Since I am writing and sharing about inspirational women of the Bible, I thought I would share her story with you.

Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. The story of the woman at the well is a classic, three-fold story of salvation with Jesus being the witness. First, you have a beginning (confrontation), a middle (conversation), and an ending (conversation) between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. It is a dialogue between two people and a conversation with a sinful woman whose life will be changed forever (conversion) after one conversation.

In John, 4:1-4, it tells us that Jesus left Judea and went back to Galilee and had to go through Samaria. (Keep in mind that most Jews avoided Samaria because of their prejudice and hatred of the people who were a mixed race of Jews and Gentiles.) But not Jesus. He was unaffected by the prejudices of the Jews because there was a woman he needed to see and talk with.

He went to a town called Sychar and waited by Jacob’s well and about the sixth hour (noon) he sees her coming, and in verse 7 he asks her for a drink of water (his disciples had gone into town to buy food).

Background on the woman: Normally the women went to the well in the morning when it was cool. Because this woman was alone and came at the hottest time of the day indicates that she was a social outcast which is evident later in verses 16-18. She was hated by her own people.

In verse 8, it says that when Jesus asked her for a drink she was amazed that a Jew would ask for a drink “from a woman”, let alone a Samaritan woman. (It was considered inappropriate for a Rabbi to speak to a woman in public.)

In verse 10, Jesus then offers her a drink of “living water” but at this point she is not ready for this living water (salvation) and asks where she can get it.

In verse 11, they talked about the water. He tells her that she can drink from Jacob’s well every day and she would still get thirsty and would have to come back for more. He tells her that he can give her a drink of water that will forever satisfy her.

In verse 15, she asks him to give her this water. But first they talked about her sinfulness. Jesus asks her to go and bring her husband back, and she says she has no husband.

In verse 17, he tells her everything about herself. She had five husbands and the one with whom she lived was not her husband. This information clearly makes her “sit up and take notice” that perhaps Jesus is a “prophet.”

In verses 19-20, they talked about worship. She tries to start an argument about the proper place to worship, but Jesus tells her that “true worship” is never found in rituals and substitutes for God; it can only be found in spiritual worship–from his Spirit (verse 21–worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth).

Jesus simply reveals himself and it was what she needed to understand. Then in verse 25, she acknowledges that “when the Messiah comes (Christ) he will explain everything to us.”

In verse 26, Jesus declares that “I who speak to you am he.”

Then Jesus’ disciples return and are surprised to see Jesus speaking to a woman, but
“they did not ask Jesus why”. (verse 27)

In verse 28, Jesus reveals himself and she responds in faith; and her salvation was immediate (conversion). She leaves her water jar behind, runs to the town and testifies that she just met Christ and that he told her everything she had ever done. She met Jesus and was forever changed. The men saw her “transformation.”

In Proverbs 22:1, it tells us that “a good name is more desirable than great riches; to be respected more than silver or gold.”

Jesus gave this woman a “new name”. Her past would no longer define who she was or would become. First, she was transformed by the renewing of her mind and God filled her emptiness and cleansed her heart. Secondly, she was no longer immoral (sinful) but a child of God. Finally, she was no longer disgusting/rejected/ostracized by her people, but she was now forgiven and accepted.

In verse 39, it tells us that because of her testimony, many believed. In verse 40, they asked Jesus to stay for two days; and through his words, many more became believers. Verse 42 says that they met the “Master and Savior” of the world.

Three truths that can be learned from Jesus’ dialogue with the woman at the well:

  1. First, Salvation comes to those who recognize their need for the spiritual life that they don’t have. Living water is obtained by those who recognize they are spiritually thirsty. John 4:14…”whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
  2. Second, Salvation comes to those who confess and repent of their sin and desire forgiveness. Romans 10:9-10: “But if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
  3. Third Salvation can only be found in Jesus. John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

I leave you with the beautiful words from the hymn (chorus), “Fill My Cup Lord”, by Richard Blanchard:

“Fill my cup, Lord–I lift it up, Lord!

Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.

Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more;

Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.”

May the Lord fill your cup with his love and strength beginning today–January 1, 2020, a new day, a new beginning, and a fresh start. Everything in the past is gone. Be a truly inspiring woman for the Lord.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Inspirational Women of the Bible: Mary, the Mother of Jesus

“For nothing is impossible with God.”–Luke 1:37

Two years ago during the Christmas season, I was privileged to share a sermon about Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Because we are now in the 2019 Christmas Season, I wanted to share that sermon with you as follows:

Mary is the best-known female character in the Bible, and everyone knows her as the “Mother of Jesus.” In Matthew 1:16 her name appears in the geneology of Matthew–“and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.”

It has been told that she was a peasant woman, a young adolescent, and probably poor, from Aaron’s line (priests). Parents and siblings are not mentioned, but it is assumed she came from a Godly home of devout Jews–she lived in the Village of Nazareth.

During Mary’s time period, it was Jewish custom that girls were not trained in Holy Scriptures but were trained to run the household; but as seen in her praise in her “Magnificat” in Luke1:47-55, Mary was well-versed in scriptures.

Mary became betrothed to Joseph, son of Heli, at a very young age. Although we don’t know the exact age that she was pledged to be married, the minimum age for girls to be bethrothed during this time period was as early as 12 years old, and this generally took place one year before the marriage which was legally binding and could only be dissolved by a legal divorce.

Isaiah 7:14 tells us that “Mary was a chaste virgin.” Other places where Mary is mentioned are:

  • Luke 1: Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel and her visit with Elizabeth where she stayed for three months.
  • Matthew 1:24 and Luke 2:1-7: Both gospels tell about the Birth of Jesus–Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem for the census where she gave birth to Jesus.
  • Luke 2:21: Jesus is presented in the temple and blessed by Simeon (8 days old/circumcised).
  • Luke 2:41: Feast of Passover each year. During one incident when Jesus was 12 years old, his parents (Mary and Joseph) were returning home when it was discovered that Jesus stayed behind so they went back to get him. In verse 48, Mary told Jesus that they had anxiously been searching for Him and his reply in verse 49 was, “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house,” but they did not understand.
  • John 2:1-11: Wedding feast at Cana. The wine ran out on the third day so Jesus turned the water into wine per Mary’s request for his help.
  • John 19:26: Crucifixion. Jesus saw his mother and said, “Dear woman, here is your son”, and to John, his disciple, he said, “Here is your mother” so John cared for her the rest of her days.
  • Luke 24:9: Resurrection. Mother of James (Jesus’ mother), plus Mary Magdalene and Joanna told the eleven disciples that Christ had risen (Judas hung himself).

In both Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56, it mentions Mary’s other children: James, Joses (Joseph), Judas and Simon, plus two other sisters.

The birth of Jesus was foretold in Luke 1:26-38. In verses 26-28 the Angel Gabriel greets Mary and tells her she is highly favored by God (favor means gaining approval, acceptance, or special benefits or blessings). Mary’s reaction was that she was troubled and afraid; but as we read the rest of their conversation, we get a better picture into Mary’s character.

She exhibits a:

Humble Heart–that God had chosen her to carry His Son. She probably thought to herself: who am I that God would think so highly of me for this blessed event. After all she was not wealthy or noble, but just an ordinary young girl and was a chaste virgin. (vs. 29)

Willing Heart/Open Heart–she listened to what the Angel told her about what was going to take place; she then accepted and trusted God and was willing to be used by God. (vs. 34)

Obedient Heart–Mary was an obedient follower of God. God didn’t look at her outward appearance, but knew her heart and that she would be obedient in what He asked of her. (vs. 35)

The angel then tells Mary about her cousin Elizabeth and how that even in her old age, she was going to have a baby (now in her sixth month). (vs. 36)

In verse 37, the angel concludes his time with Mary by saying, “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Servant Heart–Mary was a woman of faith and in vs. 38, she said, “let it be to me as you have said” (if God said it, then I believe it mentality.) Mary proves that she is humble, willing and obedient to become God’s servant and believed God’s destiny for her life.

After Mary’s visit with the angel, she goes to the hill country of Judea to visit with her cousin Elizabeth.

Luke 1:40 says that when Mary greeted Elizabeth, her baby leaped in her womb/Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and in verses 42-45, Elizabeth confirms to Mary that which would take place in her own life: She (Mary) was the chosen one to carry the Son of God and would be blessed among all women.

Mary then begins to praise God (Mary’s Song):

Magnificat–Mary’s Song: In verses 46-55 Mary definitely shows that she knows the scriptures. This is a song of strength, trust, obedience, and power to believe that what God said he would do, he would now accomplish in Mary’s life.

In verse 48, Mary declares: “For He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.” (humble servant)

Mary then stays with Elizabeth for three months before returning home, indicating that she was probably there for the birth of John.

How can we apply the events in Mary’s journey to our own lives today?

I Samuel 16:7 says, “…the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (Remember this was how King David was chosen.)

When God chose Mary, He looked at her heart, not her appearance or circumstances.

When God wants to use individuals like us, He is looking at our hearts–our love for Him–and not our outward appearance or circumstances.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord, and not for people.”

Mary wasn’t thinking “what will people think,” (especially Joseph); only that she was highly favored and chosen to carry the Son of God. She went from an ordinary individual to an extraordinary one.

God asks that whatever He asks of us that we do it with our whole heart for Him and not for men.

Luke 1:37 says, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Just as Elizabeth conceived in her old age, and Mary miraculously bore the Son of God–Jesus Christ who would end up bearing the sins of the world and saving all of us–they both understood and saw firsthand in their lives that “nothing was and is impossible with God.”

SO SHOULD WE: When God speaks to each of us and we listen to Him, let us all be willing to step out in faith so that He can show us His continued plan for our lives, because “nothing is impossible that God can’t do in and through our lives today for His honor and glory.”

Just BELIEVE and TRUST Him, and He will GUIDE you on your life’s journey every step of the way.

Blessing to each and every one of you during this blessed Christmas season.

Yvonne

Inspirational Women of the Bible: Ruth

“…where you go, I will go…” Ruth 1:16

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” – Mother Teresa

When I became a Christian at the age of 15, one of the songs that we sang quite frequently at our church was, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go.” At the time, and being a new Christian, I did not realize what that song truly meant–at least for my life.

As I walked my journey with Him, He began to reveal the path that He had for me. At times, that path took a turn here and there, but it was through His grace that He taught me how to “go where He wanted me to go.” My husband and I have relied on His words to guide and direct us for over 50 years.

As I began to look at Ruth’s life and the difficulties she had as a young widow and how bleak her life must have been after the death of her husband, Naomi’s son, she made a decision that would impact not only her life but the lives of generations to come. She was given a new life with Naomi in a foreign land where she met and married Boaz–a kinsman-redeemer.

God had a plan for Ruth. She and Boaz had a son, Obed, who was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth 4:18 gives us the family line of David as:

“Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon,m Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.”

It was through this line that Jesus, our Savior, was born over 2000 years ago. That was a definite, awesome plan that God foretold and it began with a woman named Ruth who trusted her heart to follow her mother-in-law Naomi to Bethlehem. She was a determined young women. When Naomi tried to convince Ruth to stay in Moab, she replied: “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”–Ruth 16:17.

One of the greatest lessons we can learn from the story of Ruth is that “her past and where she came from” did not define who Ruth was and later became after she met and married Boaz. God’s plans for Ruth were bigger than she could have ever imagined when she followed Naomi.

God has a plan for each and every one of us. I know personally I have struggled at times when there was a “turn here and there along the pathway” but when I trusted God and believed that He would “direct my path” He never failed me.

That is what He wants for each us when we say, “I’ll go where you want me to go Dear Lord.” May He richly bless you during this Christmas season and touch you in your mind, body, and spirit; and that His hands, His words, and His grace be upon you.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Inspirational Women of the Bible: Sarah

Description for women: inspirational, devoted, faithful, remarkable, fearless, strong, powerful, amazing, fierce, courageous, bold, and brave. This list is in no way complete as there are other descriptions for women as well.

There are many women in the Bible who have been an inspiration based on their lives, and they are a testament of what God has done for them. I would like to examine some of these women from His Word and share something about their lives with you so that many women who are losing faith may be encouraged.

The Lord did for Sarah what He had promised.

First, we will begin with Sarah. We are told in Genesis that Sarah wanted to have a child earlier in her life but that this never happened until she reached a much older age.

In Genesis 21:1-7 it tells us: “Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Although Sarah was frustrated and had a weak faith at times and even gave her handmaid over to Abraham because she was barren, God also saw the tremendous faith that she had. Sarah was believed to have had great faith in God’s promises for a child; she was steadfast; hospitable; she had a deep affection for her husband; a sincere love for God; and had hope in what God promised.

Sarah was an example of an “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight (I Peter 3:4).”

When my husband and I were married, we had plans to start a family and I longed for that to happen. However, it wasn’t until we were married almost 19 years before I became pregnant with my daughter.

Throughout our years of waiting, the Lord encouraged my heart that this would be fulfilled according to His plans for our lives. We were so involved in ministry with youth and children that although I yearned to have our own child, God blessed us immensely in working with so many. I still believed God would fulfill His promises but in His time.

Before I knew I was pregnant, the Lord spoke to me in a very special way and told me that “when I became pregnant that I was to name our daughter a certain name and her middle name was to be spelled a certain way.” Three months later I became pregnant and she was to be born that year on Thanksgiving Day. She came one week early.

Talk about a miracle. She was our miracle and always will be a reminder that no matter how long it takes God to answer prayers and desires, His promises are true no matter what the circumstances.

My prayer is that if someone is going through a period of doubting God to fulfill His promises, that you take a “leap of faith” and continue to walk in the path He has set out for you and He will fulfill what He has promised.

May the Lord bless and keep you in His care.

Blessings,

Yvonne

“What Is” Series: Peace

He is our peace

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”–St. Francis de Sales

What is peace? According to Merriam-Webster, peace (n) is:

  • a state of tranquility or quiet freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
  • harmony in personal relations
  • a state or period of mutual concord between governments–a pact or agreement to end hostility
  • used inter jectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting for farewell

Some phrases associated with peace include: hold one’s peace; speak now or forever hold your peace; at peace with; keep the peace; make peace; peace and quiet; peace out; peace of mind; rest in peace; peace offering; peace in the valley; and peace in the midst of the storm.

Of all the topics in my “What Is” series, I can honestly say that “peace” is one that I struggle with the most in my life. Quieting oneself in the midst of chaos/discord is not an easy task. One would have to ask the question, “Am I always in a state of tranquility, quiet or calm during difficult situations that arise in my life?” We probably all agree that life is not always quiet and tranquil, yet the Word of God clearly teaches us to “focus our thoughts on things of God because He is our source of peace.”

Let me share the following scriptures (NIV) as a reference to help us “in the midst of the storm” when we are on balmy waters:

II Corinthians 13:11 (Paul’s words to the Corinthians): “Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfections, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Luke 8:48: “Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Romans 8:6: “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

Psalm 4:8: “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Ephesians 2:14: “For he himself is our peace.”

Psalm 29:11: “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

I Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”

Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace.”

Whenever we have doubt, trouble, or chaos in our lives, John 16:33 (NIV) reminds us of Jesus’ words to his disciples: “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.”

Jesus also tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 that “we should 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 Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

We began this series with Truth and ended the series with Peace. In John 14:6 (NIV): Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Finally, Jesus tells us in John 14:27 (NIV): “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

When we focus our thoughts on the things of God, he will be our source of “inner peace”.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face to shine upon you and give your peace.

Blessings,

Yvonne

“What Is” Series: Joy

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home…it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.”–Chuck Patahniuk

Merriam-Webster defines joy (n) as:

  • the emotion evoked by the well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: Delight
  • the expression or exhibition of such emotion: Gaiety
  • a state of happiness or felicity (bliss)
  • a source or cause of delight

Joy is not just a smile or a laugh. Joy is a state of mind–state of contentment, confidence, and hope deep within our souls. Joy is the product of fellowship with the Father and Son (I John 1:3-4).

Joy denotes happiness–if you are joyful then you are happy.

Some phrases that describe joy are: afternoon delight, beside myself with joy, bundle of joy, weep for joy, wish someone joy, joyride, leap for joy, a joy to behold, and pride and joy to name a few.

But how does the Word of God describe joy (NIV):

Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

James 1:2-3: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

John 16-24: “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful (joyful) heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

John 16:22: “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

I Peter 1:8: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”

Romans 14:17: “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Psalms 16:11: “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”

John 15:11: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

Proverbs 10:28: “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.”

Isaiah 55:12: “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

God’s Word is filled with promises that God makes to His people that He will fill them with an “inexpressible and glorious joy”; fill us with “joy in His presence”; “His joy may be in you and your joy may be complete”; and we will “go out in joy and be led forth in peace.” These are wonderful promises to us all that no matter what we are going through–no matter what the circumstances are in our lives–we can be filled with God’s presence and He can fill our hearts with joy as we trust in Him to work everything out for our good.

We serve a mighty God. This should make us all smile and be joyful. Go forth and find joy in the journey God has set before you for “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”

Blessings,

Yvonne