BLAMELESS

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Hosea 10:1-14:9 ESV, Jude 1:1-25 ESV, Psalm 127:1-5 ESV, Proverbs 29:15-17 ESV

Daily Verse: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,” (Jude 1:24 ESV)

AMOMOS (299): “As an adjective, means “without blame.” Unblemished, unblameable, without spot, faultless, without fault.”[1]

Without blame.

As a kid, whenever an “incident” happened, mom always wanted to know what I did wrong.  A wise woman, she knew getting in trouble takes two, never one person’s fault entirely.  And so, she looked for my guilt first when the note came home from school.

Life with Jesus frees us from our misdeeds.  When the note gets sent home to God, He only sees Christ standing before us, defending our actions. 

But Jesus does more than forgive our sins; He shows us how to change our ways, so we don’t get any more notes sent home.  Following Christ helps us not make the same mistakes twice.  When we stumble, Jesus allows us to do it over.

Learn the lesson.

When we falter, and we all do, learn the lesson God’s trying to teach you.  Instead of blaming someone else for your actions, ask God how He’s trying to grow you in the circumstances.

Just like when my mom wanted to know my part in whatever misdeed happened, God wants us to acknowledge our sins.  By doing so, we can do better the next time around.  And God always gives us the next time.

As I grow in Christ, He teaches me the most through my relationships.  God convicts me of my critical spirit in a myriad of different ways.  At a recent church service while out of town, when the solo singer started playing music from her phone to accompany her, I immediately thought, “Great, this will be painful.”

But instead, I listened to one of the most poignant renditions of “We All Need Jesus” I ever heard.  Immediately, God convicted me of my critical spirit and jumping to conclusions, which led to repentance and a contrite heart.

God considers us blameless when we place our faith in Jesus.  Christ helps us walk in the light by correcting us when we head down the wrong path.  The closer we walk with Jesus, the sooner we receive the corrections we need and the better we’ll walk in stride with Him, blameless in Christ’s eyes.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 18) Thomas Nelson

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HEALTH

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Hosea 6:1-9:17 ESV, 3 John 1:1-15 ESV, Psalm 126:1-6 ESV, Proverbs 29:12-14 ESV

Daily Verse: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3 John 1:2 ESV)

HUGIAINO (5198): “To have sound health, i.e., be well (in body); fig. to be uncorrupt (true in doctrine).  To be healthy, sound in health.”[1]

Uncorrupt.

John’s greeting to Gaius, a leader of one of the churches in Asia Minor, started with well wishes for his body and soul. Healthy bodies have no illness corrupting them.  When disease attacks the body, it destroys cells, causing harm and not allowing the organs to function correctly. 

Just as with physical bodies, our spiritual wellness can experience corruption.  When a problem rears its ugly head, it can cause much damage if unaddressed.  Called to love all people, we must set boundaries to have healthy relationships within the community and address issues as they arise.

Wounds fester the longer they go without treatment.  In the same way, disunity within the church can happen when problems get ignored.

Live healthily.

Now in our fifties, Ron and I live healthier lifestyles than ever.  We rarely eat fast and processed foods.  Lean meat, life-giving vegetables, and regular exercise help maintain our health.  Praying for long life, we do what we can to preserve the health God gives us.

Becoming healthier takes intention and time.  Our spiritual health depends on our relationship with Jesus.  The more we connect with God, the more He reveals our unhealthy areas, helping us to address the issues and become whole again.

Healthy bodies, minds, and souls happen when we live our lives in obedience to God.  Within scripture, Jesus shows us how to live well.  Remember, Christ didn’t eat at McDonald’s; He walked everywhere and stayed connected to His heavenly Father and followers. Following Jesus’ teachings will lead us to a healthier life.

Ask God to illuminate areas of corruption in your life, whether physical or spiritual.  Become intentional in caring for your health as you apply God’s principles to your life.  Live fully following Jesus’ example, loving God and others well.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 255) Thomas Nelson

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TEACHING

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Hosea 4:1-5:15 ESV, 2 John 1:1-13 ESV, Psalm 125:1-5 ESV, Proverbs 29:9-11 ESV

Daily Verse: “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:9 ESV)

DIDACHE (1322): “This word denotes “teaching,” either that which is taught, “doctrine”; or the act of teaching, instruction.”[1]

Act of teaching.

Jesus spent three years teaching the disciples and His followers how to live, putting aside their desires to love God and others.  Placing faith in Christ starts the transformation journey as we put His teachings into action in our lives.

Recently, hubby and I enjoyed a night out at a comedy club, watching an improv act. Running into an old friend, our relationship broken over hurtful words, he off-handedly apologized to me for “whatever he said that hurt my feelings.”

As I processed his apology, my friend beside me said, “You have to forgive him because you’re a Christian.”

Abide in Christ.

Acknowledging Christ as Lord and Savior means abiding by His teachings.  Jesus’ grace leads the way for our connection with God.  Without forgiveness, we can’t have reconciliation.

“and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12 ESV) 

Following Christ means I must forgive even hurtful, cruel remarks that pierced my heart.  Abiding in Jesus’s teachings identifies me as one of His.  I explained to my friend, “I do forgive, but it’s a struggle.”

If we refuse to forgive, we run ahead of God and miss the reward He offers.  The peace that surpasses all understanding only comes when we follow Jesus’s teachings.  And when we struggle to abide, we can ask God to help us.

Jesus helped me forgive; He will help you as well.  Laying our pain at the foot of the cross allows God to use it for His good.  Healing comes as we embrace Christ’s love for us and intentionally share it with others, trusting God’s promises will stand the test of time.

Whatever situation you face today, ask God to help you.  Put into action Jesus’s teachings, watching in amazement as God uses you in ways you never imagined.  Experience the joy that comes from following Jesus.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 68) Thomas Nelson

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BORN

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Hosea 1:1-3:5 ESV, 1 John 5:1-21 ESV, Psalm 124:1-8 ESV, Proverbs 29:5-8 ESV

Daily Verse: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.” (1 John 5:1 ESV)

GENNAO (1080): “As a verb, means “to beget” and in the passive voice means “to be born.”  In the writings of the apostle John, of the gracious act of God in conferring upon those who believe the nature and disposition of “children,” imparting to them spiritual life.”[1]

Imparting spiritual life.

Born again, a term often heard in the church, means spiritual birth.  A rebirth of your soul that gives you new life. 

“Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 

Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:3-7 ESV)

Born of spirit.

Our physical birth gives us life; our spiritual birth gives us entrance into God’s kingdom when we confess our sins and believe in Jesus.  We need both to enjoy life to the fullest.  Only with God’s eternal grace can we leave the past behind and embrace the future Jesus has for us.

Saying no to the temporary things of this world, and seeking the never-ending life Jesus offers, leads us into God’s peace.  As we take responsibility for our actions, submitting them to God and asking for mercy, we gain new life.  We can choose a different path from the one already traveled.

Inside all of us, we have a God-sized void only He can fill.  People seek many things to fill the spiritual hole: money, power, and prestige don’t complete us.  No matter how large the bank account, cash disappears as quickly as it comes.  But when we place our faith in Jesus, nothing can separate us from God.

Experience spiritual rebirth as you place your faith in Jesus.  Allow God to fill the void He created to connect with you.  Plug the power cord into your internal outlet and let God’s love and mercy flow into you.  Nothing can satisfy you like the Lord.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 59) Thomas Nelson

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OVERCOME

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 11:36-12:13 ESV, 1 John 4:1-21 ESV, Psalm 123:1-4 ESV, Proverbs 29:2-4 ESV

Daily Verse: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 ESV)

NIKAO (3528): “Overcome, conquer, prevail, get the victory.”[1]

Get the victory.

As children of God, you possess divine power to help overcome this world’s trials and tribulations.  Accessing Christ’s strength means submitting your life to Him and asking for help.  Submission requires self-awareness to realize you need assistance to win the battle.

Jesus helps us face our demons, both internal and external.  Often, our biggest battles come from within ourselves.  Fears and anxieties can cripple us from enjoying life to the fullest.

Listening to a friend share her anxiety about driving over bridges hurt my heart.  As a result of her fear, she limits her travels and doesn’t go places she longs to go.  Trusting God can help us overcome our fears.

Greater within you.

God’s Spirit living within your heart has more power than anything.  When Jesus died and rose again, He overcame death, the consequences of sin.  Placing our faith in Christ means we no longer fear death. 

“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.” (John 16:33 ESV)

When my friend shared her anxieties, I told her how I overcame my driving fears.  After getting t-boned in an intersection by a taxi driver in northern VA, totaling the rental vehicle, I developed post-traumatic syndrome with driving. 

Every time I enter an intersection, flashbacks of the crash haunt me. Jesus helps me overcome them by reminding me that He never leaves nor forsakes me.  God protected me then, and He protects me now.  Life doesn’t end when our physical body dies but continues forever with Christ.

Don’t let anxiety and fear stop you from living life to the fullest.  Trust Jesus to help you overcome the trials you face.  Introduce your mountains to the God who created them.  Submission doesn’t mean weakness; instead, you access divine strength to help you overcome.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 171) Thomas Nelson

Check out my new release on Amazon. Learn how I used prayer to control my emotions and develop healthier relationships in my life.
Check out my new release on Amazon. Learn how I used prayer to control my emotions and develop healthier relationships in my life.

HEART

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 11:2-35 ESV, 1 John 3:7-24 ESV, Psalm 122:1-9 ESV, Proverbs 29:1 ESV

Daily Verse: “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; (1 John 3:19 ESV)

KARDIA (2588): “Is the heart, the chief organ of the physical life, and occupies the most important place in the human system.  By an easy transition the word came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements.  It is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life.”[1]

Chief organ.

Because our heart muscles run our entire physical body, they became known for man’s whole mental and moral activity.  Considered the “hidden springs of the personal life” from our hearts flow our activities, whether positive or negative.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21 ESV)

What we treasure rules our hearts.  If money and prestige matter more to us than relationships, our hearts will reflect it.  As we climb the corporate ladder, we’ll destroy connections with others, missing out on moments we can never regain.

Purified heart.

If you want to know what you treasure in your heart, ask God to search for it.  Request God’s help in identifying the dark places within your being that keep you from enjoying life to the fullest.  Don’t miss out on the important things in life because you treasure the temporary things of this world.

Today’s world has many things we can treasure, high salaries, large homes, and fancy cars can take the place of people in our lives.  When we don’t have our priorities straight, we don’t treasure the right things.

God first, others second, and ourselves last prioritizes our hearts.  Understanding the crucial things in life helps us live life to the fullest.  Losing a loved one makes you realize you’d give all you have just for one more hour with them.

Ask God to purify your heart today by revealing the temporary things of this world you treasure.  Focus your eyes on Jesus, letting Him become the treasure of your heart.  You will begin to experience life to the fullest as you get your priorities straight and enjoy the gifts of a relationship with God and others.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 128) Thomas Nelson

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SHAME

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 9:1-11:1 ESV, 1 John 2:18-3:6 ESV, Psalm 121:1-8 ESV, Proverbs 28:27-28 ESV

Daily Verse: “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” (1 John 2:28 ESV)

AISCHUNOMAI (153): “Means shame and always being in the passive voice, signifies of the possibility of being ashamed before the Lord Jesus His Parousia with His saints 1 Jn 2:28.”[1]

No shame.

Many people don’t enter a relationship with God because of the shame they feel in their lives.  Whether big or small, when we sin, we know it. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, our misdeeds cause us to hide from the Lord.

But God knew Eve ate the apple, and He loved her anyway.  Whatever temptation you’ve succumbed to in the past, don’t let it hinder you from seeking God.  Acknowledge your blunder and let the Lord guide you into different choices.  Jesus creates a bridge that allows us to let go of our past and embrace God’s plan for our lives.

Believe God loves you.

God wants a relationship with you because He loves you.  Don’t believe the lies; nothing can separate you from God’s love when you place your faith in Him, confess your past mistakes, and embrace the forgiveness Christ offers.

Walking nine holes with my hubby, I three-putted on the last hole after a good round.  Because of the condition of the greens, I felt justified in deducting a stroke.  However, immediately I felt convicted of my sin and gave the correct score.

God doesn’t expect perfection; He wants honesty.  Admit when you make a mistake, learn from it, and then let it go.  The Creator knows His creation, and God loves us, despite our flaws.  Don’t let shame keep you from the life-giving relationship God offers.

Everyone has a past, decisions they regret, and events that make them cringe.  But when you give those things to God, He creates beauty from ashes.  The Lord wastes nothing; He uses everything for good for those who believe and trust in Him.

Approach God with confidence, knowing He forgives your sins.  Strive to become more like Jesus, leaving your past behind and embracing new life in Christ.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 9) Thomas Nelson

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PROPITIATION

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 8:1-27 ESV, 1 John 2:1-17 ESV, Psalm 120:1-7 ESV, Proverbs 28:25-26 ESV

Daily Verse: “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2 ESV)

HILASMOS (2434): “Signifies “an expiation, a means whereby sin is covered and remitted.”  It is used in the NT of Christ Himself as “the propitiation,” in 1 Jn 2:2 signifying that He Himself, through Him alone, the violated holiness and righteousness of God by man’s sin has means through which God shows mercy to the sinner who believes on Christ as the One thus provided.  Provision is made for the whole world, so that no one is, by divine predetermination, excluded from the scope of God’s mercy; the efficacy of the “propitiation,” however, is made actual for those who believe.”[1]

Covered sin.

Christ alone covered our sins.  When Jesus died, He did so for everyone.  Anyone who trusts God’s Son will have their sins forgiven and find eternal life.  You can’t receive the gift Jesus offers if you don’t believe.

Our actions come from the thoughts we have.  What we believe reveals itself in how we live.  Receiving the forgiveness Christ offers gives us the freedom to live our lives without condemnation.

Live free.

Place your faith in Jesus; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  When Christ died on the cross, He did it for you.  Knowing we can do nothing to save ourselves from our sinful nature, God provided a way.

Believe Jesus lived, died, and rose again.  Accept the grace God offers through His Son.  No one will ever completely understand the workings of the Creator.  We don’t need to know everything to believe. 

Faith requires movement; taking the first step towards Jesus begins the journey.  God loves you, no matter what lies in your past. When we start to follow Christ, our actions change.  Turning from our past sins, like the adulterous woman in John’s gospel, we strive to sin no more by no longer doing what we used to do.

When I turned my life over to Christ in my late 20s, returning to my childhood faith, I stopped having inappropriate relationships with men, focused on Biblically handling my finances, and worked to develop healthy relationships by dealing with my issues.  Something I continue to do today.

Our journey doesn’t end just because we place our faith in Jesus.  No, choosing to live life like Christ begins the trip of a lifetime, one that never ends as we experience eternal life with Jesus.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 121) Thomas Nelson

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DARKNESS

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 7:1-28 ESV, 1 John 1:1-10 ESV, Psalm 119:153-176 ESV, Proverbs 28:23-24 ESV

Daily Verse: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5 ESV)

SKOTIA (4653): “Is used of spiritual or moral “darkness,” emblematic of sin, as a condition of moral or spiritual depravity, 1 Jn 1:5.”[1]

Spiritual depravity.

Darkness symbolizes spiritual depravity in today’s verse.  Separated from God, people find themselves in darkness, directionless.  But when we connect with Jesus, inviting the Holy Spirit to reside within our hearts, God’s light fills our world.

As a worrier, my thoughts quickly jump to the worst-case scenario when things don’t go as planned.  In seconds, my mind can go to a dark and lonely place. But life with God means even in our darkest hours; He will light our path.

John reminds us when we place our faith in Jesus, He illuminates our path, pulling us from our spiritual depravity and giving us life to the full.

Live in the light.

Bask in the glow of God’s love as it pours from heaven into your soul.  In your struggles, turn to the one who controls all things.  Lay your burdens at the foot of the cross, and stop taking them back.  Give your anxieties to Jesus; let Him bring peace to your soul.

Do you remember the moment you first placed your faith in Jesus?  To this day, I still remember the light that flooded my young heart when I gave my life to Christ.  Even though I didn’t completely understand all the nuances at that moment, something changed and continues to change decades later as I let Jesus into more and more of my soul.

Experience the life change Jesus offers.  You don’t have to know everything about Christ to accept the gift He offers.  As you begin to follow Jesus, your faith will grow.  The more you practice God’s teachings; the more your heart will fill with His light.

Let your light shine brightly in the darkness of this world.  Share Christ’s love with all you meet, and pray they will accept God’s gift and experience the life change He offers.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 229) Thomas Nelson

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BELOVED

2 minute read.

Daily Reading: Daniel 6:1-28 ESV, 2 Peter 3:1-18 ESV, Psalm 119:129-152 ESV, Proverbs 28:21-22 ESV

Daily Verse: “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8 ESV)

AGAPETOS (27): “As an adjective, from agapao (25) means “loved,” is used of Christ as loved by God and of believers, often, as a form of address.”[1]

Loved.

Peter calls his audience beloved because the disciple understands the depth of God’s love for them.  Often, throughout the NT, the authors refer to their readers as beloved.  Believing God loves us unconditionally challenges people who think they don’t deserve the love God offers. 

We will never understand God’s timing as we travel through this life.  When life’s burdens weigh you down, and the solution seems simple from your eyes but not God’s, we can become negative.  God’s seeming lack of involvement makes you scratch your head.  But our concept of time and God’s differ drastically.

Full bloom.

A quote I came across recently made me pause:

“Until our time to bloom, we will for you in the soil, Lord.” Anonymous

Writing the words on a sticky note I have it hanging above my desk.  The words remind me that God’s timing and mine don’t match.  “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Each day, we come closer to blooming as we pursue life with Christ.

Plant a seed in the soil, and watch as it grows into full maturation.  Imagine the darkness surrounding the small kernel; how oppressive it must feel.  But in the dark, the beauty begins as sprouts appear and make their way towards the sun, eventually bursting through, the tendrils journeying to their full potential.

Jesus discovers us in the dark, buried in our sins.  As we place our faith in Him, new sprouts begin to form.  Each day, as we pursue life with Christ, we bloom into God’s beautiful creation, one act of love at a time.

What seems like a thousand years to us doesn’t to God.  His timing and ours don’t align most of the time.  But one thing remains true; God’s never late or early; He always intervenes at the perfect time.

Take heart today, the journey may seem long, but it will end in the blink of an eye.  Full bloom occurs when we receive our perfected bodies in heaven.  Trust God’s timing, even if He’s not working on your timetable.


[1] Strong, J., & Strong, J. (2010). The New Strong’s expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Greek Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 2) Thomas Nelson

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