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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter—Christ is Risen!


And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.  But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.  
(Mark 16:6-7 KJV)

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.  (Matthew 28:5-7 KJV)

To my readers:  Even though I have not posted much this year, I remain committed to sharing here about Jesus and helping you learn and grow in your faith.  I encourage you to check out (and like) Faith Journey with Kim: Growing in Christ Jesus on Facebook; join in the occasional discussion on the posts there.  I plan to post soon on a topic that the Lord placed on my heart several weeks ago.

Today is a day of celebration!  On Easter we celebrate the wondrous news that Jesus Christ arose from the grave.  In Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection He gave us victory over sin, death, and the grave!  We should rejoice everyday of all we have in Jesus. 

As we remember all that Jesus did for us, may we understand it in a fresh, new way this year. 

On this special day, I want to encourage you to spend some time worship of our Savior through reading the Scriptures that tell the story of Jesus’ resurrection and in songs that share the story as well; I will share a couple songs below for your enjoyment. 

Easter Song by Keith Green:  





Christ the Lord is Risen Today:  





He’s Alive by Don Franciso:  





Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,  thank You for sending Your only Son to die in our place—to redeem us from our sins—even though we did not deserve it.  With great joy, we exclaim, on Easter and every day, “HE IS RISEN”!!  He is risen indeed!  May this knowledge change how we live our lives each and every day.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim


Happy Easter!  May God Bless you richly today and everyday!

Friday, February 23, 2018

God’s Amazing Love


Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  (1 John 3:1 KJV)

*This is an edited/revised post from February 26, 2016.

To my readers:  Even though I have not posted much this year, I remain committed to sharing here about Jesus and helping you learn and grow in your faith.  I encourage you to check out (and like) Faith Journey with Kim: Growing in Christ Jesus on Facebook; join in the occasional discussion on the posts there.

And Can it Be



Amazing love!  What amazing love God has for each person.  God’s love for us goes far beyond what we can understand while we live on earth.  We struggle to grasp God’s love for us due to the poor examples we see and experience so many times in our daily lives in this sinful world.

The love of God transforms us and heals us.  God’s love renews and refreshes us.  When we are saved, we are transformed (over time) in to a new creation (this is sanctification)—God’s love permeates the process throughout our lives and throughout eternity.

Looking back over the last several years, I can note considerable changes in me; even if they are difficult to articulate.  These inner changes are a result of really experiencing God’s love for me through daily working on my relationship with Him.  Yes, it is a commitment; and like any other relationship it takes timea lot of time.

How have you been changed by God’s love for you?  How have you seen others changed through God’s transforming love?

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 
(1 John 3:18 KJV)

The love we experience as a child of God is something the world desperately needs but does not understand.  Therefore, the world does not understand us, because they are not part of God’s family.  Let us endeavor to share the path to salvation and God’s amazing love with those who need to hear it, whether they respond positively or negatively.  May we ever love others not in word or in talk but in deed and in truth!

Remember that actions and attitudes speak far louder than words!  People will remember how we treated them and made them feel far longer than the words we said.

How can you share God’s love today?  Who needs to hear the way to have peace with God (salvation)?


Amazing Love [You are My King]




Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for adopting us as Your children through Jesus’ work on the cross and bringing us into Your family.  We long to experience the totality of Your love.  Grant us the ability to share Your love with others in ways that they can understand through our actions, attitudes, and words towards them.  Guide us to those who need love, particularly Your love.  Free us from the fear that holds us back and silences us from sharing You with others.  Empower us to walk the walk and not only talk the talk as we live in a world that needs Your love.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Friday, January 26, 2018

Worship Time: The Word of God



With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  
(Psalm 119:10-11 KJV)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  
(Psalm 119:105 KJV)

In the previous two posts for this year, my focus is on God’s Word—its importance, its value, and its primacy.  My goal is to exhort my brothers and sisters in Christ to get in the Word each and every day and to read the Bible from cover-to-cover in a year’s time.  Any time we spend in the Word is never, ever wasted time.  By reading the entirety of God’s Word (and doing it over and over again) helps us to see the big picture of God’s plan for mankind.
My hope is to have some sermons prepared at some point this year to share (in audio or video).  However, that is going to take a sizable amount of time.  What I thought I was going to do is growing into something much bigger.  What was once one sermon has multiple sermons within it—my mentor is encouraging me to divide what I have into smaller pieces and develop around seven or eight messages!  This will clearly take a substantial amount of time.
In the meantime, for something a bit “lighter”, I am turning towards a time of worship, using hymns that focus on the amazing Word of God.

Please join me in worship:
Wonderful Words of Life



Thy Word is Like a Garden, Lord



Standing on the Promises



Tell Me the Stories of Jesus



Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, We stand in awe of your majesty and the power You possess that we read about in Your Word.  Thank You for giving us Your Word to guide and direct our lives, cause us to treasure it and truly read it daily.  We are thankful for those You inspired through the Holy Spirit to write the words we read today.  Thank You for those brave men and women who have given all because of their love for You and Your Word.  We join a great body of Christian brothers and sisters each time we delve into Word.  Open our minds and hearts each time we meet You in the pages of our Bibles—may the Word read us and we read it.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,
Kim  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Thy Word: A Fresh Perspective


“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” 
(Psalm 119:105 KJV)

Note:  This is an edited version of a post from 2015 titled Thy Word.

Two weeks ago I proposed a challenge on the blog—the challenge was to commit to reading the Bible from cover-to-cover by the end of the year.  Treasuring God’s Word above all else and knowing it is a God-given passion of mine.  Combine this with the spiritual gifts of teacher, pastor, and faith I have a deep, burning desire that my Brothers and Sisters in Christ would develop a deep hunger for the Word and a deep desire (and commitment) to be in the Word each and every day.

Seeing rampant biblical illiteracy all around me—in my Christian Brothers and Sisters, in my church, and elsewhere deeply grieves my heart.  Biblical illiteracy must break God’s heart too.  In the future, I will likely address biblical illiteracy in a post (or two); for today, I will focus on God’s Word alone.



Personal Photo


For those of us who grew up attending church and Sunday School, we have spiritual “roots” that came from the “seeds”, the instruction adults in our life gave us.  Sometimes these memories can resurface in our adult years.  This is true in my case.

Memories can be poignant, happy, sad, and a mix of feelings.  It is interesting to recall things learned as a young child later in life.  Many times, children seem to understand spiritual things that we struggle with as adults.  Children seem to have an excitement about Jesus and God’s Word that some adults seem to have forgotten (or perhaps never had in the first place).  To recapture that love and excitement as an adult is amazing and priceless. 

As a small girl in Sunday school, I remember hearing and learning the above verse. I may have even memorized it.  Even as a young child, I knew the importance of reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word.  (While I have spent little time memorizing the Scriptures, I have many imbedded in my heart just because of how much time I have spent in the Word.)

Sadly, however, for the most part the adults around me did not model this lifestyle. In reflecting back, there did not seem to be a hunger for God’s Word or a desire to be immersed in the Word beyond Sunday in my church.  It was not until I was in my thirties that I made and kept the commitment to study God’s Word each day; I am continuing to go strong today. 

As a college student (undergrad and graduate), I tried to study God’s Word daily, however, the academic demands of each semester “won” out over God’s Word.  I am a bit sad that I let my time with the Lord each day go when I got busy.  Some years, my priorities were more than a bit skewed.   


Photo from Pixabay


What can we do to model a hunger for God’s Word to those around us, especially the children and youth in our lives? How do we demonstrate just how important the Word of God is for His children? How can we increase our biblical literacy?  These are important questions to be considered deeply, some of these questions may be addressed later in this blog.

In 2005, I made the commitment to read the Bible from cover to cover in a year (something that I continue to do), I began discovering many “gems” that I had nearly forgotten.  In fact, many years I have been able to read the Bible from cover-to cover more than once!  The above verse from Psalm 119 highlights, I believe, just how important God’s Word is for us.  God’s Word illuminates our path, so we can see the way we are to walk.  Ignoring God’s Word can cause us to wander off the path and cause our relationship with the Lord to grow cold, stale, and lifeless.

In God’s Word we can find Scriptures that address all our life situations.  By obeying God’s Word, we can save ourselves (and others) from much heartache and sorrow by making wrong choices.  I am so thankful for God’s Word and the ability to read and understand it for myself! 



Personal Photo


Throughout the world there are many believers who do not have the Word of God in their heart language; while others simply have no access to a Bible due to where they live.  These dear ones long to have access to the Word of God.  Get that:  they long to have the Word of God to read.  When they receive a Bible, it is a treasured item that they lovingly care for and read with great hunger.  If this is true for them, why is not true for so many in countries where the Word of God is readily accessible?  What has caused us to grow cold, complacent in our faith?     

What are you thankful for in God’s Word?    

What can we do to increase our desire for God’s Word to be part of our daily lives?  

It is a choice we all make.  For me, I choose to read and study the Bible first thing every day (before I get on the computer or do anything else).  Some days I have to “push through” and do it whether I want to or not.  It also helps to be around others who are also hungry for God’s Word and are faithful to reading and studying it.

What about you:  How do you approach the reading and studying of God’s Word?  What commitments have you made?

God’s Word truly is a light unto my feet and a light unto my path!  What about you?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Father, thank You for Your wonderful Word.  Deepen our hunger for it so greatly that we cannot ignore it.  Remind us to turn to Your Word for knowing how we are to live.  Bring growth to the seeds that are planted each time we immerse ourselves in Your Word.  Increase our knowledge of You through spending time with You and in Your Word; we want to know You, not just know about You.  In Jesus’ precious name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

P.S. As I was preparing the original post, a song by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant came to mind, Thy Word. Take a listen here: 




Friday, January 5, 2018

A Challenge for the New Year


With my whole heart have I sought thee:  O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee
(Psalm 119:10-11 KJV, emphasis mine)

*Note:  This is an edited and revised post that I have shared the last few years to kick off the New Year.


Personal Photo


As I work on this post the New Year is just underway—a fresh start from God.  Truthfully, each new day is a fresh start from God.  The New Year gives us the opportunity to adopt new behaviors, set new goals.  Hopefully, the new behaviors will be beneficial to us personally and to others!  The new calendars we opened four days ago are a tangible sign of this fresh start.  What will this year hold?  Only God knows for sure; whatever it holds, we can still learn, grow, and develop in our walk with the Lord. 

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.  
(Psalm 119:18 KJV)

The New Year also affords us the opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward to all the possibilities that it holds.  Now is a wonderful time to either begin or renew or deepen our relationship with Jesus.  What can you do to grow in the Lord this year?  What is the Lord calling you to do or to not do? 

As you prayerfully discern what God is directing you to do this year, I hope that you will commit to reading the Bible from cover-to-cover in 2018.  This is my New Year challenge to you! 


Personal Photo


Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  (Psalm 119:105 KJV)

Any time spent in God’s Word is never wasted.  God’s Word’s goes out and does not return to Him void (see Isaiah 55:11).  The dividends are amazing!  Reading the whole of God’s Word allows us to get to know the heart of our Heavenly Father and to begin to see themes, interconnections, and more with ease.  One of the perks to continually reading the Bible (beyond beloved passages) is it will help you find passages with ease in a variety of settings.  The more you read the Word of God, the more you will see connections between the Old and New Testaments.  Another perk to Bible reading is doing much better in Bible trivia games!

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  
(Hosea 4:6 KJV, emphasis mine)

Keep in mind there are many atheists and agnostics who have read the Bible cover-to-cover multiple times.  We, His people, should hunger for the Word in such a way that we will want to read all of it!

The prophet, Hosea, in the above passage is speaking God’s heart to his people; I believe it is applicable to God’s people today.  To not hunger for God’s Word says much about the state of our heart—much like our bodies not wanting food when we are ill.  Sadly, I know of pastors who see no need to read the whole of the Word of God—this grieves my heart for them and the people in their respective churches.  Thankfully, my last pastor and current pastor read the whole of the Word and encourage their people to do the same.


Personal Photo


I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.  (Psalm 119:176 KJV)

It is my heart’s sincere desire that you are setting time aside in your daily schedule to commune with God and that you are growing in your relationship with Him.  God loves you so much and desires nothing more than relationship with you.  He loves you so much, in fact, He is crazy about you!  Keeping your eyes on the goal (prize), will help you stay focused and not get off track.  A word of caution: be kind to yourself, realizing that some days or weeks will not be so great; things will go wrong—give yourself the grace you deserve—give yourself the grace you would give to others.  Be sure to encourage yourself over how far you have come.

Time?  Yes, this does take time.  However, if we consider the amount of time we spend on social media or mindlessly watching television or reading books that do not edify; the cost is minuscule.  The cost is more than worth it in the end.

If my grandma, who only had a sixth grade education could do it; so can you!  Grandma Emma made that commitment; she lived without many of the modern conveniences we have, therefore, nearly everything took her much longer to accomplish.  Her life was not an easy one; she loved God and those around her.


Personal Photo: Grandma Emma and me--my first Christmas


Since 2005, I have read the Bible from cover-to-cover at least once each year, if not more!  One time, I read the through the Bible in ninety days (and even managed to read the New Testament twice in that period!).

Who will take me up on this little challenge?  I will cheer you on; you can do this!  Moreover, this is where supportive relationships (accountability) with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are so helpful.  Our relationships allow us to lend a helping, supportive hand to a sister or brother who is hurting or struggling; we can also be on the receiving end of the help and support of others.  How about we support and encourage each other?  


Personal Photo


Why not make 2018 the year that you allow Christ to change you—making you more and more like Him?  Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you and deepen your walk with the Lord.  What is holding you back?  I want to encourage you to commit to opening yourself to what God wants to give you.  You may find that you will go places and do things you never thought that you would do!  Keep on reading and studying God’s Word and praying!

A variety of plans exist that you can select from to guide you in this endeavor.  If you happen to fall behind, please do not get discouraged—keep on going and get caught up when you are able.  Moreover, apps exist to help you read, study, and understand the Word of God—one such app that is also accessible through computers is YouVersion. For more about YouVersion see here and here.  With YouVersion you can connect with friends and others for support and encouragement.  

Here is a link that will take you to a site that gives a variety of plans to read through the Bible in a year.  Bible Reading Plans  For some other ideas please pursue the content in the right side bar of this blog, particularly:  50 Day Spiritual Adventure 2015 and 50 Day Spiritual Adventure Fall 2016


Personal Photo


What are you looking forward to most in reading God’s Word this year?  How can I encourage you?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of life and for the gift of another New Year and for all the possibilities that it holds.  Help us to be always faithful to You—doing what You would have us to do each day.  Deepen our longing for You, so that we will press in and not quit until we have all that You have to offer us.  Instill deep within us a hunger for Your Word that is not easily satisfied.  Encourage us to commit to and keep that commitment to read the whole of Your Word this year; we can only do it with Your help.  Come Holy Spirit; enlighten the eyes of our understanding, as we read the Word You inspired.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim  


Happy New Year! 
May God bless you richly throughout 2018!
May 2018 be the year to give more of your life to the Lord.
                                                                                         




















Monday, December 25, 2017

Advent: The Christ Candle


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. 
(Isaiah 9:6-7 KJV)

Chrismon Tree--Trinity UMC--Albia, IA. Personal Photo.

Note:  This is a re-post from last two years with some editing.  Eventually, I hope to have some posts looking at Jesus’ first coming as prophesied in the Old Testament.  Likewise, audio sermons will happen at some point in the future.

*A special time of year is upon us—the season of Advent.  On December 3, 2017, we marked the first Sunday of Advent; this post takes a look at the fourth candle.  To read the previous posts in my Advent series please see: Advent, The Candle of Hope, The Candle of Peace, The Candle of Joy, and The Candle of Love
This post concludes the Advent series.  Thank you for reading and joining me in this journey through Advent.  My prayer for you is that this season was a time of considering the true meaning of the season.


Word Art Creation of K. Jolly, All Rights Reserved.


Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n, and nature sing.
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.[1]

Indeed, there was great joy many years ago when Jesus Christ came as a tiny baby who grew and developed like every human being.  He came the first time as Savior; He is coming again, as a warrior king who will rule and reign over the world He created.  The joy experienced on that first Christmas Day is available for us today.


Word Art Creation of K. Jolly, All Rights Reserved. 

On Christmas Eve, we light the final candle on the Advent wreath—the Christ Candle.  Jesus Christ is the Light of the World!  No matter how the dark the world appears to be, the smallest light can overcome that darkness.  This is seen in candlelight services, when the Christ candle is used to light the candles in the congregation.  As the light moves from candle to candle the darkness begins to fade and the light gets brighter.  

As Christians we bring light—the Light of Jesus—to a world that appears to grow darker and more entrenched in sin each day.  I believe that light we have as Christians overcomes the darkness. 

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  
(John 8:12 KJV)

How do we respond to the Good News that caused the angels to rejoice, the shepherds to leave their sheep, and the magi from the east to leave all behind and go and see the new born king of the Jews? 

What have you decided?  This is a great time to say “yes” to Jesus and ask Him to forgive your sins and come into your heart! 

I would like to encourage you to read, the narrative of Jesus’ birth in the second chapter of Luke verses 2:1-20, what is likely a familiar story to many.  To listen to it being read please click here: Luke Chapter 2

Please take some today to truly focus on Jesus whose birth we celebrate. 

Jesus came to save us and make us whole.  What a reason to celebrate His birth and to look forward to His return!

Who can you share the Good News with today?

Please join with me in prayer:

Heavenly Father, Thank You for the most amazing gift that we could ever receive, Your only Son Jesus who came to save us from our sins, and Who will one day come again to rule and reign.  Bring to mind the awesomeness of Jesus’ birth and all that He did so long ago.  May we never lose sight of exactly what we gained due to Jesus’ willingness to come to earth and walk amongst us and to die a criminals’ death on the cross and to rise again, so that we could have a way back to You.  Your love is amazing!  Prepare our hearts to truly be a welcoming place for Jesus our Savior and to truly celebrate today the birth of Jesus!  Place within us ears to hear, eyes to see, and a caring heart for others that reflects Your love and care.  Once again, show us how to be a comforting, loving presence to those around us who need to experience Your love and presence with skin on.  Jesus Christ, Immanuel—God with us—our HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE—we praise You!  Help us to truly experience hope, peace, joy, and love during this season of Advent and throughout the year.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Merry Christmas!  May God Bless you richly today and always!  




[1] Joy to the World Public Domain 

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