BIRTHDAY

Because Jesus came, we have a Savior.

Incarnate means He was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit and God in the flesh. Divine and human He is.

Reborn is a spiritual new birth that comes to all who believe in His Name.

Tempted He was, but He never sinned. Perfect Jesus. Perfect sacrifice. Yet identifying with us in our weakness.

Holy is He. Righteous and Just in all His ways. God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

Demonstrated His love, dying on the cross. Love unbounded for you and for me.

All is well. Peace in every sinner’s heart who asks Him, “come and dwell.”

Yonder star to Bethlehem they followed. In a stable, Christ the Lord was born.

Happy Birthday, Jesus.

©Valerie Rumfelt

The Practice of Prayer

If you are a Christ follower, then you know that spending time with the Father through Bible reading and prayer is not a legalistic exercise, but you cherish this practice; it is life to you.

As carelessly as some followers approach reading His Word, there can often be little attention given to prayer unless in a crisis. A Christ-follower can engage with God through the power of His Holy Spirit in prayer. If you only go to God when something immediate is wrong in your life, then you are no better than the characters on a soap opera. I used to watch them, and characters prayed only in a crisis to a god they didn’t know. So, how do we keep from being or becoming people who only pray in crisis?

  1. Expect results. Prayer is a discipline. I know that sounds like “eat your vegetables,” but to get out of “crisis mode only” with prayer, you will need to practice. Now that is not to say you can’t pray at other times. You can pray all day long, anytime. But praying as a choice is necessary to learn how to pray effectively.
  2. Expect to hear from God. We all fear that God might speak to us in our prayer, and we aren’t sure we want to hear what He has to say. But once you pray intentionally, you become fearless. Your faith strengthens and you are willing to accept any instruction, comfort, or guidance He gives. Even if something is hard to hear, you can pray about it.
  3. Expect better relationships. Prayer keeps you honest before God. It stands to reason that if you are honest before God, your relationships will get more honest, and more peace will be produced in your life. Every relationship problem may not be solved, but you will have more peace.
  4. Expect to use the Bible in your prayer time. Use the scripture you read earlier in devotions. Or find a passage particular to your situation. Praying scripture is a submissive choice to agree with God that His Word is true and true for you.
  5. Expect answers to your prayers. God honors those who honor Him and He is waiting to hear from you. The more you pray, the more answers you will get. He will answer prayers that are for your good and His glory which is directly connected to His will for your life.

None of this means that you’ll be spared suffering. God is not a genie. But a fervent prayer life will sustain you in suffering. True followers of Christ will suffer in this life. That is theologically based right out of God’s Holy Word, but your prayer life will give you strength and wisdom for each trial.

Do you need to get on your knees?

I choose to get on my knees because something supernatural happens there. It’s a humble posture; once again, I have no trouble thanking God for who He is. Praise comes out of my mouth easily. I confess my sins. Isn’t this what you’d expect to do in prayer? It goes from being a stiff “have to” step in my quiet time to a desire to know Him and enjoy His presence.

I hope these tips will encourage you to enter into God’s presence with expectation and gladness.

“True prayer is a way of life, not just for use in cases of emergency. Make it a habit, and when the need arises you will be in practice.”

Billy Graham

©Valerie Rumfelt

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Love Big

cathal-mac-an-bheatha-208192-unsplashAre you dreading Valentine’s Day? Expectations of an upcoming Valentine’s Day are looming as the day approaches. We long to be on the receiving end of any gesture of friendship or love. 

Last year, I took a class where John 12:1-8 was studied. Let’s see if the following thoughts can help you with your expectations and save you some hurt and disappointment.

In this passage, we find Jesus reclining at the home of Lazarus; Mary is near Jesus. Martha is serving. 

Readers of this story have a higher view of Mary because of her outward display of devotion toward Jesus. She gave all she had to worship Jesus and show her love to Him. This story is about one who loves big.

It was six days before the Passover Feast. Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived. Lazarus was the One Jesus had raised from the dead.

A dinner was given at Bethany to honor Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was among the people at the table with Jesus. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.
But Judas Iscariot didn’t like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.” He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “The perfume was meant for the day I am buried. You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”

 


What lavish love Mary displays.

Have you shown this kind of love toward Jesus?

Do you know how to love that big? 

Compared to Jesus, we all fall short of loving big. 

        I don’t believe that people can love big if they haven’t fallen in love with Jesus.

When we fall in love with Jesus, our focus changes, and obedience to Him is first. We can enjoy His presence in our lives. We will do things we previously wouldn’t have done. Our actions marked by faith in the One

  • who has our back
  • who will see the purity in our hearts AND
  • who appreciates our selfless motivation and sacrifice

We live for the audience of One.

Loving big means we care more about what God thinks than how another human will receive or perceive our love. This is huge in preventing unnecessary pain. Please remember this part.  Now on with the story!

Judas’s weakness was that he cared only for himself. When he tried to deceitfully make a point about Mary’s love toward Jesus being misguided, the selfishness and darkness in his character were exposed.

The difference between Judas and Mary is stark. Judas cared only for himself, but not only that, he attempted to garner favor for his position by pulling in the poor as his cover. Acting in this way, Judas reveals his true colors. 

Jesus, of course, was the one concerned for the poor, most of all. The fact that Judas tried this tactic with Jesus present exposed even more unfavorable and repulsive traits about Judas. close up of figurine

Mary, on the other hand, is generous in her expression of love. To be clear, it was a display. Unabashed, Mary seems oblivious to the dark character sitting near her in Judas and still displays a lavish love for Jesus using a lavish product. She is one to admire and esteem.

Jesus knew both hearts, of course, and welcomed Mary’s love and worship while penetrating the darkness of Judas with a direct command to leave Mary alone.

This story thrills me. Jesus, a man willing to fellowship with friends and foes alike. And ready to defend the pure in heart, willing to receive a lavish love, and appreciate the sacrifice. Yet, in a few words, He exposes the motives and forces of evil sitting near Him.

This story gives new meaning to true love and can give you another reason to let Jesus love you and your heart. Your heart is safe with Him. Focus on your relationship with Him this Valentine’s Day. Celebrate your relationship with Him if you know Him.

Here’s an opportunity for you to try this Valentine’s Day. Why not write Jesus a love letter thanking Him for who He is and remembering how well He has loved you?

Mary held nothing back, and she’s a worthy example of one who had so richly experienced the love of Jesus and was eager to love Him.

Jesus is the answer to a dull and jaded heart. He’s the only One who can help us love lavishly. Usually, this shows up best in how we love our neighbors under our roof and around us. Jesus rewards a pure heart every time. A life of devotion to Him is a life marked by devotion to Him.

This Valentines Day, don’t hold back. Spend time with Jesus. Give Him your heart. Ask forgiveness for holding any part of it back from Him. Doing this will enable you to love big.

Let Jesus protect your heart.

We see in this story, He surely will.

©Valerie Rumfelt

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