Believing the Promises of God - in His Word

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith… Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. ~ Romans 4 [selected 18-21]

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out With the Old - In With the New

This morning our family was trying to explain to my 3 1/2 year old grandson about New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. We explained that today is Day #365 - the last day of the year - and tomorrow would begin Day 1 - all over again for a brand new year. Needless to say, I don't think he quite grasped it! But that's OK.

As the last day of the year is almost completed and a new year stands at the threshold of a new horizon - God is making all things NEW! A New Beginning! Every day God gives us new beginnings because His mercies are new every morning; great is His faithfulness! [Lamentations 3:23]

Leviticus 26 (selected)
9 " 'I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep My covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year's harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. 11 I will put My dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high. [emphasis added]

Look at the promises of this passage!! Wow - it says we'll still be eating last year's harvest when we will have to move it out to make room for the new! That's a promise I want to take hold of! Was this promise just for Israel - just for Abraham? No, it was for all - all who belong to Christ are the seed of Abraham.

Galatians 3:26-29
Sons of God
26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. [emphasis added]

This is a difficult night for many people - especially those who have lost a loved one recently. The last day of the year tends to be one we want to hold onto - so that we won't let go of the memories that we cherish. Yet at the same time - as the New Year dawns - there is freedom to go on - freedom to be all that God desires us to be. My prayer is that you allow God to teach you how to embrace both. The memories and the new frontier that awaits you. I will do the same.

Looking Upward and Choosing JOY,

[Joy to the World]

Monday, December 29, 2008


Psalm 29 (selected)
A psalm of David.
1 Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His Name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in His temple all cry, "Glory!"
10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
11 The LORD gives strength to His people;
the LORD blesses His people with peace. [emphasis added]
Choosing JOY,
[Joy to the World]

Saturday, December 27, 2008

That They May Know

1 Kings 8 KJV (selected)
53 For Thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be Thine inheritance, as Thou spakest by the hand of Moses Thy servant, when Thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O LORD God.
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD,
he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant.
The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us:
58 That He may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all His ways
, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers.
59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
60 That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.

Today, what caught my heart so profoundly was how Solomon - after he had finished praying all those things - AROSE, and stood up with his hands spread up toward heaven. He blessed the people by blessing and praising the LORD, and reminded them that God would be faithful to fulfill all that He had promised to them. Then he asked [boldly] 'be with us' - 'let Him not leave us nor forsake us.'

Jesus Christ fulfilled that prayer when He came to earth wrapped in human flesh.

Matthew 1:23
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel" —which means, "God with us."

Jesus Himself also fulfilled the plea of Solomon when He said in:

Matthew 28:17-20
The Great Commission
17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." [all Scripture emphasis added]

May we all stand boldly with our hands toward heaven and ask God to fulfill even more of the great and precious promises that He holds out to us today - waiting with anticipation as we say, "Come, Lord Jesus!"

Looking Upward and Choosing JOY,

[Joy to the World]

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Following All the Stars Today!

Driving home from my daughter's this morning I got behind a car with the license plate [ STAAS] - I assumed that is the way New Yorkers might pronounce STARS!!! Only God could give me the title for this Journal and then put me behind a car with THAT license plate. What are the odds? With God - Everything is possible to him who BELIEVES!


2 Corinthians 5 (selected)
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21
God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. [emphasis added]

This little passage of scripture I'm sure I must have shared before. It is so power-packed with messages from God that I could not decide what title to give it. In it, God reminds us that HE is the initiator of all love. Ponder that thought for awhile. Here are some of the other titles I thought of. Perhaps you can ponder what they mean and how God might speak to your heart today on this BLESSED DAY we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus!

Reconciliation for Life



From Death To Life

Bye-Bye Old Life

Hello Victory!

Live... for the Love of Jesus

The Ultimate Relationship

Seeing... Through Christ's Eyes

Privileged Ambassadors

Appealing LOVE

Imploring Love

Attainable Righteousness

Committed for Life!

The Message: COME!

May the love of Christ compel your heart to share the message of His redeeming love today and every day!

Choosing Great JOY,


[Joy to the World]

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wrestling In Prayer for You

Colossians 4 (selected)
Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
Further Instructions
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.
16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17 Tell Archippus: "See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord."

Do you have anyone in your life like Epaphras? One who wrestles in prayer for you to stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured?

This is what The Message says about him:
12-13 Epaphras, who is one of you, says hello. What a trooper he has been! He's been tireless in his prayers for you, praying that you'll stand firm, mature and confident in everything God wants you to do. I've watched him closely, and can report on how hard he has worked for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

This is what the New Living Translation says about him:
12 Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. 13 I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis. [all Scripture emphasis added]

We are all called to be devoted prayer warriors for the needs of other for the purpose of accomplishing the will of God. But aren't you glad that there is someone interceding for you in prayer here on earth as well as Jesus Himself - who lives to intercede before the Father on our behalf?

Hebrews 7
24 ...but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. [all Scripture emphasis added]

Someone is praying for you and for me - right now - a friend - a prayer warrior - and JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF - so we can live our lives to the fullest potential of God's will! Praise Him with a thankful heart, today!

Choosing Great JOY,

[Joy to the World]

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Matthew 2
The Visit of the Magi
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.' "
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find Him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship Him."
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Job 9:8-10
8 He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads on the waves of the sea.
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Luke 21:25
[Jesus speaking]
11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 25 "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Psalm 19:1-4
For the director of music. A psalm of David
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun... [all emphasis added]

Click on the Link below to view a "Trailer" of an awesome video about God's creation on The Bethlehem Star. That is why God named my present journal : Follow the Star - The Wonders of Your Love. Only HE could bring me to this end through His Word... His Word of TRUTH! I've been seeing stars everywhere - all so He could show me the meaning of the one important star - the Star of Bethlehem which points to the Messiah! Click on the other sidebars and print out the scripture that goes with each one. Be blessed and remember to PRAISE the GOD of all Creation while you still have your chin on the floor! Click here: Star of Bethlehem

Looking UPWARD and Choosing GREAT JOY,

[Joy to the World]

Friday, December 19, 2008

Did I Not Tell You

Luke 1 (selected)
45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
Mary's Song
46 And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for He has been mindful
of the humble state of His servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is His name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear Him,
from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as He said to our fathers."
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

John 11:40
Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" [emphasis added]

What has Jesus come to do for you? What offering of "Thanks" will you bring to Him this Christmas? What one thing is Jesus asking you to trust Him with, where He asks you the same question that He put to Martha?

Will you Believe Him? Will you trust His Heart? Will you bring Him a song of praise?

Looking Upward and Choosing GREAT JOY,

[Joy to the World]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Luke 1 (selected)
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end."
34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God."
38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the Child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

Assuming that Gabriel [the angel sent to tell Mary this news] was of the male gender, my apologies for the photo of the [female] angel. Perhaps we need to get someone to make one that looks like Gabriel. What that might look like - is your guess as well as mine.

On the serious side. I am amazed at this Scripture for several reasons that are not always the obvious. First, Mary's joyous belief of this angel who brought her news that was now going to complicate her life drastically. In fact, it would most likely alienate her and cause her to be looked upon with disgrace even though she was quite innocent of all thoughts and charges. Second, among the angel's first words are, "Do not be afraid, Mary..." - and the angel bookends it with "You who are highly favored... do not be afraid, are favored!

[In case you were wondering why I'm here, Mary - You found favor with God - so don't be afraid - you are favored!"] .........Ponder that one more time.

Still, Mary does what any of us women [young or old] might do. She asks, "How's that gonna happen?" Then the angel explains all the details along with telling of Elizabeth's miraculous conception as well.

Now Mary is so excited... she does what most women would do. She packs her bags and goes off to relate with the closest friend/relative she has - one whom God Himself has provided to share the experience with her. Isn't that just like God? When we are trusting HIM - He never leaves us alone to ourselves. He always surrounds us with someone to comfort and cheer us - and have joy in the journey with us.

Lastly - look at the encouragement that Elizabeth was to Mary. Both women understood [perhaps in their limited human form] God's plan for the birth of both of their children. They - and both of their husbands - had been visited by an angel - and now all four would trust GOD to bring about all that the angel had said.

And so it was..................that while they were there................... the days were accomplished that she should be delivered................... and she brought forth her firstborn Son.

Looking Upward and Choosing GREAT JOY,

[Following the Star]

Monday, December 15, 2008

EVERYTHING is Possible

Matthew 6 (selected)
22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Do Not Worry
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. [emphasis added]

Psalm 37 (selected)
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him and He will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him;... [emphasis added]

Choosing JOY,

[Led Home by the Shepherd]

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Luke 24 (selected)
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at My hands and My feet. It is I Myself! Touch Me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" 42 They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and He took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them,
"This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."
45 Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

The Ascension
50 When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. [Emphasis added]


Looking Upward and Choosing JOY,

[Led Home by the Shepherd]

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Matthew 1
The Birth of Jesus Christ
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with Child and will give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel"—which means,
"God with us."
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a Son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2:15,17,22
15...And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my Son."
17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
22 Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."

Matthew 13:14
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

Matthew 26
55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted Him and fled. [emphasis added]

Do we run and hide from the TRUTH of God's Word or do we embrace all of its wonder and fulfillment?
Choosing JOY,
[Led Home by the Shepherd]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hearts That Give

1 Chronicles 29
David's Prayer
10 David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
"Praise be to You, O LORD,
God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is Yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;
You are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honor come from You;
You are the ruler of all things.
In Your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give You thanks,
and praise Your glorious Name.
14 "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand. 15 We are aliens and strangers in Your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building You a temple for Your Holy Name, it comes from Your hand, and all of it belongs to You. 17 I know, my God, that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly Your people who are here have given to You. 18 O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of Your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to You. 19 And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep Your commands, requirements and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided."
20 Then David said to the whole assembly, "Praise the LORD your God." So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king. [emphasis added]

Choosing JOY,

[Led Home by the Shepherd]

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Torn Curtain

Matthew 27:50-54
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely He was the Son of God!"

Can we even imagine what that day was like when that veil was torn in two? Eyes were opened, sin was paid, hearts understood like never before. Freedom rang out as slaves of sin were set free. Access to the Throne Room of a Holy God was made possible for those who believed this "Son of God" = JESUS CHRIST = now RISEN and ALIVE.

That's why I call Him the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - because He's the God of the living! And HE [Jesus] lives to intercede for you and me. Can we ever adore Him enough for interceding on our behalf?

Hebrews 7 (selected)
24 ...but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.
26 Such a high priest meets our needOne who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. [all emphasis added]

As we ponder this baby lying in a manger - filled with urine stenched straw - remember the Cross where His purpose was fulfilled!

Choosing JOY,

[Led Home by the Shepherd]

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pursuing the PROMISE GIVER

Romans 4 (selected)
13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. 22 This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." 23 The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. [emphasis added]

Choosing JOY,

[Led Home by the Shepherd]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Fullness of Grace

Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.

Titus 3:1-8
Doing What is Good
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. [Scripture emphasis added]

Choosing JOY,

[Led Home by the Shepherd]

Monday, December 1, 2008


Taken at 5:19PM from my backyard. Praise God from Whom All Blessings flow!


For a few years now, the LORD has allowed me to photograph the magnificance of His Sun, His Moon and His Sky. The very first Bible verse that I have taught my grandchildren is this:

Psalm 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

When I went on a mission's trip to Tamazulchale, Mexico, recently, this was the same verse [different version] in Spanish - over the pulpit of the Sanctuary of the church where our team would speak and share Christ with all the village Pastors and wives and members of their congregations.

Tonight - in the evening sky - there will be a display that only God could have fashioned for us to see. Let it be a reminder of WHO HE IS - the CREATOR - REDEEMER - and SUSTAINER of the Universe!

Here is a LINK to read more about it and prepare yourself to see this and explain it to your children. Click here: Look to Sky for Spectacular Sight Monday

Look to Sky for Spectacular Sight Monday
By Joe Rao

[He says]
"Every once in a while, something will appear in the night sky that will attract the attention of even those who normally don't bother looking up. It's likely to be that way on Monday evening, Dec. 1.
A slender crescent moon, just 15-percent illuminated, will appear in very close proximity to the two brightest planets in our sky, Venus and Jupiter.
People who are unaware or have no advance notice will almost certainly wonder, as they cast a casual glance toward the moon on that night, what those two "large silvery stars" happen to be?"

I couldn't help but think about his words. Are we looking upward - at the wonder of God - where even the moon and the stars declare His glory? Or will we be caught unaware of Him - with no advance notice? There is no excuse for us to be caught unaware - for the Bible says:

Romans 1
(Paul speaking)
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
God's Wrath Against Mankind
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. [all emphasis added]

Oh, may we give HIM praise and glory when we see the night sky tonight. Look upward to the Almighty, Eternal God of Creation and give Him praise! Only Jesus Christ came to bring PEACE ON EARTH!

Choosing JOY,

[Led Home by the Shepherd]