Midweek Morsel: The Great Exchange

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Consider this scripture passage from Zechariah with me today. It’s a small portion of his account of a vision he had. As you read, imagine the scene in your mind’s eye:

“Then he [the angel] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD . . . Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’

Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.’” Zechariah 3:1a, 3-4

Even though this vision was about a high priest and how he represented the sinful nation of Israel, as I read it I immediately pictured what Jesus does for us his children.

As we call on Jesus, asking him to forgive our sins and be our Savior, he removes our filthy sin-stained clothes. He forgives us, cleanses us, and dresses us in the rich garments of his salvation and righteousness. He puts on us the royal robes worn by the family of God. He performs the great exchange.

What great love and forgiveness Jesus extends to all who come to him in faith! Praise and thank him with me today, won’t you?

“. . . ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow . . . ’” Isaiah 1:18

*Have you received the royal robes of the family of God yet? If not, why not ask for His forgiveness and cleansing today!

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 16 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 12. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by Douglas Brown, Creative Commons License

A Taste of Life Notes: A Surprise from God

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*Since the Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is currently underway, I thought I’d give you a taste of a past issue of Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter. I include new-to-you pieces, like the one below, as well as some blog posts from past years. If you haven’t yet subscribed to Life Notes, I hope you will do so today. Sign up to the right under “Free For You.” You just might win the $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

A Surprise from God

It came unexpectedly. Right in the middle of my regular time with the Lord. A fresh experience in prayer and worship. A surprise from God.

That day unfolded like most others. After seeing to my early morning essentials, I headed to my usual spot to start the day with a few minutes worshiping the Lord.

I’d already said “good morning” and committed my day to him before getting out of bed. I’d even sung a few praise choruses while tending to some routine tasks. But now I was at my place of worship, ready to focus on him alone. Or at least try. A distracted mind was also the norm for me.

I’ve found I move most easily into a spirit of worship as I sing my praises to the Lord. And so I sang. Nothing new, nothing out of the ordinary. Just favorite lyrics and melodies that were second nature to me after years of singing them. They sprang, however, from a heart desiring to commune with the Father, a heart hoping to offer a sacrifice of praise from a pure place. From an overflow of love for him.

As I sang those familiar songs, God did an amazing thing. Without fanfare, he surprised me with something new, something wondrous and beautiful. In my mind’s eye, I began to see scenes from the life of Jesus. While singing my worship, certain words or phrases triggered snapshot images of him to flash across the screen of my mind, much like a slide show of his life.

My spirit soared as I delighted in one image after another, each one inspired by Bible stories. As phrases like Prince of Peace, almighty God, and my Savior cascaded from my lips, I saw my Jesus touching lives and forever changing the world.

With each passing second, my joy deepened as I beheld these divine cameos. I witnessed things like Jesus laughing with little children and wrapping them in his arms of love; adoring worshipers—human and animal alike—surrounding an infant Savior lying in a manger bed; the Master of the wind calming the storm as well as fear; and people crowding around the Great Physician as he reached out to them with healing hands or fed them by blessing and multiplying a boy’s lunch.

Finally, I saw my Savior carrying his cross. I saw the depth of his love as he paid for the sins of mankind in his ultimate act of love. And then, as if to remind me that these scenes from the Bible are not the only things I know of Jesus, one last image flashed before me. A little girl coming to faith in him—me, at the tender age of seven.

Yes, God surprised me that morning. He showed me another way to pray and worship, and you can be certain I will adore him in such wondrous times again as I let words of worship bring to mind sacred images—divine cameos—of our Lord.

“Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness . . .” Psalm 96:9

*How do you most easily move into a spirit of worship?

*Flickr photo by Indy Kethdy, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: A Prayer for Couples You Know

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One of the greatest gifts we can give the couples we know and love is the gift of prayer. Our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), and if he can destroy our marriages, he gets to devour two for the price of one. Prayer is a great offensive tool against his schemes and attacks.

Here is a short but powerful prayer we can pray for the special couples in our lives. And we can pray it for our own marriages as well.

Father, I lift before you this dear couple who mean so much to me. I pray that you would protect them from the evil one and all of his schemes. Please help them, O Lord, to love you above all and to love each other the way you intend. Help them to keep their eyes on you and their arms around one another. Be their strong support through each day and every stage of their lives. Help them, O Lord, to shine for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’” Ephesians 5:31

Flickr photo by jordandouglas, Creative Commons License

*Who has been faithful to pray for you and/or your marriage?

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 16 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 12. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

God’s Calling Card

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God’s Calling Card

In the midst of a yard
littered with leaves,
leaves dying and drying
becoming brown crackles,
God leaves his calling card
in a splash of color
a red reminder that says
“I am here, I am still with you,
I am not finished.”
For the winter to come
holds beauty and blessings
purpose and plans
always shining a beacon of hope
for the coming new life of spring.

And in the midst of a life
overrun with cares,
drowning in heartache and stress
struggling to stay afloat,
God leaves his calling card
in a blessing unexpected
a radiant reminder that says
“I am here, I am still with you,
I am not finished.”
For the crucible of pain
holds comfort and lessons
purpose and plans
glimmering with undying hope
for the blessing that’s on the way.

God is faithful
God can be trusted.
So in the meantime
let’s watch for his calling card,
his precious reminder
of love and hope.

“‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.’” John 14:18 KJV

*When has God left you a calling card?

*My photo from last year. The leaves have just started to change in our area this season. Here’s hoping for gorgeous trees soon!

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 16 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 12. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

Annual Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway!

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Have you subscribed to Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter, yet? If so, you’re in luck. Why? Because it’s time for my annual Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway! If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can join the lucky bunch right now. Just sign up for Life Notes on the right sidebar of my site under “Free For You.”

One lucky subscriber will be awarded a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble in mid-November—the perfect time to give a gift of thanks. And, of course, I’ve got to admit I’m hoping the giveaway will be a good way to grow my subscriber list, too!

Here’s how the giveaway will work. All those who are currently subscribed to Life Notes will automatically be entered in the giveaway, and any new subscriber who signs up by 6 p.m. (CST) Nov. 12 will be entered as well. Sign up is to the right on the blog sidebar—and yes, it’s free! You don’t even have to leave a comment on this post. Just make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter. I will announce the winner in my November 13 Midweek Morsel post.

So have you all joined the lucky bunch of Life Notes subscribers now? My heart’s desire is that it will be a blessing to each one who reads it—and I hope that includes you!

“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh praise the greatness of our God!” Deuteronomy 32:2-3

*I’m thankful for each and every Life Notes subscriber. Who are you thankful for today?

*Flickr photo by Lucas (Back to the Roots), Creative Commons License