These are written that you may believe

I remember when I was about 14 or 15 years old and I was at a summer camp. One day, I had a few minutes by myself and I was sitting out on this big, grassy field looking up at the sunny, blue sky with the trees were waving gently in the breeze and in my heart, I thought,

“God, if you’re real, please show yourself to me.”

You might think that’s a strange thing for a teenager to ask, but unfortunately, I didn’t think that God was real, and I was quite certain that my plea would go unheard.

When I didn’t hear a voice speak from heaven or see a lightning bolt strike the ground in front of me, I left that field that day still believing that God didn’t exist.

And yet, my friends, God WAS showing Himself to me. In fact, I believe that God was who caused me to make such a request in the first place. Like Paul wrote in Romans chapter 1, God was showing Himself to me (and to all mankind) in the things that He had made – the sun, the blue sky, the wind and even the trees.

Again and again for millennia God has sent prophets and witnesses to speak His Words, including John the Baptist as we read about in John 1, telling people that Jesus was the Son of God, the King of Israel, the Messiah, the Lamb of God.

Again and again, God has faithfully manifested (made visible, shown) His glory so that mankind will be without excuse if they don’t believe in Him.

One way that God demonstrates His glory is through miraculous signs.

Right from the beginning of the Bible in Genesis, God has shown Himself through miraculous signs. God has often given man signs in the sky to prove His glory and power! When God created the sun, moon and stars in Genesis 1:14, we read, “God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and nights.”

And again, in Genesis 9, after the worldwide flood, God put a rainbow in the sky to be a sign of His promise to never again destroy the earth by flood.

The Hebrew word for “sign” is “owth.” It can mean a signal, a distinguishing mark, a banner, a remembrance, a miraculous sign, an omen or a warning.

When God sent Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, God gave Moses the ability to perform miraculous signs to prove that God had sent him, SO THAT the Jewish people would believe Moses when he spoke to them. These signs included God causing Moses’s staff to turn into a snake and then back into a staff, as well as God causing his hand to be leprous and then healed, and even turning water into blood. (Exodus 4:6-9)

In today’s lesson, we read about the first of Jesus’s signs while He walked on the earth. This first sign was when Jesus turned water into wine. As John 2:11 says, this sign “manifested – MADE VISIBLE – His glory and His disciples believed in Him.” Again we see that signs are given to us by God that we would BELIEVE in Him, TRUST in Him, have FAITH that what He has promised is real – like Hebrews 11:1, that we would have assurance that the things we hope for, the things that we cannot see, are indeed REAL.

Later in John 2, verse 18, after Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers and drove all the people and animals out of the temple, the Jews asked Jesus for another sign – a sign to prove His authority to do such a thing.

Jesus’s answer was, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”

John 2:19

As you would expect, this answer confused the Jews at the time, but that’s because this sign wouldn’t come about until three years later when Jesus’s physical body had been killed and laid in a tomb to be resurrected three days later as we will read about in John chapters 19 and 20.

In the three years that Jesus conducted his ministry between this first sign at the wedding in Cana and His resurrection, Jesus did so many signs – feedings thousands of men, women and children with only a few fish and loaves of bread, healing blind men and deaf men and lame men and leprous men, walking on water and calming storms – and every one of those signs pointed to the fact that Jesus had all authority in heaven and on earth, that He was the only Begotten Son of God, that mankind should BELIEVE in Him as  the Messiah and King – just as John the Baptist had said.

After Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to many of His disciples in person. These disciples told Thomas (another of Jesus’s disciples) that they had seen Jesus in person. Like John the Baptist, they bore witness to what they had seen and heard.

Yet, Thomas refused to believe their eyewitness testimony. Thomas said to them, in John 20:25 “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

“Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then (Jesus) said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)

Because Thomas saw these physical signs of the resurrected Jesus, now He believed! Praise God for His faith. But let’s keep reading to see how Jesus answered him, in John 20:29, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

God wants us still today to be His faithful witnesses with eyes and ears and hearts and mouths wide open, wide open to His Word and His ongoing works in the modern world, telling other people the good news that they, too,  can receive eternal life by trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.

God has given us His precious written Word, a record of the countless signs that Jesus did on earth. As John continued in the next two verses,

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

John 20:30-31

And again, in the final words of the book of John, John 21:25, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

I’m praying that each one of you would place your faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have LIFE in His name.

Living God

God’s not dead. He is alive. He dwells in the hearts of His people. He is intimately involved in the affairs of man.

And His Word is not dead. His Word is living and active still today, still piercing to divide soul and spirit, still discerning the thoughts and intentions of your heart.

It is a beautiful thing to willingly surrender your life to the living God of the universe who created all things, including every star in the galaxy and every living creature on earth. (That includes you!)

But the LORD is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.

Jeremiah 10:10a ESV

We bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

Acts 14:15b ESV

What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.

2 Corinthians 6:16 ESV

(Jesus) said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:15-16 ESV

What are you selling?

When I was an outgoing, confident young girl, I loved to sell stuff to strangers. I loved working at my grandma’s antique shop. I loved going to craft fairs with my aunt and uncle to sell their handmade pottery. I loved selling the “newspaper” that I wrote, typed and illustrated in my second floor guest-room office.

Most people don’t like to be sold stuff (Ask me sometime about my experiences with telemarketers and time share salespeople) … AND most people don’t like selling stuff that they’re not personally sold on themselves.

As a 23-year-old who knew next to nothing about home ownership, I tried selling real estate … then I tried selling Usborne books at home parties, but I didn’t feel right trying to convince people that they should buy books at full-price when I preferred checking them out at the library or buying them second-hand.

But as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I want to tell EVERYONE about the best, greatest, most fantastic way to living a life of meaning and purpose.

The love of Christ compels me – both the love that I have received FROM Christ and the love that I feel FOR Christ. I am compelled to share because I believe so deeply in what I have to offer others.

Jesus is so much more than the most magnificent house or the latest and greatest vacuum cleaner or the most life-changing kitchen gadget.

The good news is more important than anything Fox News or CNN could ever broadcast.

The gospel is worth more than any earthly possession that the Home Shopping Network could ever carry.

So, sisters and brothers, we have to stop seeing ourselves as peddlers of useless wares and optional gadgets … and instead see ourselves as Heralds of the King of kings and Messengers of God Most High.

Don’t know how? Do you need some help? Comment below or leave me a message, or check out my YouTube channel for some helpful videos about sharing the gospel:

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV)

“And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23 ESV)

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:35 ESV)

“It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” (1 Peter 1:12 ESV)

“So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20 ESV)

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

Purpose

Have you ever felt like your life was purposeless?

I felt that way for the first half of my life. I compensated by working extra hard, trying to prove my worth to anyone willing to notice me.

Then, the God of purpose came along and turned my world upside-down — in a good way. Believing that the God of the universe had INTENTIONALLY created me changed everything. I was no longer the result of a crazy series of chance events, a random variety of molecules having evolved over billions of years out of primodial goo. No. I was a child of a Holy God who had a plan and purpose for making me.

So, today on this 28th day of August (8/28), let’s remember

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28 ESV

I hope you can take 5 minutes to learn how you can share the gospel using your personal testimony. In my personal testimony, I share how God gave me purpose in my life. Each of us have a unique purpose and a unique testimony to share. Let’s share it!

“And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'” — Acts 26:15-18 ESV

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…” 2 Timothy 1:7-10 ESV

Whatever…

Whatever the Lord pleases,

he does,

in heaven and on earth,

in the seas and all deeps.

Psalm 135:6 ESV

Think of that.

The Lord does whatever He pleases.

Rather than reading this and wishing that I could do anything I please, I’m choosing today to be thankful that God is on His throne and I’m not.

It might please me to sleep all day and eat peanut butter chocolate ice cream all night. It might please me to thumb through my Facebook feed for hours and bingewatch HGTV shows. But God … God is good and what pleases Him is always good … so I’m choosing today to be thankful that He is God and I’m not.

How about you? What are your thoughts about God’s total sovereign power … and your lack of it? ❤❤❤

TWIG

Uniquely Made – includes audio

mixed-race twins
Two sets of very unique twins

God has a unique purpose for each of us. We need to hear this today more than ever. God is particularly glorified in the incredible variety of gifts, talents and colors of the people He has created in His image.

This is part 1 of a 2-part series, “Unique and United.” Check out part 2 “United” tomorrow!

The beauty of this song is magnified by the beauty of the unique individuals joining together to worship God.
Thankful for each of these unique creations!

An Unknown Future and a Well-Known God

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God

Corrie Ten Boom

I hope you enjoy this guest post from my one and only sister, Kristan, which she wrote last week on May 6.


I had never really heard this quote before, but during the quarantine I have been doing some coloring pages of Bible verses and inspirational quotes and this was one I had colored. Last week I gathered some homeschooling books to send to my sister Kim. (That’s me!) I went through the pictures I had colored and included this one in the box.

Yesterday, Kim posted on Facebook asking suggestions on how to honor Brady (Kristan’s son who passed away 23 years ago) and 2 others on “Giving Tuesday”. The first suggestion was a comment made by Bobby (Kristan’s women’s Sunday School teacher) for a fundraiser T-shirt with that exact Corrie Ten Boom quote!

Wow! I immediately commented, asking Kim if she had received my box yet. She actually had received it, but hadn’t opened it yet, letting it sit for a few days first (Coronavirus craziness). She went and opened it and found the coloring page!

Neither one of us had heard this quote before, but in God’s amazing providence there it was, at just the right time.

It is amazing how God works! I had no idea, but God knew!

So in these crazy times, if you are feeling uncertainty, fear, or even grief, remember to never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a KNOWN GOD!

Humility or Pride? Two types of people.

In reading Luke 23, the account of the crucifixion of Jesus, I see two reactions: pride or humility.

Pilate finds no guilt in Jesus, yet sentences Him to death to appease demands of the crowd. Pride.

Herod treats Jesus with contempt and mockery, dressing Him in splendid clothing, sending Him back to Pilate. Pride.

Jesus cries out to His Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Humility.

The soldiers mocked Jesus, offering him sour wine, saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” Pride.

One of the criminals crucified with Jesus, mocks him, saying “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” Pride.

The other criminal recognizes his own guilt and Jesus’s righteousness and asks for Jesus to remember him when He comes into His kingdom. Humility.

A Roman centurion praises God saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” Humility.

The crowds return to their homes beating their breasts in grief over what they’ve just witnessed. Humility.

Which type of person are you? Be honest with yourself.

Are you seeking the truth with humility or pride? Do you want to know the truth, no matter what it costs?

We can either humble ourselves and seek God’s face, asking for His grace and forgiveness, or we can harden our hearts in pride, scoffing and mocking at the message of the gospel.

I have been both.

I will be forever thankful for the grace of God that forgives even the blasphemous who turn to Him in faith.

God is giving the people of the world time right now to consider their own mortality. You are not guaranteed tomorrow. Be thankful that God has given us this opportunity to wake up, so that we can be born again TODAY to begin our new lives with Him TODAY.

If you want to make this choice, let today be the day. I would love to read through the Bible with you or talk about it more.

If you want to surrender your life to Christ, ask Him. He will not turn you away. And then find someone to help you in your new life with Christ. I’d love to walk with you on your faith-journey.

God is real, friends. He wants you to know Him and trust Him.