Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Saturday, October 14, 2023
CHECKING OUT MARK 13
Events of this last week alerted us to the devastating war in Israel. For many minds and hearts, questions and concerns arose. Are these the last days before Jesus’s return? Will God’s justice overturn the conflict against His nation, Israel, in this battle? What lies ahead for our nation and the possibility of wars moving forward? But, only God knows what is in store for Israel and ourselves.
Reading the thirteenth chapter of Mark, Jesus' prophetic words focused on the temple destruction in Israel. This must have created alarm and possibly fear when hearing this news. For us, it may also stir those same feelings as we reckon with current happenings and his forecast for the future.
When Peter, James, John, and Andrew privately inquired about the timing of such a fatality, they wanted to know what sign they could look for to show the coming of this event. However, Jesus began to expound on the tragedies that would grow beyond Israel affecting the whole world. It must have been beyond their imagination! They had barely begun to understand Jesus, His actions, and His deliverance for mankind. This revelation just didn’t seem to fit with all they were learning.
His telling was preparation for the calamities ahead, warning about deeper evil, and yet included instructions for peace. He warned that deceptions, expansive devastations, persecution, betrayal, and abuse would take place. His words seem heavy. I wonder if it was a blow to their belief in God.
It may seem purposeless and avoidable to us. However, Jesus says it must take place (vs 7). Why? It is our opportunity to tell the world about the good news of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us on the cross and through his resurrection. It is time for us to grow strong in the Lord so we are ready to declare His love, power, and glory in the hard times – now and in the future.
Jesus gave instructions to keep watch (vs 35) for what is ahead. Watch for deceivers (vs 23) staying focused and attuned to Him. He reminds us to have a mindset free of worry and panic. So what can we do about what lies ahead? Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) gives this instruction: “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
Beginning in verse 24 we are told that the anguish of these days will be followed by the the return of Jesus with angels to receive His followers out of the troubles. That will be amazing. Clouds ablaze with heavenly beings, Jesus appearing in beauty and magnificence as victor over sin and death.
Let’s remember what Jesus said in Mark 13:33: “Since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!”
Let us praise God for His work on behalf of mankind, and the victory we know He has already won in the battles we face. Let us pray for the salvation of all people – and especially Israel.
Thursday, September 28, 2023
Good Morning, Family
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
I grew up with ‘Good’ as my last name. Recalling my high school days, one of my teachers (at the beginning of the school year) would ask me if I had lived up to my name. Each time I was irritated and embarrassed that he had singled me out. It was as though I was the only one who needed to answer that question. That in turn reminded me of times I had been disobedient and unkind to others.
Now contemplating that word, the meaning of good causes different thinking. David indicates in Psalm 37 that when our feet are planted on a foundation that is fixed on and guided by the Lord, we are right with God or good. When we believe in and accept salvation through Christ, our identity changes from world follower to Christ follower.
Being the child of God happens at salvation, and we commit to listen to the Lord by way of Scripture, meditation, prayer, and mature believers. Our focus is not to be on the world or its ways, but on the Lord and His intent for our life. And His desire for us was established at the beginning of time.
Verses 23 and 24 of this chapter are comforting. For when we are His children He delights in our steps while believing in and trusting Him - with belief being the first step. Walking in agreement with Him he blesses us so that we are empowered through the Holy Spirit to move along with a desire to please Him above all else.
Even when we fail at being good, He sees us as His beloved child –
good – holding on to us and helping us work through the steps that wounded our
heart and soul. He never let’s go of His own and He ever helps us
become spiritually mature with His guidance. How thankful I am that our Lord is aware of the failures and successes ahead
of us. Grateful that He catches, rescues,
delivers, and helps us through this life as we keep in step under His
watch and care.
by Joy Pedersen
Psalm 37:23-24 (AMP)
The steps of a [good and righteous] man [or woman] are directed and established by the Lord, and He delights in his way [and blesses his path]. When he falls, he will not be hurled down, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand and sustains him.
Thursday, August 10, 2023
The primary ways to love are found in six Greek words:
Only three or four of these words are found in the original text of the Bible. Still, they all exist in scripture and are exhibited throughout scripture. In each Greek word, love is clearly an action and not feeling. Generally, we act based on a choice, and love is a choice.
When looking at I Corinthians 13 we see how love is to be expressed. Then because God is love, His very character is the definition of love. Looking for the truth on this subject, I looked for God’s definition. It is found in I John 2:6 (AMP):
Friday, July 7, 2023
Joy Pedersen's newest book release is available now!
Loving With All Our Soul
Loving With All Our Soul
What is the soul, and what does it involve? Understanding how the soul fits into our spiritual makeup is important so we can love God with all of it. Enticements and choices made are often confusing and detrimental to maturity. It is important to look at the soul infected, influenced, inspired, and infiltrated. Are you hoping to increase your relationship with God and others? Committed time of introspection through these pages will help you examine your love life, wean out the things that hold you back, and lean into the One who loves you most.
Order through https://clearhope.org/
Brief Biography: Joy Pedersen founded Clear Hope Association in 2004 to equip and build the family of God. She has served over 25 years in ministry using the Word of God to teach, write, and counsel. As a dedicated and effective communicator, she walks alongside others encouraging a deeper, more personal, and effective relationship with Jesus Christ.
Sunday, July 2, 2023
Just over a month ago, Memorial Day acknowledged the contributions of individuals who have fought for or are fighting to preserve 0ur freedoms here in the United States. Fourth of July is a celebration of our independence as a nation. It is a reminder of the freedoms that were established at the onset of our country.
The definition of independence, according to one dictionary, is freedom from control, influence, support, aid, or the likes of others. In some ways, it feels like we have become rather dependent on other nations – politically, industrially, economically, and socially. Freedom is defined as exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc. Listening to what is happening around us it would seem our freedom is being threatened.
To remain free as a nation requires being united as “We the People”, both for and against things that could threaten our Constitution and Bill of Rights. United means standing together, upholding truth, banning cruelty, upholding justice, and caring for one another with respect and honor.
Adolph Hitler’s reign is a classic historical example of what transpires when fear and denial yield to brutality. A united goal and effort to gain freedom from the control of one man would have changed history. National destruction and crushed lives were the results of hate, misuse of power, and self-aggrandizement. Accomplishing the greater good for all happens when united we stand. Divided we fall is the outcome of looking out for self above all others.
We gave up a life of independence for interdependence as followers of Christ. We are dependent on him for our salvation allowing for personal freedom from sin. The Bible reminds us that we need relationships - first with God and then with people. So, we are to interact and count on one another and work together in the Body of Christ. Our declaration of rights is based on the law of love as found throughout scripture. Because of who He is, we need Him to comply with what He says is loving. Looking at His name throughout the Bible, in Hebrew and Greek, we find He supplies our needs through His character as we call upon Him. For example:
· He is Elohim - supreme God, strong One, creator who makes all things from the universe down to the new in our lives as believers, and He and rule sovereignly. (Genesis 14:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
· He is El Roi – the God who is all seeing, Who sees me in the good and in the bad times He is ever watching us. (Genesis 16:3; Matthew 6:3-4)
· He is Jehovah Jireh – provider of all things whether it is a job, food, clothing, strength, friends, or more. (Genesis 22:14; Philippians 4:19)
· Jehovah Rapha – He is the Lord that heals from the Old Testament into the New Testament through Jesus. (Exodus 15:26; Luke 6:17-19)
God gives people to walk alongside us, and He wants us to depend on Him to guide us in those relationships. According to Ephesians 3:20-21, He is able to do much much more than we could ever ask or hope for. As we lean upon and trust in Him He faithfully helps us through all kinds of situations. And what are our freedoms?
We are free from sin and it’s guilt, legalism, and power. We have freedom to enjoy God (3 in 1), know Him, belong to Him, and own Him as our Lord and King. We have been given freedom with others to serve, give attention to needs, and commune. And because of His love given freely to us, we can freely love others out of this gift. For believers in Christ freedom is eternal.
While focused on independence remember the freedoms you richly enjoy first as a believer in Christ and then as one who dwells in this nation.
Galatians 5:13 (AMP)
For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another.
by Joy Pedersen