A cup of water

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Jesus was much more than a prophet. He was sent by God. Those who follow Christ’s teachings are disciples and similar to his original band of followers, we can trust Him who has the words of life.

John 6: 68-69 (ESV)

Simon Peter answered him,

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 “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

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69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

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As often as we show tangible love to our brothers and sisters in Christ, I have seen the “watching world” gasp. I had an experience like this, while travelling by bus. Since I was young and inexperienced, I failed to realize my ticket had an overnight layover in the heart of Chicago. After phoning home from a payphone (yes, this was before cell phones). My mom made a call to our Pastor’s parents, who lived nearby. They came to pick me up and let me stay in their home, provided me food and a ride back the following morning. On the thank you note for them, I quoted the verse from Matthew (below). I was the one gasping at how God miraculouly provided for me.

Matthew 10:40- 42 (ESV)

40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for opening a way for us to be right with the Father. I have tasted your goodness and also respond in gratitude.- Teresa #JesustheHolyOne #showsushowtolove

Need good things? ask God

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Sitting in the sunshine, I felt a familiar tug at my heart. I knew that other’s expectations could not reach me here. Maybe that’s why I was finally able to relax, lie down and doze off.

Upon awakening, even before I opened my eyes, I noticed the tantalizing aroma of ripe strawberries and fresh-baked bread.

I hadn’t asked anyone for this preparation. Could it have been my husband’s plan all along to help me enjoy the day?

It was a sweet touch, alright. Maybe even better than what I would have asked for, or imagined. As I woke from my reveries, it remained.

This moment of relaxation engulfed me and helped me remember all the good things in my life. – Teresa #beblessed #loverofmysoul #heavenlyfather #Heknowswhatweneedandwhen

Matthew 7:7-11 (ESV)

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Ephesians 3:20,21 (ESV)

Now to him who is able

to do immeasurably more than all we ask

Me and my friend from work, celebrating!

or imagine, according to his power

My husband and me

that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

God’s favor

Seminary graduation photo (c.2013)

Although I didn’t like the original of this picture when my husband took it, I realize now that it’s my one and only “glamour” photo. Photoshop was the big rage at the time and he expertly made a few cosmetic adjustments. When he was done, I couldn’t believe it was the same photo!

Well, technically, it wasn’t the same photo. He added layers of filters. I even added an additional filter from Instagram today. #madenew #presentable

God’s favor is like that. He layers a shield of protection around our most vulnerable self (when we trust in Jesus’ ability to make us righteous). We can hardly believe that we are the same person compared to the times before Christ healed our hearts from sin sickness.

By understanding how much God loves me, I am also able to love myself and others. I John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

Sometimes what we see portrayed outwardly happens because of how God shields us inwardly. -Teresa #madenew #offermyselftoGod

Romans 12:1,2 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you,

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brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,

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 holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform

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 to the pattern of this world,

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 but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

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Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is

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-his good, pleasing

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and perfect will.

Psalm 5:12 (ESV)

12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Following the star

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The wise men followed a star and Herod secretly followed them. They both were hoping to see the Savior, the ONE worthy of worship. The wise men followed to witness the miracle of His birth and to bless Mary and Joseph. #gold #frankincense #myrrh #diplacedfromhome

Although he tried to hide his motive for seeking Jesus, King Herod was determined to destroy the future king. He needed to eliminate any threat to his throne.

God’s warning gave the young couple time to flee to Egypt before the heartbreaking occurrence, which was prophesied re: the slaughter of innocent children (Is. 31:15). Wherever grace appears so does the one whose goal is to steal, kill and destroy.

Help us to not get distracted but to earnestly seek you, LORD. #treasureofmyheart

When the night is dark, your light shines brighter still. – Teresa #bethoumyvision #seethroughthesmokescreen #census #chaosofpoliticalagendas #focusonHim

Mathew 1:7-12 (ESV)

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Do I have feet like a deer?

Listening for a special reindeer’s hoofs on Christmas

We taught our children from a young age that although Santa and Rudolph (pretend characters) are so much fun to read stories about, there is One who truly came to the earth. His impact on history has changed our history. At our dinner table, the youngest child still gets to unwrap the baby and place him in the manger on Christmas Eve. #créche

In fact, Jesus came to strengthen us with boldness to approach God’s throne to ask for mercy in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14- 16 14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.) #trinity #oneGodthreepersons

Treading on high places happens when we can lift our eyes and be truthful with the Father. Treading on high places is not a mystical experience but may require using our imagination for good (see the simile below…”feet like the deer’s”). #HolySpiritinsight

He makes this happen. In spite of my brokeness.

He makes me perform good works with compassion and care, especially to those I hold dearest in my heart. #highestplace

He makes a miracle happen in broken families who need to find strength and courage in the midst of strife. He encourages the exhausted young mother in need of a discernable touch of true love. He inspires the defeated father who has given all for his children only to realize they have taken him for granted. He gives the struggling child, who may have physical limitations, great hopes and dreams along with support from others to accomplish them.

How do ordinary people endure extraordinary adversity? #hindsfeetonhighplaces – Teresa #uRmystrengthmylovingGod #Psalm59:17

Habakkuk 3:19 (ESV)

God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

Faithful in a little

Hold fast to what you have
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Although I cannot be responsible for how others choose to live, there is a point of feeling liable when I embrace them in their lifestyle without question or concern for those affected.

If my efforts to raise concerns are in vain, unable to convince them of healthier choices, I must hold fast to what I have.

Trusting the Father seems like a small thing to possess but the proof is in the pudding that what God says is true.

It eliminates my frantic need to uncover “deep” mysteries behind what is unraveling. It’s pretty simple. For without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus Christ the Lord is the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), meaning His completed work on the cross allows me access into God’s grace (Romans 5:2).

Don’t be overburdened with the worries of those who have opened doors that should have remained shut.

Hold fast to what you know: that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). As fickle as people can be, I can still hold on to that which remains true.

God’s patience means my impatience at times but in actuality it may mean my life lived out faithfully. What was meant to be a stumbling block around my ankle is being untied for good.- Teresa #freetolove

Revelation 2:18-29 (ESV) bold added

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come.

26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule[a] them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Looking to you

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Visiting Uganda in 2018-2019, I was extremely humbled by the beautiful people who showed us such generosity in the midst of their daily struggle.

One of the children (at the school we were visiting) had severe malnutrition. I watched as he observed the team of millenials laughing and playing with the children. He watched with such intensity that the wonder and joy he felt was barely contained by his smile. He had no thought for his own well-being or lack of. He was experiencing a delighted moment of being right where he wanted to be at that moment in time.

He didn’t come back the next day or the next but the image of his eyes filled with excitement that first day still haunts me with grief for the children of our world. How little effort it took to make him smile. How great his physical need yet how content his heart. How much he taught me about being present in the moment. #giftoflife #receiveit

What if I remember to look to God that way on a daily basis? Will I forget about my own miseries and revel in the miracle of Jesus, coming to live among us as a big brother?

When my heavenly Father provides the Holy Spirit comfort for my needy soul, do I look in awe into His face and smile at the goodness of God? – Teresa #captivatedbyHisglory #trustingHismercy

Psalm 123:1-4 (ESV)

123 To you I lift up my eyes,
    O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants
    look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
    to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lordour God,
    till he has mercy upon us.

3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4 Our soul has had more than enough
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.

Who determines our path?

Morning light

Nebuchadnezzar was certain that he was top dog, the alpha! That was until he encountered the true Alpha who was also known as Omega, the beginning and the end. The Most High loved this pride-filled man enough to teach him an extreme lesson. By the end of the experience, Nebuchadnezzar was giving PRAISE to someone other than himself! #miracle #transformation

When the Most High is acknowledged we become part of an eternal plan. His everlasting dominion endures throughout generations! If anyone tries to stop God’s hand, asking “what have you done?”…they are not acknowledged, so puny are their voices (should they dare to lift them).

Am I acknowledging those with puny voices? (my own insecurities)

Or, do I trust God’s work as right and his ways as just? Most importantly, have I humbled myself before the Most High? – Teresa #thanks #giving

Daniel 4:34-36 (ESV)

34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,

for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”

36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

Planning vs. Doing

Proactivity avoids reactivity

There are two ways to approach the topic of overthinking. One is to say this is not good because we can get stuck in the planning or hypothetical stage of our lives. Another is to say we are being proactive vs. reactive, since every activity starts with a well-thought-out plan.

Personally, I like to endorse a proactive approach to life. “Keep a few irons in the fire” is a good mantra for me so that if one fizzles out, I will have the others to fall back on. But then again, my greatest fear is being bored!

For the analytic social style, they may go deep into one subject or activity in order to become an expert or virtuoso. On the other hand, they must fight against “paralysis by overanalysis”.

If we are so busy with planning our future, then we may fail to do what is most necessary for those around us now. Being faithful in the little things will help us finish well and see an eternal glory (2 Cor 4:17).

Keeping our eyes focused on the Lord, not our future, will keep us grounded for doing the right thing and being present in the moment. -Teresa #mystery #seeingsupernatural #mayBEcommon

James 4:14-17 (ESV)

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

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Christ’s reproach is wealth?

Identify with Him #JesusChristtheLord

When Moses chose to identify with the Hebrew slaves vs. Egyptian royalty, he understood that his reward was not of this earth. #enduredreproach

He led millions of people out of Egypt in a tremendous display of faith in God. #supernaturalfeat

He was faithful in God’s house to care for God’s people (those who also lived by faith). This led to tremendous wealth. Not only did they plunder the Egyptians but God kept their provisions like new.

When God is on my side I let go of worry and find joy in His provision daily.- Teresa #lookingtoHisjoyfulreward #livinginHispresence #nextgenerationwealth #theystandonourshoulders #character

Hebrews 10:23-31 (ESV) bold added

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

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