Today I have selected two passages that have a do or die feel to them. Both of these passages have similar wording and I think they have something that we can all learn.
The first passage is found in Genesis 43:14b. It reads like this:
“And as for me, if I am bereaved of children, then I am bereaved.”
As for the second, it is found in Esther 4:16b. It says:
“And if I perish, I perish.”
These might not seem like much but just wait until I give you the background.
In the first passage it is Jacob speaking. Yes, the same Jacob who stole his brothers birthright and blessing, married Leah and Rachel (Labans daughters) and had a son named Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers. Now Jacob is old, he still thinks Joseph, his favorite son, was killed by wild animals and so he clings even more closely to Joseph’s brother, Benjamin. There is a severe famine in the land, the same one that Joseph, a prisoner in Egypt, had foretold through Pharohs dream.
Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy food and they come back with a story. Joseph (although they didn’t know it was him) had been testing them and told them that he would not see them again until they brought Benjamin with them.
This posed a problem. Jacob would not let them take Benjamin. But this turned into a life or death situation. The famine was severe and they had no food. So finally, Jacob said this line: And as for me, I f I am bereaved of children, then I am bereaved. Jacob had lost Joseph, Simeon was a captive in Egypt and he did not want to lose Benjamin. But he knew that this was a do or die moment and he decided to follow God and trust God with his children. And if they died, they died.
The second is spoken by Queen Esther. Esther, a Jew, was chosen as the Queen of Persia. Hamaan hated Jews and came up with a plot to kill all of them. This would be a total wipe out of Jews. Esther was the only one who could stop this plot. But she had to go into the King, without an invitation. If you went into the King without an invitation, he could raise his scepter and you would be killed. Or he could find favor with you and let you enter. It was a risky thing and no doubt Esther was a bit scared. Her words? If I perish, I perish.
Both of these phrases show a choice. This is do or die. These are do-what-must-be-done words. These are complete laying it in God’s hands words. These are words of trust. Jacob didn’t want to give up his childeren but he put them in God’s hands and if God chose to take them away, then He took them away. Esther didn’t want to give up her life, but she laid it in God’s hands and if she died, then she died. So be it. God gives and God takes away. So. Be. It.
What happened to Jacob and Esther? Let’s look at the Bible to find out.
Jacob found out the amazing truth that Joseph was alive. In one fell swoop he had all his children with him. Here are God’s words to Jacob in Genesis 46:4:
“I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again and Joseph’s hands shall close your eyes.”
Esther went in to the King and was successful. The King didn’t kill all the Jews and God used Esther to save His people. Listen to what Esther 8:16 says:
“The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor.”
God blessed both Jacob and Esther and He used thier trust to accomplish great things and save His special nation.
So whatever God wants to do with your life, so be it.
Posted in Bible, Bible characters, do hard things, faith, God, Living for God, words by Priscilla with no comments yet.
It’s not about the lights or the presents or the snow….blah blah blah. We say that but what are some real, practical ways to celebrate Christ during the Christmas season? It is easy to get distracted with Christmas parties, gift giving and holiday busyness. Below I have three ways for you to celebrate CHRISTmas.
1. Bible reading leading up to Christmas
So instead of just reading the Christmas story start reading things leading up to it in the month before Christmas to give you a big picture of what God was doing. This year I am reading the book of Isaiah and then I will read the Matthew, Luke and John version of the Christmas story. I picked Isaiah because that prophet foretold a lot about Jesus’s birth. Below are some other ideas.
-Isaiah, then the Matthew, Luke and John version of Christmas story.
-Genesis, then Christmas story (from the beginning of time look for promises like the “He will bruise the serpents head” passage and others.)
-Revelation, then Christmas story (look at the mighty lamb slain for us)
-A gospel read the whole way through then double back and read the Christmas story again. (See how Jesus came with the purpose to die)
-1-2 Kings then Christmas story. (Look at the different kings and then look at King Jesus born in a manger)
-Psalms (selected) then Christmas story (Find psalms that point to His birth and read in a poetic style)
With any plan you do try to look for the truth about Jesus coming as well as the promises of His coming.
2. Give your time (and money)
This time of year there are so many opportunities to serve and give so take them! Here are a few ideas:
-serve at a Soup kitchen or homeless shelter serving a Christmas dinner.
– volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child processing center
-order something from the Samaritans Purse, or Food for the Hungry gift catalog
-buy gifts for needy kids/families (I have heard good things about hopematch.com or a local project works well)
Just remember to focus on giving not getting and look to Jesus’s example-He gave His life!
3. Enjoy some good ol’ Christmas carols
Christmas carols are awesome. They proclaim the truth of Jesus’s birth and the gospel. So dwell on that truth. Below are some ideas:
-Go Christmas caroling with friends
-Learn Christmas carols on an instrument if you play one
-Listen to Christmas CDs. (Chris Tomlin and Andrew Peterson’s are some of my favorites-very worshipful)
-Go to a Christmas concert and enjoy the music (We went to a Celtic Christmas concert this year- what a treat!)
I hope you found some good ways to keep your eyes focused on Jesus during the holiday season!
Posted in Bible, faith, holidays, Jesus by Priscilla with no comments yet.
I read “Do Hard Things” two or three times. Yes, it is that good. Our youth pastor preached a series about doing hard things. The idea changed my teen years.
The last time I read the book (a month ago maybe?) I felt like God had a hard thing for me to do. What was it?
Then I realized it. Doing hard things isn’t always planning an outreach or fundraiser, saving someones life or even diligently doing chores at home. Somethimes a hard thing is just to say yes when God says no.
I recently had this experience.
I had the oppurtunity to go down to Mexico for a week to serve at the Rancho3M orphanage in November. In fact a week from now I would be in Mexico.
Now if you really know me you know that serving down there is the highlight of my summer and that I really have a heart for that ministy. Oh and I love all the kids down there to pieces.
I REALLY wanted to go.
But God shut the door.
I was disappointed although I didn’t show it outwardly. I missed it down there. And that is when I realized that I have to say Yes to God even when He says No to something I desperately want to do.
His plan is always better. Isn’t it? We don’t always know why He gives us that answer. Sometimes we see it after and sometime we don’t. We just have to leave it up to Him.
Posted in adventures, do hard things, faith, God, gospel and outreach, Living for God, Mexico, missions, Rancho3M by Priscilla with no comments yet.
It is easy for us to say “Yeah, I trust God.” when everything is going well.
Its easy for us to trust Him in the good times.
But trust is something that hits us hard when we hit a rough spot.
For me right now that trust is: Do I trust God when we are moving?
Do I trust God when our house is closing in less than three weeks and we don’t know where we are going?
Do I trust God with my tomorrow…. wherever tomorrow is?
Maybe for you its asking: Do I trust God when my loved one dies? Or my baby is miscarried? Or my job is lost? Or my child turns from the faith?
Do you trust God when worry, anxiety and doubt cloud over your mind?
Sometimes trusting God seems so hard. We like to know what will happen, where we are going and what our future will look like.
Trusting God is hard. Really hard.
Thankfully God is so great and His word is full of promises when we are doubting. Here are a few.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”
Trust in Him, turn to Him and forget about solving your problems, leave it to Him, HE will direct your paths.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act.”
He will act! What a promise.
“Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Read the whole passage of Matthew 6:25-34 to see how he clothes the lilies and feeds the birds. 😉
And a personal favorite of mine….
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will gaurd your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Let Christ know your worries and the peace of God which is better than any knowledge (where you will go, what you will do, etc.) will flood our hearts and minds.
So I don’t know where you are right now in life but if you have an area where you are anxious and worried and maybe struggling with trusting God, read His promises and just give Him everything. He will uphold you and strengthen you.
Keep on trusting!
P.S. Oh and scripture is riddled with more promises like the ones above so get your Bible out and find them!
Posted in adventures, Bible, faith, God, Living for God by Priscilla with no comments yet.
Lots of people have them. I have two or three myself.
Scars tell stories and young boys especailly love to tell the stories related to thier scars.
All the accidents, risks and daring episodes that make those scars are great stories.
I have two scars from stichs I got when I was three. My aunt was whizzing us around on a merry-go-round and daring lil’ Priscilla decided to go no hands and I flew off, breaking my arm.
I relish telling the story including all the ice cream, balloons and goodies that came with an emergency room visit.
Oh and the story about how I sang “When I Am Afraid I Will Trust In You” by Steve Green right before my surgery is a good one.
I have another scar on my wrist that I got when a dog scratched me because I wasn’t petting him enough.
Whether it be a bicycle accident, broken arm, or running into a brick wall every scar has a story, a unique, fun-to-brag-on kind of story.
The greatest scars of all are the ones Jesus has though. Now thats a story.
God (the God who created heaven and earth and everything else..yep that God) sent His only son down to earth because after Adam sinned we all lived in sin and were not worthy of eternal life with Him.
So this son incarnated and became a human, was brougt into the world through a young teen virgin, Mary and grew up as a poor carpenters son.
He then calls petty fishermen to be His disciples teaching them about the kingdom of God and proclaiming Himself as the son of God. He worked miracles and was absolutely perfect!
Well, the Pharisees didn’t like that one bit so they plotted to destroy Him and they finally got their chance after the Passover thanks to Judas Iscariot- one of Jesus’ disciples who betrayed Him.
Jesus was unfairly accused (remember He is perfect), beaten, mocked and scorned. Pontius Pilate was scared of the people even though he thought Jesus was innocent so he delivered him to be crucified.
The Son of God crucified? How could this happen? Well actually, His death was the reason Christ came into the world. He paid the perfect sacrifice so that now we can be called children of God if we trust in His perfect name.
Wow, thats a story. And Jesus got some scars to prove it.
He had scars from the nails pierced in His hands.
He had scars in His side from when the soldiers stabbed Him to make sure He was dead.
Best. Story. Ever. Oh.. and its real.
But it doesn’t end there.
Jesus was placed in a grave and three days later some women came to put incense on his body. Surprise, surprise, he wasn’t there.
Jesus had risen from the dead, defeating death forever.
But not all the disciples believed when Mary Magdalene, the young witness told the story.
Thomas- one of the disciples- didn’t believe it. He said….
” Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Then Jesus showed up.
He told Thomas this:
“Put your finger here, and see my hands, and put out your hand and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve but believe.”
Those scars saved the world.
Those scars saved you.
Those scars saved me.
All of a sudden my epic-fly-off-the-merry-go-round scars don’t seem so cool anymore.
“He himself bore our sins on his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
1 Peter 3:24
So next time you start boasting about your scrapes, bumps and scars remember His scars.
Boast in his scars….. because they saved the world.
Thanks be to the scars of Christ,
Posted in Bible, faith, God, Jesus, the cross by Priscilla with no comments yet.
Here is a verse to strengthen and encourage you as you fight your good fight of faith.
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the prescence of many witnesses. I charge you in the prescence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time- he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”
1 Timothy 6:11-16
I hope this verse encouraged you to pursue godliness, fight your fight of faith and trust and worship your King of kings and Lord of lords.
Posted in army training, Bible, character, faith, God, Jesus, Living for God by Priscilla with no comments yet.
Sometimes we can forget the true extent of our freedom in
Christ. The reality is that if you have turned from your sins and trusted in Jesus you are free from sin, forever. I want you to convince you of this incredible truth through Bible verses. Lets embark on this search about freedom in Christ together.
“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Freeindeed. I think this is key. It doesn’t say just free, it says free indeed or really, truly free. If Jesus sets you free you are really free. It is not the superficial freedom the world offers us, it is true, real freedom.
“Now the Lord is Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3:17
When we are walking with the Lord we have peace, love, and freedom! The Lord is all of those things.
So this freedom is not everyones. It is only if you trust in Jesus for your sins. Before you do that you are a slave to sin, you are under the burden of sin and you are a captive to it. Every unbeliever lives with a burden, just like Christian in “Pilgrim’s Progress”. Only when you reach the cross will you become free from that burden.
“For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”
You never think about it that way do you. If you forget the freedom you have and feel guilty and ashamed you are bending to the yoke of slavery! Christ paid the price for your freedom. He gave it to you!
“There is therefore now no comdemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Notice the words “in Christ Jesus”. We need to make sure that we keep our eyes on Him and remember that He is the only one that we can go to for that freedom.
Now I wanted to post the bridge of a song called “Man of Sorrows” by Hillsong. It explains the truth of this freedom in a very joyful, thankful way and I love it. Here you go.
Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled
Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
Isn’t that truth amazing? Lets keep going.
Once we place our trust in God we are actually still slaves…..but to God and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, right?
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”
So we are slaves still, but to God and that is a even better than being free by ourself.
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover up for evil but living as servants of God.”
1 Peter 2:16
So living as a free people is the same thing as living as servants of God! Anything with God is better than anything else that isn’t.
Our freedom really has some power. This isn’t just like a ‘yeah yeah I am free, woo hoo!’ Its more like….
“I shall walk in a wide place because I have followed your precepts.”
“You who were once alienated, hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you, holy and blameless and above reproach.”
“Creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption, and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
Yes, you heard me right, this freedom makes us children of God, above reproach before Him and walking on wide ways!
However, we must be careful with this freedom and gaurd it closely. We must not use this freedom that was freely given to us for wrong.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an oppurtunity of the flesh but through love, serve one another.”
“Out of my distress, I called on the Lord and He set me free.”
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has annointed me, to bring good news to the poor, He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
We are to use our freedom to love oneanother, proclaim liberty (Jesus’s liberty) to the captives and in our distress, call to the Lord and He will make us free.
I hope that after hearing these amazing truths from the word of God you would see that if you are in Christ you have freedom. Freedom with power.
This freedom keeps you from condemnation.
This freedom makes you a slave to God, not sin.
This freedom gives you the boldness and power to go proclaim that liberty to those still in bondage.
This freedom is God’s power in you.
So don’t keep quiet, shout it from the rooftops, yell it through the mountains, proclaim it from any high place.
YOU ARE FREE!!!
Freed by Christ,
Posted in Bible, faith, God, Jesus, Living for God, words by Priscilla with no comments yet.
Here is some more word of God to strengthen you and help you fight your battles today!
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all of our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.”
Colossians 2: 13-15
Posted in army training, Bible, faith, Jesus by Priscilla with no comments yet.
The incarnation of Jesus is something humans can not wrap their minds around. As hard as you try. How could Jesus be fully God and fully man? But think about it, would you want it any other way? Here is why I love the incarnation and its mind bogglingness.
1. Jesus was fully God.
If Jesus was NOT fully God how could I trust HIm? How could I believe Him? Humans die and fail and there has never been a human in my life who has not sinned or failed. How could I trust in a God who was part human. Jesus has to be fully God. Because He was fully God, He never sinned and He had a perfect life. Because He was a perfect man, He was able to be our perfect sacrifice. Think about this, if Jesus was NOT fully God and He had sinned even just a little, He would not have been able to be our perfect sacrifice. And we would have lived in our sin and death forever. One more point: I could/would not believe in a God who I can fathom. I don’t want God to be able to be achieved in my thoughts. Because Jesus was not just fully human but fully God I can not fathom Him. He is better/above anything I can imagine. I am sooooooo glad that Jesus was fully God.
2. Jesus was fully man.
Just as Jesus had to be perfect (fully God) to be able to die for us, He also had to be perfectly human to be able to die for us. God can’t die. God is holy and He can’t look on sin. However, since Jesus was fully human also, He could come to us in our sin and live with us and then die as our perfect sacrifice. I love imagining how Jesus came down to us. He was fully human and He could relate to us in our lives. He came not to be served but to serve. I love how Jesus was fully human.
Let me know your thoughts.
Posted in faith, God, Jesus by Priscilla with no comments yet.
So today I am starting something called Army Training, which is basically verses from the Bible (sword of the Spirit) to give you hope, encouragement and strength. Today’s word is from Isaiah.
“But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary?
Let him come near to me.
Behold, the Lord God helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up.”
Maybe you are being shamed in this world because of your hope, trust and belief in Jesus. This promise from God is for you today. The Lord God helps you and you shall not be put to shame.
Posted in army training, Bible, faith, Living for God by Priscilla with no comments yet.