I Love to Tell the Story

Greetings to you all in this Advent Season,

I would like to share with you a letter I wrote in our church newsletter this month.  I hope that you will join me in telling the story!

Recently, Jack and I were riding in the car listening to some old favorite hymns and “I Love to Tell the Story” began playing.  Now, who doesn’t just LOVE that wonderful hymn with words written by A. Catherine Hankey in 1870.  As I’m sure you can guess, the scripture on which this glorious hymn was based is in Acts 8:1, 4 describing the times when Saul was leading a great persecution of the Christian church, including approving of the stoning of Stephen.  “All but the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” In spite of Saul’s continued attacks, these men experienced miraculous healings and events in Jesus’ name.  They truly loved to tell the story.

We truly need to tell the story, “of Jesus and His Love.” We’ve rolled right into yet another Advent, where we await and excitedly anticipate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Will this be our usual tinsel, fruitcake, glittering Hallmark Christmas or will we place telling His story above all else?  I would like to ask you to join me in a NEW advent, a new Christmas Eve, a new Christmas day and a NEW year.  This year I want to “tell the old, old story I have loved so long.”

This hymn tells us WHY we should tell this story: “because I know it’s true.”  How do you and I know it’s true?  Think about that, and write down how you know.  WHY else do we tell it? “It satisfies my longings, like nothing else can do!”  How DOES Jesus satisfy our longings?  Let’s think back and remember when our Jesus has comforted us like no other.  Write it down.  Lord, there is none like you!

Every time we tell the story of Jesus’ love it is “more wonderfully sweet,” but very sadly, “some have never heard the message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.”  We read that the early persecuted Christians preached the Word wherever they went!!  How often do I tell the story?  Do you? Especially to folks who have never heard and believed in Jesus’ salvation message. ( Interestingly, the Lord has given me two opportunities to reach out in His name since I have written this letter.)

This season, I challenge you to think about how Jesus is central to your story and how you know that is true.  Then, take those glorious words and share them with those around you. In this hurting world, folks need to hear Jesus’ story in your life now more than ever before!

Advent begins the love song of Jesus flowing into our hearts, until “in scenes of glory we sing the new, new song” right by His side!

God’s love and blessings,

 Barbara

Published and Ready to Go!!

Hello Friends!

This is a very exciting time for me as my third book, All Glory and Honor Be Unto You, is now published and on sale!  I have been blessed to work with an amazing Christian publisher, Candy Abbott of Fruitbearer Publishing, who has produced a wonderful presentation of my writings about Jesus. (See my previous post.)

Reflecting on this book, I find that my writing is very different than in previous works.  These are short devotionals with journaling questions included for each.  I’m feeling a more personal touch to these pieces than my last work, Precious Pearls, which was more from a teaching prospective.  As is true of ALL my writing, I am thrilled and blessed to be able to share the love of God and power of Jesus with all of you.  In a couple of days, I will be posting some ideas about making this 2017 Advent season a very, very special one.

So – Stayed tuned and be blessed!  If you would like to purchase a signed copy of this new book (great Christmas gifts!), please email me directly and I can send it off right away!  Preciouspearls888@gmail.com.

In His Service,

Barbara

 

 

EXCITING NEWS

ON DECEMBER 1, 2017  SALES WILL BEGIN Of

     ALL GLORY AND HONOR BE UNTO YOU

My new book of Monthly Devotionals!

 Published by Candy Abbott and FruitbearerPublishing, LLC

 

You may purchase your signed copy of my book at my Book Launching events at St. John’s Church on Morgan Hill in Easton and Sherman Church in Sherman, CT. on December 10, at Carol Benner’s Holiday Open House on December 12 or directly from me for the discounted price of $14.00.

Email me at preciouspearls888@gmail.com  and I will send you your signed copy after December 1, 2017.

I would love for you to join me on this faith journey and bless others you know with this opportunity!

TO OUR GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!!

This book will encourage women to keep the faith.   Jessie Seneca, More of Him Ministries.

 To quote Barbara, “I have to remember to ask Jesus to show me light when I am down, because I know that when I am at my lowest, Jesus is at His highest”.  The words in this book have brought encouragement into my life and have reminded  me to whom I need to go when I am exhausted from life’s challenges. The joyof “journaling” has also been brought back into my life through these devotionals!

Pastor Linda Kreitz

 

GROWING IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

Hello there,

Lately I have been especially blessed by several opportunities for Bible Study and growth in knowing our savior, Jesus.  I’m realizing it is essential to continue this growth right up until we meet Him face to face.  Hear the word of our Lord in 2 Peter 3:17 – 18:

…be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

 In this scripture, I think we see Peter showing us why we must study and grow in Jesus by warning us of the dangers of not having a secure and accurate knowledge of our faith.  Without realizing it, we can be influenced by false teachers, but if we have a deepening knowledge of the Lord, we will be stable in Him and not be led astray!  I don’t think I’m usually around “false teachers,” but I do know of folks who bend the Biblical truths, take ideas out of context and try to make the Bible teachings convenient for their lives.  We need to be strong in sharing the pure truth of the gospel with such people.

The more we study the word of God, the more knowledge we gain and the more mature we grow in the faith.  I have found Bible Studies to be an integral part of my faith journey.  There are large groups and small groups, weekend conferences, video lessons, online studies and many, many more ways for us to grow in Jesus.  Devotional readings each day give a fresh start and Christian outlook to us as individuals and can lead us into self-studies.  Whatever works for you, you need to do it.  Whatever fits your schedule and comfort level must be part of your Christian journey.  (Let’s talk about growing in “grace” next time!)

The purpose of our growing and maturing?  “To Him be glory both now and forever!”  ALL the glory!!  The more we learn and grow, the more we are bathed in His amazing Love and our lives are filled with less of ourselves and so, so much more of Him.  To God be the glory, indeed!  For all that He has and continues to do for you and for me.  Amen.

May Our God Bless You Abundantly,

Barbara

 

 

BUILDING UP THE FAMILY OF GOD

Greetings on this lovely Fall afternoon!

Hear the Word of Our Lord for our life today:

“Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another.”                         ( 1Thessalonians 5:11 )

We’re all familiar with the concept of “encouragement” as part of our Christian caring for each other.  Somehow it seems that our society has become singular, more self-centered, glued to a screen instead of conversing and of course, drawing to each other through social media.  These “non-personal” forms of communication can be encouraging or … not.  Does this replace the quiet, gentle hug…no words spoken, just love shown and felt?

Our Faith Family is the group of folks who have accepted Christ as their savior with whom we gather to worship Him!  This time together is so NOT about us, but all about God and loving one another in His name.  Sitting in church together should really not be a passive time, but rather a very active hour listening for His word, listening for what it is HE is calling us to do, listening to one another.  This is the time to be encouragers!  One of my most favorite parts of our worship service is called “Greeting and Moment of Friendship!”  I have the privilege of seeing our family hugging, laughing, waving, crying!  I am comforted, hugged, bathed in kindness!  For something that lasts only a few minutes, this is the bond of Christ – the ties that bind.

It’s often hard to build someone up, but God will give you the words and the touch when you are open to Him, empowering you to encourage others.  Sometimes it’s very hard to understand another’s pain, but God totally understands it so praying for Him to enter in and work His healing powers is encouragement.  Encouragement never judges, but always loves.  Eye contact, smile, “God Bless You,” can be the greatest medicine for one who is suffering.

I know when I am discouraged, someone simply reminding me of How Much God Loves Me, can change my attitude to one of the joy of Eternity.  Encouragement is love from God!

Encouraging you today with love!

Barbara

We Live For Christ

As we continue in our series on our identity in Christ, let’s sum up who are we in Christ.

We are connected to Him, remain in Him, serve Him or we are NOTHING.

We have the mind of Christ, opened to us by the Holy Spirit and shared with us in God’s Word.  Joyce Meyer states that wherever your mind is, that is WHO you are.  With the mind of Christ in us, we can be the beautiful people our God made us to be.

So, being one in Him, we are complete in Christ Jesus.  We can BE Christ in this hurting world. We can let the light of Jesus shine so brightly, our bodies lit up so fully, that all will be blessed by our completeness.

We’ll close this series on our identity in Christ with a story told by Kenneth Chapin.  He writes that the real proof of the power of the gospel (of Jesus Christ) is in CHANGED LIVES, that the gospel’s most powerful argument is not in great sermons preached but in the changes it causes in life.  AMEN.

Chapin says that after taking several classes in Seminary, when he became a pastor he thought that all that knowledge would help him deal with those who were facing death.  Then – in his first experience in a hospital room with a dying woman, he realized how useless all of man’s theories about death and dying are.  You know why?  He says,

“When I watched this beautiful Christian woman draw upon the resources of the Risen Lord to face death without fear, I realized that the greatest argument for immortality in this world is one Christian who has found meaning in life and hope in death by the power of the gospel.”

Our dear sister in Jesus showed this pastor and all of us, the glorious earthly finish of a Christian complete in Christ.  I have been at a Christian’s bedside to see the peace passing over a devoted face, filling the room with the glow and love of the Holy Spirit and so have you.

You are complete in Christ, my friends, complete through eternity!         The best is yet to come!

May everyone we know see the love of Jesus in us!

Barbara

WHO AM I IN CHRIST JESUS?

So Who AM I in Christ Jesus – my Lord and my Savior?

The frazzled mother running from one kid’s school to another, one soccer game after the other, soccer MOM, super Mom, getting home in time throw together that ever tasty meal for the whole happy family to enjoy – in between texts – to run off to a meeting, make sure homework is done, worrying about the kids grades, trying to figure out her own life?

Or what about the sandwich generation woman lovingly visiting elderly Mom to help her with laundry, her bills, her medicine, worrying about her care and then running home to her own chores to get done before she running from one kid’s school to another, one soccer game after the other….on and on…what’s this all about?

And…let’s throw you working Moms (and Dads) into this mix of trying to know who you are, worrying if you are doing enough!

All of us being pulled from one direction to another – priorities, time schedules, yikes!!

In Colossians 2: 10, those with the mind of Jesus can read with a quiet sigh:      “I have been made COMPLETE in Christ.”  Ahhhhh   Some translations say that we have been given FULLNESS in Christ.

The Light of Christ indeed FILLS our beings!

No more searching and wondering…but now feeling complete because of your salvation in Jesus!  Your sinful nature has been put off – You are completely forgiven!  You are completely righteous before God in Jesus. You are delivered from evil spirit beings.   You are full of all heavenly resources to grow in spirit with Your Lord!

You are full of the hope of resurrection from spiritual death – to have life everlasting!

Friends, In my life, I feel complete in Lord Jesus.  It’s so very hard to put what that means into words – don’t you think?

All I have to do is put Him foremost in my heart and mind, and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me and speak to me of God’s desires for me, do all I can in Jesus name.  The Schedules seem quieter, many relationships seem softer, my time with Christians in fellowship is always truly full – I can see love in each of you – I can see Christ in each of you.

You are complete in Him.

As Paul tells us:

I can see Christ’s gentleness in you!

I can encourage you not to worry about anything, not ANYTHING because our God is in control of your life and mine, He holds us in the palm of His hand! Do you Get that image?  I love it!  Why worry?

When we are complete in Jesus and full of Him, we know that whatever happens, is in God’s hands and  we TRUST HIM with it all –  with it ALL!  We may want to take our worry back – BUT – Let go of it again and leave it at the foot of the cross of our Lord Jesus!  He’ll take care of it.

Pray! Pray! Pray! Ask and you shall receive. Lives complete in Jesus Christ are based on prayer – period.  We LIVE prayer – our minds need not be disjointed, distracted, rattled – our minds need to be concentrated in prayer, trust and thanksgiving!

Completeness in Christ brings us His peace.  Hallelujah!

Barbara

EXCITING NEWS!!

Hello friends!

I’m excited to share with you that I have submitted my final manuscript of my third book, All Glory and Honor Unto to You, to my publisher!  I am hoping and praying for publication beginning very soon so that this Devotional Book can be available for Christmas giving.  It should be a great gift for Christian girlfriends and family members.

So – stay tuned for the news of the availability of the first editions!  Reserve your copy now!!

Blessings,

Barbara

REMAINING IN JESUS

Hi Folks,

Let’s continue our discussion on our Identity in Christ.

So, What does it mean to “remain” in Jesus?  I think it means that as Christ is, as Christ acts, as Christ loves … so must WE because we are connected to the VINE…connected to our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us our identity!

Let’s apply that identity.

In 1 Cor. 2:16: Paul tells us, “…we have the MIND of Christ.”

What does that mean?  Why does that make a difference?  Our mind controls who we are.  What we think controls how we act.  We have the mind of Christ because we are connected to the vine.  Jesus says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your (what?)   MIND!”  Why does Jesus tell us this in Matthew?

MacArthur says that, “As Christians…God instructs us.  We are able to understand all things of His word because we have the MIND of Christ.”  Obviously, we can’t know and understand everything – we’re humans!  We need human teachers and need to study the Word.

But…this illumination of our mind like Christ’s that Paul speaks of DOES mean that “Scripture can be understood by every Christian who is diligent and obedient.”  We remember in Luke 24, Jesus’ revelation to the disciples on the road to Emmaus: Verse 45: “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

Wherever our mind is, that is who we are in Him!!  Paul says in 1 Corinthians that as spiritual believers, having the mind of Christ,” we are allowed, by reading the Word and by the Power of the Holy Spirit, to know the thoughts of our Lord.”  Amazing!

What is the result of remaining in Christ Jesus?   Listen to Paul’s instructions in Philippians 4:5 to those of us who have the MIND and thoughts of Christ telling us HOW to LIVE in that mind of ChristHow to let HIS light fill our beings:

Paul says “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is Near!      Do not be anxious about anything,                                                                In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Oh, thank you, thank you Jesus for Paul’s blessing and that promise to us.

He continues “And (THEN) the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your MINDS in Christ Jesus. The Peace of our God will rule our hearts and minds.    He will guard our minds with His inner peace.

The peace of God is for me and for you!                                                   May you enjoy this blessing,

Barbara

OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST

Who AM I?  Easy for me – I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, a lay pastor…NO, NO – that is what I DO!  SO, Who AM I?

You don’t have to be a teenager, a college student, in a mid-life crisis to ask this question.You don’t have to be on the journey to “Find One’s Self” to ask that question BUT…

You DO HAVE to ASK IT?

Who AM I?

I have been including a collection of scriptures entitled, “THIS is who you are in Christ,” put together by Priscilla Shirer in my daily devotionals.  These scriptures have been powerful answers to the doubts and questions which Satan plants in our minds to discourage and depress us.  They clarify our true identity and purpose and build us up in our journey with the Lord!

A major part of my coming to Jesus involved the realization that I was NOT what I DO – wife, mother, teacher, etc. but so, so much more…My Identity was in Jesus Christ!

Your whole Identity – WHO YOU are – is in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

That eye-opening fact hit me when I was 32 – right in the middle of Who I AM being tied to what I was doing and how well I was doing it!  What a relief to know that God’s love for me was overwhelming even when I was overwhelmed being “Super Mom.”

Really?  I am a child of God?  I am a citizen of Heaven?  Really?  When that sinks in, your life is changed.  Hallelujah!

Years go by, kids grow up, tragedies devastate us, loved ones disappoint us, babies are born, jobs are lost…life goes on and on.  Because I am retired and not out there in the fray of life, WHO I AM in Christ takes on a deep, spiritual meaning.

Living for and in Jesus; living for God became my purpose at age 32 and has taken on a more significant drive each year since.  God knows our longings and desires to be significant so in the future in our blog let’s look at some of these scriptures He has given us to tell us so!

In John 15, verse 5, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

YOU CAN DO NOTHING!  Thems pretty strong words, folks.  A living relationship with Jesus is absolutely necessary!  Without it is lifelessness.  Nothing. The fruit we will bear?  The evidence of our salvation in continual service and obedience to Jesus and His teaching.

As we think about this scripture, let’s take note of how it is we are living in relationship with Jesus today and every day.  Next time we’ll explore what that means.

God bless you,

Barbara