Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Unbending Hope ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 NASB

The sacrificial blood of Jesus rends the veil, once and for all breaks the barrier between God and humanity, and calls those who believe to boldly enter into the presence of God Almighty. In confessing that Christ redeems us through the cross, holiness allows us to grasp tightly a new hope, to embrace confidently a complete assurance that God is faithful to His promises. Grace rebirths us with unbending hope.

Perseverance marks the truly faithful. Persecution and temptation always threaten the believer, but God’s faithfulness remains unchangeable and infinite, beyond reproach, greater than anything of this world. In communion with Christ, mutuality of faith creates community, a place to encourage and to find encouragement, a place to love and to love in return, a place to trust and to be trustworthy. 

Lord, I confess my need to be loved, to feel connected, that I continue to struggle along the narrow path. Great is Your faithfulness; Your awesome wonder, Your extravagant love, Your invincible power make a new way for me to heal, for me to rest, for me to love. You bring unbending hope. – dho


Focus Point:  Grace rebirths us with unbending hope.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Monday, March 30, 2015

Faithfulness Calls ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.                                    

The Greek pistos for faithful indicates dependable, reliable, and trustworthy character. God is faithful, and He is calling! God “invites” or calls everyone, calls us to salvation, calls us into fellowship with Jesus, calls us into the likeness of Christ. By faith in Jesus through grace we find salvation. As God sanctifies us, or makes us holy through Jesus Christ, our personal relationship with Him grows deeper through prayer, studying the Bible, sharing within a community of believers, and taking Christ into the world. Do my commitments, thoughts, words, and deeds give evidence of holy living? God calls my whole being into holiness.

This holy calling is rooted in God’s sacred purpose for individual redemption and His unfailing compassion. God’s grace calls us to embody the humility, gentleness, and patience of Christ and to embrace each other with tolerance, love and peace. Faithfulness invites us to experience the blessed assurance of Christ, calls us into the wholeness and perfection of God. God will surely be faithful to His promises! 

Faithful Father, a holy promise invites me to Your throne of righteousness. Amazing grace covers my frail and flawed humanity. Great is Your faithfulness! Your unfailing love calls me to become more, to become whole and holy. –dho


Focus Point: God is faithful, and He is calling!

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday ~ Sanctify! - Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt

God has demonstrated His past faithfulness to give us a foundation for our faith. Now show God your faith. And He’ll show you His faithfulness.                          Steve Furtick, Pastor

[Jesus prays] Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. John 17:17-18 NASB

On the night before His death, Jesus prays for His disciples and for all those who would follow Him throughout the centuries to come. Sanctify means to separate from or to stop participating in evil deeds, to become holy. It also means to grow in purity, to live holy lives. This holiness comes from Jesus, the Word made flesh, the absolute truth that never changes. Believing in God or not believing in God does not change God, does not diminish His faithfulness to us. The Father’s faithfulness to His Son secures the foundation of our faith.

That night long ago, Jesus prays for God’s mission to take the Gospel into the world, prays for God’s people to tell the Good News to all people. Today, as the Living Word intercedes for each believer, the Holy Spirit empowers us to demonstrate our working faith in God, to live holy and fruitful lives, to share the grace of Jesus with others. 

Jesus, let my thoughts seek truth in Your holy Scriptures. Find me faithful to Your enduring truth. The world tries to discourage my heart, dissuade my mind, desecrate my soul, but great is Your faithfulness. Grace washes away the negative effects, establishes new boundaries with greater hope. Consecrate my life that I might honor You. - dho  


Focus Point: The Father’s faithfulness to His Son secures the foundation of our faith.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Perfect Goodness ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV

During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt



Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. James 1:17-18 NASB

Every action of giving and every gift given from God originates in His goodness. Such complete generosity can only come from the constant, faithfulness of the Holy Creator. An ancient Jewish name for God as Creator, Father of lights, symbolically references the heavenly lights, the sun, moon and stars. While daily and seasonal variations exist within the earthly heavens, the Author of life remains unchangeable. God never uses difficulties in life to tempt or discourage; rather, His intentions develop and strengthen. God, the loving Father, can only offer goodness.

Because mankind struggles with spiritual death, God brings rebirth with the word of truth.  Jesus Christ, who redeems and renews with undeserved grace, desires to have an intimate relationship with every individual. Spiritual rebirth through faith in Jesus requires a sacrifice of praise for such unmerited goodness. 

Holy, holy, holy! God of mercy and love, Your glory illuminates my soul. What goodness flows from You to all parts of Your creation. This season of renewal begs me to take a closer look at Your holiness. With the rising sun, let Your unchanging love fill me up. With the new beginnings of spring, show me Your eternal hope. With the setting sun, reveal Your tomorrow-plan for me. As I look up at the sky full of twinkling starts, remind me of Your presence generation to generation, day to day, and moment to moment. How great is Your faithfulness to me! –dho


Focus Point: God, the loving Father, can only offer goodness.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Friday, March 27, 2015

Escape Route ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV

During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt



The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.           

Experiencing temptations normal to all people, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians examines the Israelites from the Old Testament and their consequences of misusing freedom. Forty years in the wilderness becomes the lesson for them and us. Overconfidence or complacency can easily lead to disobedience. All sin screams temptation, entices us toward its darkness. Satan, The Tempter, lures us using our own desires This Scripture affirms that sin is common to all people, irresistible and inviting; but God’s faithfulness always shows us an escape route.

God, impervious to evil, stands between us and Satan, offering His power and grace as our victory over temptation. Scripture validates that all things are permissible, but not all things are profitable. When faced with temptation, seek God’s help to stop, to overcome, to begin again. Be alert because Satan always lies in wait for another opportunity to seduce. 

Jehovah-Nissi, You give me victory over the weakness of my flesh, my constant temptations to sin. You stand in the gap, fight the battles against darkness and evil. You create boundaries for my safety and borders of protection. When I find myself enticed by Satan, ignite my soul to sing ‘great is Your faithfulness’. Destroy my arrogance and my apathy as I fall to my knees and worship a Holy God! –dho


Focus Point: Sin is common to all people, irresistible and inviting; but God’s faithfulness always shows us an escape route.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Transformation ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.                             1 Timothy 1:12-17 NLT

Saul of Tarsus, a very zealous Pharisee, evokes punishment and inflicts violence on followers of Christ with threats, murder, and imprisonment. He does this with righteous indignation, without remorse. On the road to Damascus, Jesus strikes Saul blind and speaks directly to him, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” [Acts 9:5] Jesus declares, “He is a chosen instrument of Mine to bear My name to Gentiles, and kings and the sons of Israel.” Transformed from a person who slanders Christ to a person who serves Christ, Saul experiences rebirth and is renamed Paul.

A student of the well-respected rabbi, Gamaliel, Saul’s religious training, Roman citizenship, and university education creates depth in Paul’s ministry. With mercy and patience, with amazing grace and forgiveness, Jesus counts Paul faithful. Despite all his rejection of Christ, Paul becomes one of the greatest missionaries of all time.* No matter the magnitude of sinfulness, God’s faithfulness delivers redemption. Transformation comes with Jesus Christ.  

God of mercy, find me on the road. Change me to be more like You. Great is Your faithfulness. Transform me; count me faithful. –dho

Focus Point: Transformation comes with Jesus Christ.


*Read Paul’s testimony: Acts, Chapter 22

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Holy Writings ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT

Holy Scriptures comprise the Bible, the authoritative source defining the beliefs of Christian faith. Believed to be the inspired word of God, these sacred writings consist of 66 books making up the Old Testament and New Testament. From the 5th century, scholars call the Bible the “Library of Divine Revelation”. Within these holy-breathed words of God, we discover God’s power, promises and prophesy, His laws and His love, the gift of salvation, and absolute truth. Through these ancient words, God reveals His character and declares His purpose. Scripture includes lessons to teach, correct, restore, and train. With the Holy Scriptures, God breathes His faithfulness into the world.

Spiritual maturity evolves as the Christian studies the Scriptures, spends time reading and listening for God’s direction and guidance. The Bible becomes a tangible holiness of God’s presence, a language of necessary prayer, a confirmation of grace-full redemption, the assurance of divine truth. God uses His inspired words to prepare and equip us to complete His purpose. 

Lord, let me read these God-breathed words with greater understanding, deeper meaning, and renewed purpose. Create a hunger and thirst for Your word that will grow my awareness of Your presence. Stir my soul with the mystery of amazing love, the majesty of promises fulfilled, the hope of what is to come. Great is Your faithfulness. –dho

Focus Point: With the Holy Scriptures, God breathes His faithfulness into the world. 


**Additional writings that some Christian denominations include: the Apocrypha contains 14 ancient books related to the Old Testament that, written in Greek and believed to have been composed during the time between Malachi and the New Testament times. Scholars say that no quotes from the Apocrypha appear in the New Testament.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Invincible Love ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt


Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture… None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:35-38 The Message

Paul writes this letter to the church in Rome describing the righteousness of God and defining the necessary response of humanity. The list of possible problems that threaten to disrupt the believer’s relationship with Christ comes from Paul’s personal trials and survival. Despite these negative experiences, the answer consistently points to Christ and His unconquerable love for His own. Nothing can diminish or defeat Christ’s love.

The world today creates the same issues for believers. Difficulties and dangers wait around every corner. Exposure to wickedness and execution of the soul edge their way into the mind. Refuge from hate and retaliation for hate walk a very fine line. God’s faithfulness establishes invincible love in the arms of Jesus. 

Bread of Life, You sustain me no matter the circumstances. Invincible Love embraces me, never leaving despite disappointment or daggers, ugly words or evil ways. Great is Your faithfulness from yesterday and beyond tomorrow. Your love conquers the world while holding me. – dho


Focus Point: Nothing can diminish or defeat Christ’s love.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Monday, March 23, 2015

Changeless Promise ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt


Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. [God] does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. Galatians 3:15-18 NKJV

Finding him faithful and obedient, God makes a covenant with Abram, long before God calls him Abraham. In fact, God’s changeless promise comes over 400 years before He gives the law to Moses. This promise is not between Abraham and God; this binding promise is between God and God (see Genesis 15:12-18). Many translations use the word Abraham’s “descendants” but this translates to the Hebrew word for “seed”. In its collective meaning of a people, the faithful remnant of Abraham’s descendants will fulfill God’s promise, while its singular meaning refers to Christ, the Promised Seed. God’s changeless promise endures forever.

God’s faithfulness affirms the necessary Promised Seed, for humanity can never save itself. The law given to Moses is not replaced by Christ, rather serves as a tutor to bring us to Christ, for humanity can never completely keep the law. Believers experience Abraham’s seed in Christ, the Changeless Promise representing unmeasured grace, and stand as a collective people of Abraham’s seed confessing one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God. 

Jesus, Chosen One, grace falls gently over me like a cool stream in a dry and rocky land. In You I find no contradictions. Like a gentle breeze on a summer’s day, You bring my soul relief. In You I find gentleness. Great is Your faithfulness to a sinner who flounders and falls, who loses sight of hope and holds on to hurt, who must surrender but resists submission. Yet, Eternal Seed, You choose me! - dho


Focus Point: God’s changeless promise endures forever.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

5th Sunday of Lent 2015 – Commit to the Journey

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt

Faith is demonstrated not defined. A.W.Tozer

[Jesus asks] “Which of the two did the will of his father?”… Matthew 21:28-32

In the parable of The Two Sons, the Father goes to one son and then the other with this request, "Go work in the vineyard today." The first son initially says, "I will not go” but later changes his mind and goes to work. The second son says, "Yes, sir" but does not go. Jesus asks, "Which of the two did the father's will?" The answer is the first son, the one who actually did as asked. Jesus commends the reluctant but repentant first son. Jesus wants our actions to agree with our words.

Falling victim to ritual and routine in our spiritual lives, we imply "yes" by attending church, singing songs, repeating prayers. We simply show up. Months and sometimes years go by without any spiritual growth. In other words, our hearts and minds do not truly embrace the journey Christ calls us to live. Growing our faith requires change, intentional change. God’s faithfulness reaches into the world with Christ’s unfailing love and ultimate sacrifice, bringing grace and teaching obedience. Commit to the journey with Christ. Experience His peace in persecution, His love in loneliness, His truth in temptation. Study the sacred Scriptures. Linger in holy prayer. Go work in the vineyard today! 

Faithful Father, Your promises call to me, but the shadows whisper, too. In the sanctuary surrounded by sacred music and holy words, life seems easier, but the randomness and weariness of life waits just outside the church doors. Teach me how to be more faithful within the struggles and unpredictability. Meet me in the middle of the interruptions. You can change my heart and my mind. Help me commit to the journey with You for Great is Your faithfulness. -dho

Focus Point: Growing our faith requires change, intentional change.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Authority Over Death ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt

After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so He can give glory back to You. For You have given Him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one You have given Him.  And this is the way to have eternal life—to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one You sent to earth.  I brought glory to You here on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.  Now, Father, bring Me into the glory We shared before the world began. John 17:1-5 NLT

Pontius Pilate would soon use his authority to condemn Jesus to the cross. Within less than 40 years, Rome would destroy the temple in Jerusalem. By the end of the first century, the Christian church will endure great turmoil and resistance. All the disciples except John will be martyred; yet, despite persecution faithful believers will continue to spread the Good News. Before the end of the second century, the power of Rome will be threatened by many invasions and civil war, and the third century will be marked with countless wars. In 476 AD, the reign of the last Roman emperor marks the end of Roman rule and the beginning of the Middle Ages. History continues.

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus prays that all would come to have a personal relationship with the only true God and Himself. Having been given this authority by the Father, Jesus obediently comes to earth, willingly completes His assigned task so anyone who believes can have eternal life. Before time begins until after time ends, Jesus Christ can never lose His authority and power. He always gives a greater grace.

Blessed Assurance, You are the never-ending hope for all people. Amazing Grace calls to me, walks beside me, carries my burdens, defeats my spiritual death, gives me everlasting life. The world creates its political powers and fashions its autocratic authority, each to eventually face a greater power that brings more authority, an endless cycle of illusion. Open my eyes to see real power, authentic authority; let me see Jesus! Great is Your faithfulness to me. Hallelujah! –dho


Focus Point: Jesus Christ can never lose His authority and power.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Friday, March 20, 2015

Authority to Serve ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt

[Jesus said to the disciples] “…but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant… For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:35-45 NKJV

Roman rule advances with economic and political power over all its territories, using brute force and Jewish leadership to control the people. The emperor, Tiberius Caesar, rules the Roman Empire with cruel justification, adept at lying while being lazy and self-indulgent. Pontius Pilate, the corrupt governor of Judea, uses his authority for his own advancement, making ruthless decisions. The High Priesthood in the Jerusalem Temple consists of Annas, the former High Priest who still retains authority and power while his son-in-law, Caiaphas, is the official High Priest of Israel. In Jewish society, religious leaders are the Pharisees, local synagogue leaders focusing on strict observance of all the Jewish laws and traditions, and the Sadducees, primarily upper-class, leaders interested in pleasing the Romans to maintain their place in society. Corrupt power and tyrannical authority define greatness in Rome.

Despite that Jesus explains again how He will be betrayed, beaten, killed, and rise from the dead on the third day, the disciples still think Jesus will rule an earthly kingdom. James and John ask Jesus to be His top advisers. Using the Roman rulers as an example of political leadership, Jesus contrasts true greatness with an example of servant leadership saying whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. Jesus continues, describing Himself as a servant and not someone who expects to be served. In His faithfulness and with sovereign authority, God delegates to Jesus the authority over all things. Jesus, the Suffering Servant, establishes authority in giving His life a ransom for many. Jesus redefines greatness as serving others. 

Lamb of God, to see You as a servant of all humbles me. The world tells me wealth and success, houses and cars, trips and investments give me power, pretending to purchase authority for me. I see You and recognize the emptiness of possessions, the lies and false security of earthly power. Great is Your faithfulness; You purchased my freedom from sin and call me to be a servant to others in Your name. So be it! -dho

Focus Point: Using the Roman rulers as an example of political leadership, Jesus contrasts true greatness with an example of servant leadership saying whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.


 All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Authority Over Creation ~ Lent 2015

God’s Faithfulness ~ Our Everlasting Hope!
LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness
You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1 NIV


During this season of reflection and renewal, join me in exploring God’s Faithfulness. Do you find strength for every circumstance in God’s Faithfulness? God IS Faithful!  God’s Faithfulness is our everlasting Hope! ~ Donna Oswalt

…Then [Jesus] arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark 4:35-41 NKJV

The Roman Empire prepares to rule the earth. With every engineering feat, architectural accomplishment, and political ploy, Roman power gestures to the world. Greek tradition emphasizes knowledge, and evolving education includes studying languages, philosophy, literature and the arts. This culture influences the villages that live under Roman law. Governmental power and authority reign supreme throughout the land.

After a full day of teaching by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus tells the disciples to cross over to the other side of the sea, leaving the multitudes behind. In the boat, Jesus falls asleep, but a great windstorm quickly forms, threatening the boat with rough seas. Afraid, they awaken Jesus with panicked shouts. He calms the storm with a couple of words; immediately the wind and sea obey. Jesus demonstrates complete authority over nature. David Jeremiah writes, “Safety, however, is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of Jesus.” In one act, Jesus models God’s faithfulness, teaching that trusting in the unchanging, infinite, and infallible character of God should be the foundation of faith. 

Lord, the sudden storms of life come unpredictable and unwanted. I feel their power to sweep me overboard, and the world mocks my calling out to You, says my prayers fall empty. But I know You are the Almighty God, the One with authority over all things, El Roi the God who sees me where I am, Jehovah-Jireh the Lord who provides whatever I need. Great is Your faithfulness and where I place my faith. –dho


Focus Point: In one act, Jesus models God’s faithfulness, teaching that trusting in the unchanging, infinite, and infallible character of God should be the foundation of faith.

All rights reserved; copyright 2015 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

For more information about this ministry visit ~
“May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”