Thursday, March 28, 2019

Mark of Sanctification

[God...made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus. Hebrews 13:20 MSG During this season of reflection and renewal, join me, and let's explore the visible evidence, the Marks of Life Everlasting - that identifies us as faithful followers of Jesus. Can others see Jesus in our lives? ~ Donna Oswalt]


Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  John 17:17-18 AMP


Make them holy – consecrated – with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that You gave Me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. John 17:17-18 MSG

The follower of Christ is made pure and holy, first by believing, and secondly by obeying the Word of God. With salvation comes the forgiveness of sins, but it is the daily walk that purifies the Christian’s heart and mind. As Jesus prays for His disciples, He acknowledges that it is Truth that makes them holy. Jesus is that Truth. He then tells us where to find the Truth – in God’s Word. 

Not only is Jesus the path to forgiveness, He asks us to take His Truth to the world. Sanctification marks a person for a specific use or empowers one for God’s use. Christians are set apart to give glory to God and share the Good News. Daily being in His word and searching for His truth, praying for guidance and listening for God’s voice provides the tools necessary to share Christ in the world. Be pure and holy in Christ!
  • Do your daily routines involve spending quality time with God? If not, will you commit to do this? 
  • What opportunities do you have to share the Good News?


Holy One, open my heart to Your Truth that I may see the need to sit with You, to read Your word, to pray more sincerely, to listen more intently. Make my mind and heart pure and holy for Your glory. - dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author Copyright 2013 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Mark of Testing

[God...made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus. Hebrews 13:20 MSG During this season of reflection and renewal, join me, and let's explore the visible evidence, the Marks of Life Everlasting - that identifies us as faithful followers of Jesus. Can others see Jesus in our lives? ~ Donna Oswalt]

At once the Spirit sent [Jesus] out into the desert, and He was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended Him. Mark 1:12-13

‘Forty days’ is a recurring period of time in Scripture. Many Bible scholars point out that “40” is a familiar number and measures days or years. A few examples include “it rained for 40 days and nights” with Noah’s family inside the ark, twice Moses spent “40 days and 40 nights” on the mountain with God receiving the Ten Commandments, and the Israelites spent “40 years in the wilderness” for their unfaithfulness before they could enter the Promised Land. In our Scripture, after Jesus’ baptism and before His ministry begins, Jesus is led into the wilderness for forty days during which time He is tested by Satan. There are others, but scholars suggest these all represent times of need or struggle or testing; some convey the time is spent in preparation for something important. These examples certainly confirm this with a renewed earth after the flood, God’s covenant is renewed after Moses intervenes, the Israelites enter the Promised Land, and Jesus begins His public ministry. In all these times, God is working a transformation in the lives of the people.

Another phrase that recurs in my reading is the “wilderness experience”. Through this wilderness experience, the lessons of God’s Provision and Power are clear. Like Jesus in the desert, we too face extreme circumstances where our faith is tested. The world always tries to challenge us to a different set of values than God chooses. Jesus must reject Satan’s offerings of power and glory. We, too, must reject these temptations when tested. In my times in the wilderness, I want it to end sooner than it usually does. Sometimes, I will find the world’s choices look very appealing. When testing comes, the experiences reveal our hearts. During Lent, we can examine our values and renew our covenant with God, learning from our failures and being strengthened by grace.
  •  How is my wilderness experience preparing my heart?
  • Am I transformed in the wilderness? Can anyone tell?
God of Mercy and Grace, I want to be found faithful when testing comes, knowing patience and truth. When the idols of life and selfish choices scream for attention, take me to the wilderness and teach me, heal me, prepare me. Lord, transform me to be more like You. ~ dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2013 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mark of Reverance

[God...made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus. Hebrews 13:20 MSG During this season of reflection and renewal, join me, and let's explore the visible evidence, the Marks of Life Everlasting - that identifies us as faithful followers of Jesus. Can others see Jesus in our lives? ~ Donna Oswalt]

. . . The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He gave the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs . . . let everyone stand in awe of Him. . . The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From His throne He observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so He understands everything they do. . . the LORD watches over those who fear Him, those who rely on His unfailing love. . . We depend on the LORD alone to save us. Only He can help us, protecting us like a shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in His holy name. . . our hope is in You alone. Psalm 33 NLT

I invite you to read all of Psalm 33 as it describes the characteristics of our Sovereign God, the LORD of all creation. In these verses we are reminded of Genesis chapter 1 as it reflects the beginnings of the world. God is referred to in Genesis 1:1-3 as Elohimthe All-powerful One, the Creator. The LORD in Psalm 33 is the Hebrew Yahweh, I AM, the One Who Is. God never changes, and His promises never fail. He is always faithful, even when we are not.

I don’t know about you, but my imagination cannot begin to understand this kind of holy power. Just thinking about the minute details of every living thing brings a sense of awe to my mind. This reverent awe, this overwhelming wonder brings me to my knees in worship and praise of God. This kind of fear transforms the heart, mind and soul; this is the mark of reverence.
  •  Why do I forget to fear God like this?
  •  Does being in awe of our Sovereign God truly transform my life?
LORD, Yahweh ~ You are the beginning and the end of all things, of all time. Your whisper can change the wind, calm the storm, light the night sky, and water the earth. Your Protection covers me, but I do not notice. You are the Source of life, yet I forget. Forgive me as You fill me with holy wonder. Transform me as You teach me unfailing love. May my life reveal a mark of reverence for the Creator of all! ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2013 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Mark of God's Faithfulness

[God...made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus. Hebrews 13:20 MSG
During this season of reflection and renewal, join me, and let's explore the visible evidence, the Marks of Life Everlasting - that identifies us as faithful followers of Jesus. Can others see Jesus in our lives? ~ 
Donna Oswalt]

. . . and the LORD said to Joshua, “. . .Take twelve stones from here out of the Jordan”. . . And those twelve stones, which they took up out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know. . . For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over. . . so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4 ESV


This account in Joshua describes the scenes as the Israelites finally enter the Promised Land. Their unfaithfulness had kept them in the desert for 40 years after being freed from Egypt. Despite their lack of faith, God’s promise to them remains. Now Joshua leads as they enter the land promised to them through Abraham. God tells Joshua to take twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes, and make a memorial. This is the first of seven stone memorials described in Joshua. What does it represent? Israel safely crosses the Jordan River into the long awaited Promised Land; God’s faithfulness prevails, and this memorial is to become a reminder to them and all the generations to come that God is always faithful. It is the mark of God’s faithfulness.
  •  What stories do you tell family and friends about Gods faithfulness in your life?
  • Will the generations to come pass along these stories?

LORD, my God, Your faithfulness to me comes from before time began and will continue after time ends. In the middle of my circumstances, sometimes I forget to tell my stories of how You never leave me, always go before me, protect and provide for me. I take Your strength but do not share it. Let me tell Your stories of faithfulness to me – tell them now and pass them to the future. ~dho


All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2013 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author


Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Ash Wednesday - Mark of Ashes

[God...made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus. Hebrews 13:20 MSG During this season of reflection and renewal, join me, and let's explore the visible evidence, the Marks of Life Everlasting - that identifies us as faithful followers of Jesus. Can others see Jesus in our lives? ~ Donna Oswalt]


"For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6

[Jesus said] "Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13

Jesus came for sinners, those who need His mercy. All of fallen humanity meets the requirements of ‘sinner.’ Only through Jesus can we be made holy, only through His Grace can we be made righteous. It is only our soul’s sincere repentance that invites Grace to enter. On this Ash Wednesday, Christians around the world gather together and receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads. These ashes remind us of our need for Grace, remind us that without Jesus we are only sinners. With Jesus, however, we are sinners who find forgiveness and redemption. We can trade our ashes for a robe of righteousness with Jesus! 

- How will I praise God for such unconditional love?

- Will others see only my ashes or will they see the Grace of Jesus?

Jesus, I kneel at Your altar wearing the mark of a sinner. With humble awareness I examine my need for grace, my desire to serve You more. Let my love and service always be mindful of Your mercy. - dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2013 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author
Breathing Room For My Soul (blog) Follow on Twitter @soulchat