Thursday, April 25, 2019

Mark of Jesus - I AM the Light of the World

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV


In my previous church, the acolytes are children who light the altar candles at the beginning of the  worship service. This tradition symbolically carries the presence of Jesus into the community of worshipers. At the end of worship, the acolytes relight their candle lighters, extinguish the altar candles, and proceed out of the sanctuary. This symbolizes that Jesus came for all, and as believers, we are to carry His Light into the world. One time, one of the acolytes catches my attention. At the end of the service, he carefully relights his candle lighter and then extinguishes the candle, his eyes intently watching the flame. As he slowly turns and reverently walks out of the sanctuary, his eyes never leave the light of his candle lighter. He focuses on the light and attends to his task; he is the bearer of the Light.

Jesus says I am the light of the world! As Christians, we are no longer to live in darkness; rather we are called to walk in the light of Jesus. 1 Peter 2:9 reminds But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Through the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the veil in the Holy of Holies was torn (Luke 23:44-46). Now, we have direct access to the presence of God; each of us is part of the royal priesthood. With this comes the responsibility of carrying the message of Jesus to others; we are bearers of the Light.

Romans 13:12 calls us to put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Like the acolyte so intentional in his attention to the light, I find my soul convicted of the many times I look away from His Light, forget to focus on His Light, am remiss in not sharing His Light. In times when darkness tries to capture my thoughts, do I put on the armor of Light? When life unfolds unexpectantly, do I put on the armor of Light? When I encounter those in need, do I tell them how to put on the armor of Light? Does my life carry this mark of Jesus ~ am I a bearer of the Light?

  •  Am I willing to carry The Light beyond the walls of my sanctuary?
  •   Do others know I have put on the armor of Light?
Holy One, let my life reflect Your Goodness. Help me to put on the armor of Light, step out into this world of darkness, and share You ~ the Light of the World! I desire to be a bearer of the Light in a fallen world. What wordless joy I find in Your presence. ~ dho 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday - I AM the Resurrection and the Life!


[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]

Thank you for the opportunity to share the Extravagant Love of God with you during this Easter Season. For more devotionals throughout the year, follow BreathingRoomForMySoul.com  Donna Oswalt, Mangrove Ministries ]




Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in Me and will never perish. John 11:25-26 NLT

Easter Sunday is full of joy, praise and hallelujahs that celebrate once again Extravagant Love! His love not only precedes us, it exceeds us. Resurrection marks the transition between life and overcoming death. His resurrection bears the marks of His Passion for mankind. This Everlasting Grace conquers the spiritual death. With certainty we find our Blessed Assurance even in the darkest times. The resurrection of Jesus restores life, offers new life to all, and gives enduring peace. Holy, Holy, Holy; Holy is the LORD. Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. 
  • Celebrate the resurrection; consider Extravagant Love
  • Share the resurrection; offer Christ to another.
Holy One, such love wraps my life with assurance of life, and Grace weaves my life into Your community of believers. Mark me as Yours; restore my soul. Hallelujah to the Love Most High! - 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

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday - Mark of Transition

[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 they all continued in amazement and great complexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" Acts 2:1-13 NASB

These first verses of Acts 2 describe the beginning of Pentecost. This is the day God sends the Holy Spirit. The disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to speak in other languages. Symbolically, the languages confirmed that God's children would come from all nations. This marked the transition from Jesus' earthly ministry to the beginning of the church. All people can come into the Kingdom of God.

Weeks earlier, we find Christ arrested, beaten, and crucified. His death confuses those who had followed Him. Most all of them desert Jesus; fear rules. Believing that Jesus would become an earthly king, confusion and chaos take control. The cross, too, is a time of transition, a time of uncertainty. Who is this Jesus anyway?

Today, we often let fear rule; confusion and chaos disrupt. We live in uncertain times. Our mark of transition is when we choose to live for Jesus. This spiritual transition is just the beginning of the everlasting life that comes only through Jesus. Choose Life!
  • Can you mark your transition from lost to redeemed through Christ? 
  • If you Choose Life, will you share this Everlasting Life with someone else?

Jesus, the cross gives me the opportunity to change, to make a commitment to serving You. In silence I consider the cost of my soul. The cross always wears the mark of transition from death to life. I choose Life! – 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, April 18, 2019

Maundy Thursday - Mark of the Nails

[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]


But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

From fellowship to betrayal, so goes this day over 2,000 years ago. Christ knows His path, but the disciples do not understand. Now, over 2,000 years later, Christians can recount the story and explain its meaning because we have the Holy Spirit to lead us and teach us about God's word; yet, if we are honest, we struggle with understanding how God could love us so much.

Isaiah 49:16 God said, "Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands." God makes is clear that He will not forsake us, that His compassion and mercy will be with His children. This is the mark God bears. Jesus wears the mark of the nails, signifying His unfailing, unconditional love for His own. He has us engraved on the palms of His hands. Jesus bears the marks of total surrender, wounded and pierced for the sins of all people.
  • Write down words to describe the Divine Love. 
  • Do you believe God really, really loves you? Believe it!
Love Most High, this unconditional love You give to me is more than I can understand. Just knowing that Your hands are engraved with Divine Love for everyone makes me fall to my knees. I do believe! - 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, April 11, 2019

Mark of Suffering

[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]

Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2 

Luke is the only Gospel to record Jesus weeping over Jerusalem upon His triumphal entry into the city on the day we now call Palm Sunday. Praises and palm branches, hosannas and hallelujahs roar as plots and hostility whisper in secret. Why does Jesus weep for Jerusalem? Jesus knows the hearts of the people. In a few days, those with religious fears and political agendas along with some of these very people will cry "crucify!" Jesus knows the destruction of Jerusalem is coming; the rejection of the Messiah will bring divine judgment.

During the study of John, notes from Bible Study Fellowship give this insight: Indeed, throughout Jesus' suffering His joy was a distinguishing mark of character that separated Him from them. Jesus' suffering leads to joy. He accomplishes God's will on the cross of redemption and now sits at the right hand of God. Paul writes: for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus [Galatians 6:17] What does he mean? Paul bears the wounds and scars of persecution for Christ's sake. As believers, our joy is grown in trials, and our endurance is increased in difficulty. Soul-full joy in spite of suffering marks our true faith in Christ. 
  • Thinking about the sufferings of Christ, do you think Christ was ever discouraged? 
  • Can others see Christ's mark of suffering [JOY] on my life?
Jesus, my heart weeps at the suffering You endured for me. You were able to look through the suffering to the future with Joy because You knew the Father. I look with Hope and Joy because I know 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, April 04, 2019

Mark of False Teachers

[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]

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you shall know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. 1John 4:1-3 ESV

Scofield’s commentary on this Scripture suggests two marks of false teachers: “(a) Erroneous doctrine concerning Christ’s Person and (b) Erroneous attitude toward the world." To assume that everything we hear or read about God is “true” can open our hearts and minds to false teaching. Those who have a world viewpoint use this as their reference and may have many followers. Some who speak the name of Jesus can lead others down the wrong path. Scripture tells us to discern the Spirit of Truth from a spirit of untruth by comparing the truths of God’s Word against the words we hear. The world will tell you there are “no absolute truths” and unfortunately, you can even hear that in some churches. "What's true for you is true!" is not compatible with the Word of God.

What absolute truths do Christians believe? One truth is found in 1 John 4:7-21. God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God but that He loves us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. . . We love because He first loved us. Christ’s deity is an absolute truth, just as His humanity, miracles of healing, ministry of love and forgiveness, experiences of betrayal, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. Listen carefully to the rhetoric of others; read prayerfully the words in books. Listen for the Spirit of Truth. 

Lord, give me courage to seek the Spirit of Truth. Open my mind to corrupt views that diminish who You are. Help me listen with a discerning spirit! – 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