Taste and See – Psalm 34:8

Taste and See Psalm 34:8

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.
                                         Psalm 34:8

We experience the world through our five senses. They give us the ability to understand our surroundings and to enjoy life. This verse from Psalms is an exciting invitation to experience the goodness of God through two of our God given senses, taste and sight.


I love to watch all of those TV shows about cooking. The hosts often describe what their food tastes like for the viewing audience. The sweetness of a strawberry shortcake, how the spongy cake mingles with the buttery cream and rich berries. The flaky crust and gooey, warm filling of a tart cherry pie. Or a spicy, hot enchilada. The way the flavors burst in your mouth and fill your taste buds with pleasure. But the sense of taste is something that you have to experience for yourself. You can listen all day long to someone else describe what they are tasting, but in order to taste it for yourself you have to actually put the food in your mouth and eat it.

In the same way that we can taste our favorite foods and savor them, we can also enjoy the goodness of God. But just like with the sense of taste, we have to be intentional about it. We have to put the time in to develop a relationship with God first. After we have fed our minds with God’s word and have thoughtfully developed a prayer life, then we will experience the fullness of God’s goodness toward us.


The experience of tasting leads us to seeing. And seeing is believing. If we believe in our hearts that God is good, then our eyes will be open to seeing His goodness on display in our lives. God has given each of us many blessings. Through the simple things like getting us to and from work safely every day, to the big earth shattering moments where life takes an unexpected turn, God’s goodness never changes.

We are able to see God’s goodness just like we can see the beauty of a sunset with its brilliant colors fading into each other. The vast ocean with its sandy beach. A babbling brook, cool and blue. Or a rolling hillside, lush and green. Think of all of the amazing sights God has created for us to see!

God is always good! And the outcome of both tasting and seeing, is believing in the goodness of God. Through both the good and bad times, God shows His goodness by blessing us with mercy and compassion. Because He is good, we are able to taste and see His goodness surrounding us when we need Him the most. He loves us and wants to share His goodness with us.

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How the Trinity Helps Us – Romans 8:26-27

How the Trinity Helps Us Romans 8:26-27

Life is going great, until it isn’t anymore. An unforeseen catastrophe hits you out of the blue and leaves you feeling blindsided. You don’t know what to do or where to turn.

But there is help on the horizon if we know where to look. As Christians, the help we are looking for comes from the Trinity. God knew that we would face hard times and He has not left us alone to face the crisis by ourselves. When we understand how each part of the Trinity helps us in our trouble, we can overcome any curve ball life throws at us.

Holy Spirit

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weakness. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Holy Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
                                                                                   Romans 8:26-27

We know we should pray. But there are times when the hurt is too deep and the crisis so overwhelming, that words just don’t come. We’ve all been there and that feeling of helplessness can leave us paralyzed. But this is when the Holy Spirit takes over and prays for us. On our behalf, the Holy Spirit approaches, God the Father, and seeks His will for our lives. This is the gift that Jesus gave to us, the Holy Spirit, as our Helper and Counselor. When we no longer have the strength to pray and the words don’t come, the Spirit does it for us.

Jesus, the Son

It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
                                                                                   Romans 8:34

When Jesus died on the cross, our forgiveness of sin was secured. But now, as our risen Savior, He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf. Every day it seems that there is a new crisis in my life to conquer. And sometimes it leaves me feeling just plain worn out! So, when hard times hit and I feel weak, there is nothing more encouraging than to know that my Savior is interceding for me right now!

God the Father

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
                                                                                  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

God the Father is the source of our comfort. He is not blind to our plight. He knows our hearts and He sees our pain. God wants to comfort us and show us His mercy when we are hurt or troubled by the circumstances of life. When we go through a hardship we learn a lot about God’s compassion for us. Then, when we see other people who are facing similar circumstances, we are able to comfort them.

When we are hurt, weak or feel like we can’t go on anymore, the Trinity is there to comfort us, intercede on our behalf and pray for us when we are not able to. They are the place for us to turn to for strength when our strength is not enough. The love that the Trinity has for us is undeniable! No matter what you are facing today, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are on your side. They will help you.

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Why Should We Love One Another? – 1 John 4:7

Why Should We Love One Another? 1 John 4:7

Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God.
                                    1 John 4:7

The “L” word, LOVE. So many people are afraid of it. They’re afraid that if they feel love they will get hurt. And they’re afraid that if they show love they will appear weak. But love is the foundation of our Christian faith. Without love we would be lost.

The book of First John talks at length about love and what it means to us as Christians. So, today I’d like for us to look at two fundamental parts of love that represent our faith in Jesus.

God’s Love For Us

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
                                                                                             1 John 4:9-10

The most important component of our Christian love is that God loved us first.

God, the Father, loves us. But our sins are a barrier that separates us from Him. No matter how hard we try we can’t get past it on our own. So, God sent, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins. When Jesus died on the cross the barrier of sin was torn down and the relationship between God and man was restored.

Jesus, the Son, also loves us. He said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  Jesus knew that He would face betrayal, pain and death on a cross, but He willingly came to earth anyway. He laid down His life for us so that we could have eternal life with Him. Without the great love of Jesus we wouldn’t have salvation and the assurance of heaven.

It is only because of the love of God the Father, and, Jesus the Son, that we are able to return that love to Him.

Our Love For Others

The second part of our Christian love is to show love to the people in our lives.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
                                                                                                 1 John 4:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11Click To Tweet

This verse, from 1 John, talks about the love we have for our Christian brothers and sisters. If God loved us, then we, in turn, should love other believers. How can we show love to an unbelieving world if we can’t even love other Christians? We show this love by being kind to each other, showing respect when we disagree and meeting the physical and spiritual needs of our fellow believers.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
                                                                                              John 13:34-35

These words of Jesus tell us two things.  First, love in a Christian’s life isn’t an option. It’s a commandment straight from the mouth of our Savior. And that love should reflect the love Jesus has for us. If we truly love one another, then we will give the very best of ourselves just as Jesus did for us.

Second, our love for other Christians will be evident to the world. They will see how we treat each other and they should know that we follow Jesus because of it. The question is, what will they see? Will we be a good witness by our actions and turn them to Christ? Or will they take one look and decide that Christianity isn’t for them?

I’m not perfect. I mess up. There are times when I get angry or frustrated. I say things I don’t mean or overreact to a situation. I don’t always live up to the expectations of what Christian love should look like. Like everyone else I have my good days and bad days. I’ll always be a work in progress, but I choose to follow God and let Him mold me into what He wants me to be. Thankfully, His love is greater than our sins and greater than my frustration. Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to show God’s love.

We may not automatically feel love for every person we meet. Sometimes we click with people and sometimes we don’t. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t show the love of Jesus to each and every person God puts in our path. We never know what is going on in someone’s life. They could be going through a very hard time and our love and kindness could be the beacon of hope that leads them to Jesus. If we are willing to let God lead us and show His love to those around us, we will be blessed for it.

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Trusting God Even When It Doesn’t Make Sense – Proverbs 3:5-6

Trusting God Even When It Doesn't Make Sense Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
                              Proverbs 3:5-6

Imagine being fifteen and pregnant, not knowing what would happen to you. Could you turn to your parents for support? Would the kids at school still be your friends, or would they give you judgmental stares? Would you have to face your future motherhood alone?

Mary, the mother of Jesus, faced a similar circumstance. As a betrothed young woman, showing up pregnant was a big no-no. She was under contract to marry Joseph, and a breach of that contract meant she would lose everything. Instead of judgmental stares from her classmates she would have been shamed in the public eye. Most likely, her husband would leave her and she would be an outcast for the rest of her life. Mary faced a very unsure future.

And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
                                                                        Luke 1:28-35
“For with God nothing is impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” 
                                                                       Luke 1:37-38                                                              

Even though it didn’t make any sense how she, a virgin, could conceive and give birth to a child, she believed all that God’s messenger, Gabriel, said to her with an open heart. In the midst of her dilemma, her faith was unshakeable. She knew that she could count on God to see her through because He is always reliable. She chose to trust God and to accept His plan for her life.

At the same time that Mary was facing the news of her pregnancy, Joseph also had a choice to make. He could continue his with marriage to Mary, knowing that she was carrying a child that was not his, or he could cancel the marriage contract and leave her in disgrace. Being a godly man he chose to end the marriage quietly so that Mary’s life wouldn’t be ruined. But God intervened on Mary’s behalf and sent an angel to Joseph.

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-21

Joseph believed what the angel said and took Mary as his wife. He chose to trust God and to continue on the path God put him on.

Mary and Joseph both trusted God even when it didn’t make sense. They believed that God is faithful and that His plan would be fulfilled in their lives. They didn’t understand it all, but they chose to follow God anyway. Because of their faith God chose them to play a big part in the promised Messiah coming into this world and we are all blessed by their decision to follow God.

Because of our faith in His Son, God has chosen us too! Just like Mary and Joseph, we each have a part to play in God’s amazing plan! Maybe you don’t understand everything that God has in store for you. Or, maybe there’s something He’s asked you to do that seems impossible. You want to follow God but you can’t see the way to do it. It’s okay if you don’t understand the big picture plan God has for you. Step out in faith the way Mary and Joseph did. Chose to trust God to lead you on the path and take that first step. He will give the next step, then the next one, and then the next. Eventually you’ll get to the place He wants you to be. All it takes is trusting God even when it doesn’t make sense.

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How to Abound in Hope – Romans 15:13

How to Abound in Hope Romans 15:13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
                                                              Romans 15:13

To abound in hope sounds like such an amazing thing to aspire to. The idea of having an abundance of hope and to be hopeful in all things, it sounds pretty great to me. But in reality, I don’t usually think about hope much or wonder whether or not I have it. My mind is filled with so many other things that need to be done in a day’s time. Things that, to me, seem so much more practical in the moment, like getting the laundry done or dinner cooked. It’s true that I fall short of experiencing the hope God has for me because I get caught up in the day to day stuff. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to experience the hope of God or that I don’t want to feel hopeful about the future. So, I thought today would be the perfect time to talk about what it means to abound in hope.

First, we have to ask what exactly is hope?

Hope is an expectation that our current circumstances will get better. The world sees hope as just wishful thinking, a Pollyanna kind of attitude that doesn’t really get you anywhere. But hope in God is different. As Christians, we don’t need to walk around with rose colored glasses on. We have God on our side and we can have complete confidence that He has everything under control. The knowledge that God is in control is real and creates a lasting hope in us.

The knowledge that God is in control is real and creates a lasting hope in us.Click To Tweet

Next, where does our hope come from?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
                                                                                          1 Peter 1:3

This is the source of our hope. Because of His great mercy, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be our hope and to die in our place. He is our living hope because He already paid the price for our sin. Without Jesus all hope of a future in heaven would be lost. But because of Jesus and His resurrection, we are able to have hope if we believe in Him.

Finally, how we can take hold of this hope and claim it for ourselves?

Our original verse for today, from Romans 15:13, tells us exactly how to have this hope… “by the power of the Holy Spirit”.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
                                                                                         Acts 1:8

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we automatically receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) So, we already have the power of the Holy Spirit within us. But just as following Jesus every day is a choice, so is harnessing the power of the Holy Spirit. We can tap into this power by walking with God daily, reading His Word, praying and asking for guidance and seeking Him in all things. Then we will see the hope that we receive from the Holy Spirit in our lives.

There will always be ups and downs in life. Some days we will feel hopeless and like nothing we do seems to work. Sometimes those days will be few and far between and sometimes they’ll pile up on top of each other. We may feel alone in our hopelessness, but God hasn’t left us all alone. He has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit and His power to guide us. God wants us to not only have hope, but to abound in that hope. If we turn to Jesus, the source of our hope, He will see us through whatever trials we face. No matter what our current circumstances are, through patience and perseverance, God will give us joy and peace in believing, and the ability to abound in hope.

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