{re}fresh

Who Do You Say That I Am?

by Robin Puchala

Image by Sharon Tate Soberon
Flickr.214856471_018da61906
CC BY ND 2.0

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am”? Matthew 16:15

Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” What would prompt a question like that? In Jesus’ timeline it is growing close to His crucifixion, but His disciples are unaware of this. Jesus has been teaching them for almost three years and they have shared life and broken bread together hundreds of times.

Earlier in this chapter, Jesus gives them valuable advice for their future, ”Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”; but the disciples miss the point — they are still thinking with their natural minds, so they think He is making reference to the bread they haven’t eaten. What a shock for Jesus to think they completely miss His meaning saying, “How is it that you do not understand?” (v. 11).

I don’t think I’m ascribing to Jesus’ emotions if I point out that he must have felt a sting of disappointment and concern — these were His future leaders, His Generals if you will, who would carry on in His absence. Read the rest of this entry »

Set Your Mind, Set Your Life

by Robin Puchala

Image by Andrew
Flickr.71439342_08fd0d48bf_CC NC ND 2.0

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2 (NKJV)

We have just started a new year, dear ones — 365 days to begin again; to receive God’s blessings and become what He intends for us to be and do.

Personally, I haven’t been so great at keeping New Year’s Resolutions, but this year feels different. I am taking the time to prayerfully craft a plan with God and I can see the difference already.

I have also chosen a word for 2019 — Focus!

I am praying for greater focus to overcome daily distractions. We have so many to put up with — social media, phone calls, the demands of work and family and errands, just to name a few. In the midst of all that, today’s scripture asks us to “set our minds on things above”; set it. I had to pause over that one. My mind is racing most of the day — maybe you can relate; so I would have to ask — Lord, how? ‘Set it and forget it’ only applies to my watch or maybe a microwave these days, right? Right!

So how do I set my mind?

Here’s five key things to help set our minds on ‘things above’?

  1. Guard your time with God, especially in the morning. If you’re really pressed for time, may I suggest an amazing little pamphlet you can download from the Navigators called, “Seven Minutes with God”
  2. Include bible study.  Billy Graham read five Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs daily to complete both books of the Bible every month
  3. Employ God’s promises to refute the enemy’s lies. Choose several scriptures for every challenge and declare them like a prescription…morning, noon and night. For more on this, go to ScriptureKeys.com
  4. Use imagination. While reading Scripture, imagine the setting and place yourself in the picture. Try scenes like The Beatitudes or the account where Jesus fed the 5,000. Let the scenes unfold before you — rising hills, expansive blue skies; Jesus standing atop the hill preaching to you in the crowd
  5. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Check in during the day and watch for your relationship to deepen.

I hope one or two of these suggestions have resonated with you and you will use them to “set your mind” on Jesus every day. (One last suggestion, read the full passage from Colossians 3; and if you like The Passion Translation, please read the passage from there as well. You will not be disappointed.)

 

On Becoming

by Robin Puchala

 

“We all with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

They tell me I have an artist’s temperament – typically that includes re-inventing myself regularly, being creative with a healthy dose of independence thrown in. It wasn’t always conducive growing up, but God has found ways to use it for my spiritual growth. Seeking new ideas, I find new truths in His word; seeking creativity, I find Him in activities like writing, drawing or long walks in nature.  Read the rest of this entry »

You’re Invited to the Feast!

by Robin Puchala

Feast by Laura DePonte
Flickr.com_photos/lauradeonte/2055682969_CC by NC-ND 2.0

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6(NIV)

I really look forward to the holiday feasts my family and I prepare.  Turkey and stuffing, fresh green beans, various casseroles and pumpkin or apple pie are some of my favorites. What are yours? And the aromas are intoxicating, making me hungry way before dinner!

In Ancient Israel feasts were very important – wedding feasts customarily included the whole town and wealthy men invited friends to sumptuous lunches.

We know that God Himself will invite us to the marriage feast of the Lamb, His Son, Jesus, as the Church becomes His spotless bride and the greatest celebration ever held will commence.  Read the rest of this entry »

From Anxiety to Hope

by Robin Puchala

Image by Lauren Rushing
Flickr.7004688988_c937403027_CC BY-ND 2.0

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 6, 7

I know we don’t mean to worry, but honestly, don’t we all have moments when we do? There was a time when I did. I’d rehearse old hurts, replay incidents in my mind, allow all the old feelings of discouragement to come flooding back, keep the past alive so that God would have trouble breaking through to recreate me.

I lived in a place of defensiveness, until God spoke to my heart and said, “Why are you wasting your time on this? I have saved you and delivered you. Come away, my Beloved!” Which sounds very much like Isaiah 55:2, a verse the Lord uses often to keep me focused:

Why spend your money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen to me and eat what is good. Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Rest

by Robin Puchala

Image by Diana Robinson
Flickr.com_41865289301_8b95390140
CC BY-ND 2.0

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Vacations loom large as colorful sunsets fire up our evenings and warm, inviting sunshine bathes us during the days. (Ahh, breathe a deep sigh of relief).

When I was a little girl, my family rented a cottage a block or two from the beach in early August. All summer I waited with great anticipation to smell the salty sea air, run and squish my toes in the soft, wave-beaten sand, and swim, splash, or body surf in the waves. It was my time of rest and refreshment.

In Matthew 11:28 (TPT) it says, “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.”

Ponder those words. Read the rest of this entry »

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