Friday, March 16, 2018

Lent Words Day 27: Anointed ~ Guest Valerie Sjodin

I'm very excited to have Valerie Sjodin as our Lent Words guest writer and artist today! I have long been an admirer and looked to Valerie early on for inspiration as I sought to combine my art journaling and my faith. I got to know Valerie through her blog and online classes. This year our friendship grows as we team up with Bernice Hopper in our Facebook group Everyday Journals ~ Living Your Word of the Year. I encourage you to visit Valerie's blog, Visual Blessings,  and check out her classes, plus her new book release, Prayerful Doodling.


Read Acts 10:37-38; 2 Corinthians 1:20-22
When Mary asked me about to write a guest post for Lent Words 2018, I chose “Anointed” because it is one of those words that was not used much in my conservative evangelical upbringing, and I wanted to understand its meaning more. Another reason the word intrigues me is I want to learn the connection with anointing and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

Here are the definitions of anointed I found at

From the Strong’s Concordance H4886 the Hebrew word anointed is:
מָשַׁח mâshach, maw-shakh'. It’s an action, a verb; a primitive root means to rub with oil, i.e. to anoint; by implication, to consecrate; also to paint

In the Greek, the Strong’s definition (5548) is xríō – to anoint by rubbing or pouring olive oil on someone to represent the flow (empowering) of the Holy Spirit. Anointing (literally) involved rubbing olive oil on the head, etc., especially to present someone as divinely-authorized (appointed by God) to serve as prophet, priest or king, etc. 

In Acts 10:37-38 NLT Peter is explaining that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him.

When I read passages like the one in Acts 10, I used to think, “Well, Jesus is God so that’s why He had the Holy Spirit and could always do good and heal the sick and cast out demons.” I could never do anything like that, but that’s not really what the Scripture says. It says God anointed Jesus, presented him, divinely-authorized, appointed to serve as our High Priest and King. Jesus, Yeshua, is completely God, but also completely man. Paul challenges us to literally become like Christ in every way since (2 Corinthians 1:20) all of God’s promises to us are fulfilled, complete in Christ. According to Paul, it is possible to become like Christ, to grow up, becoming more like Christ all the time by being filled up with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Creator God is the one who gives us actual physical life, making humans in his image. God longs to give us a renewed, abundant spiritual life through our relationship with Jesus Christ, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within us.

Here is what the apostle Paul says about us in 2 Corinthians 21-22 NLT:
“It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.”

Jesus, Yeshua is the Anointed One of God, our King, and God himself has anointed us, constantly strengthening us to be in unity with Christ. Jesus himself  (John 14:12 TPT) said, “The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same might miracles that I do – even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father!”

All this makes me yearn for more, a deeper love relationship with God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and to experience more of the presence and power of Christ living in me.

In John 15:7-8 TPT Jesus says, “if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you – then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!”

Amen! YES Lord! Let it be so.

If you would like to learn more about my Bible journaling process and the Hebrew word Anointed, please visit my blog post: “We are Anointed – Bible Journaling” (March 16,2018) at

Monday, March 12, 2018

Lent Words Day 23: Peace

"You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all."
Acts 10:36

The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom, often used as a greeting, it however holds a much deeper meaning. Shalom includes all of the ways we think of peace- the absence of war, the absence of conflict, strife and animosity, but it’s much deeper meaning is that of a sense of well-being and fulfillment that comes from God and is dependent on His presence. Shalom is peace and so much more, it is  wholeness, harmony, health, prosperity, security and fullness of life that only comes as a result of a restored relationship with God. God’s desire is that we know His shalom peace and throughout the Bible we see a story of a people who are longing for that restored relationship with God. 

In the beginning of the Bible we are given a picture of what a life of shalom looks like. It is the picture of life in the Garden of Eden before sin separated man from God. In Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we see life the way God created it to be. Man was in perfect, intimate fellowship with God, all their needs were met, they experienced no guilt and shame – life was pure bliss. But sin enters the world in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve choose to live their own way and break fellowship with God and Shalom peace between men and God was lost. The rest of the Bible is the story of God’s plan to have His peace restored with man.

Peter points us to God's peace plan in his sermon recorded in the book of Acts ~ "the good news of peace through Jesus Christ". This is God's plan for redemption, for restoring those who were formerly alienated from Him. Paul puts it like this in Romans 5:1-2,
Since we have been justified [made right with God]  through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand….”
And in Colossians 1:19-22,
"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (Christ), and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation -"

Jesus is our peace. He is the instrument through which God brings us back – reconciles – us to Him. Through Jesus, God restored our peace with Him ~ in this we can find reassurance and rest in it. Through Jesus we can also find peace day-to-day,
"Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

Rest in Him.

"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Thessalonians 5:23

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Lent Words Day 22: Heart

"Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
Psalm 51:10-12

It is hard for us in modern day to get a good grasp of the Psalmist's use of the word heart in this verse. In the Old Testament Hebrew language the word heart had a broader sense of meaning than it does for us. We hear the word heart and we think of the organ pumping life to our bodies. Or we think in terms of sentimentality, emotion, and romantic love. Or we use it to express an intense like for something as seen in the I "heart" everything stickers and paraphernalia. 

Heart, when used in the Old Testament, means the whole of our innermost part. It would include our emotions, thoughts, will, and soul. Many times in the Old Testament the word leb/lebab (heart) is translated as either heart or mind. This OT meaning of heart has been on my mind a lot lately as I have been co-leading a Bible study at my church looking at spiritual formation that combines the heart and the mind. In Christian circles we often place a higher value on knowledge and the mind when it comes to our faith. This Hebrew meaning shows us a more complete form of knowledge and faith that encompasses every part of us -our whole being. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Mark that the most important commandment is, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength." Mark 12:30. Loving God is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It encompasses our entire being. 

So, what does it mean in Psalm 51 when he asks God to create a pure heart in him? The desire for a pure heart is central to our journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Psalm 51 is a prayer for forgiveness and cleansing. In this Psalm we can follow David's example as we come face-to-face with our sin and iniquity before God.

Turn your heart to God (verse 1). David looks to God, to His unfailing love and great compassion. God alone is the one we are to turn to. He alone is the one who can forgive us and restore us.

Pray for cleansing (verses 2 & 7). We seek to be made right with God - in His sight.

Confess your sin (verses 3-6). We saw in yesterday's verse, 1 John 8-9, that when we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and just and will forgive us and purify (cleanse) us. Confession enables us to see our brokenness and to humble ourselves before God.

Seek forgiveness and renewal (verses 10-12). God's forgiveness creates in us a pure heart, a renewed spirit and restored joy in His salvation.

This Psalm also reminds us that it is not the practice of fasting itself that purifies us. God is most concerned with our heart, with who we are and who we become.

"You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise."
Psalm 51:16-17

As we journey through Lent, fasting and repentance, confession and mourning, are practices to enable us to re-connect with our sinfulness and prepare our hearts for Easter.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Lent Words Day 20: Soul ~ Guest Ellen Etzler

As we continue our journey through Lent I am excited to have Ellen Etzler present our guest post today. I met Ellen online at the beginning of the Advent Words challenge. I am always so enthralled when Ellen adds her study insights to her art posts when she shares in the group. She digs deep into the Word and joyfully shares it with all of us! Ellen is an incredible artist, especially her faces. If you follow Ellen on Instagram you witnesses her 30 days of faces in January, which was incredible! Make sure you check out Ellen's website and follow her on Instagram @ellenetzler.

Thank you Ellen for being our guest today!

A SOUL in Shadow
by Ellen Etzler

David spent a lot of time in the wilderness learning to trust and worship God. Many times he was fleeing those who wanted to take his life. He was a man who had the wealth of...

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lent Words Day 18: Temptation

Our words over the past few days have led us through Matthew's Gospel account of the Temptation of Jesus  -  Wilderness, Bread, and today, Temptation. And we will conclude the journey through this passage tomorrow with the word Worship.

Today's Lent Word is Temptation.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
Matthew 4:5-7
The temptations of Jesus that we witness in Matthew 4:1-11 tell us about who Jesus is by the temptations the devil tests Him with, and by how Jesus responds. Some observations about the first few verses of this passage before we see the first temptation:
  • We are told in verse 1 that Jesus was led into the desert (wilderness) by the Spirit. The same Spirit who appeared at Jesus' baptism in Matthew 3:13-17.
  • He was led into the desert by the Spirit for the purpose of being tempted or tested by the devil.
  • He had fasted for forty days and nights and was hungry.
Being hungry is where the devil begins his testing. He tries to get Jesus to meet his own needs by selfishly using His divine power. "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Mt. 4:3. It was not in Jesus' nature to use what He possessed divinely for his own personal gain. Jesus was always about doing the will of the Father and using His own Deity for that purpose. He responds to the devil, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

In the next temptation the devil uses Scripture to tempt Jesus to prove His Deity. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’Mt. 4:5-6

He tries to tempt Jesus to test God. But Jesus replies, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’Mt. 4:7
Our passage tomorrow will look at the third temptation Jesus faced where the devil tried to lure him away from worshiping God. 
Author Ruth Haley Barton uses the temptations of Jesus as a way to examine ourselves during Lent:
"A true Lenten journey demands that we take a clear-eyed look at our lives and wonder, Where am I tempted to  “turn these stones into bread”—using whatever gifts and powers God has given me to secure my own survival?  Where am I putting God to the test—disregarding human limitations in order to prove something to others—and expecting him to come to my rescue time and time again?    When, where and how am I tempted to worship the outward trappings of success rather than seeking the inner authority that comes from worshipping God and serving him only?"
As we face temptations ourselves, whether in the Lent season as we struggle with fasting, or in life as we face trials, we can rest in Jesus who also faced temptation. Like Jesus, we can stand on God's word and His promise that we can trust in Him. God is faithful.

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
1 Corinthians 10:13