Monday, December 10, 2018

Just so You Know

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.(Isaiah 7:14)
Years before Christ, before a Savior was greeted with "Hosanna" or even "Crucify Him!", there was a prophet who wrote nearly 1,000 years before we read of Mary! Yet it came true! God told the people, but many did not head the words then . . .
 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being [f]a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 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 [g]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name [h]Jesusfor He will save His people from their sins.”22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:18-24)
In some time between 3 B.C. and A.D. 1, a baby was born of a rather controversial relationship between a young girl named Mary and a simple carpenter named Joseph. He lived, was hailed as a new King, but was soon to be unjustly tried and convicted of treason, beaten unmercifully, and crucified.

 Oh, but that's not the end! He was buried and sealed in a stone tomb and guarded by Roman guards. Yet on that Sunday morning, He was found gone and the tomb empty, only to appear fully alive and well to hundreds in the coming days!

Jesus is God and is our Savior . . . if we only choose to believe! Many do not then, yet others did and died for that belief!

What about you?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Who do we say He is?

And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”  But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” (Matthew 26:62-66)
Who do we say He is? . who is This Man? Is He The Son of God or a man with issues about his identity? The question is still debated today!

When Jesus replied, under "oath", the high priests refused to believe The Truth. Just as Jesus stated then He states today: "I am The Christ"! Do we doubt? Do we not believe? Who do we say He is?

Time is short . .. .

Thursday, December 6, 2018

REJOICE

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey...(Zechariah 9:9)
Five hundred years before Christ, admist the destruction and mistreatment of Zion and the Jews, the prophet told the people to "REJOICE!" Even as Jesus eventually entered the City of Jerusalem on that very donkey, He had to be holding back tears knowing the future, though there was rejoicing.

We too, today, despite the struggles and tears, must embrace the joy of the Coming Savior and still "REJOICE!" We know He is coming. We know the joy of salvation in Him today and the promise of life with Him in eternity.

Let's not get all caught up the season, but rather the Reason! REJOICE . . . and again I say, REJOICE!  (Philippians 4:4-8)

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Are we simply to busy for Jesus?

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)
Jesus is waiting . . . knocking . . . calling . . . . texting . . . . left an email. Yet we have ignored all His efforts to contact us. Had we taken the time to simply answer, open, reply . . .what would life be like? Are we simply to busy for Jesus?

Not only is salvation at hand, but so is opportunity! If we would only take a minute to reply to an email, follow up on a text, anwer the phone (as my wife constantly reminds me!), or even speak to a person beyond a simple "what's up", how would life change?

In this microwave, hurry-up world, we all need to slow down a bit and take time to listen, respond, be interested, and care. Who knows what opportunities may be out there of which we do not know. Jesus may just be alerting us to something big!

A former student reminded me of a verse we all take for granted (Jeremiah 29:1) just yesterday. It still holds its promise today. God has a plan for each of us but we must be in tune to Him. Seek His will . . .open to His call . . .let Him in!!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

His terms

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.(2 Peter 3:8-9)
God loves everyone and surely wants everyone to be with Him for eternity. That's the Good News. He sent Jesus to suffer in our place to assure it.  However, it is on His terms, not ours!

Moses, Abraham, Peter, Paul, all struggled with their egos and own desires. Jacob
"wrestled" with God.(Genesis 32:22-32) Paul found himself doing things he should not do. (Romans 7:15-20) Moses was frustrated and angry. (Numbers 20:10-11)

Like those above, I too struggle with God, His will, and my decisions. Yet He still loves me, guide me, and He saves me! He patiently allows me to struggle. I am coming to accept His terms slowly.....

Lord, help me to follow You more closely and be more patient with others, as You are with me!

Monday, December 3, 2018

For all to see Christ!

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder),  that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,  knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:1-4)

In Peter's day, just ten to twenty years after Christ's resurrection and ascension, the people asked, "Where is your God?" The question is echoed within our society today. In fact, many say, "God is dead" or "There is no God!"

Truth is, He is here and ever-present right now, every day, every second! We simply have to look around and see. We have to make Him known. We believers must show Him to others!

So as we begin the CHRISTmas Season, let us make it our priority to joyfully celebrate the HOLYdays. . . . for all to see Christ!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Foolishness?

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
We have just enough. We may always think we need just a little more safety, a bit more assurance, some guarantees, a little extra, yet many times as CHRIST-followers we may never know if we have it until we face the battle!

However, God knows and He will supply! (Philippians 4:19) The apostles were told to go! (Luke 9:3) We may never have all we think we need, but life committed to CHRIST is, after all, a faith walk!

Trust Him . . . as foolish as it may seem. (1 Corinthians 4:10) 😀

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Don't Hold on too Tightly.

...Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.  Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.  But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.(Hebrews 13:12-16)
This is NOT our home! I know we hear this as believers and sing about it often. But do we live it out? This life in earth is a time to learn, experience, mature, share, and yes, enjoy! But then we move on . . .don't hold on too tightly!

God has placed us here at this time and place for His purposes and for His glory. We are to experience all He allows while sharing Him with others. It's ALL for Him, not you and me! Our focus should not be what we can gain for ourselves, see for ourselves, and keep for ourselves. All of what we obtain and experience is for God's glory and to draw others to Him!

Lord, allow us to do our best to honor You with what we have in this world and to cause others to see that it is all YOU . . .then move on, head HOME! Keep our focus upon YOU!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

God wins!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.(Hebrews 13:8-9)
 Our present world offers a muddled view of God. In the beginning, (Genesis 1:1) God was there, Father, Son and Spirit. In John's day, Elohim was there (John 1:1). Paul reminds us that nothing has changed; same God; Father, Son, and Spirit! He is a Holy, Powerful, Perfect, Loving, Forgiving, God!

We must look beyond this present world. Of course, evil is ever present and offers more opportunities to sin. There are more people, so more evil! Satan is using all in his arsenal as his days fade. However, we must focus in this basic Truth: God is STILL God! Jesus is God! The Holy Spirit is God!

God wins! Trust Him and Him alone, not the lies and deceit being offered!


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Clouds.....

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1-2)
Clouds . . . .rolling in dark and ominous packing powerful winds and rain . . . . gently swaying in over a mountain valley and enveloping the entire area in a soft white blanket of protection . . . .  systematically approaching from the ocean as one awaits from high up in an island mountainside . . . . What a picture of strength, power, protection, and yes, even drastic change!

The "cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 12:1 represents beleievers both past and present who are examples for us to follow. Their "presence" can encourage us, strengthen us, comfort us and even cause an unexpected move in our lives. Their witness is there for us realize we too can do great things for the Lord. They faced challenges, storms, and times of disappoitment, yet they persevered.

Be encouraged! There are witnesses in our lives today, not just these examples of biblical heroes. There are parents, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members God has in place from whom we can gleen both example and advice. They offer encouragement, power, hope and protection.

Do not fight the challnges of walking with Christ . . . embrace them!


Monday, November 26, 2018

I can't . . . God can!

......who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to lifeagain.Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Hebrews 11:33-40)
How many times do we say, "I can't" in a day . . . a week . . . a year? Imagine if God had given up on any of the greats in Hebrews 11! Just as with Moses, Abraham, David, and others, He will not give up on us.

Many suffered for their faith even before salvation had been won by Christ upon the cross. Many more suffered after His resurrection. Now that we know what we know, let's stop doubting God so much and remember, "God can!"

Just so You Know

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear  a Son, and shall call His name  Immanuel. (Is...