Monthly Archives: December 2008

Merry Christmas!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

That is from the Gospel of John, where you can read the whole story in chapter 3. Jesus says those words to Nicodemus, one of the Pharisess, who came to Jesus by night (in stealth) to avoid condemnation from his peers. In this meeting, Jesus gave Nicodemus every bit of information He needed to believe in Him and receive Him  as Lord and Savior. Nicodemus did become a believer; you can find that in John 19:39. He also stopped hiding his faith from the other pharisees, most of whom participated in getting Jesus put to death. 

When Jesus gave up His life on the cross, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took His body, wrapped it with spices for burial,  and placed it in a nearby tomb. Did these men know Jesus would rise from the dead in a few days? They knew the scriptures, and they knew what Jesus had said. They heard the news or perhaps even witnessed Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. I think they must have had at least a hope in their hearts that He would be raised. He was their Messiah, and they knew He promised eternal life.  I think Nicodemus and his friend Joseph were part of the group who stayed in an upper room with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. Then Jesus, the risen Christ, came into the room miraculously and spoke peace to them. I think they were part of the group who later waited and prayed for the Holy Spirit to come after Jesus had ascended to heaven to be with His Father. They were men who were well known in Jerusalem, so their testimony of emerging filled with the Holy Spirit and proclaiming Jesus as Messiah would have had a tremendous impact in that city.

Who is Jesus Christ to you? Someone you meet secretly and keep private? He was and is a very public figure, beloved. If you really love Him, you will go where He goes. You will follow Him. 

In Western culture, it is “acceptable” to proclaim you are a Christian by attending church weekly, giving alms, doing some charitable works, and abtaining from evil. Christ is assumed to be there is the background, nodding and approving but remaining aloof. Dear friends, He is not remaining aloof by choice. That is what humans are doing to Him to make their lives easier. Real Christians are not ashamed of the Gospel.  

To understand who Jesus Christ is, you must read the Bible. All of it. It is His Word, and it is all about Him. Begin with the Gospel of John. Then Acts. Then Romans. Then Ephesians. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth. This is one of His job functions.

Everything written in the Bible is for you personally, just as Christ risen is for you personally. 

Lord, I pray for those who will read your Word and talk with you. I ask you to reveal your personality and love and power to each one today. A very special Christmas gift that lasts forever. Thank You!

I pray in the Name of Jesus Christ for each of you to know Him today.

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Faith is Being With Christ

Psalm 84:11 says, Jehovah God is our Light and our Protector. He gives us grace and glory. NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD FROM THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIS PATHS.

Grace is God’s attitude toward us. He is more than benign or passively merciful. He’s not a laid back God. He is the Lord, mighty in strength and wisdom and His love toward us never dims or fails. Do you remember what Jesus told Nicodemus, the fearful yet believing pharisee? He said that God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  (Johns 3:16)

Psalms 84 and 85 both reveal that Christ walks before us. He lights the way and protects us from falling off the path of righteousness.

We have to trust Him, though, that He is where He says He is. 

In the trouble we all experience in the world, we get focused on the trouble. We cry out, Oh, Lord! Fix this and fix that! My friend, beloved in the Lord – He has already fixed the problem. Jesus Christ in Person is the remedy.

Faith is focusing on the Lord our God, on His Person, not just what you think He can do, and not on the problem itself.

Faith is turning away from seeking our own justice and saying, Lord, I want to see You today. When we make solving the problem our priority instead of the Lord, then our problems become our idols. 

Faith is looking at Jesus Christ Himself – deep into His eyes and His wisdom and love and power; who He is. Accepting relationship from Him and we are seeking Him first, in relationship toward Him. He is Highest and Greatest; Firstborn. He invites us to Himself before we do anything else. We have nothing to prove and nothing to gain by walking anywhere but directly behind the Lord in the path carved out by His justice. He made us for this, to love and be loved by God. We are the expression of His love and goodness. 

To look for justice in any circumstance is futile. We cannot make one hair on our head black or white. The sooner we look to God, the sooner we know He is the only answer to everything. All true justice comes from God.

Are you locked in a battle you never win? Is it sickness, failure, grief, depression, sitting on the spiritual fence? Sin, darkness, evil? What is your fight? Get away from that today. Use the time you are spending in worry (which is pointless) or trying too hard and getting nowhere. Spend that time one-on-one with Jesus, right now. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else you need will be added into your life. When you trust Jesus Christ to save you, then the Kingdom of God is within you. Christ sends His Spirit to live inside you, to teach you all things, lead and guide you into all truth, and bring you safely Home to God’s eternal heaven.

Remember, your answer is in the Person of Christ. Be with Him. It is the right things to do.

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Unity, Not Prejudice

In the United States of America, there are laws to tell people how to behave.  In our Declaration of Independence, which is a foundational document of this nation’s formation, we declare that all men, all people are created equal. This statement proclaiming the moral rights of all people to be free from tyranny of other people was eventually followed in the 1860’s by abolishment of slavery, and in the 1960’s by a constitutional amendment giving every citizen free and equal civil rights. These declarations and laws are not solely for persons oppressed by racial discrimination, or the exchange of money for a person’s right to life.  There is a God-given right to every person to choose his own direction.

Let us take this one step further, where the thought needs to go.  Every person has a God-given right to choose God Himself as his direction. Any man choosing less than God’s best for his life is allowing himself to be terrorized and tyrannized by other people’s expectations. Think about it. We are made to please God. If we choose to not please God; that is, if we walk apart from His fellowship and love and mercy, it is our very nature to have to please someone or something. Most of the time, without God,  we become enslaved to what people think of us. This is a lie of satan. We can never, under any circumstances, please any person who is not also trying to please God.  

The only first right relationship we can establish without prejudice is with Jesus Christ. When He is Savior and Lord of my life, I have peace with God. My heart’s desire is to obey God, pleasing Him. This is an eternal relationship. It never fails, and God never changes toward me. All other relationships that are right for me flow from this one relationship with the Lord. I do not need to seek anyone to please that person by any means than by my right relationship with God. When God has entered the connection, there will be right thinking and doing from me toward the other person, because I choose to please and obey God. He knows exactly what the other person needs, and I do not. I have to inquire of the Lord how to be genuinely His in my encounters with other people. Then He graciously keeps me honest, taking care of how I respond to people.

Being rightly related to God and seeking to present that relationship as our foundation of relationship to other people keeps us free from being tyrannized. Usually, I do not speak personally in these blog posts. However, I know from experience that choosing to please God is real protection from trying to please the wrong people. The Lord would not allow prejudiced and abusive persons to overcome me. He demonstrated fully that my “place” is with Him, and that place is above all perfect. The Lord spoke clearly that as I was having it ground into me by some people that I am a “lesser” person, that in His eyes, I am beautiful and greatly loved. I know this is true; how else would I be able to love those who hate, except from the safety of my Lord, desiring above all that they, too, realize God’s great love toward them? As a beloved child of God, I am completely free to love others as totally as He does. And that pleases God, and it pleases me, and it brings great good from great evil. Someday, I will see the prejudiced ones do one of two things. Either the hatred will continue until the prejudgers die and face the Lord and a true  judgment they don’t expect, or they will repent and become lovers of Christ, and we will be united in the fellowship and relationship of pleasing God. God shines His grace on me to desire and pray for unity.

Do you love God? Then turn away from self-righteousness, which opens doors to great evil, including prejudice. 

Say this: Father, I repent of wanting to please other people instead of you. Forgive me, and teach me how to love instead or just trying to please.  I thank You for your mercy and forgiveness.  I pray in Jesus’ Name.

Need to know God heard you? Start praising Him. Praise Him for everything you can think of for several minutes, then cease; be quiet. Ask, Lord, help me be quiet and know You are here. Then wait. No – don’t try to work up an emotional response. If tears come, leave them go where they will. Your God is with you. Try to be quiet and simply wait for His assurance of that. He is right here, and you are pleasing Him.

You have just taken a huge step toward right relationships; with the Lord, and with other people, too. Just keep taking this step as often as you have to! You will soon find that your path with friends, family, work, and ministry are all more gracious and loving. God bless you, my friend!

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Filed under Christian, Power of God

Forever Complete

When Jesus Christ was crucified, that is, nailed to a cross to die slowly and in great pain, His agony was increased to depths and degrees of which we have no understanding. All the powers of hell and sin were hurled at Him while He hung there. He took it upon Himself and endured all of it for our sake; every bit of it. Not one sliver of evil was left out. It all went on to Christ on the corss. 

Then He cried out, “It is finished!” He knew that He had won the victory. The penalty for all that sin and evil was death. So He chose to die, and after the triumphant shout of victory, gave up His life. Christ knew, though, that His was the power to defeat even death and hell. He rose from the dead. Literally. His physical life came alive by the power of God and He lives today, seated at the right Hand of the Father in Heaven, ever making intercession for those of us who believe in Him. He will come back, and we will also experience this resurrection.

Now hear this: everything undertaken by the Lord is finished and complete. He has never left anything undone. It is finished from the foundation of the world. Recall the scripture: with God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26) He has even finished and answered our prayers before we make them.  All things are possible because we are complete in Him. (Colossians 2:10) 

Everything we encounter on this earth is a battle. You can’t know what other people are thinkng, and relationships are always a tangle. However, we CAN KNOW the mind of Christ. When we receive Him as Lord and Savior, HE PUTS HIS MIND RIGHT IN US. (I Corinthians 2:16, Isaiah 40:13) Knowing Jesus’ very perfect thoughts, listening to His Spirit tell us what He is thinking, and reaching into His Word, the Bible for wisdom and knowledge, we have everything we need in His completeness and find our lives fulfilled in Him. Our prayers for others will be answered, because we know His will and His ways, and we ask in His Name.

And we are forever with the Lord. ALL things are possible. Amen and amen. (So be it!)

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Filed under Christian, Power of God, Reading the Bible, Spiritual Warfare