Mary, the faithful sinner and CHRISTmas…

 Luke 1:46-47 “And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

 Luke 1:26-32 “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 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.”

Mary, the faithful sinner and CHRISTmas

In the drama of the first Christmas there is a perfect example of walking by faith. God begins in Luke 1:26 – “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary, The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus.'” A name above all names! In no other name is salvation found.

God’s request to Mary was that she walk by faith and trust Him. He asked her to take His hand and allow Him to lead her into something amazing. Mary did not insist that she see some piece of evidence before she accept God’s plan. We must understand that in the Jewish culture of those days a woman was stoned to death for having a child out of wedlock. Now think about the faith it took to obey.

God was leading her into a situation where she was suddenly and miraculously pregnant. And who’s going to believe that God is doing this? How about the arguments that may have gone through her head? She has a lot to lose if she walks by faith and goes where God wants to take her. She may lose her reputation as the “nice girl of Nazareth.” She may lose the man she loves when he hears she is expecting and he knows he’s not the father. The wedding she has dreamed about from an early age may never happen. And since, in the Jewish culture of that day, they stoned women for sexual sin, obedience could even cost Mary her life.

But Mary was a woman of faith. Listen to her response, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Those words show her heart. If Mary’s identity is, “I’m Joseph’s girl,” there’s no way she’s going

to do what God wants. If her image as the “nice girl of Nazareth” is her identity, she won’t do this. But Mary bases her identity on one thing and one thing alone. With open hands, open arms,

face looking up, she declares, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said.” And because of that surrendered spirit and surrendered future, Mary carries God’s only Son in her body.

God’s most special assignments are for those who will let go of their fears and begin the walk of faith. When you know that God is asking you do something, and then the choice is; do I serve Jesus or my fears and desires? It may be to share His love with someone who has never heard (Mat 28:19, 20). It may be to develop and use your God given spiritual gift(s) for His glory. It may be to give up something very precious to you for the benefit of another (Agape Love).

It may be to turn the other cheek. It may be to be the salt that lovingly calls sin for what it is even in the face of much opposition. It may be to set aside the occupation the world and family and self gave you and take up the one Jesus has for you.

This Christmas season, take your Father’s hand and with child-like faith, tell Him, “Lord, take me wherever You want me to go.”

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him…”

If you are serious about walking by faith then take the time to check out Eph 2:8,9, Rom 12:1,2, Luke 9:23 and Phil 4:13

Advertisements

CHRISTmas Geese…

CHRISTmas Geese…..

Luke 2:8-11 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living
out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And
behold, the angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of
the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the
angel said unto them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you
good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For there is
born to you this day in the city of David,
A SAVIOR, WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD!”

The CHRISTmas Geese

There was once a man who didn’t believe in the incarnation or
the spiritual meaning of Christmas, and was skeptical about God. He
and his family lived in a farm community.
His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children
in her faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her faith and
mocked her religious observance of Christmas.

One snowy Christmas Eve she was taking the kids to the Christmas
Eve service at church. She pleaded with him to come, but he firmly
refused. He ridiculed the idea of the incarnation of Christ and dismissed
it as nonsense. ” Why would God lower himself and become a human
like us?! It’s such a ridiculous story!” he said. So she and the children
left for church while he stayed home.

After they left, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned
into a blizzard. As he looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding
snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then
he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window. And
another thump. He looked outside but couldn’t see. So he ventured
outside to see.

In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a
flock of geese! They were apparently flying to look for a warmer
area down south, but got caught in the snow storm.

The snow had become too blinding and violent for the geese
to fly or see their way. They were lost and stranded on his farm,
with no food or shelter.

They just fluttered their wings and flew around in circles
around the field blindly and aimlessly. He had compassion for
them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself,” The barn
would be a great place for them to stay! It’s warm and safe; surely
they could spend the night and wait out the storm.”

So he walked over to the barn and opened the barn doors for
them. He waited, watching them hoping they would notice the
open barn and go inside. But they just fluttered around aimlessly
and didn’t notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.
He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just
moved away from him out of fear. He went into the house and
came back out with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread
trail leading to the barn. They still didn’t catch on.

Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo
them, run after them, and chase them toward the barn. They
only got scared and scattered into every direction except
toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the
barn where there was warmth, safety, and shelter.

Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, “Why don’t they
follow me? Can’t they see this is the only place where they
can survive the storm! How can I possibly get them into the
one place to save them?” He thought for a moment and
realized that they just won’t follow a human. He said to
himself,” How can I possibly save them? The only way
would be for me to become like those geese.
If only I could become like one of them! Then I could
save them! They would follow me and I would lead them
to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words that he
just said reverberated back to himself in his mind:” If only
I could become like one of them–then I could save them. “
He thought about his words, and remembered what he
said to his wife:” Why would God want to be like us?
That’s so ridiculous! ” Something clicked in his mind as
he put these two together. It was like a revelation, and he
began to understand the incarnation.

We were like the geese– blind, gone astray, perishing.
God became like us so He could show us the way and make
a way available to save us. That is the meaning of Christmas,
he realized in his heart.

As the winds and blinding snow abated, his heart
became quiet and pondered this thought. He understood
what Christmas was all about. He knew why Christ
had come. Suddenly years of doubt and disbelief were
shattered, as he humbly and tearfully bowed down in the
snow, and embraced the true meaning of Christmas.

“The Geese “
– Author Unknown-

Luke 18:17 “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Luke 2:11b” …For there is born to you this day in the city
of David, A SAVIOR, WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD!”

America needs Israel and God…

America needs Israel and God

Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

There is a movement in our country and in our world to turn our backs on Israel and in some countries to eliminate them forever. When you look at scripture you find that it is a very dangerous path. God made an eternal covenant with the Jewish nation so to think that some nation or group of nations or group of Christians could ever change that is spiritual suicide. Also to abandon them would be to commit the same.

Israel is the one nation in our world created by God and has a covenant with God. A covenant like this is one that God will keep because God always keeps His word. Circumcision for the Jew is a sign of that covenant.

Gen 17:7-10 “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;”

As long as we see the sun and the moon the covenant with Israel exists.

Psalms 89”30-37 “If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, If they break My statutes And do not keep My commandments, Then I will punish their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My loving kindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, Even like the faithful witness in the sky.”

Both the Christian Church and Israel have covenants with our Savior. One does not replace the other. And some Jews and some Christians have chosen to reject God’s covenant with them but that does not make it obsolete. The following are reasons why the Church does not replace Israel and the covenant God made with it.

1. Romans 9, 10, 11 talk of Israel not a cast away.
a. Rom 11:1 “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying…”
2. Rom 11:17,18 Some of the Jewish people just like the Gentiles rejected God’s truths and paid the penalty for that rejection but it was not the whole Jewish nation. Check out the 7 churches in Revelation 1-3 and see how many believers fall short and did the same. The covenant is made new and not disbanded.
a. Heb 8:7-13 “ For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah– not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
3. Israel was blinded for a moment in time so that we Gentiles would have the opportunity to be saved. That truth does not reflect a covenant disbanded. Israel will be blessed for their function in our salvation.
a. Rom 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
b. Rom 11:26, 17 “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
4. In Revelation 7 we see the 144,000 evangelists during the tribulation. They come from the tribes or families of Jacob and Israel. If the covenant was disbanded than this would not make sense.

The Church does have a responsibility to Israel;
• Psalm 122:6 Pray for Israel
• Isa 40:1 Bring comfort to Israel
• Isa 62:1 Speak out in defense of Israel
• Gen 12:3 Bless Israel or you or your nation will be cursed if you curse them
• Rom 15:27 God will bless those who bless Israel. America has reaped this promise and unfortunately is close to abandoning it.
• From Israel we obtained the;
o Jesus
o Mary, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, David, Joshua, Matthew, Mark, John, Peter, Paul, etc
o The Prophets
o The Scriptures
o The Patriarchs
o John 4:22 Salvation is of the Jews
o Israel the small postage stamp of a nation has always been the focus of our world and will continue to be until Jesus returns to put an end to sin and satan.

The conclusion is simple. God loves both the Jew and the Gentile and for that I am eternally grateful and I for one will never turn my back on God’s covenants with either group.

The devil and the Nuts…

I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

The devil and the Nuts!

On the outskirts of town, there was a big old pecan tree by the cemetery
fence. One day two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by
the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.

“One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me,” said one boy.
Several were dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he
thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to
investigate. Sure enough, he heard, “One for you, one for me. One for
you, one for me.” He just knew what it was.

“Oh my,” he shuddered, “its Satan and the Lord dividing the souls at
the cemetery.”

He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an
old man with a cane, hobbling along.

“Come here quick,” said the boy, “you won’t believe what I heard. Satan
and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls.”

The man said, “Beat it, kid, can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk.”
When the boy insisted, though, the man hobbled to the cemetery.

Standing by the fence they heard, “One for you, one for me. One for you,
one for me.”

The old man whispered, “Boy, you’ve been tellin’ the truth. Let’s see if
we can see the devil himself.”

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable
to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars
of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of
Satan.

At last they heard, “One for you, one for me, and one last one for you.
That’s all. Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence, and we’ll be
done.”

They say the old guy made it back to town 5 minutes before the boy.

I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

 James 4:7 “Therefore submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Truth for Living…Where to find it…

2 Tim. 3:16a “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for…”

Truth for Living…Where to find it…

Libraries and bookstores are bursting with self-help books, most of which are products or byproducts of this world’s psychology industry. Requests for books to help with this or that problem abound, as if there is one special book, other than the Bible, that can do the trick. Self-help books promise way more than they supply. And without exception they attempt to make the reader believe someone other than the reader is at fault for the troubles of life.

However, there is one book that supplies exactly what it promises.  The Bible is the book that reveals God’s Truth for Christian living.

2 Peter 1:3-4 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”

The Bible is the source of truth for our lives and our Christian living. God has given us His Word, which is the truth about Himself, the universe, and mankind. He has given us His truth concerning life and eternity. The Scriptures give us truth that reveals the way of salvation for sinners, the way of sanctification and spiritual growth for believers, and the hope of eternity with Jesus. As believers follow God’s truth, they find love, joy, and peace, as well as purpose and direction for serving God and one another.

If you are looking for truth about God, about yourself, about others, and about how to relate to one another, you will find that truth in the Bible. If you think you have found it elsewhere, be very skeptical unless it can be traced back to the Bible.  And without exception if a man developed philosophy differs from the word of God it cannot be from God! If it can be traced back to the scriptures then you have God’s truths. Check out every tradition and philosophy of mankind with God’s word. Those that do not come from His word regardless of how good they sound are dangerous and to be avoided and discarded.
 
Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

How do I know that scripture is from God?

2 Tim. 3:16a-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, furnished unto all good works.

How do I know that the books of scripture are not just the teachings of men?

2 Peter 1:20-21 “Knowing this first thoroughly, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Try reading THE one and only Good Book today………………

Truth and Faith to Live by…

John 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Truth and Faith to Live by…

A boy was sitting on a park bench, with one hand resting on an
open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God. “Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! God is great!” he yelled, without worrying whether anyone
heard him or not.

Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some
studies at a local university. Feeling himself very enlightened in the
ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the
boy about the source of his joy.

“Hey,” asked the boy, in return, with a bright laugh, “don’t you
have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up
the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right
through the middle.”

The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy,
and began to try to open his eyes to the “realities” of the miracles of
the Bible.

“That can all be very easily explained. Modern science has
shown that the Red Sea, in that area, was only 10-inches deep at that
time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across.”

The boy looked surprised. His eyes wandered from the man back
to the Bible, laying open in his lap. The man, content that he had
enlightened a poor, naive, young person to the finer points of
scientific insight, turned to go.

Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice
and praise louder than before, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is SO
great!” The man turned to ask the reason for this resumed jubilation.

“Wow!” exclaimed the boy happily, “God is greater than I
thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the

Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in only 10-inches of water!”

Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man  draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Eph 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.”

The Blood of Jesus…The Only Solution to…

Psalm 55:23 “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you.
He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The Blood Of Jesus…The Only Solution to…

One night in a church service a young woman felt the tug of God
at her heart. She responded to God’s call and accepted Jesus as her Lord
and Savior. The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol,
drugs, and prostitution. But, the change in her was evident. As time went
on she became a faithful member of the church. She eventually became
involved in the ministry, teaching young children. It was not very long
until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the
pastor’s son. The relationship grew and they began to make wedding
plans. This is when the problems began. You see, about one half of the
church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable
for a pastor’s son.

The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So, they
decided to have a meeting. As the people made their arguments and
tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand. The
young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up
about her past.

As she began to cry the pastor’s son stood to speak. He could
not bear the pain it was causing his wife-to-be. He began to speak and
his statement was this: “My fiancée’s past is not what is on trial here.
What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash
away sin. Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it
wash away sin or not?” The whole church began to weep as they realized
that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Too often, even as Christians, we bring up the past and use it
as a weapon against our brothers and sisters. Forgiveness is a very
foundational part of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If the blood
of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely then it cannot
cleanse us completely. If that is the case, then we are all in a lot of
trouble. What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! End
of case!!!

Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood;
and without shedding of blood is no remission.”