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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

– John 1:11-13 (KJV)

We know that He came.  He arrived almost in as miraculous fashion as His conception.  He arrived to poverty.  He arrived to persecution.  He arrived to save humanity.

However, what about before He arrived? What was going on?

John tells it like this in John 1:1-3 (NIV):

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made

Before He arrived, prophets spoke of Him coming:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)

Before He came, angels spoke of His coming:

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David – Luke 1:31-32 (KJV)

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. – Matthew 1:20-23 (KJV)

. . . Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  

He came to be with His people.  He came to live among them.  He came to bring them life and eternal life.

John’s Gospel says He arrived like this:  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NIV)

Isaiah’s prophecy in Chapter 53 described Him as:

. . .  he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But keep in mind that He came right on time.  He came for the redemption of “those under the law” just as Paul wrote so many years ago.  He came for all of the right reasons.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

– Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)

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Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. – 1 John 2:7

John was pretty clear.  He wasn’t writing about anything new.  It wasn’t anything that the believers had not already heard, either directly from Jesus or quoted by one of the followers who had walked with Him during His earthly ministry.

It was the same as it was in the beginning.

There was already an “old commandment” and that was “no new commandment.” It all was the same.

Nothing was new.

Jesus said what needed to be said.  He said it all from the onset of His ministry.  He continued with it throughout His ministry.  He wrapped up His ministry with the same thing.

His disciples and apostles were to continue in what He taught them from the beginning.  New followers were to do so also.  No one was to add anything to it.  No one was to compel others to get circumcised or recognize new moons or other feasts to become at one with Christ.  All that it took was a faithful belief in Him as the Son of God, the Savior, and the propitiation of our sins.

Nothing was added.

We have all that we need in Him.  We have all that we are to follow in His Word.  There is nothing new to it.  There is to be nothing added to it.  It is totally complete.

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“Jesus asks for everything.” – Francis Chan, Crazy Love

How absurd does it sound to give up everything and give it over to Jesus?

Let me rephrase that.

How absurd does it sound to an atheist to give up everything and give it over to Jesus?

How absurd does it sound to someone who does not even know Jesus to give up everything and give it over to Jesus?

Should that also apply to Christians, though?

David did not think so.  In preparation for the building of the temple, David oversaw the collection of an abundance of resources.  In response, David acknowledged that all of it already belonged to God.

LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. – 1 Chronicles 29:16 (NIV)

Jesus simply answered the question with simplicity.  One of His responses is captured in the Gospel of Matthew.  Look at His words, then look at how you handle the Lord’s resources.

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

 

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He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son

– Colossians 1:13 (ESV)

We have been saved.

Our deliverance has come through Divine intervention in the Son of man who suffered, bled and died for sake, only to rise again from the tomb and conquer death itself to reign and rule this kingdom forever.  He did it to save us and he asked for very little in return other than for us to accept Him as Lord and live under His Word as his servants.

However, He did share a caveat with His followers.

We will suffer for His sake.

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. – John 15:20 (NKJV)

But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you,delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. – Luke 21:12 (NKJV)

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. – Matthew 5:11 (NKJV)

We may not see it, but many suffer for His sake.  They claim His name in places where they face firing squads and lifelong imprisonment for doing so.  They preach His Word in places where death stares them in the face for uttering a word of the sacred text that others find to be blasphemous.  They walk in His ways in places where they are persecuted, punished and put out due to their newly found joy and freedom.

These are modern day martyrs.  They are not the early church believers of the First Century of whom we read about in Acts.  These are not the famed Apostles of Jesus who endured persecution by the Sanhedrin for speaking in His name.  No, these are men, women and children who were once Hindu, Muslim (Moslem) and countless other faiths prior to coming out of the darkness that Paul speaks of and into the kingdom of the Son of God.  They face terror and treachery, not for fame or glory.  They do so for the sake of the Savior.

For those of us in the United States and other free countries in the West and elsewhere, we must look at all of the freedoms that we take for granted and all of the freedoms that He has granted to us in light of the realization that we do not suffer like these other Christians.  The threat of losing your nonprofit status due to taking a public stance on abortion, immigration or same-sex unions/ marriages is not  persecution.  After all, there was a church that did good works and accepted free will offerings long before there was an IRS that provided an added tax benefit of a write-off for yearly contributions.

Let us renew our vision of working for the Lord.  Let us recharge our spirit of joy and thanksgiving as we exercise our freedoms to spread the Good News with fervor and tenacity.  Let use every ounce of our being to take this charge and calling of Christianity to a higher level of manifestation with prayer and through His power.  Let us awaken American and all of the communities, barrios, ‘hoods and trailer parks within it by a force of faith that sweeps every street and attacks every avenue with the Word of Jesus Christ.  Let us use Bible tracts, billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, Twitter feeds and hashtags, and everything else that we have within our legal means to spark a new spirit for the sake of the Savior.

There are those who still suffer for His name.  We may not see them.  We may never hear of them and their stories.  Yet, we must do our part for the kingdom in His name and for His sake.

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I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. – John 12:46 (KJV)

Jesus came as a light into the world.  He came as light to shed light and so that no one who believes in Him will live in darkness.  He was the Light that men failed to comprehend, according to John’s gospel.

We are followers of the Lord.  He have seen the light and we are to act as the light of the world.

But do we live so?

Are we living like the light of the world or are we hiding it under cover in the midst of darkness?

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Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
– Matthew 5:14-16

Jesus called it as He saw it.  He was straight forward and straight up about many things.

Yeah, He oftentimes used parables to teach the people.  What He was doing was using something that people were familiar with or understood well to share a life lesson in a subtle manner.

But He was usually straight out about things.

Ye are the light of the world. . .

The light of the world is a twofold metaphor.

The Light is Seen by Others

If we are the light of the world, then we should be shining as the light.  That’s the nature of light.  Light shines.  Jesus shared for us to live as the light and not hide our light under a bushel.

The Light Helps Others to See

. . . it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Others can see when you act as the light.  Others can see when you live as the light.  Others can see when you let your light so shine.

When you living as the light of the world, you can shine brightly and help others see the Truth and the Way.

 

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Many of us have heard the rallying cry of “Carpe diem!” at some point in our daily walk.  The romance language of Latin seems to give off a hearty scent like that of uncorked wine or succulent roasted meats over a crackling fire as it urges and encourages each and every one of us to simply: Seize the day! Take it for all that it has to offer and give it your all today, for indeed today is the only opportunity that we have at hand.  Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has yet to arrive.

So how are you going about seizing the day?

Matthew chapter 6 offers us a whole lot of how-to knowledge for implementation as believers.  It runs down how we should pray, fast, give and other related to-do items for us.  Yet, this chapter ends with some glorious advice attached to a warning about worrying.  Jesus points out that the birds and flowers do not have closets, but the Lord feeds them and clothes them (v. 26, 28-29).  He even poses the question: Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (v. 27).  Jesus offers a simple warning based on biblical and ancient wisdom.  Worrying gets you nowhere and does little for you or your health, even your situation.

Worrying will not change:

  • Your Past: You did what you did and you have been through what you have been through in the past.  It is over.  You do not have to relive past mistakes and remain hostage to their haunting you daily or for a lifetime.  Get out of the past and live for today.
  • Your Possibilities: You can predict, prospect and project, but none of it is with any level of certainty.  The future is not promised.  The brother of the Lord, James said it best: Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:14-15, NIV).  Don’t bank or bet on the future because you may just vanish.
  • Your Present: No, contrary to popular belief, you cannot change your present circumstances or situation.  That is to say that you cannot control what happens to you.  You can control your own thoughts and actions, keeping your emotions in check.  However, you cannot alter that situations arise to: build us up, buffet us or break us down.

Today is here.  You have a chance to make the most of it,  Go and get what He has offered you for today as your “daily bread.” Seek the best of His blessings, and then seize them as you seize this very day.

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