Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mary's Gift - Our Hope

What a blessing this day is for all those who know the Lord! No matter what you are dealing with in your life right now, whether things are going well, and you have a happy family to celebrate with, or you find yourself in sorrow or troubles or hardship, we have one sure hope and one light to look to.  We have a promise.  The same promise given to Mary, that day when the angel Gabriel came to her and said a Savior would be born in her.  She believed him, and she humbly submitted herself to him...

"And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."
(Luke 1:38)

In the same simple humble faith as Mary, we too can submit ourselves to the Lord in faith in His Word... a sure Word that is to come to pass, just as it did then, and will continue to do for those who trust in and lean on Him. And that promise of hope that He gave when He said He would come again for His own, to take them to be with Him where He is, forever more to be with Him, will also come to pass, just as that promise of His first coming did.  What joy! Even in a dark world, when things are taken from us, when we see evil abounding, we never lose our hope because it is in Him alone, and is not dependent on anything we have or don't have in this world. 

I pray for the world to look to that hope today, and see the unspeakable promise that God has given to the world through Jesus Christ His Son. No matter how hard the enemy tries to stomp out that light, it will continue to shine brighter and brighter until that day.

What gift has He brought you Mary?
What did the angel say?
What gift did He bring you Mary?
Tell me why do you sing?

Sing...sing His praise!

My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit....
Rejoices in God my Saviour
For He that is mighty...
He hath done great things!
And Holy...Holy is His name!

What message did He bring you Mary?
Nothing s impossible with God.
The Son of God now lives within you,
And now this is why you sing...

Sing...sing His praise!

My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit...
Rejoices in God my Saviour
For He that is mighty...
He hath done great things!
And Holy...Holy is His name!

Because you believed Him, Mary,
Oh so blessed are you!
What He promised was accomplished
And now in your heart you sing...

Sing...sing His praise!

My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit...
Rejoices in God my Saviour
For He that is mighty...
He hath done great things!
And Holy...Holy is His name!

This gift I want to bring to you now
If you will so believe
The Son of God can live within you
Like will sing!

Sing...sing His praise!

My soul does magnify the Lord
And my spirit...
Rejoices in God my Saviour
For He that is mighty...
He hath done great things!
And Holy...Holy is His name!

© by Ginny Larsen 1992

Monday, December 15, 2014


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The leaders of Jesus day sought to silence this "dangerous" Christ, fearing Him greatly. Today the world tries to silence Him as well. They would just as surely crucify Him as did those of Jesus day, and in fact are doing so by killing and silencing His church in any way they can. Why do you suppose they fear this humble servant that came only to bring light and life eternal to mankind?

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Just what are the teachings of this "dangerous" Christ? Is He a terrorist, that teaches His children to go about slaughtering every man, woman, and child that won't conform to Him? Is He demanding that they live as oppressed slaves? No, He is not, yet the world accepts that kind of religion. They accept a religion of men of lawlessness with no conscience, ruthless in all their ways, unmerciful and hateful, full of lies and deceit, and they reject the man of truth and light, the man of love and deliverance for their souls. They call Him the dangerous One. Why is He so dangerous? The pope recently made a statement that those "fundamentalist Christians are more dangerous than ISIS." Really? Why mister pope? Why do we scare you so much? Are we threatening to slaughter you if you do not conform to us? Have we beheaded anyone? Have we slaughtered innocent children? Why do you fear Christ so much? The very Christ you claim to serve? Is it because He exposes your sin and calls you to repentance? Is it because you would have to be held accountable to Him? This is the reason the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus day crucified Him.

Do you fear Christ? Do you fear the Gospel? If you're a child of God, you have found life and joy and freedom in that Gospel. You know that it is the only hope of the world and the only freedom and life that can be found. You understand that the world is under the sway of the evil one and cannot come into that light without painfully being exposed. It's their only hope of being delivered, so the enemy seeks in every way to deceive and to destroy that message of hope, calling it evil and calling evil good.

These are some of the teachings of this "dangerous" Christ and His "dangerous" church...His true church...His "called out ones" who have been called out of the darkness and deception of this world. This is what an "extremist" Christian believes... one who is loving Christ and following the fundamentals of His Word. He would only become extreme in His love toward God and his fellow man. The "fundamentals" of Christianity are simply the Words that Jesus taught. If we kept them what would they make us?

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a)

And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)

"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)

These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:17)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:7-11)

There are many more examples of what Christ has called His "called out ones" to. And what are we "called out" from? From the world of sin and darkness. There is a difference in His children from all other religions in the world. He calls us to radical love. Islam is called to radical hatred, violence, and destruction. Christ calls us to such a love as will love even those enemies of His, reaching out to them with the Gospel of truth and love, the only Gospel (good news) that saves and promises hope for all eternity, free of evil and hatred and violence once and for all. That's pretty radical. Why does the world fear this? They fear having the truth of their love of sin exposed, and they fear having to give up being their own gods, which they can never truly be anyway. They fear God taking control of their lives, even though that means their only true freedom, yet they cling to their sin which keeps them in bondage and oppression. They fear "extremist" fundamental Christians that offer the truth that leads to eternal life, because they love their darkness. So they make up their own god, their own "good" justifying their sin, and calling it good, and calling good evil, clinging to their darkness.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." (John 3:16-21)

And for this reason Bibles are burned, Christians are imprisoned, lied about, falsely accused, scorned, mocked, marginalized, and the world embraces, instead, something evil in its place, even though that causes them terror and suffering. It's nothing but insanity. Yet insanity is the absence of God. When one rejects God, they accept various forms of insanity.

From Webster's 1828 dictionary: INSAN'ITY, n. The state of being unsound in mind; derangement of intellect; madness. Insanity is chiefly used, and the word is applicable to any degree of mental derangement, from slight delirium or wandering, to distraction.

It is Christ Who gives a sound mind. "...For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7-8)

Sound mind... sōphronismos
Thayer Definition: 1) an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control

And what is the fruit of those "fundamental" believers who are filled with His Spirit? What is "fundamental" anyway? Webster's 1828 dictionary: FUNDAMENT'AL, n. A leading or primary principle, rule, law or article, which serves as the ground work of a system; essential part; as the fundamentals of the christian faith.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24)

And in contrast what is the fruit of those still in bondage to clinging to those passions and desires of the flesh and this world?

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:17-21)

Let us then, as His children, seek to be true followers of Him, as dangerous as He is, filled with His love, forgiving our enemies, holding forth His love to all, even those who would mistreat us, lie about us, persecute us, take away our rights, and crucify us. Let us be radical in our love as He was laying down His own life for us even while we were His enemies. Let's seek to be filled with His Spirit bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, being lights in a dark world that will stand out in stark contrast to that darkness, knowing we have a hope that is sure and awaits all who will come to that light. It's not much longer. This life is short and temporary. But the life He has given to us and is in us, is forever more and nothing and nobody can take it away from us. If we don't hold to the fundamentals of faith in Christ, we have no true faith at all in Him.

Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (1 John 2:24)

My prayer today is that many will turn from clinging to lies and come to this dangerous Christ. Yes, He is very dangerous in regard to our sin. He seeks to crucify it and end it in our lives. He seeks to radically free us from it, so that we can partake of His holiness and live with Him in His glory forever, never again to be stained by it or touched by it. He seeks to wipe every tear from our eyes. He seeks to give us an eternity of glory and pleasure forevermore. He seeks to make us His own dear children sharing in His inheritance. Yet people would rather cling to themselves no matter what the cost. Lord, open our eyes to seek Your life, giving up ourselves, no matter what the cost for that!

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


To listen to an audio version of this devotional, click here (to save it, right click and click "save as")

Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. (Psalms 36:6)

"God's dealings with men are not to be fathomed by every boaster who demands to see a why for every wherefore. The Lord is not to be questioned by us as to why this and why that. He has reasons, but he does not choose to submit them to our foolish consideration. Far and wide, terrible and irresistible like the ocean are the providential dispensations of God: at one time they appear as peaceful as the unrippled sea of glass; at another tossed with tempest and whirlwind, but evermore most glorious and full of mystery. Who shall discover the springs of the sea? He who shall do this may hope to comprehend the providence of the Eternal." ~The Treasury Of David, Charles Spurgeon

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. (Psalms 36:7)

Though we cannot fathom God's love or justice, His righteousness, His workings with men, yet we can trust Him, in His perfect love, and His mercy and compassion. This is how the child of God can rest and even give thanks in the midst of suffering and trials and hardships on this earthly pilgrimage. What a God we serve! He is a perfect God. Perfect in holiness, and in righteousness, and in love, and in every way conceivable. There is no flaw in Him. Do we want there to be? Sometimes I think we do. We want Him to stoop down to our level and see things the way we do, and make exceptions in His perfect plan for us so we can have things our own way, or have our comfort or security in this world undisturbed. I'm speaking from my own heart of experience. I'll admit, there have been times I wish God would bend a little, while under His dealings - just this once God!

What a great Heavenly Father we have! He won't bend, as sometimes we parents will do for our own children if they cry enough, or wine enough. We so often bend our better judgment for them thinking just this once, it won't hurt them. Our Heavenly Father's love is steadfast, unmovable, and unchanging. How can perfection change? Perfection would no longer be perfection if it were to change. God is perfect. He does not need to arrive at perfection. He is perfection and the sole standard of it. That can never change or be altered.

What security we have knowing that! You've heard the saying, "if you can't understand what He's doing, trust His hand." Is that based on Scripture? Yes, I believe it is. We cannot possibly understand all He does, all He orchestrates, all He allows, and all the whys behind that. We can make ourselves bitter and miserable trying to. I could never understand the person who could not believe in God unless they could understand Him. When you believe in Him, your understanding and knowledge of Him grows, but not before. He has given us His Word, and enough light and evidence all around us, if we will but see it. It is our hearts that blind us to Him. Open our eyes Lord! There is so much to discover. I believe He wants to reveal it to us, and waits for us to seek Him out. But seeking Him must be in humility in order to receive anything from Him.

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)

Men will spend lots of money to go to schools to learn knowledge. They will read a multitude of books to gain more understanding. Yet they fail to go to the One Who has the store of all knowledge of all things to learn of Him and to know Him. " whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:3)

I believe God, in all His magnificence and beauty and glory wants to be known, and He has made us in such a way that we want to be known. We long for someone to really desire to know us intimately and understand our heart of hearts. Yet even the most intimate relationship between soul mates in this earth cannot compare to what God has made us for. He has created us to know Him intimately and to be known by Him.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Yet here and now, we walk by faith, not knowing fully. We don't know Him fully, or understand Him fully, yet He has called us to learn of Him and to know Him more and more until that day we see Him face to face.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

He is a treasure for us to seek continually and draw from. Why do we let any other pursuit in life cloud that out or distract us?

There are those who seem to think they have a "deeper" knowledge, and that not from the Word of God, but claim deeper spiritual experiences, even visions and revelations directly from God outside of the Bible, and you have to come to them, not the Word, in order to get that from God. These same people discourage others from reading the Word or from depending on it, and lift up their own experiences and visions and prophecies higher than God's Word itself, drawing people away from God. They are nothing more than the old Gnostics that Paul and John both dealt with in their day. God has given us His perfect Word that has all we need in it in this life to know Him and draw close to Him. He's given us His Spirit in our inner beings to illumine that Word to us and speak it to our hearts bringing faith and life, enabling us to walk as He walked in this earth. Many are drawn and seduced by these, as they seem to have something more special than the rest. They are mesmerized by them and drawn away into their heresies and caught up in their delusions.

God tests our hearts. Many times in seeking something "deeper" we are only truly seeking our own advancement and personal power. Will you go wherever He leads? do whatever He calls? accept whatever position you are given? Oh we're so quick to think of doing great things for our God and to say "yes!" I'll go wherever You want me to go dear Lord, I'll be what You want me to be!" But what if He calls you to a humble life of weakness in this world? What if where He wants you to go is in situations that are lonely, isolated, where there is no glamour or glory, where people despise you, where you are misunderstood, where you stand alone against the tide of deception, where you plug away day after day faithfully, yet see no instant results. What if He calls you to simply be His humble child and live a day to day life allowing His Spirit to work in you and through you to those around you, with no special "ministry?" What if He calls you to much grief and sorrow in your life, and loss after loss? Will you seek to know Him in that? Will you seek out the depths of God and to learn of His judgments? I'm asking myself these questions, because I believe God has asked them of me in many different times of my life. I went to Bible college as a young girl, thinking to have a special ministry of some kind where I would win many souls for Christ and do great things for God. I was full of zeal, but not full of knowledge. I thought I knew God, but I had so much more to learn of Him. One day, when I was at a chapel service in Bible college, I was at the altar earnestly praying, "Lord what is Your will for my life?" I was willing to go to another country and be a missionary, or to do anything He asked. The answer came to me as quite a surprise as the Lord spoke to my spirit, "to be my child."

Wow! I didn't get that! Not at all! Just to be Your child, Lord? I've since learned just how great that is, and how great a calling it is. JUST to be His child! All else that flows from us that will be of any significance or good in anyone's life around us, comes from that first. We may minimize that, but until we learn to be His child and walk as His child, and trust as His child, and grow as His child, and be His child around others and in our earthly relationships and ups and downs and joys and sorrows, we cannot really be anything for Him at all. It's as His child, in the humility of a child, that we learn to know Him the best of all. Do we really want to know Him? Learn to be His child, just as Jesus, as He walked this earth, walked in unity and full faith and reliance on His Father for all.

We can't know all there is to know about God right now. We can't understand all the whys. Many times life doesn't make sense to us. We may never get an answer in this life as to why God let certain things happen. Sometimes we do. Yet we can look at the cross and know that we can trust that kind of perfect love not to fail us.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)

What if God is not calling you to an exciting place somewhere? What if He's calling you to a mundane life of faith, perhaps in unhappy circumstances? Are you as willing to say yes to that as you are to anything else? Or maybe He's calling you to step out of your comfort zone and reach out more, or to do something quite beyond your nature. Whatever He's calling you to, are you willing to be His child, and walk wherever He leads you to and whatever He leads you to? "If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it." I like that saying, because I've found it true and it gives me hope for whatever lies ahead as well. This is a God that I can trust for that. His judgments may be a "great deep" but His love has been made quite manifest to us in a way that we can know whatever is in that "great deep" of God Himself is trustworthy and good.

Thank You dear Heavenly Father, for Who You are! For all You are! and that we have such incredible blessings and joy in just getting glimpses here below of that wondrous glory of You! I thank You and praise Your wonderful name!

If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.