Wednesday, December 23, 2015


What is the gift? It is Jesus Himself, come down from Heaven, to us. It seems we can grow cold or insensitive to hearing that because we hear it again and again, each year. But do we take the time to really think on what an incredible gift that was? Do we really grasp the meaning of it or what would have been if He never came?

Many in the world think they'd be just fine if they never heard that story, or never heard the name of Jesus. They get along just fine with Him, so they think. Yet they don't know that it is because of His mercy every single moment of every single day that they breathe the air in this world and enjoy all the pleasures they have, and are able to think and love and feel and make choices. And the wrong choice, to ignore or reject Him will one day eternally separate them from Him, and His creation, and all those things they enjoy.

The meaning of Christmas gets talked about a lot. To some it is just making others happy. For some it is love...whatever their definition of that is. For some it is giving. For some it is doing something meaningful for someone else. If we truly know the meaning, all those things may happen, but first we have to know Him. He is the meaning. It is the Gospel, the good news, the message that He came to earth and took on human form...the God-man. He took onto Himself our sins on the cross though He was sinless, and died in our place, and then after 3 days He rose again. His message is that all who believe in Him, who trust and rely on His salvation will have the free gift of eternal life. And one day, just as He came as He said the first time, to save, He will come again, as He said. Our corrupted bodies will be changed and put on incorruption, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, and we who believe in Him will be taken up to meet Him in the air, and then to be with Him forever.

1 Corinthians 15:52-57
(52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
(53) For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
(54) When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
(55) "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
(56) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
(57) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 14:1-3
(1) "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
(2) In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
(3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

I love this time of year because that story comes alive to me again and again through the worship, the Christmas carols, the Scriptures, and meditating on that perfect gift. His joy fills my heart and His hope, even in the midst of hopeless sorrow or circumstances. I've learned that the real gift and message of Christmas can stay with me all year long, and the feelings it brings, as well as the joy of giving of myself to others as the Lord leads. It's not for just one time of year.

I just wanted to share this beautiful video with you. Listen to the end because there is a special treat in the ending of the song that will give you goose bumps. I hope you all have a very blessed, Merry, joyful, Christmas thinking on Christ and giving His love, His gift, to whoever He brings your way, whether that be family, friend, or someone you don't even know. It is a gift for us to share. I have one disagreement with the statement he makes in the him the meaning of life is to be happy. Of course he says that is by following the teachings of Jesus. I'd like to clarify that a little more. The meaning of life IS Jesus. He is the truth the life and the way. Life itself is in Him alone.

1 John 5:11-12
(11) And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
(12) Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

If you want to know more about this gift of eternal life, please read more here.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


John 1:1-5
(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(2) He was in the beginning with God.
(3) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
(5) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

I heard a sermon this week by Erwin Lutzer where he said, "you notice nobody looks for a 'flashdark' they always look for a 'flashlight.'" He went on to say darkness never overcomes light but light always overcomes darkness. I thought that was something to ponder. Jesus was the light that came into this world. This time of year is a good time to meditate on that. What a thing God wrought in the earth!! In the darkness we do not see. Many want to stay in that darkness because they become accustomed to it, and it's comfortable to them. Many times we let in only so much light, but we don't want too much because light tends to expose things. It shows what's really there. Jesus is such a light. He exposes the thoughts and intents of the heart and shows us what is really inside of us. Many times that is just too difficult for us to see or accept. That's why along with that light, exposing all, He is also the remedy and Savior of our hearts once the disease in them is truly exposed. He's the healer of the heart He Himself breaks with exposing light, exposing and convicting of the sin that is killing and destroying us - the very thing we think is our happiness and with all our strength try to hold onto.

Luke 2:31-35
(31) that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
(32) a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."
(33) And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.
(34) And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed
(35) (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

Hebrews 4:12-13
(12) For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
(13) And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Robertson's Word Pictures: May be revealed (apokaluphthōsin). Unveiled. First aorist passive subjunctive after hopōs an and expresses God’s purpose in the mission of the Messiah. He is to test men’s thoughts (dialogismoi) and purposes. They will be compelled to take a stand for Christ or against him. That is true today.

People react to light in different ways. They also react to God's light - His truth - in many different ways. Many hate that truth so much that they will do anything to stop it, to change it, to cover it, and to twist it around and confuse it. But darkness cannot overcome light. Light shown onto that darkness of deception always exposes it. Then those who oppose it will react violently, most often, even "gnashing with the teeth" (Acts 7:51-54), just as they did Stephen when he spoke the truth exposing the lies in their hearts. But in spite of the reactions of some who hated the truth and ultimately stoned and killed Stephen, many others listened and embraced the truth and found the life that truth can bring to the heart and soul. They let it expose them. They let it wound. And they ultimately let it heal. If we receive the Light of life as a good thing, it will save us and heal us and bring us life that will be eternal.

If we come to the light (His Word, the Bible), daily, as His children, the light will keep us from all the darkness in this world. We'll see clearly. We'll be drawn to what that light shows as true and good and righteous. But as His children, we sometimes don't learn to abide in that light daily, and so we let darkness hide the secret sins of the heart. We hold onto them as though they are our happiness and life, afraid of exposure. We take on the dark excuses of the flesh and the world to make them look good and acceptable, and we compromise. We don't dare listen to someone who has light from the Living Word to expose them because it would just be too painful for us to let them go and find the alternative.

But what is the alternative? The alternative is to let the flashlight of the Word of God examine, discern, and pierce the soul, freeing us from those things, submitting to His truth in our inner beings, and in the process finding Christ as our life and happiness. His light is life and health and freedom, which faith finds, accepts, and realizes as true. Today truth is rejected vehemently among the masses, even called "hate speech," only because it is speech they hate with a passion. They hold onto their deception with a vengeance and must make it so everyone else will agree with them as well or be killed or silenced. They try desperately to snuff out all sources of truth any and every way they can, through legal and political means and through violence when necessary, just as they did in Jesus day. Yet the darkness can never overcome the truth. Truth is God's flashlight and it will always overcome the darkness right up to the very end when God Himself, sends His Son, the Light of the world, to return to the earth and that very light will slay the darkness with a Word, bringing truth and righteousness to the earth at last.

Rev_19:15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. Rev_19:21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

Jesus came into this world as a light shining in a darkness that was keeping mankind in bondage. His light was meant to bring life, and not death (John 3:16-21). His purpose was to bring truth, salvation, light, life, love, and all things good to us to make us rejoice, and give us happiness in Him forever. "Joy to the world," "peace on earth and good will toward men," these are the things, His light received, brings to the heart of all who receive Him in truth. As the world celebrates Christmas, and even sings the songs of His coming to earth to bring that joy and peace, yet they don't receive the truth of that light, they never actually know it. They instead trade it for a few days in December of parties and cookies, and family gatherings and presents that will very quickly end, leaving them with a lot of bills and heartaches and wonder what it's all about. Some will try to find a deeper meaning by doing some good deeds to serve others or show love for one month or one day out of the year, but never realizing yet the heart of why He came and what the gift that He gave to the world is all about. When that light is received in the heart, any of those things become an expression of true joy in Him, and a way to share that light with others.

He came because of a promise of God to bring salvation to all of mankind, whosoever will, and to bring His light in the darkness of a world lost and caught up in its own way of wandering through life without Him, trying desperately to bring fulfillment and happiness to themselves and always moving further and further away from it, until the light shines through to their hearts and enables them to see He alone is the truth, the life, and the way. Father in Heaven, I pray in Jesus name, that many today will open their eyes and allow You to come in to their darkness and shine Your light brightly and bring truth and everlasting joy, peace, and life to them.

(Psalms 147:3) He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

If you want to know more about this salvation and are not sure you are going to Heaven, you can know. His Word assures us how we can know. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


"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. (John 3:16-17)

"God so loved the world…" What amazing words! The world that rebelled against Him, the world that disowned Him, the world that spat upon Him, mocked Him, despised Him, and crucified Him… that world is the world He loved. That world is the world He came into, in the form of human flesh, in order to reveal His love and bring His salvation to "whosoever will." It's as simple as that. It's for "whosoever will." But many just won't. They choose the darkness and the hate and the lies and deceptions in this world that exalt (they think) man (themselves), rather than to turn to the One Who created them and to learn to know Him and what He created them for, and all the love, blessing, goodness, righteousness and glory He has in store for them if they only "will."

That same love can fill the hearts of His own children, if they daily sit at His feet, at His Word, allowing His Spirit to teach them and fill them with it. Yet, being human, we struggle with our own reactions to evil. As we see evil growing more and more bold, prevailing, and overtaking the world, insisting on crushing all truth, all good, and all that is of God, we need to look at the reaction of Christ Himself, rather than let ourselves be overcome with it. It's easy to hate. It's easy to be angry. It's easy to respond in a like manner to evil in the world. It's "human" we might say. Yes, it's very human and natural. But we've been called to something greater than what's natural. We've been called beyond ourselves. We've been called to walk in that same love that Jesus Himself demonstrated in that while we were yet sinners, He died for us (Romans 5:5-8). We were actually called "love our enemies." We are called to the "supernatural."

"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? (Matthew 5:43-46)

This is something the natural mind cannot accept and cannot obey! There is no such love in the heart of the natural man and it is so completely opposite of our nature that when we see it demonstrated it astounds us, and when it is told us to obey it, we simply cannot. We especially cannot when we see how evil the hearts are that oppose all that is good more and more, proclaiming good to be evil and evil to be good. How in the world could God expect us to love them? Why would He command us to do so? The very evil God hates and will one day judge - are we to love those who practice such? It boggles our minds! Our hearts rise up in anger when we hear His name blasphemed, when we hear the constant barrage of lies being told against Him, and against His Word, and against His children, those who follow His Word and seek to practice the love and righteousness that is taught there. We hear lies proclaiming those who commit acts of unspeakable violence proclaimed to be "lovers of peace" and those who truly proclaim the peace of God, and desire His righteousness, love and goodness, to be "terrorists" and anger rises up in our hearts and we want the truth to be told, lies to be seen for what they are, and we are amazed at the delusion that has taken over the world. We want to retaliate and vindicate. Truth must be told. That is for certain. It must continue to be told, clearly, whether they will believe it and receive it or not. Yet it must be told in the same spirit as thee Truth, thee Life, and thee Way. It must be told in the same love that sent forth that truth for us to "whosoever will" to come and receive eternal life from Him. It must be told with the same invitation that, "whosoever will believe may come" and find that same salvation. Even if they won't… it must be told them, and they must hear it and be given a chance to repent (turn) and receive that eternally life saving truth.

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)

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. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:16)

We can in no way practice the kind of love toward this world that Jesus did, unless His Spirit is in us, and that love abides in us and we abide in that love. As believers we may have His Spirit in us, but we may be quenching His Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19), and not abiding in Him. If we are not abiding in His Word, and in fellowship with Him letting His Spirit fill us daily, we are not abiding in His love. We can't. Then we are left to act according to our own fleshly responses and our own minds rather than the mind of Christ.

I just read a novel that addressed questions of how to respond to evil when it comes against you. Should we respond with violence against violence? How should we defend ourselves? Many questions came up in this story about a Mennonite community that was being attacked by someone who hated God and was threatening their safety. Mennonites believe in not resisting their enemies, but when it came down to actually having this belief tested there was great division among them. Each one had to seek God's heart in the matter and decide what God wanted them to do and respond according to their conscience regardless of the consequences. Some believed in protecting their homes and family and community with guns. Others refused saying they needed to pray and submit themselves to God and rely solely on Him. It raised many feelings and reactions inside myself as I read. I'm still reading this book and have not finished it yet so I don't know the outcome of their decisions, and in a novel, that can be manipulated by whatever the author decides. But the Author of the Bible is the One that we need to go to for such questions and find His answers alone. We won't find them unless we look at Christ Himself and let His Spirit be our teacher each moment, and our guide through our walk in this evil world. We won't know unless we learn to know Him, not just read about Him.

This morning as I was reading in the Gospel of John, I read of the arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus once again. I can never read that story without it humbling me to the bottom of my heart as I see how unworthy we all were of such love. Once again I was filled with that love and its power. It once again had an effect on me that enabled me to pray truly for my enemies, and for those who embrace the lies and evil in this world, even calling them good. It once again reminded me of the answer. It once again reminded me I can "trust myself to a faithful Creator." And I know that He hates that evil. Yet though He despises it more than we can imagine, because He is all perfect in goodness and righteousness and love, though He despises that evil, He "made Himself sin for us Who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:21). He "became a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). He became that very evil He despises, that caused the Heavenly Father to turn His face away from Him for a moment, in order that He could take on our evil Himself and free us from it, giving us in its place His righteousness and perfection that we could stand before God in perfect fellowship. In Christ we have a righteousness imputed to us that we did not deserve and He had our sins imputed to Him that He did not ever commit. How does the mind wrap itself around that kind of love?

How do we show that love to a world that is becoming increasingly filled with evil and hate and violence, other than the same way Jesus did? It is a love that is not deserved. I never deserved that love or forgiveness He gave me. They have to see a love that is not natural. They have to see the love that is supernatural. They have to see a love that is willing to die that they may live.

I know I'm lacking in that love, and when I see that I am, I go again to gaze at Him and let that love once again humble my heart and submit to it, and let it fill me. When that love fills me, I can't speak evil of another but only desire what is good for them. When that love fills me I can only forgive with the same forgiveness which that love forgave my selfish heart, not only because of the sin that selfishness led me to act on, but the sin that I was capable of doing had the Lord not saved me from myself. When we truly see our own selves for what we are, we are so grateful for His mercy and forgiveness that we can only look at the sins of others with the same forgiveness and mercy toward them (Matt. 18:21-35). When all I can see is what someone has done to me, and I forget what God has done for me, then I respond with an attitude of vengeance rather than mercy. I respond out of my own self-gain, self-protection, and self-serving. I try to cling to what I can get and what I think to have coming to me - my rights. Even when we have "righteous anger" we can act in a fleshly manner, rather than with the same Spirit of love in Christ Himself. We are to "be angry and sin not." He never condones evil, and neither should we. Yet as we stand against it we need to do so in the Spirit, and not in the flesh. We need to stand dressed in the full armor of God. We need to stand in His righteousness, and take up the Sword of the Spirit, His Word of truth, and we need to do so by the power of the Spirit, not our flesh, and not with a worldly mind set of holding onto this world. If we truly see those on the side of evil as God does we will have a deep sorrow and grief in our hearts, rather than animosity, knowing all they are missing and choosing to give up, remembering that Jesus gave His own life for their salvation, if only they would turn and believe into Him. How very sad that anyone would turn that away for anything else!

God will judge evil. The day of judgment could be very near. This world is the closest to heaven there is for those who embrace it as though it were their life. But it is the closest to hell those who embrace God's love and put their trust in Him will ever get. We have an eternity free of all evil and filled with perfect righteousness and goodness and love in His presence. We can afford any losses here and we can afford to face whatever this world throws at us because of that. We won't lose a thing, and we will only gain. Nothing can separate us from His love. If we abide in it perhaps others will see and join us also and escape the snare of the devil in this world. If we act as though this world were our home and all we have, then we'll fight for that (John 18:36). If we show them that our citizenship is in Heaven and there is something beyond this world, something way beyond anything we can gain here, and that we are willing to give up our lives here for that, perhaps they will also see it and see the spiritual battle going on for what it is in truth. It is a battle of the devil for this world. And our role in it is to bring the truth and light to them to save them from its destruction through Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

If you want to know more about this salvation and are not sure you are going to Heaven, you can know. His Word assures us how we can know. Click here to read more.