Monthly Archives: December 2018

Revelation; No More Tears

I don’t often sit down and read straight through the book of Revelation,  but I did today. I wanted to read John’s vision as he describes it without looking for hidden meaning in it. I discovered that the book of Revelation is a pretty accurate description of life.

And life for followers of Jesus comes with particular hardships. Sometimes it seems as though we are fighting against monsters and demons, and it is easy to get discouraged. But God assures us through John’s vision that He’s got this.

There is no demonic monster that is too powerful for Him, no false doctrine, no phony preachers, no anti-Christ theology that can change the Truth that is God. There is nothing that happens in this life that He didn’t see happen before Creation. And He wants us to know He is coming again to take His children home.

That’s the glory of John’s vision. That home-going! A place beyond human words where God is in all His glory. A place where He Himself will dry the tears of His children, no more sorrow, sickness, discouragement, anger, hurt feelings, or drama. Our past troubles will be forgotten forever, and we as His Bride will look into the eyes of our Bridegroom and know for the first time what true love is all about.

The book of Revelation is a book of hope. We win. And the victory celebration will be beyond imagination.

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I trust you had a blessed Christmas as we celebrated the birth of Jesus, the One who made our home-going possible. And I pray that 2019 will find you growing  in grace and knowledge of our Savior, and that you will have many opportunities to share our Lord with people in your life who need him, that you will be blessed and a blessing.

I’m going to take a break from blogging for the next few days. Starting January 1st I am going to start to read through the Chronological Bible in 2019. I haven’t decided if I’ll post my thoughts every day, or not. I want to honor God with this thing, so I’ll be praying for God’s leading.

Thanks for going on this journey with me. I’m praying for you.

1,2,3 John, Jude; Love Came Down… And Out

Merry Christmas! Jesus is born. God, who is love, came down from glory and began life in human form. We celebrate that incredible birth today. Happy birthday, Jesus.

This portion of Scripture that I read today reminds me that I can claim to be a Christian, I can go through the motions of worshiping Him, but unless I am changed by my encounter with Jesus – I don’t know Him.

Period.

I can’t claim to be a Christian if I have hate in my heart. I can’t claim to be His child if I mistreat people He came to save. If God is love, then when He comes to live in me, love lives in me. And I can’t help but express that love to others. His love comes down, then reaches out to others through me.

Enjoy the day with family and friends. Take time to worship the new born King. And may His love be evident in all of us who truly know Him.

1&2 Peter; Too Late

Can you celebrate the birth of Jesus and ignore the fact that He is coming again? He first came as a baby boy, grew to be a man, rocked the world at that time, and continues to rock our world after His death on the cross, and resurrection.

Christmas is not just a birthday. It’s the beginning of the end. Jesus will come again, and Peter reminds us it will be a day of reckoning. Are you ready?

I hope your Christmas holiday will be blessed with happiness and precious moments with family and friends. But I also hope – no, I pray – that when you consider that baby in a manger, you will consider how His birth has impacted you. That baby was born for love of you. That baby was born to save you.

Do you now Him? I pray you do. But if you’ve never confessed your sin and allowed Him to forgive you through the blood of Jesus, do it today. I can’t imagine a better birthday gift to give that Baby Jesus, than your heart.

Because He is coming again. It could be today. And when He comes it will be too late for you to suddenly accept what He died to give you.

May you celebrate the birth of YOUR Savior this season.

James; Humility

Jesus, whose birth we are about to celebrate, was born in a stable, then laid in a feeding trough. The King of Kings didn’t start his life on planet Earth in a palace. His beginnings were nothing to brag about.

James talks to us about being humble. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (4:6b) “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord…” (4:10a)

As I think about Christmas 2018, it occurs to me that if Jesus could humble Himself, who am I to stand tall? Who am I to build myself up, to brag, or strive for a sense of self-worth? Everything good in my life comes from God, not by my own effort. And if I’m honest, I am nothing compared to Him.

I think that reality trips some people up today, when society tells us to believe in ourselves, to nurture self-esteem, to celebrate our “selves.” But the truth is, when we humble ourselves, when we empty ourselves and submit to God, “He will exalt (us).” (4:10b)

Jesus’ humble birth set the standard by which He lived. It’s the standard by which I want to live my life as well.

Thank you, Jesus, for coming to Earth the way You did. You gave up everything to be born that day. You submitted to the Father 100%. So when You tell us to humble ourselves, you aren’t asking us to do anything You didn’t do Yourself first. Forgive us when we fall for Satan’s lie that tells us to exalt ourselves. May we humble ourselves, and let you do the exalting. Help us to trust You with our “selves.”

Hebrews 9-13; Make It Stop

Have you ever felt the sting of God’s discipline over a sin you were holding onto? Dishonesty costs you your job. Infidelity costs you your family. Alcohol or tobacco costs you your health. Sin costs you peace of mind, you cannot feel joy. Conviction bring anxiety, depression, anger, or confusion.

Then you cry out to God, “Make it stop!” “Why is this happening to me?” “I can’t take this any longer.”

When I read Hebrews 12 I hear God say, “I love you as sons and daughters. Therefore, I will discipline you when you are wrong. Don’t expect it to be pleasant.”

I think sometimes when we are experiencing those painful consequences for sin, we pray the wrong prayer. Instead of praying, “Make it stop,” we should be praying, “Help me to stop,” Instead of praying for God to make us comfortable, we need to pray that He will make us clean.

“…God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” (12:10b)

The writer of Hebrews reminds us of the very real privilege of going to God Himself through our mediator, Jesus Christ. We can boldly approach the throne of grace and know that we will receive that grace to help us in our time of need.

God doesn’t discipline His children because He likes to see us suffer. He disciplines us to drive us to our knees, so that we can share in His holiness, so that one day we will be able to spend eternity with Him. He disciplines us because of His great love for us.

 

 

 

Hebrews 1-8; A Better Way

I hope you have read, and considered, the Old Testament with its laws and regulations. Do you know the awesome responsibility Levitical priests carried? Have you looked at the intricate details they had to follow to first, make atonement for their own sins, then offer sacrifices for the sins of the people? The rules had to be followed down to crossing t’s, or God could not forgive sin.

Unless you’ve spent time looking at what God required for the sacrificial system, I’m not sure you can fully appreciate what Jesus did on the cross, or understand His role as our High Priest today. Jesus’ words from the cross, “It is finished,” take on a significant meaning in light of the Old Testament Law.

The writer of Hebrews celebrates our eternal High Priest, and the new covenant God made to us through Jesus. The truth, the anchor for the soul, our hope and assurance is this:

Therefore he (Jesus) is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (7:25)

Jesus came, lived, died, and rose again 2000 years ago. But He didn’t complete the mission, then go home and put His feet up. He lives to intercede for us. Right now. Today. Jesus is working for you at this very moment.

What a blessing is ours to live this side of the cross, to know our Savior is alive, our High Priest is interceding for us. It is a better way.

Titus, Philemon; The Alternative

A friend of mine recently said, “I figure every day I’m still alive is a good day, when you consider the alternative.” I said, “I look forward to the alternative.”

Paul, in the two short letters I read today reminds us that, as Christians, we have important work to be doing, regardless of our ages. There are people who need the Lord, and it’s up to us to be sure they hear about the Savior. We are to be encouraging one another, teaching about and growing in our relationship with Jesus, “while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2:13)

It’s not that I have a death wish. I love life here on planet Earth. I am blessed beyond what I deserve. But I also would love to be home. G. Campbell Morgan put it like this, “I am not looking for death, I’m looking for Him.”

And so am I.

Let’s get busy today living. Let’s be Jesus’ voice, hands, and feet to people who need him. Let’s talk about Jesus with people we come in contact with today. What a privilege to live for Jesus today.

And together, let’s keep one eye on the sky. We might actually get to meet Him today. My heart might stop beating. I might close my eyes, and open them in heaven today. Or this might be the day Jesus comes again in the clouds and take us all home. Either way, the alternative to this life, with all its cares and worries, even the measure of joy and blessing we experience here will be behind us. Then the fun begins for us who have accepted God’s grace through the blood of His Son, Jesus.

Or we might live another fifty years, Jesus might not come back for another 2,000 years. We don’t know. The only thing we know for sure is that this life is not forever. There is an eternity. And Jesus will come again.

Do you know Him? Are you ready to meet Him? If you aren’t, find someone who does and talk to them. If you are, be that person who will lead a sinner to the salvation Jesus bought for them.

Christian, get busy. And be assured, the alternative to this life is wonderful beyond imagination.