Month: March 2013

Take a stand

Often times as a Christian it is difficult to express our beliefs to those who are not Christian. As with many things, it is not easy to understand something from the outside looking in. What could be so hard to understand? In my opinion, there is a word that a lot of people in the world no longer understand or put to use everyday. One word could be at the very core. What is that word? Submission.

Once a person accepts Jesus as the Lord of their life, they submit themselves to His Word and His authority. If that does not happen, have you accepted Him or are you attempting to use Him? If you cannot submit to His authority here what makes one suppose they will want to submit to His authority in Heaven or His soon coming Kingdom?

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord, you must then also accept His Word, the Holy Bible, the inerrant Word of God given to men through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. His word, His desire, His commands, His laws must become ours. Why? If we do not submit to these things, we, in essence, say that we know better, that we have become more intelligent, that we have greater understanding. How foolish! If God is not all powerful, all knowing, and ever present, what purpose is there in serving Him? Also know that submission is not a one time act or something done when convenient. Submission is an ongoing act whether in season or out of season.

When the world brings about those things which are against the laws of God, it is only in submission to God that we must stand for what God says is right. Our opinion must mirror what the Word of God has to say about any given subject. In the eyes of the world, we as Christians are seen as hateful, proud, arrogant, self righteous, and hypocrites. In the eyes of the One you have submitted to you are seen as His precious child. Be bold, be brave for we are not here to please the world! Jesus was persecuted and we should expect no less. We do not speak out against people, we reach out in courage knowing we will be scorned. We, in love, knowing the bitter end of those who do not submit to Jesus, try to warn and sway any who will hear His word. It is in this sweet submission to the Master that we must be as bold as the three Hebrew children who feared not, being cast into the fiery furnace. It is not in defiance to the world but in submission to the only One who can save the soul that we must speak up, reach out, and endure all the world will throw at us. We are victors, more than conquerors! Not because i think so, but because God, in His word, said so. To Jesus be the glory, for He is truly worthy!

Shadow of the cross

The crucifixion of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is the fulfillment of several prophecies. The stunning detail which is
given throughout the Old Testament concerning the death of the Son of God is another example of the omniscience of God. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are worthy of much study concerning the way in which the Savior would lay down His life.

Another picture of this scene can be found in Genesis 22. It is here where we get our first glimpse of that which would be. Abraham, by command of God, took his son Isaac to a specific place to be sacrificed. Once there, Abraham placed wood for a burnt offering upon Isaac’s back and began the journey up the mountain. It is a picture of Jesus carrying His cross along the sorrowful way, showing obedience to the Father’s will. As much as this speaks to Abraham’s faithfulness to God, it is a shadow of the coming cross.

In verse 8 we can find the reference easily when we read it carefully. “Genesis:22:8: And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Abraham knew God would provide. More than that, we can see that God would provide who a lamb? Himself. The picture of what was happening is a great picture of a greater happening.

If you continue to verse 14 you can see all this confirmed. “Genesis:22:14: And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” Notice that it does not say it “is being seen” or “it has been seen” but that it shall (future tense) be seen. It is truly a beautiful picture, and even greater is the fulfillment by Jesus, the Son of God. God has shown that His plan has always been in place and will not fail, He is faithful to His word. The message is simple. Jesus has accomplished the work, it is done and all that is asked is for you to believe and accept. Look at this picture and see a love unfailing. To Jesus be the glory, for He is truly worthy!

Forsaken

There is not a time the passion of our Savior should be far from our lips or minds. As Easter approaches, it presents yet another opportunity to contemplate the crucifixion. It is the very foundation of Christianity and deserves far more thought than a holiday weekend.
As I look to the cross in scripture, in prayer, and in meditation I see love far beyond my worth. The broken body of a loving Savior hangs bleeding. Blood, sweat, and tears pour from the spotless Lamb who suffered this shame so that we, if we will accept, would be made worthy of eternal fellowship with Him.

From that cross these words are cried out: “Matthew:27:46: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

My Savior, Jesus Christ, from His cross felt forsaken. The only begotten Son of God felt the separation from God that sin causes. For a moment, the sin of mankind was upon the only One who could take it away. It is a punishment not fit for a King, but one He gladly took that you would not have to. It is not only a worthy thing to know and remember, but one which must be etched into our very being. For a good man, some would dare to die – Romans 5:7, yet God loved us while we were yet sinners – Romans 5:8. While we are in this flesh we cannot understand the love which God has toward us, but we must honor Him in honest pursuit of trying to attain that knowledge.
For those that choose to deny Christ as their Savior I wonder if those words echo throughout Hell eternally. What a fearful thought that one would scream in eternal torment “My God, why have you forsaken me”, knowing the answer. Let us make a declaration to proclaim God’s love to our friends, family, and whosoever will listen. The consequences are too great not to give our very best. God gave His best and we should do no less. To Jesus be the glory, for He is truly worthy!

Passover

As we near the Easter holiday, the theme of a risen Savior and new life becomes the prevalent thought and rightly so. It is the time we rejoice not only for the resurrection of Jesus, but also the promise of our resurrection unto eternal life.
A stone was rolled away and an empty tomb showed that no grave was going to hold His body down. In one act Christ showed His
dominion over all.

Yet, before the resurrection was the Passover. In the days of Moses God sent the death angel over the land of Egypt to
kill the first born sons, unless a lambs blood had been applied to the door posts, in which case the death angel would “pass over” that door and the children would be saved. “Exodus:12:27: That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.”

Although the Passover was celebrated in the days of Moses as a victory that was given by God, it also pointed to an even
greater event fulfilled by Jesus. “1Corinthians:5:7: Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:” and “John:1:29: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” demonstrate the greater fulfillment and
the exactness of the name “Lamb of God”.

Jesus, the spotless Lamb, laid His life down. He made Himself our sacrifice. Let us always be looking to the Lamb, whose blood has been applied to all that have accepted Him as their Savior. Once the blood is applied the death angel has no choice but to “pass over”, for we go from life to eternal life, not death. Even today as loved ones leave this life, be comforted that the death angel still must submit all authority to that very same precious blood. As Easter draws near, please let these things be fresh upon your hearts and minds. Let us go out into the world and share these thoughts that the fulfillment be greater still for someone who has not yet accepted these things! Praise Jesus, for He is truly worthy!

Sufficient

The following verse has been on my mind for several days and is my favorite verse. The verse is found in 2nd Corinthians 12:9: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. This verse was a topic in one of the daily devotionals I read, which led to this writing.

The first part really finds a home in my and every other Christian’s heart. “My grace is sufficient for thee”. These words spoken to Paul about two thousand years ago have echoed through the ages and are as strong today as the time they were spoken. His grace is sufficient for me, for you, and for all those who will call upon Jesus to be their Savior. That is grace on a scale our frail minds cannot fully understand. I know how much sin His grace covered and still covers for me and it has been multiplied by all those who know Jesus as Lord. Amazing grace indeed!

Then we see the next part which says “for My strength is made perfect in weakness”. Do we think about His strength? We as humans are weak. When we, in our weakness, find ways to quit, give up, or give in, He gives us strength, hope, peace, love, joy, and determination. When we find ourselves at the brink of defeat, He declares we are “more than conquerors”. We do not do that of ourselves, we should not take credit for what He does. It is Jesus that has allowed us the strength to accomplish all things to His glory. Even in, what we perceive as, the weakness which is death, His victory is made perfect in that we move from this life to eternal life. How perfect is His strength!

This life is full of trouble. This world is full of distress and worry. Everyone comes to a point, more than once, where going on seems too hard. According to this verse we should begin to glory in these things. In this kind of weakness, Jesus shows up and with His strength we move on. We do not move on of ourselves, we move on that He be glorified. What we cannot do ourselves He will do for us. Let us glorify Him, for He is the way. It is during these times the power of Christ is upon us. As we accomplish those things we thought we could not, as we do those things we do not want to do, it is His power that is upon us. He is always showing us that His grace, strength, and power are more than sufficient, not only for me but all those who call Jesus Christ their Lord.  To Jesus be the glory, for He is worthy!

In Debt

Most people I know, myself included, live in debt to some degree. I have heard people many times speak of being in debt “up to their eyeballs” or “so far in debt they can’t see out”. I understand these expressions more than I would like to admit. Do you know people like that? Are you that person?

The real question is: What would you do to be completely out of debt? The next time you hear someone speak about how much they owe, ask what they would consider doing to be out of debt. The answers, in my experience, is “anything”.

Although I have been speaking of monetary debt, we are or were all spiritual debtors which brings me to 1st John.

1John:2:2: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

The greek word used here for propitiation is “hilasmos” and means to “assume an obligation”. As a Christian it is so uplifting to understand that Jesus assumed my obligation from the cross at Calvary. No matter what kind of “debt” I piled up in this life it had already been paid. All i needed to do was accept. One of my favorite quotes covers this very well: “He paid a debt He did not owe because I owed a debt I could not pay”. There is nothing greater than being set free from the bondage of sin and there is only One, Jesus Christ, who has already paid that debt. All you need to do is accept payment.

To Jesus be the glory, for He is truly worthy!