Where Did You Meet…

We all have a story of how we met our closest friend, our significant other, a distant relative, or maybe even a favorite pet. Do you remember the details? Can you still picture it as though it happened just yesterday?

Did you see them several times before you actually met? Did you hear someone else say their name? Or maybe you read their name on an office door, maybe even on a name tag or badge. Thinking back on that day, do you remember their clothing, their cologne or perfume? Did you meet them by chance or did you purposely start a conversation?

These are just a few of the details and questions that come to my own mind. Whether you remember the smallest details or not, you usually remember the place or setting in which you met. In an office, on the street, in the market, at work, or at church? These are common places to many meetings.

My question for you is this: Do you remember where in scripture you met Jesus? Do you remember the sermon, the message, the song, or the teaching? Where in His Word did you meet Him? Now, let us go back to the second paragraph and ask some very similar questions with Christ as the subject. Did you see Him in others a few times before you met Him yourself? Did you hear others speak His name? Did you read His name and wonder? Did you purposely meet Him? Maybe you just meant to get some information on Him and ended up meeting Him unexpectedly.

I met Jesus in the twenty fourth chapter of Matthew. I had heard about Him and learned about Him from the time I was a small child. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I met Him for myself. When I met Him in His word, He was at the Mount of Olives telling His disciples what would happen at the time of the end. He gave a detailed, passionate prophecy. It sounded so much like the world I live in. I then thought “how wonderful that Jesus was seeing a place and time where He would meet me, and probably many others, in His word”. Since then I have realized the place, time, setting, details, or circumstance did not hold as much value as the simple fact that we met and I accepted Him as my Savior.

It does not matter which sermon led you to the Savior, Jesus Christ, as long as you accept Him. The songs that were sang are now of little consequence, a minor detail in a major event. I am not trying to downplay sermons or songs or words or prayers, they all play a very important, vital part. Yet, nothing compares to the moment of salvation, the perfect work of Christ being made manifest in the life of a believer. It is of little importance where each of us met Jesus, me in the book of Matthew, another in the book of John, one in the book of second Peter, and another in the book of the Revelation, as long as we met Him and accepted Him as Savior. The one common ground we have is this, we all meet Him at the cross.

Ga:2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

There was a time, as a sinner, we drove those spikes into His flesh. The sin of man put Christ on the cross. His work defeated sin once and for all, for everyone that will accept Him as Savior. Once you come to the cross by His blood, our old man is crucified to the cross with Him. No longer are we guilty, for it is not we who live from the moment we are saved, it is He that lives within us! There at the cross, it was He who loved me, it was He that loved you. He gave himself for us. If you have not yet met Jesus, He can be found anytime, anyplace. You can arrange that meeting at once, just simply reach out to Him in prayer, in faith believing, confess your sin and ask Him into your heart, accept His atoning blood to cover your sin, and you too can have a time and place, where you met the Savior. Glory to His name!

Down at the cross where my Savior died,
Down where for cleansing from sin I cried,
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

Glory to His Name,
Glory to His Name:
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!


Mortality and Time

As a child it seemed the days passed so slowly, especially during school. The days of summer would come and erase the memories of tests, studying, and what appeared to be endless assignments. Those warm nights, though, would again give way to cooler weather and a return to school. Upon finishing formal education, those days gave way to employment. Time passes, swiftly. The older I become, the quicker the days seem to pass.

Looking back, the days spent in school don’t seem so far away. As a child it appeared that time was an abundant, inexhaustible source. Now, time is priceless and something that must be managed wisely. Seeing the sands slipping through the hourglass of life you begin to realize that no one knows how much sand their hourglass starts with nor how much remains. With age comes the realization and reality of our mortality.

This life, no matter how long we have, is short. Whether forty years, sixty years, eighty years or more, it passes quickly. Life consists of doing, working, going, and countless other things. We get busy, we become occupied, and time passes. Much of it passes and we are blissfully unaware.

Job:14:1: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

In the process of living it is normal to ponder life, God, religion, eternity. I suspect that many, if not all, have pursued the answer to these subjects. I spend every day offering my life, my being, as a witness for Jesus and the Bible. Some days I succeed, other days are not quite as successful. With the time I have been given, I made a decision to accept Jesus as my Savior. Far too many days slipped by, too many times I said “maybe tomorrow”.

James:4:14: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Today is the day of salvation. Once you die, your works here are finished. There is no second chance to come back and make anything right. This life is all we are given, whether your days are few or many, our days are numbered. A decision must be made with the time you are given. No excuse will be accepted. Lies will be transparent. There will be no reason “good enough” for refusing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah:55:6: Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

This day is an opportunity, a moment in time where you too can accept the gift of eternal life. It is a gift. It cannot be bought, it cannot be traded for, it cannot be sold. The giver of eternal life is God, and it is given to all who will confess their sin to God and accept His Son, Jesus as their Savior. If you do not have a relationship with Jesus, let me encourage you to accept Him today, for your tomorrow may not come. Accepting salvation is a simple act, simply pray the following prayer (or something close to it), believe in your heart, and accept the grace of God through Jesus Christ:

Heavenly Father, I have sinned, I have lived a life of sin, I have done wrong and confess my sin to You. God, my sin is against you and I am sorry. Please forgive me. Jesus I ask you now to come into my heart, cleanse me and make me worthy of You. I accept You, Jesus, as my Savior and I thank You for the salvation You have given me now and the gift of eternal life.

If you prayed that prayer I would love to hear from you. I thank God for you, and all that read and share these messages. I continue to pray for you all and simply ask that you do the same for me. May God continue to bless you and all that you do!

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A Christmas Devotional

A few days ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to give a Christmas devotional during our young adult Christmas dinner. I would also like to take this time to share it with you as well. It is a bit longer than my usual articles, but worth the time. I hope you enjoy it:

This time of year, this season, we set aside as a very special occasion. Families and friends gather together and celebrate. It is a time of joy, celebration, and charity. This is the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior:

Luke:2:4: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
Luke:2:6: And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Luke:2:7: And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Here we find that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This, as with all other things, was by design, and not accident. Bethlehem literally means “house of bread”. Jesus became that manna, that bread which came down from Heaven to be born in Bethlehem.

Lu:2:10: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Lu:2:11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Good tidings of great joy; What greater joy do we know than salvation? Not only for those who were able to see the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a manger, but to all people. We have that joy, and it is still available to all that will hear and accept Him.

Matthew:1:22: Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Matthew:1:23: 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.

Not only did the King of Glory come down from His throne, that He would dwell among us, He remains with us today, in His Word and in the Spirit. He is still Emmanuel, God with us. He is the Reason for the season and our gathering together tonight.

For just a few more minutes, let us look at the Gift received then, and the Gift that yet awaits.

Luke:2:25: And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
Luke:2:26: And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Luke:2:27: And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Luke:2:28: Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Luke:2:29: Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
Luke:2:30: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Luke:2:31: Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
Luke:2:32: A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Here we read about a man named Simeon. We see first that he was led by the Spirit to the Lord, Jesus Christ. Just as it was then, it remains so today. How precious is that moment when his eyes beheld Salvation, and our Spiritual eyes also found the beauty of the cross? This was done openly and not only for the Jews, but for us, the gentiles as well. In Matthew we read another account of finding the Savior:

Matthew:2:7: Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
Matthew:2:8: And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
Matthew:2:9: When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
Matthew:2:10: When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
Matthew:2:11: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

The wise men were sent to search diligently. That is to search with purpose. They went seeking and they did find. When they found, they rejoiced with exceeding joy. Do you still remember that joy the moment you too found the Savior? Not only did they rejoice, but they took from their own treasures and gave from them gifts. Today we too rejoice in fellowship with the Savior, we are rewarded in diligently seeking our Savior, and we too offer gifts of ourselves unto Him. Just as they followed a star to find the child Christ, we too follow that bright and morning star, which is Christ. This is the gift which was received then and now.

And finally, the Gift which awaits. Our King ,which came from glory and perfection, which went from riches to rags and took upon Himself our shame. He paid our debt and washed us clean by His precious blood. He did all this by the work He accomplished here in the flesh, that we could have the promise of eternal life. Romans and Ephesians say it like this:

Romans:6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians:2:7: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Ephesians:2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians:2:9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We await eternal life. We await that mansion prepared in glory. As much as we wait to inherit these things, our Gift, Jesus Christ, also waits.

John:14:2: In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
John:14:3: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Our Lord awaits at the right hand of the Father for that moment He will be able to receive us unto Himself. Jesus, our Gift from God, awaits. As Christmas approaches, keep in mind that we have the ability by the Spirit of God and the witness of our testimony to reach out to the lost and lead them to the same Gift from God we have already accepted. Let us continue to praise and give Jesus thanks for this season and every day for those gifts received and those yet to come.

Troubles and Hope

Life is not easy. I know that seems to be a gross understatement of fact. It has been difficult since Eden and the fall of mankind. It is an unfortunate truth, one which we all come to realize and struggle with until we too are gone from it.

Jesus said that trials and tribulations would come. He also said the world hated Him, and it would hate you too. Life and all the difficulties that arise from it should be no surprise. The nearer we are to His appearing the worse things will get. I am also reminded that Jesus questioned, when He comes back will He find faith?

We face problems from every direction we turn. Finances, relationships, and health are all major concerns and considerable burdens we carry with us daily. These things, by themselves, are bad enough but we amplify the problems by allowing them to create a wedge between ourselves and our Savior, Jesus Christ. When the world and life cast more upon you than you can carry, remember these great reminders from the One who loves you:

John:16:33: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

His faithful words do not stop there, for in His Word, He left so many more reminders:

2nd Corinthians:4:8: We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2nd Corinthians:4:9: Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Yes, life is difficult. Every difficulty is a chance to seek the face of God. During struggle and resistance, strength is gained. The time will come when you are troubled on every side, when you are perplexed, persecuted and cast down. It is during these times our faith in Jesus should be strongest. He is our peace, He is our answer, He is always with us, and He will carry us from this life to eternal life. He is our victory over this life and this world, look to Him, seek His face and there in His peace will we find rest! Give all your praise to Jesus, for He is truly worthy!

Take up your cross

We have a duty to live each day purposefully. So many people take every day for granted and have taken no thought of doing anything more than surviving the day and hoping to do the same tomorrow. We are not supposed to live this way. Our days are numbered, we have no promise of tomorrow. Are we serving ourselves with the time we have? Are we wasting the precious gift of life?

Luke:9:23: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

The first thing we must be doing is following Jesus! He set forth the perfect example. We must be pursuing perfection with our lives. This is not a choice, this becomes our new walk, our transformation. Being a new creature in Christ, it becomes our desire!

In this pursuit of our Savior we find that we must deny ourselves. We cannot be selfish within any part of our lives. Our time, our possessions, our very being must be secondary to the command, direction, call, and example of Jesus. Denying ourselves is very difficult and wages war against our very nature. Yet, when we deny ourselves, He becomes dominant in our being, He is made witness for others to see, He is glorified.

Then we must take up our cross. We do not take up our cross once then lay it aside, we are to take it up daily. This statement shows that it will not be easy, but it does show the extent of how closely we are to pursue our Master. The cross is not pleasant to look upon. It appears heavy, shameful, and more burdensome than we can bare. Do not let the appearance fool you. Do not be afraid. We have all sinned. We have all fallen short of God’s glory, yet God loved us. For this purpose we were given a Savior. We too have a responsibility to Christ, no matter how difficult it seems, we must follow Him, and we must live to purposefully glorify Jesus. He loved you enough to take up His cross which is far greater than the cross He has planned for you. Your cross is yours but not alone, and given only that you too could follow Him. He is our strength, He is our sufficiency. He carried His cross, He will also help carry yours. Let Him show you His strength, grasp onto your cross, lift it, take the first step and openly declare that you can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you! Let Jesus be glorified, for He is truly worthy!