The Word became flesh

John 1.14a

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ Luke 19:14

 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 11:15

From yesterday: “I so enjoyed my devotional this morning. Another Tozer one…he wrote about being asked his thoughts on this question: if Jesus was to come to earth today, would this present generation would be glad and any more accepting of Jesus’ arrival than the people were 2,000 years ago.”

Thanks so much to all who pondered this question. Bless you for leaving your comments as well. Tozer discussed the fact that when Jesus came many knew that “following Him would call for abrupt and drastic changes in their patterns of living. The proud and selfish aspects of their lives would have been disturbed.” He also spoke to the financial impact on those who stepped out and followed Jesus along with a disdain for a true spiritual life. Tozer felt that the response to Jesus in flesh would be no different today than it was over 2,000 years ago.

I am in agreement for most love themselves too much to allow anyone to be Lord of their lives. What they fail to realize is that their money, pride, and self-exaltation and indulgence is doing just that. The Lord is faithful and provided in my news feed a post from Lifeway’s Facts and Trends released on yesterday which included an article titled, “Away With the Manger: More Americans Look for a Secular Christmas.”

The Facts and Trends post referenced the latest Pew Research survey which confirms the sad condition of the times in which we live. The Pew Research study can be found at this link: http://www.pewforum.org/2017/12/12/americans-say-religious-aspects-of-christmas-are-declining-in-public-life/.

I pray you will find time to read at least a portion and be spurred on by the Spirit of the Living God to be faithful to His instructions as we interact with others during this time of CHRISTmas celebration. It is important because we know the end of the story and whether any man opposes or not as the Revelation verse tells us above, He shall reign forever and ever.”

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Revelation 11.15

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Mary betrothed to Joseph…

Matthew 1.21a

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.  Matthew 1:18-25

Certainly, Joseph’s story is one to be pondered. The woman you are engaged to marry, who you have not touched, has just told you something that you never thought you would hear at this point in time. She’s pregnant. How could that be, after all you know for a fact that there is no way the child could be yours? To add insult to injury, she has told you some story about an angel appearing with a declaration that she was highly favored and the child she is carrying would be called the Son of the Most High. And of course, this is because of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Most High…nothing is impossible for God. Surely, she could come up with a better story than this one.

Nothing is impossible for God but one thing for sure, it is impossible for me to marry her… but no matter what she has done, in my heart I know that I cannot see her stoned as an adulterer. There has to be a way to handle this privately. There has to be a way to avoid the public shame and mocking…for her, and for me.

I can only imagine how Joseph’s head must have been twirling in the midst of his heart hurting! I am sure the twirling and hurting continued until he was exhausted and laid down to sleep…and then an angel appears to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins….24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JesusMatthew 1:18-25

My, my, my…from questions, doubts, fears, developing his plan…Joseph wakes up with an heart of obedience. He follows the command of the Lord and takes Mary as his wife. Lord, I’m going to walk according to Your Word.

He watches over and cares for Mary allowing the Lord to lead them all the way. When Mary’s child was ready to enter the world Joseph was right there and once again obedient unto the Lord. Joseph named the child, Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins.

I don’t know of any clearer example of Proverbs 3:5-6,Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

May God help us to surrender to His will even we don’t understand just as Joseph did. Help me anyway, as self will get in the way of surrendering to God. It usually takes a little more than time than overnight. 🙂

Matthew 1.25b

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Hope for today: Prince of Peace

HopeFor to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus. Romans 5:1

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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Hope for today: Come, Lord Jesus!

Hope

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. Revelation 22:17-21

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No other Name

Acts 4.12

All that any man needs is in the name Jesus the Christ!
The name “Jesus” is used over 1,000 times in the New Testament. There is salvation is His Name, pardon in His Name, and power in His Name!
Philippians 2:9 declares this name is “the Name that is above every name.”

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 2:9-11

In the midst of power struggles and the fight for who is the greatest in the land  the answer is simple: His name is Jesus. The meaning of His name is “Jehovah saves.” No one else has looked pass our sin, rebellion, and trespasses to bear them all on a cross at Calvary because God so loved. No one else has the power to save us from the penalty of sin, the wrath of God, and hell which is our just wage. No one else is able to give us victory over the power of sin and remove our love for sin. No one else has the power to one day  remove us from the very presence of sin.

Jesus and Jesus alone is the one who proclaimed “no man takes my life but I lay it down.”

“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.
This charge I have received from my Father (
John 10:18).”

The choir so beautifully sung Great is Thy Faithfulness on Sunday. I can still hear the 3rd verse:

“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Philippians 2.9a

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Hope for today: the mystery of godliness

Hope15But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to act in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 And most certainly, the mystery of godliness is great:He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated in the Spirit,
seen by angels,
preached among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:15-16

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Jesus, a Priest forever

Hebrews 7.21

Jesus Compared to Melchizedek

11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him,

“You are a priest forever,
    after the order of Melchizedek.”

18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever.’”

22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.  Hebrews 7:11-28

Hebrews 7.25a

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you ought to be teachers

Hebrews 5.12

12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:12-14

The writer of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit, tells the Jews that they should be able to share the truth of God’s Word, to teach others the unsearchable truth of Jesus Christ…instead of teaching they needed to be taught. We see this same type writing in Hebrews 6:

“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1-2

These teachings are foundational to the Christian faith. You should have a sure and certain faith about these basic teachings, so much so that you could teach them to others and yet…you keep sipping on the bottle. Isn’t it time for at least some junior food…at least a vegetable or two? I would really like to teach you about the priesthood, Melchizedek, a better covenant…but you are not able to chew and digest.

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:14).”  The mature have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. This is the by product of training in the Word. We pray, we study, we meditate day and night, we hide the Word in our hearts, develop discernment, and we apply it to our lives with joy. The spirit man becomes strong and we are able to  move from glory to glory.

It is hard to read these Scriptures and not give thought to current surveys that report large numbers of people claim to be Christians and when these numbers are drilled down many do not believe in the virgin birth, heaven, hell, Jesus walked the heart, the resurrection. etc. God has so much more but He is too wise to build upon a shaky foundations. Let a man examine himself to see if he is in the faith.

Maturity in Christ requires “constant use and training in the Word of God.”

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  John 17:17

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. Ephesians 5:26

2 Timothy 2.15

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Speak, Lord!

1 Samuel 3.9

1 Samuel 3 (NKJV)

Samuel’s First Prophecy

Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.”

And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down.

Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!”

So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.”

Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

15 So Samuel lay down until morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!”

He answered, “Here I am.”

17 And he said, “What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you.” 18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”

19 So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

Psalm 94.19

 

 

Psalm 119.105

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God’s rest

Confidence 12

Psalm 62

3 although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.” … Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,
10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Hebrews 4:3b,4,6-10

The writer of Hebrews looks back through history to share in regards to rest to help us find understanding:

  1. Creation-verse 3b, from the foundation of the world-verse 4: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.” We see the Sovereign Creator God who created the world and initiate rest. From the foundation of the world, it has been the Father’s will that His children find rest, peace, joy and fellowship in Him. There can be no true rest without fellowship with God.
  2. The time of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness: The Jews who received the good news message of forgiveness, salvation, joy and rest in the Lord blocked the manifestation of it due to rebellion, unbelief, and disobedience. Remember The Lord speaking to Moses, “The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…(Exodus 3:7-8).”
  3. The time of Joshua, verse 8: For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.” God used Joshua to give the Israelites some manner of rest- rest from the enemies of this land but not ultimate rest from the enemy of man’s soul and death. God spoke about a greater day!
  4. Today – the Day of God’s Salvation: verse 7: again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” As we discussed in an earlier post, Today is the day of salvation. The Day of God’s grace.
  5. A Sabbath rest for God’s people, verse 9-10: So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,  for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

These verses show us God’s plan for His people to rest in Him from the creation of the world. It is exciting to know that even the events in the Garden of Eden does not have power to circumvent God’s plan for His children to rest in Him forever.

We will not know God’s rest in its fullness until heaven but what comfort it brings to look forward to the day described in Revelation 21:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

Just can’t wait for that day! “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” Revelation 14:13

It is the final Sabbath rest of salvation in the very Presence of the Lord. But the question remains, what about rest for today, in the midst of the nitty, gritty life before heaven. We hear the Lord’s great invitation of Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” and again in 1 Peter 5:7, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.Rest is found in the dying of self and living for God- His plan, His purpose, His way! Love overflowing into obedience gives sweet rest. It is not a work of our own doing or any type legalism.

It is makes no difference if rest remains needed for right now or the future, rest is found in the completed work of Jesus at the cross and in His resurrection three days later. It is by believing that we enter into God rest (salvation) and it is by obeying by faith and surrendering to His will that God’s rest that we realize the fullness of His rest. No wonder the Psalmist declared,

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Psalm 62:5-7

 O, what a privilege to be His child and enter His rest!

Confidence

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