Thursday, December 31, 2015

Peace, Good Will Toward Men – Part 2

Michael continues that each moment in time is a point of decision; either to trust God and allow His peace to reign in our hearts, or to succumb to the confusion of the God-rejecting world system. Jesus said in Matthew 10:34, I have not come to bring a peace treaty with the evil spiritual powers of this earth, but to bring a sword to separate belief from unbelief ... to set believing members of a household against the unbelievers. “For the Word of God is alive and powerful, and is sharper than a two edged sword to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and is a discerner between the thoughts and intentions of the heart” – Hebrews 4:12. The Word of God separates righteousness from unrighteousness and believing from unbelieving. The sword of the Word of God must first separate the wretched sinful nature of the flesh from the righteous nature of the Spirit of God, in Christ, in us. “If we live in the light as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness” – 1 John 1:7.

God's purpose for trials is to drive us away from the sin-sick world and back to Christ. Our hearts must first be broken in order for God to heal us by reconciling us back to Himself through the righteous payment of the blood of Jesus Christ. Sin convicts us for he who knoweth to do righteousness and doeth it not, to him this is sin – James 4:17. Like the prodigal son, the point of repentance, of turning around, is when we realize that we are living in the pig pen of this sinful, self-centered world and say, "I will arise and go unto my father" – Luke 15:18. Every moment is a point of repentance:  to turn from the sin nature of the flesh and the deceivingly illusionary enticements of the wicked world and to run back to our Father's loving embrace. He has called us to live "in the eye of the hurricane." – in the world, but not of the world. Our comfort is that in the midst of the storms of life, Jesus says, "Peace be still."

To maintain the peace of God, “blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree that is planted by the rivers of waters.  His leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” – Psalm1:1-3.  Jesus said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches...  abide in me and I in you and he who abides in me shall bear much fruit" – John 15:5.

“Therefore, be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Philippians 4:6-7. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye have been called in one body, and be ye thankful” – Colossians 3:15.

As the angel said to the shepherds on a Judean hillside on that first Christmas day, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord"...  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" – Luke 2:11-14.

May God richly bless you. Happy New Year!.
Your brother in Christ, Michael

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Peace, Good Will Toward Men – Part 1

Michael writes this new Year’s Eve about how we need to be reminded that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.  We must keep our mind's eye focused on the target that He is a “Rewarder” of those who diligently seek Him.

There are four reasons to keep excited about walking in fellowship with the Lord. The first is that we have been “forgiven”.  We have been wrapped in the righteous robes of Jesus Christ. The second is “character”.  His Character is the power in our lives to do that which He has called us to do for He has infused us with His spirit ... the spirit of God in Christ in us - the hope of glory.  The third is “purpose”. We have been called “holy”, meaning set apart for the purpose intended by the Designer - God. Our life is significant because of what He made us in Christ Jesus to deliver the message and to be the message at the same time. The fourth is “security”. “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which He's committed to me against that Day of Judgment” – 2 Timothy 1:12.  The fifth is “Peace”.  Jesus said, "My peace I leave with you my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you...  let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid" – John 14:27.
Isaiah 9
says, "Unto us a child is born and his name shall be called... Prince of Peace and of his kingdom there shall be no end."  There is no peace without the Prince of Peace.  This lawless God-rejecting world is full of chaos and confusion, turmoil, tribulation, strife, and contention. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” – 1 Corinthians 14:33.  

Peace is the solution to confusion ... it is the absolute end of strife and contention between God and mankind. We are no longer at war with God and His righteousness. “For God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh that we may be made the righteousness of God in him” –Romans 8:3.  On the first Christmas day, God sent his only begotten son, born of a virgin, so that we could be reconciled to our heavenly Father. 

According to Ephesians 2:14-18, "For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."

Let's continue Michael's new year's message of Peace on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2016 Focused

Philippians 3:13-14  “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Just like the Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul knew his goal and he pressed towards the mark. So too, we need to focus our attention. We are coming to an end of another calendar year, where we measure many of our successes by the accomplishment of the goals that we set for the past 12 months. I know that our church’s elder board will be reviewing the goals established previously and proposing new church goals for this coming year. This is true in just about every individual household also. The truth is that this is what is often lacking in our lives, but is always present in the lives of those who are successful. The old saying goes that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We begin a good thing but get distracted, so we go off into something else. Christian theologian Blaise Pascal stated: Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for miseries and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.’

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

As Christians, we know that our goals are founded upon glorifying God and advancing His kingdom. If we are ever distracted, we need to be able to return to the main focus of our goals. Everything in life is to be brought into that focus. I read that self-discipline has at least three factors that are essential to anyone who is going to be successful in life. First, is the selection of definite and clear-cut goals, both long and short term, that lead to a desired objective in life. Secondly, we need to stay focused. We need a burning desire to reach our goal. And, thirdly, we need a workable plan. We can never reach a goal that has never been clearly defined. We are not distracted by past failures or the past in general; we learn from them and reach forward towards the goals ahead. There is plenty of adventures along the way, but press on with “one thing” in Christ, focused on the goal.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Of Faith

1 John 5:12-13 “He who has the Son [by accepting Him as Lord and Savior] has the life [that is eternal]; he who does not have the Son of God [by personal faith] does not have the life. This Is Written That You May Know  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God [which represents all that Jesus Christ is and does], so that you will know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have eternal life.”

One of my co-workers came up to me the other week and said: “You are a ‘man of faith’, aren’t you?” and proceeded to talk to me about a spiritual situation going on in his life. It seemed odd to hear myself addressed with such a title, but remembered that the ladies at our church attend the “Women of Faith” annual conference in our town also. Nowadays, we hear the term “people of faith” commonly used in politics. I read an article how U.S. Presidential candidates see 'people of faith' as a group within the nation that supports them. But, in using any of these terms, a couple assumptions are being made. First, it implies that there is another group that you could call “people of no faith”, because if you have one, than naturally you have the other, otherwise the qualifier “of faith” is not necessary. Yet, to make a distinction between People of faith and people of no faith is truly pointless as there is no such thing as a person of no faith. Technically, all human beings place their ultimate trust – their faith – in something, whether a deity, an earthly leader, or even their own abilities.

Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God.” 

The writer states that as concerning as it is to imply that some people have no faith and the eternal consequences, there is a troubling second assumption which the phrase implies. The people to which the phrase refers have faith, but it does not say what kind of faith they have? It is generic. The phrase designates “religious” people, but does not tell us what the religion of these people happens to be. That is intentional, as a goal to get a significant number of devout people to set aside their faith and unite for a common cause. Religious distinctions are papered over because they are seen as less important than what really binds people of faith together – the mere fact that that believe.

Certainly, it is not wrong to work side-by-side with someone who is not a Christian. We do it daily in society. But, there is a way to do this without making the content of faith generic and indifferent. We must not make the content of faith indifferent, for that insults people whose beliefs about God are fundamentally incompatible with ours.

 John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.                                

More importantly, tells us that content matters. All people have faith in something, but we are not saved simply by having faith. We are saved only if we have the correct object of our faith. If we are not “people of faith” in Jesus, we will be lost for all eternity. Choosing the object of faith cannot be reduced to generic groups or personal preferences. It is a matter of “saving truth”. The wrong object of faith will save no one.

John 3:36 He who believes and trusts in the Son and accepts Him [as Savior] has eternal life [that is, already possesses it]; but he who does not believe the Son and chooses to reject Him, [disobeying Him and denying Him as Savior] will not see [eternal] life, but [instead] the wrath of God hangs over him continually.”

 Of faith in Christ, Brian

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Always Be Yourself

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Psalm 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Psalm 24:3-5 “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

Matthew 6:5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. 

Matthew 23:5 “They do all their deeds to be seen by others. 

Romans 12:2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Ephesians 2:10  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Philippians 1:27Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”

Philippians 2:3-5 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 2:4But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

1 Peter 3:3-4Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.”

1 John 2:15-17Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Be yourself, aligned with Christ, Brian

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Luke 2:1-14 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

May you have a truly blessed Christmas Day. Know how precious the “Gift of Life” is. Today, we celebrate New Life in Christ Jesus, the Savior of the worid.
God bless you and keep you. In Christ, Brian
Isaiah 9:6-7 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Oh Holy Night

Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Michael’s Christmas message: Jesus Christ is the reason for the season.  It's hard to keep our minds focused on the things that really matter amidst the distraction of the festivities around us. However the Word of God says, “thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee.” Some people don't look forward to the Christmas season because broken relationships bring back painful memories. Jesus said, "In this life ye shall have tribulation. Be not discouraged, be of good cheer for I have overcome the world."  When we understand that in this life we will have tribulation, then life will be less difficult.  We have but one life. Jesus came so that we would be clothed not in the filthy rags of our sin nature, but that we could be clothed in the robes of his righteousness, saying: “for though your sins were as scarlet, you shall be as white as snow.

Sometimes, Christmas is a painful time for many people because it forces them to associate with "friends" and relatives they haven't seen during the year. They feel uncomfortable when they think that they have not lived up to the expectations of others. However, when the crisis comes God expects His people to be the reliable ones who rise to the occasion to prove His power in their lives...  for it is God which worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Our peace is in fellowship with the “Prince of Peace”. For surely our fellowship is with our Father, His Son Jesus Christ and one with another in “the household of faith”. God wants us to spend time in His presence and in the presence of Jesus Christ, so that our hearts will be pure as He is pure and so that our focus would be on Him; not on the things of this world that come to nought. He said if we confess our sin, including our broken fellowship, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness. He came to give us His character. Therefore Jesus said, "abide in me and I in you, then shall you bear much fruit."  When we abide in Him, His character will influence and infuse our character, that we may become the righteousness of God in him.

God doesn't count righteousness to us by what we've done. Any man can claim his human "rights" and any demon will make sure they get theirs. Righteousness is not of the flesh, but only in Him. There is none righteous (in the flesh) no not one. He did not come with a mighty whirlwind., rather, He came like winter snow falling softly.  Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given...  he came that we would be reconciled to God.  For He who knew no sin was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf, that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.

The lyrics of a popular Christmas song says "Mary did you know that one day your baby boy would walk on water?" This is the theme of the paraphrase of an essay "One Solitary Life" by Dr. James Allan Francis:

“He was born in an obscure village. The son of a peasant woman espoused to a lowly carpenter.
He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone. Of all the armies that have ever marched, all the navies that have ever sailed, of all the governments that have ever ruled, Nothing has changed the course of the history of mankind as much as this one single solitary life.”

“For he who knew no sin humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:8

That in everything he might have dominion over the sin that separates us from the righteous judgment of almighty God. For Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, paid the price for our sin nature when He became the sinless sacrifice on our behalf, that we who were dead in trespasses and sin, may receive life and become the righteousness of God in Him. In Him all things hold together...  in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.  There is always hope in this world. He is our hope. The love of God beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things,  endureth all things.

May God richly bless you as we celebrate the birth of our Lord.  Oh Holy night...  Christ the Savior is born!
Merry Christmas! Your Brother in Christ,

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

By God's Grace

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Ok, for the most of us, we go through life experiencing minor troubles on the scale of what could go wrong. Major setbacks and life-struggles in health and well-being are, hopefully, not experienced at all, or few and far between, and not have any permanent affect. Negative talk is severely frowned upon, as the power of “positive thinking”; the Bible speaks to this in Philippians 4:8, where the Apostle Paul states: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” But, he doesn’t tell us to be ignorant or pretend that there is no trouble or negative or evil in this fallen world. But, we are to focus on “good”, grounded foundationally on God in faith and love. We find peace in walking in the Spirit, praying and praising our Creator father in heaven, and they Savior Lord Jesus who has overcome the troubled world to redeem it.

Matthew 5:44-45 Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

On my way to work last Thursday, in congested traffic, a truck suddenly crossed over the double/double yellow lines on the Freeway in front of me and, not being able to avoid, my motorcycle collided and I was thrown violently into the truck, deflected ferociously low side to the pavement and over two lanes. Trouble became a reality, but miraculously I came away, not only with my life spared, but injures isolated to a broken right leg, a fractured left wrist and a couple scuffs only. By the grace of God, there are no head, neck, spin, hip, shoulder or internal injuries at all. I have a long, slow 6-8 week rest, rehabilitation and recovery, but t he Lord has glorious things in store for me ... and you. Focus on the Lord.

In Christ, Brian

Friday, December 18, 2015

Brian's Accident

Good afternoon blog readers, this message is from Brian's wife Patty. Brian was involved in a motorcycle accident yesterday morning on his way to work. He suffered numerous fractures but we are very thankful to God that he has no head or neck injuries. We praise God for protecting him from oncoming freeway traffic and sparing his very life. He had surgery this morning and asked me to write a short note to all of you. Please pray for his recovery and my strength to care for his needs. I'm sure he will soon want to get back to the blog.



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Behind enemy lines

Michael writes this week that true transformation only happens in proximity of Jesus Christ. There are things in us where God is calling us to pray: "God come and help yourself to our lives." God knows our hearts and intends to speak to His men and women individually and collectively to will and to do of His good pleasure. He calls us to listen with the Pentecostal gift of hearing ... to listen to His still small voice. He says “come to me all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”  Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice and they know me and I Give unto them eternal life."  God said, "Be still and know that I am God."

If Christ is not the Lord of your life, how will you know who the enemy is?  If you don't know your Commander-in-Chief, how can you know who stands against Him. You've got to share the values, virtues, and righteousness of our Lord and Savior in order to know who stands against truth, for Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life”, not a way, a truth and the life.

Ecclesiastes 5:1 “Guard yourself when you go into the house of God.  Fools are ignorant and do wrong. God is in heaven and you upon earth, so let your words be few.  Be careful how you surrender your life to Him.”  

In 1 Samuel 16, God commanded Samuel to go to Jesse's house and to bring an animal to sacrifice to the Lord. His purpose was to anoint the next king of Israel to replace Saul. Jesse didn't even call his youngest son David to be considered for the anointing. People look on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart. David, though Jesse's most insignificant son, was a man after God's own heart. In chapter 18:5 David was successful in everything God commanded him to do. Saul became jealous of David's victories. From that point on, David was pursued by Saul and lived behind enemy lines. To live behind enemy lines, seek out God's four provisions. God is provident: Jehovah Jireh will provide.

The first provision is that God is “your map” to guide you to safe ground. Only those who are His understand what it means to live behind enemy lines. Before David did anything, he went to the Lord. God was David's map. When God is your map, He will be your protection.  

The second of God's provisions is that you must put on “the armor of God.“ Ephesians 6:10 says: “Finally be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put ye on therefore the full armor of God so that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and dominions and against spiritual wickedness from on high.”  

The third provision is “shelter”. We need a place of shelter when fighting the enemy. In Psalm 143:9, David said, "Deliver me from mine enemies, in you I take shelter." In Psalm 46:1 he said: “The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.”  

Hebrews 4:12   “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The fourth provision is that God has provided you with a weapon – “Scripture”. 2 Timothy 3:15 says: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof and for correction which is instruction in righteousness.” You need to exercise your weapon to be able to hit the target every time. Ephesians 6:17
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” When behind enemy lines, you must have the power of God and the weapon of His Word to discern truth from error. To transform people's lives, God afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.

Your brother in Christ, Michael

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

All-knowing Creator God sends Jesus

Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.”

There is an eleventh thing that God never says, and that is: “Wow, I never saw that coming!” This material world we live in is defined by three spatial dimensions and one dimension of time; in other words, the dimensions of length, width, height (or depth) and time. It's difficult, if not impossible, for the finite, living within the boundaries of these four dimensions, to grasp and comprehend the infinite and that which exists boundless outside what we sense and understand. Creator God, Spirit, outside of time, that spoke the Cosmos (heaven and the universe), matter and time into existence can only be understood by what He reveals to us.

Job 38:1-4 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.

We have to take by faith what we know to be true, but cannot seeing or touch. The Lord has left His fingerprints all over the place and written His signature for us all to recognize. The Holy Spirit is guiding us all in paths of righteousness for Christ’s sake and our maturing growth in this purposeful pilgrim’s progress towards eternity, from the four dimensions of this life to the fifth and beyond with the Lord in heaven. God is saying, “Don’t get all caught up in the creation; get caught up in the Creator.” Realize who made everything and is continually active in the affairs of mankind daily.

Psalm 33:13-15 The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

But, also, comprehend that the Lord has us here to glorify God. And though we live in a “Fallen World” of sin and unbelief, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ into these four dimension so we could truly sense “God among us”, Emmanuel. And this perfect fully God/ fully Man Jesus would (by the pure love and grace of God) pay with His life to redeem the world, then rise from the death to conquer sin, death and the devil forever for the Believer, by faith – Ephesians 2:1-9. Christmas means so much because of Jesus. Unending joy!

John 1:1-5, 10 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. That “Word” is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let's not allow our limited capacity of sensory perception attempt to limit our infinite eternal Maker. Rejoice!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove. The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love. 

Merry Christmas, Brian

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wonder in His Name

Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.

This section in Isaiah 9 is the classic Christmas passage for the birth of the Christ. I read a short though-provoking article last week that drove below the superficial winter holiday festival celebration to the true purposeful reason for this holy day and why. What is in the name of the Lord Jesus?  There is wonder in His name.  Do you stand in awe of the Lord Jesus Christ?  Or, in the words of that pseudo-Theological band - The Doobie Brothers: “Jesus is just alright with me.” Do you not get excited when you think of Jesus? If you don’t, you’re missing the wonder that touches your very soul.   

Psalm 40:4-5 Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are  Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.

Wonder is defined as that emotion which is excited by novelty, or the presentation to the mind, of something extraordinary; something that arrests the attention by its novelty, grandeur or inexplicableness.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is wonderful.  Wonderful in His birth.  Wonderful in His life.  Wonderful in His teachings.  Wonderful in His testimonies. Wonderful in His counsel and guidance. Wonderful in His miracles. Wonderful in His works. Wonderful in His Salvation. Wonderful in His death. Wonderful in His resurrection. And wonderful in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and Wonderful in the promise of His second coming. His name is wonderful.

Psalm 89:5-6 The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints. For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord?

Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!"

Psalm 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

See just how wonderful Jesus is. As the classic Christmas song goes: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, because there is wonder in His name.
Merry Christmas, Brian

Monday, December 14, 2015

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

Psalm 4:4-5 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord."

Psalm 28:6-8 Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

Psalm 32:10-11 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Psalm 84:10-12 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Isaiah 26:4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”

Trust in the Lord, Brian