Posts Tagged With: Christ

Divided Loves: Marital Love

We must consider God: He was not bored

when He created Man and Adam’s wife;

The Maker made His image. In fair Eve,

our King’s intent: the gift of holy life.

The two He joins, our lives God gently weaves:

Our souls, His saints; Himself our Sovereign Lord.

Love intertwined: the Church and Jesus Christ.

His Word dives our soul from spirit. Sword

of God now making what went wrong alright

through perfect grace. He clothes with more than leaves

and what was torn, in Christ is now restored.

The pains of ancient times, our Lord relieves.

Our Father gives the Spirit as our Seal,

and thus our Husband Jesus truly heals.

Categories: Good News, Marriage, Poem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord is my Inheritance.

There is a whole category of people who are called to Christ and have a passion for the nations & for the weak & marginal and have sought to go with a variety of service groups and who are repeatedly told no, don’t go, be quiet, just settle down young man.

The reality is that if I were to go to my field of focus, I would probably die in short order because I would of my zeal or I would be disregarded as a lunatic because I would lose all my sleep because the medicines that help me relax & sleep sometimes would be unavailable.

Instead I pray.

I dare say that often my prayer lacks impact that I am aware of. I tend to pick certain countries & prayer goals and remember them as reminded, so I make lists.

Is this unfocussed? No, usually the only times I have observed the impact are when I stop praying and problems happen.

In retrospect, I have however seen the Lord start movements in various peoples that I prayed for and the timing was impossibly too neat to correlate due to chance. God uses our prayers for movements. Over and over, I find that God works far more in my absence than in my presence. He is a big God, and he wants us to pray Big, foundation laying prayers.

If the leaves of the tree in the Revelation of Jesus given to John are for the healing of the nations, then we must plead for that salve to be applied for the salvation of the souls of societies.

Praying requires a whole different category of action, it elevates us to the heavenlies, for we read the divine counsel in the Word and render judgments according to Psalms 2:8: the Son will have the inheritance that is His! HE shall possess the earth. HE is waiting for us to ask. He knows exactly what He plans to do and He is always on the right side of history.

Politicians will fail us.
Disasters are unpredictable.
The devil is dangerous.
The nations are too large for us to reach them in our own power.

But every time we kneel in prayer and cry out for help, God hears and acts. Every time we stand on His promises, the Lord proves His faithfulness. Every time we sit in His presence and ask for the nations, the Lord God sends forth His angel armies to intervene. Every time we fall flat on our faces and humble ourselves before the King of the Universe, the Lord God Almighty rejoices over us with singing and stands in the gaps that we cannot fill.

We cannot fill the gaps for we are sinners,
I am the worst
But He is perfect
We fail. He is faultless.
The Lord will succeed in every intervention He begins.

Our actions, our giving, our prayers, our sacrifices all must flow from our lives guided by the Word of God for them to be effective.
This is why years in prayer are often needed to accomplish what may take a season of actual service.
Then, when the doors close behind us after our work is finished, then the Lord Spirit goes to work most earnestly, with greater freedom than we could ever have.
This is the story of China.
This is the story of Iran.
This is the story of all who are bathed in prayer,
This is the story of all who are bathed in the Spirit.

This is why statistics lie about the future.
Statistics are based on what man sees.
Faith is about what God has promised.
Hope is the certainty that God will keep His promises.
Love is behaving according to this confidence that God is love.

Categories: Missions, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silence Leads to Violence

The complacency of fools will destroy them. (Proverbs 1:32b)
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. (Proverbs 18:9)

We are all limited in our knowledge, to some degree or another. We are all also limited in our service to the Lord, in one way or another, either due lack of ability or lack of faithful effort. Anyone who fails to serve is subject to destruction. Jeremiah knew this full well:
A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!
A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed! (Jeremiah 48:10)

The reasons there are wars & rumors of wars at this time is because of the shortage of those doing the Lord’s preferred work of blessing the nations. If we do not bless, we will be accursed. If we do not build up the Kingdom of God among the nations, we will have to tear down the kingdoms of man called nations.

Ezekiel (3:16-21), who prophesied about the same time, received a message from God that made what Jeremiah prophesied clearer:

At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

In other words, if a person does not share the wisdom that God has given them with those who are ignorant, the wise man must execute judgment. Silence leads to violence.

In what was likely one of the first portions of the New Testament that was written down and distributed, Paul wrote in Galatians: As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (1:9) Later on in the book, Paul expanded later in the book of Galatians how we are to identify with Jesus’ ostracism from the community of the self-righteous by setting the example: For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (2:19-20) So we see that there is a dying that must take place to identify with Jesus.

Paul went on to make it clear that:
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (3:10-14)
To follow Jesus is to believe that His death on the cross was sufficient to take all the curses that you deserve, so that through the Messiah Who was crushed, you might be lifted up with Him Who is exalted over every other name and so receive the Spirit of God through the promise you trust. We who receive this promised spirit then are able to bless the nations.

Back to an idea in Proverbs about character: Who are we? Paul says, “We are fools for Christ …” (1 Corinthians 4:10a) To be fools for someone means you will do some things that seem foolish because of your attachment to that person. This may seem like a bad idea, but the alternative to being zealously in love with the Lord is not a good one. Paul includes in the conclusion to his letter to the Corinthians, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!” (16:22) Whoa! Either we love the Lord or we love the world. There is no middle ground. The world may seem good and full of goods, but God is the Truly Good.

Yet our love for the Lord should lead to a love for the lost that says, “Better I die & go to hell, than that many people would die & go to hell.” Again, Paul testifies in Romans 9:2-4a “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” As he was about to go to Jerusalem and then on to Rome itself, he said, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:23-24) The only reason we live on planet earth after we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior & acknowledge Him as Lord is to make known the Kingdom of Heaven known on earth. God is patient with us so that we might make known His salvation known through our whole life.

Lest we think of this as merely exemplary living, Paul opens his letter to the Philippians with a meditation on his future on earth:
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (1:20-26)

The point of his life is not himself, but Christ who lives in Him. Christ has become our hope of glory. Let us glory not in being right in ourselves or right with the world. Rather, let us boast of the Righteous One who has come to our defense.

Do you lack any joy? Stop looking for joy in special seasons or special saints or special gifts or special sources of happiness. Let all your springs be in the Lord Jesus. Take offense at no humbug this season. Let not death quench your happiness, but let all things lead you closer and closer to Jesus. Let Him be the Word of God to you. Let Him be the Open Door that is set before you. Let Him be your Bread of Life. Let Him be your Resurrection & your Life. Have you lost your way from the path of peace? Look to Him as the Prince of Peace and pledge allegiance to Him alone. Follow Jesus as the Way. Believe in Him as the Truth. Love Him as the Life. He will bring you to the Father from whom all family derives its name and your spirit will mingle with the Very Spirit of God this Christmas.

Let us go out and tell our families, our friends, our neighbors, and yes, even our enemies what the Lord has done for us not only at Christmas, but also on the cross. The devil also needs to hear more about the saving victory of the Lord Jesus Christ who is risen and coming quickly. Marana tha!

Categories: Evangelism, Holiday, Missions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pure Love

Last week we looked at how human relationships should always have a measure of what might be called relative “hate” when compared to the Love we should have for the Lord Jesus. That is, our love for Jesus should be so strong that we are willing to strive with others for the truth. This is a loving thing to do, but some will interpret it as hateful.

There is no need to be contentious, but we should contend for the Good News of Jesus Christ.

So, then what about love, is there no such thing as love? Or, are all relationships marred by “hatred”?

Love is an attractive thing and forms when there is some kind of agreement. We should love God 100%.

This means we should always say God is right and sin is wrong. If we sin, we should love God more than our sin, and confess the truth about our sin. It is a high standard. We all fall short.

To Love God is to hate evil and to delight in wisdom that is pure. It is to do good and pursue peace.

So then, what does love look like in our human relations:

1. It is natural to agree with oneself. If we discover we have made a mistake, we should love ourselves enough to repent and turn from the evil of our hearts. It is assumed that those who are wise will love themselves in this sense. Those who are wise will not prefer themselves over all others. Indeed, the most loving thing is to put others ahead of oneself.

2. We should love our families. While family members may not always agree on everything, we should do the best we can to ensure their well-being. We should share the Good News with our families. To hide the Truth of Jesus from our families is an unloving thing. To let a family member do evil without seeking to speak to them directly about the wrong is to do them a great disservice. They may think you are hating on them when you kindly tell them that they have sinned. But in fact, correction and rebukes are signs of love. So is teaching your children to live godly lives. Training your children how to live in today’s world in a way that pleases the Lord God Almighty and yet is sustainable is a good thing. Providing for family members is a good thing and a sign of love. Those who do not love their family members are worse than unbelievers.

3. We should love one another. That is, we should love other Christians as Christ loved us. If someone identifies as belonging to Jesus, then we should come alongside them and support them and prioritize their wellbeing. In a day and age when the family of Jesus is growing rapidly as new believers are born again all around the globe every day, this could keep us busy all the time. If you find you are “witnessing” to a Christian, the goal must always be to build them up in the most holy faith and to help them draw closer to Jesus and not to be a stumbling block to any Christian unnecessarily. This is done mostly through getting acquainted with saints in your church/congregation or small group. But it should also extend to supporting the persecuted church or training believers in ministry around the world. We must not stop there though.

4. We are to love our neighbor. Jesus made it clear who our neighbor is: anyone we encounter in need, even if we do not know them or necessarily have any ethnic or national or political reason to agree with them. Loving our neighbor means breaking out of the mold and showing kindness to strangers. We must not only greet one another, we must also go to places where there are people who have yet to be greeted in the Lord’s Name. In today’s world where our neighbor may be discovered through a broadcast or website about tragedy in a distant land, the heart is called to expand to a greater degree. Whenever we learn of someone hurting, we should be sensitive enough to feel their pain. Wisdom teaches us not to focus on the problems of the world lest we become insensitized and numb in spirit. PRAY when you watch the news. Pray when you are in public, only in your heart and not for show. Pray wherever you walk. Pray while you study and read. Pray while you watch. God will lead you to your neighbors.

5. We are to love our enemies. You say, this is a tall order … HOW? Does someone offend you? Forgive them immediately and do not hold any grudge. If someone attacks you, pray for them. Do good to them. Show kindness to those who are cruel. May God’s kindness lead them to repentance. It is not enough to restrain from evil, we must bless. Do not return insult for insult. When cursed, blessed. When struck, shake hands. You do not have to invite ruin by aggravating an offended person, simply show kindness and be joyful. You cannot make everyone happy. Do not worry about that. Love anyways. If they hate you and seek to do you harm, that is their business. Bless and do not curse. Encourage them when they are down. This will not be easy. When people see you treat your enemies like this, they will call you a fool. They will say that you have lost your mind. They will say you are mindless. Keep loving. Love is foolish only to fools. Better to be an idiot in the world’s eyes and beloved of the Lord than to be rich in the world’s eyes and destitute of mercy on the last day.

Now you see why loving can seem like hating. If you love your enemies, you will seem to be hating yourself. You may end up dying as you proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the nations.

You may be rejected and poor as you apply the teachings of Jesus.

You will lose all and gain all if you follow Jesus.

In this world, you will count all as loss. In the world to come, you will lack nothing if you lack no love here. To have love, you must give love. God’s love is available to all. It is holy, pure, undefiled by sensual, sexual lust. It is innocent of evil. It is clean and enduring forever. It blazes away evil and shines in the night of wickedness. Stand, and shine the light of God’s love to the world, even the nations at the world’s ends.

For Americans, remember, to love not only America, love those who are assaulting her freedoms and love those who are attacking her people. Love your enemies and be perfect. Go to the nations. Preach the good news of the Lordship of Jesus. Stand against evil and for freedom, even if you must lose your life in the process, but there is no need to take their lives to share the sacrifice of Christ. Love is about giving life, not taking it. Celebrate the victory that is yours in Christ Jesus rather than the wars fought on domestic and foreign soil. Love your enemies.

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Christmas Love: A Sonnet and Studies.

A chorus of angels assigns a chore for us:
Run to see the Savior, Christ the Lord.
Young Mary’s heart, soon pierced by evil sword.
Yet magi come with royal gifts, implore us
Let us pray and worship Christ the King
of Whom the moving stars in heaven sing:
Your Jewish baby prince is bringing peace
His sacred suffering shall send forth release
from debt to sin. “You must be born again.”
We run abroad, afar to spread the news,
that God saves any He’d elect to use
while carried by the Comforter, our Friend.

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Below are links to various resources on Christmas: links to sites with historical information on Christmas.

CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM:
Christmas is an opportunity to share the news about the gift that God gave the world, Jesus, whom people can TRUST for their eternal lives! No other message can be GREATER THAN THIS GOOD NEWS! Unfortunately, many people in the world cannot or will not accept this gift of ?Light and life.In fact, there are a growing number of skeptics, atheists, some scholars and agnostics who are attempting to use ?evidencefrom science, archaeology and literature to show there is no God and the Bible does not contain truth! In 2009, a DVD supposedly on Biblical Archaeology was produced that is full of inaccurate information on the OT. The film
indicated that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were NOT father, son and grandson! The use of false accusations such as these cause doubt and confusion. The Bible stands on its own testimony, ?inspired of God2 Tim.3:16. There is a great need for Christians to be able to accurately communicate the truth of God?s Word!
This is especially important when it comes to the Birth of Jesus!

One source of information is
http://www.bethlehem5bc.com/

It contains: The Prelude (Old Testament including Jesus?s Genealogy-how God used the Jewish people to be a witness to the world), The Town (Bethlehem) of Jesus Birth, The
Postlude and The Future (Jesus Ministry and the second coming of Jesus as told in Revelation). During this Christmas season the Mission Focus will present some facts found in these sections. We are starting with the Prelude. This gives a background about important historical and spiritual points from the Old Testament (and secular history) that prepared the way for Christ?s Birth. Included was prophecies such as Micah 5:2, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." MAGI: ?From about 600 B.C. to 600 A.D., the MAGI were from the PRIESTLY TRIBE OF THE KINGDOM OF PARTHIA (IRAN). Daniel chapter 2:48 tells why King Nebuchadnezzar II
appointed Daniel to be the leader of the Magi after interpreting his dream! Chapter 2 of Daniel is important to read as it tells us so
much about the power of God! BIRTH OF CHRIST: ?We know now that that King Herod probably died in 4 B.C. The Magi came after the Birth of Jesus, but before the death of King Herod. They spoke with Herod. So Jesus was probably born in 5 or perhaps 4 B.C.

CHRISTMAS HAD ITS ORIGINS IN THE EARLY CHURCH, NOT PAGANISM
Credible evidence to support the traditional dating of Christmas on the 25th December. Not only so, he argues that "the Roman pagan festival was instituted after the Christians had already been celebrating the birth of Christ on that day for many decades. Their pagan festival was an attempt to create an alternative tradition, which already was associated with the birth of Christ"
http://www.christianaction.org.za/index.php/articles/biblical-worldview/212-was-jesus-born-on-25-december

Why did the early church institute December 25 as Christmas, a day for giving gifts? Because it was the day when Maji presented Jesus with their gifts. See the next link:

THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM & the DAY OF THE CROSS:
A look at the heavens during the time of Christ & an affirmation of the birth of Jesus. The basis for studying astronomy and not practicing astrology: The stars tell us about the God of heavens like a thermometer: They signify things are hot & cold but don't make things
hot or cold. Stars indicate what is going on but don't make things happen. ?This explanation of the Star is compelling…NASA's Chief Engineer for the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station

http://www.bethlehemstar.net/

Categories: Good News, Holiday, Poem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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