ALREADY 2020!

ALREADY 2020!

 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.   Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. —Psalm 90:9-12

Today is the last day of 2019— that is, in the “year of our Lord 2019!” Our very dating system is even based on our Lord Jesus’ life on this planet! Even the United States Constitution and State Constitutions are dated by “in the year of our Lord” and allude to Lord or God.   He is the One who ultimately controls time.

Ever moan? We moan or groan or mourn much in life. Death of love ones or even those unknown to us by name cause us to mourn and moan and groan. Seventy years is a good age to live, but if one has strength he may reach eighty. A dear brother just went to be with the Lord recently. He was nine-two. A friend’s dad is one-hundred and eight! Yet even at that age life goes by fast. It quickly passes.

Not only is life like a vapor that is soon gone (James 4:14) or like a shadow that is quickly fleeting (Job 8:9), but there is much trouble it. To be sure there are joys as well, buy trials and troubles come in so many ways. Not only death of family, friends or those we don’t even know, but also of failed health, job loss, fractured relationships and the list goes on.

The Psalmist desired to be taught the number of his years. Why?   It was because he wanted to gain a heart of wisdom. He wanted to be able to apply the knowledge he had in the proper manner. Oh, that this would be my desire as well. May I, with the knowledge God has given to me, apply that knowledge according to His will to honor His Name for His glory.   That is my desire. May it be so.

2020 “in the year of our Lord” is just hours away.   Oh, that I would have God-honoring focus in this New Year coming upon us and for the rest of my life. Dear Father may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

            And then one day we will “fly away” to be with the Lord Jesus forever! Even so come Lord Jesus! Joe, the 92 year old that just went to be with the Lord, wanted this song to be sung at his memorial— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BPoMIQHwpo

HE IS THE BEGINNING AND THE END

HE IS THE BEGINNING AND THE END

            When there was nothing there was God and He was already there in the beginning of time when He created the heavens and the earth. Here is a picture hard for us to grasp. What was it like before there was any of the creation that He created?   This we cannot understand except that God was already and He was the One who created everything. The theory of evolution misses this point all together.   There had to be a beginning and it was God who caused that beginning (Genesis 1:1). There is no other explanation.

            Marriage had a beginning. It was from “the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:6-9). This is the foundation for marriage regardless of what man seeks to call marriage. The husband and wife are partners (Malachi 2:14) and so it was from the beginning.   Any other type of “partnership” seeking to displace marriage is ungodly.

            We find out that Jesus was there in the beginning. He not only was with His Father in the beginning but we find out that all of creation was made through Jesus (John 1:1-2). Jesus has supremacy in all things— in all of creation and over death itself. All things were created for Him and yet He was before all things. He not only created all things, but He also holds all things together. He is reconciling all things to Himself “by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:15-20). The Father addressed His Son as God who has an eternal reign, that laid the foundations of the earth, whose work of His hands are the heavens, who will outlast the creation He created and who will eternally remain the same (Hebrews 1:8-10).

            This Jesus that was from the beginning (I John 1:1), in the beginning (John 1:1) and before the beginning (John 17:5) was heard, seen and touched by John, the apostles and many others. It was this One that they were bearing witness to— it was this eternal life that was with the Father and was now revealed to them (I John 1:1-3).   Those who hear and remain in the Son and the Father have eternal life (I John 2:24-25). Yes, the one who practices “righteousness is righteous, just as Christ is righteous. The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very start” (I John 3:7-8).  There will be lives lived motivated from loving Jesus and His righteousness and there will be lives lived motivated by loving sin and being held captive by Satan (II Timothy 2:26).   Who has captivated you?

            He has commanded us to walk in love. “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (II John 1:5-6). “By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome, because everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith” (I John 5:1-4). Obedience not only shows we love God (John 14:21), but obedience also shows we live His children.   This is how faith is seen.

            This Jesus who was in, from and before the beginning and who created all things for Himself has asked us to be lovingly obedient to Him. By doing so we will show love for God and people. Let us do so. Yes Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” and He is “coming soon, and (His) reward is with (Him), to give to each one according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12-13).  Let us live faithfully for Him in loving obedience.

Dear Father please help me to be lovingly obedient to You by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus Your Son.   May it be so for Your honor and glory!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC_qYfBSI34

GOD’S PLAN OR YOUR PLAN

GOD’S PLAN OR YOUR PLAN

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. —Proverbs 16:9

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will give you counsel and watch over you. —Psalm 32:8

How is our Lord establishing your steps? What instruction is He giving you for the way you should go? In what way has He taught you or is teaching you to go that way? You and I make plans. How are they lining up with His will?

            Is your planning according to human understanding alone or are you seeking to plan according to God’s will? He does have a “race set out for us” and we are to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” as we run this race with endurance” (Hebrews 12:2). So what are the steps He has established for you or that He is establishing for you or wants to establish for you? Those are the steps and that is the way you are to go. That is the course, the race course that He wants you to run. So run as you “are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for (you) to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Do His will and go His way… run His race! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhk_5c6H-yc

Dear Father please help m to run the race You have set out for me. Establish my footsteps, instruct and teach me.   Help me to run in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. May this be so!

HOPE IN GOD!

HOPE IN GOD!

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? —Genesis 4:6

So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” —Genesis 40:7

She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. —I Samuel 1:18

When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’ then he will save the downcast. —Job 22:29

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. —Psalm 42:5

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. —Psalm 42:6

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. —Psalm 42:11

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. —Psalm 43:5

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. —Luke 24:17

Being downcast, dejected, depressed, sad, disappointed, discouraged, unhappy, dismayed occurs because of the actions of people that affect themselves or us, circumstances that happen to others or us, a feeling that God has abandon us or our way is not acceptable to Him. We feel… blaaa, blaa and a heaviness inside.

Now here’s the key for us not to be bound feeling like this. It is very simple to say, but it is the truth. Put your hope in God! Not in the feelings, not in the circumstances and not in people.   No, put your hope in God alone!   He has said that He would be with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20) and that He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). When we are feeling blaaa it is because of a wrong focus. Regardless of the circumstances and people our hope is to be in God. Let us keep our focus on Him and His desires. Yes, Dear Father, may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugD0i5Y3cw8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f2FXxDVO6w

JESUS IS OUR SHEPHERD

JESUS IS OUR SHEPHERD

 Psalm 23

 JESUS is my shepherd; I shall not want. —Jesus gives me contentment.

 JESUS makes me lie down in green pastures; —Jesus nourishes me.

 JESUS leads me beside quiet waters. —Jesus quenches my thirst.

 JESUS restores my soul. —Jesus rescues me.

 JESUS guides me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His name. —Jesus guides me.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,

for JESUS is with me. —Jesus is with me.

 JESUS’ rod and Your staff, they comfort me. —Jesus comforts me.

JESUS prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. —Jesus makes preparation for me.

 JESUS anoints my head with oil; my cup overflows. —Jesus blesses me beyond measure.

 Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the JESUS forever. I will be forever with Jesus.

John 10

JESUS is the good shepherd. —Jesus always has my best in mind.

JESUS lays down His life for the sheep. Jesus gave His all for me.

JESUS is the good shepherd. —Jesus only has good intent toward me.

JESUS knows His sheep. —Jesus knows all about me.

JESUS’ sheep know Him. —Jesus has made Himself known to His sheep.

JESUS lays down His life for the sheep. —Jesus died on the cross for His sheep. 

JESUS has other sheep that are not of this fold. —Jesus brings together both Jew and Gentile into His Church.

JESUS must bring them in as well, and they will listen to JESUS’ voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd. —-Jesus’ Church will listen to Him.

Thank You Dear Father for the shepherding of Your Son. May I faithfully follow Him for the remainder of my life in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.   May it be so! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx9-LkuVWt4

THE GREATEST GIFT!

THE GREATEST GIFT!

 

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?  He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no stately form or majesty to attract us, no beauty that we should desire Him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.  Like one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. —Isaiah 53:1-3 

 

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        Rulers were not attracted to Jesus.  Sports enthusiasts were not attracted to Jesus.  Jesus did not stand out in a crowd because of His looks or His position as a man.  From the human perspective there wasn’t anything that would cause people to desire Him.  Instead, he was despised by men.  He was rejected by men.  He knew great sorrow.  He knew greater grief.  Mankind did not recognize Him for Who He Is and so did not exalt Him.  He was treated like an outcast.

        Who knew that Jesus was born that night about 2000 years ago?  God’s Word reveals that surely Mary & Joseph knew.  Of course they were the first to know.  Two people without any major influence in this world saw our incarnate Savior first.  Then it was the angels who first told the lowly, humble, despised and looked down upon shepherds the good news of His birth.  They were given the sign as to how to find Him— “wrapped in swaddling clothes” — Ok, but that was common with babies… —“and lying in a manger” — ahhhhh, that was not where you placed a newborn baby.  In a feeding trough?  That is where we would find the Lamb of God.  The shepherds did that with their newborn lambs— they would wrap them in swaddling clothes and lay them in a manger.  They were lambs that would be sacrificed in Jerusalem.  But, really, was this where the King of the kings and Lord of lord would be laid?  Was this where the One who was the Lamb of God to be laid?  Was this where the One would be laid in recognition that He came to be… sacrificed… outside of Jerusalem?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT4VDAIaMwU  Yes, this was the One!

Bloody red sky

Of night and morn

Tis a witness

His body torn

And was for me

Planned cross forlorn

That I could be

Once again born        

 —tw

        This Christmas morn of 2019 let us stand amazed at Jesus the Nazarene who love us and gave Himself for us.  This One who said, “I have glorified You on earth by accomplishing the work You gave Me to do.  And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world existed” (John 17:4-5).  Yes, Dear Father, I do stand simply amazed at Who You are and what You have done through Your Son, Jesus.  Oh, may I live faithfully for you and all that means.  Please forgive me of my many failings.  Help me to fail less and honor Your Name.  May it be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  Yes, so be it!

THE TIME IS COMING!

THE TIME IS COMING!

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.”  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. —Revelation 21:1-5

            New is nice! New bride, new baby, new car, new house, new food, furniture, new clothes, newly cut grass, newly cut tries, newly spread dirt, new pavement, newly fallen snow, a new book, new flowers sprouting, new leaves appearing… All these new things work with our senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste. As we read that list and if we pondered them then, memories of pictures, smells, feelings, sounds and tastes came to mind.

            What will it be like to see for the first time the new heaven and earth?   What will the smells be there?   What will things feel like? What sounds will we hear? What will things taste like? Wow it is a wonder just to think about. But mostly, what is it going to be like to first see Jesus?           

       New things in that new place: the presence of God with us forever, No more tears will be shed, death shall not exist, pain will not exist anymore… all things will be made new… all things!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BM9E1hEVrg “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).

Dear Father may this be soon. Oh, may it be soon, but may I life faithfully until I am in that place with Jesus and all who love Him. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

OUR KING

OUR KING

And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. —Revelation 19:16

               Plain and simply… Jesus has all authority (Matthew 28:18). None is greater than He. He is the Creator and sustainer of all things (John 1:2: Colossians 1:16, 17; Hebrews 1:2-3).   Ponder how awesome He is! He has created all thing— from the microscopic to the humongous of stars and all of creation! It is hard to even begin to understand His awesomeness. He is so far beyond us and yet—

“When Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’ ” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law.  Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.  And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law.  Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.  And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. —Hebrews 10:5-10

            It is so astounding that Jesus would leave the glory of heaven (John 17:5) to come to this fallen, sinful world all because of love for us (John 3:16).   Think of this great love He has for us.   It is hard for us to understand.   Though God in His Word has revealed to us that this is the case and we need to take Him at His Word.   From the natural perspective with our human thinking along we could never understand that God truly loves us. It was though Jesus that we understand. He who loved us first desires us to love Him (I John 4:19).

            So, let us “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). “By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome, because everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith” (I John 5:2-4). So let us love and live for our King! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NscHCa395-M

Dear Father may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_JcB94qRP8

BE STILL AND KNOW HE IS GOD!

BE STILL AND KNOW HE IS GOD!

 

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.” —Psalm 46:10

 

             Be still? Can you be still? At this time of the year, the Christmas Season, it is possible, like Martha (Luke 10:38-42), to be so busy with preparations for the Season that we are not still to ponder and spend time with the One for whom this Season is all about—- our Lord Jesus! He is the One who is to be exalted!

           Be still and know that He is God! “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means God with us)” and this is the One we are to be still for and know! (Matthew 1:22-23).

            Know:

  • That this babe in the manger was God in the flesh come to live among us (John 1:14).
  • That Jesus is equal to His Father in all ways (John 5:18).
  • That the statement that Jesus made incited the Jews to want to stone Him again and again for blasphemy (John 10:58).
  • That the Jewish leaders knew that he was claiming to be God among them (John 10:30-33).
  • That Jesus would draw men to Himself by being “lifted up” (John 3:13-15; 12:23-36).
  • That Jesus is God’s eternal gift to us (John 3:16).
  • That we are co-heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17).
  • That we will be with Jesus (John 14:1-6).

And the list goes on and on as we are still and ponder and know who He is! Yes, so let us set time aside to be still and know that He is God. And let us rejoice in who He is and all that He has done, is doing and will do. Yes, let us be still and ponder who He is. Rejoice!

Dear Father it is so overwhelming as I ponder who Jesus is and all that He has done, is doing and will do for us.   I so do not understand so much, but I am so grateful for Your love for us and for the Gift of Your Son. In loving gratitude may I live a faithful life for You in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. May it be so.

FIRST CHRISTMAS

FIRST CHRISTMAS

And on that night

that starry, starry night

the angels sang in the sky

Blessed be the Son

of the virgin born

whom reigneth from on high

He came to save the world from sin

but the world, it did not know

This One who came to save their souls

would serve them here below

He taught and healed and told them

secrets from above

Gentle, He was , this Lamb of God

with infinite wisdom and love

Truth was He and so He taught

to all that would come near

Many believed and followed Him

this One who knew no fear

Others were angered to hear such things

with which they didn’t agree

He knew to Pilate He would go

but still He would not flee

“To die my Lord,” the disciples said

“can this be really true?”

Jesus answered, “Yes, My flock

this is what I must do.”

You see My Friends to be with Me

I first must die for you

I’ll take your sins upon Myself

and give you life anew

But do not fear or shed a tear

for I will rise again

Victorious, I will be

over the grave and over sin

A cross was given to the Son of Man

to carry on His own

Rejected by His people Israel

his identity is still unknown

At Calvary He was crucified

suffered in the midst of thieves

Yet still, in all that torment

He could continue to answer pleas

“Jesus, remember me in Your kingdom”

the voice of a thief did say

The Son of God did answer

“You will be with Me in Heaven this day”

“Why have You forsaken Me?”

Jesus, of the Father, did ask

All our sins were upon Him

in that moment of His sacrificial task

His followers scattered, confused and scared

Christ’s words they didn’t recall

While the religious leaders of that day

sealed the tomb to ensure His fall

A short time later, first day of the week

out of the grave He arose

He appeared to many who believed in Him

since then the faith still flows

Jesus ascended into Heaven

to the glory He knew before

He promised to be with us always

if only we would open the door

-tw 1982