Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In this New Year ~ Live and Declare the Works of the Lord!

The Supremacy of Christ
For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and firstborn from among the dead, so that in all things He may have preeminence.…Colossians 1:16-18.

As Christians, we live to declare the works of the Lord ~ Psalm 118:17! What are His works? He is the Creator of the universe, the Creator of all things seen and unseen! He holds all things together ~ Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3!

Loving your neighbor as yourself is His Agape love in us. It is not about doing something as in showing 'works' as in being 'nice'. Agape love is the love that does not judge. It is this kind of love that is able to see the wonder of God's design, His image in every man and be amazed as in awe! That is why we can love our neighbor as our self because we are amazed as in awe of our Creator and His creation! That is why, in everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you ~ Matthew 7:12! That means to Look past the sinful flesh and its acts; look at the spirit within and be in awe! 

Look at all people through the eyes of Jesus as He is the all inspiring all creating God! This is what I want others to do to me. This is the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ! In this way, we can forgive others who see just the flesh as we forgive ourselves for just seeing the flesh and not looking past it. This does not mean to encourage in others sinful acts of flesh and by loving them as God's creation we do not encourage sinful acts of the flesh, we reveal to them the love of God.

Of course, many argue that faith without works is dead as we read in James 2:8; but we are again back at questioning "works". Man tends to fall back on his works and not God's. Our only job is to live and to declare His Work, His Agape love made possible only in Him! This is what we come to understand as the works of the Lord done in us. All mercy and grace that is given to us is because we rest in Him, in His love and peace. That is why we can rest in His Presence at all times in all things declaring His Work in us. This is the testimony of 'our faith' that comes to light. 

We must first show other people the 'real' light in us showing that we are not dead, not useless, and not afraid, or worried or deprived in any way shape or form because our Hope is in the Lord, we are alive in Christ! And, in this way, we are able to love others and treat others as we want to be treated... as a Creation of the Lord!

It goes without saying that if a brother or sister in Christ needs a coat or a bowl of soup we will gladly give it and more if we can as we read in James 2:14-15. And, we are joyful in it because we know the truth and share that truth with our light, which is His light in us.

But never forget that the fruits of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace and long suffering ~ Galatians. 5:22.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What to tell your children about Jesus Christ Coming into the World!

This Christmas instead of talking about Santa Claus bringing presents, tell your children about the best gift ever given ~ Jesus Christ! 
He came to save us from the law of sin and death. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord ~ Romans 6:23. "... through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death ~ Romans 8:2.

"I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness". John 12:46. 

For in Him, we live and move and have our being! ~ Acts 17:28.  He is the light of the world ~ John 8:12; and He is the bread of life ~ John 6:35.

And someone children might ask... "BUT WHY is there suffering in the world if God came as light"? Firstly, this is a fallen world (fall from the Garden). And, because of that,  it is through affliction that the Holy Spirit burns out the desires of the flesh "See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction" ~Isaiah 48:10.

"For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--comes not from the Father but from the world" ~1 John 2:16.

How do we get through this fallen world if we are in it but not of it? Remember, you/we are children of the Light. With that knowledge, we are overcomes through our faith in the Light of the World ~ Jesus Christ.

Faith and Assurance

Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see ~ Hebrews 11:1.
Romans 8:24
For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see?
2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Hebrews 3:6
But Christ is faithful as the Son over God's house. And we are His house, if we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope of which we boast.

Monday, December 12, 2016

What To Tell Your Children About 'Santa Claus'...

Sadly, I grew up with this Santa Claus figure posing as a kind of saint that would fill your wish list if you were good. Sad, because such a figure outshines our true Savior. Santa as a children's fairy tale has become a kind of false religion. As I said, I grew up with Santa Claus. Ironically, at the same time, and thankfully, I was a member of a Christian church where one could find only the baby Jesus in the manager. Yet, by attending public school along with social media of the time shaped by consumerism, Santa Claus crept into our Christmas.

Probably, because I went to church with parents and attended Sunday school, I as able to judge this Santa character and follow the truth light of the world ~ Jesus Christ. Being the oldest child, I realized that it was parents who left the presents, not Santa. Honestly, I was hardly disappointed... in fact, I was overjoyed and relieved to know that my parents were the 'saints' leaving gifts for five kids under the tree. It made more sense to me than an elf called St. Nick who went around the world in one night using flying reindeer.

However, upon having my own children, I fell back into the popular culture with its tradition of Santa Claus. I think that they realized too as I did as a child that it was I (parent) and not the elf making our Christmas memorable. Is it a sin to have taken part in that and including having kids pose with Santa for a picture or watch a movie where people ironically find the truth of the light in their hearts by believing in something they cannot see? Yes and No. At the time, even though I knew that 'Santa' was not real, I thought it was an innocent tradition (everyone was doing it and I had grown up with it) bringing joy on the day of Jesus's birth. In retrospect, I would say that participation in such things believing 'magically' in a  'fake person' is a false religion... it is believing in a false god~  the god of consumerism = idolatry of things.

Today, I would rather do as some European's do. Have the Christmas angel (mysteriously) leave a gift by the tree on Christmas Eve to be opened on Christmas Eve. This way, Christmas Day is for Jesus, a day for all of us to celebrate His birth together and consider our walk in the light of the Lord (for He is the Light of the World) and; thus, help each other to be mindful of our walk with the Lord throughout our life.

I highly suggest moving away from today's consumerism and the idea of Santa Claus bringing gifts. If you opt for the Christmas angel, you should be careful about the gifts you give or allow others to give your children. Especially, the kinds of toys and or products in our popular culture that are hardly Christian nor godly in any way. Toys that lead children down dark paths.

Tell your children the truth ~ The light of the world is Jesus Christ ~ John 8:12. And tell them ....not to love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world...~ 1 John 2:15-16.  Our destiny is in His Kingdom! How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation ~ Daniel 4:3.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Defend the Faith by Reading the Word of God!

Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now, I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to His Holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 

So, I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And, I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of the authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And, don't forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. 

Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God's judgement. In the same way, these people who claim authority from their dreams live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy but simple said, "The Lord rebuke you!" ... again, these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them and so they bring about their own destruction. 

What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion."... But you my dear friends, must build each other up in our most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God's love. And, you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgement. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives ~ Jude 1:3-23.

In these times, we must strive to live godly lives, defending our faith. The best way to do that is to read and come to know God's Word. And, to proclaim it and to give Him Thanks and Praise! We cannot afford to be seen as hypocrites and or those who bend the rules to feel good about what we like to do what we think is ok because it is the culture. Nor are we to become ambitious in our walk with the Lord... For, it is not by our works that we are saved but by the Grace of God! Ephesians 2:8.

Sadly, many people who think of themselves as Christian are guilty of this sin (s). If you find yourself boasting about yourself in any way... what you do/did or plan to do, how you lived, live and plan to live that gives glory to you as a man/woman and not to God our Creator our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you are seriously mistaken in doing so. Such behavior is not godly. This is not a call to judge others. It is a plea for you to examine yourself.  
"Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates" ~ 2 COR 13:5.

Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD ~ Lamentations 3:40.