Saturday, December 22, 2007

In The Manger

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:23

Yes, this great event in history really did happen. You may not read about it in the secular texts or even hear much about it in the mainstream media but it did happen and it happened as Isaiah said it would about 600 years prior. Mary was a virgin as the Christ child was conceived by the Holy Ghost. "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Matthey 1:20 The King of Kings was born in a manger as he became "God with us." One must believe that the Son of God came to earth as God's son, born of a virgin else he can't be a Christian. To deny the virgin birth is to deny his diety, thus denying his death on the cross for mankind.

Mary was a virgin when Christ was born. Mary was blessed but in no place does the scripture tell us to pray to her or worship her. She does say to her cousin Elizabeth, "For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." Luke 1:48 The word blessed means "happy." That she was. We know that Mary followed Christ even to the cross and was a follower after his resurrection. She was a wonderful woman.

The Jews, in all of their intellect seemed to miss him completely. The Priests knew the scriptures and the prophets well. They even told Herod where the Christ child would be born but somehow they missed it. Even though the scripture told about a servant King and suffering King, they preferred the prophecies the depicted him as a reigning King. They were looking for him to establish world rule then and get the nation of Israel out from under the hand of the Romans. Even the disciples were looking for it. "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." Acts 1:6-7 The Jews as a whole were not looking for inward salvation nor did they feel they needed to examine themselves. They were people of fasting but for the wrong pretenses. They gave many alms to support the poor but only for show. They were intellectuals and studied much but couldn't humble themselves to let Jesus in.

Let him in your hear this Christmas. Let him be your Lord and follow him. Read his word and yield yourself to him. John 4:23 says, "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." We cannot keep his words without his continual help, but with him, all things are possible.

Merry Christmas and may God find your soul in peace with him.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Working Together for the Good

" And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

That scripture has been quoted over and over again by many, and myself included, without real consideration as to the conditions thereof. It is true that all things do work together for the good for some people, but who are they? They are those who "love God" and then are "called according to his purpose," or doing his will. So there is a condition to the promise above as there are conditions to all promises in the Word of God. We have to love God, than do his will.

To love God is to love his son and abide in him, or live with him. To live with him is to live with his Word and have the same purposes as he has. Even in this sinful world that seems to captivate our attention just by living and performing the necessary tasks to survive in it, we are called upon to abide in him. "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." John 15:5 It takes an effort on our behalf to live or abide in him because of the prince of the power of the air, or the devil, therefore we must put forth effort if we are to inherit his blessing and eternal life. Following several "do's and don'ts" will not make us abide in him but to have him in our hearts and lives will. We must keep him and love him and guard against the constant attempts of Satan to intrude.

To love him is to follow and keep his Word. We often try to lay up our own commandments and rules of righteousness but it is in the Bible, the Word of Life that we find truth and are given the proper information for maintaining our love with him. Jesus told his disciples shortly before going to the cross that he would manifest himself to them but not the world. This sounded strange to them and one of them asked as follows: "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:22-23 So we are to keep his word. Since that is essential, we must know what it is that we are to keep, so the only way to know is to read his Word, not once, nor twice, nor three times, but over and over again. We are put to shame by the cults and other religions. Children are taught to memorize several passages of the Quran even written in a foreign tongue but it is doubtful if many can quote five verses in the Bible.

At the workplace we may spend hours discussing methods, procedures and rules only to have everything change within the next few months. We'll spend hours on a paper that will be irrelevant within weeks and work ourselves into a frenzy about procedures that will change almost as soon as the ink is dried in the rule book. While these things may be important at the time, we take great notice of them but forget the book that does not change and the only one that can give use the past, present, and future, the Bible.

It is impossible to love Christ without loving his Word. It is impossible to follow his will without reading his word. It is impossible to get the true meaning of scripture without Christ and his spirit. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14

There is much more to this verse but in my effort to keep these blogs fairly short, I'll only be brief. We are lead to believe that when he says "all things work together for the good," is is meant that nothing but good can happen to us as far as we are concerned That's not what it really says. It says, "for the good," meaning that it will work for our good. While me may not see anything good out of what we are in now, God does. It is like a parent spanking their child for misbehaving (I still believe in spanking if done in love) and them saying to the child that it is for their good. The child won't believe them at the time but later in life he will. Are you in a distressful situation? Give yourself to more reading of God's Word and strive to draw closer to the Lamb of Life. Make sure everything's OK between you and him. He loves you and wants to help you through all situations and will help you here as well.


I covet your prayers.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Battle

" No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." 2Timothy 2:4

Let me just talk freely a bit as I've not posted for several weeks. I've spent most of my time out of town doing various things that are job related. You probably know, that when one travels and is gone, routines are broken, and things that usually are done on a daily basis are not achieved due to schedule changes, different environments, etc. It is Satan's business to get the child of God entangled in this world's affairs so he is not effective in battling the powers of the air, the principalities of darkness, and the god of this world. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12 We are not effective in prayer, souls that constantly need comforted or strength are left in danger. Those who need the conviction of the Holy Ghost on their lives so they will do right or repent are left open to Satan's demise. And most important, we ourselves are more venerable for Satan's attacks on our souls. I say this is most important because if we are not strong, how can we help others. "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1Corinthians 9:27

The word "entangleth" or "entangle" means "to inweave, entrap, or twist together in a confusing mess." This is the art of Satan and we allow it to happen, especially in our effluent society. We have become the church of Laodicea as our Lord describes them as follows: "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot." We justify our activity in a Christian humanism way in that we focus on ourselves instead of trying to gain the closeness of Christ and fellowship of the Holy Ghost in our lives. So if we are not careful, we continue down the path as he goes on and admonishes that church. "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" We think we have arrived only to find that our faith is wanting and we are powerless. We fail to see ourselves as we really are. We refuse to take time to examine ourselves in line with the Word of God and spend time afflicting our souls but would rather go on our way. The but consequences are devastating as Christ will vomit a church like this out of his mouth. His advise is as follows: "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." He wants us to have real faith that we can trust in him, holiness that will separate us from the world and identify us as those whose citizenship is in heaven, and have enlightment of the spirit of God in that we may rightly divide the Word of God. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1Corinthians 2:14

We are in this world to be a blessing and to yet to also help the wayward come to Christ and live for him. We are salt in this world. Salt can add a good taste in food, can preserve, and is also used in judgment "And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath:" Deuteronomy 29:23 But, if our salt loses is savor, it is good for nothing. "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Matthew 5:13 While we must continue to work in this world, we must always guard our relationship with Christ and cherish it, for it is our life and can have a big difference in the lives of those around us, and even our nation. May the Lord bless you as you seek him.