Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year, New You

1Peter 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...

First of all, praise God for who He is, what He has done, what He is able to do and what He can do for those who seek Him. Praise Him that He gives us another chance at life. Each day is new, each year is new, each life in Christ is new.

No matter what this past year has tossed in your path, whether it was a good year, a great year or one of difficulty, God has a new year springing up. It could be better, it might be worse. It's our choice how we will live it out.

I received a notice from an acquaintance on her Caringbridge site. She was diagnosed last year with breast cancer. She has undergone all the chemotherapy treatments and is about to start discussion about the mastectomy end of her illness. She has maintained a positive attitude throughout. A definite example of how an uplifted spirit, I believe, can help the healing process, how attitude sometimes is everything. I don't know her spiritual condition but I do believe she has some faith in a God who can carry us through life's issues.

I mentioned yesterday how complaining keeps us in bondage. Change the complaint into praise, keep looking at the good things amidst the bad, being thankful for those good things and you have a good chance of healing and being set free of illness, if it's no more than just the reliance and knowledge that if your life should end you'll be with the Lord. "A merry heart does a body good." This is a great lesson for all of life....yes, Lord, it's noted!

A woman I briefly knew was diagnosed and ultimately died of cancer and she looked forward to her being with Jesus sooner than expected. What a wonderful attitude! Despite knowing her life was being cut short, she was about as content as possible in her situation. She looked forward to that even newer life with Christ, one without pain or sickness. A life received when we receive Him.

What a great way to view this new year we are about to step into. (As for my husband and me, probably sleep into is more like it!) Perhaps having a better outlook despite what might occur would be a step in the right direction.

Of course there's an even better step to take, that of getting to know our God better. Letting Him be the joy in our daily lives, the Light that shines in our darkness, the strength in our times of weakness, our refuge in times of trouble, the Door to a better world, our living hope.

This new year can change you into a new person. You can receive the new birth and be one one step closer to having a new outlook on (eternal) life. God knows the plans He has for us. They are for good and not disaster. They can present us with a new future and new hope (Jeremiah 29:11). With a new year and all the resolutions people tend to make, why not add a new year, new birth and new you to that list? Make it the first thing on the list. Let your plans go by the wayside and let those great plans God has be the focal point.

It's all about renewal of life. A life built around Christ is stronger, more peaceful, joyful and filled with hope. In the end you don't need to wait for a new year because each day brings something special. God's mercies are new every morning, Lamentations 3:23 tells us.

Receive Christ. Do you need a new change? Do you want a fresh, bold, new look at life? Do you want a heavy heart made light? Look at all the new things He will do for you. This list below sounds like wonderfully positive, encouraging things, don't you think?

He will put a new spirit in you...Ezekiel 11:19
God will do a new thing and make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert...Isaiah 43:19
The LORD will give you a new name...Isaiah 62:2
He will put a new song in your mouth...Psalm 40:3
Former things are gone, new things spring forth...Isaiah 42:9
He will give you a new heart...Ezekiel 18:31
He is a new doctrine...Acts 17:19
He is a new covenant...Hebrews 8:13
He is THE new and living way...Hebrews 10:20
He brings us a new heaven and a new earth...2Peter 3:13
He makes ALL things new...Revelation 21:5
He allows us through all He's done to sing to Him a new song...Psalm 33:3

A new life in Christ. Ask anyone who has received it what transpired. They will be glad to offer feedback! He is the hope in difficult times. He's the song in your heart. Jesus makes the things in the world seem less important. He is the light at the end of any tunnel. He is our portion forever. Make Him a new year's resolution.

                  HAPPY NEW YEAR ... in Christ, the Lord.

2Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Giving or Taking?

The whole message of the Bible is not about a God who wants to take from you. It's about this God who wants to give to you. The fact that the Creator made (everything you see) means He actually loves us and wants to give to us and if you miss out on that you miss the whole point of your life - Frances Chan.

Perfectly said. Yes. God wants to bless us every day. Yes, He does love us with an everlasting love. Yes, we can receive this from Him. But I need to add (as Chan did later) that our life will not be without problems. Although we start with the basics of Jesus loves me there comes a time when we should begin to go deeper where we realize that we need to love Him back in the midst of our troubles. We give back to Him and cease our taking.

There are Christians whose lives are filled with trouble. Some more than others. Some can smile and be about their lives knowing in their hearts this will pass, even if it's at their death. They realize the end result in a relationship with Christ. They just plain trust Him. There are others who cannot shake the hangdog look, who play the victim game, who want a handout, are offended when a hard word of truth is offered and who can't understand why they are going through tough times if God loves them. I believe they are the ones who do not wish to go deeper and learn the more intimate things of God. They're stuck on taking.

We need to understand the two big things God wants to take from us is our sin and captivity. That alone should bring us contentment. If we are joyful in tribulation we have overcome our captivity. We know our sins are removed and we are enjoying our newfound freedom, even when things don't go exactly as we would want them to. In the midst of trouble we have a deep sense of peace. Hard to explain, but it's there! We still have the capacity of reaching out to others to offer something...a word, a smile, encouragement, a promise from God...instead of a word of defeat.

If we have not allowed ourselves to let go of those things that consume us (self-pity, anger, addiction, hopelessness) we have not overcome. We have clung to the things that hold us captive. If we don't let go I believe it will seem as though someone has it out for us, maybe even God. If we can't shake the "why me"'questions we're never going to get beyond our circumstances.

Israel was removed from their Egyptian captivity. There was no army. It was singlehandedly done by God. That's a picture of what Jesus does for us. Nothing we can do can remove our captivity. We can try to stuff something so deep that we forget it...until one little reminder crosses our path and all the hurts or guilt come back. The problem is we're still captive to those feelings.

Upon receiving the Word to depart from our old ways and enter into a new life on our way to our Promised Land, we are set free. Although they were free to receive God's blessings, Israel grumbled and complained. They imagined the "good" things they had in captivity which they believed they no longer had. The truth was they didn't have those things; they were servants. God, however, wanted to prove to them He would provide all things for them. They didn't recognize that though. What a shame. As long as they grumbled they wandered the desert. 

As long as we complain about how tough life is after receiving Christ who has given us all we need...forgiveness and eternal life, and an underlying peace and joy...we will not fully experience His blessings. It's as if we are still needing more when He has given us the most important thing. 

We are to praise Him each day, not complain about our circumstances. I fail occasionally, I admit it. We all do. Sometimes I don't realize I am. I think it happens without my really meaning it. It just comes out. (And there's another blog in the recesses of my mind on this!)

Chan suggests that even God's commands to us are a blessing, not meant to be harsh but out of love for us. Obeyed they bring blessings. It is we in our sinful, stubborn, proud manner who look at them with a thought of how dare anyone tell me what I should do? Shame on us. If we all did what He said we'd all be better off! Laurie, did you hear that?!

Do you realize that some day we will all stand before God and have to account for all things we've done...even after we have received Christ? My flaws, insecurities, sins will be laid before Him. He might ask Why did you do that? What was the purpose in saying that? How is it you didn't trust Me in that situation I put before you? I'll tell you, this hangs heavy in my soul knowing I've not always done what I should.

Here's the clincher though. God doesn't take a look at me and say I'm better or worse than others. He looks at us all the same. We're all guilty by His standards. That's why we cannot do good enough, we cannot strive to earn God's approval. Yet we are still called to receive Him and His forgiveness. It only comes through our acceptance of Jesus Christ. By God's grace, which is unmerited favor...we don't ever, ever deserve it...we receive our holiness through Christ's blood shed on the cross. Christ stands between God and us and has taken our sin upon Himself for all the people that have ever lived, are alive today and will live. Can you imagine that? Pretty incredible.

Those who have not received Christ will be rightly punished. He still loves but if His first command, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, is not received, they will not enter into Heaven. Those who make this choice to accept Christ will be judged but not punished. 

Christ died on that cross for you and me. The Roman form of punishment for crimes was crucifixion. In some Christian movies about Jesus, you might see a road filled with crosses with the bodies of criminals for all who pass by to see. Believe me when I say we all should be hanging on those crosses. But we have a God who loves us so much He sent His Son to do it for us.  

Look at all God has given us. The earth and all that's in it. He has given us life. That in itself, if you give any thought at all to, should cause you to be lost in wonder. But the thing is, you should think about it. We need to do this occasionally. We need to consider the heavens and the things of the earth and the One who created them. I know it can be a daunting task and beyond understanding. That's exactly where a better knowledge of God will help. 

At the end of our lives we do not get to judge ourselves. We do not get to say, Well, I know I did this better than so-and-so. God only reserves the right to judge. How good we think we are doesn't matter. That's pretty sobering. The Bible says there is not one good person. Just reach out to a God who wishes to give to us all we need. His forgiveness and His good thoughts toward you is all that matters.

Accept Christ. He will take that heart of stone and give you a new one. That's being born again. That's letting go of the old man and taking on a new one. Taking the worldly man and replacing it with a spiritual one. Does that stir something in your heart? We still are not perfect. That only comes when Jesus returns. He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 28:26, Proverbs 3:5)

He wants to give to us: freedom from condemnation and guilt and a relationship with Him. He wants us to stop looking at ourselves as our own savior and look up to Him, the only One who has done the work of saving us. It's not about religion. It's about relationship. Religion is works, relationship is receiving! It's standing in the presence today of a holy God totally accepted by Him upon our receiving Him into our lives. It's no longer having to rely on anyone or anything but Him.

When you ask Jesus into your life, you ask Him to forgive you of all your sins. He will remove them as far as the east is from the west and as deep as the oceans. They are forgotten. Don't you want anything you've ever felt remorse over having done removed? Unconfessed sin will trouble your heart. You can go to God Himself. He's waiting for you. You can do it in silence or out loud to Him. He will hear. When you receive Christ, you receive forgiveness. 

Psalm 32:5 - I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


John 8:58 - Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." 

I can't help it! I can't explain it either. It's just something that wells up inside. It's a feeling. It's a knowing. It's there and it's real. It's an understanding that others don't grasp...and that frustrates me. I'm not judging or criticizing. Not at all. I only wish more people would comprehend it because it's enormous! 

More of Laurie's ramblings.....

Okay, so what this all about? It's about how a person can look outside at nature or into the eyes of children and not see God's hand in the creation of them. Every little things that is has been created...not evolved. Everything was designed with a purpose from Someone who has an handle on all things. It's hard to imagine the intricacies of all life just evolving...out of what? Even if things did evolve--I am not saying they did--if there was a big bang, Who brought them about? There had to have been a Source. The truth is, before time began, He was.

Oh, you know where I'm going here. This feeling I have is like a heart that will burst because of the knowledge that there is a Creator and that He is why I'm here today, why I am able to see what I see and know what I know, which is really not very much considering there's a lot of God's wisdom out there! I'm amazed that our Creator, God, our Father, allows us to get to this place of knowing. He has allowed my heart to well up. I'm astounded by the magnitude of what I see. There are times when the busyness of life unfortunately takes away from it for a brief time but other times it hits me like nothing I can explain and I'm in absolute awe...of an awesome God. It's like making up for lost time.

I remember as a child going deep into thought as I lay on the grass (or snow) in the front yard and stare at the stars trying to imagine the endlessness of them, knowing I only saw a handful compared to an infinite number. My thoughts always turned to God. My heart would well up. How was it He was not created but just always was? Then I met God face to face. I knew how real He was. And it was good. Being allowed a second chance and having my eyes opened. Incredible. And the knowledge keeps on coming.

There is one simple fact: He says I AM. It's a comfort to know there is a Divine Master and that He, God, is there for anyone. He is there for anyone who wishes to know Him more intimately, to get to a place where thoughts are focused on His creation, not the world's idea of how creation began. Did you know it's harder to just accept this truth than to believe what scientists say? It's that "aha" moment that happens when you just know, in the depths of your spirit, through the power of Christ.

Two recent things come to mind. I saw the ultrasound pictures of our niece's 10 week old boy. Amazing. His little head is fully shaped and beautiful. He even has little lips that seemed to be pursed! He is not evolving. He has been created by God. He is God's perfect design, one of a kind. And then I heard on the news the finding of what scientists believe to be Neanderthal teeth! They're supposedly hundreds of thousands of years old. Oh, but wait. The Bible states life began with Adam and Eve...fully human evolving...6,000 years ago. The Bible can prove this. Same goes for all creatures He created...fully functional as they were evolving. How can that be? Must be a mistake. I read somewhere that the Bible is where God explains His work. Science is how man tries to explain God’s work. Imagine that, man trying to explain God in their own words. 

What do we choose to believe? One belief draws us closer to God where the other separates us from Him, believing that man holds all the answers to life. So sad.

I think back on the Truth Project we did in church. Truth as the Bible sees it. The real truth. Science and scientists questioned. God's truth prevailing. There will be a day when all people will see what Truth really is. But Truth can be found today; no need to wait. The Truth is Jesus Christ. Knowing Him provides us with the wisdom we need to understand and to have these moments of awesome feeling...better than feeling, knowing. He provides the right wisdom. He is the Truth that sets us free from the world thinking. God is not the author of confusion (1Corinthians 14:33). He who holds the stars in the skies, knows when the sun needs to set and moon to rise, who fashions the glorious seasons, knows us, created us, created rules to live by that we would not need to worry, but would trust in Him alone. All we need. 

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (John 1:1, Colossians 1:17)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The First Step

2Thessalonians 3:1 - Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you.

My head is spinning. It was as if my head downloaded one file after another. And God was in the midst of it all.  

There's an incident occurring in my life. It does not pertain to immediate family, but it's close enough. People get old, begin to fail, cling to their independence and are just plain stubborn for that independence and with our families. It causes dissension and pain and arguments. Fear takes over and peace is disturbed, unhappiness and frustration abounds. Feelings are hurt and stubbornness from both sides can erupt. We need to know how to deal with these issues.

It's only through God's love, strength and peace in our lives that we can overcome these things. I've mentioned time and again about my Dad and our relationship and his Alzheimer's Disease. I don't know that I ever said this before though:

About six months before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's I did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I did not know Him. My relationship with my dad was nearly non-existent because of his alcoholism prior to the Alzheimer's. But God...knew what was about to happen across the board. He knew what I needed more than I did. And He knew just what to do. I am so grateful for that wisdom of His!

Five months before I learned about my Dad's disease, a miracle happened in my life. I was "introduced" to Jesus Christ and He changed a few things in me. This relationship I didn't have with my Dad turned into one. I could not, perhaps would not, have been overly concerned with his condition. After all these years of not knowing him, why would I think about it now? Such hard words and thoughts. But one thing Jesus did was change my hard heart into one that was soft. He turned any bitterness (which might have been pushed down) into forgiveness and compassion for a father I hardly knew. I was able to say without a doubt, "Father, forgive him for he knows not what he does." 

It wasn't always easy to be with my Dad because alcoholism created a difficult nature in him. That's why I avoided him. When I got wind of his Alzheimer's I got through it, not without pain or frustration, not without disappointment and tears, but through the strength that Jesus gave to me. And the peace that came with that. As far as I was concerned, God allowed my relationship with my Dad to be restored. He gave back the years that were stolen by his alcohol and He allowed me to love him like I had not been able to before because of the distance between us.

I received an email yesterday from one who will be involved in the "family" situation that is about to be unleashed. Yesterday a friend's blog brought up the issue of taking inventory of our lives in Christ. It prompted me to think about where I am. Am I where God wants me to be or am I floundering somewhere? Another friend sent me an email about something her pastor brought up in a up our own schedules to minister to others, showing Christ in our lives. Again I got to wondering where I am. Not where I want to be, I thought. I emailed a response to my friend's blog because I need to be accountable for my actions for Christ from this day forward. 

My plea to God as I responded to my friend's blog was: Lord, it's my first step [the accountability]. I'm at Your beck and call. Bring it on, help me to see the opportunities to speak. Wave them right in front of my face. Shout them in my ears. Shove them in my path. 

So I responded to the first email about the family situation. I described what happened with my Dad and all that occurred before and after that. It was while I was writing it that I realized I had just been given my first opportunity! I'd taken my first step.

Just before I got the response from the "family situation person," I was reminded about the Parable of the Sower! Seed can fall into different types of soil and depending upon which soil it fell into will determine the outcome of that seed. It can fall along the road where it is snatched up by birds and not able to take any sort of root. It can fall on rocky ground where it might take hold for a time but without moisture, as in a desert, it will just wither and die. The seed can fall in thorny areas where it is choked by the strength of the weeds. Or it can fall on good soil where it is nourished and has a chance to reproduce itself. Let me just say this. I realize not all words are received, sadly, because not all words are understood. That's in God's hands. The point is, I took action.

This speaking out may cost me. Time is getting short for us on this planet. Times are getting tense. Things are not like they used to be and things will not be the same. We can either complain about it or we can dig in our heels and work it out. We can accept it and muddle through or we can reject it and have our heads in the sand. The best bet, however, is to trust in God for all things. It's to look to Him not man or the situation.

All I know, and it's something that is generally understood by those in relationship with Christ, is we have to know where we are, who we are, what we stand for and what we can do as believers in Christ, as my blogger friend suggested. We need to be ready with the words to speak when others just don't get what's going on. We need to be strong and secure in our relationship with the Lord first and then help others to see where our strength lies. We have to be willing to share what we a light in the darkness of the world. Jesus was the Light that helped me to see and part of our responsibility is to shine that same light to others. 

I've been removed for the past ten weeks recovering from foot surgery. That's not much of an excuse, but I do feel remote from people. This "captivity" is over as I'm released to be up and about with no restrictions, other than the rest I'll need after being on my feet more than I have lately. My prayer is that I begin this new year with an even newer heart and even stronger resolve to incorporate Jesus into my relationships with those around me. The first step is taking the first step. Sort of like today being my first unhindered step back into the world! It's having my senses alert to having a word to say. It's not about having a perfect word, but just a word. A word that hopefully would present an opportunity for discussion. If not discussion, thought. 

2Thessalonias 2:16-17 - Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh, the Little Children

Matthew 19:14 - Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." 

Jesus loves the little children. We are to come as little children. We are to have the faith of a child. Out of the mouths of babes. Children say the darnedest things. ...for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
This Christmas is over but there's a whole new year ahead for each of us. Let the real meaning of Christmas continue to play out in your heart. Let us remember the reason Christ came to this earth. He came for you and me. He wants us to come as little children.

Jesus had a few things to say about children. I and others believe that a child before the age of reason automatically goes to Heaven, without a confession of their faith. When a baby sadly dies, in a mother's womb, by abortion or otherwise, that child is gently placed into the arms of the Lord. They hold a special place in Jesus' heart and will not be left apart from Him. How He desires the same for us.

We are to come to Jesus as little children, throwing off all our pre-formed ideas. We are to let go of those ideas and with reckless abandon give ourselves to Him. No questions asked. Although He takes us as the mixed up adults we are, I think He receives us as little children. When we receive Him we become His children. 

The disciples were rebuked for believing the children who wanted to see Jesus, touch Him, perhaps sit on His lap or be held, were a bother. I wonder if they had ever considered they could have been a bother too...maybe worse than little children! These children had no false ideas yet formed in their minds. They came willingly, with glee. I'm sure they saw something in Jesus the disciples didn't. Children are amazing. They pick up on things so quickly.

We are to have the faith of a child. It's that letting go that is so difficult for us to do. We don't need to understand all the facts, but boy do we want to before stepping into anything. We are to just take it all in, these things we hear about Jesus. It's that simple. Isn't that what a child does? You tell him something and (before the age of reason) he simply believes and trusts you. That's all Jesus asks of believe what the Father has proclaimed in His Word.

I mentioned a book I read a short while ago called Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. His son it seems nearly died and Jesus took him on a tour of Heaven. In this 4 year old's own words, over a period of time, he described what he saw. The words came from a child's perspective, without all the fluff and reason, and were sometimes undistinguishable because the boy hadn't yet learned how to put what he saw into words he could understand. It was delightful to read and fantastic when the meaning came to the surface.

This year on Christmas day we had a grand niece and grand nephew just being little children. They'd opened their presents and beamed over their treasures. But they couldn't have been more excited than when they were told they could go swimming in Nana's pool (indoor, of course). In the middle of the living room--in a flash and a flurry--off came all their clothes, left in a pile on the floor and off they ran. No inhibitions. They were just little children, the kind that Jesus loves, ready to just do and be. We are to strip ourselves of our preconceived ideas...let them just go in the middle of the living room floor...go running to Him. Let Jesus as our Living Water bring cleansing to our souls. The Living Water that heals us of sin.

Imagine what Jesus thinks when he hears the simple words and ideas of a child. Don't you think He smiles and perhaps says, "That's my child! How I love him." He did, after all, create the little children. He wants to hear you make a commitment to Him as well so He can call you His child. It may be post-Christmas, but I think you will find this link enjoyable.  Imagine what Jesus might have thought. 

Mark 10:15 - Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Basis or Cause

Luke 2:14 - Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!

Lord God, this is a day to worship and celebrate the anniversary of Your birth. Just as Mary and Joseph and the prophets of old were waiting for Your arrival, so we await Your next one. 
In the stores you can find signs and posters that say "Believe." I never fail to question what someone who buys one of these is believing in. Do we believe in Santa? Do we believe in people? In ourselves? In government? I believe in Jesus and the miracle of His birth and all He has done for us. His whole life was a miracle. What does believe mean? It is the basis or cause for some belief, action, fact, event. Well, I think that just about says it all about Christ, life to death. The fact: God came down from His throne to earth. The event: the birth of Christ, God's only Son, and God incarnate. The belief: That Jesus is our Savior; He says that as the I AM He is all the things He has told us about and He will do all He has told us He would. The action: Receiving Him.

Jesus came to this earth, leaving a very comfortable, holy place at the right hand of His Father seated next to Him on His throne. He wore garments of fine linen and the colors of a King. He chose to leave that dignified spot to come down to earth, to be born a typical birth by an ordinary woman into a simple family, one without claim to fame, without rights and privileges in the world...yet they were chosen by God. He was born in lowly conditions and placed in a stone feeding trough filled with hay. This, a God who loves us so much and never slumbers nor sleeps, was sleeping in a stable. Glory to God in the highest....

He stepped down from Heaven to become our Emmanuel, God with us. God with us. He is here. He can be in our lives if we so choose Him. It's nearly impossible to imagine all the events of his birth, life and death. That's why we have that thing called faith. It takes faith to believe. Faith in something we have not seen and cannot comprehend. Faith of a child who believes everything an adult says...just because.

Jesus came to this earth with a very life-changing purpose. To live among us in the squaller and filth of a people who had and have turned their backs on Him, who were and are separated from Him at their own birth and who need Someone who can return them to their Father, to be their Savior.

We are all dead in our sins until that day comes into our lives. Until we can speak the words to the Lord that we want to receive Him, no sprinkling in baptism as a child, no thinking we know Jesus when we haven't given much thought about Him, no just assuming that because God says He loves all people or that all people are basically good, will anyone go to Heaven. We are a sinful people. Period.

What would have been the point at all in Jesus' birth, life and death if what I wrote above was true? Why did He have to leave His throne to live among us? Why did He have to be rejected and scorned? Why did He have to be subjected to the worldly ways, being tempted, but never succumbing to temptation. Why did He have to die a horrible death? There had to be a reason. We were that reason and He was our reason. And we celebrate the birth of that reason...

His birth has allowed access to the Father, as did His death. His ministry was to show Himself to the people so they might follow Him. Why do we struggle with that sometimes? We need to understand this: Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God (Luke 12:8). Is that right? We must confess Him first before men before He will confess us? What does that mean? There's a powerful statement there. Just because we say we are Christian doesn't make us one. Do we stumble over the word Jesus and feel more comfortable with the name God? Isn't the name God just a bit safer...less convicting? Oh, how the name of Jesus spoken out loud convicts. 

Jesus came to earth so that man would know Him, so man would confess Him. Without that God, not to anyone else because no man on this earth, no matter how holy he might appear to be can save us...we are still separated from Him. It is a personal decision between God and each person. No other way. Jesus is the Way. It must be done with words not from our heads but from our hearts. And the words must be to Jesus. Confession must be words...a true confession of faith...not some prayer we've learned in church to recite, but our words to Him.

Jesus, I confess You as the Son of God who came to this earth to live and die for my sins. I confess that I am a sinner (of both great and small things) and in need of a Savior. You alone are that Savior and I am confessing my need for You in my life. I confess that I fail daily without Your help. I confess that I have placed my trust in the worldly things believing they would get me through life when in actuality they only lead to death. I confess that even though I confess all these things I'm still a sinner and it is only by Your grace that I am received and saved by You. I confess that it will be a lifetime of giving up and letting go. Lord, I need You. Will You come into my life and make me whole...bridge that gap between You and me. Take away the separation. Empty me of me and fill me to overflowing with what You have for me that I might be able to share with others.

I confess that that's a pretty detailed prayer! Confession might be no more than Help me, Jesus. He knows your every need. It will encompass all in the above prayer and suit that need. Even if your mind can't comprehend just what it is you require and all you can pray is Help me, He will know and start His work. Better yet, you will know, you will sense His presence, you will realize the miracle that has taken place in you. God's glory will be revealed.

Christmas is a time of believing. Jesus was a miracle. Everything about Him was prophesied. God the Father knew from the beginning of time what He would have to do to save us all. Just about every chapter in the Old Testament shows us a glimpse of and a type of Jesus and what sacrifice was. He sacrificed His life, we sacrifice ours. 

Hallelujah for all that God has promised us. Hallelujah for the true Christmas. Hallelujah!

What an amazing thing it would be for our personal spiritual rebirth to fall on the same day Christ was born. Mine did not fall on this day, but there's no reason why yours can't. All you need do is choose to believe and confess those beliefs. 

Philippians 2:11 - and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Celebrate the Great I AM

Luke 2:11 - For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Two more days until Christmas. Time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, a small Child who was at the same time the great I AM. Try to imagine that. 

Jesus declared a few things that caused much contention, words that not all people could understand: I am the Gate, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the Light of the world, I am the true Vine, I am the living Bread, I am God's Son (John 10:9, 14:6, 10:14, 8:12, 15:1, 6:51, 10:36). He also said he was the Living Water. This little boy who was born in a lowly place laid claim to some pretty amazing things. The Son of God? Do you really know what that means? He wishes to be all these things for you. Neither His birth, life nor death was without purpose. He wants you to also be born into God's family and claim status as a child of God. 

We don't know the exact date Jesus was born. It is suggested that December was chosen out of pagan roots, that both secular and Jewish feasts and observances around the time of the winter solstice were all joined together. He was most likely born in either fall or spring. 

Again it's not the exact date that is important but the idea of who we are celebrating. God sent His only Son to this earth to reveal Himself to us, to offer Himself for us, to be raised back up to Heaven to again be seated at the right hand of God. Why confine our celebration to one time of the year? Every day it is possible for another person realize a need for a Savior and receive Christ. That's cause for celebration. Everything about Jesus is cause for celebration! He is available 24/7/365. Without His birth our spiritual birth could not be possible. If we could fully grasp this. So simple yet so complex.

On this day was born....we know He was. The important part of this verse is He is a Savior, who is Christ Jesus the Lord. A Savior, our Savior. He is our Savior if we acknowledge Him. He is our Savior if we seek Him with our whole heart. The shepherds sought Him, as did the Magi. Shepherds to Magi...lowly men who tended their sheep to well revered wise men or kings. Not only do I see this as a picture of all mankind, from one end of the spectrum to the other but as Jesus the King of kings and the sacrificial Lamb who was all things for all people. 

There's a song called Mary Did You Know. One of the verses I like the most says: Mary, did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child you've delivered will soon deliver you. He came into the world to deliver you, too. If we could wrap our heads around every aspect of what He has done. If we could fully understand how God brought this all about and the importance of it all. If we could fully understand what He endured in His life and death. All for us. How much more would we worship Him?

Make it a daily occurrence this next year to get to knowing Jesus better. Wake up thanking Him for a new day. Reverentially speak His name. Learn about Him. Ask Him to teach you. Ask Him! He will respond if you really want to know Him. If you only know who He is, seek to know that you know Him personally. He's a Jesus just for you, just like He's Jesus just for me. He wants to be your Savior but you need to ask Him. You can't assume He is just because you have heard of Him. It takes commitment on your part. He's here for all people but at a cost...we are to offer ourselves to Him and let the things of the world be less important.

Christmas is ALL about Jesus. It is not about Santa. Christmas commemorates the beginning of the life of One who loves us so much that He chose to die for us. Can anyone else lay claim to that? Receive Christ, receive life. Let's extend our celebration to worship...daily. Put Christ into your Christmas this year.

Give to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.  (1Chronicles 16:29, Psalm 95:6)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The True Light of Christmas

John 1:9 - The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

It was odd when I read this scripture. I've read it numerous times but was struck as if I'd never seen it before...the word light. And this coming just before our Christmas. John the Apostle was was writing about Jesus, the Light that was coming into the world. Jesus had already been born but John was talking about Jesus' coming into His ministry and revealing Himself. John was the voice in the wilderness alerting the people of this true Light.  

Then I was also somehow guided to Genesis 1:3 where the first thing God puts into this earth is light. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. Wow, what a prophetic deed by God way back then, one that solidifies my thoughts about everything in the Bible being intricately orchestrated. I see this as a precursor to God sending His Son into the world 2,000 years later to be the true Light of the world, to shine upon the darkness. Oh, so many scriptures regarding light! Bear with me. Better yet, soak it all in. I hope it all makes sense.

Listen to this. Long after Genesis 1:3, John 1 tells us this: In the beginning [when God said "Let there be light"] was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him [Jesus], 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 (John 1:1-5). A little later in this chapter John tells us And the Word [the Light] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (verse 14). Can anything glorious be experienced in the darkness of evil? 

The Light came into the world to be revealed by Himself (the truth). The Light also came to reveal the sin in men's hearts (darkness) and to be the Light on our path (Psalm 119:105) to guide us (into truth). The Light came by design to save all mankind. That's what makes Christmas so special. It's a reminder of all that God has done for us...from creation to the end of life as we know it, from Genesis to Revelation...taking us from death to life. How He loved us so much He sent His Son to this world. That means Jesus had to step down from His throne and into this messed up world. He had to withstand the abuse only sinful man could bring. 

We don't need to live in our own darkness, though. We can step out of it and into the Light of Christ. When we do, truth becomes our friend and darkness fades. We can clearly see the truth because of the Light. Such simplicity, so neatly arranged by God, yet so complicated by our human minds. ...the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed... (John 3:19-20). What a powerfully true statement. Ask those who have come out of the darkness into the marvelous light.

Oh, we don't all look at ourselves as evil, but without Christ we are. Without His light, without His truth, we are. Another one of God's simple truths complicated. It's a very simple solution: let the Light of Christ be revealed in your hearts. Let the light expose your sin so you may be forgiven by your acceptance of Christ. Let your heart be anguished by what the darkness holds so dear and let the light of truth penetrate your being and bring you peace.

We talk about joy and peace at Christmas. The joy and peace comes from this boy Child who when born brought the joy and peace for this world to anyone who wants it. He offers it to each one of us. He asks us to step into His light and cast aside our own personal darkness, our own torment, our own sin, for the peace and joy and light He offers. 

He came with peace and joy but He also comes with judgment. That judgment, thankfully, is overshadowed by forgiveness if we allow the light to expose our sins. We have hope and can attain the peace and joy when we let the Light enter into our lives.  

Christmas is only a breath away and we will be celebrating this Light. Oh, I could talk about all the Christmas lights on houses and on our trees, but I'm not going to go there. Those lights are pretty (sometimes pretty awful) but Jesus' light is the true Christmas Light. Jesus Himself told us in John 8:12 - "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." 

Why is it, I got to thinking, that it is in literal darkness we can sometimes be uneasy? Because we can't see; we don't know what might lurk around the corner. I'm not trying to suggest I'm frightened of the dark, but it happens to be a time when we seem to take more precautions. We turn on a light...we carry a flashlight...we build a fire. When we do we can see and a sense of safety comes upon us.  Psalm 27:1 - The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? He can be our light if we allow Him.

Look for Jesus this year in the midst of the Silent Night, Holy Nights and Joy to the Worlds. Listen carefully to the words of the songs we sing at Christmas, those we have known for so many years. Take the words to any of the Christmas songs...not about Santa, trees or reindeer, but Jesus...and plant them in your heart. Let your hearts be moved by the words. Let the love of Christ fill your hearts and let His light shine more brightly this year than any other. 

Every year our church has a Christmas Eve candelight service, like I'm sure many do. We sit in darkness with our unlit candles and later one candle is lit and little by little we are surrounded by a marvelous light. The symbolism is magnificent. It started with one Light shining in this world and it has reached out to one person at a time. I pray this year the Light is revealed in everyone's heart. 

2Corinthians 4:6 - For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Romans 1:18-19 - The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

Okay, another hard word. Another word of truth. One year ago would you have believed:
  • The Fed would monetize our debt after telling us they wouldn't
  • Europe would be on the brink of disaster and there would be riots in the streets
  • Getting on to an airplane would require getting felt up by invasive pat downs or sent through scanners taking pictures of your naked body while being told those pictures would not get on the internet
  • A Russian company that would sell uranium to Iran would also be given control of 50% of US uranium output in Wyoming
  • The current administration would bypass congress in order to pass new broadcast rules that make net neutrality, a regulation they are going around congress and courts to get, look like child's play
  • Federal law enforcement agencies are putting GPS units under people's cars without a warrant
  • American credit card transactions are being tracked in real time without a warrant
These are just a few things Glenn Beck mentioned on one of his programs. He shared a headline from the New York Times from early December: Mounting Debts by States Stoke Fears of Crisis. He's not making this up. Are we aware of these things? Are we concerned? Is this type of information being brought out in the open on mainstream media? Do we have our heads buried in sand? Or do we think this will just all blow over?

Do we believe such things can happen to us? We are, after all, America. This reminds me of the scripture regarding the last days when we as a country will experience pains similar to birth. Can we even imagine what our country will look like in another year if all this has happened on one year? Will we recognize it? 

Little by little things are eroding. There are some who only want to be told what to think and what to do. Thankfully some are speaking out against what we see happening and, of course, that's bringing opposition and a lot of criticism for those who see a country that once stood for freedom and democracy suddenly heading to socialism. Do we really want the government to control us? When will we say "enough?"

God is allowing us to do as we wish. He is a God who has told us long ago that He would leave us to our own desires if we choose to replace Him as our center with the ideas and plans of a society bent on becoming successful in their own way. Romans 1:28-31 - since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Is our government (both party lines) really being honest? Are they looking to the Constitution which was based on a Divine Creator? Or have they given in to the depraved minds mentioned above? Oh, not all are evil or God-haters. There are a few who only want what God would want for us. But this seems to be a dying government and this society. God just is not important anymore...and He showed us this would occur.

On the other hand and in a more positive light, Beck has revealed on his program groups of people whose hearts are set on doing the good and right things, like those in Wilmington, Ohio. I would suppose to the those who oppose Beck, the exposure of these people may seem sappy.                                                                ...suppose...those...oppose...expose???

The tides have turned. Maybe we've seen our best days. What lies ahead? A friend and I were discussing how we sure would like to see the Lord return quickly. But I think we still have some things to accomplish here on earth. And the Lord will tarry as long as necessary to receive more people into the Kingdom. Our work...His not yet done. These things we see if we have our eyes open may be the envelope that is pushed to change the world, not just our country, because if our country fails, I believe the world fails. Where do we look for the peace we all desire? Jesus is that peace. 

I don't want to see this happening. I don't want to be experiencing difficult times. But it might be the only way others will see that our peace and our hope comes from a Source other than what lies right before us, the things we can hold on to or see in this world, the things the Bible says will rust and which things moths can eat. Just what will it take to realize this and what will we need to let go of? Will we be able to or will we cling to our stuff? We've been blessed as it were, but have we done the right things with our blessing or did we hang on to it for our own profit? 

Everything we have has been given to us by God. He has created us. He has given us wisdom. He has given us the opportunity to know what He requires. He also knows what we truly are doing with what He has allowed us to have and be good stewards of. Do we feel we are privileged to "have?" There's a fine line. 

We should not rely entirely on our government. If we do we will crash and burn. Like I wrote before, there will be, and probably is, a sifting going on in the world. If we cling to the good things of God we will be secure. If we do not, what was sifted out will be blown away in the wind. Do we want to feel so secure in our riches? What makes us think it couldn't be taken away at any minute by our government?

We who are believers need to be here to share where our hope lies. We need to share the fact that it's not about our stuff but about Who supplies our everyday needs. I still have visions of Black Friday and the materialism. As Beck described on one of his programs, the mortar that holds our lives together is materialism. What would we do without it? Who would we turn to? 

Lord God, let Your glory shine in the lives and hearts of simple men who believe in You. Let the name of the Lord be praised. Let Your Spirit pour out on all the people of this world that they might know You and where exactly their hope can come from if they just pay attention. Make blind eyes to see, deaf ears to hear, hearts to soften and minds to change. Let the truth be known.

Just as Glenn Beck tells us to take a stand and make a choice in this country, we need to do the same with God. It's even a more important stand and choice to make. There is such a parallel because God either is, or is not, involved in every aspect of our lives, depending on which choice we make.

I read the editor's review of Glenn Beck's book, Broke: In the words of Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, the United States is “an empire on the edge of chaos.” Why? Glenn Beck thinks the answer is pretty simple: Because we’ve turned our backs on the Constitution. Yes, our country is financially broke, but that’s just a side effect of our broken spirit, our broken faith in government, the broken promises by our leaders, and a broken political system that has centralized power at the expense of individual rights.

I was struck by the use of the words turned our backs, spirit, faith, promises...words that parallel the Bible's words. This country's Constitution was founded on godly principles. Belief and trust in God were their foundation. They acknowledged their need for Him. They thanked Him for a chance to live in a land free from the slavery of the English rule. But our government has turned its back. He has been cast aside for personal control, power and corruption. It's important to realize we can't rely on anyone else or ourselves and we must return to the One who raises our spirits, who is our faith and who does not break His promises. God tells us as individuals: seek Me, let Me free you from bondage in this world. Trust in Me. If you do I will provide your every need. But if you turn your backs on me, I will leave you to your own devices and you will flounder and fail.

If we are in Christ and trust in Him, are in relationship with Him, our future, no matter what it holds in store, is secure. There is no greater security than that which we get from a God who wants nothing more than relationship with Him, trusting in Him and not the world. It's the same message--always. Without an Almighty influence in our lives we are nothing. If only the government would go back to its own roots.

This should be the most positive, peaceful thought and the best solution we could consider: Jesus is the way, truth and LIFE. Not our government, not any man. But it's a choice we each have to make on our own. We must make the wise choice. The solution is spiritual not political. 

When you know the truth it will set you free. Again the truth, the answer to all our problems and needs lies in the Man, Jesus Christ. Seek for yourself. He tells us that if we seek Him He will make Himself known. But you must seek with all your heart. It is the only truth worth looking for. As Beck stated: God is not on our side. It is our choice to make to be on His side. It is up to us to choose God...Jesus. 

Jeremiah 29:13-14 - And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity... 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Do We Really Need the Government?

Acts 20:35 - I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive.'' 

I watched the Glen Beck the other night. My blog the other day was called Do You Believe in Miracles? That could have been what this program could have been called if it had not been called a Glenn Beck Christmas special!

Beck was in the small town of Wilmington, Ohio. Their major business concern three years ago was DHL, an international delivery company whose national hub was in Wilmington. The company shut down their domestic delivery service and pulled out of town bringing hardship to this community of 11,000 people. Why?...8,000 lost their jobs! But the people of Wilmington were not about to give up hope. The town experienced miracles. They pulled up their bootstraps and did some amazing things, enough to cause Beck to take notice. They chose not to ask for government assistance. Instead, the town rallied together and helped each other out. Now that makes a person smile and gives that warm and fuzzy feeling.

There was a woman who took it upon herself to start a prayer ministry. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week this town of many people from the 32 churches gather where  chalkboards are displayed with various prayer requests. It could very well be the town's success has come from this ministry, from the dedicated people who have humbled themselves before God and made these requests known to Him. Although there's a part of this country that is not seen God's blessings, this town is. Glory goes to God and God alone. Who needs the government when God is in control!?

Think what could happen if more people in more towns would shake the victim mentality of just wanting government to take care of them and begin to seriously consider helping each other out or applying themselves. The Bible tells us For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat (2Thessalonians 3:10). God worked...He created this world and everything in it...and when He was done He proclaimed it was good. Shouldn't that be example enough? 

Glenn talked to several people he'd come across after speaking with some of them. Some were from town, some came to Wilmington to be part of this celebration. Story after incredible story were shared of how people have begun to listen to Beck, have heeded not only his warnings but his suggestions, have even begun to seek God, and have seen wonderful changes in their lives.

A woman saw a hotel for sale. It had been for sale for a long time. She inquired about it but wasn't so sure she and her husband could afford it. It would take a lot to fix it up. But she met with the seller and he trusted she could do what needed to be done and they shook hands on an agreement. The hotel is up and running today.

One man and his family lost their business in a fire. They never felt so alone. Through his church he was introduced to a man in Wilmington who had a building he could relocate to and rebuild his business...on nothing more than a handshake...because the same thing had happened to him twenty years prior and he knew what this man was going through.

In the two cases I mentioned it was not just a handout. They were miracles. Miracles of a human nature done out of selflessness of heart. They were examples of people choosing to do something to help someone get a new start. They were able to move forward...on a handshake. People helping people. Not people whining about government assistance. 

There's a lot to be said for giving out of the very pure motives of one's heart. This is what Jesus would want us to do. 

This is a season of giving. It is more blessed to give than to receive, Jesus has told us.. Can we ever get a full understanding of this? Can we shake off the life we've become used to if this is not our nature? Can we step out of our comfort zone and get off the couch and away from the television and do something for someone else? Can we give without expecting anything in return but perhaps a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing we have given something to someone who needs it?

Another man runs the local food pantry. He prays over all the shelves and trusts God for the results. He has enough food to last six months. We need more of this. We need to begin to believe that God can do what He tells us...that He is our provider. He used people, but it was He who urged them to give. 

Beck explained how his good Jewish friend, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, broke down the meaning of the Hebrew word for love. The Hebrew language is so filled with meaning. Within the four Jewish symbols of the word are the center two. The center...the center...and they mean to give. Isn't that what love is supposed to be? You give, not take. To give of ourselves, not to ourselves. I sometimes feel I have failed in this area. Maybe it's because I did not receive as a child. So what about this thing I've been saying about my relationship with Jesus? Shouldn't that have healed that part of me? Perhaps it's in the works. I know there's a stirring going on...

Wilmington is an excellent example of what this country needs to be. This is what we used to be as a nation. Always giving. Now we are a country in debt. We need a country of people like those of Wilmington. I have heard, and Glenn says the same thing, there is going to be a spiritual awakening in this country. It's just a matter of time. The things that Wilmington can represent I think can be just the beginning of that revival. One town, then two and little by little a movement that cannot be mistaken or overlooked.

As we enter into the Christmas season where love--and giving--is to predominate, let us keep this all in mind. Let us give....not necessarily stuff, but let's give of ourselves. Let us push aside our own wants and needs and reach out to others. Let us go beyond what we have always done and let us communicate our love in our actions. Let us step beyond what we would consider "our job." 

Our families may not be needy and we don't have to give physical gifts, but we can give of ourselves... Remember what Jesus did for us. He gave His life. Can we not give just a moment of our life, putting aside our own desires for just a moment of time in our lives, for the family? Can we not turn off the television for a time and listen to each other and join in the conversations? I guarantee we will be blessed if we do that. Let's shake the crabbiness and desire to control and just let things fall where they may. Let us not shush the children or grouse at a spouse!

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. [So] do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship (Proverbs 22:9, Hebrews 13:16, Romans 12:1).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Exceedingly Great and Precious Promises

2Peter 1:2-4 - Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

Do you hear this? Grace and peace be multiplied to you...when you partake in the knowledge of God and Jesus. Grace and peace...multiplied. That's amazing. When we receive Jesus the power of the Holy Spirit will help us understand this truth. There's that Holy Spirit again changing the way a person views their life and what's important in it. Without that change we have not allowed the Spirit to do a work. These are not things we can do on our own, in our human strength only through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

In the world we strive to be better, to do good. Through Christ, not in our own strength, the changes take place. Yes, the work takes a lifetime, but there should be an initial heart change. I've mentioned before my anger and rage subsided. I'm still not without fault but I know I don't harbor those horrendous feelings I had before Christ. It is through our knowledge of and our acceptance of Jesus and nothing else.

We learn what truth is and the nature of God, about His goodness and His judgment and somehow we are transformed. We see through His eyes and we change our way of thinking. Evil is no longer considered good and good can no longer be evil. Oh, the ways my thinking has changed. And I praise God for this. 

Although I see things differently in this world, it can be both frustrating and liberating. To know I'm on the side with the guys in the white hats is a good feeling. It's good to know that whatever happens in this world I am safe and secure in the loving arms of God. Whatever life throws at me I have a Lord and Savior to stand by me and give me strength.

These are the great and precious promises. I love that part of the scripture...the exceedingly great and precious promises. Those promises can be secured by anyone willing to let go of what they hold on to so dearly in this world and humble themselves before an exceedingly great and precious Jesus...our greatest Promise.

Acceptance of Christ will give us a divine nature. No, you cannot have the divine nature without first receiving Him. Sorry, it's the law! Being one with God is having the mind of Christ...knowing truth...unity. Jesus told us this Himself when He prayed: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (John 17:20-21) Divine nature comes with believing and receiving Christ and becoming unified in that belief...unified in what Jesus believes and teaches. And if He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, well, what He teaches is true.

The world view will be seen with clarity. It will change how you think and feel about it. What was important in the world will fall away. Just as I wrote that, I had this vision of a metal mesh colander: In it were the things of the world and the things of God. The things of God were big enough to remain in the colander while everything else fell through. The things of God are bigger than the things of the world. The things of God are above, not below. The things of God are big enough to stand on their own while the things of the world are in actuality (in God's eyes) so small they can fall through the cracks and be blown away. The things of God will last. The things of the world will not.

Nothing we seek in this world will satisfy like knowing Jesus. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). We are His offspring. We are united with Christ and one with the Father through Christ. In God the Father's eyes we have His Divine nature. If we know Him and are in relationship with Him He sees us through the eyes of Jesus, the One who has cleansed us from all unrighteousness through His shed blood. An exceedingly great and precious promise fulfilled.

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ....Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  (Philippians 3:8, Psalm 73:25)