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Monthly Archives : December 2016

JESUS …. Matthew 1:21 … December 25, 2016

    She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.  Matthew 1: 21 ESV
 
     Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year! At lest that is what I heard expressed in a song on the radio. I tend to agree with the song, but there are some who would beg to differ. For me, I enjoy the season and the gathering of family and friends. I enjoy hearing and saying, “Merry Christmas” to and from those I meet. It seems to be a time when people are a bit more merciful to one another. A time when it feels a bit more peaceful. Not all would agree with my description or feelings. They miss loved ones who are absent for one reason or another. They do not desire to share nor feel the sentiment of Merry Christmas. Perhaps they would even agree with Mr. Scrooge when he says, “Baugh.. Humbug.” People do not seem more merciful to them and it defiantly isn’t peaceful for them. I suppose it depends in how you want to view things, for I believe life is a choice. It does seem to be easier and sweeter for some, or is it that they just choose for it to be so. I know for me; I could feel some of the second person described, for I have experienced some of the narratives as described, but I choose JOY. Some days are easier than others in making this choice but never the less, I choose JOY. Why? Because there is another song I have heard and it says, “Joy to the world the Lord has come.” I believe He, the Lord, is the reason for the season and this reason reminds us who He is.
 
HE IS THE SON: The Son of God coming and given to the world because of love. For to us a child is born, a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. Isaiah 9:6a ESV  Not just any son but God made flesh in His Son. And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 14 ESV …. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son. John 3:16a ESV
 
HE IS JESUS: The sweetest name I know, and I know it is to many. By Jesus, The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. Matthew 11:5 ESV  You might be temped to say “I’ve never seen nor experienced this.” Really? If you are a Christian, you have been given spiritual eyes to see, the ability to walk in the Lord, able to hear spiritual truth, and have been made alive in Christ. I know you have heard the gospel of the good news preached.
 
HE IS THE SAVIOR: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV  If you know you have a home in heaven, it is only because Jesus paid the debt of your sins. It was necessary for Jesus to be born in order for us to receive eternal life by Him. If there was any other way, then His birth, death, and resurrection was all for nothing. By faith we believe and receive the precious gift of eternal life. The greatest gift of Christmas to us was Jesus, God’s only Son….born to die that we might live.
 
     As you reflect on this day, do not let the past rob you of the JOY of the present and future. Make the choice to live in JOY for it may be the only light enabling some to see in a dark world. A light that will be as the star that lead the wise men to him. May the light of Christ burn so brightly in you that others see the truth of the miraculous birth of Jesus.
 
Because of His Grace ~Pastor David

HOPE …. Romans 15:13 … December 18, 2016

     May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace believing, so that by the power of the
Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV

 
When I think of the topic of HOPE, the chorus that always comes to mind is… “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name.” Jesus- the name above all names. (Philippians 2: 9-11) Truly our hope is in the truth of the baby boy born in Bethlehem to be the Savior of the world. Emanuel, God with us in the flesh born to save us from our sins…. The perfect lamb of God. If a person places hope in anything or anyone other than Jesus, it will be a hope that eternally will be disappointing. Hope without Jesus is a temporary hope at best. What does the Christian hope look like?

UNASHAMED… Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5 ESV God has poured His life into ours. We were dead in sin and now as Christians, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Filled with life because God has made it so by His own choice. He did not have to send His Son. He did not have to let him die. He did not have to adopt us as his children. But He did this, by his own choice, so my hope is built upon Him and not in myself to live good enough rather to love Him much because he first loved me.

BOLD…. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 2 Corinthians 3:12 ESV We are bold because Jesus has set us free from the power of sin and death. We are able to face death with no fear because we live in the power of the living God. This power is living in us by the Holy Spirit! We can be secure in this fact that we are His and no one or anything will separate us from His Love. ( Romans 8:31-39)

FREE … For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life Christ Jesus our Lord Romans 6:23 ESV …. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 ESV We are unashamed and bold because we have been set free from the consequence of our sins by God through His Son Jesus. We should live as free and not be entangled in what steals our freedom to begin with…. sin. Sin and the memory of sin will always burden you with the chains that hold you, but the hope in which we live in Christ will set us free. Free, because God has made it so. The Bible teaches us that, If we confess or sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV This is the hope that I want to live out loud in my life. A life set free by God.
 
Let me close this day with this passage. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV
 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

LOVE …. 1 John 4:9-10 … December 11, 2016

      In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loves us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 ESV

      The love of God is greater than words could ever explain. So how can a person even begin to attempt explaining His love for us? In attempting to do so, one would need to look to the life that was, is, and will always be as lived by Jesus. (Hebrew 13:8) Love is most often shown more than spoken. You may say to someone, “I love you,” but to show someone that you love them by actions will always speak louder than your words. That is exactly what God did when He sent His only Son to save us from our sins. I am not sure who first made this statement, “He became like us so that we could become like Him,” but it speaks volumes for us who recognized our need for a Savior. Why would God, who answers to no one, choose to save us from our sin rather than just erase us from existence and start over when sin happened? The answer…… LOVE. Not by just words but action.

 

GOD BECAME FLESH: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. John 1:1 ESV …… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ESV.  In the town of Bethlehem some two thousand years ago this became a reality. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 ESV  Shepherds were the first to hear this great news as told them by the angel. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 ESV

 

GOD GAVE HIS SON: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be save through him. John 3:16-17

 

GOD GAVE US SALVATION: For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 ESV ….. And there is salvatoin in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 ESV  Salvation was made possible because God became flesh by giving His only Son to receive the punishment for our sins. This is action that speaks louder than words. What more could God do to prove His love for you? Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 ESV  No one loves you more than God! Never has, never will.

 Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Peace …. John 14:27 … December 4, 2016
       Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27 ESV

 Peace is longed for and sought by many but unfortunately never found.  Peace is not something you can buy or manufacture because true peace is a gift from Jesus.  Peace is not the absent of conflict in a person’s life, but rather a keen awareness of  Jesus’s abiding presence in your life.  This is why  it is so important to read, consume, breath, and believe the scripture in daily life.  Do you want peace in your life? Then seek Jesus and you will find it.  Isaiah told us that the coming Jesus would be the Prince of Peace, and there would be no end to his peace.  For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be uno his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God, Everlasting Father, PRINCE OF PEACE.  Of the increase of his government and of PEACE there will be no end. Isaiah 9:6-7a ESV  It is imperative that one seeks Jesus as Savior and Lord to have this peace that will never pass away.  Peace the world offers is only temporal and is tied to whatever supposedly brings that peace.  Temporal, because everything in this world will pass away.  If the world gives it to you, then it can be taken it away; but if  Jesus gives peace, then it can never be taken away.  Let me give you three thoughts for peaceful living.  

     FOCUS …..  Whatever dominates your mind will control you.  When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on the water towards Jesus, he begin to sink only when he took his eyes off  Jesus. (Matthew 14:29-30)  Jesus must be the focus in your life.  Remember he said, “My peace I give to you.”  To receive peace you must be looking to the one who can give it.  Jesus is the giver of true peace, and you will find it in no one else.  In the race of life, Jesus must be the focus. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great  cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, LOOKING TO JESUS, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him ENDURED the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV   
      
     CONFLICT …… Peace is not the absent of conflict in one’s life; it is the oasis for the mind in the middle of conflict.  Jesus addressed this, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have PEACE. In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 ESV  As in the afore mentioned concerning  focus,  the cross was no doubt tribulation, but Jesus truly overcame the world.
     
     GRACE…. Grace received comes before peace.  Grace understands unmerited forgiveness from God the Father.  Not because it is deserved, but rather it is His gift to you.  For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing: it is a GIFT OF GOD   Ephesians 2:8 ESV  Paul, a major writer of the New Testament, understood this well as reflected in his writing.  At the beginning of many of the letters, he used this exact phrase as recorded in the ESV translation of the Bible.  Grace to you and peace from God our Father.”   Romans 1:7 ……1 Corinthians 1:3 … 2 Corinthians 1:2 … Galatians 1:3 … Ephesians 1:2 …  Philippians 1:2 ….  Colossians 1:2 … 2 Thessalonians 1:2 … Titus 1:4  … Philemon 1:3  In his other letters it was worded somewhat different but still has grace coming before peace.  

     There are many other thoughts that could be added to the acquiring of peace, but these provide what I believe to be basic principles in finding peace with God.  In a closing thought there are many who are in conflict in our world today, and one wonders why so much so.  This thought comes to my mind.  If we are at peace in the Lord with ourselves, we are more apt to be at peace with others.  I wonder how many people are acting out the conflict and lack of peace in their own lives by inflicting it upon others.  We cannot control the actions of others, but let us  join in the chorus of the angles in Luke chapter two after the announcement of Jesus brith.  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!  Luke 2:14 ESV.   
 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David
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