Drop us a line...

Send Message

Monthly Archives : December 2018

THE WORD BECAME FLESH …. December 23, 2018

     And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ESV

     Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us.) Matthew 1:23 ESV

     For unto you is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 ESV

     There are times when I just sit and ponder on the Bible. I reflect on the many stories told of days past and of things foretold which are yet to come. One historical event I’ve often pondered is the birth of Jesus, our Messiah, Immanuel….God with us. Wrap your mind around the truth that God, who created everything, became as His created. A man clothed in flesh and his life held with bars of bone. He had a heart beating and blood flowing through his veins. He cried, laughed, felt happiness and sadness. He felt aches, pain, weariness and everything that comes from being flesh. He experienced temptation in every area of life yet did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15) He was a man……..yet totally God.

The Word Became Flesh:
     In the Old Testament God’s word instructed how a person should live. That word was to be a lamp showing the way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 ESV  In the New Testament the word took on flesh and wasn’t just a lamp, but the light of God living every day, displaying how we should live. Jesus walked down the path of servanthood lighting the way and showed generosity, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and how to love, just to mention a few.

Dwelt Among Us:
     To live with us- that is what God chose to do. I have heard a phrase many times that explains it well. It goes like this, “He became like us, so that we might become like Him.” Jesus lived a perfect life in absolutely every way and never sinned. We will never be perfect in ourselves, but Jesus made it possible for us to be as He is…. without sin. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV …… He lived with purpose and died on purpose for our sins. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have beed healed. 1 Peter 2:24 ESV  Living righteous is made possible in Jesus Christ through faith. It is not faith in our own righteousness but faith in the one who made it possible for us to live right before God. (Romans 1:16-17) The righteous shall live by faith. Romans 1:17b ESV

Seen His Glory:
     We read about heaven’s spender and glory which one day, as Christians, we will see. The earth, which God created, received a glimpse of heaven’s glory when God sent Himself in His Son. The world in general was unaware that God had become flesh the night that He was born. Shepherds were the only ones that came to witness the birth of the Savior. This is how they received notice of His birth. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHONE AROUND THEM. Luke 2:9 ESV ……. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14 ESV

Full Of Grace and Truth:
     This is why Jesus came: so that we might experience God’s grace and truth. For by GRACE you have been saved through faith. And it is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV  And that we might experience truth. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.” John 8:31-32 ESV  All the days that Jesus lived in the flesh he gave grace and taught truth…. Grace to the repentant sinner and truth to all who would hear.

     This message has never changed from the time it came to be a reality to the present day. Hebrews 13: 8 (ESV) teaches us that Jesus  Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. God made possible the redemption of man to himself by sending His Son to be…. The lamb of God which takes away sin of the world. John 1:29 ESV  From a manger to a cross, from a cross to a grave, from a grave to the sky, Jesus… God… did what we could never do. Defeated sin and death and overcame the world that Satan would make you believe is hopeless. Jesus came and is coming again just as He promised. Remember, God made it possible for us to be more than conquerers in Christ Jesus. (All of Romans 8 but specifically verse 37) So until he comes, let us be waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

HIS LOVE — ENDURES FOREVER…. December 16, 2018

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalms 136:1 ESV

     If I were to randomly ask the question, “What do you thank God for today?” I am sure I would receive multiple answers. In 1 Corinthians 13:13 we are told that faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. If the greatest of these three is love, shouldn’t that also be what we express our greatest thanks for? We know that God’s love is unexplainable, and in many ways it does not make sense when reflecting upon it. It is not hard to understand how to love someone who is lovable, but to love someone whom you know mistreats you, rejects you, lies about you, and ultimately kills you…. loving that person is out of the average person’s ability to express love. Romans 5:7-8 (ESV) explains it this way: For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christa died for us. When reading Psalm 136, it progresses from God being the creator of the universe, to the deliverer of His people from Egypt, to reminding us that He is the God who sits on the throne of Heaven. The last part of each verse in this Psalm reiterates this eternal truth…. his steadfast love endures forever. In this day when people seem to be focused upon themselves and not looking to God, this eternal truth remains… his steadfast love endures forever. It is His love that restrains him from the judgement He will one day bring upon all mankind for their sins (2 Peter 3:9-10).  It was in His steadfast love that He sent His only Son to die for our sins. (John 3:16) So let us begin living each day by doing, recognizing, and acknowledging His steadfast love.

DOING:
     We should always be in an attitude of thanksgiving towards God for His enduring love; but attitude is hard to measure, for it is something that is in the mind and is developed there. Doing, however, is an outward expression of that which is in the heart/mind of a person, and can be seen. How you live, on purpose, for God, every day, will show the gratitude you have in your heart for God and His love. It is living to bring attention to God, not yourself. Let your light shine before others, so that they MAY SEE your good works and GIVE GLORY TO YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN. Matthew 5:16 ESV

RECOGNIZING:
     It is important to remember/recognize that no matter what a day brings, God is good!!! In the middle of tragic situations of this world, it does not change who God is, and HE IS GOOD. God did not cause sin; man’s choice did that. However, rather than give us the justice deserved, God chose to send His Son to pay the penalty of the sin…. death. To me that makes God good/great in ways words just cannot express. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV God’s steadfast and sure love did that, and I hope I will never forget, but always recognize, this important truth, this fact.

ACKNOWLEDGE:
    Over the years I have been to numerous meetings in which they acknowledged a person for accomplishments or the attributes that defined that person. One of the many enduring attributes of God is His steadfast love for us. If I were to introduce God in a meeting as the keynote speaker, what might I say? Perhaps something like this,

                    Let me introduce to you the creator of the world in which we live. Absolutely nothing you see, smell, taste, or touch is possible without the works of His hands. He is the most just and forgiving person known to the world. It has not been easy overseeing the world, and it would be an understatement to say there have been many conflicts with which He has had to deal. However, with every difficulty and conflict He, with confidence and authority, has made the needed decisions. One such decision was, in love, to send His Son into a hopeless situation to make hope possible again. One attribute that I believe sums up this person more than any other is obviously that He is a giver of love. Absolutely every action and decision He makes is motivated by this love. May I introduce to you GOD, who is the King of kings and Lord of lords, the First and the Last. Honestly, there are no words which could honor GOD to the degree deserved; may we give Him not just a hand, but…… our lives.

     If you were to introduce God, how would you do so? How you view God will be how you introduce Him. I hope and pray you see how much God loves you. He loved you to the point of sending His only Son to save you from sin and death. This Christmas season may you give thanks for the goodness of God’s love – the greatest gift you will ever receive.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

JOY …… December 9, 2018

      How can a person experience lasting joy in the world today?  First you need to realize joy is not something that is given by this world.  Joy is given by God and is maintained in the heart of the Christian to give strength for each day.  Joy can be described as a happy feeling that is experienced when focusing upon the Creator…. God.  John Piper describes joy like this: “Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.”  This time of year (Christmas), we sing songs like Joy to the World, in which the lyrics tell of the coming of Jesus into the world.  Only when Jesus comes into the heart of a man or woman will they ever experience true joy.  A person can experience happiness for a season, but joy is lasting and enduring and not dependent upon circumstances but rather the person God the Father, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit.  Delighting in the Lord and contemplating upon all his attributes and promises will induce the feeling and emotion of joy.

You make known to me the path of life; IN YOUR PRESENCE THERE IS FULLNESS OF JOY; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11 ESV

     In the sixteenth Psalm, David expresses how he views God’s role in his life and the fact that God will never abandon him.  For you will not abandon my soul (vs 10 ESV)   It needs to be understood that God, to David, was not a mere acquaintance but a person Who had a presence in his life. David, throughout the Psalms, worshipped God, and in doing so, gives you a clear understanding that in his knowing of God was more than just a knowledge of God….. it was relational. The level of presence a person has in your life will determine the level of influence that a person will have. Does your knowing of God make you want to sing for joy because you recognize all that he has done for you? (Psalms 5:11, 63:7, 71:;23, 84:2, 92:4)

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I being you good news of GREAT JOY that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11-12 ESV

     People who have great joy in Jesus are those who have experienced Him as Savior.  David had a knowledge of God before the cross, but we have a knowledge of God in Christ Jesus because of the cross.  The birth of Jesus created a different level of joy because it went from knowing about the presence of God to being in the presence of God.  God had become human… flesh…. man, yet without sin.  This is why I believe at the announcement of His birth, the angels said, “GREAT JOY” ….. which obviously is a whole new level of joy.  If David sang with joy in the Old Testament, we should not be able to contain the joy.  We have the Spirit of the living God not just moving on the face of the earth, but living in us, for we are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

And the disciples were filled with JOY and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52 ESV

     Joy and the Holy Spirit are both important in the life of the Christian. They give evidence of the new life a person has in Christ. Joy is not dependent upon our circumstances but upon the reality that the Savior who was born into  the world is now born in you by the Holy Spirit. Joy isn’t just about what God can do for you, but what He has already done and is yet to do….. take you to where He is…. Heaven.  God, in His Son Jesus, came and lived with us to make it possible for us to go and live with Him. There is no joy in hoping that you are good enough to go to heaven, for you will always live wondering and hoping that you have met the “good enough” standard, which, by the way, you can never achieve without Jesus. That is why Jesus was introduced as the Savior, and we are all in need of a Savior. A Savior that came to take away the consequence of our sin…… death.  Joy comes when you know your debt of sin has been paid in full by Him who knew no sin.  Knowledge of him is only turned to joy when you come to know him as Savior.  This is why the disciples were described as having Joy and the Holy Spirit.

 

     We have learned about hope and peace the past two Sundays, and now we have added joy to the mix. So let me close with a verse that includes all three, and it is my prayer for you today. 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

PEACE …… Isaiah 9:6 …… December 2, 2018

      For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, PRINCE OF PEACE. Isaiah 9:6

      What I wouldn’t give for some peace. Have you ever felt like that? I would dare say there are a a lot of people in the world today that feel that very sentiment. Bad news upon bad news upon bad news, with no relief in sight. Financial woes…wars and threats of wars…. evil appears to be winning in many circles of life. Stress and life messes are everywhere without solutions. Life, at times, makes you want to scream…. STOP!!! Have I described you or someone you know, who feels as the few sentences just penned? It may be hard to believe, but there is a place of peace in the mist of the craziness of life. A sweet peace that you do not have to give anything for, for it is a gift to you from the Prince of Peace. I know these words are easy to write but application is another story. So how do you receive this gift of peace that is offered to you?

BELIEVE:
     This may be the hardest work you will ever do. We labor in our minds with questions like: if God is so good and powerful, then how does evil even exist? Why do bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people? Why do children and the innocent suffer so unjustly? Just fill in the blank with whatever question you might have, for the list of questions could be endless. The answer, however, may be one you don’t want to hear. The fact is, God did do something… He sent His only Son…… and …… He created you. If you have the ability to identify and see evil, then do something about it. Jesus was once asked the question, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:28-29 ESV  If you believe in Jesus, then you know that he came and defeated the evil and death that was introduced by Satan. This is not a belief as the devils have, for they believe and tremble. (James 2:19) It is a belief that turns you from blaming God to serving God in whatever capacity he has enabled you to do. There are marks that identify a Christian and Romans 12:9-21 describes them well. Let me close this point of believing with verse 21 …. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

TRUST:
     In order for peace to be a reality in a person’s life they must trust. God provides this peace when we trust in Him and make Him our focus. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV  The definition of the word ‘trust’ as a noun is this: a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.  Trusting in God is relational and becomes stronger as you walk with Him through life. It is knowing that God is sovereign and nothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:35-39) Peace comes when you grasp that, as a child of God, you are in His hand, and no one has the power to remove you. (John 10:28) Trust in yourself or trust in God; you make the choice, but let me remind you – one is a band-aid and only temporary; the other is the cure to life’s stresses and is eternal. Psalm 46:10 tells us, “Be still and know that I am God.”

FOLLOW:
      
Zachariah, the father of John Baptist, said these words concerning his son, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into THE WAY OF PEACE” Luke 1:76-79 ESV  The way of peace is salvation in Christ alone. It comes by being forgiven of every sin that has ensnared us – sins both known and unknown …. sins past and future. It is peace that comes in the middle of life’s storms when you recognize him as the shepherd over your life.  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:1-4 ESV  As sheep follow the shepherd, Christians follow Jesus. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and THEY FOLLOW ME. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-29 ESV

      As Christians, we need to Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. AND THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING  WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS. Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

Simply put, as in the simple cliche….. No peace… No God. Know God… Know Peace.

      Let me close with this thought,  To those who have obtained a faith….by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May GRACE AND PEACE be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:1-2 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

X