Isaiah 9:6 NKJV – Unto us a child is born

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”

The good news is the birth of Jesus Christ. These names express His divine and human qualities, giving assurance that indeed He is Immanuel, God with us. Jesus Christ mission included many things; most important was His work of salvation. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 NKJV)

Friend, today we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Today we rejoice with the angels of heaven. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2: 14 NKJV) God’s work of salvation is accomplished. Jesus Christ, the promised Savior, has come. Jesus Christ has the power to save and protect and through His power He has defeated both sin and death. And this power remains effective today. “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV) Jesus’ eternal life and priesthood make possible His eternal intercession for those who draw near to God through Him, leading to their complete and eternal salvation. “Uttermost” refers to comprehensive salvation (meeting our every need) especially as it is grounded in Jesus’ always living to pray for us.

Today, I will pray. Today, I will intercede for those who celebrate this day without the thinking about Jesus; without an expression of thanks and without the knowledge of His name; Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. The Holy and exalted Lord came so that we could receive eternal life. God the Father sent His beloved Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish in eternal death, but instead have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Do you know where you will live out eternity? Are you sure you will forever be in the presence of God? I know how you can be sure. His name is Jesus and He is waiting for you to call upon Him.

Lord Jesus. I desire to live eternally with You. Lord, I am a sinner who needs Your mercy and grace. I believe Lord that You came to seek me and to save me. I believe that You suffered and died for me. That when You were on the cross, I was on Your mind. I believe Lord that You defeated my sin and my eternal death when You rose from the grave. I believe that You have salvation waiting for me and it’s my choice. Lord, come into my heart and my life. I submit everything to You. Be my Savior, Jesus, right now. Thank You Jesus. I receive Your grace and celebrate this day. Today is the accepted time; today is the day of salvation. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

John 15:12-14 NKJV – Greater love has no one than this

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”

I am persuaded that I will not love like others love. I will love like Christ loves me. Such love is an outgrowth of a life that has witnessed the dramatic quality of God’s love. Jesus died on behalf of those He loves. Such love requires that we also love God with our entire heart, soul, and strength.

How a person loves is formed early on in life. Some people love as they saw their parents and family love. This can be a warm and genuine love, or it can be a static love. If you came from a home where warm genuine love was displayed, you may find it easy to love someone else. But if you came from a home where love was really just a word and not demonstrated, you may find it more difficult to love.

Some people came from homes where they witnessed their mom and dad split up and their love for each other vanished. If you came from a home where you witnessed this, you may find it difficult to trust anyone with your love as you don’t want to be hurt. And then some may have come from a destructive home where they witnessed fighting and pain and violence. If you came from a home which was destructive, you may find it impossible to love.

The love demonstrated by Jesus Christ by His suffering and death on the cross reveals God’s amazing love for all mankind. Jesus Christ’s love stems from His Father. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.” (John 3:35 NKJV) The love given by Jesus to all of us when He freely gave His life for us on the cross inspires us to believe that there is no greater love. No matter what we have seen or what we have lived through, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life. When Jesus suffered and hung on the cross, you, my friend, were on His mind. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NLJV) He gave up His life because He desired that you be able to spend eternity with Him.

Eternal life is a gift of grace and mercy. “So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21 NKJV) You may believe that no one can love you like this. I remember thinking “If you really knew me, you wouldn’t love me.” But that’s simply not true. Jesus loves with an everlasting love. “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV) This kind of love is shown in God’s character by which He is compassionate, accepting, and generous. He shields us from His wrath and forgives us. We can be confident that the Lord loves us. It’s His unchanging and faithful nature. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NKJV)

Friend, Scripture offers an understanding of what true love is and it is based on the nature and character of God.   God’s love is not static nor is God’s love untrusting. God desires and intimate relationship with you. That relationship is fueled by a daily commitment to prayer. In time of prayer, you can partake in the fullness of God’s love because as you speak to Him, He returns an answer. Prayer is two way communication with the desired outcome to be closer to God each and every day. And you can be confident that God hears and answers every prayer you pray.

And you can trust in God’s love for you. That is why I can say that I will love others as Jesus has loved me. Faithfully, never changing, and with His full mercy and grace. Would you like this kind of love in your life and then be able to love others just like Jesus loves you? Do you wish to have a relationship with Jesus? You can receive this. Just simply pray.

Lord, Jesus, I want to know and experience the love that You have. I’ve not lived a life that is filled with genuine love. I am seeking love that is never ending, that is full of mercy and grace and is accepting no matter who I am. I’m told You have this love for me. I confess that I need You in my life so that I can experience Your love and demonstrate it to others. Come into my life Lord Jesus and be my Savior. Teach me Your ways and pour out Your love on me. Help me be a light to others. Thank You Jesus for dying for my sins and bringing me new life when You rose from the grave. There is no greater love than this. I commit my life to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

 

 

James 5:16 NKJV – It’s not in the power of the words, it’s in the Power of the Lord (Part 2)

Part 1 written on October 12, 2013

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

The last time this verse was discussed, it dealt with the subject that “Prayer changes things, starting with the one who prays.” We wrote that God hears and answers prayers and the power of prayer does not come from the words we use, but rather the power of prayer works because of the Power of the Lord! Power to heal, Power to deliver, Power to restore, Power to repair, Power to provide, Power to guide and direct, Power to protect, Power to give hope.

Part 2 asks, “But, can I be forgiven?” The Apostle James states in our verse that prayer of a righteous man avails much or is powerful and effective. But what about prayer of one who seeks God’s forgiveness.

An admission of sin on the part of an individual is what is called confession. Confession or in other words humbly calling upon God leads to divine forgiveness. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10 NJKV) God’s forgiveness is given as soon as we admit our need of it, not on the basis of some kind of act or service on our part to earn it, but rather solely because of God’s grace. The free gift of forgiveness carries with it complete purification of unrighteousness. God the Father accepts us as righteous in His sight and He imputes to us the righteousness of His Son, Jesus. And this is because Jesus died and rose again to defeat sin and eternal death. Jesus’ blood sacrifice on our behalf.

God’s character shows Himself as compassionate, accepting and generous to sinful man; shielding us from His wrath, forgiving us so that we can live and grow in faith and obedience. His grace and mercy are particularly expressed through God’s covenant with His children through the atoning death on the cross by Jesus. All of this is our assurance that when we seek God in prayer and ask for His forgiveness and repent from sin, He hears and forgives. Period!

Repentance from sin opens the way for God’s blessings. God desires that all people should repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV) I say, “Praise the Lord for His longsuffering or patience.” God is patient and He is slow to anger. (Jonah 4:2 NKJV)

Forgiveness begins with Jesus and is all about Jesus. Not ourselves, but what Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection. The fulfillment of God’s purpose of salvation is sealed by the blood of Jesus. It is a covenant grace, the benefits of which include forgiveness and a renewed relationship with God, through the Holy Spirit; an inward transformation that enables obedience.

Yes, again I say Yes! Humble, repentant prayer for forgiveness will lead God to hear and answer your prayer. God’s desire is to spend eternity with you in heaven and His plan involved sending His Son, Jesus, to earth for you to ensure this happens. Jesus’ death and resurrection provided what was needed and He defeated sin and eternal death. What’s next is a choice. Eternal fellowship with God or eternal separation from God. Fellowship with God begins with a prayer. Let’s pray.

Dear Lord, I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I cannot continue living the way that I do. I need a Savior. Jesus, I believe that You died for me and rose from the grave to defeat my sin and eternal death. You did this for me. Forgive me now, Lord. I repent of my sin, and submit my life to You. Come into my heart and life and be my guide. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 103:12 NKJV – How vast is God’s mercy and grace?

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

“But Lord, You can’t possibly forgive me for all that I have done. How could forgiveness be for me! You don’t know me. And if You did, You couldn’t love me.” Oh how the enemy wants us to believe all of this. The enemy wants us to think that there is no way that God could love us to forgive us. I remember the times I’ve let the devil speak to me this way. I remember the helplessness I felt when I found myself bound in sin and thinking there was no hope.

But that is not what this verse tells us. When God forgives sins, He completely removes them. The height and breadth of His mercy is vast; as far and as wide as the east is separated from the west. WOW! “For I’m persuaded that neither death nor live, nor angels nor principalities not powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NJKV) If nothing can separate us from the love of God, than God can forgive us no matter what we have done. His love is everlasting and He loved us so much that He died for us.

Then why do we think these things? First, we allow the enemy to speak to us this way. We don’t rebuke him or resist him. We allow his lies to penetrate our minds. Second, we fail to look at God for who He is. He is our everlasting Savior. The gospel reveals the purpose and the power of God to deal with sin and ALL of its effects. God forgives the sins of believers on the basis of the once for all sacrifice by Jesus on the cross. Believer’s sins are no longer held against them, on account of the atoning death of Jesus Christ.

Scripture reveals God’s assurance of forgiveness. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2 NKJV) Jesus is our Advocate. He is one who speaks on our behalf and because of His blood sacrifice, the price has been paid for our forgiveness. Restoration is demonstrated by God in His love and grace which restores a fallen humanity and by His lifting of His people to their former place within His service.

Believers are assured of the unfailing love of God and of their relationship with Him as Father, the salvation and eternal life which He offers and the absolute hope one day of sharing His glory. “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2 NKJV)

Don’t listen to the enemy’s lies. Turn away from them and believe in the power of God to forgive no matter what. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) Let’s take time today to turn toward God in awe, and in praise and in joy as we realize how wonderful God truly is. Prayer is a natural part of worship; to know God is to want to pray to Him and worship Him. Let’s take time today to pray and ask God to forgive us from the sin that keeps us from a right relationship with Him.

Dear Lord, forgive me when I think that You cannot love me. Thank You Father that You loved me so much You gave Your only begotten Son, Jesus. Thank You Jesus that You died for me and all my sin. Forgive me when I believe the lies of the enemy and turn from You. You are my hope and I believe in You. So Lord, forgive me and cleanse me today. You are my salvation and nothing can keep me from Your love. Thank You Lord for the promises of Your Word. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 19:10 NKJV – He came for you and for me

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost.”

Hallelujah! God’s work of salvation is accomplished through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through faith, the believer is able to share in all of the saving benefits won by Jesus Christ through His obedience to God.

Jesus Christ is the promised Savior. “From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior – Jesus.” (Acts 13:23 NKJV) The mission of Jesus was His work of salvation. Jesus was called to this mission since the beginning of time. Jesus came to reveal Father God and to redeem a sinful humanity through His death on the cross. He did this not only for the Jews, but for all of humanity. And His work continues through the Holy Spirit empowered witness of the church.

Jesus’ mission was completely motivated by God’s love. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV) God’s desire since the beginning of time was to spend eternity with all of His creation. His desire has never changed. Not one bit. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)

As human beings we come to life spiritually only through faith in the redeeming work of God in Jesus Christ. There is no other way. This spiritual life is a taste of the life we as believers will enjoy to the fullest in heaven. This is our hope. “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27 NKJV)

Friend, Jesus Christ came to this earth with a purpose. That purpose was to glorify His Father and to seek and save that which was lost. That’s you and me. It was only by Jesus’ blood sacrifice and resurrection that we can even partake in His riches in glory. It’s God’s mercy and grace applied to our miserable lives that opens the door to eternity for us. We just have to make that choice. There is no other love anywhere, any place, by anyone that is greater than the love of God for you. And to receive all of His benefits, we need to simply make a choice. Will I live for myself and in accordance with the worldview or will I give up myself and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Will you pray?

Dear Lord, thank You for the cross of Calvary. Thank You that You died for me a sinner. Thank You for the hope that is in You, Jesus. There are no promises that this world can make that are greater than eternal life with You. I am in need of a Savior and His name is Jesus. Forgive me and come into my heart, Lord. I submit my life into Your hands. Protect me and guide me as we walk together. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 6:27-28 NKJV – The Source

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

Again, this very verse has challenged me. AND again, the challenge occurred at the workplace. Now I have to say that I am very thankful for the employment I have and the people I work with every day. But there are days, when the stresses of the work begin to wear on everyone. And that’s when things are said that people don’t mean to say. Now, it’s just not at the workplace that this occurs. It can happen anywhere. It’s not like we live in a peaceable world. There is chaos, and strife, and tension just about everywhere. When you experience it, well, it’s not good.

Now I wouldn’t call any of these people my enemies and frankly, when I get drawn into the situation myself, and I fall, I pray I’m not looked upon as an enemy. But this scripture is very clear as to what I am to do when I’m treated wrongly. There have been times that I have been used spitefully and even cursed at. It’s then I have to stop and bridle my tongue and not respond in defense. Defense is a natural survival mechanism, but when not controlled it can get you in a lot of trouble.

Scripture teaches us that it is wrong to strike back or to return evil for evil, whether by immediate retaliation or by taking revenge later. Forgiveness is always the best approach. God’s forgiveness of our sins leads us to pray for His forgiveness of others and to be forgiving in our dealings with other people. Is this easy? Well, sometimes it’s not especially if we don’t understand where our “Source” of forgiveness is.

The “Source” of forgiveness, the “Source” of our peace, the “Source” of our compassion for others comes from the Blood of Jesus. It’s only through the Blood of Jesus that we can endure this world, that we can forgive as we have been forgiven, that we can love our enemies.

These last couple of days has been a challenge to me and I am so thankful that God is still working in me to live a life pleasing to Him in all I say and do. I’m being transparent today because I want you to know that if you are struggling with loving your enemies or those who do you wrong, you are not alone.   I struggle as well. But we have Jesus. The lover of our souls. Who loves us with an everlasting love and through His Blood, we can pour out that kind of love on others. Even on those who hurt us.

Will I have more days like today? I’m sure that I will. But I pray that I remember what God has spoken to me about over these last few days. We must always remember our “Source”. Thank You Jesus!

Precious Lord, thank You for Your precious blood. It’s the source of life and everything we are. Your precious blood allows us to live and breathe in this world. Let us always remember to cling to You and Your sacrifice on the cross to enable us to demonstrate to the world that You are alive. Help us Lord to draw our strength from You. May we always love our enemies and forgive all who persecute us. Thank You Jesus. In Your Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 15:13, 18-24 NKJV – Welcome Home!

“And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living” “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.’”

Verse 18: And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

The Lord has blessed me so much with a calling into a ministry of prayer. I’ve said before that God has been working in me for a long time and has now opened up incredible opportunities to pray for others. Recently, God did just that again. I was able to pray for someone who had walked away from God for quite some time and now has come to the realization that a relationship with God was what his life was missing. Glory to God!

The Bible teaches us that God never leaves us, nor forsakes us. God also gives us the ability to make our own choices. Sometimes those choices are not the best. We all make terrible choices from time to time. We think we can handle the world and all of its wickedness and sin. Then one day it catches up with us and we realize we can’t. We realize the world is overpowering us. We realize we need something better, something that gives us hope and someone who can forgive us, restore us, and set us right. It happened to me and it happens every day across this world.

Our foundational Scripture today is the “Story of the Prodigal Son”. Here we see the son, squandering his inheritance to the point where he has nothing left. The story goes on to say that he decides to return home to his father and ask his father’s forgiveness. And all he wants in return is to be like one of his father’s servants. To the son, it sounded like a great plan. At least he would have something to eat and a place to rest.

We all know the result. He is welcomed home by his father and given a special place again in the family because his father had compassion on his son. His son was lost and now was found. Look here at what God’s Word says about how this event transpired. God is seeing us from still a great way off. God has not given up on us and never will. And God’s compassion is never ending and He runs towards His own as hard and fast as we run to Him. Then God is ready to restore us more than what we think He will. An aspect of God’s nature is reflected in His sympathetic and compassionate understanding of human weakness and His restoration of those in trouble. He opens His arms, embraces us and says, “Welcome Home!” I say again that I was so blessed in praying for someone not unlike the “Prodigal Son” and now he has returned to the Father for forgiveness and restoration. I believe that his restoration will be more than he expected. Glory to God!!!

Dear Lord, thank You that You are always with us and never leave us. Thank You Lord that Your grace and mercy are made known in Jesus. May we never forget the blood sacrifice of Your Son that gave us the pathway to Your mercy and grace. Forgive us Lord when we walk away to do our own thing. Restore us Lord into a right relationship with You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!