Monthly Archives: December 2013

the whole Truth…

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Christmas day has come and gone, but God’s Story continues, as it has for thousands of years.  Life in the Old Testament has taught/is teaching all God’s children that there is nothing we can do in our own strength to become “holy as He is holy”.  When Jesus came onto the scene, the beginning of the New Testament, God’s Story and Plan became clearer.  Christ is the way to the holiness to which God has called all His children.  It’s only through surrendering to Christ and His strength to change our lives can we be made holy, fulfilling the purpose for which we were made.  Accepting that Christ paid the price for our sins for all time and surrendering our own “power” to His is how we move toward being holy.  We cannot do it ourselves.  All we have to do is believe, trust, and rest in our Father’s plan.  This is the whole Truth, and in it is found peace, even in life’s toughest storms.  

So, as we move from Christmas into a new year and look toward the future, to Easter, to eternity, we can do it with a calm in our hearts, knowing that “He knows the plans He has for us….to give us a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29).  We can let go of our striving to be all He wants us to be, and instead, we can find rest in Him, in allowing Him to be the One to work and move in our lives to bring about true holiness in our hearts.

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By His wounds we are healed…

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God speaks to my heart regarding a theme during some seasons of my life.  This Christmas season, He has been speaking to me about how Christmas is just a part of the story, His Story.  We are enamored by the sweetness of Christmas, the Baby Jesus, as well as all the cultural trappings that have wrapped themselves around Jesus’ birthday.  However, as the children at our church sang this past Sunday, the great “present” of Christmas is the future.

Because Jesus came over 2000 years ago, we know that God keeps His promises.  He had promised a deliverer for His Children to be set free from the bondage of sin and death since Abraham.  All of the Old Testament leads us to the anticipation of the coming of this Deliverer, His Son.  When Jesus arrived, many didn’t recognize that He was fulfilling so many of the promises the Father had made to His people, nor did they realize that the Son of God would eventually fulfill many more of God’s promises, by His suffering, death, and resurrection….many still don’t see this reality.  Mac Powell says it well in his song, “By His Wounds” that is based on Isaiah 53:4-5:

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed

We are healed by Your sacrifice
And the life that You gave
We are healed for You paid the price
By Your grace we are saved
We are saved

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Our Father told us, through the prophet Isaiah, in the Old Testament, that our Deliverer would suffer to pay the price for our sins. God also promised His Son would come back to life after His death, so that we too could know that we can have new life in Him, cleansed from all our wrongdoings because of Jesus’ sacrifice.  God kept these promises.

So, we can now know that He, our Father, will keep the promises He made that His Son would come back for those of us who follow HIm, and that there would be a new Heaven and a new Earth as His Kingdom is fully established.  We can trust Him, and we can hope in Him because He is faithful to keep His promises.  The gift given to us each Christmas is the promise of eternity with Him. 

 

We need Christmas….

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God’s plans are not our plans; His ways are not ours, and His timing is His.  Yet, I have learned that we can always trust Him.  He has kept every promise He has ever made.  It’s evidenced in His Word, but beyond that, He has proven Himself to me in my own little life, keeping His promises to care for me and my family, to provide for us, to comfort and protect us, to use EVERYTHING for our ultimate good.  

I don’t always understand Him and the way He works and moves in our lives, and I don’t have all the answers to all the questions we all ask Him about how He has acted throughout history; however, I know that I know that I know that He is the Creator of all that is, was, and shall be; I know that He worked out a plan to save anyone who will accept the gift of His grace and forgiveness through His Son Jesus, and that He is still working out His purposes to fulfill the promise that all His children will one day be with Him where He is; I know that He IS, and that when I see Him face to face someday, all my longings and unanswered questions will be fulfilled, all my fears and tears will be erased, and I will finally be completely WHOLE and completely who He meant me to be from the start….as will you.

The first Christmas, Jesus’ birth, was just a part of God’s amazing plan…..but without it, none of the rest of His designs would have come together….and this is why we celebrate the first coming of the Son of God as a little baby all those years ago.  We need Christmas to remind us of God’s goodness, His faithfulness to keep His promises, and His grace and love for all of us willing to follow His Son.

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We love Him because He first loved us….

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So, anyone who knows me very well, knows I am interested in anything that has to do with Christ’s return and our future home in Heaven.  I am ready to go be with Him at any moment, and yes, most of the time when there is a catastrophic event or if the sun suddenly breaks through a hole in the clouds, I think that it surely must be Him coming to take His children home….

However, sometimes I lament that He isn’t here yet, and I beg for Him to hurry back, and I occasionally wonder if He ever will.  Then, I also have times that I feel guilty for wanting His return to happen so badly when there are so many who don’t yet follow Him and wouldn’t be taken to be with Him.  I know that the Father is waiting for a reason and that His plan is perfect….He desires all who will to accept His Son into their hearts….He gives us so many chances……but also, He’s been planning this for a very long time, as human time goes, and His ways are not our ways.

In the Old Testament, Father God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and that a Deliverer for all men would come from his descendants.  It took thousands of years for the Promised Deliverer to be born, but God had a plan then, and had His timing then….so, I know He has His plan and timing now, for the Second Coming.  My impatience is just because of the longing for Him and for my True Home, which was placed in me, and in you, from our beginnings.  Toby Mac says it best in his song, Made to Love:

The dream is fading, now I’m staring at the door
I know it’s over ’cause my feet have hit the cold floor
Check my reflection, I ain’t feelin’ what I see
It’s no mystery

Whatever happened to a passion I could live for?
What became of the flame that made me feel more
And when did I forget

That I was made to love you, I was made to find you
I was made just for you, made to adore you
I was made to love and be loved by you?

You were here before me, you were waiting on me
And you said you’d keep me, never would you leave me
I was made to love and be loved by you
(And be loved by you)

The dream’s alive with my eyes opened wide
Back in the ring, you’ve got me swinging for the grand prize
I feel the hate is spittin’ vapors on my dreams
But I still believe

I’m reachin’ out, reachin’ up, reachin’ over
I feel a breeze cover me called Jehovah
And daddy, I’m on my way
‘Cause I was made to love

I was made to love you, I was made to find you
I was made just for you, made to adore you
I was made to love and be loved by you

You were here before me, you were waiting on me
And you said you’d keep me, never would you leave me
I was made to love and be loved by you
(I was made to love and be loved by you)

I was made to love you
I was made just for you, made to adore you
I was made to love and be loved by you
(I was made to love and be loved by you)

You were here before me, you were waiting on me
And you said you’d keep me, never would you leave me
I was made to love and be loved by you
(I was made to love and be loved by you)

Anything, I would give up for you
Everything, I’d give it all away
Anything, I would give up for you
Everything, I’d give it all away
Anything, I would give up for you
Everything, I’d give it, I’d give it all away, oh yeah

‘Cause I was made to love you
(I was made to love you)
Yeah, I was made to love you
(I was made to find you)

‘Cause I was made to love you
(I was made to adore you, made just for you)
I was made to love you
(I was made to adore you, made just for you)

‘Cause I was made to love you
(I was made to adore you, made just for you)
I was made to love you
(I was made to adore you, yeah, I’ve been loved by you)
(Yeah, I’ve been loved by you, yeah, I’ve been loved by you)

Read more: Toby Mac – Made To Love Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

The Rising

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In thinking of Advent, I want to focus on the fact that the true purpose of Christ’s coming to live among us was so that He would eventually die on the cross and be resurrected.  We wouldn’t have needed Christ to come as a pure, innocent baby and experience all of life as we do if we hadn’t needed Him to take on our sins so that we could one day be in Heaven with Him.  So, one of the meanings of Advent is Rise, and I think that is appropriate for us to direct our attention towards His true purpose.

God’s Son took on our flesh and walked on Earth with us because the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) loved us so much that they wanted to be in close relationship with us.  But, the only way to restore the intimate fellowship that Adam and Eve had with God was for their to be a worthy sacrifice made that would cover all of mankind.  The blood of animals couldn’t accomplish it; gifts of grains and fruits or even a thousand Hail Mary’s wouldn’t suffice; money was certainly not going to buy our way into right relationship with our Father.  

Jesus knew this before He left His Father’s side; He understood what was required of Him…..and yet, He came…..and a star rose to announce His coming and light the way for men to find Him.

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