Category Archives: Holidays

These posts deal with various holidays, beginning with US holidays and moving on to address Chinese Holidays as well!

Thanksgiving Praise: the Fruit of Lips

Through Him, let us continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name! Hebrews 13:15

This year for Thanksgiving I am offering the fruit of my lips as my sacrifice of praise to God my Savior.

  1. I thank You for my wife- a virtuous woman clothed in the beauty of meekness, and I thank You for my daughter- who is the work of Your hand even so young as she is!
  2. I thank You for Your calling to salvation in sanctification by the gospel- for You have overcome my sins and my past, even my future, that I may be redeemed in the Body of Christ!
  3. I thank You for the fellowship of my brethren who have surrounded me in prayer so that You may be glorified in the abundance of fruit! And I thank You for every answered prayer that You have answered this year- how full will the Kingdom be because of the grace that You have poured out in answer to prayers!
  4. I thank You for the gift of repentance that You have given in our assembly- for how highly magnified Your mercy has been in our sight!
  5. I thank You for being the Father to our brothers and sisters who have never known the love of a father- for being a husband to those who have none, the joy to those who are overcome in sorrow, and the welcomer of them who are unwelcome!
  6. I thank You for Your ever-faithful daily provision of food, shelter, clothing, warmth, cooling, health, and understanding of Your Word, that we might be nourished and strong in both body and spirit!
  7. And I thank You for that which my flesh cannot give thanks: for abandonment, which has taught dependence on You, for false accusations and mistreatment, which has shown me the blessings of truth in Christ, for infirmity, which has taught me humility and the strength of your grace in joy!

Oh how marvelous are Your ways, and so high above my plane of comprehension! You make Your rain to fall upon the just and upon the unjust, and you give the sun to shine upon both the unrighteous and the righteous! Blessed be Your name forever and ever, amen!

Thanksgiving Table

This year I just wanted to give a simple word of encouragement for Thanksgiving:

The table for Thanksgiving is set year-round with the provisions made by your heart in both times of trial and rejoicing. If in trial your heart set the table with bitterness, and if in rejoicing your heart set the table with selfishness, your Thanksgiving table will be sour and miserly. But, if in trial your heart set the table with thanksgiving, and in rejoicing your heart set the table with meekness, your Thanksgiving table will be full of gladness and contentment.

Set your table with things by which others can be fed.

Seek God for a heart fit to offering up sincere blessings to the LORD from the fires of trial.

Observe Christmas Unto the Lord

Every year I struggle with Christmas: I have no struggle with taking time to come together with family to enjoy one another’s company, exchange some modest gifts, and get caught up, but, I have always struggled with a “Christmas” that is absent of Christ and full of “Self”; which is surely the antithesis of Christ who demands that we “die to self” to follow Him.

I have never had the peace of Christ that I am accustomed to regarding my heart towards Christmas, and I have always hated that.

Add to this struggle that around Christmas time every year the “grinch slayers” make it their personal aim to shame anyone who doesn’t “shut up” and “go along with Christmas”.  Each year they try to shame you into observing Christmas the way they do.

But today is different for me because the Lord has answered my plea for wisdom and overcome this struggle for me!  He has given to me the gift of peace for Christmas, and I thank Him!

So I wanted to share with everyone!

AS UNTO THE LORD

Now accept one who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions.  One man has faith to eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Don’t let him who eats despise him who doesn’t eat. Don’t let him who doesn’t eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him.  Who are you who judge another’s servant?  To his own lord he stands or falls. Yes, he will be made to stand, for God has power to make him stand.

 One man esteems one day as more important. Another esteems every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind.  He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks. He who doesn’t eat, to the Lord he doesn’t eat, and gives God thanks.  For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself.  For if we live, we live to the Lord. Or if we die, we die to the Lord. If therefore we live or die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  For it is written,

“‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘to me every knee will bow.  Every tongue will confess to God.’”

~Romans 14:1-11

and,

So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  However at that time, not knowing God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods.  But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again?  You observe days, months, seasons, and years.  I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you.

~Galatians 4:7-11

Paul addresses two distinct observations of days here: the first are days that are observed unto the Lord, the second are days that are observed in bondage (in context of Galatians, these would be Jewish days and festivals observed for the sake of righteousness and justification).

Here is what the Lord has given me regarding the former: let everyone who observes a day, and everyone who does not, observe it towards Christ in full assurance of faith in His peace (let those who have ears to hear, hear what the Lord says about “His peace”) without judging his or her brothers or sisters.

Though it is my personal persuasion is to observe each day unto the Lord; and as the head of my home, I feel convicted to train my family to observe every day with thanksgiving unto the Lord, but I must be careful not to cause my persuasion in this matter become a law for righteousness unto another brother or sister— for then I would become a stumbling block to them!

Here is what the Lord has given me regarding the latter: do not forsake your liberty and be placed in bondage to days and festivals for your righteousness.

It is the enemy who tries to bind your pure conscience with guilt for either observing or not observing one day or another so that you become burdened with doubt, guilt, and shame for the liberty you have in your faith!  This becomes a kind of law for righteousness to you when you look down on you brethren because they either do, or do not, observe the festival in the way that you observe it.

Paul was worried for the Galatians because he feared that they had become cut off from the grace of Christ by turning to the law for their righteousness.  He was not afraid for them because they were walking in true holiness and righteousness, being filled with the righteous fruit of the Holy Spirit, but because they were exchanging the reality of righteousness in Christ (which bears real fruit) for the form and appearance of godliness that had no power nor bore any fruit unto righteousness.

The Lord showed me that Christmas is a blending of the two situations: you have those who are walking faithfully in their liberty, both of those who observe it and those who don’t, and you have those who are walking in bondage to a culture-synthesized law of righteousness that has bound many Christians in America today.

LIBERTY 

I praise Christ the Lord for His blessed liberty that in all things we may walk in righteousness if we walk in Christ Jesus!  Yes, “all things”, when done unto the Lord in sincere faith, are righteousness in Christ Jesus!  Just as “anything that is not of faith is sin”, so also “whether you eat or drink, let all things be done to the glory of the Lord”!

The liberty of Christ is the keeping of sincere faith.  Therefore, do not let anyone judge you in matters of faith.  By this I mean do not let your heart be bound by anyone with another law other than the law of Christ.  I do not mean that you refuse to hear a brother’s rebuke when you have sinned.  For that is not a matter of faith in as much as it is impossible to sin by faith in Christ!

COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND…

“But,” I can hear my old struggle trying to say, “I can’t pass what is observed as ‘Christmas’ off as Christian; it is mammon-worship!”

I have become convinced by the Lord that this is the fundamental error by which holiness is defiled today: we see people doing something wrongly and react by “illegalizing” the whole thing.

Idolatry is always wrong.  Period.  No one (for the Lord shows no favoritism) who is an idolater will inherit the Kingdom of God.  Just as serving money is idolatry, so also is covetousness, and “Christmas”, as the vast majority of people observe it today, is filled with idolatry. People place themselves in debt for the sake of material possessions.  They often teach their children covetousness on this day by showing them, knowingly or unknowingly, that this day is about material possessions.  So the children learn covetousness and greed.

Hear me when I say that I am not talking about standing up against sin— “and the works of the flesh are obvious” (Galatians 5:19a)— I am talking about judging your brother’s liberty in something that is not innately sinful.  And Christmas is not innately sinful.  I know a family who begins the day with prayer, worship, and the scripture, and spends the rest of the day giving to those who lack.  And they rejoice in saying “I love Christmas”.

But how other people observe the day has no bearing on how you or I observe the day, just as how other people observe Christianity has no bearing on how I observe Christianity.  “Christianity” is more perverted world-wide than “Christmas”, and yet I am still a Christian.  Other people pervert the word “Church”, but I still use the word “Church”.  I met a cult in South Central Missouri that has turned “giving to the poor” into their sole standard of justification, yet Paul wrote that “if I sell everything and give to the poor, but have no love… I am nothing”.  But, I still give to the poor with a love-filled heart!

So, I am going to ask you a question: do you know how to “come out from among them” (2 Cor. 6:17)?

Finish the verse and you will have your answer: “be holy”!  We “come out from among them” by “being holy” unto the Lord.

If I do not celebrate Christmas, but I have a bitter heart, have I really come out from among this bitter, covetous, hateful world?  Likewise, if I observe Christmas unto the Lord with purity of faith and have no spot of impurity, haven’t I come out from among them and become holy?  And if I do not celebrate Christmas, but I do so with a gospel heart of love, haven’t I also come out from among them and become holy?

Not observing Christmas has become a kind of “mark of holiness” with certain crowds of Christians— but be sure that it is not a mark of holiness that Christ recognizes!

So why do we judge other peoples liberty?  I think I may know why: in many cases we do so from the most innocent of intentions, earnestly desiring to be righteous.  But when this happens, such zeal is not in accordance with the knowledge of God.  It is also much easier to define holiness by the appearance of what we do not do than by the reality of what we do.  Jesus said “why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)

CONCLUSION

My beloved brethren, I pray that we all walk in the peace of Christ, being fully assured in our faith of Him, and that no one will take your liberty captive by fruitless laws of righteousness that promise much but bear nothing!

Therefore, the sooner we let go of pleasing men, the sooner we will walk in the liberty of Christ whose sole desire is to please God!

So, I hope if you observed Christmas this year, you observed it unto the Lord, and, if you did not, you did so unto the Lord.

May the grace, mercy, and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ abound towards you all, amen!

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving.  It’s my all-time favorite holiday.  I’ve written about it over the years quite a lot (here, here, here, here, here, and here).  I love that it’s a time for our souls to soak in humility, as we consider God’s abundant mercy, and it’s a time for our souls to be lifted up with joy, as we consider God’s infinite kindness.

I am reminded each year as I see or hear about families arguing with one another over thanksgiving dinner preparations that true thanksgiving does not come from the measure of abundance that we receive, but from the condition of our hearts to receive the blessings that we have!

I’m not going to write a long post here about Thanksgiving- the above posts still articulate what I have to say anyway- rather, I want to offer thanksgiving to God for His wonderful blessings!

MY THANKSGIVINGS

  1. Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Lord and King, my Shepherd, and my Friend!  I do not deserve You, I was nothing when You found me, I am no one today, but I am Yours- all that I am is Yours!
  2. The longsuffering kindness and mercy of God!  Without the exceeding greatness of Your mercy, I would be consumed in condemnation!  You bear with my weaknesses and infirmities, You forgive my failures, and You teach me to overcome!
  3. My Father’s discipline!  Without Your chastening I surely would have gone far astray and been lost in the outer darkness!  But You bring me in and teach me Your ways!
  4. New life!  The wonderful blessing of Naomi Elizabeth, our baby girl!  In a year with many troubles, God has given Mary and I a powerful blessing!
  5. A virtuous wife!  A treasured jewel, my wife is one of God’s most amazing blessings!  That He would send her to me just blows my mind!  She is patient, meek, sweet, kind, and understanding.  She is my wife!
  6. Reconciliation!  This year I’ve seen reconciliation worked in my life with brothers and sisters I did not think I would see reconciliation with again.  Again, the Lord has taught me the value of “gentleness” and “peace”, that now I see that anyone who does not yet have these has not yet matured in the mind of Christ.
  7. New Fellowship!  I rejoice as God has given us fellowship with new brothers and sisters in various places all over!  They are relationships I treasure deeply and am so thankful that God has shown me more of His family!
  8. Daily bread!  Our Father provides our daily bread, a miracle I do not understand, but I rejoice that He has not let us want for nourishment!
  9. Revelation!  A great joy to my soul is the revelation God has taught my heart.  Through infirmity, trial, the Word, and travel, God has taught me His will, and I thank Him!
  10. The future!  Because of Jesus Christ, my future is secure, and my hope safe!  I know not what tomorrow may bring, but I know, whatever it may bring, Jesus Christ is there to receive me and keep me safe.

~~~

Heb 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Hallowed

Usually I write about holiday’s like Halloween quite a bit in advance, but this month has been so busy with the baby coming, adjusting to being a father, and traveling to KC to visit family, that I haven’t had time to write about Halloween until now.

So, with Halloween just six days away, let’s give some thought to Halloween.

HALLOWEEN

Halloween derives its name from “All Hallowed Eve” and is a Catholic adulteration of the special Druid night called “Samhain”. The Druid priests believed this particular night was a night when the realm of the dead came closest to the realm of the living and the powers of darkness were heightened to their peak.  Halloween’s history, though quite extensive and very interesting, is readily available from other more authoritative sources than me, so it’s not my intention to investigate it any further.  I’ll assume that you understand the basic pagan roots and how it was brought in with and adulterating effect by the Catholic Church.

The part I want to focus on is Halloween’s “holiness”.  Halloween, when broken down to it’s basic elements, is all about “holiness”, but the question is “whose holiness?”  The founder of the Church of Satan, Anton LeVay, wrote that “the two holiest Satanic holidays after one’s [own] birthday are Walpurgisnacht (May 1st) and Halloween”.  It has been said that on Halloween “Christians around the world will join hands with satanists, pagans, occultists and the like in an attempt of one of the most insane, bizarre unions to ever hit the planet”.  Halloween is filled with the “idols of Halloween” (see section on “Ornaments of Halloween”), which many Christians buy at Wal-Mart and take into their homes (where they are supposed to be raising Godly offspring).

What is important to understand is that Halloween is viewed by Satan as his holy day.  Indeed, darkness is Halloween’s appeal and death is its rule.

HALLOWED BE THY NAME

I have two primary considerations to write about before I reveal the purpose and goal of writing this post.

My first consideration is regarding the holy name of God.

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  ~Matthew 6:9 (NASB)

Jesus’ first and foremost concern in prayer was that the name of God would be hallowed.  Jesus taught His disciples to pray and ask God for this because the hallowing of God’s name is not accomplished by the power of man, it is God’s work:

But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations, where they went. Therefore tell the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: I don’t do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.  And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am Yahweh, says the Lord Yahweh, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. ~Ezekiel 36:21-23 (WEB/ESV)

The people of God profaned His name among the nations by both observing the festivals, customs, and traditions of pagan religions and calling on the holy name of God.  Therefore, God’s mighty work is to vindicate the holiness of His great name by the demonstration of His power in and through His people to all nations.

Therefore, when we pray to ask God to “hallow His name”, we are asking Him to use us to vindicate His holy name from the common and profane!

The holy name of God is my first concern for Christians in respect to Halloween is for the holy name of God.  I am concerned when Christians call a night that is devoted to celebrating death, terror, hellish ghouls and demons, “a Hallowed eve”.  Likewise, I am concerned that the children of God, who do bear the holy name of God, would be seen celebrating with the world the same things that the world celebrates on Halloween.

CLOTHED IN CHRIST

I will greatly rejoice in Yahweh! My soul will be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation.  He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. ~Isaiah 61:10

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring[k] and heirs according to promise. ~Galatians 3:27-29

He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. ~Revelation 3:5

We are clothed with beautiful white raiments!  The filthy rags of our worldly wickedness have been taken off as we are conformed to the death of Christ and we have been clothed with the garments of Salvation as we receive newness of life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, God has given us the Robe of Righteousness!  We have put on Christ!  Hallelujah, praise Jehovah!

This is why I am very concerned that Christians would dress themselves and their children in hellish figures.

I am looking to see, where is the joy in Yahweh our LORD at the great salvation that He has clothed us with?  “Life reigns through righteousness” (Romans 5:17), and we have been clothed in righteousness!  So I must ask, why do we then dress up in figures of sin and death, knowing that “death reigned through sin” (Romans 5:21).  How do we who have tasted of the life of God now take pleasure in death?

But you must be sure of better things in Christ: you have been given the name of God unto life, and in life clothed with righteousness.  You have put off the darkness that is celebrated on Halloween and been transferred into the Kingdom of Light (Colossians 1:13).  Because of these things you have been set free into the joy of salvation and fellowship of the Almighty Father!

A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO AN UNHALLOWED EVE

The goal of my writing this post is to urge my brothers and sisters in Christ to consider a different response to Halloween.

Many people ignore Halloween altogether or go into hiding while others try to sanitize it, but I would like to suggest the following alternative response: perhaps we should consider the souls that are in bondage to the darkness on this day and contend with the powers of darkness by the Light of Christ over their souls.  I would like to encourage my brethren to meet together as a body for prayer and evangelism.  Let us all intercede with God on behalf of our neighbors as the royal priesthood of God that we have been redeemed by Christ to be, and let us go out as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God!  Let us set loose the captives and proclaim the joyful salvation of God!

If a patrol of American soldiers were informed that there was an unarmed squadron of enemy combatants that were holding and torturing prisoners, but turned their backs and did not assault their location, what would we do to them?  Would they not be immediately court-marshaled?  Yet, Christ has “disarmed the principalities and powers” and given us His name which is above every name!  Why, then, do we not go forth and liberate the captives?

Let me encourage you to respond this Halloween by contending in prayer and evangelism for the lost souls who are celebrating the darkness.  The soul who does this in faith will prosper to the glory of God and vindication of His great name!  Amen!

July 4th: Liberty?

We’re approaching July 4th, a time when many “conservative” Christians will get together and read the Declaration of Independence, talk about how thankful they are to live in a free country that can pray and worship God, and longingly talk about how if only our country would return to the Constitution, our woes would be over.

HYPOCRISY

My soul burns in me this time of year as I hear Christians offer prayers of thanksgiving to God declaring how thankful they are to live in a country where they can pray and are free to worship God.

Why, then, do prayer meetings empty the church assembly?  Why, then, is it a stretch to meet more than once or twice a week to worship God?  Why, if you are so thankful for your supposed liberties in America, do you not pray unceasingly?

I cannot stand the hypocrisy that offers thanksgivings to God for a liberty that we do not exercise!

It is nothing more than self-condemnation to get around and talk about how we “take for granted our liberties”, and never change!

Indeed, be thankful that we experienced a season in world-history that allotted unusual advantages to the Church, but repent because the Church used that season to acquire great wealth and grow fat!  Repent that the Church did not seek to draw near to God and extol Him with the glory and honor He is due on every street corner in a society that is supposedly so free to “worship God”.

If you are hearing this kind of conversation, my brethren, let me admonish you to carefully consider your words before they leave your tongue; God will indeed hear what you say– if you reminiscently talk about how you should not take advantage of these liberties, but bear no fruits of repentance for having neglected your liberty to pray and worship God, then you are heaping on yourself greater condemnation!

DECEPTION

This kind of talk is rooted in a grand lie about liberty; it is the abominable idea that we get our liberty from the Constitution, or any governing body that presides over the land.

The Constitution affords us carnal liberties; the liberty to pursue life and happiness,  protection of private property, and a concept of just governance that did, indeed, benefit generations of Christians.  But, more often than not, those carnal liberties were abused by Christians who sought greed and selfish ambition instead of crucifying them!

Christians in our generation have confused these carnal liberties with liberty in Christ!

Your liberty to pray does not come from any governing body or ruling law; take Daniel as an example- when prayer was banned for one month throughout the whole land, the first thing Daniel did was to pray, and that according to the same exact custom he had practiced as before.  Nothing changed.  And that liberty was upheld by God who saved him from the mouth of the lions!

TRUE LIBERTY

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

~Colossians 1:9-14

 

You have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Christ by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ.

In fact, it is the Father that qualifies you for this, and this fact itself should inspire worship.  The carnal liberties of men’s constitutions are irrelevant to our worship.

HOLD THAT THOUGHT

Before you lambaste me as “never having lived in an oppressed country”, I have.  My primary mission field is China.  And although China has opened up significantly, I have been taken by police and interrogated for hours on end; it was God who upheld me.

I have spoken to men from around the world, some of which lived homeless on the streets of their home countries for the sake of the gospel, and they each know that it is God who upholds His children, and it is Him by whom we offer up the sacrifices of praise, and in His Spirit that we pray.

OUR REALITY

Christians in America, particularly during this time of year, are living in denial of their spiritual reality!

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

~1 Peter 1:11-12

We are to be as sojourners and pilgrims in this world, and this is not to be just a beautiful expression, it must be a physical reality!  The righteousness of God is foreign to the sons of this abominable generation, and it is through their observation of God’s foreign righteousness in us, His Children, that He will receive glory on the day of visitation from those who are the sons of disobedience.

The great tragedy in all of this is because Christians view themselves as “American Christians”, as if we are some kind of brand of Christianity, with our own unique variance, we are walking as strangers to the Kingdom of God and are well at home as American Citizens!

The truth is that to many people Peter’s petition is nothing more than a beautiful expression of words with absolutely no meaningful reality in their own personal life.  They are citizens of this world, more at home in a football stadium full of 50,000 liars, adulterers, fornicators, thieves, sex-traffickers, murderers, and blasphemers, than they are in a small assembly of 5 righteous saints!

If this insults your patriotic sensitivities then I am glad.  It is a grievous offense that Christians have made themselves more at home in this world than in the presence and glory of God; even more unbearable that too many do not even know by experience, by revelation, and by truth what that expression “in the presence and glory of God” even means!

No, I am not rebuking anyone for offering sincere thanks to God for the advantages that have been afforded to the Church by our civil-liberties if they do so without the leaven of hypocrisy; if they have met often for prayer and proclaimed the liberty of Christ in the open square- if they have used their advantages to serve the poor and proclaim His true liberty to those oppressed by sin and held in bondage by the chains of darkness- yes, if you have used the advantages of this nation so as not abusing them, then offer thanksgiving to God!  Extol Him with praise and honor Him with the unadulterated, undefiled fruit of lips; thank God with deep sincerity that He afforded you the privilege of knowing Him through Jesus Christ His everlasting Son!

But if you are going to gather together to read the Declaration of Independence and give God’s honor to men who neither wanted such honor, nor intended that men should receive such honor, then with all my heart I beg you to hear the rebuke of the LORD!

Most of all I admonish you to look forward as unto Christ, the author and finisher of our faith; remember that it is in His coming that all the sanctified hope of the saints rests.  Keep yourself from those that will talk about keeping their rights to worship God by force of guns, and keep yourself from the seductive patriotic lie that would make you think that your liberties in Christ are afforded to you by a document written and signed by men!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas

 

ISAIAH 42:1-13

1  “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
2  “He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
3  “A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
4  “He will not be disheartened or crushed
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”
5  Thus says God the LORD,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it
And spirit to those who walk in it,
6  “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,
7  To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
8  “I am the LORD, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.
9  “Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”

10  Sing to the LORD a new song,
Sing His praise from the end of the earth!
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it.
You islands, and those who dwell on them.
11  Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voices,
The settlements where Kedar inhabits.
Let the inhabitants of Sela sing aloud,
Let them shout for joy from the tops of the mountains.
12  Let them give glory to the LORD
And declare His praise in the coastlands.
13  The LORD will go forth like a warrior,
He will arouse His zeal like a man of war.
He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry.
He will prevail against His enemies.

 

Reasons Why Jesus Came

Understanding the reason for the coming of Christ is a vital first step in becoming acquainted with Him, which is what I hope to exhort and encourage you to do!

While listening to a broadcast from standupforthetruth.com, a program I occasionally listen to, I heard them list20 Reasons Why Jesus Came (from the Bible) at the end of their broadcast. So I felt compelled to share this list, along with a few scriptures that I have added.  And, just as people’s minds are naturally on the birth of Christ during this time, I want to take advantage of the opportunity, not to heap condemnation upon themselves by remembering Christ during man’s Christmas holiday but not following Him, but to follow Christ according to the path He has declared.  More-so, I want to exhort you to go beyond simple knowledge and know your Savior and the Father who has sent Him!

And, just as I have added a few things to this list, I’m sure you will also be able to add a few things to this list and share it with even more people.

So, here it is- reasons why Jesus came:

  1. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in the darkness.” ~John 12:46
  2. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” ~John 6:38
  3. Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are you a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’” ~John 18:37
  4. The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called tress of righteousness, the planting of the LORD that He may be glorified.”~Isaiah 61:1-3 (cf Luke 4:18)
  5. I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” ~Luke 4:43
  6. Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” ~Mark 2:17
  7. Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” ~Matthew 5:17
  8. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons.” ~Galatians 4:4-5
  9. God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away everyone of you from your iniquities.” ~Acts 3:26
  10. Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” ~Luke 19:9-10
  11. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” ~1st Timothy 1:15
  12. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” ~Matthew 20:28
  13. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” ~1st John 4:10
  14. 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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. HE who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation that 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 into the light, lest their deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes into the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” ~John 3:16-21
  15. The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” ~John 10:10
  16. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. ” ~Luke 24:45-48
  17. The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Assuredly I say, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. IF anyone serves ME, him My father will honor. Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this our’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’” ~John 12:23-28
  18. For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” ~John 9:39
  19. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, daughter against mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” ~Matthew 10:34-36
  20. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering of righteousness.”~Malachi 3:3
  21. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” ~Ephesians 5:25-27
  22. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”~ Revelation 22:12-13

 

Surely the Lord has come in the fullness of times to fulfill the Law and Prophets, as a highway of holiness, to declare the Kingdom of God with repentance and forgiveness of sins made in His name according to the propitiation of sins through His sacrifice made upon the cross and resurrection to life by the power of the Holy Spirit so that He might present a holy and zealous people to God, a glorious Church unto Himself, not having spot or wrinkle, but being holy and without blemish.

 

Amen! Come! The Spirit and the bride say ‘Come!’ Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving is fast approaching this year as we draw nearer to the 28th.  I want to take this opportunity to share some thoughts that I’ve previously posted about Thanksgiving and encourage you all with the great and glorious Word of God this season.

1 Thess 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Eph 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Ps 30:4 Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

Col 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Heb 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Dan 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

May you be filled by the Holy Spirit with all joy, peace, and thanksgiving according to Christ in the good and pleasing will of our Holy Father in Heaven, Amen.

Thanksgiving: God’s Kindness

Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving Hope

Thanksgiving Humility

Thanksgiving Grace & Joy

Thanksgiving In Our Hearts

 

Will You Have Mercy On Them?

My dear brethren, bought with the most precious blood of Jesus Christ and redeemed according to the good and perfect will of our Father in Heaven, grace, and mercy, and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ be ever so abundant towards you to establish you in holiness, loving one another in increasing measure, and fervent in spirit for all righteousness.

I want to ask all of you to join me in prayer this week and next leading up to and culminating on Halloween night.

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.” For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.

Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” So Paul departed from among them. However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

~Acts 17:16-34

My spirit is provoked this week as I see a country given over to darkness, to the deceiving spirits and mockery. Oh how my spirit grieves bitterly because the little children are handed over to this by their parents, like the abominations of Israel who “caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fires of Molech” (Jeremiah 32:35).

Tonight I was praying and weeping over the children of our neighbors who were playing outside, and for their families, and asking God to have mercy upon them, and I heard the Lord say, “will you have mercy upon them? Have I not committed the ministry of reconciliation unto my children in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit?”

So I’m asking for your prayer this week because I plan to go out on the streets this Halloween to preach Christ to the people whom God has placed and so predetermined so that as if “groping they may find Him” (Acts 17:27).

  • Pray that these people would receive light in dark places!
  • Pray that the gospel would bring life to those celebrating death!
  • Pray that God would be hallowed by those who hallowed demonic deceptions!
  • Pray for the parents!
  • Pray for me, that I may have boldness abounding and a ready heart to preach the gospel of Christ with a sound mind in the anointing of the Holy Spirit!

I am not concerning myself with what will be said, nor the excuses that may be made, nor even with what accusations may be made; my heart is broken for those wandering in the darkness, who, not seeing, are falling into the pit by the snare of the enemy.  Arraying themselves in images of death, darkness, and demonic natures, claiming to be of Christ, they are following all the deceptions of the enemy.  But I know and am convinced that because Jesus loves us He said “be zealous and repent!  Buy from me white raiments!”  His body was broken and rent that we might be clothed with Christ!  No greater love could there be that would cloth the miserable, wretched, poor, blind, and naked in fine linen garments than the love of Christ who clothed these with Himself!