Monday, December 23, 2019

What Happened In Heaven The Day Jesus was Born

“For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  That is why, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said to God,
“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer.  You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin.  Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”
First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses).  Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect.  For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. – Hebrews 10:4-10

I’ve thought many times about how it must have saddened the angels when Jesus left Heaven to become a man.  With the many prophecies He would fulfill having already been written, His fate here was never a question.  I somehow pictured it as being like a son leaving for war, with all around Him crying.  It wasn’t until yesterday that my pastor led us to this passage in Hebrews that I saw exactly what was on Jesus’ heart when He was obedient to His calling, and left Heaven for us.
“Look, I have come to do your will”.  That’s the obedience of Christ to God’s prophecies.  He knew the animal sacrifices were not taking away our sins but providing payment for a debt with no end.  He knew that God was not pleased by our many burnt offerings, nor by our sin which just grew worse over time. 
“But you gave me a body to offer” Jesus said.  Jesus, the Heavenly Son of God, was given a body and born of a virgin just as the prophecies said He would be.  Born in Bethlehem, just as the prophecies said He would be.  Born in the lineage of King David, just as the prophecies said He would.  Born to a virgin, just as the prophecies said he would. 

It is blood that gives us life – both physical life, and new life in Christ.  And it was blood that took away our sins, even in the years of burnt offerings.  But the blood of Jesus, Son of God, was a unique tribute to be paid for our sins.  Unlike the blood of animals, Jesus’ blood was Holy, undefiled, God’s own blood.
the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7
and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” – Colossians 1:20
“And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [Christ] and by the word of their testimony” – Revelation 12:11
Jesus’ obedience to come to earth as our savior was anchored in His will to please God.  What was that will?  For us to be made “holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”  The perpetual debt for our sins was paid with the shed blood of God’s son on the cross.  Nothing else would do.  Nothing else could pay the full price.  It had to be the blood of the Son of God and Son of Man.  Through Him we are ‘reconciled’, which means restored relationship, coexisting in harmony.  Ephesians 2:14 says the Jesus is our peace because He broke down the wall sin built between us and our Holy God.
So my question to you is a simple one.  Are you willing to be obedient to Christ?  To overcome, you have to put faith in Jesus as the Son of God and  ask God for salvation. He never says no!  You’re never too bad or too old or too anything.  God’s answer is always YES to those that want to become His children because His love for us is that strong! It’s not based on what we’ve done, but on the fact that His Love trumps all sin!  Revelations says we overcome Satan by Christ’s blood and our Testimony.  That Testimony is simply not hiding the fact that you’ve accepted Jesus as your sacrifice and Lord.  Romans 10:9 says it all:  if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow’ – Isaiah 1:18

When you think of that baby in a manger, take your thoughts to the fact that His love was greater than His fear of death. His love for you was greater than His love for Heaven. His love for you was enough to change History, and integrate Holiness with Humanness.
Be at Peace my friends! We have a friend in Jesus, God's obedient son.

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Fear Factor .vs. The God Factor

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”  And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.” – Numbers 13:31-32

God sure knows how to get my attention! Laying in bed this morning saying my prayers over this day I became anxious about the work I must do this week.  I’m learning a new software development environment, a new language of coding that is about 40% like the old, and I just feel overwhelmed at times.  I can’t see the standard code I’m attaching my modifications to, and we have no data to look at.  It’s like getting dressed in the dark!

But God spoke.  “Be anxious for nothing, for God is with me.” That’s my mantra for this day, and this fear.  Yes, fear.  That’s all it is.  We all go through a trials not knowing the outcome.  We all know how that fear can weigh us down, and yes, it can indeed cause us to fail, or freeze in place to avoid failure.

In my morning reading I came to the chapters in Numbers where the Israelites, roaming from camp to camp in the wilderness had come to the promised land.  They had travelled many miles for this.  They’d walked through the dry red sea for this.  And my oh my, was it worth it!  When God sent spies into the land to size up it’s people and it’s growth and wealth, two mean came back with a cluster of grapes.  But – they had to carry it on a pole between them! ONE cluster of grapes.  Truly the land was “flowing with milk and honey” meaning it had luxurious growth form fertile ground to provide all they needed.

But there was one thing they saw that caused them fear.  The descendants of the Anak, which were giants.  Yes, true giants.  They were over nine feet tall and BIG!

Fearing for their lives, when they returned to camp the spies discredited the land to avoid war with the giants. They said the land devours its inhabitants, and that they were like grasshoppers to the giants that lived there. 

And then of course, as we all do when we’re faced with an obstacle, they turned to ask the question: Why has God put us in this place?  We all wonder the will of God when we’re challenged, when we’re afraid of the future. 

When Joshua and Caleb began to tell the truth, that the land was wonderful and that God would bring them through it because He delights in His people. 

You would think that would be comforting, but instead of relaxing into the idea of a land of plenty, they wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb!

The problem isn’t that they were afraid.  Fear is a natural emotion given to us to help us avoid danger.  But that same natural emotion can cause us to be less than God designed.  When we face our fears without adding God to the equation, we will always come up short.  Friends, we were not meant to go through this life alone!  That is why Jesus left us a comforter, a guide, His Holy Spirit! 

Fear is a two-sided coin.  It can prevent you from entering danger, but it can alos freeze you in your tracks and make you less than God intends. 

Consider the God Factor.  With God, all things are possible (Mark 10:27), but apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  Friends, unless you put your fears in God’s hands, and trust Him to walk you through this life, your fears and anxieties win out.  Ah, satan loves when we allow him to win by turning our thoughts to fear instead of God’s bottomless well of control over our lives. 

I know you’ve all heard it before, but it stands as a fact that needs to be recognized.  God’s Word says “Fear Not” 365 times.  Not 366, not 380, but once for every day of YOUR life.  Coincidence?  Oh honey, never is there a coincidence with God.  All things are done with purpose!   Fear NOT.  Trust God.