What They Taught Me

For January 23, 2022
I am concerned about our future leaders. In today’s fast-paced, twenty-first-century world, we give very little consideration to the sound, biblical parenting I received as a child. With absentee fathers and mothers, single-parent homes, blended families, and latchkey kids, no wonder so many children today are growing up with either a non-existent, limited, or skewed spiritual/moral understanding.

The Lord blessed me with Christian parents who expressed their love for me by not merely telling me about the Lord Jesus Christ. We went to church together as a family every Sunday as well. They also showed their love for the Lord by practicing a consistent Christ-likeness before me—although imperfect as with us all—but consistent, nonetheless. Their actions spoke volumes to this youngster.

These extraordinary people introduced me to the Lord Jesus Christ and helped me to understand abundant Kingdom living. Their faith and fidelity helped cultivate a desire to experience and learn about the wonderful God they were showing and telling me consistently. I should also note they were my good friends as well.

We should have more such examples today. As no one should ever trivialize the essential role that loving, nurturing, godly parents play in raising children on the right path, so that and when they are older, they will not leave it as Proverbs 22:6 teaches. There are others who share a similar view,

There is no denying that culture and church play a major role in the developmental life of any person. But the role parents play in their children’s lives far outweighs any other influence. What parents believe and how they live out their beliefs (positively or negatively) has a huge impact on their children.1

My parents encouraged and supported my spiritual growth by taking the time to explain fundamental biblical truths so I could understand and adopt as my own life principles to practice consistently.

They were not alone in my development process. The Lord blessed us to join a church where there were many spiritually mature, biblically astute men and women who recognized the importance of quality, Bible-based Christian education, and discipleship. These men and women were especially adroit at facilitating our comprehension and incorporation of sound, fundamental scriptural nuances, and doctrine critical for our spiritual development. In particular, the solemn reverence they had toward God and His Word captivated me, along with the fervor, anticipation, and vigilance of our Lord’s imminent return.

The Lord used all these influences to help nurture a Christian faith that resonates in me today,

    • We all have a sin problem – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
    • Our righteousness won’t get us into Heaven – We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. Isaiah 64:6 (NLT)
    • Jesus Christ is our solution For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)
    • We must be new inside (Born Again) – Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NLT)
    • Through Christ, God declares us righteous (or justified) – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)
    • We grow spiritually and take on Jesus’ character (or sanctified) – And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (KJV)
    • Our faith in Christ secures our eternal reward in Heaven (or glorified)However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20 (NIV)

Oh that there were more of us Christians teaching the substantive lessons our children (and their children) need, so that they grow into honest, hard-working, responsible, law-abiding, productive members of society. Such training would secure a more promising future for all of us.

What a Wonderful Savior!

You Shall Call His Name Jesus!

For January 16, 2022
A wonderful illustration of our redemption is presented in the Suffering Servant found in Isaiah 53:4-6 (NKJV):

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Matthew Chapter 9 tells the story of a paralyzed man whose friends brought him to Jesus for healing. Jesus makes this statement in verse 2 (NLT):

Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.

Then He makes this declaration in verse 6 (NLT):

So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins. Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home.

No human being can forgive sin. We consider anyone making this claim to be blasphemous, since only God can forgive sin. Yet, Jesus insists that He forgives all our sin—past, present, and future. He claims this because He is the One who satisfies all the statutes of the Old Testament Law as the perfect sacrifice for our sin.

While Mary was carrying Jesus inside her, Joseph, her espoused husband, sought to release her secretly to avoid scandal and humiliation as an unwed mother. She had not known a man, but she would be delivering a child soon. Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying,

Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV)

Jesus Christ is the Prophet, whose life and teaching give us moral and spiritual direction as foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-22. We find His Word contained in the Bible, which is our perfect guide to living in this New Testament Age. As we read, study, memorize, and apply its principles to our lives, we grow into His productive people of faith and grace.

Jesus is our King, who governs our hearts and minds through His Holy Spirit (and His Word). We love Him, willingly surrender to Him, and faithfully serve His church and those He describes as the “least of these” (Matthew 25:34-40). He is our Sovereign Lord, and we are subjects of His eternal Kingdom. He is the focal point of our love and gratitude as well as the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

He is our Great High Priest, in whom we have the forgiveness of sin. Hebrews 9:11-12 teaches He redeemed us by paying sin’s price Himself,

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come…Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Jesus’ sacrificial death at Calvary covers our sin because He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

He is fully capable of saving “to the uttermost” all those who come to God by Him, seeing He lives forever to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). Give Him your life today so He can forgive your sin and make you a new creature. You won’t regret it!

What a Wonderful Savior!

Our God Of A Second Chance

For January 9, 2022
At the end of forty years in the wilderness’ backside, Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock. As a former candidate to succeed Pharaoh, he would have led a nation—Egypt—with all the glory and splendor that kingdom afforded. Yet he was now in isolation, and wasting time, or so he thought.

Then Moses saw something strange. The flames did not consume a bush burning with fire, and as he approached this miraculous sight, he heard God’s voice,

I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt. Exodus 3:7-10 (NIV)

The Lord chose Moses to lead His chosen people from slavery to freedom; to a land “flowing with milk and honey.” Moses failed in an earlier attempt to deliver the Hebrew Nation when he killed an Egyptian.

Yet this humble sheepherder met his Lord in the Sinai Desert and his life would never be the same. Through consecrated and illustrious service, God used this transformed shepherd to be His exemplary model of service and dedication for the next forty years.

We have the ceremonial and judicial principles that influence our religious and social affairs. He exhibited a humility that Numbers 12:3  refers to him as “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”

The Lord will restore and use people who are humble, attentive, and willing. They may feel abandoned and isolated in their desolate wilderness experience. But His thoughts towards them are of peace, not evil; to give them an expected end. (Jeremiah 29:11)

As we trust in Jesus for spiritual transformation, and rely on His Spirit to perfect His wisdom, knowledge, and strength in us, God will disclose our value and eternal purpose,

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

Let us wait on the Lord and trust in Him. He is faithful to ensure our glorious and successful outcome.  Won’t you give Him your heart today?

What a wonderful Savior!

Happy New Year: January 1, 2022

For January 1, 2022
It;s amazing how we continue to number the years since Jesus Christ walked the earth? Anno Domini (AD/A.D.) is Latin for: “in the year of the Lord.” A.D. is also termed Common, Current, or Christian Era (CE/C.E.), distinguishing our current age from the time Before Christ (BC/B.C.).

Two thousand and twenty two years have passed since Jesus’ birth.1 And numbering the years since our Savior’s birth reminds us that He remains most greatest and most influential person in human history,

By any and all standards Jesus Christ has always been regarded as the greatest figure in human history. On any list of the world’s greatest men we always find at its head Jesus of Nazareth. Regardless of whether or not men acknowledge him as Savior and Lord they must pay tribute to Him as the world’s outstanding man.2

No figure demonstrated such moral and spiritual excellence, with such selfless humility. He showed grace to those He encountered through healing, helping, encouraging, and loving. Then He surrendered Himself for the benefit of all who would believe in Him. Only through Christ can we experience a new spiritual identity through the New Birth process, which He makes available to us by faith,

No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Mane has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:13-17 (NLT)

Some associate the New Birth with race or pedigree. But the Lord is no respecter of persons and His Kingdom is spiritual, not material. He wants our hearts, because when He has it, He possesses our all. The New Birth may not bring us any significant external changes, but it is a complete, spiritual overhaul as new persons in Christ,

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

New Birth is happens when we hear that God loves us and wants to satisfy our deepest longings. By faith, we turn from our sin, and we turn to Christ by inviting Him into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior. Then His Spirit takes control of our hearts so that we can become God’s beloved children forever. Won’t you begin the year accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? He can change your life!

What a Wonderful Savior!

Happy 2022 Years since Jesus’ birth!

 

December 25, 2021 – Happy Birthday, Jesus!

For December 25, 2021

Christmas is my favorite time of the year because we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ through acts of kindness, singing Christmas Carols, and reading the account of His birth, which Luke offers for our greatest benefit today,

So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

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, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.

Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.  Luke 2:6-20 (NKJV)

As with the shepherds of old, we too can observe the Lord’s birthday as grateful recipients of God’s grace and love. By faith in Jesus Christ, we can have unimpeded access to our holy and loving God for forgiveness of sin and the blessings of an abundant, eternal life. Won’t you accept this gift today and experience the true meaning of Christmas?

What a marvelous Christmas present God has given us though this Wonderful Savior!

Merry Christmas to all, and Happy Birthday, Jesus!