A Happy New Year!

For January 1, 2023
The second chapter of the Book of Philippians relates the humiliation and exaltation of Jesus Christ and tells how every knee will bow to His authority and how every tongue will confess His deity as “Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (v.11)

Thus, for two-thousand and twenty-three-years, we have been numbering the years since Jesus Christ’s birth to remind us of the greatest and most influential person in human history. 1

Although His distinct message has been often ignored, overlooked and disregarded by many. It yet remains simple, compelling, and redemptive to those of us, who love Him dearly and trust Him implicitly,

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

By faith in Him, we can find lasting peace, fulfillment, and complete satisfaction. For when the Son makes you free, you are free indeed. (John 8:36)

He promises to create new hearts inside new people who humbly yield to His will by placing our faith in Him,

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 36:25 (NLT)

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)

He also promises to create a new place where we will live with Him forever,

See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. Isaiah 65:17 (NIV)

When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:3 (NLT)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. Revelation 21:1 (NIV)

Only Jesus Christ lived a life of complete moral and spiritual perfection, while fully embodying God’s grace, healing, and love. He gave Himself freely so that we could have a new spiritual identity through the New Birth (Born Again).

By faith, we can have a complete, spiritual overhaul as new persons in Christ. We can experience true and lasting change, growing to be more like Jesus each day.

Here, we turn from our sin, and we turn to Christ 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 a new year by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and let Him change your life?

Happy New Year 2023!

What a Wonderful Savior!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

For December 25, 2022
This year we celebrate Christmas on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day; the day many Christians worship the Lord Jesus Christ, from the perspective of a grateful heart; grateful for the gift of love, mercy, and forgiveness He unselfishly gave the entire world when He rose from the dead nearly two-thousand years ago.

Christmas remains my favorite time of the year because we honor the most important person who ever lived, whom the angels foretold (my emphasis),

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25 (NKJV)

Love, mercy, and forgiveness are human traits we don’t see much in today’s unforgiving world clamoring for vengeance. Our world of animosities demands that we “get even” for infractions, whether past, present, real, imagined, or not—somebody has to pay.

Death is the ultimate price that one can pay to show their love, and God, through Christ, did that for us at Calvary. His divine, selfless love extends mercy and forgiveness to all people everywhere as we accept His precious gift by faith, by asking Him to be our Lord and Savior. Now when we offend Him with our sin and disobedience, His is a very different response through Christ,

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)

Instead of judgment, He forgives us and keeps no record of our sinful past. Psalm 103:12  tells how He separates our sins from us as far as the east is separated from the west.

We deserved eternal judgment and condemnation. Yet, His selfless love prompted Him to restore us imposing no restriction. Mercy says that we have no probation period whereby we “earn” His favor.

Nothing can separate us from God. Neither can anything in our past make us guilty before Him. Thus, we can reflect His mercy as our being prime benefactors. (Romans 8:35-39)

All of us are born to die, but Jesus’ death was most is redemptive. And as we invite Him to abide within us, we can emulate God’s perfect love by forgiving wrongdoings, showing mercy, and extending goodwill to others as well,

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 (NLT) Motivated by God’s selfless love, our compassion becomes a viable and attractive alternative to all forms of love outside of Christ. It encompasses the “most excellent way” outlined in 1 Corinthians 13 (the Love Chapter).

Patient and kind, it’s always at work seeking opportunities to show kindness. It is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. It is not possessive or irritable. It does not concern itself with what the recipient can do to “deserve” it, nor does it demand its own way.

It keeps no record of wrongs, and it rejoices when truth prevails. It never gives up, never loses faith, but is hopeful and enduring. Just like the shepherds of old, we too can joyfully observe the Lord’s birthday as recipients of God’s gift of love, mercy, and forgiveness. Won’t you accept this gift today and experience the true meaning of Christmas? What a wonderful Christmas present.

What a Wonderful Savior!

 Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Still In Cloths In A Manger

For December 18, 2022
In the beginning, God created a perfect world where we could have intimacy with God as our constant Friend and Companion. We felt His love in full measure, which gave us unending joy and satisfaction.

Then, our ancestors ate the forbidden fruit and lost the perfection we had with God; exchanging it for sin, decay, and death. Now we are sin-tainted and separated from our holy God forever. (Romans 3:23)

Unable to resolve our sin problem or broken fellowship in our strength, God had to intervene on our behalf by becoming human, Jesus Christ, to pay sin’s full price for us.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

By faith in Jesus Christ, we can have restored fellowship and eternal salvation. One would expect the “Savior of the World,” to travel with an entourage, and to have suitable, five-star hotel accommodations. But not so with Christ,

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:4-7 (NIV)

Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, came to save a sin-cursed world, yet the world was oblivious to His birth. Many today yet reject the significance and/or the importance of celebrating His birth (especially this year as it falls on The Lord’s Day!). However, observing Jesus’ birth on December 25th is a valid expression of our faith and devotion.

We should reserve one day out of the year to observe His birth. However, we should set aside room in our hearts every day for Him. Not covered in rags in some obscure corner treated as an afterthought—but reigning front and center, as our Lord and Sovereign Redeemer. Won’t you give the Lord your heart today and experience the true meaning of Christmas?

What a Wonderful Savior!  

God Cares For You!

For August 14, 2022
Our God created the heavens and the earth, and He still maintains them. Yet, He is not too distant or too big to concern Himself about us individually or collectively. He wants the best for each of us, although it does not take a rocket scientist to see that our world is facing a pervasive “sin problem.” Strong delusion, bondage to sin, guilt, shame, hatred, and unforgiveness consume us.

To the casual observer, it’s as if the demographic for discovering new ways to harm the most innocent and vulnerable of our citizens is growing still younger by the minute. Mere “lip service” has replaced human compassion and common courtesy, while hatred and unforgiveness has replaced civility as those whom you’d never expect violence are committing heinous and atrocious acts against both their family and strangers indiscriminately.

Jesus spoke of such things happening just before His return,

Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold! Matthew 24:12 (NLT)

Our depravity prevents us from attaining moral and spiritual perfection. Although some falsely argue humans are not inherently hateful, self-serving, or prejudice, and that we can perform good deeds without malice consistently, we can perform good deeds, yet our tainted nature skews our moral compass to produce immoral outcomes consistently.

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)

We all sin, and as the Bible teaches, and “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) Moreover, “good people” suffer from sin’s collateral damage, (e.g., fear, doubt, guilt, shame, depression, cognitive failure, and death).

God sent His Son to transform depraved human hearts and establish eternal fellowship with Him, through a personal contact with His Son, the Living Christ. For only a sinless person could shed pristine blood that would satisfy God’s righteousness and remediate our sin problem. Thus God became that Perfect Man (Jesus Christ), and paid sin’s price forever,

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NLT)

When we invite Jesus Christ into our lives by faith, we reveal how deep and wide God’s love and care is extended to us. His Spirit dwells within us to make us new creatures. (1 Corinthians 5:17) Our spiritually dead nature is quickened so that now we are free from sin’s bondage and our own selfish interest. Instead we now eschew worldly things and desire godly things so that we can truly give our all to Christ,

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

Our social profile and bank statements may not show the dramatic change, but we have been changed drastically nonetheless. The Lord cares for us and desires to transform human hearts, so He can have eternal fellowship with us. Once He performs this glorious work in us, everything else we have becomes His—forever.

With a new heart comes a new standing before God, and this is our greatest reward, Christ in us, the hope of glory! Won’t you give the Lord your life, and allow Him to transform you today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

The Blessing of Tribulation

For July 31, 2022
Feeling helpless and constrained; having exhausted every known option; “hemmed in” with no relief in sight expresses the Greek word for tribulation, thlipsis (Strong-G2347).1 Forged in the fire of tribulation can be beneficial to others and us, as we glory in them,

But we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3-5 (AKJV)

This is not the Great Tribulation or that turbulent period forecasted in Daniel 12, Matthew 24, and Revelation when Christians suffer worldwide persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, persecution for the Christian faith remains a horrible reality, as one writer explains,

Therefore a merely external suffering, such as anybody may have, is not meant thereby, but the cross as a consequence of Christian faith. Faith leads into tribulation, because as peace with God, it leads into conflict with the kingdom of darkness, and also with sin in ourselves, because it endows the ordinary suffering of this life with a spiritual character.2

We are living in the “Last Days” when strong delusion to trust a lie encourages our blatant disregard for human dignity, through the killing of the unborn and helpless, the calculated destruction of the weak and aged, and the exploitation, abuse, trafficking, oppression, and violence perpetrated against all those who fall between these two extremes. Ultimately, we have reduced precious, God-given lives to mere dollars and cents.

Although this is not in the Great Tribulation, our modern society seeks to remove Judeo-Christian principles and teaching from the public discourse under the guise of “separation of church and state.” Our society respected and welcomed prayer, the Ten Commandments, and other Judeo-Christian values. Now, we vilify the righteous and praise the wicked to our own peril, just as the Bible warns,

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20 (AKJV)

Persecuting Christians and eradicating our God from society is the most destructive approach to maintaining our civility and progress. For it is not our technology or military that make us great, it is our faith in God, and the Judeo-Christian upon which we were founded and yet embrace and uphold, just as the Scriptures attest,

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (NKJV)

The Lord is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). He does not cause our self-inflicted calamities. Nor does He tempt us to commit sin. He is loving and longsuffering while leading us “in the path of righteousness” in ways that credit Him for what will always be the most beneficial outcomes for all concerned. (Psalm 23:3)

He often uses tribulation to show His power, to encourage or edify us, and to give instruction. To show His power and teach a valuable lesson, Jesus told His Disciples that a person’s blindness would reveal “the works of God.” (John 9:3) When He healed that person, it dumbfounded the religious leaders, solidified His claim to be the Son of God, and it showed how our loving God can restore sight to the blind.

God also uses tribulation (or trial) to chasten or correct us. Sometimes we take the wrong path, and God will use adversity to turn us in the direction He wants for us. God uses trials to guide us towards achieving the noble behavior patterns that show we are His beloved sons and daughters,

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:5-6 (NKJV)

Through trials, we can count it all joy as we collaborate with God in our spiritual completion,

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

In our trials and tribulations, His Spirit moves us to keep our minds on Him, so that He can replace our insecurities with His peace through prayer,

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Philippians 3:10 tells us we can experience the Lord’s mighty power through our tribulations. We can glory because they connect us with Christ and further distinguish us from the world.

The Lord is a special, loving companion Who guides us during our tribulation. He is also our Friend and will never leave or forsake us, even in our most desperate moments. Thus, we can glory in our tribulations, having peace with God without fear of torment. (cf., Proverbs 18:24, Philippians 4:4, 1 John 4:18) Won’t you trust Him today, even in tribulation?

What a Wonderful Savior!