Happy New Year!

For January 1, 2021
Today, people around the world will welcome a new year. With each successive year of the Gregorian Calendar, proposed in 1582 to compensate for the solar year drift of the Julian Calendar, which was instituted around 45   before the birth of Christ (B.C.), we note the time that has passed since the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The term B.C. is used to designate the time before the birth of Christ from the time after His birth, referred to as Anno Domini (A.D.), which is Latin for, “In the year of our Lord.” The time since Jesus’ birth is also referred to as the Common, Current, or Christian Era (C.E.).

Numbering these calendar years is appropriate for paying our respects to the most influential person in human history. In other words, this year, we acknowledge that two-thousand and twenty-one years have passed since the birth of Jesus Christ (although many scholars place His birth somewhere around 4 BC).

We make this distinction because only through Jesus Christ can we, as sin-scarred humans, be reconciled to our holy God. We benefit from Jesus’ atoning work, not by trying to perform good deeds, but by placing our faith in the redeeming works He still performs to God on our behalf.

      • His perfect life satisfies all God’s requirements for conformity to God’s holy Law.
      • His sacrificial death at Calvary remains our perfect sacrifice to absolve us from our sin.
      • Jesus’ resurrection secures God’s acceptance of His redeeming work; now we can have full confidence that He is our accepted way to God, and
      • His ascension, His Spirit, His intercession, and His glorious return provide all the spiritual graces we will ever need to fully experience His abundant life—now and forever.

The Lord promises to embrace us with His eternal power and providence when we surrender to Him. Then we can find the rest that completely satisfies and refreshes our eternal souls,

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NIV).

2020 was a difficult year for many. If you are looking for consolation, hope and a new beginning, let me suggest,

      • Others have failed you, so give your heart to Jesus Christ. He never fails!
      • Stop trusting in your human abilities alone. They are finite while God is infinite. Instead, turn to the Lord, and trust in Him completely.
      • Surrender to Jesus Christ so that you can experience and enjoy the fulfilling life of purpose, freedom, and victory He freely gives to all those who trust Him.

When our New Year’s resolutions are Christ centered and God honoring, He performs His perfect work in our hearts, minds, souls. Only then can we truly have a Happy New Year!

What a Wonderful Savior!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

For December 25, 2020
Christmas is my favorite time of the year. For on this special day, we honor the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who represents the greatest gift ever given or received.

More than two thousand years ago, in a Bethlehem manger, the Savior of the World was born. Although some may dispute His December 25th birthday, no one can prove that He could not have been born on that particular day either. Other than Scripture, we have no eye witnesses alive today to retell the story.

Any controversy concerning the Lord’s birthday is merely a distraction from the fact that He was born, and for some, the less focus on Christ, so much the better.

Nevertheless, He came to save humanity from sin, and to reconcile us to the Father. This is as the Angel of the Lord announces in Matthew 1:18—21 (NKJV),

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.”

We were broken—morally and spiritually—before our holy God, without remedy when God decided to cancel the sin debt we acquired from Adam and Eve, by becoming human and shedding His blood to wash away our sins forever. Thus, as Acts 4:12 tells us, there is no other name, besides Jesus Christ, under heaven by which we can obtain salvation (and receive God’s eternal favor as a result).

Just like the shepherds of old, we too can joyfully observe December 25th as eternally grateful recipients of God’s unspeakable gift of grace and mercy. For we now have unimpeded and eternal access to a holy and loving God through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yes! On this day, we can be grateful for what the Lord is still doing around the world in the hearts and lives of untold numbers of people—ever since His first birthday.

What a wonderful Christmas present, and what a Wonderful Savior!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Still No Room For Jesus!

For December 20, 2020
In Luke 2:7 (NKJV), we read these telling words,

“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.”

The world’s fate rested in the hands of two young travelers, Joseph and Mary, his espoused wife, who carried inside her the Savior of the world.

The Savior of the world is a title reserved for dignitaries. However, unlike the celebrities of today who travel with an entourage that provides for their very best, especially securing suitable four-star hotel accommodations.

Not so with our Lord Jesus Christ as there was no room for Him anywhere!

Fast forward two-thousand years, and this has not changed. There is still no room for Him in the public discourse as His teachings are “not relevant” for our modern world. For instance, no one wants to seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, or turn the other cheek when challenged, or love our enemies and our neighbors as we love ourselves, or provide aid to the widow, orphan, and downtrodden.

Instead, in today’s “me-centered” world, we clearly see the mantra: “Hang everybody else…I got to get paid!” being celebrated and perfected in the lives of young and old alike.

However, although we may seem to get by at times, we will never get away. There will be a day of reckoning when God’s righteous judgement will be served. Then, everyone will be required to account for his or her deeds—whether good of bad. Thus, Jesus Christ issues a warning for our proud, self-centered generation,

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Mark 8:34—37 NLT)

The Lord chooses foolish things to confound the wise and weak things to confound the strong. He also uses the lowborn and chooses the things that are insignificant to make nothing out of the things that are. (1 Corinthians 1:26ff). In this way, no one can boast except he or she boasts in the Lord alone.1

I praise the Lord for His precious remnant. Those who leave room for Jesus to reign in their hearts as well as in every phase of their human and social interaction. These courageous men, women, boys, and girls continually celebrate our King of Kings and Lord of Lords, because in Him alone, we can find redemption and peace with God.

As we turn our faith towards Him, making room for Him, we can experience all the joy and fulfillment this Christmas Season has to offer—now and forever!

What a Wonderful Savior!

Unto Us A Child Is Born!

For December 13, 2020
Twenty-seven hundred years ago, world peace was predicted through a special child who would be our Prince of Peace,

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV).

Fast-forward, seven-hundred years, and Isaiah’s prophetic words take on human form,

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!”(Luke 2:8—14 NKJV).

We welcome the prospect of peace on earth and goodwill towards others. 2020, the year of a “new normal” world taught us about our need for human civility and decency as we witnessed exponential increases in racial, and social hostility and violence around the world.

People who understand the importance maintaining a civil society, exercise civility and courtesy across racial and cultural barriers and realize that no one’s petty political squabbles and personality conflicts should restrict us from embracing others as equals.

I thank God for the Angel’s message, “For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!” It is only through Jesus Christ that we can find lasting peace and harmony with God and each other as He promised in John 14:27 (AKJV),

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid!”

When Christ becomes our personal Lord and Savior by our faith in Him, His perfect peace engulfs and sustains us forever. He is always faithful despite our lack of faithfulness. His peace never ceases to satisfy the deep longings of our soul. Won’t you receive Him today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

We Have The Living Word Of God!

For November 22, 2020
The Word of God (Bible) is remarkable, and there is no other book like it anywhere. In over three thousand years of recorded human history, its promises and admonitions remain trustworthy and faithful as Psalm 12:6 (AKJV) affirms,

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

My loving parents introduced me to the Lord and encouraged my spiritual growth and moral development. Often, we shared about our Christian faith journey, and we talked about our favorite Bible passages. Here’s the AKJV passage that most emphasized the beauty, wisdom, and practicality of the Scriptures to us,

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb (Psalm 19:7-10 AKJV).

As we grow more familiar with the truths and promises of the Bible, the Holy Spirit gives us biblical promptings to help us navigate life’s uncertainties successfully. We are the living proof of God’s marvelous plan of redemption, whereby Jesus Christ reigns in us as Savior and Lord.

We authenticate our faith in God by His Word and the person of Christ. Both of these revelations deserve our reverent consideration,

Two great revelations stand at the center of historic Christianity: the personal revelation of God in Christ and the propositional revelation of God in the Scriptures. The Christian claims that God has disclosed Himself in the Scriptures and in the Savior, in the written Word and in the Living Word of God. The evidence that the Bible is the written Word of God is anchored in the authority of Jesus Christ.1

We can find comfort in knowing Jesus Christ authenticates the Bible because He is the most important 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

The Bible is our perfect guide to living in the 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. Then, we become expressions of Christ’s prophetic role by filtering everything we think, say, and do through a Bible-based perspective. In other words, we are people of the Bible who abide by its principles.

Although we may listen to secular experts for advice, the Word of God is the lamp and light to our footpath. Faithful meditation on its precepts will discourage alienation from God while aiding us in resisting the habitual practice of sin (Psalm 119:11, 104-105).

In the twenty-first-century, more than ever, we need specialized knowledge and skill to be considered competent in our profession. Physicians study medicine, attorneys study law. Likewise, we Christian study the Word of God to be competent practitioners of our Christian faith.

We are spiritual beings, and our existence depends on Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God. He became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14). From His Word, God gives us the life-giving resources that help us to grow spiritually and morally, because His words are spirit and life (John 6:63).

Thus, the Bible is a holy book that we cannot read casually as we would a newspaper or novel. Instead, God must provide us with the spiritual insight to interpret and apply it correctly under the guidance of spiritually mature Christians who can teach the Bible exegetically.3 Then, we “read out” of the Bible God’s instruction for our lives and grow spiritually.

Even after the dust settles, the Lord can use us mightily to provide answers to questions and problems posed by our ever-seeking world. With His Spirit, prayer, and His Word, we can inspire and transform a world in need of spiritual refurbishing.

As Christians—now more than ever—let’s embrace the Word of God and live out its principles of faith, hope, grace, and love.

What a Wonderful Savior!