Tag Archives: Christ

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 5

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: -Isaiah 29:13, KJV

close up of paper against black background

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

We must be careful how we handle the Word of God. I mean both senses of the term:

  • How do we handle Scripture? Do we read into it what we think it says? Do we read passages out of context or claim promises never meant for anyone but to whom they were made? Do we use Scripture to condemn everyone who disagrees with us or to keep people “in line”? All the while we say, “God is great. I love God.” But we are keeping God in a nice, tidy box that we can control.
  • How do we handle Jesus? Do we treat Him like a monster? Do we treat Him as if He is aloof? Do we treat Him like a genie or vending machine, expecting Him to grant all of our wishes and desires, especially when we ask/demand them? Do we treat Him like a doting grandmother, thankful for the gifts He gives, but ignoring Him most of the time? All the while we say, “Jesus is great. I love Jesus.” But we are using Jesus to control others or only get what we want.

John lived in the wilderness, ate bugs and honey, and only had one outfit. He did not tolerate using God and His Word incorrectly, but he did point us back to the wonder of God’s works, as Isaiah did:

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. -Isaiah 29:14

We cannot forget that though we rebel against God in many ways, even as we call on His name, He does marvelous things: Most importantly, He came to save us from our rebellion and make us more like Himself. We can try and reason Him away, twist His words and actions, but He is come and has made Himself known. And we cannot stand against Him.

And when Jesus returns, we shall be made like Him – holy, blameless, and glorified, able to give Him all glory for eternity.

Lord, help us to come to Your Word humbly and correctly, to align our thoughts and emotions with Yours, to follow Your will and not our own.

Advertisements

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 4

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. -Matthew 3:7-9, KJV

It is not enough to come from a Christian (or Jewish) home.

With Jesus’ first Advent, it was mostly the religious leaders who refused to change, because they “knew it all” about faith.

As we await Jesus’ second Advent, it is not enough to have grown up in church or attend church regularly. It takes repentance and a willingness to actually listen to the teachings and commands of Jesus, to show love and compassion to others and commitment to God’s truth.

Do not trust in your ancestry or upbringing. Do not rely on the faith of your parents, siblings, or friends. Turn to Jesus for yourself, and believe.

Saving God, do not let me rely on my own knowledge, skills, or history. Give me a passion for You, Your Word, and Your Church.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 2

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” -Matthew 3:2

asphalt communication commuter danger

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

John’s primary message while baptizing people in the Jordan River was to repent.

Repent literally means “to change your mind.”

Stop thinking the way you do! Stop only thinking about what this world says, and think biblical thoughts, heavenly thoughts! Realize Jesus is Lord of all and Savior of the world!

You may think you are a good person, or that your good deeds will outweigh your bad deeds. But God says you do not understand how much help you need, how great a chasm separates us and Him.

The message of John and all of Jesus’ disciples is “Change your ways! Turn to God! Repent and believe!”

We cannot come to Christ unless we are willing to change.

Great God, thank You for leading us to Your Son. Continue to conform our minds to Your will as we bring others along.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent

Welcome to the second week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the second week of Advent is about preparing ourselves for the coming Messiah, with John the Baptizer being our model. This is when our focus turns from the promises to fulfillment of Messiah. Obviously, there is a connection between each week, as we begin by looking out our need for the promised Savior, and then we move to finding the truth of the living Savior.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. -Isaiah 40:3, KJV (see Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4)

John was prophesied centuries before either he or his cousin, Jesus, lived. John is also the final of the Old Testament Prophets. He was the last to prophecy the coming Messiah before Jesus began His ministry.

He was an ascetic – someone who separates from society in many ways through denying comforts and desires, including diet and habits, for religious purposes. (See Numbers 6 to understand more of John’s asceticism, known as the Nazirite vow.) He seemed pretty crazy and weird, but he laid the groundwork for the Messiah.

What did this mean?

He called out sin, decried fame, and [literally] pointed to the Lamb of God, the Messiah.

As Christians – believers in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus – we are likewise called to point to the Savior. We are to prepare the the way for His return and encroaching Kingdom.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
-Matthew 28:18-20

How are you pointing others to Jesus?

Good Lord, give us a passion for sharing the Good News of Jesus – to call out sin, love people, and glorify Your Name.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent

bible candle christianity scripture

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Welcome to the first week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the first week of Advent reminds us of the importance of prophecy and that we are desperately in need of a Savior. The Hebrew Bible – the Old Testament – reveals much through the Prophets and Wisdom literature and poetry.

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
Job 11:13-18

We first need to see our need for cleansing from sin. Then we need to remember that, through Christ, we have already been cleansed of our sin.

This knowledge gives us hope.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Therefore, we no longer wait, as Israel did, for an unknown Savior. Rather, we wait for the return of our Lord, when all misery, pain, and tears will cease. He shall reign as God and Lord over a remade and perfect Creation.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Heavenly Father, we have sinned against you, but You sent Your Son to save us from our sin. Thank You for revealing Jesus’ first coming through Your Prophets of old and His immanent return through the Apostles. Give us a grateful heart and a sense of urgency to spread this Good News with the world with humility and grace.


Not About Politics, But There Are Sides

An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked. –Proverbs 29:27 KJV

I was ready to write about politics, and angry partisanship. And this verse certainly can speak to partisan politics.

However, I just want to speak the truth:

There are only two sides in this historical and eternal battle: with God or against Him (Matthew 12:30).

There are no other ways or sides, and this leads to many people seeing Christians, and by extension God, as narrow-minded (which is true, to a point – Matthew 7:14), even evil, for saying not everyone is good or can get to God their own way.

But, if Jesus truly is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then there is no other path to God (John 14:6).

If you do what God calls evil, you are a wicked sinner. But if you repent of your evil ways (change the way you think and act – Romans 12:1-2) and believe Jesus died for your punishment to cover your wickedness and rose again to life, then you are on His side (Acts 2:38-39).

To refuse the leading of the Holy Spirit to believe in Christ is choose to be against God (Matthew 12:31, John 8:44).


Playing or Getting Played by the Fool

He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage. –Proverbs 26:6, KJV

The past two entries from Michael and me covered answering the fool in various ways. The next one after this from Dawn does a great job unifying Proverbs 26:4-5.

For this, I will look at how we can play the fool and be played by the fool with proverbs.

Playing the Fool

We may be very godly, have Scripture memorized (or be very quick looking up passages in our Bible apps on our phones 😉), and we have the right verse to respond to everyone.

But sometimes, people don’t need the Bible verse. Either they are adamantly opposed to our messageor they simply needed a hug and a listening ear, and our perfect verse led to a tantrum or to their brain shutting down and stop listening to us. Or worse, they lash out at others or injure themselves.

Played by the Fool

This second point is more prevalent in our world. This is the person who knows just enough about religion or academics or life in general to be dangerous.

This is the person who takes a Bibke verse out of context to prove you wrong, uses a blend of world religions’ teachings to show how much more about the world they know (but misapply much of it due to contradicting the Bible), or tries to help make the world better without accounting for human sin (while pointing out the sins of humanity).

This person speaks without knowledge and hurts others more by driving them away from God (see Jeremiah 10).

Avoiding the Cup of Wrath

What we all fail to realize – whether playing or getting played by the fool – is that we are setting each other up to drink damage, from the ultimate damage, God’s cup of wrath.

But there is a relief. We can allow the Holy Spirit to guide us (and help us keep our mouths shut).

But only if we repent and believe in the One who drank that cup for us (Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15, Habakkuk 2:15–16, Matthew 20:20–23) are we able to receive the Holy Spirit.

Anyone who uses wise-sounding or even scriptural words to cause division or lead others away from Jesus Christ is only cutting them off at the feet so they stumble straight into eternal destruction.