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The MAN!

John 1:1-4 NIV[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was with God in the beginning. [3] Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. [4] In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
John 1:14 NIV

[14] The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Ephesians 4:7-10 NIV

[7] But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. [8] This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” [9] (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? [10] He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

The passages above give us a description of Jesus, being fully God, fully with God, fully the Son of God and fully man. 

He stepped off His throne, out of Heaven and clothed Himself in flesh to make His dwelling among us. He lived among His broken creation. Broken, not because He, the Creator is imperfect, but because in our free will we fell from perfection. We chose disobedience toward our loving God and Creator. We chose the lie that we too could be like God. The lie that we could be the master of our own lives apart from Him. A lie because we are not masters of ourselves. We either follow God as our Master to eternal life, or follow the desires of our sinful flesh as our master led by Satan to eternal death.

But God loves us so much even still, even in our rebellion against Him, He is offering us forgiveness and redemption. Reconciliation to Him. What an offer.

Allow me for a moment to tell you a story I heard in a sermon a while back. The pastor lives in Maine. During a very cold winter, so cold that it froze the dirt below the surface of the ground. The freeze ran so deep that it froze the plumbing including the sewage line leading to his septic tank as well as the raw sewage within the tank itself. 

After chipping away at the frozen earth and prying open the hatch to the tank, he found that it was frozen solid. All the enzymes and bacteria that were supposed to be breaking down the waste were stuck in suspended animation. 

He hooked up a space heater, lowered it into the tank and things began to thaw. As the waste began to liquify the enzymes and bacteria went back to work. It was like a spring to them. 

Finally “things” were beginning to move along and just as he was finishing the job a block that was standing by the hatch shifted and fell into the tank, disappearing into the abomination within. 

The first thought that passed through his mind as he watched it disappear was, “That’s GONE! FOREVER!! “I am not going after that thing.”

Hatch closed, things cleaned up. Done.

Now consider with me a moment our spiritual sewage. This raw evil stank of a septic tank we’ve created here within God’s creation by our sin. We have in a sense dropped from the safety of our Father’s garden into the funk. 

But He didn’t shut the hatch. He dove headlong into it, descending into our darkness in order to rescue us and pull us out. He, being perfectly sinless took our sin and the Father’s punishment for sin upon Himself. He took our place upon the cross standing in the gap we created between us and God by our own willful disobedience. He took the punishment we deserved to give us the forgiveness, salvation and reconciliation we don’t deserve.

What a man! THE MAN! Who took every whiplash, every punch, every thorn, every hammer pound of each nail and then, He bore upon Himself the outpouring of God’s wrath upon sin…for us. For me. For you. 

He is the manliest man who ever lived. He is the epitome of what it is to be a man. The God Man!

Let us all take a moment to let that sink in and realize who it is that is inviting us to follow Him. Let’s realize what an incredible God that we have and how much He loves us. The incredible infinite depth of His love. 

But we still have free will. We can either choose to follow Him or continue to wallow in our deadly waste. We as sinners are already condemned to hell for eternity in the lake of unquenchable fire that burns forever and forever. It is through faith in and surrender to Jesus Christ THE LORD, THE MAN, THE GOD, THE SAVIOR, that we are rescued from God’s righteous judgement and wrath upon sin. 

Our salvation comes only by faith in Him, meaning we need to put our trust in Him and surrender to Him as Lord. To have faith is to trust and to trust in Him, in who He is, is to completely lay down our lives in full surrender to Him. 

If you’ve never fully surrendered your heart and will to Him or if you’ve been professing Christ as Lord but been doin’ your thing your way and you need to just lay it all down, then I invite you to pray. Just surrender it all. There’s no magic words or specific prayer but if you’re at a loss for words and not sure what to say, pray something like this,

“Dear Father in Heaven, I give you my life. I have only begun to realize the greatness of your Son. Show me more. I am yours, FOREVER! Amen!”

Father I pray for my brothers and sisters who have prayed this prayer today that you would give them assurance and make it KNOWN to them that their sins are forgiven and their salvation is secure in the Lord Jesus. Help them now by the power of the Holy Spirit as they walk in your ways. In the precious and holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray, Amen!

Now trust in God that your sins are forgiven, that your salvation is secure in the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit will help guide you and strengthen you as you follow Him. 

1 Timothy 2:5 NIV

[5] For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the MAN Christ Jesus!

No Matter Who is President, God is in Charge

Daniel 2:21 NIV[21] He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
Psalm 75:4-7 NIV

[4] To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns. [5] Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly. ‘ ” [6] No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. [7] It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
Romans 9:17 NIV

[17] For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
God raises up kings and leaders and brings them down. He raised up Pharaoh just so that His power would be displayed in him as he defied God. God raised up the man who though he was the morning star, a god, just so that He could flick him and show how mighty His power is in all the earth and how even the mightiest ruler is insignificant compared to the Almighty God, the Great I AM. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 
He’s got plans for us. I can’t help but wonder if He is raising up the leaders that He is just to remind us of who He is and that we have gone against God Himself in decisions we’ve made as a nation. He might then be raising up the very people that will bring our nation to its knees.
I just pray for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a revival, and restoration of our country before it’s too late. I hope we don’t harden our hearts against God as Pharaoh did.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

[14] if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
He’s talking about His followers here and so I think it starts with us, the church, to humble ourselves before God, to repent and pray, and turn from our wicked ways and really truly follow Him. I think healing will start as the church gets on its knees before God and stands up against sin, unrighteousness and injustice. It’s up to us.
Lord we pray, guide us and help us to walk in your ways. Bring us back to your Word and give us the courage and the strength to stand up for you in this wicked world. Help us to be steadfast. We can only do this in your power and strength and love. Help us to reach this nation for you. Help us to be your good and faithful servants doing all we can to stand and not fall in the way of the world. Thank you God for loving is and being patient with us. We pray Lord, empower us with your Holy Spirit, keep us from sin and let us live in such a way that glorifies your Holy Name!
In the powerful and precious and Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray. AMEN!  

HE IS ALIVE!!!!

  Matthew 28:6 NIV[6] He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
1 Corinthians 15:54 NIV

[54] When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
John 11:25 NIV

[25] Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;
Romans 8:11 NIV

[11] And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Jesus Christ, Creator of all creation, wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace, the Great I AM, has laid His life down for us paying the price of sin on our behalf and on the third day after His death He was raised from the dead victorious, defeating death once and for all!

Our Savior LIVES! 

Our God reigns! 

The tomb is empty and He has gone to prepare a place for us with a promise to return and take us home to be with Him. 

Happy Easter brothers and sisters in Christ! Abide in our risen Lord and rest in His grace and mercy this day. For HE IS ALIVE!!!! And we are made alive in Him.

May God’s blessings be upon you today and forever!

Freed From Sin, Not Free To Sin

Romans 8:1-8 NIV[1] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, [2] because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, [4] in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. [5] Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. [6] The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. [7] The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. [8] Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Jesus came with a very difficult and crucial mission. He came to die for us on the cross receiving the wrath of the Father on sin upon His own heart. He felt it as the Father turned away from Him. He felt the full weight of guilt and condemnation for the sins of all humanity. He took it all upon Himself out of pure love for each and every one of us so that we could have forgiveness in Him, to be made righteous in Him, to be free from the deadly shackles of sin in and through His holy name. 
He did it for us to make us free from sin and death and alive and righteous to live with Him forever and forever.
He did not suffer for us and die for us so we could go on living in sin and chasing after the desires of the flesh. The verses from Romans 8 listed above clearly show us that if we are living after the desires of the flesh, if we are still in a lifestyle of sin, we are still enemies of God. His word is clear that the mind governed by the flesh is death and hostile to God and His ways. 
There is no freedom in Christ if we are just continuing on in sin without true repentance. Repentance doesn’t just mean we say we’re sorry, profess belief in Christ and were good. It’s not a prayer we repeated at an altar call. It’s not even believing Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of all humanity. Even the demons believe and shudder in fear at the sound of His name.
Repentance is a change of direction. It is forsaking the flesh and choosing to live after the Spirit. It is not just believing that Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life, but following in His ways, living in His truth and being made alive with eternal life through Him by faith. 
It is true we are not saved by works. There is no way we can earn our salvation. Otherwise that would be the way we would be saved. No, we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. But true faith and belief in Him and who He is as Lord and God over all creation will naturally result in our true allegiance and surrender to Him as our Lord and God. 
Faith that doesn’t result in forsaking the flesh and its sinful desires and turning to walk in the Spirit and following Jesus Christ is not true faith. 
We are not saved to continue in sin. We are saved from sin and its resulting death to live forever with the Holy God.
Lord Jesus, we lift our hearts and minds to you and ask that you would examine us to ensure we are truly in the faith. Please convict us in our hearts of any sin that we have in our lives that is keeping us from truly following you. Help us to honestly and humbly accept the truth you reveal to us and please bring us to true repentance. Don’t let us be deceived or deceive ourselves into thinking we are saved if we are not. Don’t let us fall under the deception of thinking that we are walking with you if we are not. Truly free us from the bondage of sin today and let us live our lives walking in the Spirit, following Jesus as our Lord and God. Help us to stand firm against the temptations of the flesh and keep our hearts and minds fixed upon you that we would be completely governed by the Spirit and not the flesh. 
Thank you Lord for taking our place under God’s wrath upon that cross. That through you we can be saved and truly set free. In your precious and Holy name Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen!

Are You Without Sin?

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that we fail God on a daily basis. Someone cuts us off on the road and we, if even for just a moment, become enraged, ready to hunt them down. Or we slam our finger in a drawer and some words we haven’t uttered in a while come flying from our tongues. Maybe someone has wronged us and filled our hearts with hatred. Jesus says hatred is just as bad as murder in one’s heart. Or a person walks by that catches our second look and fills our hearts with desire. Jesus says even to look at a person with lustful desire is to commit adultery within our hearts.

Oh how many times we knowingly disobey God. Yet, how many more do we betray Him with our hearts and not even realize it. If only for a moment, we have sinned against God.

To say that we have no sin is to deceive ourselves. Our hearts can draw us into sin and then come up with a million reasons to justify that sin all at once. Songs, poems, people, even self-help books and therapists tell us to follow our hearts. “What does your heart want?”, “Listen to your heart”, “Follow your hearts desires”, etc.

But Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

God knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows that without Jesus paying for our sins on our behalf, we don’t stand a chance.
1 John 1:8-10 NIV

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

God knows our hearts and He knows and understands our struggle with sin. That’s why, instead of telling us to straighten up and be sinless on our own, Jesus willing my came and rescued us, paying the price for us and freeing us from the bondage of sin. We couldn’t reach God in our wretched state so God stretched out His hand in Jesus to reach us.

First John goes on to say in chapter 2, My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

ONLY by surrendering our hearts to Christ as our Lord and our Savior can we be forgiven, cleansed, and freed from the power of sin. We cannot beat sin on our own. We can try our best to live a holy life for God but without Jesus it is impossible. However, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!!!

Don’t try to do it yourself. Surrender to Jesus. Abide in Him and allow Him to abide in you. He will wash you, cleanse you and free you from the power of sin. He will heal your heart and give you strength. In Him, you are a new creation. From the moment of your surrender on, you can live in the joyful assurance of your salvation and His love and peace at work in and through your life.

Surrender and abide in Christ. Be free today and live confidently and courageously knowing the Creator of all creation holds your heart in His hands. You can trust Him with it. He made you…..and nothing can separate you from His love for you.