Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Why We're Having Disturbing Conversations These Days...

 


There are times I wonder what is happening in our world...

If my mother were alive, she'd be saying her oft overheard, "The world is going to hell in a hand-basket."

Not sure the meaning behind that sentiment, but it always sounded ominous...

...and, ominous, isn't a bad description for our world these days. 

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I've repeated the following conversation in similar formats with many over the last few months:

The other: I just don't understand what is happening! Our world is so divided...and, not just politically, but theologically...

Me: I know! Seems it used to be that while different denominations arose because of worship style preferences, mixed with a little different interpretation of a few random Scriptures, for the most part we all KNEW that we agreed on the heart of the same Creed (i.e. see 1 Corinthians 15:1-3). 

The other: But, today, theology has gotten so mixed in with politics, we can't find common ground on which to stand in order to find unity. 

Me: I've never felt so lost and confused regarding God's Church. Many seem to be wandering away from the basic foundations of our faith...

What we need is a revival of truth...

What we need is not "my" rendition of truth...but, THE TRUTH from the One and Only Source of TRUTH: Jesus...THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE!

We need this anthem to rise out of our hearts, once more:

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Yet, should we be surprised that we are having these kinds of conversations?

Probably not. 

As the Lord spoke through Isaiah: 

"All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have wandered off God's paths to follow our own (NLT)."

So, in the middle of Jesus' "to do list" is this line item:

Good Shepherd.

There have always been plenty of examples of bad shepherds overseeing God's flock (Ezekiel 34). 

  • Shepherds who allowed the sheep to get scattered...
  • Shepherds who failed to protect, and let the wild animals inside the fold and to feed on the sheep, while doing nothing...
  • Shepherds who cared more for themselves than their flock...
  • Shepherds who neglected the grazing pastures...and, allowed the sheep to become weak and sickly...

The Lord spoke condemnation over these shepherds, declaring that He, Himself, would become the Shepherd (Ezekiel 34 and Psalm 23).

He would search for His sheep when they went astray....tirelessly!

He would care for them...compassionately!

He would tend them, bring healing to their wounds, and strengthen them, back to full health. 

He assures His flock that He will lead them to good pasture and still waters...and give them rest for their souls.

Lest we think otherwise, He will discipline with His rod and staff...in JUSTICE!

Then (in the fulness of time), the Father sends His Son to do the same...


And, in the middle of ministry, Jesus offers up to His followers a parable. 

A story about a ✅ Good Shepherd.

An overseer who leads his sheep, protects his sheep, counts his sheep, knows them by name, and is willing to lay down his life for just one.

Because the sheep have a tendency to wander off, leave the fold, and stop following the Shepherd to "go their own way, follow their own truth, live by their own conscience," a Good Shepherd prepares in advance to leave the rest of the flock to seek out the one who's in danger, always leaving them in care of an under shepherd!  

The Good Shepherd searches and searches, until he finds the lost one, and picking him up, putting him around his neck, the Shepherd carries the lost sheep home.  

The shepherd doesn't care where he must go to rescue the sheep, he doesn't look where his feet are trudging, he simply goes with one purpose in mind: rescue the one gone-missing.

Take note:
The sheep is a part of the Shepherd's flock. 

The sheep is no stranger to the Shepherd.

He knows the Shepherd's voice. 

He's intimately acquainted with the Shepherd.

He simply thought he knew better than the Shepherd where the "good pasture" was to be found.

So the sheep picked a different path...and, got himself in tRoUbLe!

Also, take note. 

The word for "sheep" in the Greek? 

It means "fully grown," "advanced in years," "of a great age..."

This guy/gal should know better...

...but, still...

...and, yet...JESUS.

Jesus goes after.

He's the Good Shepherd.

He's willing to lay His life down for the sheep.

And, when the Shepherd returns home with his lost sheep, He calls His neighbors together for a party.

"REJOICE, for I have found my sheep that was lost!"


Why so much rejoicing?

As the parable concludes, the key is shared: 

REPENTANCE.

The lost sheep has turned back to walk the SHEPHERD-PATH!

That's why we're having conversations like the one above...

There are far too many sheep who have wandered astray...

Grown up sheep.

Sheep who should, by now, know better...

Sheep who should know the Shepherd's voice, and long to follow His path...

But, don't...for one reason or another.

The Good Shepherd is longing for a return of these sheep, 180-degrees back, in repentance, to follow the SHEPHERD-PATH.

The path that is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE for those who walk that journey.


....to be continued......

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Grace, What Have You Done?

I've spent the past week in Isaiah 53. 

If you haven't read it recently, do so (no matter how familiar it seems to you).  

I've saved you the time, and linked you to it on Bible Gateway

With this freshly tucked away, consider the following...

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As I began writing this week's blog post, I sat with the theme of my study on the screen right in front of me (you see it above from an iPad drawing I created as a reminder). 

In light of this, the first line of a contemporary praise song just popped into mind:

"Grace, what have you done?"

(I think you see why I began humming that line after reading Isaiah 53...)

Here are the next few words (and if you want to listen, a YouTube link is attached: Scandal of Grace):

Grace, what have you done?

Murdered for me on that cross

Accused in absence of wrong

My sin washed away in your blood

Too much to make sense of it all

I know that your blood breaks my fall,

The scandal of grace - you died in my place

So my soul will live!!!! (emphasis mine)

From creation, the minute Jesus, the Son of God, spoke man into existence, a plan had to be in place.


The fall of mankind was seen even then.

The inability to keep a law? Known from the beginning of time.

The need for a sacrifice to cover sin? Already established.

Shed blood required? Determined IMMEDIATELY...

A temporary plan put into place....

...Until, in the fulness of time, Jesus came!

Once, for all time, He would become a permanent sacrifice

God's kids couldn't stay out of sin.

Their hearts - deceitfully wicked.

Can you imagine Jesus looking at His "to do" list so the plan could come together? 

  • Despised by men
  • Rejected and forsaken
  • A man of sorrows
  • Fully acquainted with grief
  • One from whom men would hide their face
  • Despised
  • Esteemed not
  • Bear the grief of mankind
  • Carry mankind's sorrows (once for all through all the ages)
  • Smitten/stricken by God
  • Afflicted
  • Beaten/scourged
  • Pierced
  • Crushed 
  • Chastised
  • Wounded
  • Treated harshly
  • Struck down
  • Unjustly condemned
  • The iniquity of all placed upon His back
  • Oppressed
  • Anguished of Soul - the word that is used is the most intense word that can be used for one "depressed;" and, not for Himself, but for those who would not RECEIVE what He accomplished (✅ done!)...
  • Meant to be destined for a criminal's grave (but, blessed by being given a rich man's tomb)
  • Bore the sins of many
  • Counted among the rebels

Why? 

For me!

For you!

That's what Grace has done ✅!

What a scandal!

A way of escape... 

A way out of the grave... 

A means so death would not have a final say...so, hell would never be an option!

Since about 2014, articles sneak in from time to time about "Divine Child Abuse" from God toward the Son...

A ploy of the enemy to twist and distort the gospel story.

Sadly, many "professing" Christians are taking note of this and curiously contemplating, and, some have already bought into the lie, turning their backs on the TRUE GOSPEL for another twisted gospel...

I don't understand how...

BUT, JESUS...

He made the choice...

He looked at His "to do list," and Isaiah 53 declares He saw (before it ever happened) that "the Lord's good plan would prosper..." (v. 10b)

He saw "the multitudes of His descendants (those who would become "children of God" - John 1:12)..." (v. 10a)

He saw "all that His anguish would accomplish...." (v. 11)

AND...He would be "satisfied...." (v. 11)

His joy in enduring the cross - FULL to the UTTERMOST!

Jesus' eyes focused on me at the end of His ✅ DONE, and it brought Him joy as He went to the cross.

From cradle to the cross...From cross to the grave...From grave to resurrection...and, resurrection to ascension...Jesus has had His eyes on me.

And, the best part of it all is that He's had His eyes on YOU, too!


Now, He asks that we fix our eyes on Him... BUT...

What have YOU done with Jesus?

We know what Grace had done for us!!! 

It's SCANDALOUS !!!!

If you aren't sure of your salvation...

If you ever wonder if you have taken care of all that Jesus has done for you...

Here are two more links to great messages (10 minutes & 20 minutes) from my husband! Take the time to know for sure where you are headed at the end of your earthly "to do list" ✅...

 How to Know That You Are Saved

Ultimate Trust Fall

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Over! Done! Finished! Accomplished! Complete! There's No Better Feeling!

Welcome to 2021!

To be honest, 2021 doesn't have a much different "feel" to it than 2020; but, last Thursday, we received a defined moment in time at 11:59 PM, to take a deep breath, let all the frustrations that built up inside us explode, right along with the fire works bursting about, and offer up a welcoming prayer of hope for whatever is in store for the next 365 days.

I didn't stay up for midnight and the dawn of the new year, but I did have my own defining few moments of letting go of the old and welcoming the unknown... I determined to be more thankful for each of the 365 new days...which will bring 365 new opportunities to view God's-new-morning-mercies...and, 365 chances to reflect His glory...AND, most of all, intentionally watching for the countless out-pourings out God's faithfulness, adding up all the holy moments He interjects in those 365 days...

I do love fresh starts and new beginnings. 

I'm driven to close out all the Quick Books Accounts for the previous year as fast as possible; clean out the closets; and, organize my world.

There's something very cathartic about doing so...

In order to feel ready for those 365 new days, I begin on January 1 making a to-do-list that will help me prepare fully for what's ahead.

If you've known me long, you know I thrive with a to-do-list.

I love checking the boxes.

Done!

Finished!

Over! 

Nothing elates me more than completing a list.

The problem is the list never really gets done, more is added before I ever get to that place.

There's not really a stopping point.

I'd truly like to be more like my nephew, Andrew, who stopped by one day not too long ago, and, emphatically (!!!!) declared to us that he was at least two weeks ahead of schedule! 

I was so jealous...(though I'm not sure he REALLY was...) 

BUT, this became a new "measuring stick" for Bay and I...we ask each other regularly how far ahead of schedule we are, or will we ever be? 

This got me thinking. 

Did Jesus have a to-do-list? 

I happen to think He did.

I also happen to think that He enjoyed putting the check in the box, too...and, I inherited that bit of this particular DNA from Him.

In the midst of contemplating this silly notion, I remembered a random verse I'd read as I was finishing up the Gospels in the midst of the Read-the-Bible-Through program I did last year. So, I looked it up...

In Luke 18:31 it reads, 

"And, taking the 12, He said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be completed..."

It's the word "completed" that rang in my ears...

The same Gk word, Jesus used on the cross when He breathed His last, saying, 

"It is finished! (John 19:30)" 

It's the word transliterated, "tetelestai."

DONE!

ACCOMPLISHED!

But, it's much more colorful and complex. 

Behind the word finished, isn't just a checked box...Behind the word is a lifetime of living with a set-out, defined goal that the DO-ER would fulfill to the UTTERMOST!  

When the word "tetelestai" is spoken, it means that the last, the very final, action in a long series of actions to be performed in succession has come to a close!

The aim, the goal, is DONE!  

The prophets (through the Word of the Lord) began Jesus' to-do-list for Him.

Then more came as God-the-Father spelled out the rest of the list during His life on earth as God-the-Son.

When Jesus said "it is finished" that day on the cross, EVERYTHING, absolutely EVERYTHING He needed to do on earth was ☑...

What was on His list?

That's where I'm heading in the next few blogs, at least. 

I doubt I'll cover it all (it's A WHOLE LOT! - some scholars say there are as many as 456 prophecies from the Old Testament that Jesus fulfilled)...but, I definitely want to hit a few highlights.  For now, ponder this passage:

 But, keep this in mind: 

Jesus? - Well, He's 2000 years ahead of schedule! 

(Sorry, Andrew, 2 weeks is NOTHING!)


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A Lesser Known Lady with Great Faith...and a Lesson for a New Year!

 

It's an unlikely New Year's Eve passage, the one above...

...the story of Anna.

(Anna the Prophetess, by Rembrandt)

She's one of the handful of people who recognized JESUS at infancy. 

I am intrigued by these three verses, where God wrote Anna's biography to inspire us...

Not at first read, maybe...but; 

it's obvious, the Almighty uniquely set apart her life for this one moment in history.

I'm deeply challenged...

...AND, I find Anna's story startlingly ApPrOpRiAtE as a New Year dawns; 

As I contemplated this brief account, the Lord gave me a WORD (well, let's make this plural, a few "words") with which to enter 2021.

I'm always curious as I await a New Year how He will challenge me to live in the next season.

More so with 2020 running down to a close with the new-year-clock.

(Anna the Prophetess, by Rembrandt)

The Holy Spirit, through Dr. Luke's pen, sums up all of Anna's earthly years right here in verses 36-38.

Actually, that's a lot of ink for a New Testament woman! 

(Anna the Prophetess, by Jerry Bacik)

Here's what we know about Anna:

1) The Jewish community knew her as a prophetess. Anna inspired and encouraged others with the words the Lord placed on her heart. Her mouth was her ministry, and she wasn't afraid to speak the words of the Lord. She often spoke of hidden-things, things revealed to her, either by inspiration, or birthed in dreams and visions (Olive Tree Enhanced Strong's Dictionary: prophetis). Anna was a truth-teller, not necessarily a future-teller. Yet, here, Anna's prophecy shows up in the giving of thanks, as she proclaimed to those who were in the temple that day, "Here is the Redemption of Israel! Wait for Him NO MORE!" Anna's boldness in being God's mouthpiece is exactly how people described her (just as Luke did). They knew her to point others to the hope of their future redemption! Anna always looked forward knowing her Redeemer was nigh... Imagine her JOY when she knew she had no further to look!!

(Anna the Prophetess, in brown on the right, depicted at Jesus' dedication, author unknown)

2) We know the name of Anna's dad: Phanuel (this is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Peniel, meaning "the face of God.") Perhaps her father had a story to tell, like Jacob in Genesis 32, where he, too saw the face of God and lived to talk about it. I find this random fact interesting, since Anna herself comes face to face with God (God-the-Son held in the arms of his earthly mother).  This moment in time presented Anna her Phanuel-moment! The Lord honored Anna's faithfulness by revealing Himself to her. Years ago I was told that God honors those who honor Him. Anna's story is a testimony to that little platitude.

3) Anna arose out of the little known Northern Tribe of Asher. Asher is often called The Lost Tribe, because most of the people from Asher were assimilated into Syria when the Northern Kingdom was taken captive. Very few of them returned to Israel....but Anna did. This one little fact assures us that Anna was a survivor. Whatever life threw at her, Anna made the most of it (see point #4, too). 

(Icon of Anna the Prophetess, at the Basilica, where her remains are held)

4)  Anna was widowed at a very young age. Probably married as most girls were around the age of 14, by 21 her husband had passed away, possibly leaving her childless. At this point, she had either lived another 84 years following his death (which made her about 105 according to most commentaries)...or she was 84. Fact is, she was old and had been focused on her ministry a long time.  Instead of looking for another husband to fulfill her, Anna chose a life of dedication to the Lord. Because she was a known prophetess, she probably had a room along the outside walls of the temple (rooms were reserved for temple priests, prophets, and other assigned workers). Hers would have been a hard existence as a woman dwelling in a man's world. But, day and night, she stayed in the temple living out her calling...purposely focused...looking forward never backward with regret or remorse.

5) One last thing that has to do with Anna's "forward-focus." Anna filled her time with worship, prayer, and fasting. Anna did the hard work of a life committed to her Lord... Yet, this I know, when the Lord, Himself, has been the sustainer of a soul (as He was for Anna - widowed, barren, undoubtedly poor, living a meager existence in the temple), these things - worship, prayer, and fasting - are a source of Great Peace to the GIVER. 

In Anna, I see a life of contentment and peace no matter the situation surrounding her.

So, as I sit on the cusp of 2021 (🎉🎉🎉), it's my desire to renew my commitment to the Lord with longing that my life reflects an Anna-heart...

I, too, want to:

...speak truth and encourage hope in others; to live as an overcomer (no matter what 2021 may throw at us, welcome the obstacles as opportunities for presenting Jesus); fulfill God’s purpose; stay forward-focused; re-commit to trusting the Lord fully; and always point others to the Savior...until His face I see!

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One day, we will see Him face to face, and like Anna, will give thanks to God for His remarkable gift of grace!


Perhaps this year!


Who knows, maybe my life (and yours) is uniquely set apart for such a moment in history???


How will people describe us?


I'd like to be known as Anna was known; to be as faithful as Anna, always forward-focused, looking and waiting for my future redemption....

 

I still believe #adventisnear!



Thursday, December 24, 2020

When the Lights Go Out...an Advent Thought



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In true 2020 fashion, the lights on our Christmas tree withered over the weeks between the post-Thanksgiving-decorate-for-Christmas-tradition and today.

The day after Thanksgiving, I made the mistake of boasting about how pretty our tree looked.

Well, not just the tree...but, the house looked fairly stunning, as well.

By now, I ought to know better than to boast about anything (but, I'm a sloooooowwwww learner).

BECAUSE, then....the lights on the pre-lit started going out.

One. Section. At a time.

Little by little we added strands of extra lights....

Then the lights at the tippy-top went KAPOOT!

I went to town to purchase yet another strand.

No more Christmas lights in town (the perils of small town living)...

So, dear-husband began to restring some of the lights by spreading them out further;

...after all, we had company coming for dinner, and a partially lit tree WOULD NEVER DO!

I shrugged my shoulders...OK! We'd manage (insert emoji and long sigh)...

Side note: I like lots of lights on a tree. The more lights the more my spirit is lifted, and the more Christmas wraps me up in its magic! I am a bit child-like in that way!

However, the next morning, the entire bottom third of our tree SAT IN DARKNESS (and, because the bottom is SO WIDE, it feels more like half of the entire tree)!

There is no fixing it. 

The Christmas tree is no longer lovely.

It's dismal.

Ugly.

Discouraging.

Yuck.

It threatened to strip away the Christmas magic.

Yes, there's a little bit of light still sparkling amidst the darkness.

But, gotta be honest; it's sparse!

And, did I mention I LIKE LIGHTS, LOTS OF LIGHTS!?!?

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Here's where you reckon I'm going to make the analogy about how Jesus came to a world sitting in darkness, to be the light of the world. Right?

It's true, but no...

Here's, probably, where I refer to the time Jesus acknowledged to His disciples that, indeed, He is the Light that Isaiah prophesied would come to lead people out of darkness. Right?

Again, true, but no...

Here's where I mention that Jesus also said that we, His children, those who "receive" Him, are also to be lights in the world, and for "heaven's sake" we aren't to hide our light under a bushel! Right?

Well, a little bit right.

My tree represents how I currently am seeing us, as Jesus-Followers during Christmas.

As we "attended" a candle lighting Christmas program last Sunday, I watched as the candle light spread from one candle to the next, lighting the entire auditorium in a robust glow.

That's the way it's supposed to be among believers.

We are to share the Light...

...to shine like stars in the universe for a crooked and depraved generation, holding out the Word of Life...

(Thank you, David Bates, for the use of your beautiful picture!)

Yet, instead of seeing that happen, it feels more like the lights are going out...one little bulb at a time. 

The Christmas season seems to amplify this from year to year.

As secularism and commercialism ramp up from about August through December, the real meaning of Christmas seems to be drowned out. 

Followers of Jesus easily get lost in the chaotic rhythm of it all: the shopping, decorating, the music, cooking, the parties, the Hallmark moments, the trimmings, the trappings, the wrapping, and the noise. 

But, during a season when it should be the easiest for us to convey the message of the gospel, and the reason we celebrate a baby in the manger, the holiday spirit seems to drown out the nudges of the Holy Spirit to spread the Light.

Oddly enough, all the hustle and bustle lull us into a sense of complacency.

I get it.

I see it in myself; and, I want to make sure I'm taking care of this little personal light bulb. I don't want it to go out, maybe causing a shortage in a third of the tree... 

With this on the forefront of my brain, I turned yesterday to read one of the devotionals in an Advent book I've enjoyed this year:

The author says far better what I am trying to say (his thoughts were timely and, purely, incidental, to my mental-ramblings).

So, if you don't mind, let me quote a few lines from David Mathis' devotional, "The Christmas We Didn't Expect." 

First, from Scottish theologian Donald Macleod:

"Every year the world - and the church- experiences Christmas... (But) Christmas is a lost opportunity, a time when the world invites the church to speak and she blushes, smiles, and mutters a few banalities with which the world is already perfectly familiar from its own stock of cliches and nursery rhymes (from Glory to Golgotha, p. 9)."

 Then, Mathis continues:

"When the world makes so much of a holiday once so deeply Christian, and thus tacitly invites Jesus-Followers to speak, let's not blush, smile, and mutter...let's speak with clarity and conviction. 

Let's talk in concrete terms about why we celebrate, and whom. Let's speak about the day when God became man, without ceasing to be God, that he might live among us as fully human and die the death we deserved. 

Let's make it plain in our homes, and among our extended families, and for our friends, that Christmas is not just a sweet story for children, but, as Macleod says, 'the perforation of history by One from eternity."...the intrusion and eruption of the Eternal into the existence of man.' 

Christmas has a spectacular light that the seasonal glitz snd glamor threatens to obscure, but it is much too precious to let it be dimmed... (D. Mathis)"

So, yes...

🎶 "This little light of mine...I want to let it shine!"🎶

Let's start taking advantage of special holy-days and let our light shine - bright, clear and vocally!

Smile.

XXXXX

Merry Christmas to all!


Thursday, December 17, 2020

When the Enemy Tries to Steal Your Advent Joy...#AdventisNear

 

"All the promises of God find their YES in Him..."
(2 Corinthians 1:20)



This is one of those mornings where I've struggled with what to write.

Normally, the struggle comes when my mind is completely blank as I've looked back over the week and come up short...

That's not the issue this morning.

My mind is full and funneling down to one basic "Advent thought" is particularly difficult. 

I've wanted to mention how every time I hear someone crooning, "I'll be home for Christmas..." My mind wanders, and I wonder, Lord, do you long for your children to be home as much as I enjoy having mine around me over the holidays? 

Or, I ponder, wouldn't it be something, as I "Advent-wait" for your return to retrieve your children, if I were to get to "be home for Christmas?" I believe Advent is near...I'm ready, whenever God the Father gives the nod, because this world IS DEFINITELY NOT MY HOME!

I've also thought about the three most frequently mentioned words in the Christmas story. They are important in this current season: 

BE NOT AFRAID...

Have you noticed them?

It's the big theme of Christmas: We no longer need to fear the future. There's no need to be afraid of the spiritual death for which we are destined as a people born with a sin-nature...an inclination to be glory-thieves (thank you for the terminology, Paul David Tripp). Jesus came to be Immanuel: God with us. When God is with us, there is no fear... Jesus eliminates fear. 

But, I've settled on a different thought. 

More personal.

A bit vulnerable.

Even...a little bit shameful-to-mention.

Sometimes, the old enemy-of-my-soul tries to steal away my Advent-joy...

Sometimes, he shoots his fiery, flaming darts into my brain and lodges a thought there that smolders ands burns, causing me to "entertain" what by-faith I know is a lie...

The shape of these lies leave scars and, even though I dismiss them, their form remains having done a branding from not quenching them more quickly.

They take the shape of questions... Often they are those pesky "what if" kinds of questions:

What if this Christian-life,

this Biblical redemption-story,

the promised future of a glorious eternity of bliss...

What if it is all a lie?

What if God isn't really a God of love, but a fierce dictator?

What if we get to heaven only to find out we've been tricked?

What if God is more like the Wizard of Oz - hiding behind a curtain of weakness and impotence?

What if He couldn't get Dorothy home? or take away fear? or give brains? or a new heart?

BUT, you see, I know better...

I know more...

I'm assured these are lies for one reason, no two... Nope, for sure three.

#1 Prophecy Fulfilled. 

Everything, absolutely EVERYTHING, the Lord had promised and predicted through His prophets of Old has come to pass. 

All He has declared to date, He has done. 

He has proved through prophecy that He is not untrue to His Word.

God can not lie! 

Because of prophecy (and even now I just looked at 40 Messianic prophecies alone that have come to pass from the Jews for Jesus website...) that is undeniable, irrefutable, miraculously beyond comprehension, there is a GUARANTEE of FUTURE EVENTS as they have been lined out for us...

There is no way prophecy fulfilled has happened by chance!!

Ask any researcher!

There are no "Buts or What if's" - the enemy of my soul can put those darts back in his arsenal!

#2 Jesus

In Him, we have seen God's face. To see Him is to see the Father God.

Not just His face, but His character. To know Him is to know the Father God. 

And, Jesus-on-earth was an exact representation of His Heavenly Father (and mine).

He was anything but a Wizard of Oz...fake, cowardly, impotent, controlling...

Jesus was the authentic, vulnerable, God-man, loving all, healing the sick, having authority over storms, waves and the fish of the sea, defying death, and resurrecting back to life (talk about power!).

Jesus was sacrificial, loving, generous, grace-filled, yet angry at all the evil, immorality, and unbelief in the world He was born into (how would he feel today?)...

Jesus dealt firmly with the Religiously-corrupt, stripped the stigma and prejudice from the "lowly" (like shepherds, women, the poor, the Samaritans, and the sinners), and, He went head-to-toe with the demonic influences taking control over innocent people. 

Jesus proved He was the Name above all Names, the King of the Jews, Yeshua (God Saves), Immanuel...

There is no way the "what ifs" the enemy tries to whisper in my ear are credible...I am more sure of them than I am my own existence on earth (have you ever seen Sixth Sense?)...

And those scars branded into my brain? 

They are nothing more than a big reminder of why FAITH is worth living in the last days of Advent...

...and LIVING LARGE! 


Oh, yes...the third reason?

#3 Me!

I can not deny that from the moment I met Jesus, received Him to myself, my life has never been the same!

I'm living proof that Jesus is all He said He was and more...

He is Christ in me, THE HOPE OF GLORY (Col. 1:27)! And, I am being transformed into His likeness...


Don't let the enemy EVER steal your Advent-Joy!
Cement your belief in Him through His Word, immediately!!!