We all know the story. In fact, the whole world knows this story. As those who are genuinely heart-set on being a disciple of His and are sincerely sorry for our sin, we know the REAL meaning of Christmas. Christ had one mission, and that was to take God’s wrath for our sin. Not a pretty sight to think about at this time of year, is it? But once we do grasp this truth, we can be grateful in watching His life as He grew up and in being observant we can see what He did and how Christ used the word of God to combat and point out unrepentant sin.
Before you wake up to Santa coming, and then open your gifts, look at One that doesn’t look like a present, but is the PRESENCE of God Almighty come to earth as a child to die for us. Seriously, we had no hope of eternal life without Jesus Christ’s brutal criminal’s death and payment of our sins.
Mary and I were studying the Bible in Exodus where the tabernacle building instructions were given to Moses. We were reading about the making of the bronze altar. To us, this seemed brutal to kill an innocent animal for our sin and was offensive to us. I had a thought interrupt my thoughts: “I am offended at you.” Whoa, that set me back on my heels! I sensed the context though was in love. The offense was our sin. The solution was Him. Then another thought crossed: “If the lamb was to be without blemish why was Christ brutally beaten?” This thought so perplexed me that I sat in wonderment of the question. I said: “Yes, that is true. How then can Jesus Christ be our “Passover lamb”? Answer: “He was sinless and thus without blemish.” “Ah…then ok. But then Lord, why was He brutally beaten like a criminal?” Answer: “Because people are criminals before God because of our sin.” And this type of punishment was used during Roman times when slaves started to rebel. As the rebellion of the servant continued the discipline ramped up to the viciousness, we saw meted out to Jesus…our babe in the manger. No one but God could take the wrath of God, someone said. Feel free to let that sink in. (As an aside; we were created for Him to serve Him and by default are His servants…but many of us don’t act like we are. We are rebellious toward God’s Word and Will and deserve these punishments.)
What caused the need for His death and the wrath of God poured out on Him? Unrepentant sin. What causes evil in the world? Unrepentant sin. We have a theory: Were religions and legalism created by men to cover unrepentant sin?
Christ’s first words at the start of His ministry were: Matthew 4:16-17… “16the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.” 17From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
We have seen a great light, and so did the wise men. They were wise because they followed the starlight to the King of the Universe and gave Him gifts. Their wisdom came in obedience to God. We must act in accordance. As we celebrate Jesus Christ birth, let us examine our hearts with the light of the Holy Spirit for unrepentant sin in our lives to be pleasing servants. Then ask Him to empower us to keep His Word which He gladly does! Our gift back to Him so to speak. Immanuel comes in a manger and God is indeed with us!
Forever grateful for His Coming,
Ric and Mary Joyner
For Search Engines: There are many bible verses about love, and there are many bible verse of the day programs. The holy bible provides this remarkable bible commentary. Bible Study and online bible study are available at biblestudycompany.com. Bible verses of faith are of interest as well. Even bible verses about hope are helpful. Bible verses about women are encouraging. Read the Bible online with biblestudycompany.com. We will all do better when love is patient love is kind. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me in times of trouble. With daily bible devotions, I grow. The gifts of the holy spirit are for every day. Online bible study is so helpful. biblestudycompany is a free online bible. With so many books of the bible, I can grow. We love inspirational bible verses in daily Bible reading.See full post & comments
By Ric and Mary Joyner
My mom used to say: "I am literally flabbergasted". I am too, and my heart says WOW! Why? First, when we compare ourselves to Christ, we cannot come close to anything He did or WHO He is…The God of the Universe in Human form. As I peer into the gospels, I look in wonder at His mission (to die) and how His people rejected Him. The bible is written to people who believed in God. Remember that fact… we are them. They are us. We must see Him as the Jewish people saw Him in their culture. In His miracles which He did to restore people. In their religious services. In their Holy Book. How can I compare? What if I ask Christ into my life and repent of my sins how then can I change to match the God of the Universe in the flesh? Am I without hope? Don’t people say: “I am not going to church because it is full of hypocrites”? They are right. And they are hypocrites too! We are all broken bits and pieces of life pottery. But then I see this verse, and I marvel that while in this body (it needs to be thinner) which we will discard shortly, I have no power in myself, to stop sinning. No amount of good works at judgment will save me from the ten commandments. We have all lied, we have all lusted after someone, we all have stolen, and we have all used God’s precious name in vain (ever ask yourself why God’s name is a swear-word in any language?). Flatly, we are under judgment from God. We need saving. Christ said He came not to judge but to save. In other words, we are already judged and under God’s wrath unless someone helps us, poor humans. Romans 2:5-6 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS…(read the verses around these).
But it is up to us to respond to His calling and put trust in His death and resurrection. Each person’s SIN penalty is paid when Christ voluntarily took it to the cross. A true gift from God just like the air we breathe, the family we enjoy and the good food we eat.
But how do I walk out my life to honor His sacrifice because I am going to sin again? I am going to fail again. (you know…the broken life pottery thing?)
I am in astonishment of this fact: Galatians 3: 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Read the verses in context around it because they are so encouraging). By faith, we can “put on Christ’s righteousness” because we don’t have any! How? We identify with His death BY FAITH. Thus, when He was raised from the dead we are raised too…now and in the future! We have eternal life. WOW! 2 Cor 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation... See that? We now can share the good news with people that they too can be reconciled to God and not remain in our sinful states. Wonderment!
The broken life pottery pieces come together now! We are a new pot with new hope and new life. We clothe ourselves with Christ, and by doing so, we are “clothed” with His righteousness. Not mine because I don’t have any, but HIS!. Now doesn’t that make you joyful? My heart soars when contemplating walking in His clothes! Doesn’t that make you want to live your life asking Christ to change you to obey Him through His Spirit! WOW! Take the first step by asking for that reconciliation. Romans 10:13… for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."
Call on Christ and see your broken life come together. If you did this after reading, please let us know.See full post & comments
Mark 8:34 “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
I have always wondered how “I” could obey this command? (scratching my head) My approach tends to be performance-based. That means my efforts are the way to obey. But then, I run into that my efforts are filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Why?... Because they are MY efforts. I know that a theme throughout scripture is that we are to obey God’s Word. Abraham did this (Gen 12 and 15). Moses did this. And God wants us to keep the law and His commandments. It says in John 14:15 “if you love me, you will obey my commandments.” Ouch! “If you love me…”. There is no way I can keep the law or obey even a metaphor command like this; “taking up your cross” or even; “follow Me.” I fail every time. But what I have learned is that scripture wants me to be dependent on Him. Let go of me (impossible) but let go of my efforts and instead of trying to create a list of “disciplines” that I think may please God, so I can get a “pat” on the head and maybe have a good life…(long sentence, sorry)…perhaps I can’t even take up my cross daily? Here is what I CAN do though…I can drop at the foot of the cross at every command I find in scripture and ask Him to change me so that I CAN obey through His power in me! Then He gets the glory because my efforts are rooted in His changes in me! (Bubble text box popup near my head: “Ahhh…you ARE pretty slow Ric…”) He gave us the Holy Spirit to provide change. Not my efforts, but His change IN me. Isn’t that the grace of God? Titus 2:11-12 says so: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 11 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age…
Only with His help can we change.See full post & comments
Can we turn the Living God into an idol? I think we can by the way we treat Him. Meaning, that if I demand of Him to do for me according to my will isn't that what idols are for? Aren't idols manmade? Once we decide that God does not do our bidding but that He is our Creator and He is the ruler of the universe, Who sent His only Son and wants a relationship, like a marriage (exclusive) with us, our entire lives will change. Let's put this another way. If I discover there was a King who is actually very kind and gracious and let me live the way I choose, but said He had a better way to live than my way, which sometimes my will didn't work out well. But then I discovered we could go into His very throne room, would I come in trembling, fbecause earing to offend this King (this is the fear of the Lord) or do I come in demanding that I "get" what I want from Him? What if this King looks at me and says "Sir, I don't need to answer your prayers the way you want them because My Glory is what counts but if you decide to let me run your life in a relationship, you can know MY WILL, and I will adopt you as my child, which will then cause you to inherit MY Kingdom?" Would you take that deal? I did. I asked Christ into my heart. Romans 14.11 For it is written, "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD." Now or later? If now, just bow your head and ask Jesus Christ to save you and for His Will to come into your heart and life. Let us know if you did.See full post & comments
For those who are looking for a bible study to do this weekend, please look at Eph 4:17-32. I watched a pastor with a group of millennials men go through these verses with amazing results. The pastor approached these verses as "Paul's prescription to change." Meaning that by following the key passages, memorizing the Scripture and doing introspection (hopefully by asking the Holy Spirit) we can pinpoint in our lives areas of sin or change needed to live a praiseworthy life to God. Remember that Titus 2:10-12 shows us that we don't have the power to change without God's help. He will teach us to move from ungodliness (anything that does not please God), and this is how we know we are in Grace; because we are moving toward pleasing God versus living selfish lives. I love this saying; "it is all about a relationship with God, not religion".
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Exodus 19 talks about Moses consecrating the people and also having them wash their garments. This speaks to me in many ways. How do we consecrate and wash our garments in a spiritual sense? My view would be to have a repentant heart that is always looking to serve God and his purposes. This can only be done with a close and personal relationship with our Savior. Having a relationship with God, allows us to see, hear, and do!
Moses is a wonderful example of a intimate relationship with God. He is asked to go up the mountain then down. Then up again and down. In a physical sense this seems so hard and repetative for Moses. Why is God doing this? When I look at it with spiritual eyes, I see a man who has a close and intimate relationship with God. He hears, responds and does what his Father asks of him. Moses understand that it is in Gods power that things get done not his own power. Walking up to God and conversing can only bring strength and clearity to a persons spiritual and physical life! Lord create in me a clean heart and help me to remember your grace. Grace is the realization that God give us the power to do the next right thing!! Not in our power but his!See full post & comments
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said,"Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
What a beautiful picture of the power of God! God comanded let ther be light and light obeyed! Our creator divided the light from the darkness from the very beginning and it's a perfect blueprint of how to walk. There is always a distinction between light and dark, good and evil. The separation begins on the very first day!See full post & comments