Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Ponder his names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Each is worth a lifetime of thought, praise, and reflection, isn't it? This was the prophecy of hope before we were born. The crosswise excellencies of Christ: priest/sacrifice, shepherd/Lamb, servant/king, prisoner/judge, sword-wielding Prince of Peace. There is no God like him - in the minds of men or anywhere else. He alone is seperate!
""RIP"" applies only to those who die trusting the Prince of Peace alone. Justification by death alone is a deadly doctrine. There is no more sacred calling upon us today than the costly reconciliation that proves Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
Think about this: Christ was born not to an elite, but to us. Ordinary, sinning us. Wow! Friends, rejoice that while you were yet a sinner, Christ indeed died for you. Praise Him today!
Father, when we want to run away, run ahead of us, turn around and let us collide into your welcoming embrace. Father, interfere with my will ALL you want! You did with our humanity! When you should have left us where we were - you came to save us. Oh, how grateful we are! Thank you that prayer like this is less about giving and more about getting. Not only did you save us, but you allow us to know you by faith in Christ. Be glorified, Lord! In Jesus' name, amen.
John 1:14 "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."
The laws for the tabernacle in Exodus 25 and other chapters show it is not simple and casual for sinners to draw near to God. But He found the way.
Our problem is that we're not amazed by the God-man, Jesus Christ. Does any religion besides Christianity cherish the the crucifixion of the God-Man as the only ground of acceptance with God? In Jesus is the ""man should"" and ""God could"" of justification for our salvation. The God-Man could and did save us--all by grace!
I feel the stain of guilt and shame because I forget to look at the heavenly tabernacle, which remains stained with Emmaunel's blood. It is a great reminder that eternal life demands both grace and truth. Both are only possible through Jesus Christ alone. Jesus is the full measure of God’s grace to humanity. Won't you praise Him today?
Father, I want to be amazed today by what your Son did for me. Help me not to be immune to my sin and immune to the fact that this world is often more appetizing than your Word and your Gospel. Father, the great motivation of my life—and all of our lives—is what Jesus did for us. Help to remember the Gospel, as Paul commanded Timothy in 2 Timothy 2. Be glorified in my life today—no matter what I am facing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
John 20:28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
It is so encouraging to work on messages about the Resurrection! Why? Because Christ's resurrection is God's public sign-off that all that Christ taught was true! From eternal life to daily matters, Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords.
It's very interesting to me that doubt almost universally is always rebuked in the Bible. In today's modern-day Christianity, however, it is given hours and hours of a platform and fame. Here Jesus was merciful to Thomas, yes, but did not affirm that his doubt was good. We would do well to re-read John 20:27-29 and pay special attention to verse 29.
The church didn't create the resurrection accounts; rather, the resurrection accounts created the church. Thomas' testimony here isn't a knee-jerk reaction. It is a realization that all Jesus said was true. He is risen...He is risen, indeed!
A Christian is someone who believes in the resurrection and who lives in light of the implications of that event. The arc of human history begins with rebellion and culminates in resurrection. This is where our hope lies.
In your doubt, will you trust Him? In your skepticism, will you seek Him?
Oh, Father, thank you that the Bible is replete with non-stop evidence for the resurrection. And like Peter wrote, though we don't see you as Thomas and the disciples did, we love you anyway. Your power is evident in our lives and your church. We pray today that you would help us to live by the resurrection power of Christ for your glory. Thank you that He arose from the grave we, too, will rise! In Jesus' name. Amen.
Colossians 1:16 "For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."
God’s creative acts were complete and entire, that is, there has been no continuing process of creation since God pronounced His own approval of His handiwork. It must also be understood that the creation of God extends beyond the physically definable material world.
Case in point: God made everything and he owns every thing.
God is certainly under no obligation to explain His actions to man. Many things are quite beyond our ability to understand. Other things that He has explained we still refuse because of our carnal fallen natures. One of these critical issues is the purpose for creation.
Most people believe that God created the world expressly and only for the benefit of man. Certainly there is obvious benefit to the highest aspect of God’s creation but the earth does not exist primarily for man. Man does not exist primarily for himself. All of existence is for God alone! Again the Word of God is abundantly clear.
Colossians 1:16, “…all things were created by him, and for him""
Gnostics believed that spirit equals good things and that flesh equals bad things. May it not be so among those who claim the name of Jesus Christ, who is creator of all things! May we see Christ for who He is - the God-man come to us and holding us visible ones up--and all things not visible--including our salvation!
Father, grant us the ability this day to enjoy you as Creator, Redeemer, and Re-Creator. It's all about you. You uphold the smallest atom to the mightest mountain. Yet, you look upon us and have mercy on us! We are but crumbs on the floor of a mighty banquet--yet you stooped down to save us from your just wrath in love. Thank you, Father! May your truth go forth today in our lives, churches, and families. May people come to know you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Colossians 2:9 "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,"
This mystery is beyond comprehension but not joyful contemplation: ""For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Col. 2:9).
We see within the Scriptures that the LORD Jesus Christ is LORD over all, he is supreme over all creation including the Spirit world. We, like the Colossian believers, must believe that Jesus is God and in complete control. Otherwise our Christian faith will be hollow and meaningless.
The devil has rightly understood that the whole of Christianity rises or falls upon this one doctrine - the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Any preacher, theologian, or prophet that does not hold unwaveringly to the bodily resurrection of Jesus has nothing to say to the Church.
We must oppose those who say that Jesus is not LORD, because He was more than merely a prophet or a good teacher. He is God, in the flesh, in charge and the Sovereign LORD over all.
We must let people know that he is much, much more than the baby in the manger at Christmas, or the Savior on the Cross. Yes, He is the Lamb, but He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. That little baby born in Bethlehem Judea is all the fullness we need!
Father, thank you that the Holy Spirit is the one who ties us to Jesus Christ and is the down payment on our bodily resurrection from the dead. And it all goes back to the question you asked Peter, Lord: "Who do you say that I am?" We praise you that by your work in our hearts we can see you as the Son of God. Father, Jesus is our great Savior, Lord of heaven, and the Son of God. Thank you, thank you, Lord! In Jesus' name only do I pray! Amen.
Acts 5:3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?"
In this episode in Acts 5:3, we can affirm certain facts off the bat.
First, that God the Holy Spirit sees perfectly all that takes place in your heart as a professed believer--that is, as a true and real believer (Acts 5:1-2). The Holy Spirit knows all. Therefore, you must repent or you will perish. If you say that you have given your heart to Jesus, it means the whole devotion of your heart. You cannot hold on to any secretly treasured sin and bring it into the kingdom of God with you unless you want to be chastened by the Lord for it.
Second, that the Holy Spirit is able to communicate His knowledge of any person’s sins to other people if He decides that it is necessary. Peter would have never known that Ananias had kept back some of the price of the land that he sold for himself without the Holy Spirit revealing it to him. Nor would he have known that it was Satan that had “filled his heart” to do so, and thus lie against the Holy Spirit, unless the Holy Spirit had told him that it was so
Finally, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring about a good and lasting and holy fear among God’s persevering people in the church. This incident of Peter’s dealing with Ananias and Sapphira did not bring a division in the church. Rather it says that they were still, “all of one accord in Solomon’s Porch"" (5:14).
Be confident in God’s presence with you by his Spirit.
As such, you can live ""coram deo""--before the face of God. Love, look for, and celebrate the work of the Spirit in your life.
Father, thank you that your Holy Spirit is fully God. He is not super lesser demi-god or the "force" from some popular movies. Father, thank you that you are the great God of the universe. You see all and know all. Forgive us this day of not trusting in your Spirit and the strength provided to get us through what we need to get through. You are very, very holy, Lord. Praise you for all your work. In Jesus' name. Amen.
1 Corinthians 2:11 "For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."
Here Paul is contrasting the Holy Spirit and the spirit of the world. The wisdom of God is revealed through the Spirit of God (2:10-11). You see, understanding this mystery requires a new birth (John 3:3-8). God gave us His Spirit so that we might know His grace (2:12). And it all comes to us by spiritual words (2:13). These are words taught to us by the Spirit in the Scripture that doesn't contradict what God has previously said.
So, the gospel is divinely revealed by revelation, inspiration, and illumination. Revelation and inspiration were given only to the human authors who wrote down the Scriptures. All Christians, however, have been given illumination by the Spirit when they believed the gospel.
The question I want to ask you is this: Do you possess this special kind of wisdom? In other words, do you believe the gospel? Are you a Christian? A Christian is someone who has been illumined by the Holy Spirit to understand and believe the message of the gospel.
If you are a Christian, the Word of God will be illumined to you. It’s basic message of salvation will make sense to you. But, if you are not a Christian, the Word of God will not be illumined to you. I urge you to ask the Holy Spirit to give you the gift of faith so that you will be able to believe the gospel.
Father, I thank you for the apostle Paul and his first letter to the Corinthians. Your Word teaches us that the gospel is not humanly discovered. Rather, it is divinely revealed. The gospel is divinely revealed by revelation and inspiration to the apostles, prophets, and other authors of Scriptures. And it is divinely revealed by illumination to those who become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Father, if there are any reading today who are not believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, would you grant them faith so that your Word will be illumined to them as well? And for this I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.