I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.
I have been reading “Prodigal God” and it is very good at drilling home that we all need a Savior. The man on death row is no more a sinner than the man who has hate in his heart. The woman who “works at night” is no more a sinner than the woman who lied. Many of us know this, but how often do we truly believe it? Do you know that you are as much a sinner as the people you judge? Do you know, really know, that nothing you do will get you into Heaven? Do you know that the person on this earth that you despise is a child of God? We need to put our judgments away, we need to repent of our own sins, we need to pray for EVERY soul on this earth to change for Him. And more than anything else, we need to trust Him, our Savior, our Lord, the Creator. Our lives will be filled with joys and trials, but our life is the tiniest blip compared to eternity. And He is waiting for us, all we have to do is knock.
The world is a mess. I don’t know of many people who deny that. Morals have become distorted, God is forbidden in some places (apparently by those who think He can be told what to do), and people are more selfish than they have ever been it seems. In the midst of the craziness our job is to TRUST HIM.
We trust Him in our lives, with our marriages, with our children, with our homes and our jobs. We need to TRUST HIM. That does not mean that our lives will go exactly as we want them to go. He has warned us in His Word that we will have trouble in our lives. It does mean that when everything falls apart we still trust that He is good all the time.
When families crumble, when people leave, when children die, when loved ones do not turn to Him, when commitments are broken, when our hearts our broken, we still hold onto His promises that …
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
In this world that is a crazy mess, He has already overcome. Our job is to trust Him, to let His light shine and to take as many people as we can to Heaven with us…where the pain will stop…where we will be forever if we know Him and follow His ways.
I love Christmas! Obviously first and foremost I love Christmas because of what it is. Christmas is nothing less than the birth of my Lord and Savior. Without His perfect and precious birth, we would be nothing. Without His life begun, He could not have laid down His life for my sins and there would be no hope in this world. We are nothing, there is nothing, there would be nothing to have faith in or hope for…without Him we would all be sentenced to eternal death. Not only did He do all of that for me and you, but He has showered me with blessings of life, love, family, food, shelter…and on and on. I also love Christmas because, as you all know by now, I adore being with family and friends. I enjoy gathering around sharing food and fun memories while making new memories. It is a special time filled with traditions.
The enemy does not love Christmas. In fact, He knows that we are saved because of the birth of Jesus Christ. I think that is why there is so much pain at Christmas sometimes. He attacks people at their weakest at a time when they are praising the One who saved them. He attacks and tries to turn their vulnerability into a reason to distrust God. This is when we need God the most! He will not let us falter, He will not let us down, He does walk through every joy and every sorrow with us.
Hanging the ornaments on our Christmas tree each year is bittersweet. There are ornaments that were meant for Joshua. There are ornaments from people that are no longer here…that died too young. There are bitter memories along with sweet ones. My parents just attended a funeral of a great man who was attacked by cancer. His family knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is celebrating Christmas with his Savior this year, but each Christmas will have a scar as they remember the husband, father, brother and friend that they lost. My friend just was served divorce papers this week, a friend who has done nothing but try to save her marriage as her spouse has thrown it away. Another friend is facing her third Christmas without her husband at home. Life is tough and it seems to get harder at the times when we think we should be untouchable. Satan may attack, he may even win a few battles, but we know that the Lord is the ultimate victor. We know the end and He has already won. Don’t lose hope, don’t lose faith, put your trust in the One who is with you each step of the way. Celebrate Christmas and have joy in the Lord!
Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Romans 8:1 ESV
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
John 3:16-17 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
The other day I was with a group of people. The group was a mix of Christians and non – Christians. One of the Christians in the group is quite outspoken and opinionated. This person likes to have attention and isn’t too concerned if anyone is offended. Another person in the group quietly takes it all in, as in many other areas of life, but then is quick to make little snide comments about certain situations or people. They are unheard by most and I am sure there are a number of thoughts for every comment that comes out. Neither is better than the other. They are both sinning, one quietly and one outspokenly. And guess what? So am I by judging them instead of looking at myself instead of them.
Christians sin. We are no better than anyone else in the world. But we love and believe in a Lord and Savior who forgives us; who died for us knowing every horrible thing we would do in our lives.
There are some Christians who come across as judgmental and hopefully their intentions are good. If you are a Christian and believe in heaven and hell, the last thing you want is for anyone to live in hell for eternity. So sometimes we try to “help” others come to Christ in a misguided way. We aren’t perfect. We love all people, whether or not they sin, because we know we are sinners. We know we are lost without Christ. We know we are saved and going to Heaven and just want as many people to come with us as possible.
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 John 4:1
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”