THE WORD BECAME A HUMAN BEING

As I write this it is Christmas morning. Darkness surrounds me as dawn has not yet set in. The evening was short concluded with my reading the true Christmas story from Luke 2:1-14 to my family. I slept well (though briefly) only to awaken with the first words before me from Scripture being:”the Word became a human being” (John 1:14).

Today we celebrate that miraculous event. When an omniscient and omnipotent God so loved the world that He sends His Son to us. A Savior Who is Christ the Lord that we can live for all eternity simply by our faith (Romans 1:17). A thought and reality that once captured the world reforming the church and we in it.

For myself life is getting to know God better. Praying, listening and then speaking to others about His Kingdom. A Kingdom that becomes ours through a birth in a manger in a stable in far of Bethlehem. Today is Christmas. A day to give glory to God. A day when THE WORD BECAME A HUMAN BEING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The Word of God is a window to the wonders of salvation.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Revelations 14:7 “give glory to God always”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for showing me the way.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1.  Explore the difference between God becoming man versus man desiring to be God?
  2.  Explain God’s Word taking on the form of humanity through Christ being like the contents of a seed coming to life?
  3.  Where is the danger in glorifying self?
  4.  What does the birth at Bethlehem mean to you?

THE TRANSFIGURATION

One of the key events in the life of Christ during his time with us on earth was his transfiguration. The change in appearance was in the presence of his elect of the elect: Peter, James and brother John (Sons of Thunder). Also on the Mount of Transfiguration were Moses who had died 1500 years earlier and Elijah who had been gone 900 years. It is believed this event occurred on Mt. Herman for various reasons and was a time when the true divine nature of Christ was to be shown with the effects not unlike Moses was seen to have when coming down from Mt. Sinai after having communicated personally with God. This transfiguration is what we in a very real sense experience partially when we take on the Holy Spirit into our very essence to guide our lives. What we would call being born again.

The transfiguration left us with many spiritual lessons including that it occurred while Christ was praying we are told in one of the texts. Christ as our example shows us that a simpler life is one that is more responsive to what I believe God desires for us. In fact I believe with our many schedules and desires that it is near impossible to walk in the footsteps of Christ. Perhaps this time of year we can resolve to focus more on the truth of Scripture shown through the life of Christ and less on the commercial aspects that secular society desire we get wrapped up in.

The key takeaway from this event for each of  us I believe is that we need to be daily in the transfiguration. That is to say that we need to be in communication with God every moment possible and allow His presence through the Holy Spirit to guide our lives. We too can then be transfigured to the extent this life allows until one day we will be totally transformed into the image God would want for us for all eternity.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The transfiguration turns us toward God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Matthew 17:1-13 “the transfiguration story”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord transform me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. Why were Peter, James and John considered the elect of the elect?

2. How do we show Christ’s radiation through our lives today?

3. What do we know of God’s presence at Christ’s transfiguration?

4. What is Shekinah and how relate to this text?

IT’S TIME TO COME HOME

As children if we had a real good friend we might ask if they wanted to become a ‘blood brother’. A special though painful event that forever bonded your relationship. In the Christian faith the ultimate example of that are the words of God spoken over Christ’s transfiguration: “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, Hear Him” (Matthew 17:5).

The act of transfiguration ( a radical change in appearance) is therefore I believe important for us to understand better. We know for Jesus it occurred on a high mountain and caused His face to shine like the sun and his clothes become as white as light (Matthew 17:1-2). Moses had this same appearance after talking with God (Exodus 34:29-35) as did Stephen in Acts 6:15.

The transfiguration identifies you with God like no other experience. For mankind today to have such an experience would certainly be a miracle, but what we can become is anointed of God so we can hear the words of Psalm 2:7 that “today I have begotten you, you are my son”. We each can become born again of the Spirit that our lives on earth are transformed such that our faith would be a light unto others.

At the transfiguration of Jesus, God’s majesty became manifest to mankind. Today I continue to listen to the voices in creation waiting for that moment when God will say “well done good and faithful servant”. IT’S TIME TO COME HOME.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The transfiguration is a truth bringing God’s throne closer to the heart of mankind.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 17:5 “the voice of God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I seek to be transformed by You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How can you bond your life to our Lord and Savior?
  2. What does a transformed like look like?
  3. How does creation bespeak God’s voice?
  4. Have you had a radical change in your life?

WHAT GOD HAS MADE PERFECTLY CLEAR!

There are a great many things in life that aren’t explained very well. For a Christian that is not the case. I believe God makes all things clear if only we use our senses, heart and mind as God intended. For example, within each of us and all around us we can see the nature of God (Romans 1:19). This revelation is ours when we by faith through grace have Christ within us (Colossions 1:26-27). It now becomes our responsibility to take this knowledge and share it with the world (2 Corinthians 2:14). As believers we must make manifest or perfectly clear God and His truths irregardless of the political climate around us or risk to our very being. What makes our task easier is that the one and only true God we follow is a God of love (1 John 4:9) and we share Him in love with others.

What makes this easier is we have Christ Who is “God manifested in flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). The presence of Christ on earth some 2000 years ago made all things clear (1 John 1:2) and He declared to us the eternal life we will have one day as 1 John 1:2 tells us. For all who believe that should be clearly evident.

Also clear to believers are the “works of the flesh” as noted in Galatians 5:19-21. Those who are caught up in any of these without the presence of the Holy Spirit will not see the dangers within each. That is where our world is today. Sadly we legitimize or overlook that which one day God will judge.

Our actions can go one of two directions. We can live contrary to God’s will and the folly of our actions will be manifest to all one day (2 Timothy 3:9) or we can hear the Words of Christ recorded in John 3:21 and show the truth through our deeds that which GOD HAS MADE PERFECTLY CLEAR.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: God desires to manifest to mankind his majesty.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 3:21 “mans deeds are to show God’s truth”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always see what you are making clear.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How clear is God to you?
  2. How do you see our Lord and Savior?
  3. In what ways are the evils of Galatians 5:19-21 self destructive?
  4. What is truth?

 

A FULL AND COMPLETE LIFE!

In life there are a great many obstacles to overcome. For me a full life is one where I have lived out God’s plan to the fullest in the areas of faith, family, freedom, friends, finances and fun. Always with the Bible as my travel guide and keeping my faith first.

Obstacles can include financial resources, health, time, abilities and more. Yet all obstructions can be eliminated first of all by God. Cyrus received this assurance as told in Isaiah 45:1-3. If a matter we desire will bring us closer to our Creator then I believe God will see it to its conclusion through our lives.

In our journey through life we also need a Shepherd guiding us on our daily journey. That Shepherd, Christ Jesus, when we place our faith in Him will “preserve” us (Isaiah 49:8-11) for all eternity. His life, death and resurrection point the way.

Finally Scripture tells us that our daily obstacles can be eliminated by the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. Zerubbabel heard these comforting words as recorded in Zechariah 4:6 . The born again experience of our inviting the Holy Spirit to dwell within us is the beginning of understanding what it truly means to live A FULL AND COMPLETE LIFE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Obstacles become opportunities when our oath is to God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Zechariah 4:6 “the power of the Spirit”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for eliminating the obstacles in my life.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Do you have obstacles in your life?
  2. How are you handling your obstacles?
  3. What is most important in your life?
  4. Have you been ‘preserved’ unto eternity?

WE LIVE IN AN INTOLERANT WORLD

Many attack Evangelical Christians as intolerant. The verse they would like to see removed from the Bible is John 14:6 where if we hold to God’s Word as truth then Christ is the only way by which we can reach God. That is not being intolerant but exclusive. All can join the Christian religion. Simply confess your sin and place your faith in Christ as our one and only Savior.

In truth if there is a weakness in Christianity it lies in its being overly tolerant accepting the right of other religions to exist (Freedom of Religion clause) as long as they follow the law of the land. Sadly much of society and many mainstream ‘Christians’ believe otherwise. They believe there are many paths to the mountain top (God) all coming together at the end. They choose to ignore John 14:6 which points to only one path rather picking and choosing the verses that suit them. It is as one person said claiming these people follow a “floating fuzzball of love accepting everything and judging nothing”. If Christians are intolerant it is toward sin. We acknowledge God is and will be a God of wrath as clearly seen in Romans 1:18 through 2:16.

Intolerance against rather than by Christians is what will grow. The culmination will be in the time of tribulation recorded in Revelations 13:1-18. Our world is already moving in this direction seen in the numerous ways true Christians are persecuted around the world. This we will bring somewhat upon ourselves as we must separate ourselves from churches who teach falsely (2 Corinthians 6:14 and 2 John 10-11) and preach anything other than the one true Gospel.

Intolerance against any who follow Christ alone has been with us since His birth. Scripture has many examples. Be prepared for others to become evermore prejudiced against us and becoming more passionate about their misplaced viewpoint. Persecution will soon follow as foretold in Revelations. For indeed WE LIVE IN AN INTOLERANT WORLD.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Intolerance grows as people identify less with Christ.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 14:6 “one way only”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may any intolerance I have be strongly placed against sin.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Ways Christians are persecuted today within and outside the USA?
  2. How many paths lead to your mountain top?
  3. What is the future of freedom of religion in our country and around the world?
  4. Have you felt hatred for being a devout Christian?

GOD BECOMES MAN

One of the most difficult understandings for a Christian is the idea of incarnation. God coming to earth in the form of man. Right off I need to issue a disclaimer especially in this area of belief as I am not a trained theologian, but rather simply one person who searches Scripture for truth as given me by God to understand.

The incarnation of Christ is described most directly by John 1:14 where we are told “the Word became flesh”. This event occurring at Bethlehem we remember each year in the birth of Christ Jesus. It is important to remember that Christ came to take on our likeness (Romans 8:3) though He did not sin.

How God becomes man yet remains God and a part of the Divine Trinity is far to complicated to write in this short devotional thought. What is important is unlike satan who tried to usurp the authority of God, Christ came to that position by humility (Philippians 2:6). Christ toke the path of obedience suffering on the cross for the sake of reward.

Christ in His humanity became flesh and died in the flesh serving as our example of suffering (1 Peter 3:18) as one day in our physical death we must also (1 Peter 4:1).

The purpose of Christs incarnation is many. He comes to reveal God the Father (John 4:8-11). Through the life of Christ and no other (John 14:6) we can know God. Christ also came to do God’s will (Hebrews 10:5-9) which is to redeem mankind from their sin along with a great deal more.

The purpose of the life of Christ as we examine our own is many and great. In fact it is as 1 Peter 2:21 tells us. Christ Jesus is our example for in Him GOD BECOMES MAN.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The incarnation of Christ allows us the opportunity for immortality.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Peter 2:21 “Christ our example”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for showing us the way.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Do you look to Christ alone as God made man?
  2. Why is Christ’s sin free life important to us rather than other beings from other religions?
  3. How has Christ become your role model?
  4. How does the life of Christ help you understand suffering?

IT WAS MEANT TO BE!

Writing this I have only a few hours ago returned from an uplifting experience of listening to a Southern Gospel music concert. Being in the midst of an event that glorified Christ was an experience almost beyond words. The glorification of Christ in reality was predicted long before His birth by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 55:5). Later Christ Himself prayed that His life would be glorified through His death and resurrection (John 12:28). How many of us are able to say that our lives (each thought, word and deed) glorifies our Lord and Savior.

The life of Christ, as should ours, was not to bring honor and position in this life (Hebrews 5:5) but to show mercy and bring forgiveness to all who faithfully confess their belief in Him. His Words before His crucifixion show His predetermined purpose (John 17:1). In a sense they should be our words of purpose as well. That in our life being honored and transformed like unto His we also glorify our Father. In a very real since what the Father accomplished through Christ (John 13:31-32), Christ now desires of us. When any opportunity presents itself, be it a concert or otherwise, use it for glorification purpose. The experience you will receive with the presence of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13-14) defies description.

Finally, glorifying Christ even in sickness opens the door for miracles (John 11:4) if in no other way than our resurrection unto eternal life. This and so much more when it comes to glorifying Christ is as IT WAS MEANT TO BE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Our glorifying Christ brings gladness on earth and gifts eternal.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: John 13:31-32 “Glorification of Christ accomplished by the Father”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may my life always glorify You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Is your life glorifying Christ?
  2. Will your eventual death glorify Christ?
  3. Where do you find opportunities to glorify Christ within and outside of the church?
  4. Is the Holy Spirit working in your life?

A PATH OPEN TO EVERYONE

There are a great many groups or organizations people strive to join only to grow weary of them or seeing them dissolve or become obsolete over time. The one ‘club’ everyone should desire to join, where the membership benefits are indescribable and will last forever, sadly many turn their back on.

This ‘club’ we refer to as the Christian faith and it is open to all. The only requirement is to “call upon the name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13). Naturally, you need to be serious in doing so meaning you place your trust in Jesus (John 6:37) and acknowledge His divine nature (John 14:6). A person can remain any culture they come from such as Jew or Gentile, only needing to accept Christ as their Savior. As Paul shared in Acts 4:12 “there is salvation in no other name under Heaven”.

The evidence lies in the written Word of God (John 20:31). Books and Words that help us “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God”. A book that should be in every home, school and public place for it alone has the written word that can save mankind. A Book that speaks of Christ Who will show us there is A PATH OPEN TO EVERYONE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Christ’s plan is not exclusive but open to all who exclaim His Name.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 10:13 “What is necessary to be saved”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I fully accept You as my Savior.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Is the Christian faith exclusive or inclusive?
  2. How difficult is it to become a Christian?
  3. What is a Messianic believer?
  4. Have you placed your trust in Jesus?

MOST FRIGHTENING?

I realize many of my devotionals have been direct and to the point. Not always filled with ‘sugar and cream and all things nice’. In truth I believe all devotionals can be simply summarized in the words that we are saved by grace through faith and need only to sincerely repent of our sins, trusting in Jesus’ crucifixion for our sins and His death and resurrection (Ephesians 2:8-10). Christ clearly explains this in John 5:29. Yet God’s Word has more than these 100 plus characters (letters) when you flesh out the message. There is a great deal more that God wants us to know and it is not always pleasant.

For me perhaps the most frightening topic is eternal death and the Scriptures have much to say on it. Eternal death is everlasting punishment clearly stated by Christ Jesus Himself in Matthew 25:46. God’s wrath is real and the words ‘everlasting destruction’ (2 Thessalonians 5:9) do not fall softly on our ears. Churches fearful of losing members or not getting the ‘younger generation’ avoid verses like Revelations 21:14 where it speaks of “the lake of fire”. It is here sin death and the devil are forever banished from the universe. I do not plan to hear the words of Matthew 25:41 where Christ tells us some will hear “depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire….”. Separation from God who created all that is beautiful should be something no one desires yet many by their beliefs and actions do just that.

Today we can each know that this is not God’s desire for us. Christ in John 3:16 shares with us Words of salvation. Christ and Christ alone (John 14:6) saves us from a horrific eternal death. As saints or ‘beloved (Christian) brethren’ we will be saved if we remain immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:58). If we live and believe in such a manner then our death will not be MOST FRIGHTENING.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Eternal death awaits all deceived by the devil.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: John 3:16 “Christ saves from eternal death”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I believe in You and Your word.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What is most frightening to you?
  2. How do you imagine or see ‘eternal death’?
  3. Without sin, death and the devil imagine eternity?
  4. Are you saved?