Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two Clocks are Counting Down for Each of Us

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law. Galatians 4:4-5

Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with Thee, and his limits Thou hast set so that he cannot pass. Job 14:5

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father knows. Matthew 24:36

An anonymous giver put this ornament in my in-basket. It counted down to midnight on Christmas Eve. This reminds us that God set a real countdown to the birth of Jesus counter in motion when in Genesis 3:15 He promised this blessed event. Galatians 4 tells us that when the time was just right (fullness of time) Jesus was born as the God-man to redeem us, i.e. buy us back with His precious body and blood from sin, death and devil. Thus, this counter we no longer need, only as the one kindly given me this Christmas to help us celebrate this blessed event.

A second type of counter remains for each of us, however. It is counting down the remaining time we have in this world and body. Only God knows what is on our personal counter. He is in control of it. Thus, we must redeem the remaining time so as to follow Jesus our Lord to eternal life.

There still remains a third counter, one which is counting down the time until the Lord's return. And only He knows what is on this counter! Anyone who suggests they have figured out what it records are lying. NO ONE KNOWS! Except God!

Don't let either of these counters run out before you believe in Jesus Christ as your redeemer from sin. Peter asks a wonderful question regarding our own personal counter and the end-of-the-world counter: "What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God?" 2 Peter 3:11b-12a He answers: "You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen." 2 Peter 3:17-18

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 Could Be Your "First Christmas" Together!

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2b
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself, bright and pure
Revelation 19:7,8

Many of us have precious Christmas ornaments which depict the First Christmas together as Husband and Wife. It is wonderful year after year as this ornament is taken out of its storage and hung on the tree to remember the blessed marriage and its continuous blessings.

Such is the marriage of the Babe of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ, to His bride, the Holy Christian Church. Yes, the Lord likes to make great and frequent use of this reality of humans being wed to the bridegroom Jesus and in preparation for the wedding feast in heaven to come, e.g. Ephesians 5:25ff. The bride (all believers in Christ) is cleansed of her sins and clothed in Christ's righteousness which He earned for them by His holy, innocent, bitter suffering and death for the covering over of all sins. Thus, "it was granted her to clothe herself, bright and pure."

God proclaims such high honor to every human for the Christmas message as first announced by the angels is "good news of great joy that will be for all people (emphasis mine). For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

If you've never embraced this good news for yourself, never believed that Jesus is your Savior from sin, then "This Christmas" could be your First Christmas Together with your Bridegroom, Jesus. As the Apostle Paul exhorts in the 2 Corinthians passage: "now is the favorable time, now is the day of salvation." Believe it, it's absolutely meant for you!

For the rest of us who celebrate many years married to Jesus in His brightness and purity, we rejoice each year at this time, knowing He came to redeem us. It is truly the season of peace and glad tidings of great joy!

Merry Christmas 2010!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Look Up! Redemption Draws Near!

Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

Luke 21:28

Believers are not dreadful of Jesus' return, nor will it be secret, nor will He return to setup an earthly government. No, He will return as He ascended and every eye will see this (verse 27 "and they will see the Son of Man coming").

So, the admonition here by Jesus is that when we see the signs that His coming is eminent, i.e. earthquakes, wars, apostasy, etc., we should not be fearful, but rather be comforted that the Christian's redemption is near!

The straightening up and lifting of your heads refers to opposite reaction of the unbelievers who are frightened and concerned about the end times' signs and would rather shy away from them rather than take them as positive sign of something great waiting to appear: Jesus' return!

The signs are all there as they have been since the earliest days of the Christian church, so any time at any day the Lord could return. We wait in anxious excitement for His day, prepared for it by the covering over of our sins by His precious body and blood given and shed for them, knowing that life in the presence of the Eternal One will commence soon. We have no reason to fear the cosmic display of signs but rather look up to see the Christ, who will return to take us home! Amen!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Precious Snow From Heaven

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10,11

Recently, there were several blocks of the shopping mecca on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, CA which had snow making machines on store stops pouring down snow for a wintry Christmas scene. Much like this false snow is so much of the words which people live by today: artificial, not the real thing. They don't succeed is delivering what we really need.

Human souls do not live by physical food alone but by every Word that proceeds from God's mouth. Both Moses and Jesus speak this! (Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4) This Word from God's mouth is none other than the inspired Word of God recorded in the Holy Bible which points humans to the Word Incarnate come from heaven to save us from our sins!

We do live by this Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ, who came to suffer and die for our sins. Believing this, we have life even if we physically die! (John 11:25-26) His First Coming to sacrifice Himself as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and thus makes peace with the Father is truly something to feast upon.

Luther wrote this magnificent Christmas hymn "From Heaven Above to Earth I Come" speaks of this in fifteen glorious verses. I'll share but two of them: "From heaven above to earth I come, To bear good news to ev'ry home; Glad tidings of great joy I bring, Whereof I now will say and sing. ... This is the Christ, our God Most High, Who hears your sand and bitter cry; He will Himself your Savior be, From all your sins to set you free." (verses 1 and 3)

There are so many artificial words of promise out there that are just like fake snow. They aren't the real thing and won't deliver. But Jesus delivers! This is God's purpose and it will succeed. May it succeed within your heart this Christmas and all seasons!

Monday, December 6, 2010

An Army of One Came to Rescue Us at Christmas

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.
Hebrews 2:14,15

Many still rejoice and celebrate the birth of Jesus but for none of the reasons He came to earth. It is not about human conceptions of peace on earth but about the peace that surpasses all comprehension, the destruction of the power of sin, death and devil over humans.

This babe of Bethlehem expressly and repeatedly says that this is the reason He came, to redeem us from our slavery to sin, to pay the ransom price with His Holy body and blood that we might not fear death anymore, but know that even though we die, we will live with Him in blessed Heaven forever!

So, it is only appropriate at Christmas and every season of the year, we celebrate, rejoice and take to heart Jesus' first coming to save us from sin. Even more so, we now look forward to His Second Coming (Advent) when He will judge the earth based on whether they believed in what His first Coming was for them.