Advent begins with Love

The story of the coming Messiah, who was to save his people, began in Genesis 3:15. Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as God had forbidden. They were deceived by the serpent, Satan, and then cast out of the garden lest they eat of the tree of life and suffer in their sins for eternity. God cursed the serpent and proclaimed there would be enmity between the offspring of Satan and hers. Her child would crush Satan’s head and Satan would bruise his heel. This is the first prophecy of a coming redeemer who would defeat Satan. The Amplified translation gives us some good insights into who is who and what will be accomplished. “And I will put enmity (open hostility) Between you and the woman, And between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel.”

Why start Advent here? There needed to be a compelling reason for God to send His Son to earth to live among mortals and died. John 3:16 gives us God’s motivation for this sacrificially act. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The Christmas story is all about God’s great love for us. His great desire is to restore the relationship He had with mankind before sin entered the world. Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Even though we are filled with a sinful nature and prone to wander, God loves us and desires to restore man unto himself. Christ came to accomplish this. He was the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins once for all time. Hebrews 10:10 “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

So as we begin our journey through Advent, we need to remember it is because God loved us and desired a relationship with us that He sent Jesus. What a loving God to fix our problem of sin through His own sacrifice.

Linda

Peace, essential footwear for the Believer

After putting on the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness the believer needs to tend to their footwear.  Usually the picture of messengers is one running with bare feet.  Here the soldier, ready for all terrain conditions,  has his feet covered and Ephesians 6 15protected.  But what kind of foot wear is Paul suggesting, spiritual footwear that only comes through the gospel’s good news = peace.   “For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.”  Ephesians 6:15

How does the peace given through the Good News of Jesus protect us?  Jesus promised through faith an other worldly peace that keeps away fearJohn 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  His peace also gives us strength and blessing.  Psalm 29:11 “May the Lord give strength to his people!  May the Lord bless his people with peace!”   His peace acts as a guard against Satan’s attacks and keeps us from being anxious.  Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  The gospel message also brings peace through the assurance of salvationIsaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,  who bring good tidings,  who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion,  “Your God reigns!””  Lastly, His peace is brought to us through faith in an attitude of thanksgiving.  Colossians 3:17 colossians 3 17“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  This attitude of thankfulness allows God’s peace to rule in our lives.  Peace will guard and keep us  moving forward with confidence in God and His plan to give out the Good News of Jesus.

As you pray and think on God’s Word today, remember the peace that comes through Jesus confounds Satan and brings glory to God.  When have you experienced this other worldly peace that gave you strength, kept away your fears, assured you of your salvation, caused you to be thankful and gave you a mind that was calm and resting in Him?  It is this peace that all believers need to possess, grab hold of, hold close, as they witness and walk each day living for Jesus.  Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have peace filling my life as I strive to walk in witness to His truth.

Linda

Holy Week – on Monday Jesus cleansed the temple and cursed the fig tree.  He was  righteously angry at the greedy money changers that were keeping the Gentiles from worshiping and treating His house with disrespect.  Matthew 21:13 “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”  Jesus also cursed the fig tree which was fully leaved and yet had no figs.  This was a foreshadowing of the coming judgement on the nation of Israel for rejecting the truth of His coming.

What is your battle plan? Got armor?

Ephesians 6:13 is a promise we can all claim.  “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”   God promises that wearing His armor will enable us to stand firmly against Satan’s attacks.   His armor provides us with what we need for this fight when combined with the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power.  God’s armor includes truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation , the Word of God and prayer.  That is a treasure trove of pieces God provides for our fight.

Here are some Lessons and Truths from this verse:

  • God’s armor protects me in both physical and spiritual battles.
  • God’s armor fully covers me.
  • God desire me to stand firm in my faith.
  • Our world contains evil that desires to defeat and destroy my faith.
  • God wants me to do my best and then remain standing in Him.
  • God is more powerful than Satan.

ephesians 6 13Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can be filled with His Holy Spirit and protected by His armor to face the challenges of each day.  May you be emboldened today as you step out in faith, knowing and trusting God to have you protected through His armor.  Put it on and step out!

Linda

Rescued and Redeemed for Eternity Thank you Jesus!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been rescued from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kingdom of Christ.  These truths are stated by Paul in his letter to the Colossians.  He opens the letter with thanksgiving and prayer for the state that all believers find themselves in because of Christ.  Colossians 1:13 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.”  Our state of being before knowing Christ is one of eternal darkness and sin.  Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Our sin separates us from God and Jesus tell us that He is the light in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Without Jesus we are dead in our sins and trapped in darkness.   Following Him bring us into the light, truth and knowledge of God.  Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, a man who was seeking to know if Jesus was the Messiah.  In John 3:5 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  Jesus went on to explain we have 2 births.  The first is our physical birth given by our mothers and then our spiritual birth that is given by God’s Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  In John 3:16 Jesus tells Nicodemus why God sent him, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Eternal life in His kingdom is ours when we believe in Jesus.  He further explains the difference between His light and darkness of the world.   John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”   Jesus wanted Nicodemus and you and me, to know and understand that being apart from Him is darkness, sin and condemnation.  With Jesus there is light, love, hope and eternal life.  He has indeed rescued us from the domain of darkness ruled over by Satan and brought us into His light and His kingdom to be with Him forever.  His death on the cross and resurrection made this possible.  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on my behalf to rescue me from the fate of death and condemnation.

Linda

Suggestion:  Spend some time in prayer thanking Jesus for your salvation and eternal home with Him.  Remember in prayer someone you know who does not know Jesus and pray that they will come to know Him.We can be assured that Jesus wants everyone to know and come to Him.  2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow  in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”