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Something to think about.
14 Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 14:7
Christianity recognizes this verse to be the prophetic announcement of the birth of Christ. I ask this question, Why was it even recorded? Even today if any religious, political, intellectual accomplished person made such a statement. Would anyone listen beyond laughing them into embarrassment? Everyone knows that a virgin cannot give birth to a child. It can’t be done without outside assistance. A virgin cannot become pregnant on her own. Not now or thousands of years ago.
Take it in context he is a leader of Israel making a statement. The statement is beyond anything that anyone has ever seen, heard or conceived, and it is recorded. Why didn’t someone edit this out? It is an outlandish statement. We are aware that not everything Isaiah said was recorded? So why was this? Why did such an outrageous statement survive thousands of years till it came to pass? There are things our living presidents have said in the not too distant past that no one remembers. Things that matter that have affected our lives and we can’t even remember. Still, Isaiah’s prophetic statement about Jesus survived hundreds nay thousands of years.
Christians accept this as a one-time occurrence we will not accept or expect this will happen again. Yet from the benefit of being the receptor of the prophecy, we now accept the occurrence as an actuality.
The fact that the prophecy did not get deleted, lost or embellished is a testimony to the will and power of God. This is one of the most outlandish, improbable statements ever made, and it survived beyond its fulfillment. Today if anyone made such a claim even after the God caused conception of Jesus we would not accept it.
When God intends for something to happen, it will not be forgotten, lost or unknown.
Something to think about.
Before The Creation of The World.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:4
He chose you.
Something to think about
Do What I Say
46“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
This statement by Jesus can be the most condemning of all scripture. He is asking if you believe in me why are you still doing things that I am opposed to.
There is no room for “buts in this statement.” He is asking a direct question to His disciples and believers. He is saying if you truly believed in me you would follow my teachings. There is a caveat to this statement, an unexpressed condition. In order to do what He says we must know what He says. Often we need to grow to a level of spiritual maturity to understand what He is saying. Jesus often spoke in parables to His audiences. Then He explained His parables to His disciples.
We are no different we need to be taught the words of Jesus. I believe the one condemning reality of this statement by Jesus is this. Are you willing to learn the teaching of Jesus? Are you willing to invest the time and effort to know what He said? I am not saying sit in an audience and listening to what some other person has learned. I am talking about investing your time into discovering it for your self. Yes, corporate involvement is necessary and vital, but it is your responsibility to find out for yourself. If we did not have a direct source, it would be one thing. But we have the word of God available to us. We must out of our own accord take the time to work out our own salvation in conjunction with the word of God.
This statement of Jesus presupposes that you know what it is He says. You will only call Him Lord if you know who He is. Those who read this and don’t know him as Lord are not bound by this statement. They would never call Him Lord. Additionally, they can’t call Him Lord because they don’t know what that means. Not until they know Him will they able to call Him Lord. Even in this they must know Him, not know of Him.
There is a continual process of growth, and at every level, we need to respond in accordance with the increased knowledge we receive. But regardless of where we are in our process, we need to behave in accordance with what has been imparted to us. While being open to the continual revelation. Once you know Him. When you know what He said. After acknowledging Him as Lord are you doing what He said?
Something to think about.
Evil To Serve
15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
This is another one of those scriptures written long ago but could have been written for today. Joshua makes a bold and definitive proclamation, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The beginning of this verse seems to mirror the attitude of our society. We are confronted with ideas that are not just opposed to Christianity but portray it as evil. We have people who are championing evil as good and demonizing anyone who points out the folly of their sin. There are people who want to do away with Christianity because they claim our beliefs to be sinful. The forces aligned against Christianity are determined to infiltrate and dilute the gospel of Christ. They want Christianity to become a meaningless symbol.
Some of our elected officials are determined to silence us and force us into obscure isolated closets. Some of our Christian leaders have embraced sin. They have abandoned the truth of the gospel for acceptance and inclusion. Christian Leaders have sold out to society under the veil of forgiveness and empathy. Some of these leaders don’t hold to the doctrine of eternal judgment. Under the guise of love, they have manipulated the gospel to allow for blatant sin to be called just and acceptable before God.
This is where we live this is the reality of our times. The forces aligned against are powerful, relentless and determined. With this current reality in mind, I ask you will you say as Joshua did, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
This verse is no longer an inspiring statement of leadership. It is now a statement of determination, sacrifice, and possibly loss. It will isolate you into a class of people who will be continually persecuted, demonized, humiliated and shunned. To serve the Christian God is no longer a badge of honor it is a battle of life. If you say “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” prepare yourself the battle will come to your door. Being a Christian is not a lifestyle for the weak.
Something to think about.
6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change, Malachi 3:6
God said “I do not change.” There is peace in knowing that the Creator of life does not change. He will always be the same, he will always be dependable, and steadfast. He is honest, without prejudice, lover of man. He will always provide, forgive, sustain, and be holy. He will always be perfect in justice and righteousness. He will always be the supreme sovereign God and creator. We never have to worry about not knowing where He stands. Because He is perfect He will always be perfect. Because He is the only constant in life we always know where to find Him. In this rock that is our God we find unending security and peace of mind. Because he is and he will never change we have the knowledge that he will never leave us.
Something to think about.
The War Within
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)
The way this is written it has an ethereal feeling. Almost like these forces are just outside our ability to fully comprehend. If we interpreted this scripture in this way, it would not be altogether wrong. Some of the forces aligned against us are indeed forces beyond our comprehension.
We live daily battling forces which are real, pressing and present. When your husband leaves you destitute with a family to care for this is not an ethereal reality. When you are unjustly accused and have to battle the results of the accusation it is not otherworldly. When technology makes your product or service obsolete it is not super spiritual. When you’re battling cancer or some other life-altering disease or sickness it is not a spiritual construct. When your child is strung out with a drug addiction, it is not an exercise in intellectual analytics. We have to confront life situations that are real and personal. We battle forces aligned against us in everyday life.
The battles we fight daily are a result of the war we are engaged in. “Against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The battles we fight are the physical reality of our spiritual war. This war involves everyone there are no civilians there are not “non-Combatants.” There are no conscientious objectors. No one who is exempt. We have been raised to think that the battles of our lives are the result of some undefined cause. As if they happened just by happenstance. The truth is there are forces with the sole intent of causing harm, and they are successful.
If you choose to battle this wars with intellect, will and force you will be in for a long protracted battle which you are going to lose. The struggle of your life and for your life is for one reason. It is for your choice. It is all about who will you choose. Will you choose God or will you choose self? If you choose God your victory is assured. If you choose self, you will lose. The choice of self leaves you with a war you must fight on your own. Against and an enemy far superior to you in every way. You are simply over matched. If you choose God your enemy and the forces with him are completely over matched.
Something to think about.
I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith. Philippians 1:23-25
Recently I heard an evangelist ask, “Why are you here?” She was speaking to believers, in a small setting, not a large crowd. The simplicity of the question and in the setting, it which in made. Made it particularly piercing. If, as we proclaim we are saved by faith. If all of the people in the room were saved what was our purpose? If salvation is the only goal God has for our lives, why are we still here? Why are we not remove from this life and instantly be transfigured into eternal life? It is not to attain the secular pleasures of the flesh. Paul states it very clearly, “having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” Why would we want to remain on this earth once we have attained eternal life through Christ? Which will be so much better than this painful temporal existence? The answer is in his next statement, “Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” We remain for the very same reason as Paul. Because it is better for the rest of the world that we stay. We are the hands’, feet, mouth, and heart of Jesus. We exist to propagate the gospel of Christ to all around us. For those of us who believe in Christ as it says in John 3:16. Our purpose is not for our selves. It is for those who have not yet heard of Christ For those who have not accepted our Lord. We remain to serve our risen Lord by serving those that have not been saved. Your purpose is simple, be the hands and feet of Jesus. That is why we remain. The only reason we remain.
I want to thank Tamryn for being our guest speaker at our Business After Hours. On October 31st we were challenged, changed and educated by Tamryn Klintworth. A woman who is totally committed to fulfilling her God-given vision. It was an amazing night. but, that really doesn’t express how she impacted the lives of those in attendance. Allow me to share with you one of the things she did that impacted me.
“Winning Africa for Jesus.’ I don’t know if that is Tamryn’s vision statement or just a tagline. As she was speaking about “Winning Africa for Jesus,” she showed us a map of Africa. She spoke about the crusades in Ethiopia and told us Ethiopia is pivotal in the fight to win Africa. She shared the challenges she has in putting together a crusade. The high cost of the crusades and the increased cost of larger crusades. She told us about her needs, she told us about the souls that would be won. She told us about the ministry teams that are in place to disciple and mentor new converts. Local pastors are excited about being included in the crusades. They are thrilled and prepared to minister to the new converts. We were educated on the needs and challenges that face Africa. The sheer size of Africa is daunting. None of the obstacles she shared appeared to faze her. All she see’s is God’s provision and how He plans to use her to overcome them.
You know what she did not say, she did not say “if.” Never did she say if you don’t help me this won’t get done. “If” was not used as a qualifier. If we give, if God provides, if we believe. ‘If” was left out of the conversation. Once you remove the word “if” everything becomes an action. She is totally focused on bringing about what God has preordained. She actually believes and expects to win Africa for Jesus. Did I mention Africa is huge? She never said her vision was subject to the support of a man. She said she needed money but never insinuated that if we did not provide the support it would not happen. Her dependence for provision is on of God. She is committed beyond her life to accomplish this goal. Her plan is for a generational ministry. One that will continue her vision if she does not complete it. “Winning Africa for Jesus” is not a tagline or a vision statement it’s her life’s mission.
What does that have to do with business? How big is your vision? Is it citywide, is it statewide is it countrywide, is it worldwide? Is it in you? This thin African woman is totally committed to fulfilling her God-given dream. She is not looking back or making excuses. Is your business vision big enough? Are you short-changing yourself by not letting God establish your vision? For me, she has torn down my level of expectation. She’s made me realize God has so much more for me than I had imagined. I have to stop, take a look at what I am doing and ask God to declare the vision for my life. Is there a dream a vision God has given you that you have put away because it was too big? It is too big because God wants us to be completely dependent on Him for its fulfillment. He is allowing us to be a small part of His eternal plan. When your vision is bigger than you are, that’s when you know you have the proper vision.
Tamyrn’s website www.inhisname.org.za
Something to think about.
A Sorrowful Truth
7 And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. 10 When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
I know it has fallen out of style and is seldom preach on any more but the reality still exists. Those who choose to refuse the Gospel of Christ will face a terrible existence in the life that is to come. I would like you to notice it says “eternal destruction forever separated from the Lord.” It says eternal destruction, for something to be eternally destroyed it must exist eternally. It says forever separated from God. To be permanently separated from God you must exist eternally. Unlike the current wisdom of humanity, we will not cease to exist. Nor will we be transformed into eternal energy or matter. We will stand before God in our eternal bodies and reap the rewards of our choices. For some it will be to share and experience the unfettered glory of God. For other’s it will be to experience His permanent wrath. It may not be popular or politically correct to mention such things. But it will be a sorrowful truth to those who refuse to believe.
Something to think about.
Tribulation and Victory
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
I speak with Christians seasoned Christians, and some are confused, baffled and annoyed at their present circumstances. They question, why God am I going through this I’m a Christian I am your child why must I go through this? It is almost like they’re saying I can handle a little adversity but this is so much more than a little. I should be exempt of this tragedy.
I look at those verses and Jesus is saying, have peace in whatever situation you are in because, in the end, you win. It does not say you will be free from trouble or calamity it only says that you will win because He has won. Winning may not mean you come out the other side unscathed. It means when you come out the other side you will find Jesus.
Listen, Christian, you are going to have challenges in your life. You may and probably will experience extreme pain. Being a Christian does not exempt you from living it guarantees you will be victorious in life. However, not without a cost. Christ, the sinless son of God, was humiliated, tortured and murdered. Why would you think you would not pass through some tribulation? We will have a trial, and the cost may be extremely severe. But like Christ, we will come out the other side of this life to glory and eternal victory. We know that regardless of the cost we win. Because the one who has been resurrected has promised us the eternal victory.
Be of good cherry as much as possible in your tribulation. You know your victory is assured if not in this life in the one that is to come.