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When Faith in Jesus Turns to Fear

Posted on August 13, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:31

You remember the story. Jesus surprised His disciples by walking on water to their boat. Peter was so excited he climbed out of the boat to meet the Lord. Then he began to sink and Jesus “reached out his hand and caught him.”

What caused Peter to sink? He was, after all, successfully walking on water. In the previous verse, we find the answer. … when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (v30)

Peter was distracted by the wind. He changed his focus from faith to fear.

Who among us has not done something similar? We trust God for the impossible or improbable, and then we are frightened by perceived reality.

My mother used to tell me, “focus.” My mind frequently wandered. “Earth to Dickie,” she would say.

Faith requires focus, trusting like a laser on Christ, the object of our faith.

The most succinct and helpful definition of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

There’s a line in or focus text that is easily missed, yet it is essential to understanding when we should step out confidently in faith. It’s found in verses 28 and 29. 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.

Notice that Peter didn’t step out of the boat UNTIL he was granted permission. He asked, and the Lord told him to come. When we step out on faith without the Lord’s approval, we are setting ourselves up for a faith failure. Conversely, when we know the Lord is in agreement, we will succeed.

The obvious question then is, “How can you know the Lord will support your faith inclination?”

(1) It is not contrary to God’s word.

God will never support efforts intended for evil nor will He assist those who distort or misapply His word.

(2) There is peace in your spirit.

If there is restlessness in your spirit, then trust that feeling. Don’t get ahead of the Lord or try to force a resolution to a concern or problem until you since that inner green light.

(3) It honors God.

Will this step of faith bring glory to God and strengthen your testimony? Will it serve to encourage and inspire someone else to trust the Lord with their burdens?

(4) It stretches your faith.

We are people of faith. Christianity is lived by faith. But sometimes we are challenged to accomplish the extraordinary or endure and overcome hardship. Like pro athletes, sometimes we have to step up our game.

(5) God confirms it in your heart of hearts.

I hope I can effectively communicate this point. There have been times when I have been praying about something, and I sensed confirmation that what I had been praying for had been answered. It’s like God said, “Your request has been granted.”

Several years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t push the panic button. Even when the cancer specialist told me that all of his testing confirmed the diagnosis, I didn’t worry. Then one day, the doctor sat down beside me, shook his head as if amazed and said, “Your cancer was off the charts, but you don’t have it and I don’t know why. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The first time I prayed about it, I sensed confirmation from the Lord that I wasn’t sick. After four months of testing that divinely inspired confidence proved to be right.

The first church I served in a ministerial capacity was as an interim pastor. They had a rule that the interim couldn’t be hired as their pastor. But I really liked working there, and the people had responded favorably to my ministry. One morning before the start of the worship service, the chairman of the Pastor Search Committee stopped by my office to tell me they had decided to abide by their original plan and continue their search for a pastor. He wished it could be me but “rules are rules.”

I was devastated. Next morning during my quiet time, I poured out my heart to God, shared my disappointment and desire to pastor that church. Then came that feeling, confirmation in my spirit that I was going to be called as the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church.

Later that day, the chairman called me to tell me of the results of their meeting and their change of heart. “We want you to be our pastor.”

I could write a book about those confirming experiences, when God says, “yes.”

Just remember. When you step out of the boat into the water, don’t take your eyes off Jesus. And if that happens, He’ll still take care of you. Jesus grabbed Peter and pulled him from the water. Acts of faith are seldom carried out flawlessly. But if the Lord’s in it, we can count on Him seeing us through to victory.

For more on this topic check out this article: Walking the High Wire of Faith

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

 

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Jesus Saves and Keeps You Saved

Posted on August 12, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Hebrews 7:25

I grew up in a time when we never locked our doors. No way we would be so careless today. In fact, security and alarm systems have become big business.

As a child, I was allowed to ride my bike or walk all over town. Come to think of it, I can’t even recall a crime committed in my hometown. Surely, there must have been something, but lawbreaking wasn’t one of the things we worried about.

Our town had one policeman, a one-armed officer who worked part-time. His primary concern appeared to be keeping the sidewalks free of kids riding bikes.

Fast forward to today. The news from home reflects a radical change from the town I remember. Drugs, especially meth, have become a big problem. Public intoxication, fighting, assault, and robbery are now reported with increasing regularity.

Now, this is not an indictment on my hometown, but rather it is symptomatic of what has happened across America. Security has become a major concern just about everywhere.

Remember when you used to go to the mall and your primary concern was finding a good deal? Now, you have concerns for your safety. Same is true in public places and entertainment venues where you once felt safe.

It is natural to feel insecure in our earthly homes. However, in regard to our heavenly home, Jesus has everything under control.

In our focus text, Jesus is seen in his role as the great High Priest, “…able to save completely those who come to God through him.” Jesus is “able” as no one else. He has all authority (Matthew 28:18) and all power (John 13:3) on heaven and earth.

Jesus has the authority and power to “save those who come to God through Him.” (John 17:2) The salvation He gives is complete. Unlike so many of our earthly laws (and taxes) there aren’t any loopholes. Satan may do a lot of finger pointing and hurl a lot of accusations at our unworthiness for eternal life with the Father, but the evil one has no case “because He (Jesus) always lives to intercede…” for us.

Jesus saves us from the penalty for sin and ultimately from the presence of sin. Can you imagine living where evil and sin are no longer an issue — because they don’t exist? No temptations lurking around every corner. No one seeking to do you harm, nor hidden motives or scams.

The Lord “always lives to intercede” to complete the work He began in you at your confession of faith. In 1 Corinthians 1:8, Paul declares, “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here in Alabama, we’re required to renew our driver’s license every four years. Meanwhile, it’s up to us to obey the laws of the road and maintain an auto insurance policy. Too many citations for speeding or other traffic related violations can cause our driving privileges to be suspended.

Our covenant with God doesn’t require renewal. It’s a once in a lifetime agreement. And it comes with more than enough forgiveness and help from the Lord to keep us saved.  Jude put it this way: “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” Jude 1:24

Jesus holds onto us — from sanctification to glorification — IF we are truly in the faith. No need in being insecure about your eternal security.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

For more on this topic, check out this article: Blessed Assurance

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

 

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Christ in You, The Hope of Glory

Posted on August 11, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.

Colossians 1:27-28

Mystery religions were popular in Paul’s day. Only elite insiders were privy to the secrets of their chosen deities. I liken it to an exclusive club for religious pretenders. And since Paul was talking to a predominantly Gentile group of believers, he spoke in terms they could understand.

The one true God has a gloriously rich mystery which He chose to “make known among the Gentiles.”

In Old Testament times, before Christ’s victory over death, the Holy Spirit occasionally came upon chosen individuals to empower them for God’s specific purposes. At no time had God indwelled all of His followers, and certainly not the Gentiles. The Lord taking up residence in believers was unthinkable, a mystery hidden from the ancients, but revealed in the age of grace.

The God who was once unapproachable except through prayer, whose face could never be looked upon, and whose name was never actually spoken — now inhabited Jesus’ followers. People once considered unholy, unclean, and unrighteous were now cleansed by the shed blood of Jesus and made fitting vessels for the spirit of Christ to reside.

In 1986, I was asked to emcee an appearance by President Ronald Reagan at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center. Before I could stand on the stage with the President, I had to be carefully vetted. That meant filling out forms, a background check, and an interview with a secret service agent. Ultimately, the U.S. government was satisfied that I was fit for the task.

Think of what it took for you and me to gain the enormous privilege and honor of a close personal 24/7 relationship with the heavenly Father. Because of sin, we could have never passed the vetting requirements, no matter how hard we tried. Only Jesus’ sacrificial death could satisfy God’s demands.

Christ in you. It is a thought that is so lofty and so amazing that it is difficult to fully comprehend. But because Christ is in us, we have His continual help preparing us for glory.

What does Paul mean by the “hope of glory? In Chapter 3 at verse 4 in Colossians, the Apostle declares: “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

We share glory with Christ (Romans 8:18). If we die before His return, we will be raised in glory (1 Corinthians 15:43). Glory is eternal (2 Timothy 2:10), yet to be revealed (1 Peter 5:1), and when the Chief Shepherd appears we “…will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”  (1 Peter 5:4)

Here in Alabama, we know a lot about winning championships, at least in football. That national championship trophy is something to behold. Our world places a lot of emphasis on winning. And the bigger the prize, the greater the glory. However, the glory is temporary and it fades.

Christians are in line for the greatest prize and glory of all — the  eternal reward won for us by Christ. Nothing can compare with God’s permanent and unfading glory through Jesus. Glory is our inheritance, our future, our eternal home, and our forever state of being with God.

For additional info on this topic, check out this article: Will We Know Our Loved Ones in Heaven?

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September). Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

 

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Are Your Faith Roots Showing

Posted on August 10, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

Colossians 2:6-8

We received Christ Jesus as Lord through faith. Paul admonishes us to “continue to live…in Him.”  Rooted. Built up. Strengthened in the faith as we were taught and “overflowing with thankfulness.”

When I was studying trombone, I learned the importance of fundamentals, which provided a solid foundation for good playing. As my skill set grew, I had to continually check to make certain the fundamentals never wavered. If something was amiss in my playing it could always be traced back to the foundation. The same is true in athletics, the arts, business, and all other disciplines. To be successful you must master and then remain true to the fundamentals.

As Christians, we start by faith that results in a personal relationship with the Savior. Then we work on the fundamentals; guided by the indwelling Spirit, taught by trusted teachers and ministers in the faith, and strengthened through Bible study and prayer.

When I was in college, I was required to take a basic Bible course in which the greatest of all books was studied as literature. I became enthralled with a study that enabled me to see the Bible in a new way. Then something happened that frightened me. I was no longer reading the holy scriptures as God’s word, but as the writings of ancient men who sought to make sense of the troubled times in which they lived. It had become just another book.

One morning during my quiet time, I fell to my knees and asked the Lord to revive the power of His word in my heart. I had to get back to the fundamentals. My walk with God depended on it.

Don’t get me wrong. A scholarly view of the faith is important, but we should never allow it to steer us away from our intimate relationship with Christ.

In this world there are many voices, with countless opinions and philosophies, and if our fundamentals are amiss, our faith will sway off course. There is only one voice that will never steer us wrong, which is why it is so important to nurture that close personal one on one relationship with the Lord.

The old King James Bible referenced God speaking in a “still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12) The NIV translates His voice as a “gentle whisper.” It has never been my experience that God screams orders, but He speaks softly and calmly. Most often, it is through the reading or recalling of His word. Sometimes, a new thought enters my mind; a changed perspective that opens my eyes to new possibilities, or a solution to a complex problem.

In verse 8 of our focus text, Paul warns: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Keep the main thing, the main thing. There are well-meaning voices that will vie for your attention, and those whose mission is to sway you from your walk with God. Stay centered, grounded, and unshakeable.

There’s an old expression that comes to mind. “Go with what brung you.” Faith in Christ and nothing less. Build upon it and not apart from it. And if you at any time feel your heart growing cold, return to your roots. Make sure your roots are showing.

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September)

 

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Christians Stumble but They Don’t Have to Fall

Posted on August 9, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

23 The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

Psalm 37:23-24

A short time ago, I suffered a severe case of vertigo and dizziness. For several days, I did a lot of stumbling. It was anything but fun, and I hope it never happens again. Fortunately, despite the wobbliness, I didn’t fall.

That experience helped me to appreciate the powerful promise in Psalm 37.23-24 that addresses spiritual stumbling.

Yes, even when endeavoring to walk with God, we can still stump a toe occasionally. But with that stumbling comes the assurance we won’t fall because the Lord upholds our hand.

Before we look at the cause of spiritual stumbling, it’s important to point to who benefits from this promise. “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him…”

Spiritual stumbling occurs even when we have the best intentions — but most often it is the result of sin. Foot in mouth disease is a common cause, as are fits of anger, and a cross disposition. I mention these sins because they are the most common for Christians, but there are plentiful others in which we engage. The point is, it’s hard to maintain your footing when you’re disobeying the Lord.

Sometimes stumbling comes because we fail to consult with God. A consistent prayer life facilitates a steady walk with God.

Why is it that some Christians cringe when you ask, “Have you prayed about it?” Is it because they haven’t taken their concern to God and they’re embarrassed by the answer? Or is it because they don’t really expect that God will do anything about their predicament?

Another contributing factor to spiritual stumbling is getting ahead of God, impatience, trying to force a solution rather than waiting.  God’s word is a lamp and light for our path (Psalm 119:105). Consequently, we stumble  when we fail to seek God’s wise counsel.

And we have the onboard Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to lead us in the way we should go. Listening to the voices of others and ignoring the direction of the Spirit can cause us to stumble.

Beware of earthly desires and treasures. It’s not that God doesn’t want you to have THINGS, it’s just that pursuit and longing can cause you to lose your balance. Have you ever wanted something so badly it consumed your thoughts? Just had to have it. Maybe it was a promotion, a specific job, a dream home or car, or the girl or guy of your dreams.

Five years ago when we were house hunting, we found a home east of Birmingham in a subdivision called Kelly Creek. It was just what we wanted, and we believed it was THE home that God wanted us to have. And so we began to pray. Fervently. Expectantly. Not long after we received word that the house had been sold. Make no mistake, disappointment can make you stumble, when you lose out on something you thought you were meant to have.

But God kept us from falling, and in His good timing gave us something better than the house we thought was the only one.

Our stumbling is only for a little while as we live on earth. Things will be different in our heavenly home. Our walk with God will be perfect.

The Bible describes our world as a place of darkness (Isaiah 9:2). Navigating without light is difficult if not impossible. Therefore, we stumble. But in heaven, our way will be illuminated by the supreme light. “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23)

Next time you stump your toe in the darkness of this world, remember the picture from our focus text: “… though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” God stands ready to forgive, and He holds securely to your salvation. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “… I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

For more on this topic, check out this article: Blessed Assurance

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September)

 

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Redeemed from the Empty Way of Life

Posted on August 8, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

1 Peter 1:18-19

“… the empty way of life…”  Headed nowhere. Meaningless. Without purpose. Those days before coming to Christ were an exercise in futility.

I don’t know about you, but I never saw it that way. Back then I was busy doing stuff. I had ambition, goals, and even a little success to show for my hard work. But in God’s grand scheme, my life was empty.

The Forever NotebookHow sad to think you’ve got life figured out when in reality you’re just wandering in the wilderness. Even more disheartening is to think there isn’t enough “silver or gold” to buy your way out of your predicament. And isn’t the pursuit of money what we devote our lives to? The more the better. But no matter how much we acquire, the end is still the same. Rich man. Poor man. We all die.

Admittedly, the ability to gain possessions makes our temporary existence on this earth easier and more desirable. But the time we have here is brief, especially when compared to eternity. I’ll be 70 on my next birthday, and I promise — life passes quickly. Seems like I dozed off briefly at my high school graduation and woke up here with gray hair and uncontrollable bushy eyebrows.

I just checked the Social Security Life Expectancy Calendar. The government projects I’ll live until 83. And I have a 1 in 10 chance of making it past 95. But on the eternal calendar, I have a 100% chance of living forever.

Everyone lives beyond the grave. Everybody has eternal life. Consequently, the issue is not whether you will have eternal life, it’s where you will spend it.

Let’s look at two verses in which Jesus talks about this eternal life that is for everyone. In Matthew 25, Jesus said, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” Then in the 46th verse Jesus amplifies that thought, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Which is better? Everlasting joy with the Father or eternal punishment in hell? Okay. That’s a no-brainer. But more important is what you do with your brief time on earth. That will determine where you will spend eternity.

Although we all have been given forever life, we haven’t been given forever to decide where we will spend it. Once we breathe our last breath on this earth, it’s too late. And we have no idea when our lives will end (Proverbs 27:1; James 4:14)

Therefore, don’t ignore, refuse, or become too busy to deal with life’s most important decision. It’s your call, your choice. Your eternal future depends upon it.

We are born into sin, remain enslaved to it (Romans 6:6; Psalm 51:5), and are subject to the dominion of Satan, the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4) until we accept God’s gift of eternal life (Ephesians 2:8).

There is but one way to be freed from the path to eternal separation from God and that is through “the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:19) Only Jesus’ sacrifice satisfies God’s penalty for sin. The shedding of His blood paid our sin debt and justified us before God. The Heavenly Father sees redeemed believers just-as-if we never sinned.

Without Christ, you’re wandering aimlessly, headed for eternal punishment. But it doesn’t have to be that way. God offers eternal salvation with Him in His heaven as a free gift. It’s yours for the taking. If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, then to God be the glory. Your life has meaning and is headed for the most joyous eternity imaginable, and it was all made possible by the redemptive work of the precious shed blood of Jesus. “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September)

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How to Find Peace in a Chaotic World

Posted on August 7, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

“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 you will have trouble.” Jesus’ words proved true for His first followers and remains true today. The world hasn’t gotten any better. If anything, it has gotten worse.

True enough, technology and science have produced remarkable advances. Case in point, I’m writing this devotional on a laptop computer instead of a rock or sheet of papyrus. Something could also be said for electricity and indoor plumbing.

Jesus spoke these words as He prepared His disciples for His departure. Before Him was the cross and for His followers — persecution. Despite the devastating circumstances ahead, the Lord advised them of the hope to be found in Him with a curious declaration of victory, “I have overcome the world.”

An innocent man who was about to be crucified as a criminal saw Himself as triumphant over the evil world that sought to destroy Him. Proof again that with faith, things are not always as they seem. (Hebrews 11:1)

In fact, there is no greater example of faith in action than the work of Christ at Calvary. Death was not the end of Jesus’ ministry, but a necessary piece of the divine plan for defeating the evil one, satisfying the penalty for sin, and opening the door to eternal life for those who would follow Him in faith.

In this troubled world, Jesus promises peace in Him because He has overcome the world. Remember, the world is inherently evil and it will remain so until Jesus returns (1 John 5:19, Revelation 20:1-6).

Today’s news headlines are frightening. Threats of nuclear war, terrorism, violence, lawlessness, etc. But there’s also the trouble

that goes along with the daily grind. Debts, relationship conflicts, sickness and disease, maintaining a home, caring for your family, and keeping up with a busy schedule.

Ben Franklin was only partially correct when he said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” He left out TROUBLES.

Now, that’s not cause for discouragement or depression, because Jesus also told us what to do about our problems. In Him there is peace.

Last night it rained. The thunder and lightning are gone, but the rain continues even now as I write this. But I am blessed to live in a place of safety and shelter from the storm.

I recall an expression once popular with the old folks when I was growing up. “He ain’t got the sense to come out of the rain.” It was used to describe somebody who did something stupid. Well, what about Christians who face troubles without taking shelter in the peace of the Lord? Isn’t that, well, stupid?

Whenever trouble arises in any of its many forms, think of it as an internal spiritual alarm that calls you to prayer. Just as the clock beside your bed signals you to start your day, view the first signs of trouble as your wake-up call to pray. Seek the Lord’s help instantly. Don’t put it off until your next scheduled prayer time or when it’s more convenient. Come out of the rain and benefit from the Lord’s peace. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate prayer of many words, just a simple and quick prayer for the need of the moment.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18

This world of troubles is no respecter of persons. Just as you remain spiritually alert to your concerns — also be ready to respond to the plight of others.

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September)

 

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More than a Great Teacher and Prophet, Jesus is God

Posted on August 6, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

John 10:28-30 NIV

What a Friend We have in Jesus is a great old hymn many of us have sung since we were children. Indeed, Jesus is our friend. John 15:3 reveals the extend of that friendship: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Notice what He said about himself in our focus text. “I and the Father are one.” Jesus is more than a friend, He is God.

I emphasize this point because it is a major truth that is often missed, minimized, or even denied by those who claim to be in the faith. If we say we believe in Jesus, then we must rely upon His claims about himself.

Let’s go back to the beginning of John’s gospel for some valuable insight on the divinity of Christ.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:1-3

Jesus is “the Word,” referenced in verse 1. We know that because John clarified the meaning later in verse 14. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father.”

And since Jesus is “the Word,” He is God who has been since the beginning. Don’t miss the third verse of John. “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”  Jesus has always been, and He is the Creator.

So, at Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Christ, it is actually the historical event in which God, who has always been, became flesh and dwelt among us. That’s where we get the doctrinal truth that Jesus is the God-Man. He is fully God and fully man. And He is not half and half as our finite minds might try to rationalize.

Philippians 2:6-8 gives us more insight into how Jesus set aside His deity to become the only acceptable sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.

6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!

This ultimate sacrificial act of humility earned Jesus the highest position and greatest of all names, worthy of all worship. As you will notice in the following text, “every knee” will ultimately acknowledge that “Jesus Christ is Lord.” You and I worship Him as Lord — now and forever. But for those who reject Him, they too will one day bow down in worship. Sadly, their acknowledgement will come in defeat and not in victory.

9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Now that I’ve presented the case for Jesus as God, I want you to think of this amazing fact. God loves us with the greatest love of all. Enough to empty Himself of His deity, become a man, and give His life for His friends.

Jesus is not just a great prophet as some would like you to believe. He wasn’t just a good teacher or the leader of a misguided cult. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Revelation 19:6) He reigns over heaven and earth,  (Matthew 28:18) and He is coming again to reward all who trust in Him.

Make no mistake, Jesus is God. To believe anything less is to remain lost in sin and unsaved.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Jesus Saves and Keeps You Saved

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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