Monday, December 27, 2010

Here are some goals for the New Year!

Do you want a more vibrant life, ministry and faith? How can I do this?

I will try, I hope you will too!

1. Focus on Christ as LORD. Set aside time each day to focus on the purpose for your growth and maturity (Psalm 119:130; Isa. 42:16; John 4: 23-24; 15), and then make it a priority. In doing so, you will be able to “go for it” with passion and vigor. Make sure it lines up with His precepts and not your wishes! Let Christ transform you through His Word and prayer. Attitude is essential!

2. We must learn to yield to the Lordship of our God and not to the desires of our will. It means following His plans, not our own, obeying His will, not our own. When we do this, the discipleship process can begin. Our maturity and character development will commence and further develop. However, when we refuse, we will be the strife and conflict that gives Christianity a “black eye.” We will be the problem rather than the solution (John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21).

3. Discipleship is a lifestyle. As we step into the lives of others, the purpose for loving them is simply because He first loved us; then, we become instruments of His grace. This can start by our realizing that Jesus “authors” our faith, and teaches us how to run the race according to God’s will, His glory, His worship, and His purpose. Thus, we gain a deeper intimacy with our Lord as our Commander and Friend, as our God and our King and the provider of Grace, as our Love, and our reason for being. In His purposes, we find real contentment, joy, and fulfillment! This is summed up in this adage: we cannot be doing the work of God unless we are the people of God. We have to be growing before we can have a direction and before we can be effective!

4. We must realize our circumstances are temporary. Our life here and now is not the ultimate purpose for our lives or God’s plan. We are in the process of learning and growing. Our situations and relationships will grow and change, while new opportunities will be brought to us; but, most importantly of all, our ultimate meaning of life will have eternal treasure and results. We will be able to take our eyes off our problems, place them on Christ, and follow His lead for more impact and meaning in life that will bring more hope and contentment (James 1).

5. Purpose will bring you a life that has a reason to it. God created you as special and unique; He gave you talents and abilities, and brings you opportunities to use them. Purpose will help you see these aspects, His call, and your prospects. Then you will be willing and able to put your faith into action for His glory. The side effects? A life that is more joyful and content! Yes, there will be ups and downs, but with the Creator on your side, any plans you may have had become insignificant; they would not bring you even close to a life that is meaningful!

Purpose has hope; it allows us to live with the perspective of eternity, so we are not bogged down in our dire circumstances. This moves us from the complacent Christian life to the purposeful Christian life, from just playing church to really being a church. It comes from understanding that God’s purpose and plan is to make us His children (1 John). He is the good Parent who guides His children and protects them. At the same time, He does not over-protect them so they lose out on life's opportunities to please Him, to the ultimate good. Here, we are temporarily looking to the hope we have now and to come. Christ will see us through if we trust and obey to be in His way. Imagine the possibilities your life will bring to others and bring Him glory!

More here:

Monday, December 13, 2010

What does Christmas mean to you?

Or this can be better said theologically, “What does the Incarnation mean to you?”

When the fullness of the time came, God sent his Son born of a woman.... Galatians 4:4

The incarnation is not just about Christmas, it could be said it is the prologue to Christianity. It is introducing to us the God-Man, who is eternally existing and who comes as fully God and becomes fully man. He becomes flesh and dwells among us. God is now one of us, God among people, personally conveying His Love, personally giving us His grace! As God extends His grace outward and forward to all people. God is the God of the universe-of all things. Christ brings the Gospel to all. Jesus is relevant to all people of all times, of all ethnicities, ages, and places. The only restriction is to those who are not His-who refused His offer.

The Incarnation simply means God came to be a man. He was fully man while remaining fully God. The Incarnation fulfills God's purpose, as Christ the Creator submitted to the Father in His manifestation into humanity, becoming Fully God and Fully Human, to become and serve humanity, this was His ultimate triumph. He is Holy and as the "incarnate Son," remained loyal and obedient to His own precepts and the challenge of sin and worldliness (Heb. 1:2; 3:1-2; 4:15; 5:7-14; 7:26; 9:14; John 1:1-18).
As the Gospel of John put it, The Word became flesh. Christ who is fully God-the ultimate "reason," the same "substance" and "essence" of God, the Creator-came into His creation as both an eternal being and a created being, a man-fully God and fully man. Not a half and half or some hybrid! The Holy Spirit and full force of God came together. Christ, who is not a created or made being, came into the world as one of us. This means that Jesus Christ, being fully Divine, was also born into the world as a full-fledged person who would live in our place, fulfill the law, and become our substitute for the penalty of sin we incurred. He took that penalty and paid it by His sacrifice on the Cross and His shed blood (Joel 2:32; Matt. 20:28; 26:36-46; John 1:14-19; 29; 3:13-18; 8:28, 58; 19:35; 21:24; Rom. 5:8; 8:32; 9:5; 10:9-13; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; 8:9; 12:8-9; 13:14; Phil. 2:5-8; Col. 1:15-17; 2:9; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:3-12)..

This is the heart and purpose and reason of not just Christmas but Christianity, of whom and what Christ is, and what He came to do. Without this Incarnation or His Virgin Birth, we have nothing of real substance, nothing that can save us; rather we just have a meaningless religion with some good ideas!

The Incarnation means Christ dwelt amongst us and is still dwelling in and within us. As the early Jews entered God's Tabernacle or Temple where God can be found, now we pitch our tent (life) with God, as now He comes to us. Theologically this indicates the temporary period of time Jesus would be on earth and, in context of the Gospels, the eternity He gives us to be with Him. Here is Jesus, being fully God, dwelling among His people, and now living in our hearts and in eternity. But wait, there is more! Now we have an active, involved, loving, and caring God who knows us as our Creator and who also lives humanity's experiences firsthand. He is the One in whom we can place our hope, love, and faith. Even though, the Divine is dynamically opposed to human nature, God made it possible for Jesus (Ex. 3:12-14; 25:8; 33:7-11; 40:34-35; John 6:35, 48-51; Acts 14:11; Col. 2:9).

The incarnation creates the Way, so Jesus could not only save us from our sins, but can also identify with our plight in life. As He lived a normal human existence for over thirty years, He experienced all that we experienced, including all the emotions, joys, hurts, frustrations, anger, relationships, and temptations. This means we receive His work of redemption and regeneration through grace, and we belong to Christ. We even share in the Son's rights as well as blessings we receive as the children of God. This also means we have victory as He delivers us and tramples our sin, our enemies; our future inheritance is insured. What we earn is placed as our eternal reward (Psalm 3:2, 8; 18:2; 35:3; 71:15; 132:16; Rom. 8:17, 29; Heb.2:10; 6:12).

The incarnation, as Hebrews puts it, God brings his firstborn into the world. This means Jesus as the "Royal Personage" who humbles Himself to "condescend" to be human, to assume our nature to battle sin. As the Firstborn, the Almighty Lord God (Yahweh) is applied to Christ. He takes the inheritance rights and is the ranking leader, The Supreme Superiority in the universe, a King of kings, LORD of lords-The KING. This does not mean Jesus was born, because He is eternal; rather it is His role to rule (Ex. 4:22; Deut. 21:17; Psalm 89:26-27; 97:7; Luke 2:13-14; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:5-14).

The incarnation is exemplified in the Christmas story as God's angels worshiped Him. Angels worship Christ as they proclaimed His superiority by worshiping Him. Christ is superior and greater than any angel, deity, thought, religion, ritual, philosophy, idea, role or priesthood, or any tradition; He supersedes any decree of any religion, Prophets or Law (Heb. 2:5-18).

Do you just see a baby Jesus or do you see LORD Jesus?

More here

Have a very merry Christmas, and do not forget the Christ in the Christmas!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Jesus Prays!

In the passage of John 17:1-12, after the last supper and His most profound and imperative teachings, Jesus then prays for His Disciples, the Church, and us! He looked to God as our model, seeking His glory to glorify the Father who has ultimate authority and who gives us eternal life. Jesus prays for His personal priorities (that are not self-centered) that the Church would be sanctified. For us, when we pray, we commune with God with not just words of want but with praise to Him for all He is doing and can do in our lives. Prayer is to be conformed to His likeness, to perceive before we receive. The key to a successful Christian life, ministry, and church is prayer. There is no way around it (Psalm 2:7; John 12:41; Philip. 2:11).

We can go to God; we can know Him; we can choose Him because He laid the foundation by choosing us first, and we have been given to Him. Jesus modeled and did everything God the Father directed Him to do; now was the time to pay the ultimate price for our sins meant for the ultimate glory and God’s ultimate purpose. We have to be careful not to be influenced and overcome by the world, rather focused on Christ, His precepts, and His way. He takes us out of the world into the presence of the eternal God for eternity; what a glorious gift that we neither earned nor deserved. We are to keep His Word, trust, and obey as we receive this incredible gift from God because we belong to God and His glory.

Jesus prays for us as we pray to Him! If you are too busy or too preoccupied with life and the struggles thereof, how can you solve them with just adding more stress to them? If your faith is in Christ, then you must rest in Him; pour over His Word, glean the biblical knowledge, and apply it to your life for success in life and in faith. If not, you will fail at everything! Keep in mind this very important point: when we engage the text of the Bible, we engage God! We experience His essence; we are enfolded not just within His precepts, but also within His presence! We are with the living, eternal God of the universe. Thus, when we open up the Bible, we are opening it up to receive Christ and His intimate, personal instructions to us. If we really read the Bible, paying attention to not just the words, but also the essence, we will receive not just our direction; we will become transformational in our lives and work!

When we act in good character and live rightly as His representatives, we prove His name. When we act in the flesh, we prove the world and show our disobedience and disrespect, even profaning His Name. The call to make every effort indicates that we are to pay close attention to Christ and take the spiritual initiative and be productive with our faith and lives! Always be willing to acknowledge the difference between what is counterfeit and what is true

Truth and be willing to repent and seek forgiveness when you are wrong! True Christianity and its practice never retires or becomes counter-productive (John 16:33; 21:18-19; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Pet. 1:12-21).

Does God need to stir you up? Are you spiritually lazy or apathetic? Does your Christian activity line up to His revealed truth or is it based on your plans and agenda? Is your teaching from His Word or is it counterfeit?