Posted in Praise and Worship, The Grace of God, The Joy of His Love

Glory Divine in a manger came…

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
  Matthew 1:23

It really is an amazing thing to think about the mystery of the Incarnation—that mysterious moment when God became a man. 

Jesus Christ—God the Son—was born in a manger. He went from the throne of heaven to a feeding trough. He went from the presence of angels to a cave filled with animals. He who is larger than the universe became an embryo. He who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young virgin.

Some people have a hard time believing in the Virgin Birth. If you believe the Bible, you need to believe in the Virgin Birth. The Bible teaches that God Almighty was supernaturally conceived in the womb of a virgin (see Matthew 1:23).

This makes sense if you think about it. If God had chosen to, He could have sent Jesus to this earth as a fully grown, yet sinless human being. A shaft of light could have come out from heaven with Jesus descending to the ground as an adult man.

But if Jesus came to us in that way, who could have related to Him as a person, as a part of the human race? God also could have had Jesus come into the world through two ordinary human beings—but still with a divine nature. But then most of us would have doubted His divinity. That’s why the Incarnation makes sense.

The event of the Incarnation is the reason for the Christmas season. Christmas is the opportunity to worship God, to bow down and pay homage to Him for humbling Himself and appearing in human form. (Philippians 2:6–9)

That stands as the true mystery of the Incarnation—and the reason we celebrate Christmas.

nativity

May you rejoice in the true meaning of the Christmas season… Our Savior’s birth!  “and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins…”  (Matthew 1:21)  ♥ Streim  ( I am not the author of the above message nor the photo.   I pray it touches your heart as it does mine)

Posted in Lessons from the Holy Bible, The Grace of God

I Did It My Way!

HE DID IT HIS WAY

The demise of King Saul came after he lost favor with God and his son Jonathan found favor;  because Jonathon truly believed the words of the LORD God.  Jonathon and one other person, his armor bearer, with no weapons completely destroyed a garrison of the Philistines. That’s impressive!!  ( read 1 Samuel 13:19 – 14:16 for the complete story)  There is a lot more about Saul and how he conducted himself as the King of Israel, suffice it to say– being tempted and walking head on into sin was the norm for him.  Finally, Samuel came to Saul one last time to give him the instructions/commands of the LORD.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:  ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.  Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ” 1 Samuel 15:2-3

Did Saul do as told?  Of course not, as we read in 1 Samuel 15:8-9

   “He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.  But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.”

Saul decided, on his own, to keep the good things of the Amalekites for himself but the less useful things he did as the LORD commanded!  How arrogant!  Saul’s PRIDE kept him from  giving heed to the Lord’s words.  Instead  he ignored the LORD God’s command and did what he wanted or what the people wanted.  His faith in the LORD had ceased to be the guideline for his life.  Saul was a man of God at one point, but he lost favor with the LORD because his focus was on Saul!  The sin of the PRIDE OF LIFE did him in!


When the pride of life keeps anyone from following the Lord’s commands~~it is like telling God, “I am my own god and I can do things my way”  Can you imagine anyone who claims to know  Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord thinking like that?   This is happening flagrantly throughout the church today and it burdens my heart deeply.  Jude’s one chapter letter speaks volumes (even with such few words) on this subject of keeping the faith!

1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:  (we are servants, set apart and preserved for God’s purpose)

2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.  (God’s prosperity gifts to us!! )

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.  (earnestly contend: fight for the truth!!)

4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.  [ungodly men in the church (creeping in unnoticed)  making God’s grace extend to accepting the sin of fornication and denying that Jesus IS THE CHRIST!]  NKJV

The first four verses of Jude’s letter are extraordinary.  They give us insight into what we see happening today.  We’re living in times when multitudes of people are being led astray by men who speak “sweet little lies”, filled with deceit, meant to lead the church down the broad road of destruction.  Why?  Because the “pride of life” keeps us away from God and His Word and thinking we can live this life our way and still please God.  Ask yourself this question    Do I know what I believe; why I believe it and what does God’s Word say about it?   If for any reason you struggle with any part of this question… go before the throne of the One who gave us everlasting life and in humble prayer ask our Almighty God to help you.  And get into the Word!!   Read the Word, heed the Word and then seed the Word in truth, everywhere you go.  I pray that you read the Word with sincerity, daily, for your own spiritual relationship with our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. ~Streim~

 

Posted in Listening To God, Living in Today's World, Trusting God

I interrupt this series…NO I AM Ending It!

I interrupt  end this series “Sound Biblical Doctrine vs. Man-Made Doctrine” because in my time of studying the Word (both Old Testament and New Testament) for this series, I’ve realized through our Father’s glorious love, grace and patience the series was initiated as a response to a blogger and NOT as a response to God’s guidance.**

I’ve struggled with frustration, indignation and down-right anger at those who are distorting the Word of God for their own personal benefit or agenda.   My frustration led me away from the ‘HOPE and PEACE’ of the Truth.  The only  truth is God’s Divine plan for reconciling sinful men/women to Himself through the shed blood of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross at  Calvary.   So, I am simplifying my posts (keeping it simple Streim) from here on out.

I am not a prophet, nor a preacher, nor a leader… so I’ll leave the heavy “doctrinal” stuff to them; BUT I won’t shy away at all from the Truth of God’s Word.  I see the greatest failure in today’s Christianity is the average Sunday morning pew sitter is not making time to feed on the Word!  If you are not dependent upon God’s Word for your spiritual relationship and growth with the Lord Jesus and our Father, something or someone else is more than willing to fill that need.  Beware fellow adopted brethren, we have an enemy who lurks around just waiting to be that something or someone!  

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”  Matthew 24: 4-5

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately,  “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.”  Mark 13:3-6

And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.”  Luke 21:8

I suggest that these passages be read in context, in a ‘reliable’ version/translation of the Holy Bible.  If you are a born-again (changed from within), bought with a great price (the blood of the Lamb of God) adopted child of the Father (through His grace), you are given the indwelling presence if His Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit that discerns all things, including the Word of Truth, when you ask in the name of Jesus for the glory of God!  ( John 3: 3-7; 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 12:11; Romans 8:15 and 23; Acts 2:38 and 4:31; Ephesians 5:9; Matthew 7:7 and 11; Matthew 21:22 and 24; 1 John 5:14-16)

( here’s a piece of what I was going to post for ‘grace’ doctrine–maybe it will be insightful to some one)

In this time when all sound Bible/Christian beliefs are under attack in one way or another, it’s expected that “God’s grace toward man” would be challenged.  In my last post, I gave the definition of God’s grace toward man. I believe God’s grace toward mankind is 100% UNMERITED. Why?  Because there is nothing that we as sin-filled creatures could ever do that is deserving of the LORD God’s favor.  In the Old Testament, the LORD God gave Moses the ‘law’ for people to live by, however even the most favored men in the Old Testament (for example King David) couldn’t follow  every dotted ‘i’ and crossed ‘t’ of the law.  John 1:16-17 says And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”   Yes, Jesus Christ was full of grace and truth which is how we are able ONLY to receive it through Him.

Because not one person born could or would completely follow the law,  there was a void between God and man.   This void is beyond our comprehension, because the LORD God said ” my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways…”   (Isaiah 55:8-9)  But in all His love for man, despite their sinful, desperately wicked hearts and hatred of Him;  He gave us forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ–His only begotten Son on the cross!  It’s a ‘gift of grace’ available to anyone and everyone who chooses to “accept” it for themselves. You see as with any gift, it the person chooses not to accept, then it’s NOT theirs!  Is that too simple for some of my more theological readers.  If so, remember what Jesus said about children… ” unless we become like little children we can not see the kingdom of heaven…”.   Jesus Christ was grace personified!

A well-known Christian martyr of 19th century theology,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke these words in one of his famous writings  “The Cost Of Discipleship”    “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” and  “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting today for costly grace.”  

He wrote this in the 1920’s. Here, nearly 100 years later, blood bought adopted children of the LORD God are still contending for ‘costly grace’ and standing up for what they know to be true.  Let each of us examine ourselves.  Are we “responding to God’s guidance” and living completely in Him or being deceived because we are “responding to men”. **  May you be blessed each morning anew when you start your day with the Word and prayer.  Now that’s the breakfast of spiritual champions.   ♥Streim