Archive for December, 2008


Listen to this message

christmas-memoriesThe week after Christmas is the time when I reflect on memories of past holidays. I like to remember the good times we have had. I need to do this because there were times when I dreaded Christmas. Instead of Christmas with the Cranks, it was Christmas with the Crank! December would roll around, and I would change into Mr. Crank. With six little kids aged 8, 7, 6, 5, 3 and 1, I dreaded the thought of finding all the toys on their Christmas List. I hated Cabbage Patch Dolls. I hated Teddy Ruxpin. They haunted my dreams and drained what little money we had. My eyes would glaze over thinking about how much my wife would spend trying to provide the ‘perfect‘ Christmas for our Six children. I must confess I dreaded Christmas. It lost all meaning for me other than Money and how little I had.christmas with the Crank

The amazing thing is that God changed my heart. I still like to be frugal, but we have settled in to our new lifestyle and Christmas is a wonderful time for me. My eyes still glaze over a bit, and I still fuss about how much we spend, but I look forward to seeing my kids and grandkids, to staying up late, playing games, playing with the grandkids. Now maybe this change is due somewhat to growing older, but for the most part God has worked on my mind, my mindset. He has changed the way I look at Christmas. I’ve been called Scrooge, even Grinch, but not so much now. I have realized the importance of having a right mindset towards Christmas.

While I was reflecting this week, God brought Philippians 2:5 to my mind. “Let this mind (phroneo) be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”

The Greek word used here is “phroneo”. Some translators use the word “attitude” instead of “mind”. Have this attitude that Jesus had, etc. But I believe this means much more than “attitude”. If we view this as just an attitude to have, it really weakens what it means to have the same mind as Jesus. If it is merely an attitude we are to strive for, that makes us seem like dogs. God is up in heaven and he’s watching us, and whenever one of us fetches real good, or has a real good attitude when he asks us to do something, God reaches down and pats our head and says, that’s a good boy, Jim, here’s a nice treat for you to chew on. Phroneo is based upon the word “phren”, which is the Greek word for diaphragm, meaning to curb or restrain. The Greeks viewed the diaphragm as a very important controlling organ. It combined the heart as the seat of passions as well as the mind as the seat of mental faculties. So the word “phroneo” refers precisely to the ability not only to think but to also control one’s thoughts and attitudes. To the Greeks, an “a-phren” (without control) was a FOOL.

The Mind of Christ Governs our Mind Will and Emotions

So, this word for mind phroneo refers to a mindset, a way of thinking that GOVERNS our mind our will and our emotions.

Now to put on the mind that was in Christ is a lot more than a change in attitude, or a renewed outlook in life. It wasn’t a good attitude that took Jesus to the Cross. It wasn’t a sunny disposition that enabled Him to endure the lashes that tore His back. No New Year’s resolution about having a good attitude could have enabled him to stand up to those soldiers beating and mocking Him without ever striking back.

No, Jesus had something deep down within Him that controlled all those passions and thoughts and desires. Jesus had a mindset that controlled His actions and attitudes. And the amazing truth from Philippians 2:5 is that we can have that same mind controlling our thoughts and our will. That is what Philippians 2: 13 says: “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Your Mindset toward Christmas says a great deal about your mindset toward God and His Word.

Having the Right Mindset Toward Christmas says two things about you. I’ll discuss one and then toward the end I’ll discuss the second.

First: Having the Mind of Christ means you Connect to one another in Humility.

Romans 12:16-17 (NASB) Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

humilityThe Mind of Christ will not come into a proud mind. In order for Jesus to have the right mindset to even be born and so bring us Christmas, look what He had to do:

Philippians 2:6-8 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus made the first Christmas possible because of His “phroneo” that enabled Him to lay aside His Divine rights and become a servant, doing the will of His Father. If we are to enjoy a Christ-Centered Christmas, we must have the very same “phroneo” governing our thinking and emotions. We must have the “Passion” of Christ controlling our mind will and emotions.

As I reflected this week, I wondered if the first Christmas had been up to me, would it have happened? Would I have been Mr. Crank or would I have worshipped the Christ?

zachariasI considered Zacharias, and how he was humbled in the presence of Gabriel. He willingly became mute and went home to father John the Baptist.

I looked at Elizabeth and how she thanked God for providing her with a child, and so taking away the reproach of barrenness which had weighed her down her entire life. elizabethShe willingly humbled herself to God’s Will without boasting, but with a deep sense of humility.

maryWhat can you say about Mary? She willingly humbled herself to God, knowing the scorn that she would endure because of her unexplainable pregnancy. Her magnificat is testimony of her mindset toward the will of God. A more beautiful picture of humility is nowhere to be found.

Joseph is the overlooked one, but his mindset was one of love and humility. He belived the angel and endured the scorn of friends and probably his own family. josephHe willingly embraced Mary as his betrothed and patiently waited to consummate the marriage until the time of her purification.

shepherdsI considered the lowly shepherds and their willingness to go and seek the Messiah. They were the lowest of Jews and yet they were witness to the greatest miracle of God, the birth of Jesus Christ. They believed and told the story to others.

The Magi reveal a mindset that said Jesus is worth giving my time and money for. They sacrificed a great deal to come and honor Christ the Messiah, the King of the Jews.magi

Herod is an interesting man. He pretended to have the right mindset, but He wanted only to murder this ‘King’. He demonstrates the true Mr. Crank, the one who despises the real Christmas. He did everything he could to try to ruin the first Christmas.

herodEach of the main characters (except Herod) in this “First Christmas” had a mindset of humility and willingness to do whatever God willed. They had the mindset of Jesus when it came to doing the Will of God. They humbled themselves to accomplishing God’s Will.

Herod faked His worship and humility. Herod tried to wipe out Christmas. Herod was the original Grinch that tried to Steal Christmas. He did not have the mindset of Jesus Christ.

What about us? Would our mindset have allowed the “First Christmas” to happen? Would God have used us to bring His Son into the world? This thought has worked its way into my mindset. As I have yielded my heart and mind to the will of God, He has brought a new fascination and enjoyment of a Christmas that honors His Son.

If we approach Christmas with anything besides humility and worship, we demonstrate a mindset which would have prevented the “First Christmas”. We can see that mindset in the life of Peter:

Second: Having the Mind of Christ Means You Mind the Things of God!

Matthew 16:23 (ESV) “But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.””

hindranceHaving the Mindset of Christ means we “Mind the Things of God!”

What if Christmas Was Up to You? Are You a CRANK? Are You Selfish and man-centered? Are You Minding the Things of Man?

If Christmas was up to you, would it have happened? Would Jesus have been born? Would Jesus have been worshipped as the Son of God? Would He have received the Gifts and Honor due the God of Creation? The mind of Christ is set upon the things of God, anything less is a hindrance to Christ, and demonstrating the mind of Satan.

The “First Christmas” demonstrated the Mind of Christ, a mindset that we should have throughout the year. Humility towards man, and Passion toward the Will of God!

Would Christmas have happened if it was up to you?

You Can Have Christmas with the Crank, or You Can Have Christmas with the Christ.

The Choice is Yours.


crowncenterlightsThe FYI section of the KC Star this Christmas Eve morning had an article titled “We are aglow in the Light

Lisa Gutierrez asks the question: “How could we celebrate anything without light?”

Take away the birthday candles and all you have is cake. Take away the fireworks and it’s just another steamy day in July. How could the holidays be the holidays without light? We light candles on the menorah and candles on the Advent wreath. We torch the yule log to symbolically carry light from one year to the next. Like the residents of Whoville, we gather ’round trees to admire the lights. Oooh! Aaah! Basking in the kilowatts, our faces shining and eyes sparkling, we are Cindy Lou Who-happy. Light does that to us. Artificial or natural, light chases the blues away by readjusting the chemicals in our brains, a cerebral tune-up desperately needed when winter envelops us. This seasonal shroud makes us so dang peevish, coming to work in the dark, driving home in the dark. As members of the human species, it is our nature to crave light, as do the sunflowers and the mighty oaks.

She concluded her discourse by saying: “Give me lights at Christmas, I say. And lots of them.”

Now I love Christmas lights. Sometimes I admit I get so rushed that I don’t even notice them. But the truth is that many people get so distracted by pretty Christmas Lights, that we miss the true Light of Christmas.

his-life-was-the-light-of-the-worldChristmas is the day we honor God’s Greatest Gift, the birth of the True Light of the World. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

The truth is that most of mankind does not seek the True Light. Most of mankind does not pay attention to the truth of who Jesus is. John 3:19 says: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.

In other words, most people choose not to follow the True Light of Christmas, because they want to go their own way and do their own thing.

Luke 2:25-35 (NIV) Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the light of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

In Luke 2: 25-35 we find a righteous old man named Simeon. Not much is known about Simeon, but from Luke we do know that he did an amazing thing: Simeon paid attention to God.

Now most people in Israel worshiped God, but very few paid attention to Him. In fact, Simeon was one of only a handful.

Today, many people in this world worship a God, but very few pay attention to Him. If you are a school teacher, you may know what I’m talking about. You may have a room full of students, but how many really pay attention to you.

Simeon paid attention to God. God spoke to Simeon and told him he would not die until he saw the Messiah. Now for Simeon to hear that and believe that was a big deal. But he was a big deal kind of guy.

Now most of you have finished your shopping and you found a LOT OF GREAT DEALS THIS YEAR. But I want to challenge you to pay attention to God this evening, and realize the greatest deal in the universe happened almost 2000 years ago, when Jesus Christ was born as a little baby boy.

simeon-paid-attention-to-godSimeon paid attention and saw the greatest deal of His life. He discovered the True Light, and that Light gave him Life!

The Light of God’s Word became real to Simeon. When he saw the baby Jesus, he knew this was the one. There wasn’t a dove, or a flash of light, or a lightning bolt. He knew because he was a man who paid attention. I am praying that this Christmas, more than any other, we would be paying attention to God. He is speaking to our country, He is speaking to the hearts of men. We need to Seek and Discover God’s True Light for this world!

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the light of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Simeon Saw the Salvation of God

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

the-salvation-of-the-nationsSalvation wasn’t hidden, it wasn’t for a select few, but was for all peoples. Salvation is to be seen. Simeon saw the Salvation of God in the life of Jesus. Each of us can see God’s Salvation if we open our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ. You don’t have to wonder or think or hope. You can see the salvation of the Lord! For God so loved you and me that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting LIFE! God gives mankind a choice. We can chose the Light of His Son to save us from our sins, or we can chose to walk in darkness. When you chose to give your life to Jesus, you have eternal Life. When you ignore the Light, you will live in eternal darkness.

Simeon Saw the Light for the Nations

the-light-of-the-nationsWhen Simeon lifted up the baby Jesus, He was holding God’s True Light for all the Nations. Jesus Christ was the revelation of God to a dark and sinful world.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Himself declared that He was the True Light of the World:

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Jesus is the Light for all Nations, for all mankind. Not only did He talk a Righteous game, he walked a Righteous game. Satan tried to cover Him with the darkness of sin, just as he had Adam and Eve, but Jesus defeated Satan with the Light of the Word of God. Jesus is the Word! He is the Lamp unto our feet, the Light for our paths.

Simeon Saw the Glory of Israel

the-glory-of-israelSimeon was able to see by faith that this little Baby would someday come in all His Glory as the King of the Jews. He indeed will reign upon Jerusalem as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

It takes a lot to pay attention to God. You need to set aside what you want to do, and look at what He is doing. You need to give God your heart. You need to see your sins and realize the stupidity of following your own way. You need to realize that this life is either about walking in God’s Light, or walking in man’s darkness. There is no in-between. It is either a life of Light though God’s Son, or a life of darkness in sin. Jesus is either in your life or He is not. You are either a child of God’s by the New Birth made possible by Jesus atonement for your sins, or you are a child of Satan’s, stained by the darkness of sin.

A couple years back there was a house near the entrance of a subdivision that kept their Christmas lights burning long after the season was past. They burned through January. Even through the first of February those outside lights burned every night. Finally, about the middle of February a concerned neighbor became a bit critical and said, “If I were too lazy to take my Christmas lights down, I think I’d at least turn them off at night.” But about the middle of March there was a sign outside of their house that explained why they’d left the lights on. It said simply, “Welcome home, Jimmy.” The family had a son in Iraq, and they had unashamedly left their Christmas lights on in anticipation of his return.

the-light-of-jesus-live-in-youLights are a symbol of hope. Christ in You is the Hope of Glory. Do you know with all assurance that when you die, you will behold the Glory of Christ? Do you know that the Light of Jesus Christ has given you eternal Life? Is that your testimony this Christmas? If not, believe in the Light while God is still giving you Light. Jesus is the Light of Revelation for our dark and sinful world.

John 12:36 (NKJV) While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”


prince-of-peaceNovember 21, 1873, in the icy waters of the Atlantic, two ships suddenly collided. When told her passenger ship, the Ville de Havre was sinking, a young mother gathered her four daughters on deck for a family prayer meeting. This young mother knelt with her daughters Annie (10), Maggie (8), Bessie (5) and Tanetta (2) and prayed that they might be saved or else be made willing to die. Ira Sankey revealed in his memoirs that Annie and Maggie had come to know Jesus in a small meeting in Chicago just months before. As the family huddled together, three of the daughters were swept away by the icy waves. Anna Spafford clung to her remaining daughter,  Tanetta, but the force of the waves was too strong. Her daughter was snatched away by the angry sea, and the distraught mother was knocked unconscious. She was rescued by sailors from the Loch Earn.

Back in the United States, Horatio Spafford was waiting for news of his family, and at last, ten days later (after the rescue ship had reached Cardiff), it came. saved-alone“Saved alone, what shall I do” was his wife’s message. Imagine the effect of this horrible tragedy. It was only  been a few months since the Chicago fire on October 8, 1871 caused the destruction of most of his real estate investments. Now God had not only taken his wealth but also his family. For as Horatio his loss with His Lord, a loss which could not be reversed in this life, he found that peace which indeed passes all understanding. Toward morning he told a friend named Major Whittle, “I am glad to be able to trust my Lord when it costs me something.” Then, sometime later, as he reflected on the disaster at sea, he wrote this well known hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea-billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought,

My sin—not in part, but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, 0 my soul!

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,

The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,

“Even so”—it is well with my soul.

Such tragedy could only become peace because Horatio Spafford knew intimately the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

Sar Shalom

sar-shalomJesus is our Sar Shalom, our Prince of Peace as Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 9:6. This is the last of our Four Titles describing this Baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.Since His birth 2000 years ago, this world has seen little peace.

Peaceful Paradise Found?

A true story is told of a retired couple seeking to find the safest place on earth to retire to.falklands-peaceful-paradise The Iron Curtain was still up and they were concerned about surviving a nuclear war. They were blessed with wealth and so traveled extensively before making their decision. Finally they moved and after getting settled in the sent their former Pastor a Christmas Card from their new home. They described the Falkland Islands as their “peaceful paradise”. Yet four months later on March 26, 1982, their peaceful paradise became the battleground of Argentina and Great Britain. So much for Peaceful Paradise.

Once There Was Peace

There once was “peaceful paradise” on Earth. Imagine perfection here on earth. You have super strength, super memory, you never age, never sweat, never tire, never get sick. You can cover miles in a day without breaking a sweat. You have food galore. You have no fears, even of the fiercest animal. You have a gorgeous wife (Miss Universe) who is your help meet. There are no weeds, no flies, no mosquitoes. To top it off you walk with God in the evening. He is as close as you could imagine. There is no labor during childbirth. There are no disagreements between husbands and wives.

paradise-of-peaceParadise, Garden of Eden. We had that. Adam and Eve enjoyed it. Yet that wasn’t enough. You know the story. They disobeyed and the wrath of God came upon them. They were expelled from paradise, and as a consequence of their sin, their bodies started aging, childbirth became dangerous, life became hard. Conflicts entered into marriages, into family relationships. Within just a few short years the first murder took place, between brothers.

This world went from peaceful paradise to horrific hell in moments.

Into this Hell created by Sin, a baby boy was born. He is Sar Shalom. The Prince of Peace

Sar

Sar means Commander, Chief, Ruler, Captain, Prince. The picture is of a Man who is a Leader with Authority, a  Leader with Responsibility to fulfill an important task. Indeed Jesus came with Authority from God. He was responsible to fulfill the Father’s Will.

Isaiah 9:7 says “His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.”

Jesus is the Prince with the Authority & Responsibility to Bring Peace to this world, to mankind.

Shalom

Now most of us Gentile types reduce the meaning of this word Shalom to our ideas of peace, whether peace among people or inner peace. But shalom is a word so packed full of meaning and importance that even the best scholars, theologians, and Hebrew lexicons struggle to come up with English words to capture its full significance.

Shalom means much more than absence of war or inner peace.

Shalom expresses completeness, wholeness, harmony, fulfillment, health, safety. Implicit in Shalom is the idea of unimpaired relationships with others and fulfillment in all of your undertakings. Shalom pictures Growth and Prosperity. In nearly two-thirds of its occurrences, shālôm describes the state of fulfillment which is the result of God’s presence.

Aaronic Blessing

The Aaronic blessing of (Numbers 6:24-26) pictures the man whom God has Given Shalom: He is Blessed (bārak), Guarded (shāmar), and Treated Graciously (ḥānan), by God!

Shalom is What Man Enjoyed in the Garden of Eden.

“Shalom,” pictures all that God desires and plans for all creation. It is God’s heart desire, God’s perfect and full will, and therefore God’s decreed plan that all the human race, that all the animal world, that all the beings ever created, that all the universe dwell in perfect, full, and eternal Shalom.

Jesus Was Born to Restore Shalom to Earth

angels-announce-the-shalom-of-jesusWhen the Angels sang to the Shepherds, they were singing to the whole earth for ages to come: The Angels knew that with Christ appearing on earth, finally Peace would be possible.

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

This is the gospel in one sentence. God’s glory, God’s peace, and God’s favor resting once again upon the wayward human race! This one-sentence gospel proclamation of “God’s peace to all people” connects this angelic declaration to our prophetic passage from Isaiah wherein Christ is called the “Prince of Peace.” In Shalom we discover the entire Gospel in one word.

Shalom is Man’s Longing

When the Shepherds heard this proclamation by the angels that God’s peace, God’s shalom, and God’s favor, God’s grace, now rests upon all because of this child born in Bethlehem, they would have understood this good news to be the fulfillment of all the longings of the Jewish people for God to usher in the promised day of Shalom. Christ the newborn king, Christ the Wonderful Counselor, Christ the Mighty God and Eternal Father, also came to planet earth to become the Prince of Shalom. Through Christ’s life, death, and Resurrection the longed-for divine promise of universal Shalom was finally ushered in.

We need to understand why Jesus is called Prince of Peace and what it means for all those who are born again children of God.

Man Can Never bring Shalom to this World.

Mans Conduct means NO PeaceGod’s meaning of Shalom revolves around the way we live. It was Adam and Eve’s conduct that shattered the peace between man and God. Cain’s conduct broke the peace between him and Abel and him and God. As it is with all of us, conduct makes or breaks the peace!

  • Man’s Conduct broke the peace between God and Man

Romans 3:10-12 (NKJV) As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

Romans 3:23 (NKJV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 1:18 (ESV) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

  • Man’s Conduct brought the Ruin of Sin upon all men.

Romans 5:12 (NKJV) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Sickness, Psychological problems, Depression, Physical problems, we are all struggling against death-death to our souls, death to our bodies because of Sin! God meant what He said “On that day you eat thereof, you shall surely die!”

  • Man’s Conduct Destroyed the Completeness of God’s Creation.

When God completed His creation, the Bible records: “And God saw His Creation and said it was Very Good.” Sin corrupted this world and destroyed the Paradise that God had created. His Creation became a pre-cursor to the Hell that awaits all those who die in their sins.

Romans 8:20 “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse.”

  • Man’s Conduct Ruined Fulfillment of God’s Purpose for our lives.

Romans 8:21-23 (NLT) the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

Jesus had the Authority to Bring Shalom to this world.

jesus-had-authority-to-restore-shalomJesus Christ came to this world armed with a Divine Command: Bring Glory to the Father by Destroying the Power of Satan and Redeeming Mankind. Jesus broke down all barriers to True Shalom because He and only He had the Authority and the Power and the CONDUCT to do so!

Luke 1:79 (KJV) To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

  • Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom between God and Man

Romans 5:1 (KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:10 (NKJV) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

  • Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom to Men

Jesus himself is our PEACE!

Ephesians 2:13-16 (NKJV) 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

  • Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom to the sin-sick souls of man

Romans 5:19 (NKJV) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

2 Peter 1:2-4 (NKJV) 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

  • Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom to God’s Creation

Isaiah 11:1-8 (NKJV) 1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; 4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. 6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.

  • Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom – God’s Purpose to our lives and to this world.

2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV) who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

Ephesians 3:10-11 (NKJV) 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Jesus’ Conduct means Shalom is possible for this World. Peace is available by faith, and Peace will be available when Christ reigns.

We have the Authority for Peace in our World through Jesus Christ

John 14:27 (NKJV) Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16:33 (NKJV) 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.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.

To Experience Shalom, we must Submit to the Authority of the Prince of Shalom!

Philippians 4:9 (NKJV) The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Psalms 37:37 (KJV) Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

submit-to-the-authority-of-jesus-our-sar-shalomAre you at peace with God? Shalom is the result of God’s Presence in our Lives! As you rest your head upon your pillow tonight, do you know your sins are forgiven and that you are confident you are God’s born again child? Give your heart and life to Jesus, submit to the authority of the Cross for forgiveness of your sins. Are you at peace in your heart with your past failings, with what God has done in your life, with what God is doing in your life? Submit your will and your fears to the authority of the Prince of Peace. Rest in His authority over the events of your life. Do you struggle with fears and anxieties? Realize that Jesus has given you His peace, that He has overcome the world, and under His Authority He will allow only that which is for His Glory and our edification in the faith. Are you walking in peace with your family, your friends, your neighbors? Is their hatred or resentment toward others? Submit your grievances to the one who has the authority to bring peace between the worst of enemies. And as much as is in you, on your part, live in peace with all men. Are you struggling with fulfillment and purpose in your life? Then submit your will and plans and possessions to the authority and control of the Prince!

The Authority of Jesus is not Because of a Kingly Crown.

With earthly Kings and Prices, crowns have always been the sign of authority and Kingship.

Charlemagne, whom historians say should deserve to be called “great” above all others, wore an octagonal crown. Each of the eight sides was a plaque of gold, and each plaque was studded with emeralds, sapphires, and pearls. The cost was the price of a king’s ransom.

Richard the Lion Heart had a crown so heavy that two earls had to stand, one on either side, to hold his head.

The crown that Queen Elizabeth wore was worth over $20 million in 1937.

Put them all together, from all of Europe and from the archives of the East, all of them are but trinkets compared to Christ’s crown.

Revelation 19 says he has many diadems. He wears a crown of righteousness. He wears a crown of glory. He wears a crown of life. He wears a crown of peace and power. Among those crowns, one outshines the rest. It was not formed by the skilled fingers of a goldsmith, nor created by the genius of a craftsman. It was put together hurriedly by the rough hands of Roman soldiers. It was not placed upon its wearer’s head in pomp and ceremony, but in the hollow mockery of ridicule and blasphemy.

It is a crown of thorns.

The Crown of Peace that our Prince of Peace wears is that hastily made Crown of Thorns.authority-for-peace-is-from-his-crown

In Isaiah 53:5, we read this about Christ:“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us Shalom was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

The amazing thing is that the crown of thorns belonged to you and me. I deserved to wear that crown. I deserved to feel the thrust of the thorns. I deserved to feel the blood streaming upon my brow. I deserved the judgment of God upon my sins.

He freely took my crown of thorns. That Crown is His Authority to offer you and me His Peace, God’s Shalom. He offers to each of us His crown of life, the crown that fadeth not away. He Offers us His Peace. He IS OUR PEACE!

Shalom happens because of God’s Presence. Is Jesus living in your heart today?

A friend visited an elderly woman badly crippled by arthritis. When asked, “Do you suffer much?” she responded, “Yes, but there is no nail here,” and she pointed to her hand. “He had the nails, I have the peace.” She pointed to her head. “There are no thorns here. He had the thorns, I have the peace.” She touched her side. “There is no spear here. He had the spear, I have the peace.”

That is what the coming of our Sar Shalom means for us-He gave of himself so that we might have the Shalom of God.


Larry Sinks

Larry Sinks

Kansas University is sticking it to the little guy again. KU has filed a flurry of new actions against Larry Sinks and Joe-College T-Shirts. They are seeking contempt orders because of Sinks failure to follow a court ruling against trademark infringement. Basically Joe-College is not authorized to use the Name of Kansas University or any of its protected Names or Slogans.

How important is “Authority to use a Name?”

If you are a close friend of Barack Obama, and he has authorized you to use his name, you will have great authority. Why else would his friends be scheming together to hold on to that relationship and that authority? (Read: Obama’s Friends Form Strategy to Stay Close).obama-friends

Nearly 2,000 years ago people really understood the Authority of Names. There was no instant access via cell phones or emails. Men in authority always used delegates or representatives or even messengers authorized to use the Authority of their Name. Apostles Peter and John were authorized to use the Name of Jesus Christ. At the Beautiful Gate they told a lame man “In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6). Based upon that authority, the man immediately stood up and began walking and leaping and praising God!

peter-and-john-at-the-beautiful-gateIn the Name! No other Name would have brought the same dramatic result, least of all Peter’s own name.

The name of Barack Obama will have great command in the coming years. And those authorized to use his name will share in that command. Yet Barack’s name is nothing when compared to the Name of Jesus Christ. The world seeks to dishonor the Name of Jesus, but God always honors the Name of His Son. Believers in Christ must realize that we, if Christ truly lives in us, are authorized to use the Name of Jesus. God looks upon His Son in the glory of heaven, not at us here on the earth, and He honors his Son’s Name. All that took place the day Peter told the lame man to walk resulted from the impact and power of the Name of Jesus on the situation.

The only thing which distinguished Peter and John from any other citizen of Judea was that they were authorized to use that Name! The Holy Spirit had filled them and empowered them to use His Name. The Holy Spirit transformed these uneducated fishermen into Spiritual Giants, not because of who they were, but because of who they knew! Believer, have you surrendered the authority of your life to the authority of the Holy Spirit? When you walk in the Holy Spirit you are authorized to use the most powerful name in the universe. God only recognizes the Power of the Name of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the one who is worthy of honor and glory. Are you authorized to use the Name of Jesus Christ? Don’t let situations and circumstances overwhelm you. Use the Authority you have been given! Use the Name of Jesus Christ!


Eternal Father

Listen to this message

Once more we gaze upon the little baby being swaddled in Bethlehem, no room for him at the inn. After an exhausting journey, Mary gives birth and now holds him in her arms, cuddling him close because of the coldness in the night air.

Little does she know she is holding her “Eternal Father” as Isaiah prophesied 700 years before (Isaiah 9:6). Mary was literally holding her father in her arms.

Now if we were to travel back in time and ask if this was the understanding of the Patriarchs of Israel, here are some of the reactions we might expect to hear:

AdamRoving Reporter: Hey you in the Loin Cloth, who was God to you?

Adam: God is Elohim, my creator. He is the one who breathed life into me. He is the one who put me to sleep to make woman from one of my ribs. He is the one whom I walked with in the cool of the evening. He is the one whom I failed, and was cast out of paradise.

NoahRoving Reporter: Sir, with the hammer, do you know God?

Noah: Sure I do. He’s Elohim, the one I walk with.

Roving Reporter: Do You See Him?

Noah: No, but he talks with me. In fact He told me to build this Ark.

Roving: Would you call Him your Father.

Noah: I don’t think so. He’s my God!

Roving Reporter: You sir, walking with your son, do you know God?

AbrahamAbraham: Why yes I do. He is my Adonai Jehovah, My Lord God. I do as He commands. In fact, I’m taking my son up to yonder mount to sacrifice Him to My Lord.

Roving Reporter: Then you don’t see Him as your father, do you?

Abraham: No, but I do see Him as my friend. In fact, I know He can bring my son back to life. He is the Lord God.

Roving Reporter: You sir, looks like you’ve been wrestling all night, do you know God?

Jacob at PenuelJacob: Of course I do. He is El Shaddai, God all-sufficient. All my life I depended upon my own skill and deception to get what I wanted. Finally I just wrestled with God here at Penuel, and I have prevailed, but not before He touched my strength, and crippled me. He will be the one I depend upon from here on. He is my El Shaddai!

Roving Reporter: Is He your Father?

Jacob: Hardly, but He is God, my All-Sufficient God.

Roving Reporter: You there, with the long stick, is God your Father?Moses

Moses: God is the I AM THAT I AM. He is Jehovah Elohim, God of my father Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I have seen His glory, and I would never think to call Him something as intimate as Father.

Roving Reporter: (Now approaching the mother of Jesus) Young lady, do you know how special your baby is?

Mary and JesusMary: Yes, He is Immanuel, my Savior. He is the Son of God.

Roving Reporter: Did you know that Isaiah prophesied that His name would be called “Ad Avi” Eternal Father?

Mary: How could this be? He is my child. God is His Father. The Holy Spirit came upon me.

Roving Reporter: Listen Mary, one day you will hear your Son say: “I and the Father are one”. In fact one of His disciples will ask Jesus to show them the Father, and Jesus will say:

John 14:9  “He who has seen me has seen the Father. He will say “I am in the Father and the Father is in me!

I and the Father are OneMost of us are like Mary, surprised enough to realize that Jesus is the Son of God, but unable to fathom the truth that Jesus is also our Eternal Father. Most religions deny this title for Jesus because it would make Him equal with God.

But the truth is that Jesus is our Eternal Father. He is the Father to the Fatherless. He is the one that we come to for Salvation. He is the one we come to when we want to see God!

John 14:6 “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me!

This little baby did so much for mankind. In the Old Testament, the people feared to come close to God. The only way they could come to God was by approaching a physical place, a place so terrible that if they even touched the mountain, they would be stoned. Moses himself was frightened at the glimpse of God.  We have not come to a MountainAs we are reminded in Hebrews 12:

Hebrews 12: 18 You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. 19 For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. 20 They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”

But because of Jesus, we can approach God without fear. In fact, we come with confidence, and join a JOYFUL GATHERING! We see an assembly of God’s firstborn children, we come to God Himself, we come to the spirits of the righteous who are already in heaven, we come to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant that makes this all possible. Jesus Christ is the reason we can approach a loving God.

Hebrews 12: 22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.

Compassionate JesusThrough Jesus Christ, we now see a loving face on our Eternal Father. We have a Mediator. We have an Intercessor, We have a Comforter. We have an Eternal Father who loves us and desires a relationship with us. We have the power to become children of God. Jesus Christ in that sense is our Eternal Father. Through His atoning death on the cross, that veil has been torn in two and we can come boldly before the throne of Grace. We can conclude that is the meaning of the title “Eternal Father”. Jesus is simply the representative of our “Eternal Father”. In fact, in the face of Jesus we indeed see our “Eternal Father”.

Jesus is the Compassionate Face of our Eternal Father.

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Matthew 23:37 (NKJV) 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

  • Jesus is the Great Physician healing those who are sick and dying of sin.
  • Jesus is the Great Shepherd seeking His Lost sheep.
  • Jesus is the Great Fisherman, fishing for the Lost souls of men.
  • Jesus is the Great Sea Diver, seeking the Pearl of Great Price
  • Jesus is the Great Banker, seeking for every lost coin.
  • Jesus is the Great Comforter, comforting all those who are in distress and despair with the Hope of Abundant Life everlasting.
  • Jesus is the Great Emancipator, freeing all those from the Prison of Sin and Death.
  • Jesus is the Great Savior, seeking all who are lost in sin.
  • Jesus is the very face of Compassion.

Through Jesus we Know we have a Compassionate Eternal Father.

Jesus is Committed faceJesus is the Committed Face of our Eternal Father

In the face of Jesus we see our Eternal Father willing to sacrifice all for our salvation.

Matthew 18:14 (NKJV) Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

God knew from the beginning of time that man would sin and fall under the condemnation of sin. Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. God did not want any to perish.

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

God provided the perfect sin offering to redeem all of mankind.

Jeremiah praises the Everlasting Father for His faithfulness when he says:

“Because of the LORD’S faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord.” Lamentations 3:22-26

Jesus shared the commitment of His Father. He knew that He was born a man to die for men. Jesus was determined to go to the cross. He was no coward. He knew before God even made the earth that He would dies as the Lamb Slain!

Jesus is Coming Face of Eternal FatherJesus is the Coming Face of our Eternal Father

The Apostle John knew Jesus Christ as well as any disciple. In fact, he called himself the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’. John had seen Jesus walk on water, heal the blind, raise the dead. John had seen Jesus transfigured in His heavenly glory.  John knew Jesus as the Son of God. As he wrote in 1 John:

“We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3 NLT)

John Sees JesusKnowing Jesus as he did, John still did not realize an amazing truth. Jesus Christ is our “Eternal Father”. He is not a representative of God our Father. Jesus is God our Eternal Father. When John was on the isle of Patmos, he was caught up to heaven in the spirit. He heard a voice saying in Revelation 1:8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” John turns to  the voice and sees the Son of Man as John had never seen Him before. In fact, the vision of Jesus causes John to faint as if he were dead. Jesus declares: “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

There can be no other conclusion but that Jesus was declaring that He was and is and always will be Almighty God. John fell at the feet of Jesus when he discovered that Jesus was actually God! Jesus was revealed to be our actual “Eternal Father”.

Jesus as the mediator of the new covenant fathered every born again believer. Jesus Christ could indeed declare “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me” because He indeed is our “Eternal Father”!

  • There is no worship of God without worshipping Jesus Christ.
  • There is no praying to God without praying to Jesus Christ.
  • All religions do not lead to the same God.
  • Only your personal relationship with Jesus Christ will lead you to our Eternal Father, Almighty God! Jesus and the Father are ONE!

One day our Eternal Father will return to gather His bride. When we are caught in the air, we will behold Him just as He is, our Eternal Father.

When He returns to set up His Kingdom, He will judge the peoples of the earth as God, for He is God!

Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming soon! We shall behold Him just as He is, our Eternal Father!

“We Shall Behold Him

Face to Face in all of His Glory

We shall behold Him, We shall behold Him

Face to Face our Savior and Lord

We shall behold Him as our Eternal Father!”