“So Don’t Be Troubled or Afraid”

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. – John 14:27 NLT

Peace

God has sent the Holy Spirit to abide with us. He sent the Spirit in the name of Jesus. That is the Trinity of God — Father, Son,and Spirit. They are one and the same but with different functions. God created, Jesus redeemed and the Spirit calls us to accept Jesus and be a child of God. Jesus gives us the gift of peace. It is not peace that means there are no wars or violence or problems in our lives.That is what the world thinks of as peace. But true peace, the peace that Jesus gave us is the kind that keeps us calm in the middle of a storm, in the middle of medical emergencies, financial emergencies or any other bad situation that you can name. The peace of God is available to every child of God, but we have to decide to accept it and abide in that peace, just as we had to decide to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We can accept the peace that Jesus offers us or we can hang onto our cares and worries and let the devil devour our peace and joy.

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.–1 Peter 5:6-8 (NLT)

Humbling ourselves under the hand of God means that we completely agree with Him that He can and will do exactly what He said He would do. To believe anything less than that is to deny the Omniscience, Omnipresence and the Omnipotence of the great God that we serve.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“And Even Greater Works”

19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.  – John 14:19 NLT

John 14:18-24 NLT

Jesus was always teaching His disciples and encouraging them. He knew that until the Holy Spirit came, they would feel alone and discouraged. He assures them and us that we will never be alone. He isn’t here physically with us now, but He is here abiding in our hearts and guiding us. If we love Jesus, we will be obedient children and the Father loves all of those who love Jesus. Every word that Jesus spoke came straight from the Father, so it is Truth. Everyone has the same opportunity to answer the call to come to Jesus. It is difficult for us to understand why some do and some don’t. God doesn’t send anyone to hell, a person has to work hard to get to hell. The wages (salary, pay) of sin is death. It is hard to understand why anyone would continue on that path when the plan of salvation is free and open to all who will accept. So, each of us has a choice to make, we can accept salvation full and free or we can earn our way to hell.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“And Even Greater Works”

12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. – John 14:12 NLT

John 14:12-17 NLT

It is hard to imagine doing greater things than Jesus.I don’t know of a greater miracle than raising someone from the dead, so Jesus must have been talking about “greater” in quantity, not “greater” in quality. He could only be in one place physically while He was here on earth, now that the Holy Spirit abides in each of us, He can be all over the world at the same time. We now have access to the same power that Jesus had. If we ask for and believe that we receive it, we can actually have it. I once asked a Pastor since this is true, why do we not see more miracles today? He answered that it was because we don’t love like Jesus loved. While that is true, I think it is because we don’t believe like Jesus believed. If we truly believed that we had access to the same power that Jesus had when He was here and has now in heaven, we would ask for and receive it.

6 The Lord said, “If your faith were the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Dig yourself up and plant yourself in the sea,’ and it would obey you.–Luke 17:6 (NCV)

We, like the Israelites in the desert, have limited what God can do for us and through us.

40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,And grieved Him in the desert! 41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power:—Psalm 78:40-42a (NKJV)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“And the Father Is In Me”

11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.​- John 14:11 NLT

John 14:7-11 NLT

Sometimes, even when you know what someone thinks of you, it hurts to hear them verbalize it. After three years of being with the disciples, I wonder how Jesus felt when he heard Philip say that he still needed to see the Father to believe that Jesus was who He said He was. You can almost hear the disappointment in His voice as He asks; “Do you still not know me, Philip?” If you can’t believe what I say, at least, believe because of what you have seen me do. When we have walked with Jesus for years and then we deny Him by our words or our actions, I imagine He feels the same hurt and disappointment that He felt then. I think if we could see His face at that very moment, it would bring tears to our eyes and us to our knees in repentance. Still, we are forgiven, just as Philip was that day. We can rejoice in the knowledge that His great love for us will never allow anyone or anything to take us out of His hand.

12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.–John 17:12 (NASB)

He is still holding onto each of us that God has given Him to keep.

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees.—Romans 8:24 (NASB)

So, just believe!

“When Everything Is Ready”

3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. –John 14:3

John 14:1-6 NLT

​​We have a place that has been prepared for us by God Himself. One day, Jesus will return and take us there to live with Him for eternity. Paul said that if Christians had hope only for this life and not for eternity, we should be pitied.

19 If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.—1 Cor. 15:19 (NCV)

But because we have placed our faith in God and, in God alone, we can be assured of eternal life. We can know the way by accepting Jesus and being led by the Holy Spirit. We are guaranteed that this promise will be kept. Because God has deposited the Holy Spirit in our hearts and He abides there to lead us.

21 Remember, God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people. 22 He put his mark on us to show that we are his, and he put his Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee for all he has promised.—2 Cor. 1:21-22 (NCV)

If we truly believe that the Bible is inerrant and infallible and that Jesus is the truth, we have no reason to fear or dread anything that man can do to us. Jesus gave us a gift of His peace, not like the world’s peace that means no storms will ever come our way. His peace keeps us calm in the storm because we believe He is in perfect control of every situation.

10 God says, “Be still and know that I am God…”–Psalm 46:10a (NCV)


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“But Why Can’t I Come Now, Lord?”

37 “But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” – John 13:37 NLT

John 13:36-38 NLT

Jesus knew Peter’s weakness, just as He knows each of ours. He knew that Peter would deny Him even though Peter was so sure that He would not. It is easy to criticize Peter. But we seem to forget that the other disciples left as well. How many times have we failed Jesus?

42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’–Matt. 25:4​​2-4​3​​ NIV

​But the great thing is that He always forgives us when we fail, just as He forgave Peter. When the women went to the tomb where Jesus had been, the angel sitting there told them this:

6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,​ ​who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”–Mark 16:6-7 (NLT)

Jesus made sure that Peter was specifically included in the invitation. Jesus will always be waiting with open arms to receive us no matter how many times we fail.

God’s Love

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“A Son Given to Us”

6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. 
– Isaiah 9:6-7 (NRSV)

This prophecy was fulfilled in Luke 2 when the virgin Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus. God would keep His covenant with David that a member of David’s household would always occupy the throne of Israel. Jesus would not establish His earthly kingdom at that time, but it will be completely fulfilled when the new Jerusalem is established. It will be an eternal kingdom with Jesus as the last king. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, Mighty God, and the everlasting Father. We can celebrate the birth of Jesus because it is another assurance that God never fails to keep His covenants and His promises. He is an awesome, amazing God who holds us in the palm of His hand and we can never be separated from Him. He inhabits the praises of His people, so praise Him continually and “forget not all His benefits”.

Merry Christmas

“The Prophet of the Most High”

God is waiting to show you the way.

76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
78 By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon[h] us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
–Luke 1:76-79 (NRSV)

These are the words of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist as he prophesied that John was the one to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3 A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
John was a faithful messenger. He knew that he was not the Messiah, but that he was a precursor to the Messiah coming. We need to be as faithful as John in delivering the Good News of the coming of Jesus Christ. We still live in a spiritual wilderness in our world today. It is getting spiritually drier everyday and it is up to us to be faithful in telling the world that not only has Jesus come, but He is coming again. People get ready.

Have a Joy-filled Christmas Eve!

“How Can This Be?”

God is waiting to show you the way.

30 The angel told her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor[a] with God.
31 You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus.
32 He will be a great man and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be? I’ve never had sexual intercourse.
–Luke 1:30-34 (God’s Word)


Can you imagine the thoughts that must have gone through Mary’s mind at this announcement? The thoughts of the shame of being unmarried and pregnant? She would be ridiculed and possibly put away by Joseph, her betrothed. What faith it took for Mary to say, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you have said happen to me”. And, then, Joseph, how could he accept this? Surely, Mary had been unfaithful and gotten herself in this condition. But God! But God had a plan and a purpose. Can we even imagine what God could do through us, if we had even a hint of the faith that Mary and Joseph displayed in carrying out God’s marvelous plan. How many times has God spoken to us and we have responded with “How can this be?” Will we say okay to God,even when it doesn’t make sense to us? Do we believe or do we just mouth the words? But God!!

“Speak Comfort to Jerusalem”

2 “Speak [a]comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. – Isaiah 40:2 NKJV

40:1-5 

​As we read in the books of the Old Testament, we find that the children of Israel were inconsistent in their faithfulness to God.  ​There would be times when they would worship Him faithfully and God would bless them abundantly.  In those times, they were blessed with peace and comfort.  Then they would become prideful and forget that it was God who gave them victory over their enemies and fed them abundantly.  Then God would send plagues and enemies to defeat them.  Then there would be times of lack and constant troubles in their land.  Eventually they would turn back to God and he would bless them again. Our nation is repeating history in doing the same things. God cannot and will not bless us until we turn back to Him. As long as we are stubborn and rebellious as a nation, we can expect our problems to increase until we humble ourselves and return to Him. Let us continue in prayer that we will do that today. Then and only then will we receive the comfort that comes from honoring God and lifting up the Name of Jesus.