7 Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. — Isaiah 55:7 NLT
How can we change our ways (actions)? By changing our thoughts and thought patterns. How do we do that? Truth is, we can’t, we have to seek the Lord and allow His Holy Spirit to do that work in us. That means we have to forsake or change our way of thinking about things. Changing our thought patterns requires us to change our focus. It requires us to ask ourselves this question: What is really important to me? God or self? We know the right answer, but we often choose the wrong answer. When we fail, we “seek the Lord”, which means we return to God and ask His forgiveness. Because God is love, he has mercy on us. He is waiting to pardon us and restore us to a right relationship with Him. We are all familiar with the Parable of the Prodigal Son related to us by Jesus in the Gospels. God is a much more loving, forgiving Father than any earthly father could ever be. If we have strayed from the path of righteousness, we must be aware that God will come for us and bring us back to the fold. He won’t give up! And when He finds us and brings us back home, He and the angels will have a great party in heaven.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. — Titus 2:11-14 NIV
When Jesus was born, “the grace of God that brings salvation appeared to all men”. The location and situation may not have been glorious from a human point of view, but from a heavenly point of view it was celebrated. A bright, magnificient star was placed in the sky and His birth was heralded to shepherds by an angel speaking to them. That angel was joined by a host of heavenly angels praising the birth of this Jesus.
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” — Luke 2:13, 14 NIV
I think it is safe to assume that there was a huge party going on in heaven. After all, the Creator of the universe had just fathered a Son. This Son would spend His time teaching us that “we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age”. He came in the flesh to give Himself “to redeem us and to purify for Himself His own special people”. These people (Christians) would be zealous to do good works. By His lifestyle and His death, He showed us the true meaning of love. Not just for a day, not just for a season, but every day 24/7/365.25.
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.– Acts 10:38 NKJV
That is the example He set for us, to make “doing good” our lifestyle, not just a day or a seasonal event, but the complete and only reason He came to earth. And He is still here living inside us. It wasn’t just for a day or for thirty-three years, it was for eternity.
48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” 49 “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father — and you dishonor me. 50 And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God wants to glorify me. Let him be the judge. 51 I assure you, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!” 52 The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say that those who obey your teaching will never die! 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Are you greater than the prophets, who died? Who do you think you are?”—John 8: 48-53 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Now the people are really getting upset! They even tell Jesus that He is demon possessed. Jesus assures them that He is not demon possessed and that He is here to honor His Father. He also tells them that if anyone accepts His teachings as truth, they will never die. This gets the crowd in a bigger uproar! How can you say that those who obey you will never die? “Who do you think you are?” Who is this man Jesus? It is the same question that all of us must answer, “Who do you think Jesus is?” The answer to that question will determine where you spend eternity. Consider it carefully. My prayer is that you will come to know Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord. If you do, it will be the best Christmas you have ever celebrated. Even the angels in heaven will join in and throw a party.
8-10 “Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.”—Luke 15:8-10 (The Message)
God is waiting to show you the way.
Luke 15 (New Life Version)
20 “The son got up and went to his father. While he was yet a long way off, his father saw him. The father was full of loving-pity for him. He ran and threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am not good enough to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to the workmen he owned, ‘Hurry! Get the best coat and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. 23 Bring the calf that is fat and kill it. Let us eat and be glad. 24 For my son was dead and now he is alive again. He was lost and now he is found. Let us eat and have a good time.’
You are invited to a party. In fact, you could be the reason for the party. The angels in heaven celebrate when a lost child comes home. So, when you are tired of looking for provision, love, and security in the pigpens of the world, come on home and let the festivities begin.
Posted for Sept 01