So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. (Luke 1:4-7)
God did the most unnatural thing through the most natural means. God’s desire is that each person acknowledge sin, turn away from sin and embrace Almighty God as Lord. Throughout the Old Testament history, the Jews had Scripture that taught that God was the only true God and to be worshipped exclusively. Further, they were to treat other people well, dealing fairly with equals and taking care of the weak.
As we read we see a repetition of the pattern: faithfulness to God and brothers, declining into apostasy and abuse of the weak. God sent numerous prophets to call the people back. When the people listened, they returned for a generation and then fell away again.
This was no surprise to God. He had a plan for complete salvation waiting in the wings. He waited until there could be no mistake that it was impossible for anyone to live up to God’s standard. Everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God.
Therefore, He arranged for His Son to become fully man in addition to being fully God. The mission of the God/man, Jesus, was to be the innocent victim who would die as an atonement for the sin of the world. The process required, first, being conceived in a miraculous way, but growing naturally in a mother’s womb for 9 months.
Next after birth, Jesus, the Son of God would spend 30 years growing naturally into manhood and maturity. And only then assume the ministry of teaching about the kingdom of God. Finally, Jesus would voluntarily walk into death, innocent of all sin to die as the sacrificial victim. In His death, Jesus atoned for your sin and mine. He opened the way into life eternal. He established the way to live victoriously in this fallen world.
All this began one night with the birth of a baby. When Mary delivered the Baby Jesus, the Angels rejoiced and proclaimed the glorious news. The Shepherds came, saw and worshipped, and joyously evangelized on their way back to the sheep. Mary contemplated the life of her son, the innocent babe at her breast. Years later, John prepared the way for Jesus to minister, stating Jesus must increase and he, John, must decrease.
He must increase, but I must decrease.
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to w
hat he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:30-36)
We celebrate the birth of the innocent on Christ’s Day with carols and worship and gift giving and feasting. It is the time of innocence and joy.
Nevertheless, Christ’s Day is the harbinger of the Passover celebration when the Lamb of God was sacrificed to atone for the sin of the world. Out of the depth of the sorrow over the death of the innocent One, who died in our place, we are raised up in joy three days later at the triumph over sin and death in the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. That innocent, weak babe we celebrate now became the triumphant Risen Christ!
Lord Jesus, I bow before Your Presence in humble submission. I am truly a sinner, but You have truly redeemed me by Your blood.
You came humbly as a baby. You submitted to the cries of thousands. You worked Yourself to exhaustion healing the sick and casting out demons. You demonstrated what life in God should be.
Give me the joy of the Angels in acknowledging You as the Good News to all men.
Give me the humility of the shepherds to come with empty hands and open heart to the manger to worship You as a baby.
Give me the wonder of Mary at the amazing love of God that as a baby and as an innocent victim You come to my rescue.
Give me the courage of John to proclaim the coming of the Lord in judgement, but also in love for those who surrender to You.
I am Yours, most loving Lord. Consecrate my life to You and Your ministry all the days of my life. At the end bring me through death to triumphantly enter Your Glorious Presence, and there dwell with You in love and joy forever.
To the Glory of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Amen
…during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’” (Luke 3:2-6)
John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)
John was a cousin of Jesus. His birth was miraculous, since Elizabeth, his mother, was too old to bear children. He was a Levite and could have been as priest. Instead, under the direction of the Holy Spirit he became a prophet. His mission was to prepare the way for Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God.
His ministry was a harsh one. He proclaimed the sins of all the people to such an extent that the leaders of the Jews challenged his right to preach. Fearlessly, he called all to repent of their sin, including those leaders challenging him.
John went on to declare that the Messiah was at hand. John’s ministry was to make the hearts of the people ready to receive the message of the Messiah. He preached to raise the expectations of the people to be open to the salvation that Jesus would proclaim. John introduced the concept of empowerment by the Holy Spirit through the ministry of the Messiah.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!” (Matthew 3:16-17)
The believers of today have embraced salvation in Christ. The understand that their sins were washed away by the blood Jesus shed on the cross. They understand that they have, in Christ, eternal life.
What they have missed is the experience of the power of the Holy Spirit working in their lives. John stated that the Lord Jesus Christ would baptize believers with the Holy Spirit. He would instill fire in believers’ spirits. Jesus promised that believers would receive power to witness.
Paul taught that there were nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit that those who were baptized with the Holy Spirit could experience. He further enjoined all to seek the baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Lord God Almighty, I look for the coming of my Lord Jesus the light of the world. The world is growing darker as sin reigns in all aspects of our culture. Jesus called me to be a light in the world to dispel the darkness of sin. I am a weak light and I am overwhelmed by the prevalence of sin all around me.
I believe Your coming into the world was not just to give me hope for life eternal. I believe You have called each believer to be a witness in the world, proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ.
For that mission in a world that does not want to be told that all are sinners and damned, I need supernatural power. Grant me the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in me to encourage and inspire Your ministry through me.
To the glory of the One and only Lord God; Amen
Glad Tidings© is a monthly Christian Epistle. It has been published since January, 2004, and distributed free of charge by email. It is also published monthly on this website.
Since Glad Tidings© is sent to all comers. It contains an article that seeks to investigate themes that are common to people in general, and Americans especially. Articles begin in a general discussion and conclude in a Christian context.
In addition to the one thematic article, there are two features:
It is a joy to share with you the truth of God’s love for all of us, and the redeeming power of the Gift of Jesus as sacrifice to pay the price for our sins. Through receiving this free gift of Jesus as our personal Savior, we may all become God’s children, and we have the hope of spending eternal life with Him.
The Shepherd’s Fool, Ted Bradshaw
The shepherds, who were expecting nothing, who were “just common joes”, who were minding their business, were energized to check out the fantastic report,
…for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
Now, they were Jews. Their common language was most likely Aramaic, but they understood Hebrew. So, the term “Christ” proclaimed by the Angel came out “Messiah”. They were most likely not punctilious Jews, as were the Pharisees. But they, too, were waiting the coming Messiah. They expected that the Messiah would deliver them from the oppression of Rome and establish a Judean kingdom that would last forever.
They were so excited that they abandoned their flocks to go, immediately, in the night to see the sight of the new-born Messiah.
What they saw was a baby. They told Mary and Joseph about the annunciation by the Angels. No, none else had seen or heard the Angels, although they must have made a great show and a tremendous noise when a multitude of them shouted “Glory to God!” Mary and Joseph believed them and the shepherds believed that the baby was the Messiah.
I am impressed: they were so convinced that this baby, Jesus, was the Messiah after beholding the Christ child.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, even as it was spoken unto them. (Luke 2:20)
Just being in the child’s Presence convinced them down to their toes. They became the first Evangelists. They shouted and laughed, sang and danced through the village on their way back to the sheep.
Their noise awoke the village, causing heads to peer out windows and doors to discover what the night-time commotion was all about.
To every inquiry, they proclaimed the declaration of the Angel,
Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger. (Luke 22:10-12)
They further told of the verification of the multitude of angels singing to God,
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.’ (Luke 22:14
I am impressed (but not surprised) that the fantastic news did not empty the beds of all who heard it to go and see for themselves. As to people all over the world and throughout history, such news was incredible. “Aw, they have had a nightmare. They must have been drinking new wine. They are drunk out their minds.” Apparently, they all went back to bed.
We have incredible news to declare to the world. God has come in the form of a man. The God/man Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah. His purpose is to take on the burden of all mankind’s sin and exchange our sin for His righteousness and to give us a place beside God in Heaven. At this time of year, we can shout to ring the rafters, just as the shepherds did.
But we also have a sleepy, unbelieving society, who will be annoyed by such a boisterous announcement of good news. They take it as the ravings of the deluded, and grumbling crawl back to sleep. Some call the cops and report us for disturbing the peace.
The good news is True, and for us we get to become martyrs.
Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)
…that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to the might of his glory, unto all patience and long-suffering with joy; giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; (Colossians 1:9-12)
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:16-19)
Mary was young, perhaps 14 0r 15 years of age, when Gabriel appeared to her. At first she was frightened, but the Archangel reassured her. He announced that God intended to give her the wondrous privilege of carrying, birthing and nurturing the Messiah, the Son of God.
Since she was a virgin she wondered how this could be possible. He instructed her that the Holy Spirit and the power of God would manifest to and in her. Mary responded in humble faith, submitting to be an instrument in God’s hands.
I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. (Luke 1:38-44)
Nine months later, after the labor of delivery in the humblest of circumstances, she held a baby, certainly her son, in her arms. Her husband, Joseph who loved her and accepted that the son was not his, was at her side. And then, rustic shepherds arrived, claiming to have seen angels.
At first, Joseph was protective and barred them from entry. Mary asked Joseph to admit them. They came and worshiped the baby and soon left.
In the ensuing silence Mary reflected on the announcement, on the acceptance of Joseph, prompted by an angelic dream, on Elizabeth’s greeting (“the mother of my Lord”), on the hard trip from Nazareth, on the labor in difficult surroundings and on the unexpected visit and the worship of the shepherds.
Truly, she held a miracle in her arms. She became committed to this little bundle for the rest of her life. She did not know the future, but she knew to expect miracles.
Glorious Holy Spirit, come in the power of God to fill my heart with faith. Give the humility to look on Your moving in my life as Your work and not my own. Give me the faith to submit to any miracle You desire to manifest in my life. Remove from me any pride of place or privilege, so that I can become a worthy vessel of your Spirit.
To the glory of God my Guide and Teacher; Amen
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:16-18)
Like a mighty army the myriad angles marched away into nothing. The faint light of the stars shone on the awe-struck faces of the shepherds. Momentarily stupefied, they turned to one another. “God came to us with this amazing announcement.” For a moment, they were just amazed, and then it came to them: “The Messiah! We have to go and see!”
Captured by the import of the message they considered nothing else, leaving their sheep, they raced into the nearby Bethlehem.
There, according to the word of the angel they found the newborn at the breast of a young woman, hardly more than a girl. This domestic scene was set in a barn with all the animals around.
With God’s revelation, they recognized their Messiah in the person of the newborn babe. In simple humility, the shepherds bowed to worship God’s Son born of woman. Their worship was in spirit and in truth.
Jubilant, they headed back to their sheep, loudly praising God. As people called out to them asking what all the fuss was about, the shepherds joyously announced the coming of the Messiah who would deliver God’s people.
They were indeed the first evangelists, proclaiming the Good News that Jesus had come to save us from our sin.
Gracious Savior, I come before You to acknowledge that You are my Savior and my God. I worship you for Your surrender of Your life, so that I can live with You forever.
Give me the joy that the shepherds experienced in finding our Savior. Holy Spirit give me the boldness to proclaim the Good News to all we meet, telling each that there is a Savior in the world and He has a wonderful gift for each one who believes.
To the glory of God, our Savior; Amen
Christmas in the Church calendar does not begin with Christmas Eve and end Christmas Day (too often with great relief!) It begins with a season called, “Advent”. This is a four-week celebration that anticipates the birth of the Christ Child. For believers, it is a time of remembrance and excited looking for the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Son of God became a God/man (in truth fully God and fully man). He was “veiled in flesh” so, none but believers could recognize the Son of God. Unbelievers saw only a man, preaching great truths of life with God and proclaiming the further truths of the Kingdom of God.
God sent His Son the first time to demonstrate God’s love for mankind. He ministered exhaustingly to the needs of the multitude. Their infirmities and sins weighed on the heart of Jesus and aged him prematurely (at 32, the Pharisees looked upon Him, seeing a 50-year old).
They rejected His truth, while maintaining their misunderstandings as truth. God presented them with living proof of His love, but the unbelievers killed Him.
What confused the leaders most was their desire for a conquering king who would deliver them from the Roman yoke.
What God sent was the Suffering Servant prophesied by Isaiah. The Son of God came as the Suffering Servant because that was what the people needed. Their need, and our need today, is forgiveness for sin and an atoning sacrifice to reconcile us to God. Far more than a conquering King, we need a Savior.
The reality of our lives is that we are separated eternally from God by sin. So long as that sin remains a barrier, we are doomed to separation from God forever. While we are under this curse of sin, the coming of the Son of God as a conqueror would be an extreme danger to us. He will come to eradicate sin on earth. Without His atoning sacrifice, all people (including us) would be eradicated. There is no mercy in the Son of God for sin.
Since Jesus has come first as a servant, He has served us well by dying for our sins and cleansing us from sin (all who believe are saved).
For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8)
Believers are no longer enemies of God. His Son’s Coming as the Conquering King can be joyfully anticipated.
He will destroy sin on the earth. All who perpetrate sin: the devil and his demons and all who have not embraced Christ will be cast into the lake of fire.
Now that sounds harsh. The early movie star, W. C. Fields, was a notorious unbeliever. When his Director found him reading a Bible on a movie set, he was shocked. The Director asked, “What are you doing, Bill?” He replied, “Looking for loopholes, looking for loopholes.”
Our emotions want to find a way to escape the consequence of sin, without surrender to Christ as Lord and Master of our lives. However, the plan of God has not been kept secret. Everyone within the reach of my writing has had many opportunities to comply with God’s requirements, i.e. obedience to God’s will, belief in the truths written in the Bible, acknowledge sin, embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Throughout the Bible is recorded the history of God instructing people in the way to live and remain a part of the family of God. Reading that history, we discover that as many times as God blessed His people they eventually turned away from Him. Many times, God sent witnesses to correct the waywardness of the people. Sometimes, they heeded the warnings and mended their ways; and then returned to obeying God. Too often, they ignored God’s corrections. As a result, He would remove His hand of protection. In His absence, enemies attacked, killing and sacking. Other times, drought destroyed crops, plagues afflicted and killed many. At times, these calamities drew the people close to the Lord God, but other times no warning, no calamity convinced the people that they were on the wrong road.
After King Solomon, the nation of Israel split into two nations–Israel and Judah. For two hundred years, God sought to turn the resulting Israel back to Him. They continued to refuse. God gave up on Israel. In 722 B.C., they were crushed and deported into Assyria. The people were ultimately assimilated and completely lost to the message of God.
Judah had a better run. The nation had many “good” kings who called the people back to God. Tragically a century after Israel was ultimately lost, Judah fell into Israel’s pattern of ignoring God and persecuting the prophets He sent to warn them.
150 years after Israel was destroyed and that part of the people of God were deported into Assyria, Judah was defeated by Babylon. They were led as slaves into Babylon. However, there was a difference. They acknowledged their sin and drew back to God while they were in exile that lasted for 70 years.
They returned to the Land of Promise to rebuild Jerusalem, the Temple of God and reestablished themselves as people of God.
500 years later, the Laws made to keep God’s People close to Him, had become barriers to a lively faith. God sent His Son to be the Redeemer and to save all who would trust in Him alone for relationship with God and for salvation from sin and entry into eternal life.
America was founded for the purpose of communicating the Truth that Jesus is God and He is the Savior of all men. Columbus voyaged to a land he thought was India. When He landed, Columbus claimed it for Christ. Nearly 130 years later, the Pilgrims arrived on the shores of New England with the vision of establishing a godly nation.
Their vision proved to be God’s vision, and for 300 years America was a shining example to the world of a nation dedicated to Jesus Christ. The Pilgrims and later others evangelized the native Americans giving them the benefits of salvation. In the 1850’s, America became the foremost missionary-sending nation in history. Our missionaries, led by Christ evangelized on every continent, bringing the Good News of Jesus’ salvation to peoples who were living in fear of the evil in the world. Jesus delivered them and gave them joy in life.
America has not just shared the Gospel, we have shared our selves. We have given away our resources to nations all over the world to support them financially. We have sent food to starving nations. We have shared our medical expertise, without cost to peoples dying of ailments simple to treat with modern medicine. We have sent technology to disadvantaged nations, giving them jobs and income to help them rise out of squalor.
Unhappily, 80 years ago, we began turning away from our faith in God. Increasingly, we have adopted a culture that excludes Jesus. This began with questioning the authority and the veracity of the Bible. The real turning point was 60 years ago when morality was thrown overboard. In the last 30 years, we have experienced a continual attack on anything that is Christian. We have done this, thinking that there were no consequences to legislating Jesus out of our culture.
The consequences that have occurred we have refused to see as the removing the hand of God’s protection. We were horrified at the scourge of AIDs but refused to recognize it as the consequences of homosexuality. We were horrified by the attack of 9/11, the worst loss of life as an act of war against our homeland. We are insensitive to the slaughter of the innocents in the abortion clinics. This, too, was a judgment of God.
I am a voice crying in the wilderness, “Behold your God”. It is necessary for us to connect the dots and take warning. To save America, we must return to Christ as a nation. We must realize that God is not playing around. He is deadly serious that
For centuries, America was a melting pot that drew us together. We drew people together around Christ. That must be our goal again. In the Revelation, the Resurrected Christ wrote letters to the seven Churches in Asia. He wrote to Ephesus.
But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love. Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent. (Revelation 2:4-5)
The Candlestick represents the life of the church. To remove it means that the church at Ephesus would no longer exist. This applies equally to America.
We have left our first love. We have turned our backs on the Christ who has greatly blessed our nation to make it the most free, most generous, most prosperous, and most godly nation in history. We have lost sight of that truth. We have gotten caught up in the “Jack Horner Syndrome” – “What a good boy am I!” God is warning our nation and our people,
“Repent! Return to your roots in Christ! Your place on the world’s stage will last only so long as you obey me, the living God.”
We have become steeped in materialistic philosophy. We have been deceived that material well-being is all-important. We have secularized our thinking to reject the reality of the spiritual needs of people. A truth we have been unwilling to embrace is that unless a person is spiritually alive, material well-being is bankrupt. It is a dead end.
All the wealth in the world lasts only so long as one lives.
All the wealth in the world lasts only so long as one lives. Upon death, all this world disappears. If we are only material, then in this life alone we have hope. Were this true, then it does not matter how I get my well-being. The only important thing is securing my place, and the “devil take anyone else”. In this philosophy, no one else matters. They are tools to use and discard by the powerful.
Yes, the pattern of faith slipping away to disbelief and the resulting judgment of God against the unbelievers will continue. It will continue and America will end on the ash heap of history as so many nations have: Syria, Assyria, Israel, Babylon, Rome. They lasted hundreds of years, but died or dissipated in the end. More recently, the official atheist U.S.S.R. fell under its own weight. Without God, they are no more. America is speeding to follow in all these nations unhappy destiny.
There IS one loophole. I do not know whether W. C. Fields found or if he did, used it. That “loophole” is God’s provision. God always knew that men through their own efforts could never in many millennia achieve the purity and perfection to be in His Righteous and Holy Presence. Thus, left to our own devices individuals are barred from God’s paradise. It is not the meanness of God that bars us. It is the nature in us that seeks the lowest common denominator.
Actually, God is forthright in declaring He loves mankind. We are His creation. He wants us to be with Him during our short life on this planet, AND for eternity.
Here are Scriptures that describe God’s desire for us.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end. (Jerimaiah 29:11)
Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
The majority of people have one of three conceptions of God:
There is some truth in the first two. God’s wrath is nothing to tempt. We should avoid his wrath at all costs. However, His wrath is abated when His Son enters one’s life. All those who belong to Jesus will never experience the wrath of God.
The second is true: God eagerly desires for you and me to be with Him in eternity. He loves us with an everlasting love. However, He will not allow sin to go unpunished. He will not receive into his glorious mansions any who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as God.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14: 1-3)
There is no truth at all in the concept that God does not exist. Those who espouse this spend their lives in living a lie. The evidence of God is undeniable to anyone who will face the truth.
The balance of the cosmos, the intricacy of the human body, the facts of love, hope, faith cry out the existence of a loving and just God.
It is the greatest thing in all the world to embrace Jesus in love. It is soul-satisfying and spirit-enlivening. The love of Christ sent the Holy Spirit to us to dwell with us and in us. He has given us His Spirit as the guarantee that He will always be with us, encouraging, helping, and that He will welcome us into God’s glorious, loving, joy-filled habitation. There we will both joyfully praise the majesty of God and will feed on the heavenly viands and quaff the wine of the Spirit.
Our eternal lives will be at the same time replete–peaceful at rest; and yet we will be eagerly seeking after more of God’s Presence, love and bountiful manifestations in and through us.
As people in America changed from living for God and began living for self, the nation grew more profane. Out of His gracious mercy, Almighty God sent the Holy Spirit to revive the church and to convict the unbelievers. The First Great Awakening swept through the Colonies in the 1740’s. Amazing miracles occurred and amazing transformations in lives were the evidences of God’s grace. The cruder and sinful aspects of the culture died back and the churches burgeoned with faithful believers, many of them were new converts. The society became more civil and the hearts of the people more open to give and receive.
As is the pattern of humans, over time the first love cooled and the zeal for Christ and His Law faded. Culture coarsened and sin became common. In 1850, the Lord Jesus sent the convicting Holy Spirit to awaken the populace to the reality of their sin. Large groups of people came to revival meetings and heard and responded to the message of salvation in Christ alone. In this Second Great Awakening, there were masses of people wailing with tears of repentance. Thousands were converted and again society was transformed. Out of that revival grew the abolitionist movement and that resulted in freeing of the slaves.
Then again, parallel with the growing evils of the “New Morality” (the old immorality blatant), came the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on peoples of every denomination. The evidence was the multiplying of the “charismata”, the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:7-10)
The love of God for America has redeemed us from our sin before. Now join me in prayer for another Advent to revive our apostate churches. We must pray also for the Final Advent in which Christ will come to judge the peoples of the earth and establish His righteous reign
ANSWER: Jesus breathed on His Disciples,
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit: (John 20:22)
Earlier Jesus had said,
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17)
The Holy Spirit is one of the Persons of the Trinity. He is Omnipresent. He is present everywhere all the time. So, the short answer is, “He is Everywhere!”. However, he is especially present in believers. Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit specifically to His Disciples and said that He would be with us. He has initiated the Spirit’s presence as a teacher about Jesus. He has come to dwell in believers. His special purpose is as a guarantee.
… in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,—in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14).
The Holy Spirit within is our assurance that we belong to Almighty God. He is our Father and He will never forsake us.
When the world dumps garbage all over us, when we suffer loss, when we cannot seem to get anywhere, we have the Holy Spirit’s witness in our hearts that He is with us. Because of His testimony in our hearts we know that nothing in this world or in the spirit world can separate us from the love of God.
The Holy Spirit is our Guide, present to lead us along Christ’s path. Jesus is the way and the Holy Spirit orders our steps so we do not wander off and get lost.
The Holy Spirit is our teacher. He teaches us what we need to know to live as overcomers in this fallen world. Further, He reminds of what Jesus taught us as recorded in Scripture. Thus, we need to read and study, so the Holy Spirit has those teachings available.
The Holy Spirit is our comforter when things go badly wrong for us. He is our strength in grief when we lose a loved one. He is our support when we have a worldly loss.
The Holy Spirit is our inspirer. He Inspired the many authors of Scripture. He gives us Rhema as we read the Scriptures. That is an understanding of the meaning of a text or a word that we had never learned before.
Where is he? With the unbeliever, silent in the background. With the believer, actively building up our faith and trust in Jesus.
Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus. My heart longs to be in Your unveiled Presence. Our Nation urgently needs Your redemption. Our world desperately needs Your reconciliation. Pour out Your Spirit of conviction upon us. Bring us to our knees in openhearted repentance. Many, if not most in America need heart transplants. Your word tells us that You will remove our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh that will be soft toward You. We are in great need of You.
Lord of lords and King of kings, our world is groaning over the rampant sin around the globe. Come in Your majesty, come in Your awesome power and sweep away the evil; judge the people, condemn all sin, and then restore the world to its perfect state prior to the Fall.
My gracious King, You said You would come quickly and bring rewards with You. You know my heart, Lord. Reward is secondary, the frosting on the cake. It is Jesus I long for.
To be in Your presence, Precious Jesus, would be glory for me. Your Psalmist says, “Thou wilt show me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; In thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” What a wonderful thought. You give us fullness, all the Joy we can hold, and spilling over. Beyond that You have a place for me at your right hand. The place of honor is for all believers! What a deep and thrilling pleasure to be seated next to You and even more to be honored.
You say in The Revelation “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely.” (22:17) I understand that the Holy Spirit will declare to the Church that time is up and You are going to return in glory and judgment. The Church, the Bride of Christ will unite with the Holy Spirit in a cosmos-shaking universal cry, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
I long for that Day when I will see You, my Savior face to face, when all This world’s trappings will be shed and my mortal body will be transformed into a celestial body. Then I will be able to glorify You and praise You unhindered by distractions.
Hallelujah! My Lord and Savior. Worthy are You to receive all Honor, Glory, Dominion and Praise.
Glory be to God the Father. Glory be to God the Son. Glory be to God the Holy Spirit.