Therefore, Choose Life!

18 Aug , 2020  

The Shepherd's Fool Tulips in the sunFor this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”   (Deuteronomy 30:11-20 ESV)

God Loves Us and Wants Our Love

This commandment is not too hard for you.

The Shepherd's Fool Wild flowers in the sunGod is Creator. He is, therefore, Sovereign. He gets to call the shots. In the obscurity of eternity past, He conceived of a mortal companion that would be capable of love. Almighty God already had companionship and love in the Trinity. He had all that there was to be had. He was a companionable, loving Trinity of three Persons in One Almighty God. And yet He wanted something other that was not God to Love God.

Why, is a mystery. He had all the love. He had all the fellowship in and of Himself. He did not need anything more. He was, is and always will be complete in Himself and in Himself. Nevertheless, He desired to have another who could love Him.

He could have created another spirit. Perhaps the Cherubim, Seraphim, Archangels and angels were His first Creation. They loved the Almighty, but they had one limitation. They were Created to love and obey. They were not volitional.

Someday I will have to do the research necessary to discover how Lucifer had the volition to not only covet God’s throne, but also to corrupt a vast number of angels to join in Lucifer’s rebellion.

We Are Created to Love God

The Shepherd's Fool Leaves in the sunStill the Almighty wanted some “other” to love Him. He determined it would have to be material. That in turn required God to Create laws for the material to hold together. Electrons swirling around in the infinitude of space needed cohesion to form substantial things. God Created Gravity, Laws of Motion, Magnetic Attraction, Light, Energy (and therefrom Heat). All this was “without form and void”. God moved and created light, and brought the formless to coalesce into liquid and solid. He exploded the light and heat into an extremely vast number of flaming stars as centerpieces of solar systems. And then, God expanded the solid exponentially. He coalesced the solid into a great number of earths to orbit around the stars. All perfectly following God’s “thermal-kinetic” laws

Still all this was insensible. That “other” needed being and sentience. It needed electrons to coalesce into a shape. It needed a place to inhabit. The habitation was delineated by the earths available. These formed the first layer of foundation for the other that God desired. He focused in on a mediocre star; and then on the third planet from that sun. There the Almighty chose to plant a garden of multiform plants – trees, bushes, flowers, lichens and molds. They formed the second layer of foundation. On that basis, the Almighty brought forth sentient creatures – insects, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals. They formed the tertiary layer of foundation upon which the Almighty could create that other.

God Creates Humans to Love

The Shepherd's Fool Wheat grass in the sunTo this moment in eternity all God’s Creation had been impersonal. He had conceived and he had spoken it all into existence. But with the “other”, the Almighty got His hands dirty. He selected some of the basic elements and based on the excellent design of the mammals, He personally formed a human being. Animals he had spoken into being and into life. Humans, He said not a word, but personally formed the first; and then the Supreme being the Trinity, the Almighty God, in a kiss of love, breathed into man the Spirit of Life.

Man opened his eyes and beheld the most magnificent, infinitely loving Maker and Master. The Almighty filled all of this other’s first living sight.

Man’s heart was stirred and he knew, as the absolute first knowing, that he loved his Creator. God introduced him to the earth, the garden the animals. As man began his work, he felt joy in his obedience to the Almighty’s instructions. This was the second knowing – joy of obedience.

Still as he claimed mastery over all the animals in the naming of them, he saw them in pairs, each kind having a mate. But he had none. God was wonderful, a magnificent companion who loved him completely and who man loved completely. Nevertheless, God was not a mate.

God Creates Woman

The Shepherd's Fool Woman watching the sunsetThe Almighty was not surprised by that lack. For His reasons He created Mankind male only, at first. As the man’s sense of lack of a mate grew, the Almighty anesthetized him. God, the Divine Surgeon, opened Man’s chest cavity and removed a bit of bone and flesh. Again personally, hands-on, created a mate to complement and fulfill man; therefore, she was called Woman. Adam opened his eyes and there stood Eve and God, the two beings he loved in all the world.

Adam and Eve shared the tending of the garden. After a day of labor, they relaxed setting aside the work until the next day. They were never rushed. There were no schedules. The work was satisfying in itself. The rest at the end of each day was just as satisfying. They would first bathe in the River Gihon. Then the Almighty joined them and the three strolled through the evening in loving companionship. Adam and Eve pointed with innocent pride at all they had accomplished. God was pleased with their obedience and industriousness. Life was such a joy – filled with love, accomplishment, peace and God’s Presence.

Adam and Eve Sin

I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.   (Deuteronomy 30:15)

There were two trees in the Garden of special note. The Holy Spirit has not given us any indication that Adam and Eve sampled the delights of the Tree of Life. The thrust of the information was The Fall. Eve and then Adam both disobeyed Almighty God, their loving Father. They chose to sample the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

How could they be that stupid? Well, they weren’t really stupid. They were innocent, naive, inexperienced. They knew nothing of deception, having lived only in the Truth of God. Nevertheless, just as soon as they actuated their disobedience, their righteousness was stripped away along with their innocence. The close, loving fellowship with their gracious Father was severed. They knew the burden of guilt. They sought to hide their sin deceiving God, hiding from Him.

Satan said, “Ye shall not surely die.” It was a half-truth. They would not immediately die physically. But they immediately died spiritually and physical death was immediately in the future; whereas before sinning, death had not even been known. Satan gave them a half-truth that was a whole lie.

After being exiled from the Tree of Life, Adam and Eve drop out of the story, except the Holy Spirit makes record of some of their, likely, many children. The sins most other children committed were not recorded.

The Sons of Adam and Eve

The Shepherd's fool Pink flowers in the sunTheir second son, Able, gives us an indication of his parents’ righteous teaching. He was the “good” son. In obedience to Almighty God, he offered a lamb as a righteous sacrifice, i.e. life for life. It was a lamb of sacrifice to cleanse Abel of sin.

The elder son, was of a different character. He apparently was not listening to Adam’s or God’s instructions. He thought the offering to God was a ceremony. He brought the best he had. But it was not an atonement for his sin. What Cain needed to do was obtain a lamb from Abel.

Abel’s name means “something transitory”. Cain’s name comes from a root meaning “provoke to jealousy”

Cain thought his offering was good enough, so when God honored his baby brother, instead of Cain, he took offense.

Despite their loss of righteousness, God was intimately involved with the humans He Created. Knowing that murderous sin was in Cain’s heart, the Almighty God took a personal interest and spoke directly to him, “If you obey me in the manner of sacrifice, your offering will be accepted. If you persist in disobedience you are open to greater sin. Satan is waiting at your door, but you have the ability to triumph over him.”

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”   (Genesis 4:6-7)

But, tragically, Cain liked the feeling of jealousy and resentment. It gave him a sense of power, so he chose to embrace that, The enemy of our souls lied to Cain and he, like Eve, believed Satan, rather than God. Satan said, “You know, if Abel were dead. You would be the only one, so God would have to approve your offering.” The logic was there, except for one slight detail. God doesn’t have to do anything by man’s logic.

Cain chose to eliminate Abel. He hid the body and covered Abel’s blood with dirt – the “Perfect Crime”, no evidence, no body.

God has a way of asking questions He already knows the answers to, “Cain, where is Abel? I miss him.”

Cain compounded the felony with a lie and an accusation against God. “I don’t know! And besides he’s a grown man, I don’t have to keep track of him.” The implication is that God was exceeding His authority expecting Cain to keep track of his brother.

Cain chose a series of evils, when the good was so easy. By setting aside his pride, Cain could have gone to Abel and asked for, or even purchased a lamb for offering. It would take humility and acknowledging that Cain had to learn from Abel. Instead he preserved his pride at the price of Abel’s life and Cain’s banishment from God’s Presence – and loss of his pride anyway.

Obey by Loving the Lord your God

The Shepherd's Fool boy on swing in the sunNow let’s leapfrog over several millennia to the time of King David and after. David loved Almighty God! He had grown to be intimate with the Almighty as David, in solitude, tended Jesse’s flocks. He chose to obey and follow the Almighty exclusively with all his heart. In battle, David followed the Lord God, and God gave him victories against superior forces time and again, over Goliath, over Saul (David refused to slay Saul despite two separate opportunities), over the Philistines, and all the rest. By example He led the People of God to worship YHWH exclusively. During David’s and Solomon’s reigns Israel honored YHWH, exclusively, so they had peace and prospered.

However, beginning in the reign of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, idolatry cropped up and began to flourish. The people chose to worship nothingnesses, building places of worship on “every high hill”! From the division of the nation into Israel and Judah, Israel completely rejected Almighty God and worshipped nothingnesses, particularly Baal and Ashtoreth.

Judah had a checkered history. Under the evil kings they abandoned God Almighty, but under the righteous kings, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Uzzah, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah (even though several of these “good” kings committed grievous sins) they reformed the nation and eliminated idolatrous worship. Under those latter kings Judah was spared defeat by the bully nations.

Israel and then Judah were clear object lessons for us today. When a person or a nation commits his, her or their hearts to the loving Almighty God, he, she, or they are protected and prospered by the Almighty.

If Your Heart Turns Away

When individuals or nations turn their back on Jeshua, He as the righteous Savior, gives them up to their desires. Paul instructs us in Ch. 1

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.  (Romans 1:22-25)

The Shepherd's Fool Calendula flowers in the sunIn our nation, today we have chosen to feed on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We are living by human logic and understanding.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.  (Proverbs 14:12)

We have begun to bow down at the altar of science. We have worshipped screen stars and rock stars and sport stars, as if they had wisdom, when all they have is fickle human emotion. They declare the latest politically correct craze, regardless of the truth that God reveals, and theydecry the “deniers” as pariahs.

We are sacrificing our pre-born babies on the altar of Moloch, which we have re-branded as “convenience” and “birth control”.

We are being told that we must embrace the abomination of homosexuality and all its spawnings. The laws of the state are enforcing our compliance with fines and suits that bankrupt believers who adhere to their faith in Jeshua.

We are indoctrinating our children in public schools and colleges to turn them into idolaters and away from Jeshua.

We have ignored past history. Very few are even cognizant of Biblical history. Even the history of our nation is unknown. America prospered and was victorious as long as we looked to Jeshua as the Lord of our nation. In the middle of the last century faith in Jeshua began to be eroded and now three generations later believers are just a faithful remnant.

You May Dwell in the Land

America is not ours. All the world, all the cosmos belongs to our Creator God. He gave this land to the faithful Pilgrims and their successors the Founders of this nation. America was founded by men and women who believed in Jeshua as their Lord and Savior. They knew that as long as the People adhered to faith in the Lordship of Jeshua our nation would prosper. As long as we were submissive to the will of God Almighty, we could keep this land, living in peace and prosperity.

The Shepherd's Fool Wildflower Seed Pods in the sunWe introduced the scourge of slavery to pollute the nation and we reaped the whirlwind of God’s judgment. A war to free the slaves cost America the blood and lives of 623,026 of our youth. BUT GOD! … accepted that sacrifice and allowed us to keep this nation.

From the 1850’s to the 1930’s, America has sent hundreds of missionaries to the far corners of the globe to evangelize the not yet reached with the Gospel.

In 1917, we sent our men to rescue Europe from stalemate and likely defeat during WW I

In 1941-45, We fought again, sending our men to Europe to save the nations from the Nazi scourge and at the same time sent our men into the Pacific to destroy the Japanese attempt to take over those nations.

After we had brought our victorious men home, leaving thousands in graves all over the world, we spent Billions of dollars rebuilding the war-torn nations of our enemies and our friends.

But since those godly sacrifices, America has turned away from God. We have been increasingly excluding Jeshua from sector after sector of our society.

Jeshua, the One who will judge nations and peoples with righteousness has, in his mercy, withheld His just condemnation, giving America the space to repent and return to surrender to the Lordship of the Mashiach. If we do not, He will cast down our nation and allow another to have a go at living under His rule.

He gave the Jews a millennium and a half to see if they could live under God’s Law that He gave to Moses. They could not. God sent His Son, Jeshua to give them one last chance. They rejected Almighty God’s only Begotten Son: therefore, Jeshua sent His Disciples to the Gentiles throughout the world. Christianity has spread across the globe by faithful missionaries. Many, if not most, were sent and financed by America.

He has given America 400 years. We began strong, and yet, in the last century we have drawn away from Jeshua.

Living in His Blessings

Therefore, choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days,  (Deuteronomy 30:20)

The Shepherd's Fool Queen Anne's Lace flowers in the sun.What must we do? We must take Jeshua seriously. He said,

Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.   (Mark 16:15)

You are charged with an evangelical mission.

Jeshua said,

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.   (John 17:20-21)

It is your word of testimony that will:

  • Lead others to Jeshua
  • Give them the foundation to believe in Jeshua
  • Bring them into the family of Almighty God and make us all one in God and one with one another
  • Make the conditions right for the Holy Spirit to send belief in Jeshua to every corner of this globe

We cannot bring in the Kingdom of God by our efforts, but we can proclaim salvation to all who will hear that wonderful news, that Jeshua is the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is to Him we must all surrender and be saved, clothed in righteousness and be given a place for eternity in the Presence of Love inestimable, joy unspeakable and peace unceasing.

Go in the power of the Holy Spirit to change your friends and neighbors, to change our nation and to change the world!

Prayer for Grace and Service

Lord God Almighty, You sent Your Son to transform our lives and to give us Your message to the world

You sent the Holy Spirit to empower and embolden us to seize that message of salvation through Jeshua ha Meshach, and proclaim it from the housetops.

You have adopted us as Your beloved children. You are asking us to follow Your Son and the Holy Spirit into a hostile world and give them your love.

We choose to obey. We choose to comply. We choose to be Your hands of mercy, Your feet to serve and Your mouths to proclaim the love of God for all people.


Benediction for Choosing God

“Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and in the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.   (Romans 16:25-27)

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Loving Jesus

27 Feb , 2020  

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:1-11)

Misunderstanding Love

Steve was Christian and a powerful business owner. One day, while coming back from lunch, a panhandler asked him for a buck. Steve had a nudge from the Lord and so he took the man, Bill, to lunch. While Bill was eating, Steve called the office and cleared his calendar for the rest of the day. After lunch he took Bill to a spa where Bill got a bath and a shave and haircut. Next, he took him to a department store and bought him two suits, and some casual clothes, accessories and shoes. Then he rented an apartment for Bill. For two weeks he had him come into Steve’s company and work with Steve’s personnel to determine his skills and to polish his language. After that, he arranged for several interviews. Bill was hired at a living salary.

Steve went on vacation. A week or so after Steve returned, he saw Bill on the street. He greeted him in passing, but Bill ignored him. Steve stopped, turned back and caught up to him, “Bill, how are you?’ Bill just looked at Steve.

“Bill, Bill, I’m Steve. I’m the one who bought that suit. I’m the one who got you the apartment, and helped you get a job.”

Bill replied, “And what have you done for me recently?”

Sometimes, that is the way Christians treat our wonderful Savior. He has done so very much for them, but they begin to take all His bountiful gifts for granted, and then complain to Him about inconveniences in their lives.

Love From Jesus

Let’s look at Romans 5 to see what our loving Lord has done for us

  • Justified by faith – but that is not our faith, it has been the gift of God’s grace, Jesus faith impressed upon us
  • Peace with God – Jesus gives an unworldly, i.e., Heavenly peace
  • We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand – That faith comes from the unmerited favor of Jesus the Son of God, and that faith becomes resident in our hearts. Faith in God’s future grace enables us to stand in Jesus’ name against all the wiles of the devil. It also Gives us the courage to persevere through the hardest of times in this fallen world.
  • Rejoice in hope of the glory of God – It is with great joy that we anticipate our lives in Christ’s Presence with
    • Unmitigated joy
    • Peace that is eternal
    • Basking in the ever-flowing love of our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
  • Hope that does not put us to shame – The hope that Jesus instills in our hearts has a sure and certain outcome. We, all believers, after we have served out our lives in the world have a sure and certain glorious future without an end in God’s Kingdom!
  • Christ died for the ungodly, i.e. us. We did and do not merit what Jesus has done for us.
    • Jesus gave up his throne and
    • Demeaned Himself to be squashed into a limited man, and then
    • Allowed men to torture and murder him.
    • Jesus surrendered His life to buy our lives back
  • In fact, we all are born enemies of God, BUT GOD (I love that phrase!), but God, Christ our Savior, reconciled us to God. Our warfare with God was caused by our seeking to carve out our own place. Now because of Jesus, the warfare is over. Because of Him, we have surrendered the tawdry, shaky place we carved out; and have been given a beautiful and secure place with our Father for eternity!
  • While we were still sinners, Christ died for us Our Savior did not wait until we cleaned ourselves up and became respectable. Our Father loved us and so Jesus came to us while we were still covered with the filth of sin.
  • We shall be saved by his life – Jesus allowed the Jews and Romans to murder Him, in so doing Jesus became the innocent victim, the Lamb of God. Because of his death we have life everlasting.
  • We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ – Because of all Jesus has done, we are free to take great joy in our relationship with the Father.

Proof of Jesus’ Love

Here are magnificent proofs of Jesus’ love for us. We have a majestic God Who is our Father, but He is not an absentee Father. No, no! He is a hugging-you-to-his-breast Father. He is a holding-you-in-His-lap Father. He is the Father that gets down on the floor with you and plays your games. The Father’s love is manifested in His Presence in your life.

The Apostle John recorded in the 15th, 16th and 17th Chapters of his Gospel the endearing terms Jesus expressed in describing God’s love for you.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.   (John 15:9-13)

Jesus’ Intimate Love for Us

We have seen the greatness of God’s love in the detail of what Jesus did for us. Now we will look at the intimacy of love Jesus has towards us.

Here are excerpts from John’s three chapters, 15, 16 & 17:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.   (John 15:9)

You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  (John 15:14-16)

… for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.   (John 16:27)

Jesus addressed His Father and ours,

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.   (John 17:15-24)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  (John 15:9)

I shake my head in wonder at the impact of this truth. Jesus, our Lord loves us to the same degree that the Father loves Jesus. That is a love that is beyond all our understanding. We cannot conceive of that magnitude of love. Nevertheless, that is the magnitude of love that Almighty God loves us!

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  (John 15:13)

The height of human love is the surrender of one’s life to save a friend. No greater gift can one give another. When we consider the worth of the life of the Son of God, his surrender of life for You and for me is a stupendously great gift. God prizes us so greatly that He surrendered His Son and Jesus honors us so dearly that He gave up His life for each one of us.

I have called you friends;   (John 15:15)

Jesus in love, elevates us from creatures. He elevates us from servants to friends. He treats us as equals, regardless of our humble state. We are His creations. We are like clay pots that a potter makes on a wheel. And yet the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, has elevated us to be His friends. Why? Because He loves us!

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…   (John 15:16)

We who are needy, if we were able to see the love that is in Jesus, we would frantically reach out for it. Instead, Jesus chose us before we were aware of Him, or His love. He loved us first! Our Lord cherishes us and wants us to be fruitful, knowing that for us a fruitful life is a far more fulfilling life. However, bearing fruit is not possible without the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence.

“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”   (John 17:15)

We are under assault by Satan. We are God’s magnificent creation and the enemy of our souls wants to ruin us. As soon as we accept Jesus, the Father could have taken us home to keep us safe from the depredations that the enemy brings into our lives. But the love of God has important work for us here. So, we remain under the enemy’s threat, but protected by the Love of the Father.

“And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”   (John 17:19)

Jesus loves us, but our sins separate us from God, preventing us from receiving His love; therefore, Jesus uses His sanctification to cover us. He cleanses us from sin by His blood. He gives us the Spirit of Truth to convince us of sin, so that we would be humble and open to receive the Spirit’s sanctifying work and the Love of God. 

Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word;  (John 17:20)

Behold the love of God for you! He knew 2,000 years ago that He would create you; therefore, He came to earth, chose to be crucified for you. He also called Peter, John, Paul and the others to testify to the Risen Lord in such ways that you in this day could know the One and only Savior. His love for you and me was planned well ahead of time!

“that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one”   (John 17:21)

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in loving one another. They want their creation, mankind, to not only experience that unity of love with God, but also with one another. Jesus wants us to experience the unity of love that is in the Trinity. God’s love is a fountain that distributes bountifully to all who become lovers of God.

… loved them even as you loved me.  (John 17:23)

Can we stretch our conception around that truth? God, Almighty Father, the infinitely righteous One, not only loves us, who are insignificant, powerless, and unrighteous (His loving us at all is miraculous in itself), but the Father loves us to the enormous extent of His love for His only begotten Son.

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am,   (John 17:24)

Jesus wants us to be with Him for eternity! Guests and family that we love, after a few days, we are ready to have them go home. Christ’s love is endless. He wants us, He eagerly desires us to be with Him in God’s Kingdom for eternity!

We are Invited to Love Jesus

My friends and my brothers and sisters let us love Jesus. Let us open our hearts to embrace His love for us. Let us set aside our inhibitions and tell Jesus how much we love Him. The Scriptures give a summary description of the love we should have for God:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)

We are to love Him with all our being – body, soul and spirit. That requires all our conscious moments of attention on God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, expressing our love in thanksgiving and praise of His glory.

Brother Lawrence, a monk of the 17th century, chose to keep God in his consciousness all the time, every day, regardless of what he was doing. He disciplined himself and achieved living in the Presence of God. His book, Practice the Presence of God, is a Christian classic.

Receive Jesus’ Love

Oh, dear sisters and brothers, right here in this fellowship allow Jesus to come into your heart. It is not just a spiritual experience, let Jesus fill you with His love and your whole person will become enthralled with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Out of gratitude for all He has done, let your love for Jesus flow out of your heart and mouth and express how much you love him.

I will pray and those who are moved to express their love can in the pause that follows tell the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit of their love for Him.

Concluding Prayer

My loving Father, we have deep affection for You. Help us to express what we honestly feel toward You.

Jesus, we love you for your great love in sacrificing Your life that we might live with You for eternity.

Holy Spirit, You have come to dwell in our spirits. You are ripening the fruit of love in our hearts.


Gracious God lead us to spread Your love abroad, blessing all we meet. To the glory of Jesus our Savior and Lord. Amen.

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Our Lord, Jesus, is Magnificent

17 Jul , 2017  

The Lord is Magnificent

O Magnify the LORD with Me

Oh, sing unto Jehovah a new song:

Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth.

Sing unto Jehovah, bless his name;
Show forth his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
His marvelous works among all the peoples.
For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised:

He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols;
But Jehovah made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him:
Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples,
Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength.
Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name:
Bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Oh worship Jehovah in holy array:
Tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth:
The world also is established that it cannot be moved:
He will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof;
Let the field exult, and all that is therein;
Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy
Before Jehovah; for he cometh,
For he cometh to judge the earth:
He will judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with his truth.”   (Psalm 96:1-13)

Please Pray with me.

Oh Lord, our Lord, You are our God And you are the God of all nations. As we bow in submission to Your Omnipotent Authority we acknowledge our unworthiness in and of our selves.

But in triumph, we assert that through Your Son our Lord we are now one with You. We come before You, our Father trusting in the blood of Christ to cleanse us and His righteousness to make us worthy.

Thank you, Almighty Father for Your magnificent provision for each one of us here present.

You have shown us, and our knowledge of the world teaches us that there are multitudes in the world who are dying without Christ. Who are consigned to everlasting darkness and fear and loneliness and torment?

It is our prerogative and responsibility to deliver to them Your Truths. Give us a burden for the unsaved. Give us a passion for reaching unbelievers with the most vital message in all the world – Jesus saves!

Your message is simplistic but powerful. It is the greatest news in the history of the World, but so very hard to share. We hesitate or don’t even think of it when in the presence of unbelievers – our neighbor next door, our co-worker, the woman in the checkout line ahead of us or the man behind. Give us he forethought and courage to speak to them about the love we have found in Jesus and God’s truth – Jesus saves!

Almighty and most powerful and fearsome God Our Father, most righteous and perfect God our Savior, Most Holy and loving Spirit, Who convinces us of sin, we come now before Your majesty.

We come to intercede for our missionaries. They are on the front lines in the battle to rescue the souls of men and women from condemnation. Prompts us to pray often for them. Move us to support them with generous offerings. Empower them by Your Holy and mighty Spirit to proclaim boldly, Jesus Saves!

Please Pray for our Missionaries

We lift our hearts to give thanks to our God for Your love for all Your children. Lord, Jesus, You have sheep in many other pastures. We recognize these as our brothers and sisters. Here in the Holy of holies we bow before Your throne and offer brothers and sisters we do not know to You for Your help, for Your healing, for Your deliverance, for Your instruction in righteousness, and for Your blessings of basic necessities and safety.

Please Pray for our Brothers and Sisters around the World

Please Pray for our Loved Ones in Need

To You, our God, we offer Honor Praise and Glory. We declare Your Majesty, Dominion, Power, Grace, and Love in the joy that You have given us.

Hallelujah, Lord God Most Holy!

Join with me now in offering the prayer that our Lord Jesus taught us, saying…

The Lord’s Prayer

Now turn with me in honoring our Lord Jesus in the prayer that He taught us, saying…

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.


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Christ and Culture

Happy, Happy Easter!!

16 Apr , 2017  

Hallelujah! He is Risen!

He is Risen. Hallelujah!!

resurrectionThis is the traditional call and response in more liturgical churches on Easter morning. It is a joyous affirmation of our faith. We are participants in Christ’s resurrection because in our surrender to Him as Lord, we died in Him to sin and were resurrected to new life as adopted children of Almighty God and joint heirs with Jesus.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.    (John 3:16-17)

That is such fantastic news that leaping and shouting and dancing with joy is appropriate despite the disparaging looks from those who do not yet understand. Good News! Even greater than winning WWII or the Super Bowl, or personally winning a mega-jackpot lottery. Those are wonderful but quickly past.

resurrection-1And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.    (John 14:3-6)

Good News! Even greater than winning WWII or the Super Bowl, or personally winning a mega-jackpot lottery. Those are wonderful, but quickly past.

Our win is eternal. Jesus in embracing us has given us victory over sin and death. We are co-winners over the enemy of our souls. We have been invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! We have been given the inestimable privilege of living in the presence of the God who is love, for eternity. We will have joy unspeakable and full of glory without end.

Happy, happy Easter!!

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Christ and Culture

Advent Celebration: Christmas!

24 Dec , 2016  

Christmas Day – The Christ Candle, white

mary-on-donkeySo 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 Sent His Son

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.

La Nativite a la TorcheAs 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.

God’s Plan for Salvation

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.

baby-jesus-sleepingNext 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.

Jesus is God’s Plan

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 Jesus

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!

Christmas Day: Prayer

advent-christ-candleLord 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

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Christ and Culture,Glad Tidings

Glad Tidings Introduction and Purpose

16 Dec , 2016  

Glad Tidings Christian EpistleGlad 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:

  • Questions Demanding Answers” posits a question that may trouble believers and/or unbelievers. It asks recipients to respond with answers of 250 words or less. The following month the best answer is printed.
  • The Holy of Holies” is a concluding prayer written in the first person, speaking directly to God. This can encourage the reader to make this his or her own prayer.

Those interested in receiving the monthly Glad Tidings © may Like us on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up for the monthly email publication of Glad Tidings ©.

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

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