Three C’s In Life!

Three C's to life
Joshua 1:1-3 AFTER the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.”

 

There are times in our lives when we come to a fork in the road, so to speak, and a decision has to be made to take the road that we feel God is leading us to or the road that leads to our own ways, the ways of the world. Choices come to each one of us and it is up to us to take a chance for change to happen. God directs through our free will as we discern the Spirit of God in His leading us through life.

 

Four and a half years ago, I entered one of those periods where I had a choice to make. It was to stay where I was or join with the man that God had brought into my life to be his life mate. Even though I felt it was God’s plan for me to marry him, I was given the freedom to choose. I chose to go with what I felt was God’s plan and married Gerald and moved with him to where we currently live in Tennessee. My life totally changed! Some of those changes took more adjusting than others. And I am still adjusting to certain ones. But I am so thankful that God brought us together and gave my life new meaning!

 

Every day we encounter choices. One of the things that God instilled within me some years ago is this little statement: “The choices that I make today will affect the quality of my tomorrows”. You see, even though God has a plan for our lives, we have the choice to go with it, pursue Him to find out what purpose He has prepared for us and to discipline ourselves to follow His direction in fulfilling it. I get to choose which road I will take; the one that will lead to a long, healthy life that enables me to fulfill His plan for my life, or the one that satisfies my emotions and flesh.

 

The Israelites were given a choice: to follow God’s leading into the Promised Land or continue to live wandering around in the wilderness. Joshua told the people to prepare themselves for change.

 

Joshua 1:11 NKJV “Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess.”

 

A successful change doesn’t just happen. We need to ready ourselves for those changes. Esther went through a year’s preparation to become the Queen to King Ahasuerus.

 

Esther 2:12, 13 NKJV Each young woman’s turn cae to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation, according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation apportioned: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women. Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the women’s quarters to the king’s palace.

Success

Success comes as we set a goal to attain the desired results. We get a glimpse of the good that God has set before us and focus our attention on that goal. Proverbs 29:18 says that where there is no revelation, or vision, the people cast off restraint. When we do not have a goal in mind we wander around mindlessly wondering what to do next. There is no restraint or boundaries that we have set to stay within that keeps us focused.

 

Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.

 

Yes, there are obstacles ahead of us. Even the Israelites knew that there were giants in their promised land. But God told them that He was going before them to destroy them and disarm them so they could go in and conquer the giants. (Deuteronomy 9:1-3) Know that whatever changes are in your future, God has already gone before you into that place of the unknown to prepare a successful entrance for you.

 

Keep your eyes on Jesus! Make sure that you have a positive mental picture of success in your mind. The book of Hebrews, chapter 12, speaks of success in running the race that we have set before us. (Hebrews 12:1, 2) God says that we are to lay aside every weight and sin that ensnares us and keeps us from running the race that is set before us. We do that by keeping Jesus in our mind’s eye. We look unto Him for the strength and ability to reach our goals, to accomplish a safe transition from the choice we have made to the changes that are on the horizon.

 

We embrace the challenge of change. Without change there is no growth. Without growth one becomes stagnant without being able to see a purpose in life. God has created us as winners, not losers. He has placed His children above and not beneath and has made us the head and not the tail. God’s original plan for man was that he would rule and reign over his life and have dominion over every living thing that moved on the earth, outside of other people. We often fail to realize that in our redemption Christ Jesus purchased back for us the authority that God gave Adam in the garden of Eden.

 

Romans 5:17 NKJV For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

 

Jesus, Himself, told His disciples of the authority that He has given each one of us to reign over the enemy’s power that tries to stop us from experiencing the life that He died to give us.

 

Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

 

Change brings challenges, but if we don’t step out in faith to embrace them and look for the areas that God has given us to exercise our authority over our own destinies then we will not ever see the manifestation of all that He died to give us. We must make the choice to take a chance on God in order to see a change in our lives.

 

Stay on track. Peter didn’t start to sink until he took his eyes off of Jesus. Jesus set His face like flint in order to stay on track with the plan that His Father had asked Him to fulfill. (Luke 9:51) There will always be distractions in life. Our emotions get involved, especially when times get rough, and we wonder if we’ve heard God clearly in what He has asked us to do and the changes that we are to embrace.

 

Those around us are watching us make choice to take a chance on what we believe God has asked us to do. Will we show them that we can do it? Or will we wander back into the wilderness where we have the comfort and safety of the same old, same old thing? The Israelites immediately had a river at flood stage to cross before entering into their Promised Land. The Lord went before them and stopped the waters of the river so they could cross over on dry ground. They were challenged to enter the water before He stopped up the river so they could exercise their faith in Him and see the miraculous happen when they trusted in Him to do what He had promised them. The had to believe and act on that belief in order to see the fulfillment of the promise. We have to do that today as well. God responds to our faith.

 

Joshua 3:13-17 NKJV “And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.” So it was, when the people set out from their camp to cross over the Jordan, with the priest bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zeretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Then the priest who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.

 

It was after they had crossed the Jordan river that the Lord told them to get stones from the middle of the river and set them up as a memorial on the shore so that their children would see them and ask them in later years what they were representative of. It was to be a memorial to their children and their children’s children for generations to come, for forever!

 

Joshua 4:5-7 NKJV and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, “that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ “Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”

 

The stones were to be a memorial for their children of what God had done for them; of the changes that He had made in their lives, so they would know that if He did it for their fathers, there was no obstacle that would stand in their way of God doing the same thing for them. Our faith affects those around us. When we respond to God in faith believing that He will do what He has promised in making the changes in our lives to bring us into a better place He honors that! And others are changed because of the changes they see in our lives.

 

Will you make a choice today to take a chance to follow God into the changes that He wants to make for your future? Fear of the unknown is what usually stops us from following God into our future. I could have feared marrying my husband, moving to a different state, being miles and miles away from my family, having no job and embracing a whole new life but I chose to take a chance on God and embrace the changes that He wanted to make in my life. How about you? God will never leave you to embrace the unknown by yourself.

 

Psalm 139:7-10 NKJV Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

 

Father, I thank You for going before us into the changes that are taking place in our lives. I thank You for protecting us from the evil one who comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I thank You for opening the eyes of our understanding to see You as You go before us into the unknown. And I thank You for holding our hand as we embrace the changes that You have planned for our lives. You are great and mighty to save! Your arm is not too short that it cannot hold us and save us from disaster. You see all things and know the pitfalls that may lie ahead of us. You, in Your loving kindness, steer us around those boulders that seem to block our way. Thank You for Your righteous right hand that holds us secure in Your grip. I pray that You will show us each the way that You want us to take to walk boldly and confidently with You into our futures. I thank You for giving us courage to embrace the changes ahead of us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season

The Birth of Jesus

Luke 2:1-7 NKJV And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and lad Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Tomorrow is the day that we celebrate the birth-day of Jesus! So, in the next few days we will look at the events surrounding His birth.

As the scripture reads it was time in Galilee for all who lived there to be taxed. A decree went out from the Governor that a census needed to be taken for the purpose of taxation. It was customary for the head of the house to go to where their ancestral records were kept to register for the taxation. Joseph, being of the lineage of David, had to make the trip back to Bethlehem, which was known as the city of David, to register. This would have been a difficult trip for Mary as it was nearing the time of her baby’s birth. But Joseph, being a just man who obeyed both God’s rules and those of man, needed to register to be in compliance with the laws of the land. Romans 13:1 tells us that we are to obey the government, for God is the one who put it in place. In going back to Bethlehem to register for the census Joseph was being obedient to God through obeying the government. The second verse in Romans 13 says: So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.

It is interesting to see how God orchestrated the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. In order to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:2, Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem of Judea, which meant that instead of Joseph going alone to register for the census, Mary would need to go with him.

Micah 5:2-5 NAS “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Therefore, He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child, Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. And this One will be our peace.”

When God divided up the Promised Land He gave a portion of land to each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Judah was the tribe in which the city of Bethlehem was established. In Biblical times the names of people and places were significant to the upbringing of a child. A child would grow up in character as a fulfillment of what his name meant. So, let’s look at the significance of the names surrounding the birth of Jesus.

Judah – the name means “praise”. In Luke 3:23-38 Jesus’ lineage is traced back to God through the tribe of Judah. One of the names of Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. (Revelation 5:5) Judah was the tribe that led the Israelites through the wilderness; the praise-rs went before the Israelites into battle in 2 Chronicles 20 to confuse their enemies and God used them to set up the ambush of their enemies and secure their victory. We are told that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to give us the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness in Isaiah 61:3. Psalm 8:2 says that praise silences the enemy in our lives and strengthens us. Jesus referred to that scripture in Matthew 21:16 when He said “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise”. Praise is an important part of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. When we praise Him for who He is the devil can’t stay in our presence; his voice of condemnation and fear is silenced and we give Jesus the glory that is due His name! We better learn to praise Jesus here on earth because in heaven He is worshiped 24/7.

Revelation 4:8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

We will be joining in with that heavenly group proclaiming His praises!

Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Bethlehem – the name means “house of bread”. Jesus called Himself the bread of life in John 6:48-51:

“I am the bread of life. “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever’ and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Jesus is the bread of life. When we partake of His salvation that was purchased by Him giving His flesh and blood to pay the payment for our sin, we will live forever, eternally in His presence. We appropriate what He has done for us personally by exercising our faith to receive His death, burial and resurrection as the payment for our sins. It is through receiving Him into our hearts that we become born again. Jesus is the Savior of the world, the bread of life, the Lion of the tribe of Judah and worthy of all our praise!

Luke 2:6, 7 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

“the days were completed”…..Galatians 4:4, 5: But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Jesus was born at just the right time; God’s appointed time. It was no accident that Mary had Jesus in Bethlehem at the time of the census when there would be so many people that there would be no room for them in the Inn. It was the right time, the appointed time for Him to be born. God knew there would be no room for them in the Inn. Nothing takes God by surprise. It may seem to you that the timing of what you are experiencing is the wrong time, but God orchestrates things in our lives to be for our good, not our harm. Mary had Jesus in Bethlehem in a stable at the “right” time! It was in the “fullness” of the time for His birth. The meaning of the word “fullness” is “that which has been completed”. The happenings of the world had come to completion for the birth of Jesus Christ. It was “time” for His birth.

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger….” Mary wrapped the first Christmas present in swaddling cloths. Strips of cloth were used to keep a baby warm and to give him a sense of security. Jesus was born of humble means because He laid His deity aside and came to earth as a human to submit to the obedience of His Father.

Philippians 2:5-8 NLT Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.

Hebrews 2:14, 15 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

Jesus was born as a baby and laid in a manger to show His humble beginning in the purpose that God had for His life. He had to be born a human being in order to die on the cross to secure our salvation. He had to live a sinless life in order to qualify to be the Savior of the world. All these things that happened at the birth of Jesus were perfectly orchestrated so that He could fulfill the requirement of the law to redeem mankind from their sin. Nothing was left out of God’s perfect plan to secure our salvation. Everything happened just as God planned in the “fullness” of His time!

Galatians 3:13, 14 NLT But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through the work of Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, and we Christians receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

Friends, Jesus was born into this earth for the supreme purpose of dying on a cross to redeem us from the curse of the law; to purchase our redemption and make us acceptable to God as if we’d never sinned. At this time of the year when we celebrate His birth it is important that we do not get caught up in the “baby in the manger” and see Him as only a little baby. He is the Savior of the world; He is the King of kings and Lord of lords; the risen Christ! His birth was just the beginning of His purpose and mission as the Savior and Lord of all who would receive Him.

If you have not received Jesus as your own personal Savior and Lord, He is waiting for you to make that decision. What better time would it be than now when we are celebrating the birth of our King? Won’t you pray this prayer with me and sincerely mean it in your heart?

Father, I come before You this morning recognizing my need for Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I see Him as You gave Him to us to be the payment for my sin, my own personal wrongdoing and weaknesses in not being able to save myself. I know that You sent Him to be my Savior. I confess my sin to You today, the sin of being born as a sinner and the sin of my own willful choices. I believe that Jesus died for me, that He was raised from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven and that if I ask Him to come into my heart He will save me from my sins. I ask You to forgive me and save me right now and I thank You for doing that. Thank You for saving me; for making Your home within my heart and for changing my life. From this day forward I will live for You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer with sincerity of heart, you are now a Child of the King, a born again believer in Christ Jesus and your place of residence is now with Him from this day forward throughout eternity! You have made the best decision of your life. Welcome to the family of God!

And now, Father, I bring before You those who are hurting and lonely today. I ask that You would fill their hearts with a new sense of Your presence; that Your arms of love would wrap around them and carry them through this difficult time in their lives. Father, You are the God of all comfort so I pray that You will comfort them and give them peace. Thank You for being close to the brokenhearted and for healing the hurts that they are experiencing today. Thank You for giving us another Christmas to celebrate the birth of Your Son, Jesus Christ. May He be given the pre-eminence that is due Him at this Christmas time and throughout each upcoming day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 Jesus is the reason

Light Dispels The Darkness

 

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Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

I am so excited about living in the last days before Jesus’ return! The book of Acts tells us that those who live in the last days will see the great outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh that God will use to bring in a mighty harvest of salvation! Yesterday at church we heard two prophecies at two different times in the church through two different people, but both spoke the same word. It confirmed to me that God is moving forward with His plan to usher in the last days harvest. Both of the prophecies spoke of this portion of Scripture in Matthew 5 where Jesus spoke of His people being the light of the world. He also cautioned us to not be fearful about seeing the great darkness that would be increasing in the world, because the darker the world becomes the greater would be the light of His people, His church. Light shines the brightest in the darkest night.

Isaiah prophesied to Israel that they would be a great light in the darkness in Isaiah 60. God’s people always shine forth as lights in the darkness because Jesus is the Light and He lives within His people.

Isaiah 60:1-5 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. “Lift up your eyes all around, and see; They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.

Have you ever looked at an outside light in the night when it is dark and seen the multitude of bugs that have been drawn to the light? That’s a great illustration of how the people will be drawn to the Light of Jesus residing in the believers in the last days. As the darkness grows darker, the light will become brighter. The glory of the Lord is resting upon His people and as the world becomes more pressured through the challenges of life there will be a more noticeable difference between those who know the Lord and those who don’t. That word for glory in Isaiah 60:1 is the Hebrew word chabod.

Chabod – glory – means weightiness; that which is substantial or heavy; glory, honor, splendor, power, wealth, authority, magnificence, fame, dignity, riches, and excellency.

The glory of the Lord upon believers that will distinguish them from others is going to be His favor to succeed in difficult times. It will be obvious to the unbelievers that there is something different about you. No matter how difficult life becomes, you as a believer in Christ Jesus, will always come out on top. Yes, there will be persecutions, but even in those times when we’re persecuted there will be an obvious peace about us. People will be drawn to the wisdom of the believers and God will use that wisdom to direct others to them so they can share His love with them. God will use that to influence them to be saved. He is going to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh as He said in Acts 2. When that happens believers will be prophesying, receiving divine direction through dreams and visions and there will be great manifestations of the glory of God in the extreme darkness. We are seeing that happen even now as there becomes a more noticeable difference between the believer and the unbeliever in this day and age.

When God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, which means the house of bondage, one of the plagues that he brought upon the Egyptians was darkness. Exodus 10:21 said the the darkness was all over the land of Egypt, darkness which could even be felt. It was thick darkness over all the land except for in the houses of the Israelites.

Exodus 10:22, 23 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. The did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

God’s light shines in the lives of His people. There was a noticeable difference between the children of God, the Israelites, and the Egyptians. There will be a noticeable difference in the lives of the believers as we enter into the last days as well. The Light will shine forth into the darkness!

I am excited to be a part of the last days’ outpouring. I know that I have been placed here in this day and age for such a time as this. How about you?

Father, I thank You that even in the darkness the light of Your love and life shines through the believers. I thank You for what You are doing in our lives today. You are moving and showing us that even though we see the great darkness increasing around us there is still hope because You are still working in the lives of people today! Thank You for including me in this outpouring of Your Spirit. I am excited, Lord, for all that You are doing in, around and through me at this very important stage in my life.

 

Father, I pray for those who don’t know You this morning. I ask that You would cause them to see the difference in the believers around them. I pray that they will be drawn to the Light that lives within those who know You as Savior and Lord. I pray that You will cause them to desire what the believers have. I ask You, Lord, to bring them to salvation before it’s too late. Father, open the blinded eyes to see the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ so they can be saved. Pull down the veil of deception that Satan has hung over their minds that blinded them so they couldn’t see the Light of Jesus around them. Show them Your great salvation and continue to draw them by Your Spirit to the saving knowledge of Jesus. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

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