Today’s Blog

Monday, 12/30/19 – Pressing on…

The Answer…

Jesus! What a Name! Believers swear by it; unbelievers swear with it. “Jesus!” desperate souls cry out to Him. Saints end their prayers “…in Jesus’ Name.” and sing, “Jesus… there’s just something about that Name…” Many end their lives opposing it, relentlessly aware of its  unavoidable hounding approach.

brown wooden stair beside brown wooden panel

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus,” said Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:31). “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21a). the Angel likewise told Joseph.

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32). “He will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21b).

Of Him Paul wrote,

“…God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11).

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:17).

During His brief approximately three years of ministry Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6).

20191229_175018Apologist Ravi Zacharias notes, “There are 4 fundamental questions of life, questions of our origin, meaning, morality, and destiny: Where did I come from? Why am I here? How should I live? Where am I going?” Jesus is the Answer to them all!

Where did I come from? You were created by God the Father (“In the beginning God created…”) by the workings of God the Son (The Word, “And God said…”) and God the Holy Spirit (“…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters”)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-3)

Why am I here? You are here to be loved by God and to enter into a joyous relationship with Him. Jesus is the Life!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

How should I live? You should live by following the example of Jesus and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
You should walk in truth. Truth IS universal, and Jesus is that Truth.

“…In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.” (John 18:37).

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4).

“But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13)

Where am I going? If you are placing your faith in Jesus, you are heading to a wonderful, eternal home in eternity…

“…I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going… I am the Way” (John 14:3-4, 6).

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Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is all we need, the Answer to all our questions, and He desires a daily, ongoing relationship with you!

More tomorrow…

Friday, 12/27/19 – Friday Tough Question

And what have you done?

So This is Christmas by John Lennon & Yoko Ono was released in 1971 – some 48 years ago now, but still its subtle despair condemns us.

So this is Christmas / And what have you done
Another year over / And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas / I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one / The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas / And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one / Without any fear

And so this is Christmas / For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones / The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas / For black and for white
For yellow and red one / Let’s stop all the fight

A very Merry Christmas / And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one / Without any fear

And so this is Christmas…

brown and black cut away acoustic guitar

The lyrics yearningly express “the hopes and fears” of so many years, and hearts, and countries, and ages… “Let’s hope it’s [a year ahead] without any fear… The world is so wrong… Let’s stop all the fight”

adult doctors gloves health

But mankind’s efforts have never succeeded. No one can transplant their own heart. They must surrender their lives by a willful act of placing all hope for life in the hands of another. The Bible calls this faith and names the only Surgeon for the job, the Creator of the creature… the One Who became us to experience it all, from babe to burial: Emmanuel.

And awakening, what are we to do with this new life, this new heart?

We are to live the remainder of our days for the Surgeon, for Christ. Not because of contract or compulsion, but because we love Him. You see, He did this work freely, without charge, and the heart He gave us was His own.

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

“Freely you have received; freely give.” (Matt. 10:8)

Someone once said, “Eternal life is God’s gift to us; what we do with it is our gift to Him.”

So this is Christmas / And what have you done
Another year over / And a new one just begun

Press on…

selective focus photo of person holding book

Want to talk more about this? Use the Contact page. We can help point you to the Surgeon.

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 12/26/19 – Discipleship – The Bible

The Bible

jesus christ figurine

We have just celebrated the birth of Christ, the pre-existing, in fact eternal, member of the triune Godhead, the Word becoming flesh as John began his gospel account:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-5, 14).

pigeon and seagull flying above body of water

During His ministry Jesus taught that after His departure He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us instead. This would be far better than His limited physical Presence for the Holy Spirit would actually live within each believer.

“…I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

The arrival of the Holy Spirit is described in the 2nd chapter of Acts.

As these Spirit-empowered believers evangelized and formed the early Church, they wrote letters and histories as guided by the Spirit…

“…no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:20-21)

photo of person holding a bible

In time these writings were gathered to comprise what we call the New Testament. Both Old and New Testaments we call “The Bible” – a 66 document bibliography of sorts of 39 O.T. and 27 N.T. writings of every sort all telling one coherent story of the unfolding plan of God.

So by personage, spirit and writings God reveals Himself to us… to you. Trust in Him and rejoice this day in God’s revelations to us. Surely they demonstrate His Love and good intentions in eternity for all who place their trust in Him.

Press on…

20190522_065320Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

shallow focus photography of religious figurines

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6)

Today let us reserve this blog to the Lord…

The Birth of Jesus

julius caesar marble statue

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

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.

white and black goats

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

gold statue

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”   (Luke 2:1-20).

20181002_142518Wishing you Jesus this Christmas and evermore…

John McLean thebrokenrunner 

 

Tuesday, 12/24/19 – Pressing on…

Krypton Explodes!

20191221_055558Greta Thunberg was being discussed on the radio this morning as I struggled through my stretches. “Our planet is dying!” one participant urged passionately. “But we’re not listening!” said another. “Well, not enough,” at least.

The discussion made me think of my younger comic book years… of Superman and his cosmic origin. It seems we’re no wiser than the inhabitants of his native Krypton who disbelieved Jor-El’s warnings of that planet’s imminent destruction much to their eventual regret and doom. Yet more – we don’t have a Jor-El and Lara… no infant Kal-El to hope in.

But wait! We DO have an EL SHADDAI (All-Sufficient One, Lord God Almighty – Gen 17:1). We DO have an EL ELYON (Most High God – Gen 14:18.). We DO have an EL OLAM (Everlasting God, God of Eternity, God of the Universe, God of Ancient Days – Gen 21:33). And best of all we have HIS Son… Himself… Jesus!

white sparklings

El Shaddai: the Almighty, the God who freely gives nourishment and blessing, our sustainer. El Elyon: the God most high, the sovereign God, the God of majesty and highest preeminence, the most exalted God. El Olamin: the everlasting God, the eternal God, the God Who always was, now is, and forever will be.

All these are Names for God our Father, and it is He Who loving us, sent into this world His Son… Himself become flesh… to save us not only from the destruction of the planet but from the destruction of our selves.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever 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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)

architecture art cathedral chapel

This is what Christmas celebrates. God has come to us to save us! But like those of Krypton we must believe, and act.

Humankind experienced something like this in the days of Noah and their disbelief of the messenger resulted in their destruction. Christ has warned that the end days would be something similar “As in the days if Noah…” (Matt. 24:37-39). The warning has been given in the Psalms and reiterated in Hebrews: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Ps. 95:7-8; Heb. 3:15 Psalm 95:7-8)

Be a ‘wise’-man… a ‘wise’-woman… Seek Jesus today!

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Rev. 21:1).

Merry Christmas!

To hear Don Longworth’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Dec. 22 message.

Monday, 12/23/19 – Pressing on…

Scriptures for an Imperfect Christmas

girl sitting on woman s lap while holding pen and paper

Are you facing an imperfect Christmas this year? Have you lost loved ones over the past 12 months? Has there been family quarreling or dysfunction during this stressful time? Have financial limitations decreased the supply under your tree or on your table? Or perhaps the sheer busyness of the season has robbed you of joy and peace?

Throughout the month of December the leadership of Lincoln Baptist Church has been focussing on Immanuel, “God With Us.” This past Sunday Elder Don Longworth shared with us words of encouragement for those whose Christmas this year may be for whatever reason less-than-ideal.

Today I thought I would simply share from the Word of God some scriptures that remind us that even now Immanuel, the Lord is with us!

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Ps. 23:1-6)

adult alone black and white blur

“The Lord …heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” (Ps. 147:2-5)

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Ps. 107:1)

And finally,

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6).

selective focus photography of ceramic mug near candy cane

Meditate on these. Turn them over in your mind and in your prayers. Even now, ImmanuelGod is with you.

More tomorrow…

To hear Don Longworth’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Dec. 22 message.

Friday, 12/20/19 – Friday Tough Question

Why gold, frankincense and myrrh?

scenic view of night sky with stars

“Magi” (star gazers from the east, not kings) discerned that the Christ would be found in Jerusalem. They saw the star and brought these gifts to the young child, now a toddler approximately 1 to 2 years old. The family was no longer in the manger but living in their Jerusalem home. Scripture does not tell us how many magi there were. The idea of three has been popularized because of the three gifts they brought.

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matt. 2:11).

David Langford, associate pastor of Harrisburg Baptist Church, Tupelo Mississippi suggests these “magi” may have been descended from the wise men of Babylon mentioned in Daniel: “King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him [Daniel] chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners.” (Daniel 5:11). But whoever they were they brought these three specific gifts.

Gold – Gold was indeed a gift fit for a king. The Queen of Sheba, for example, when she visited King Solomon, came “with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones” (1 Kings 10:2). Gold is recognition that Christ is indeed a great King!

Frankincense – Frankincense is an aromatic gum resin which when burned creates a lovely aroma. It is used much in temple worship and therefore represents deity. It was costly and precious.

Myrrh – Myrrh is a spice made of tree sap and used in embalming. Herod was buried wrapped in over 150lbs of it. John records that Jesus was similarly wrapped with half as much:

“Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.” (John 19:39-40).

Myrrh in liquid form was also used in formulating the oil used to anoint the priests, the instruments, the altar, and the Temple prior to offering sacrifices. The connection of Christ as anointed priest and His sacrificial death is obvious.

priest with a little girl

Gold, frankincense and myrrh were often among the gifts brought to royalty. In 243 B.C. for example they were among the gifts King Seleucus II Callinicus brought to the god Apollo at the temple in Miletus, and Isaiah announced concerning Jerusalem’s restoration:

“Herds of camels will cover your land,
young camels of Midian and Ephah.
And all from Sheba will come,
bearing gold and incense
and proclaiming the praise of the Lord.” (Isa. 60:6).

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.