Christians: once we accept Jesus Christ and are born again God’s will for our lives necessarily includes sharing and defending our faith. As a church collectively in America we have been tossed aside because people see no power, truth, or righteousness in us. Of course, we don’t have any of those things in our own strength, but the Holy Spirit living inside of us should be providing evidence of all of the above. People should see Christ in us, but instead they mostly see us blending in. Don’t get caught on the wrong side of the message. Surrender everything to God and watch what He will do. The Lord is faithful and true!
Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.
So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”
And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Now is the time to press in to God and to be overwhelmed by His faithfulness! Following the model of 1 Corinthians, we must be careful in all things to bring glory to God through our behavior and the lives that He has given us. The name of Jesus will be lifted up. Come home to the Lord. Be encouraged in the Lord. Live all your days for the glory of the Lord. He is faithful!
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1 Corinthians 1:3-10
While we are now through the Christmas season, our time spent with – or without – family and friends around this time of year always seems to be a catalyst for the reopening of old wounds. Many times it is those nearest to us who cause us the most hurt. Often we stay busy and populate ourselves with noise in order to drown out the emptiness. Regardless of our state of affairs, now is the time to rely on the Lord and to trust Him with every single last thing. Pray for those who are alone and wounded. Fight against the spirit of depression, loneliness, hopelessness, addiction, and suicide. Cry out to the Lord!
The whole head is sick,
And the whole heart faints.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
There is no soundness in it,
But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores;
They have not been closed or bound up,
Or soothed with ointment.
Glory to God in the highest! Is there joy in your heart when you hear of the nativity? Have you understood the majesty and the tenderness of this moment, when the love of God was shown through the Word of God becoming flesh? Thanks be to Jesus Christ!
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
When government wants to become God and laws are passed preventing prayer, the resistance to the things of the one true God indicates that a significant victory is on the horizon if we will remain obedient. Pray without ceasing! There is liberty in Christ!
All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
In the midst of darkness, trouble, and even agony, in the valley of the shadow of death, in the greatest tribulation in your life, God will answer. Just a whisper from the Lord creates a rejoicing that goes beyond everything else.
Oh God, despite my frailty: you have answered me!
Despite my sin and shame: you have answered me!
Despite my failures: you have answered me!
I will rejoice in the Lord. Thank you Jesus!
My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear;
And in the night season, and am not silent.
But You are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of Israel.
Our fathers trusted in You;
They trusted, and You delivered them.
They cried to You, and were delivered;
They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.
But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
“He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”
But You are He who took Me out of the womb;
You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.
I was cast upon You from birth.
From My mother’s womb
You have been My God.
Be not far from Me,
For trouble is near;
For there is none to help.
Many bulls have surrounded Me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.
They gape at Me with their mouths,
Like a raging and roaring lion.
I am poured out like water,
And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It has melted within Me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And My tongue clings to My jaws;
You have brought Me to the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.
But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me;
O My Strength, hasten to help Me!
Deliver Me from the sword,
My precious life from the power of the dog.
Save Me from the lion’s mouth
And from the horns of the wild oxen!
You have answered Me.
I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.
My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!
All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s,
And He rules over the nations.
All the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship;
All those who go down to the dust
Shall bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep himself alive.
A posterity shall serve Him.
It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation,
They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,
That He has done this.
In Paul’s epistles – letters to Christian churches – he writes passionately about the need for all Christians to keep the faith and to preserve the will and purpose of God for our lives. In a world of exponentially more diversions than the one Paul was writing to directly, we must continue in the faith. Only the strength of the Lord and the guiding of the Holy Spirit can keep us in this generation. Seek God today. Believe in Him. Jesus is ever faithful. Believe Him!
Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house. Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.”
This salutation by my own hand—Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.