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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Blessed Nativity Feast!

Beholding the condescension of God,
all the earth rejoices.
Wise Men bring gifts to the Holy Child.
The heavens proclaim His Kingdom come,
and Angels declare His peace below.
Shepherds living in the fields rejoice to see
the manger, like a fiery throne, holding the Promised One.
Seeing these things, the Blessed Mother rejoices
and we with her and all the saints.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Before the Throne of God

Hebrews 2:15: “and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”

Father, I praise you and give you and thanks for deliverance from the fear of death. Because by Your Son’s blood the Throne of Judgement has been turned into the great place of fellowship, praise and acceptance.

Matthew 19:28: Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Twelve and all who have put their trust in Jesus Christ will see that day of deliverance and renewal.

Romans 12:1-2: Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Oh, how beautiful is that place of joy! For there the fruit of the victory of the Cross and the glory of His resurrection have exposed Satan’s seducing power once and for all. There we will behold the infinite display of Your power and glory. Through Jesus’ death for my sins, you have gloriously triumphed over death and delivered captives out of slavery. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Served by Angels

“For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendants [the line] of Abraham.” Hebrews 2:16

Father, I give You praise and thanksgiving for You exalt those who trust You, after the example of Abraham. You have made those who trust in You through the Lord Jesus' propitiation to be served by angels. Even as we struggle against sin and Satan’s forces, You make the glorious angels to serve and aid us. By this faith union with Jesus Christ, You have made us to partake in His exaltation. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Do you know what message the angels most often deliver to people in the Bible? It is this: "Fear not." In this time of national crisis, Islamic extremism, and the threat of terrorism, what better word could we hear from the Father Almighty?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Repentance unto Life

Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.

The Christian life is characterized by transformation. This requires recognition of one's unworthiness before God's grace and true repentance or turning away from sin to Life in Jesus Christ.

Acts 11:18 speaks of how there is to be repentance unto life and that this is required of all people. "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

To continue in sin is to tolerate what keeps us in bondage. The Gospel proclaims liberation from bondage to sin and death through Jesus Christ. Consider these words from 1 John 1:3-9:
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Being Christ’s disciple means also to abide in His Word, that is, to “know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32b).

Religious people often don’t recognize their “imperfections” as sin. Sin is excused as "just natural" or "just the way he/she is..."  Some people think their church activities grant them special spiritual status. Jews didn’t think they needed to be made free from sin because they claimed special status as the children of Abraham.

John 8:31-34 tells us that some Jews recognized Jesus as Messiah and believed in Him. Others rejected Him, claiming that they did not need the freedom He offers.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They answered him, "We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?" Jesus answered them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth [Greek: practices] sin is the servant of sin."
Repentance unto life involves receiving the free gift of grace through the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul explains how when the believer keeps contemplating the treasures in Christ, the Holy Spirit does the work of transforming our character into the likeness of Christ:
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18; also Romans 8:28, 29).
There is no salvation through attempting to follow religious laws and adhering to religious practices, as the Judaizers were encouraging the Galatians to do, as the Apostle Paul testified. He wrote: "know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:16)

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20).

Repentance unto life is changes the way we think and feel because we are "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23; 2 Peter 1:4).

Related reading: All Need to Repent; Evidence of Rebirth; Forgiveness and Restoration