by BJ | Dec 31, 2020 | Holidays
Last week we celebrated Christmas, and tonight we will ring in the New Year!
Some of you may have already taken down the decorations and put them away. Some of you will wait until later, in January. And then there is me. I may have been known to take mine down a bit later than the average person!
Christmas may be over, but it is not the end, it was actually the beginning.
Let’s take a look back for a moment at the beginning of beginnings so that I can explain what I mean.
From the beginning, God had a plan. On the first day of creation, God spoke light into the darkness! After creation, the earth was full of God’s peace, the kind of peace in which everything works according to God’s plan. The world was made for man with everything we could ever need or want to live joyfully in the presence of our Creator. We would worship God by loving Him and loving one another forever. The angels were also there at creation, and they shouted for joy! (Job 38:4,7)
But one day, Adam and Eve rejected God’s rule over them. We refer to their rebellious choice as “the Fall.” Their choice affected all of us. The result of rejecting God’s authority over us is that we are dead spiritually and will die physically.
Thankfully, even though our Creator hates our sin, and we deserve death, there is good news! God loves you and has a plan for you. We are a part of His master plan for redeeming His world and rescuing sinners.
The first Christmas day changed the world. On that day, hope was born! God tucked Himself up under the heart of a young virgin in the form of a baby. This baby was Jesus, God Himself. He came to renew the world and restore His people. Light stepped into the darkness, and that Light continues to cover the darkness today!
On this day, everything changed! An angel delivered to shepherds, just outside of Bethlehem, the message of the long-awaited Messiah’s birth.
When the first angel finished the message, the sky exploded, and the angelic choir sang praises to God and glorified His name once again! They first sang at creation, and now they are singing at the beginning of the new creation.
God had a plan from the beginning. The angels and shepherds were part of executing that plan, and so are we! The angel brought the message of redemption to the shepherds, who shared it with everyone they saw. We, too, have been given the gospel to share with those God brings into our lives.
The angel’s message reminds us that everything God does is because of His great love for people. God knew that the best gift He could give us would not fit in a box wrapped in colored paper. The greatest gift He could give us is unconditional love. The greatest need people have is unconditional love. Only God alone could do that. But first, there was a barrier between God and us that needed to be removed. It was a barrier created by our own sin and rebellion.
God showed us how much He loves the world by giving His most priceless gift – His only Son – so that that we may have a new life, eternal life, life from now to forever. Christ overcame the sin that separates us from God. Jesus is the gift! Gifts, by definition, are received, not earned. A person receives it by believing and trusting in Christ. When we receive Jesus Christ, we become children of God (John 1:12-13).
God’s purpose in sending His Son is salvation, not condemnation. God does not delight in the death of the wicked. (Ezekiel 18:23, 32) God’s greatest desire is that everyone would be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9)
It was because of love that God created man in the first place. Why? Because love needs people to love! In other words, love always requires tangible expression. Because of this love, God put a plan in place to rescue us from the destructive path we chose. Love sent Jesus into our world. Hope was born.
Tomorrow is the beginning of a new year.
The days following Christmas, with all the lights of the season still shining around us, is an excellent time to share the gospel. Use the coming New Year celebrations to open conversations about New Year plans. A discussion of New Year resolutions can lead to gospel sharing opportunities. We are called to love God, and because we do, we will love people. The best gift we can give those God puts in our path is the gift of His Son so that they too can be reconciled to God and have a new beginning and eternal life. Loving God and loving people should define our entire life.
So far, we’ve seen two occasions where the angels gathered to sing praises and glory to God. The first was at creation and then again at the new creation. Jesus came into the world He created to restore us to God, our Creator. Someday we will sing our song of praise in the throne room of heaven (Revelation 5). And as we live in the meantime, we know that angelic praise teams are singing! “There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
There is a lot of hatred in this world. People are angry, hurting, and desperate for real love. If we are called to be God’s hands and feet, leading people to reconciliation with Him, then love is our most powerful tool. In this new year, don’t just say you love someone; prove it!
by BJ | Jan 16, 2018 | Life
At some point in my childhood I learned the “Worm Song”, you know the one that says
Nobody likes me! Everybody hates me! Guess I’ll go eat worms!
If you’ve never heard it click here.
by BJ | Aug 21, 2017 | Events
Yesterday, August 21, 2017, was the day we have all been waiting for thanks to the Media, Marketing, and Mayhem we’ve all been caught up in for weeks now!
We were told that the event won’t be the same if you have not secured the coveted eclipse glasses, Sun Chips, Moon Pies, and weathered lines nearly ½ mile long in order to receive the prize of the Krispy Kreme “eclipse donut”!
That morning as I faced the eastern sky and watched the light punch through the darkness, I was reminded how God, our Creator, spoke light into total darkness for the very first time. In the beginning on that very first day, before our Creator – the Ruler of all heaven and earth spoke, the earth was shapeless and barren. Before He spoke the words, Let there be lights in the in the heavens to separate the day and the night. The light of His Son illumined the world.
On the fourth day of creation God spoke again and this time the sun, moon and stars took their place in the heavens. Their job was to serve as lights on the earth, as signs for men, for seasons and days and years. And it was done, just as God said.
Each day God pours out His grace, as the dawn punches through the darkness, by reminding us that He is our Creator and that He is the One True God who rules over the heavens and the earth! (Amos 5:8)
Fast forward to the afternoon. Before our very eyes as we watched with our glasses, the moon eclipsed the sun. We didn’t realize it was happening at first, everything “seemed” like any other day. But at the appointed time we looked up and there it was! The moon was beginning to cross the sun! The light began to change, as the moon seemingly wiped it away. Then as if on cue the birds stopped singing and the cricket chorale began their song as the solar charged yard lights came on.
Then as the song began to fade a second dawn began to rise. As we watched the light beginning to shine once again, the Word of God becomes more certain. (2 Peter 1:19)
I was reminded that the world is covered by the darkness of sin and we must shine the light of the gospel into the dark corners of the world!
We need to pay attention to those in the darkness that surrounds us, and shine the light. When the light of the Gospel is darted into the dark understanding of the blind mind by the Holy Spirit, then the spiritual day dawns and the day-star arises in that soul! The illuminating of a dark unenlightened mind is like the day-break that infuses itself throughout the whole soul.
The world began with man knowing God. But man, turned from the truth and rejected God!
From the very beginning God had a plan. Before He ever created man God created an environment filled with everything man would ever need or desire. God not only physically revealed Himself to man, but God also revealed Himself through what He made, His creation. From that point on man knows there is a God, because of what he sees in the world around him, who had the wisdom to plan and the power to create! (Romans 1:20)
The eclipse revealed the glory of God to man!
Take these thoughts captive and in the days and weeks ahead when the conversation turns to the wonder of the eclipse, use it to either
- encourage and comfort your brother, reminding him that God is still on His throne in the midst of the darkness and He is making Himself known to all who are watching.
- or shine the light of the Gospel into darkness of the mind with whom you are in conversation! Knowing that when you do Jesus will arise in their heart with healing in His wings!
In the busyness of our lives it is easy to miss God through His creation.
The eclipse captivated us because it was extraordinary. However, God can be seen in the ordinary as well, we just have to train ourselves to look for His handiwork. When you see it use it as a platform to make God known to those around you, hopefully making it a day of two dawns for those who are in darkness!
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)
by BJ | Sep 17, 2012 | Bible Studies
When the decision was made to do Genesis this fall I was a little bummed. After all how many times do you need to study creation? I already knew what God created and when, what else is there to learn? But as usual, God spoke and reality set in – There is always something to learn in scripture no matter how many times you study it. I found that we/I are so familiar with the first verses of Genesis that we don’t give them the attention they deserve. So with that said I am going to share some thoughts from Genesis 1:1-5.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God ….
The name for God here is Elohim – “el” means mighty, strong; the “im” ending is a plural ending, but has a singular verb. God (plural) created. So what? You may ask. The trinity (God, Son and Holy Spirit) was present at creation! Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2) Jesus – John 1:1-4, 14-18; Heb 1:1-3; Col1:15-17, Rev 4:11 (more…)