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Archive for December, 2014

Why He Came

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas season, let us remember why He came and how that ties in with our ministry to others.  First and foremost, Jesus came to save us.  The angel told Joseph that Mary would, “bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21)  He was born so that He could die.  Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would bear our griefs and carry our sorrows.  He would be wounded for our transgressions and bruised (crushed) for our iniquities.  Our iniquities were laid on Him and by His wounds we are healed. Jesus died on the cross and rose again so that we could be forgiven and be saved.  You and I have the glorious privilege of proclaiming this Good News all throughout the year, not just at Christmas.

Also, in one of His first public acts of ministry, one Sabbath day Jesus read from the book of Isaiah. He read from the passage we know as the sixty-first chapter.  This is part of the passage from which He read:

   “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good  tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

Jesus declared that day that He is the fulfillment of this Messianic text.  You and I, however, as His servants on this earth have the honor, the responsibility, and the calling to minister to others in His name.  There are many things that we can do and that we do under the banner of ministry.  As you read through the verses from Isaiah 61, ask yourself if your service for the Lord includes any of the things mentioned above.  What about your church?  Does your church have the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon it?  Is your church truly preaching the Gospel?  Is your church seeking to heal the brokenhearted, is it proclaiming liberty to the captives, and the other things Jesus touched upon?

As we come to the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, let us thank the Lord for giving us the honor of serving Him and serving others in His name.  Let us make sure, by His grace, that our ministry to others next year and in the years to come, will be a true continuation of the ministry for which He came.

Merry Christmas and God Bless,

Allen & Lisa

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The late Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, once wrote, “There are no shortcuts to holiness.”  She is right, but sometimes I wish there were shortcuts.  For example, wouldn’t it be nice if there were, “three steps to holiness”, or if there was a holiness pill you could take and instantly become “Super-Christian”!  But, as you know, there exists no such thing.

Only God can make you holy.  Only the Holy Spirit can make you more like Jesus.  You and I cannot live the Christian life in our own ability, but Jesus can live His life in us and through us.  Holiness isn’t a formula to follow or a state of moral perfection that we can create.  It is the life-long, daily process of the Holy Spirit making you more like Jesus.  The Holy Spirit transforms us more and more into the image, the likeness of Jesus Christ, and that takes time.  The Divine Sculptor, the Holy Spirit, takes the hammer and chisel of the Word of God and chips away everything in our lives that doesn’t look like Jesus.  We must have the desire and we must daily choose this separation from the world and the flesh and separation unto the Lord, but even the desire must come from the Lord.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)

Everyday you and I must choose death to self.  For a life of holiness, it is self on the cross and Christ on the throne of our hearts.  We choose the resurrection life of Jesus as our own.  The Risen Christ in us is our hope of glory and our only hope of holiness.

As I stated earlier, this takes time.  Satan would love for you to get discouraged and give up.  He would love for you to try to find a shortcut.  God, however, is not growing a squash out of your life; He desires to grow us into, “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)

There are no shortcuts on the Highway of Holiness.  It is a journey of walking with Jesus and walking in newness of life, His Life, everyday.  It is the road that you and I need to be traveling on.

In Christ’s service,

Allen

 

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