Tag Archives: Jesus

What is faith?

What is Faith? 

The text book answer is found in Hebrews chapter 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen 

   It’s paraphrased that Faith is an empty hand full of what you hope for. Beyond the text book or the paraphrase lies the personal interpretation – what “faith” means to you! I could have easily titled this post “What do You believe?” Or, “Who is Jesus to you?” First lets consider Who Jesus was to some people He encountered.

   In Matthew chapter 5 we hear the story of a lady with an issue of blood for 12 years. It’s been speculated as to what her ailment was but whatever it was, the Law of Moses prevented her from coming in contact with others. Knowing this she entered the city and made her way threw the crowd to Jesus because she believe that touching the hem of His coat would heal her. She touched Him and was made whole that very moment. In the same chapter we find a man named Jairus whose daughter was home in bed sick. Jairus believed that if Jesus came home with him and laid His hands on her she would recover. Jesus agreed to go with Jairus but as soon as they turned to go word came that the girl had died. Jesus calmed the distraught father by telling him to “only believe.” Once Jesus arrived at Jairus’s home He raised the child from the dead. Lastly, for now, the well known story of the Centurian who came to Jesus on behalf of an ill servant. He recognized the authority of Jesus and believed that Jesus need only say the word and the servant would be healed. Jesus healed the servant and commended the Centurion for his great faith.

   Three examples of who Jesus was to three different people. There are many more. Jesus met them where they were in their faith. He will meet you where you are as well. 

   So, I ask you all again. Who is Jesus to you? Is He your Savior? The God Who became man to die for your sins? Is that all? Perhaps He is also your Lord? Your Lord Whom you obey in humility and reverence? What else? Is He your friend? Your confidante? Aside from being your Savior and Lord just what is Jesus to you. When we look into His face by reading His Word we see a loving, generous, compassionate and patient Savior, Lord and Friend. He is our High Priest Who defends us. He is Healer and our Provider. He is preparing a place for us in Heaven. He will return to take us with Him. He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and instruct us. He will never leave of or forsake us. He is our all-in-all.

   If all of that sounds too rhetorical or vague consider the lovely story Corrie Ten Boom told of two ladies who were friends. They were long time friends and enjoyed spending time together especially on birthdays. Now the one friend had a lovely vase that the other always admired. On the occasion of the seconds birthday the one came with a wonderfully decorated box. When the friend opened the box there inside was the vase she so greatly admired. With tears in her eyes she held it in her arms and thanked her friend for it. She then looked down to see the box and ribbons and bows and asked – “May I keep the package and wrapping also?”

Sounds strange right? After all the gift was the vase. The lovely, coveted vase. Why keep the packaging? 

   Jesus told us that He came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. Yes He died for our sins and certainly He should be our Lord – this is the vase. But the easily overlooked gifts He gave, like the brightly colored wrapping paper, ribbons and bows, are the freedom that comes from knowing the truth found in His Word; walking in the confidence that we are children of the King, sons of God; living a life more abundantly then the life we had while walking in darkness before he saved us. 

   Ask yourself what faith is or what you believe or even who Jesus is to you and if your not sure how to answer any of those questions – read, search, pray or ask, seek, knock and the Lord Jesus will show you Who He wishes to be to you. He stands at the door and knocks. 

   As a side note; In the story of the woman with the issue of blood we hear Jesus ask “who touched me?” The disciples were dumbfounded at His question because the crowd was pressed in close with many people reaching out and touching Him! But she touched Him in faith and “the virtue has gone out of Him.” She touched Him and drew on His power. 

We can too and should.  Be Blessed Al

Ps. I admire Corrie Ten Boom and wish no disrespect by the retelling of her story. I am sure that I did not do it justice. If you are an avide reader perhaps you should consider her books or searching the internet for her videos. She was a wonderful woman of God with many great lessons. A

Let Your Light Shine

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day:

the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4 KJV

    Jesus declared Himself The Light of the World, John 9:5b KJV, and in doing so He challenges us to consider what He meant. Was He saying that He is the very sun that the earth revolves around? I don’t think so! Was He trying to reveal to us some deeper meaning? Most assuredly!

 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 

God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. Gen 1:4 KJV 

   God divided the light from the darkness. So, if darkness is the absence of light and if Jesus is the Light of the world, then the night that Jesus spoke of is a time when there will be an absence of Him. I know what your thinking, “Jesus left the earth so very long ago so how can any of this make sense?”

   Simply put – He is still here.

   He is with us in the form of the Holy Spirit. In John 14 Jesus promises the Disciples that even though He is leaving He will send another to comfort, encourage and empower them.  In verse 18 He tells them –  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. I will come to you, in the Holy Spirit, and so He is still here with us. Jesus is here also because of us who believe. We are His body Eph 5:30  and as such we are the light of the world. We have the light of Jesus Christ within us. As long as we are here we must let that light shine because the night comes when no man woman or child can work.

“If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

If anyone walks during the night, he does stumble, because the light is not in him.”

John 11:9-10 HCSB

      The Night is coming. Just look around and you will see that this world is spinning out of control faster and faster every day. Wars, rumors of war, sickness, starvation, diseases, floods, fires, political upheavals and corruption. Immorality, hatred, murder, greed, pride and godlessness are all around us. But this doesn’t have to worry us. We have been warned that these things must happen but the end is not yet here. These are the birth pains that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24.

    Armed with this truth and the hope that lives with in us let us remember the words our Savior said –

“You are the light of the world.

A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father   Matthew 5: 14-16 NKJV

Go out empowered by His Holy Spirit with a smile on your face and a song in your heart because you are a Child of the Most High God. Be blessed, Al

Chasing after Paradise

    As we chase after the intangibles and the fleeting pleasures of this world pondering the questions of life after death or why we even run this race, we overlook the obvious. We fail to see what’s right in front of us and instead we concern ourselves with this worlds treasures and how we compare to those beside us. The world around us sends thousands of bright lights at us each second of every day. Some of these lights are meant to dazzle us with the awe of their beauty. While yet others are meant to seduce and distract us from our course. Some are sent to entice us to envy or jealousy. The last of these lights are meant to fill our hearts with fear. To get us to doubt and mistrust ourselves and those around us.

    Thousands of bright lights to distract and entice us as we search for that ever illusive paradise. Paradise – that place where once there, we will be completely whole and lack nothing. The place where we will no longer need the bright lights of distraction because we will in fact have it all. We will have arrived. But has anyone ever really reached this paradise?
The truth is that this “paradise” is the biggest carrot on a stick that dangles out of our reach no matter how hard we run or how far we go to attain it. It is the brightest of bright lights sent to seduce and distract us. It’s is as much an illusion as it is unattainable. Yet we pursue it.
In reality the paradise we seek is inside of us. It’s there inside us asleep waiting to be awakened by the Spirit of the Living God Who died a humiliating and painful death so that the gates of the only one true paradise would be opened for all who seek it. Turn away from the illusion of the bright lights and lies and turn towards the Light of the World – Jesus
Jesus – Son of the only One True God and Creator of all things. He alone can fill that space within you and secure you a place in the everlasting paradise that is soon to come. The days are short and the light of this world will soon fizzle away but Jesus Christ is eternal and unchanging. Turn to Him now in humility and sincerity of heart and He will reach down and touch your soul. You will be new and you will live forever. FOREVER IN PARADISE!

    Stop running after the illusion and grab hold of the real unchanging hand of the only begotten Son of God – He reaches out for you – NOW

What’s In A Name ?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II,ii,1-2) Shakespeare

   If I understand Mr. Shakespeare correctly it doesn’t really matter what we call something because the “name” doesn’t change the “it”. A rose will still smell wonderfully regardless of what we call it. So, then the name only means something to us. A name makes it possible for us to understand each other when discussing – a rose – for example. When, in conversation, I mention my rose garden, you will have a very good idea of what I am referring to. Maybe not the actual size, type or color roses, but you will know that we are not talking about oranges. Even then, the name Orange brought something to mind – didn’t it?

    Wikipedia says that “a name is a word or term used for identification. Names can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given context. A personal name identifies, not necessarily uniquely, a specific individual human. The name of a specific entity is sometimes called a proper name

   Another site defines “name” similarly “Generally a name is a label for a noun – a person, place or thing. More specifically a name is a label for a specific person, place or thing.”

   Gods’ Word tells us “A good name is rather to be chosen than great richesProverb 22:1 KJV

   What then, does the names of God tell us? When, in conversation, I mention my belief in God what do you see in your minds eye? Do you see the white-bearded figure painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Or, maybe the Name God brings to mind a vengeful figure who rains fire and brimstone upon those who defied Him? Do you see a young child sitting beside His Sainted Mother? Maybe the name God causes you to think of the suffering Savior nailed to a cross? Or the victorious Lord Who rose on the third day and ascended into Heaven?
   For everyone the answer will be different. Say the name God or Jesus and people will conjure up what they will based on their beliefs. But God can be a vague and general term and Jesus is not limited by what that one name refers to – Jesus means God Saves!
   Our God has many names and each one tells us about His character and nature so that we aren’t left doubting or disputing about Him. In this series I hope to shed some light on the many names of God and hope to pull back the curtain to reveal a little bit more about Who He is based on His Word.

The Old Testament Names of God and their meaning

Jah or Yah – LORD (King/Master/Head) Ps.68:4

Jehovah or Yahweh – I AM/The eternal One/Unchangeable Ex 3:13-14

Jehovah Adon (singular) Jehovah Adonai (plural) –  LORD of lords Ps. 109:21

Jehovah El – LORD God (singular form) Ps. 31:5

Jehovah Elohim – Uni-plural form (3-in-1) – LORD Gods/Strong or mighty an object of fear/God as creator, governing and redeeming man/God of Israel Gen 2:4

Jehovah Elyon – The LORD most high Ps. 7:17

Jehovah Jireh – The LORD will provide Gen 22:13-14 / Phil 4:19

Jehovah Makeh – The LORD smites, punishes sin Ezk 7:9

Jehovah Mekaddishkem – The LORD our sanctifer Lev 20:7-8

Jehovah Nissi – The LORD my banner or ensign Ex. 17:10-12

Jehovah Rapha – The LORD who heals Ps. 103:3; 107:20

Jehovah Roi – The LORD my shepherd Ps. 23:1 / Mk. 6:34; Heb 13:20

Jehovah Saboath – The LORD of hosts (angelic armies) 1Sam 1:3 /James 5:4

Jehovah Shalom – The LORD our peace – Judges 6:24 / Jn 14:27

Jehovah Shammah – The LORD is present Ezk 48:35

Jehovah Tsidkenu – The LORD our righteousness Jer 23:6; 33:16 / 1Cor 1:30

EL Elyon – Most high God, Exalted, elevated Ps. 21:7

 El Olam – Everlasting God Isa 40:28

EL Roi – The God of sight, who keeps watch Gen 16:13

EL Shaddai – God Almighty both powerful and nourishes, sustains Gen 17:1

   Wow! What a resume. These are the very impressive characteristics of our God as revealed to us by His own words. He wants you to know Him intimately. Even as He knows YOU.

   Now, when, in conversation, I say God, I am talking about the great and mighty Everlasting God Who is Creator, Lord and Master of all. The One who sits on high and watches to see everything. The One who punishes sin but nourishes and sustains His people. He Who gives His righteousness to those He sanctifies and shepherds to a place of safety under His banner and provides for. One Who is ever present and ready to send healing and peace.

Can you see Him?

   The next post in this series will be on the New Testament names of God. Thank you for stopping by. Please come back soon and be blessed, AL

The Lord Reigns!!!

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns!!

 

Regardless of what we think

The Lord Reigns!

Regardless of what we see

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of what we feel

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of the nations on earth

The Lord Reigns

Regardless of the troubles we face

The Lord Reigns

The Lord Reigns

and He will be magnified in all the earth

and will show His love to you

No matter whatever you may be going threw today please take refuge under His wings and know that He reigns over all the earth and He will save you because He loves you.

Reality Memories History Fairy Tales

The 82nd Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting will be tonight and it promises to be a spectacular show. Perhaps many of you make this a tradition for your Christmas season.  Maybe you have actually attended this event with family or friends. Whether you saw it in person or watched it on TV I bet you have fond memories of the show and the excitement of seeing all those lights come to life.

 Even as I write this I can hear the Carols being sung as the tree lighting show starts. In a short time tonight’s event will be a memory – like the 81 similar shows before this one.  Our current reality is continually becoming a memory. Memories become history and sometimes history turns into a myth or fairy tales. The passage of time fades our vision and whats real can fade.

My Grandfather built a house in Southampton many many years ago. Last year I was out that way and went by to see it and show it to Betty. It wasn’t there! In it’s place was the entrance to a large cul-de-sac of condos. So I sat there, awestruck, telling Betty what the house looked like and where it stood and how much pride Pop-Pop took in how well it stood for so many years. Betty took me at my word that this home existed and that I saw it and knew who built it even though it was no longer there.

But time waits for no one. The area of New York City where throngs of people are currently gathered to see the tree lighting was farm land not so long ago.  We know this because there are drawings and writings about the growth of the Big Apple. How many children learned in school how Dutch colonists purchased the island of Manhattan for $24 in 1626?

1626! That was less than 400 years ago. Old enough that anyone who was alive at the time has past away but young enough that its recorded as a historical fact. Perhaps in another 400 years it will become a fairy tale or myth. But, that will depend on the prevailing mindsets of that yet to be time.

A little over 2000 years ago Jesus walked the earth in Israel. Hundreds, even thousands, of people saw Him and saw the things He did and heard the words He spoke. Some wrote those words down and told of His great works. These memories were shared with friends and family year after year until they became history – literally – His-story. But with the ever-present passage of time these memories that became history can be seen as fairy tales if we don’t keep the vision clear.

In Reality, Jesus walked this earth and touched the hearts and minds of many many people. Eyewitness accounts were written down and told over and over again as trusted history. Time should not change these facts. Nor should public opinion trun the truth into a fable.

This Christmas Season as we busy ourselves with all that the holiday brings – find the time to open the Gospels and read the eyewitness accounts of the Birth of a Savior, the Great Gift of God and the Love story of the ages.

KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS

Be Blessed and Merry Christmas – Al

 

 

I do not know this man !!!!!

A little later others standing around the fire began saying to Peter, “You are, too, one of them, for you are from Galilee!” He began to curse and swear. “I don’t even know this fellow you are talking about,” he said. And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.Suddenly Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

And he began to cry.

Mark 14-70-72 Living Bible

Peter, Peter, Peter. Poor Simon Peter. The disciple who walked on water with Jesus and swore to keep Jesus from harm. The one who heard from Heaven that Jesus was the Son of God. It was Peter (along with his brother Andrew) who were the first to drop everything in a moments notice to follow Jesus. Now he is the one who denied Him three times – just as Jesus told him he would.

Peter reminds me a little of myself. I can tend to speak first without thinking. My enthusiasm can get me into trouble at times and like Peter, I lack a filter too often. Peter is almost child-like in his wide-eyed wonder of the world around him. With Jesus, James and John upon the mount of Transfiguration it was Peter who stepped forward with the idea of building memorials to Jesus, Moses and Elias.  But this spontaneous life-loving attitude of Peter will be used greatly in the Kingdom of God.

After 3 1/2 years of traveling with Jesus and suffering from foot-in-mouth-disease and after outright swearing that he doesn’t know Jesus, it is Peter who will stand up in public and preach the first sermon about the deity of Jesus and win 3 thousand souls to the kingdom.

IMG_5225

Peter’s denial of Jesus must have been a very dark time in his life. But having seen the resurrected Lord and being so lovingly forgiven Peter was free to return to his enthusiastic old self – only stronger.

Do not discount the gifts God has placed inside of you. If you see yourself as clumsy, awkward, uncertain or boisterous – just go for it! Be all that you are to the Glory of God. It is your destiny. It’s what you were made to do.

So if anyone asks you if you know Jesus don’t hold back. Stand up and tell them all about Him because He has your back.

Be blessed, Al