Tag Archives: Lord

Discouragement

How do you meet discouragement? If we wonder sometimes if God is there, look to Paul’s words in 2Russian soldiers preparing for the Battle of Kursk July 1943 Thessalonians and know that our Father is still by our side.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”              2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

At times we need what is right in front of us but we either don’t see it or fail to reach for it. Our discouragement matters to God. Take it to Him. Allow Jesus to reveal Himself to you.

The Coming Lord

Mark 13:26-27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”

candles-2The Israelites longed for, prayed for, and hoped for the Messiah to come and establish justice, end oppression, and usher in the Kingdom of God in this world. Yet, the coming of God’s justice is cause to recognize one’s own contribution to the sin and evil in our world. Repentance is a key characteristic of being ready for the coming of Christ the Lord.

The Coming Deliverer

Mark 1:2-3 “As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”

candles-1

Jesus brings deliverance in the moments of our deepest need. As people with prepared hearts, we can ask, seek, and wait with expectation that rescue—redemption—is coming!

Christ

“Then she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough-because there was no room for them at the inn. In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a manger.’

“Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors! When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’

“They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them” Luke 2:7-19.

candles 5Advent is about expectation and remembrance. We enter into the story of a world in need of a new start. It’s as much about the journey as it is the destination. And as we travel on this Christmas journey we remember. We remember Christmases of joy and hardship. We remember people we love who aren’t around our table anymore. Some memories are sweet. Others are difficult.

The Italian poet Cesare Pavese wrote, “We do not remember days; we remember moments.” Another man at the end of his life said, “I’ve had my moments, but if I had my life to do over again, I would have more of them.”

Can you imagine all the moments Mary had that first Christmas Eve? Luke tells us that she kept all these memories and treasured them in her heart. She saw and experienced things no one had before or will again. She wasn’t selected because of her wealth, education, royal lineage, or great deeds. In fact, the Bible is silent about the requirements for being the mother of the Messiah. We only know that God favored her highly among women. God’s glory consumed her life from the moment Gabriel visited her. God’s glory, His radiant love transformed her. She held the Son of God that night of which we sing. It was a holy night. God’s glory came to earth and wrote a love letter to the world in the form of a newborn baby.

What happens when you catch a glimpse of God? You treasure it. Mary could’ve had bitter memories about the travel arrangements, the lack of planning, the constant need to improvise. But in a barn full of visiting animals, horses, mules, stray dogs, camels, splinters, hay, and horse manure, Mary kept all these things treasured in her heart.

That night she had to contend with Joseph’s snoring and the shepherds, loudly recounting the amazing appearance of angels. They probably woke the baby several times that night. But just before dawn, when everyone except Mary and a mule was still asleep, she gathered a tapestry of memories:

  • the beautiful colors of Gabriel’s clothes
  • the look on Elizabeth’s face when she turned and saw Mary
  • the busyness of packing for the dreaded tax appointment
  • the “No Vacancy” signs
  • the nervous, frustrated father
  • the tiny hands of the newborn king

I would imagine she wept and smiled. She experienced an orchestra of emotions in concert with the breeze that swept through the Bethlehem hills like a newly released Spirit.

We each have opportunities to capture memories of Christ when we follow Him. Knowing that He became our Savior gives us a reason for joy. It’s Good News worth celebrating and joy worth finding.

 

*** Matt Tullos is pastor of Bluegrass Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee

Choose This Day

“A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of evil devices he condemns.” Proverbs 12:2

Much of daily life can be framed in terms of relationships. The most important, of course, is our relationship with God. As we move through the routines and interactions of an average day, it’s worth remembering that the Lord is on the side of virtue and honesty.

Choose-This-Day

Are You in the Lord’s Army?

Psalm 89:28 “My mercy I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall stand firm with him.”
I may never march in the infantry,
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery.
I may never zoom o’er the enemy,
But I’m in the Lord’s army. Yes, sir! I’m in the Lord’s army. Yes, sir!
I’m in the Lord’s army. Yes, sir!

I may never march in the infantry,
Ride in the cavalry,
Shoot the artillery.

I may never zoom o’er the enemy,
But I’m in the Lord’s army. Yes, sir!

Remember that one? It was always one of my favorites. In fact, I wish the ‘grown-up’ church service would have it as a worship song occasionally – just to remind us of something very important:

We are in the Lord’s Army
Sure, it’s a kids’ song- but it has an adult message that is too easily neglected and too often forgotten. When you’re a child, it’s fun to think about being in the service of the Captain of our salvation…oh but then at some point we get ‘mature’, which often translates into ‘chicken’.

So the issue at hand is: are you involved in the fight? Or perhaps at some point you were taken prisoner by the enemy. If you are a captive, you might not even know it- so let me give you a few characteristics of spiritual P.O.W.’s.

  • They think that many Christians are just too ‘radical’ for Jesus. After all, they should settle down and try not to ‘offend’ people too much or too often.
  • They have been led to believe that the early fire they had for Christ was just a temporary spiritual high, but that kind of feeling will probably never come back.
  • They are trapped in the rut of going through the motions of church, Bible reading, and prayer…almost as if they are doing it out of duty instead of desire.
  • They try to witness to others through actions only, thinking that people will understand the gospel without ever being told.

If any of these describe you, the great news is that you hold a ‘get out of jail free’ card right in your hands! Satan only has as much authority as you give him, so take it back, recommit your life, and go to battle!

Perhaps the old song mentioned above isn’t quite enough to get you motivated anymore. If so, allow me to share a somewhat updated version that describes your position more specifically:

I am a Soldier
Author Unknown

I am a soldier, a prayer warrior, of the army of my God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.
The Holy Bible is my code of conduct.
Faith, Prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare.

I have been taught by the Holy Spirit, trained by experience,
tried by adversity, and tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted for eternity.
I will either retire in this army at the Rapture or die in this Army;
but I will not get out, sell out, be talked out.
I am faithful, capable, and dependable.

If my God needs me, I am there.

I am a soldier, a prayer warrior. I am not a baby.
I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, picked up, or pepped up.

I am a soldier, a prayer warrior.
No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, or lure me.

I am a solider, a prayer warrior. I am not a wimp.
I am in place, saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name
and building His Kingdom!

I am a soldier, a prayer warrior.
No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy, or give me handouts.
I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to.

I am committed.
I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around.
I cannot be discouraged enough to turn me aside.
I cannot lose enough to cause me to quit.

The Ultimate Question

Philippians 2:9-11 “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
When Jesus spoke to His disciples about His impending death and resurrection, it was lost in translation. They didn’t seem to get it. The problem was they had visions of grandeur. They envisioned Jesus establishing His earthly kingdom where they would rule and reign with Him, where everyone would live happily ever after. That is why, after the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus made them get into a boat and leave. The people had wanted to take Jesus and make him king by force.
Jesus was about to reveal something to His disciples they had not understood up to this point, and it was simply this: He would die on a cross. There would be a crucifixion. There would be a resurrection. There would be a Second Coming. And then His kingdom would be established.
So Jesus posed a very important question to them: Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13). This question is still being posed to us today, and it is the most important question anyone ever will respond to.
They are really only four options, four responses to that great question Christ posed. Either Jesus was a legend, a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. We know that He was not a legend, because there is more than enough historical evidence to clearly confirm that Jesus Christ lived and died at a marked point in time. Others will say that He was lying about everything He said, while still others would say that He was stark raving mad.
But we have to respond to this question Jesus posed. And ultimately everyone, everywhere will say that Jesus Christ is Lord. Christians, skeptics, agnostics, atheists, everyone—regardless of their religion—eventually will say that Jesus Christ is Lord when they stand before God.
Jesus posed an important question to His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” What is your response to this same-asked question of you?