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Archive for November, 2009

One of the many titles for Jesus is Immanuel. That title has a lot of meaning for us. El was the common name for God back in the days that Isaiah wrote the prophecy about a virgin being with child. That was over 700 years before Jesus was born. The word Immanuel means God with us. God with us in relationship with us everywhere we go.

It makes me think of the word together. How good we feel when we are together with friends or family. How we feel comfort when we are together with others in times of difficulty. How we enjoy holidays much more when we are together with friends or family. Work goes much better when we can do it together with people we get along with.

Jesus is God with us. God together with us in every part of life whether it is a celebration, a holiday, a time of difficulty, not matter what situation or circumstance Jesus is with us. He is Immanuel- God with us.

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Today is Black Friday in America and many people are out shopping braving the crowded malls and stores. This time of year it is so easy to get caught up in the hectic preparations for Christmas. This morning I am mindful of what the bible calls the greatest. In the bible it says to abide in faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is love.

It was from the love of God that Jesus came. Jesus said- “For God so  loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life”. From the heart of God full of love for us, He gave us Jesus. God wants us to receive His one and only Son and then live a life of love for God and others.

Interesting thought I had today. I can’t remember most of the Christmas gifts I received as a child. I remember every year I would receive a hand made sweater from my grandmother Pierson. I can’t describe any of them to you. I don’t remember what they looked like. I do remember her love and how happy I was to receive a sweater from her every year. I was always excited about Christmas when I was a kid, but the best memories are the ones that represent love.

This year I want to show the love of God to others as we go through this holiday season. The only reason I am still alive is that Jesus spared my life to share God’s love with others. My hope is that anyone who reads this will remember that the greatest gifts ever was Jesus and how He showed us His love by dying for us on the cross.

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Psalm 100 says “Enter His gates with Thanksgiving in our hearts”.  It is easy to enter His presence when things are going well. Sometimes things do not go well for us. Things happen such as sickness, death of a loved one, financial troubles, and relationship problems. It is at those times that we really need to enter His gates with Thanksgiving in our hearts. That is because the antidote for a spirit of heaviness is praising God. It helps us to not sink into the valley of depression when things are not going well for us.

I understand how tempting it is to not want to enter with Thanksgiving. I have been though the valley of sickness and recovery and all the work of restarting life afterward. My father died this past year after we finally reconciled due to issues involving his alcoholism.This life is not easy. Jesus even told us “in this  life you will have troubles, but cheer up I have overcome the world”. That is the reason we can be thankful no matter what. Jesus is alive and overcame the world and all of its struggles.

Psalm 100 also gives the reason to enter with Thanksgiving in our hearts. It says “His love and faithfulness endure forever”. No matter what happens in this life we can rest in the fact that God’s love last forever and we will be with Him forever. Corrie Ten Boom realized this when after being held in a Nazi concentration camp and watching sister die due to the terrible conditions. She said “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still”.

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In the bible it says that one day every knee will bow and every tonuge will confess Jesus Christ is Lord. What a wonderful day that will be when Jesus fully reveals Himself as Lord of all. That means no more war, sickness, poverty, or any of the other troubles that plague us.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to experience a little glimpse of what that day will be like. We read from Psalm 100 in 7 languages in worship service. We had Chinese, English, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese read in the worship service. It was a beautiful peek into what that day will be like when Jesus fully reveals Himself to us and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

That moment also underscored for me that God truly does love the world. He loves all people. He wants all people form all languages to know Him as Father. That is why Jesus said “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not persih but have eternal life”. The question is do we want to confess Jesus now and experience His love asnd forgiveness now or wait until it it too late?

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This past few weeks  have had the pleasure of giving rides to a woman from Brazil who is here visiting her son and his wife. The first time I picked her up she heard the CD playing in my van from Jesus. It is from the musical My Utmost for His Highest. One of the songs if “Blessed is the Holy Name”. She smiled and said “in my church”. In her church in Brazil they sing the same song in Portuguese. we have talked about how she prays for her family. Today she told me that when her husband died she called out to Jesus and He came to her. She has a relationship with Jesus. She enjoys worship music and worshiping Jesus.

I have had the pleasure of worshiping in other countries and in church services in other languages  here in Lincoln . Each time I come away with the wonderful realization of how Jesus is for all people from every culture. It causes me to think about what the bible means when it says “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not persih but have eternal life”. God loves all people and showed His love through Jesus.

These experiences also cause me to think about that wonderful day in the future when as the bible says “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord”.

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In the world today many people talk about peace, peace of mind, and peaceful feelings. When I look at the world or the news, it is difficult to see the world as a peaceful place. The bible promises peace that surpasses all understanding. There have been times that I have experienced this kind of peace.

When I was sick and dying in 1995, one night I thought I was going to die. I prayed and said to Jesus that if he wanted to take me home to heaven it was okay, but more people needed to hear. I felt His presence come into my room and I was filled with a deep peace that I had not experienced before that time.

This past Spring on April 20th I was with my father when he died. I ha dbeen able to share with him about Jesus and prayed with him. He was spiritually ready. The morning he died I was with him reading from the bible to him. I felt at peace with where he was. I had so much peace that I taught my class that  night and kept my normal schedule that week. It was not easy. I do not want to give the wrong impression, but I had peace in the time of need.

The world does need peace. We need peace in our hearts and souls. The peace we need is the peace that surpasses all understanding. That is the peace that Jesus will give to anyone who comes to Him.

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I just finished chatting on line with a young person. I enjoyed the chat. During the chat she wrote that she wished she could be half as good of a writer as me. I replied that my goal for her is to be better than I am. She replied I can’t. I quickly replied that I have one rule- never say I can’t. Say I will try.

The reason that is my view of life is because of what it says in the bible. It says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. There have been times in my life that others gave up on me or told me that maybe I could not do something. I heard that so  many times when I was sick and dying and the early months of recovering. When they would say that to  me, my thought was “you must be reading a different bible than I am” or “you must believe in a different Jesus than I know”. I went from losing memory and not recognizing people to being able to remember how to greet people in 30 languages. I went from not knowing if I would have a future in this life to helping others build towards their future.

That is why I never let my friends who come to the classes at my church say “I can’t”. I know that if they try they will reach higher than where they were before. We may not always make it, but we will reach higher.

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