Tag: new life

God Invaded The Earth

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God invaded the earth in the form of a baby boy.

A most unlikely, and highly unbelievable event took place some 2000 years ago.

A virgin gave birth to God incarnate.

People have a hard time believing it today. Oh, sure, lots of folks believe in Christmas. They believe in the Eastern Star, the Manger Scene (complete with animals, Magi, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus), gifts, carols, and a paid holiday. Yes, many believe in Christmas.

But imagine what it was like that first Christmas.

There were no ribbons and bows, no special television programming, and no ham dinners. (Definitely not!)

And how did they make it through the season without watching the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life”?

That first Christmas came and went without a lot of fanfare. Yes, the Angels rejoiced (with all of Heaven joining in), the shepherds were amazed, and Mary didn’t know what to say.

But the people who knew of the prophecies knew nothing of God’s timing; nor did they recognize His ways. They assumed their way was His way. But their expectations didn’t match God’s manifestation.

So they missed the visitation of God.

Yes, a few had an inkling of what God was up to. Anna, the Prophetess. Simeon, the righteous and devout man who was “eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel” (Luke 2:25).

God performed the greatest miracle of all time, and it slipped by without much appreciation, with hardly any notice.

God came to earth, invaded the earth, and was basically ignored.

Or misunderstood.

Or both.

“He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.” (John 1:11 NLT)

This Christmas, what are you looking for? Who is your focus? It doesn’t matter how well you know the story, the scriptures, or feel the spirit of giving.

Where is your heart? Where is your faith?

Love, in the form of a baby, was given to mankind all those years ago. Celebrating the birth of God incarnate, Emmanuel, God with us, is a wonderful thing to do. But if that’s all you do, you’ve missed the whole story of Christmas. Jesus didn’t come because we needed something or someone to celebrate. He didn’t come so we could all sing Christmas carols, drink hot chocolate, and spend time kissing our loved one under the mistletoe.

He came because mankind was (and is) hopelessly, eternally, separated from God Almighty.

Everyone. No exception. Including you and I.

But He came to man, He lived with man, He died in place of man, and He was resurrected as God’s guarantee of new life for all who believe.

Believe.

And receive.

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12-13 NLT)

Christmas is about new life. We may not understand how it happens; for how does one comprehend a miracle?

Earlier, I used the word “invaded”. Though I believe, in one sense, that’s what happened, I also know God doesn’t force Himself into anyone’s life. Even Mary had a choice; and she chose to receive from God the seed of new life.

And like Mary, we too can say to the Lord, “Let it be to me according to Your word.” (Luke 1:38)

Let Christmas 2014 be your season of new life. Acknowledge your need for Him, believe He came for you, to become the substitute for your selfish, sinful ways, and receive Him as your Lord and Savior.

You’ll discover the Angels of Heaven, again, singing and rejoicing over someone’s new life.

Yours.

“…there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 ESV)

Reincarnation? Please!

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Reincarnation: the idea or belief that people are born again with a different body after death.

I’ve been a Christian for a lot of years; almost 39. I’ve never believed in reincarnation once I became born again, and still don’t. But every lie, for it to sell real well, needs to have an element of truth in it. Maybe there’s something I’ve overlooked where reincarnation is concerned. Well?

My understanding of the subject is limited, I must confess. Here’s the extent of my knowledge.

Let’s say, for instance, I am a vacuum cleaner salesman. The job sucks, but that’s what I am. However, in my previous life (my most recent life) I was a homeless person. I made my living standing on a busy street corner with a “Need help. God Bless” sign, and my three-legged dog.

Before that, I was a ballet dancer in Vienna.

As the belief goes, my “karma” determines what I’ll be in my next life, and how well I’ll be treated. And I guess, according to the belief system, I keep getting reincarnated until I reach a level of perfection, at one with the Brahman (supreme being); Nirvana.

One thing I don’t understand: nirvana means different things to different religions. To some, it means to be blown away, or blown out; like a candle. The end of all suffering, is what others believe it to mean. Other interpretations, from what I can gather, seem to indicate nirvana means “at total peace” and “total calmness and liberation from cravings, lusts, and evil desires”.

I haven’t a clue how many lifetimes it may take to reach Nirvana. Part of me even wonders if it’s worth the effort!

Like I said before, I don’t believe in reincarnation. I have never been someone else. I have never had a past life. Not in a “reincarnation” definition of past life. Not going to be anyone other than who I am. In this body or out of it, I am me, only and forever.

But here’s the “element of truth” I referred to earlier. I am born again. I will have a new, different body after death. I won’t “come back” as a dog, or butterfly, architect, or even a televangelist! In fact, I won’t come back as a community organizer, a lawyer, or a politician; even if I’ve been real bad.

I will be back, though. I’ll be back with Jesus’ heavenly host as mentioned in the book of Revelation.

“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14 ESV)

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16 ESV)

I am born again, and the life of God is in me.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

“Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.'” (John 3:3-7 ESV)

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36 ESV)

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13 ESV)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV)

I will have a new body when I die. But it will still be me, in my eternal body.

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
(2 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV)

“I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” (Philippians 1:23 ESV)

I have only lived once. I never existed before I was conceived back in 1954. I never was once a fly, a fish, or a loon. I’ve been called a pack rat before, and also an ass; and even though I may have acted like one, it was still just good old me. No one or nothing else.

The same is true for you. You have never been a monkey, no matter how many times you’ve acted like an ape. You’ll never be a dragonfly, or a talking horse. You’ll always be you. One life. You begin with your physical body, and when that fizzles out, you have another one already prepared.

It DOES matter what you do in this life, but not because of “karma”.

Karma has nothing more to do with where you spend eternity than Caramel Corn has to do with how a movie will end.

Your eternity depends on who is the Lord of your PRESENT LIFE when it’s time for you to check out.

He who has the Son has life.

“…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”
(Hebrews 9:27 ESV)

Can Innocence Be Restored?

20130522-072542.jpgDo you ever wonder what it would be like to start over in life? Not necessarily from the very beginning; I mean, who really wants to revisit potty training, the first day of kindergarten, and other traumatic experiences. And I DO NOT want to eat cottage cheese ever again!

By “start over”, I’m referring to the time in our life before our innocence was lost. Before we learned how to lie, cheat and steal. Before we knew what emotional pain was like. A time when we believed everyone loved us for who we were, not what we could do for them. When our minds weren’t flooded with thoughts of lust and violence. Before we realized some siblings could be loved more than others.

Wouldn’t it be great to start over with a clean heart?

I look back over my life and think of the different “firsts”; such as, the first time I was afraid, the first time I stole something, and the first time I was introduced to the female body. My first cigarette, my first bottle of bourbon, my first kiss, my first toke, my first hit of acid, the first time I skipped school, the first time I was kicked out of school, and the first time I ran away from home.

I remember the first time I was beaten by an adult. I remember why I was beaten. It wasn’t because of my innocence, either. I remember my first time in jail; and no, it wasn’t a case of mistaken identity. I can still recall my first time in a psychiatric ward. That sure didn’t help restore innocence; quite the contrary.

I look at the picture of myself, when I was about 3 years old, and it makes me sad to think of all the corrupt things I experienced during just the first 16 years of my life. Like everyone, I began my life innocently but, little by little, became selfish and filthy on the inside. And though I was the sweetest, most innocent looking kid on the block, my heart was evil, intent on having its way no matter the cost.

Too bad.

I made wrong choices, and it cost me my innocence. Others made wrong choices which affected my innocence. A cute (and smart) kid, once innocent, now guilty.

So sad.

I discovered something, though. I wasn’t the only one who’d lost his innocence. I wasn’t the first, or the last. I didn’t write the book on wrong decisions, though I had my own chapter in the book.

No, the first one to make a bad choice and lose his innocence was Adam. What he gained in knowledge couldn’t compare with what he lost, when he gave away his innocence by obeying the serpent. And down through the years the cycle of life keeps repeating itself: innocent at birth, corrupt at death. Regardless of each individual’s nationality, upbringing, or social status; no one stays squeaky clean! No one stays innocent.

“as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”(Romans 3:10-12 ESV)

So, allow me to ask the question again. Do you ever wonder what it would be like to start over in life? Would you like to be innocent once again?

Is it possible? Yes! Innocence can be restored. As mentioned earlier, Adam was the first person to give up his innocence, which affected us all. But there was another Who came, Jesus (also referred to as the Last Adam). This Last Adam restored innocence to all mankind. What the First Adam lost, the Last Adam won!

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12 ESV)

“…For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:16 – 5:19 ESV)

“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22 ESV)

“Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45 ESV)

Innocence has been restored to each and every person! It’s what God did for us, through His Son, Jesus. Though each of us were guilty of rebellion toward God and the worship of self, God passed judgment upon His Son instead of us. Jesus took our guilt so we could have His innocence.

“that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…for our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21 ESV)

I’m not saying we don’t remember those times of selfishness and filth; it’s just that God looks at us through what His Son has done, and finds us “not guilty”; “innocent”! The Lord deems everyone not guilty who call upon the Lord in faith. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 ESV)

Yes, innocence can be restored! You can start over with a brand new life in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:5-7 ESV)

You know, I’ll never again look like that cute little 3 year old in the picture. But my heart is rejoicing in the newness of life I have in Jesus.

And I am enjoying my innocence, because of God’s love.

a simple reminder…

A New Day

We may struggle remembering things such as names, dates, assignments, and the like. But God has given everyone a way to NEVER FORGET the important things.

Just a simple reminder. As simple as the dawning of a new day.

Each time the sun rises in the east, signifying the beginning of a new day, let that ordinary event remind you of God’s extraordinary promises!

See the rising sun as a simple reminder of “NEW”:

Covenant – 2 Cor. 3:6
Creation – 2 Cor. 5:17
Freedom – 2 Cor. 3:17
Mind – Rom. 12:1,2
Provision – Matt. 6:11
Power – Acts 1:8
Things – Isa. 43:19
Comforter – John 14:26
Coming of the Lord – 2 Pet. 3:12
Heaven and Earth – Rev. 21

and also Lam. 3:22,23
Compassion
Hope
Mercy
Faithfulness
Living

Just God’s simple way of saying to us, “If I can make the sun rise each and every day, please know you can trust Me to help with the small things.”

Nothing But A Name

Got Jesus

Before the church had disciples – it had converts

Before the church had converts – it had evangelism

Before the church had evangelism – it had power

Before the church had power – it had its commission

Before the church had its commission – it had relationship

Before the church had relationship – it had nothing but a name.

Nothing but a Name, but what a Name!

The Name that means salvation to any people group, any social status, any age.

The Name the wicked mock, the righteous bless, the angels praise, and demons curse.

The Name that heals the sick, raises the dead, restores broken homes, unites parents with their children, gives peace throughout any storm, and breaks all addictions.

The Name beyond comprehension, above all powers and principalities, seated on the Highest Throne in the universe.

The Name Father God used to express Himself and His Word.

The Name that is the exact representation of His likeness.

The Name – Jesus!

Nothing but a Name, but what else could anyone ever need?

No Brag, Just Fact

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As a kid, I enjoyed watching “The Guns of Will Sonnett”, starring Walter Brennan. The show only ran for a few seasons, but it was fun while it lasted.

“This series starred veteran character actor Walter Brennan as Will Sonnett, and Dack Rambo as his grandson, Jeff, who were searching for Will’s son and Jeff’s father, James. Disgusted with his father’s being absent on army-scout business more often than not, James (also called Jim) had disappeared at the age of seventeen. A few years later, a baby boy was delivered to Will, with a letter identifying him as James’ son. It went on to say that his mother had died in childbirth, and that not very many people get a second chance in life, but this was one for Will. The young boy was raised by his grandfather, who was grateful for the opportunity and did the best that he could to steer the grandson in the right direction.”

“The elder Sonnett was capable with firearms and often spoke to strangers about this prowess in a way that intimidated them. In the first episode, he mentions that his son is an expert with guns, while his grandson is better, “and I’m better than both of ’em — no brag, just fact.” This last phrase appeared frequently on the show, and became a catch phrase with many of the show’s younger fans.”
– From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –

Think about the “second chance in life” Will Sonnett received. Wow! Who couldn’t use something like that? I mean, who couldn’t benefit from such an offer!

The year was 1975. For several months something was happening in my mind, actually deeper than my mind but I couldn’t explain it any better at the time. Know what I mean? Something was happening and all I kept thinking was “something is missing in my life.”

Finally I figured it out. I needed God! I needed to know this Jesus people were telling me about. I needed a change in my life only He could bring. I needed to be “born again.” I needed, I needed, I needed!

We ALL are so needy, so desperately needy for God.

The process was simple. The exchange, instantaneous. I gave my life to Him, and He gave His life to me. I finally took Him at His Word and confessed Him as my Lord and Savior. He took my life, buried it in Himself, and raised me to new life. He now calls me His own.

I haven’t “arrived” and I’m not the picture of perfection, but I’m enjoying the grace and forgiveness of God. I’m living this “second chance”. This life is so full and exciting! To experience the Presence of the Living God throughout the day is beyond my ability to fully explain. And, when this life is finished…well,

The best is yet to come!

I am born of God, a new creation in Christ, living and enjoying my new life, my second chance, in Him.

No brag, just fact!

Do You Need A Miracle?

Do You Need A Miracle?
words and music by Jan Grace

Do you need a miracle?
The miracle worker is here.
He’s cleansed the lepers
And made the lame to walk
Do you need a miracle
Jesus Christ is here.

Do you need a miracle?
The miracle worker is here.
The blind have received their sight
The dead have been raised up
Do you need a miracle
Jesus Christ is here

Jesus Christ, God’s anointed
Delivered from sin, sickness and shame
And all He’s done, He will do for you today
Cause He’s still the same, our God will never change

Do you need a miracle?
The miracle worker is here
He’s changed my life
He’s changed my life
He’s changed my life
He’ll change your life
He’ll change your life

Do you need a miracle?
The miracle worker is here
He’s taken your sin away
And offers eternal life
If you need a miracle
Your miracle is here
He’s taken your sin away
And offers eternal life
If you need a miracle
Your miracle is here
Jesus is here.

copyright 2012 Jan Grace

Arise, Shine!

Sunrise
Please don’t misunderstand me…
I am not a gloom and doom kind of guy; but I have been spending time meditating on the Word and praying for and about the present day Church. While I may write things that seem like I’m ragging on the church and ministers, I am totally in love with Jesus AND His Church! And though I believe the next year will be extremely challenging and ministries will be sifted and shaken,

I see the Glory rising through those who won’t, and can’t, be stopped!
Malachi 4:1,2 – The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed roots, branches, and all. “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Isaiah 60:1 – Arise, shine, for your light has come; and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

Men and women of God – let go of the things that cause you and others to stumble in darkness. Embrace the changes the Lord is bringing you through.

Hate what He hates, love what He loves; and He will anoint you with the oil of joy beyond what you’ve experience thus far.

Days of Brightness,
Days of Freedom,
Days of Refining and Defining the Church.

You know what? We’re going to need each other…

Created In His Image

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You start with a pattern, the exact representation of what you want to create.

Next, you take molding flasks, a top and bottom, (cope and drag); these will allow the molding sand to be pressed, squeezed with great force against the pattern.

The molding sand looks like dirt, but it’s really silica sand mixed with clay, water, and a few other ingredients. It can’t be too wet or you’ll have real problems when the molten iron is poured into the mold. Too dry, it will wash away as the iron flows, thus ruining the casting.

After the sand is pressed against the pattern, and a pouring hole (sprue) has been cut into the mold, the pattern is removed. Then the two halves of the mold are carefully placed back together.

Add some weight to the top of the mold, if needed.

Ready to create!

We were created in the image of God to be an exact representation, thought, word, and deed. Could it be, when God said ,”Let Us make man in Our image”, that the Son was the pattern? Picture the Father reach down, grab the molding sand, press it against the Pattern, then remove the Pattern and breathe into the mold His creative life.

And man became a living soul.

Even though that image was marred through Adam’s disobedience, Father God allowed His Son to, once and for all, be the Pattern of His new creation.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

My how we, even as new creations in Christ (Christians), spend so much time making sure the molding sand is taken care of. But it’s just a temporary thing. There’s a new creation on the inside.

By the way; though our outward man is perishing, our inward man is being renewed daily (2 Cor. 4). And this molding sand that is holding the new creation inside will be removed some day. The image on the inside will be all that’s left.

It’s time to be more aware of the inward man than the outward. It’s time to, while still in this sand, let Father lead us by His Spirit that’s within us. To grow up into Him, in all things, unto the stature of the fullness of Christ…

…and make certain you look like the Pattern when the dirt falls off.

Copyright 2012 Jan Grace

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