Come and see what God has done, His awesome deeds for mankind!
He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot-come,
let us rejoice in Him. Ps. 66:5-6, NIV
The Psalmist calls God’s people to see what awesome things God has done for His people. In particular, the Psalm writer is reminding God’s people that He miraculously made a way for them when there was no way. He opened up the impossible to make a path for them when Pharaoh and his army were chasing the Israelites and gave total victory. It’s like the Psalmist is excitedly saying, “Come and see this!! He is awesome!” This is what God did in ancient Egypt.
And, He has done the same for us in Christ. He has made a way when there was no way for salvation. When we were dead, He gave us life. When it was impossible, God did something awesome. God continues to be at work among us, His people today. This past Sunday, we paused to share some ways that we saw God at work in our lives and in the lives of our NewLife family in 2022. I trust your heart was encouraged.
May I also encourage you to look to Him, now, today? He’s not done yet. In fact, Jesus said the same thing that the Psalmist said, “Come and see.” What an invitation. I humbly think that if we do that, we will have a lot to share at next year’s “Impact Sunday”!
Blessings on the journey,
“Why would God require bloodshed for the forgiveness of sin?” That’s a good question! Why would a holy God demand such a thing? The answer is found in Leviticus 17:11. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”
So, we see here two things (among many observations that could be made):
The author of Hebrews refers to this in verse 9:22b, when it states, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Also, the author of Hebrews tells us that there had to be a better way. “But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Heb. 10:3-4
Jesus is that better way! He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He laid down His life for us and poured out His blood for us in the payment of our sins.
Let us then make our confession of faith in Him and let us hold on to that good confession!
May His Word continue to be Lamp for your feet!
Exodus shows us that God is the One who rescues His people from slavery and sets them free so that they can know Him and worship Him. What God did for the Israelites in rescuing them and giving them an exodus from their captivity to Egypt, He has accomplished for us through Christ in rescuing us from our slavery to sin. He has done this so that we may know Him, love Him, and serve Him.
There are many pictures in Exodus that tell us the story of salvation:
Christ is the way out of our sin. The cross was God’s total judgment on our enemy: sin, death, and the devil. Christ is our Passover, for those who are covered with His blood pass from death to life. God continues to give second chances to us in Christ.
This is all based on the character of God, which He reveals to Moses as He shows Moses His glory, with Moses in the cleft of the rock. He said, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (Ex. 34:6-7a) That’s the God we know and love through Jesus Christ. That’s the God who tells us, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Ex. 33:14)
Friends, let us look for and find rest in His Presence,
“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.” Gen. 12:4
I know what you’re thinking. It’s crazy to walk through the whole book of Genesis on a Sunday morning. 50 chapters and many biblical generations all in approximately 30 minutes? Yep, that’s us!
So then, here’s an observation from Genesis: God’s promises and Covenant He made with Abraham also came with a call. In fact, the call came just before the covenant (Gen. 12:1-3). The call was for Abraham (still Abram at the time), to go away from everything he knew, to go where God would show him. He didn’t even know where he was to go other than that God would show him.
And, then came the covenant: God would make him a great nation, He would bless Abraham, and make him into a blessing for all the families of the earth. Later, God would add to this covenant an heir through Abraham, many descendants, land, and generational blessing. To his credit, Abraham goes. I think many of us would have wanted to know or waited until God showed us where we were to go. Not in this instance. Abe was to follow and then he would see.
Our call and our covenant are also closely linked. Jesus said, “Come and see.” He made a covenant with those who would believe that they would receive eternal life. And, He had a call on all who would follow Him. Anyone who follows Him must pick up their cross daily (Luke 9:24). The call and the covenant are inseparable. Yet, how often do we see folks make the assumption that they can separate them? Frankly, it’s all too often that we see divided lives, divided faith, divided worldviews in folks who claim to call on the name of Jesus. Heaven help us if we also are in that mix!
His Word is a Lamp for our feet so let us pay attention to it!
Happy 2023, NewLife Family!
As we continue to move forward in this brand new year, I want to share again with you a Scripture we looked at briefly in our New Year’s Sunday service together.
“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” Ps. 36:9, ESV
These are good traveling companions to take with us into a new year. Jesus is the source of life, overflowing life, in fact. And, in His light, do we see light. As we travel with Him through life, as we walk according to His Word, we have a lamp for our feet and light for our paths (Ps. 119:105).
As we walk on the paths in which He leads us in this new year, let’s walk all the more closely with Him and listen to His voice ever more attentively. If we can do this consistently, faithfully and obediently, I think we’ll find that’s a recipe for a year well spent. While none of us can know what 2023 holds for us, we can rest assured that we know that the One who holds 2023 also holds us too.
Lord, give us eyes to see Your Light so that we will walk in the Light as You are in the Light. Amen
Blessings to you in 2023!
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On Sunday, I talked about the significance of Bethlehem and how not only was it the fulfillment of prophecy, but this humble little town of Bethlehem correlated with all the other decisions Jesus made on earth. HE chose the lowly in: what city He was born in, where His birth took place, His earthly parents, His disciples, the way He died and His way of living.
Another reminder of why God chose such a little, irrelevant town was this was the town where the lambs that would be sacrificed in the temple were raised. I was reminded of this by a friend at church that having the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world would make sense to the people if the Lamb was born in Bethlehem.
God is in the details. It amazes me how God’s plan is intricately created and nothing is missed, nothing fails and every little detail is accounted for.
God is the creator and He knows His creation.
So as we head into this Christmas let us be reminded that God knows:
He knows what we are going through.
He knows what we need.
He knows the path ahead of us.
He knows the path we were on.
He knows the intricate details of the world He created, which means He knows all the intricate details of you. Nothing surprises Him; we can trust Him with all the intricate details of our lives because He already knows.
Let us celebrate this Christmas that Jesus, our Savior, our Immanuel was born – not just for the cuteness of infancy – but as the Savior of the world. God had a detailed plan back then and He continues with that plan today.
The more we study God’s Word and other credible sources – we too can see a glimpse behind the curtain and begin to see the intricate details in the world around us and in ourselves. God is not surprised, He is all knowing, therefore let us put our trust in Him – let us say yes to God whenever we can and trust He is already helping us transform into the person He intricately designed us to be.
Blessings and Merry Christmas!
I wonder how I would respond if God sent an angel to speak with me and give me a direct message from the Father. How would you respond?
Angels were one of the main ways God spoke to His people in the Old Testament. Their recipients often responded with fear initially and had to be comforted by the angel. So then, what separated Zechariah from Mary or Joseph? He responded with unbelief to Gabriel’s message. He looked to himself and doubted what God could do for him, even though Gabe had just told him that God had heard his prayer! Mary clarified some details but agreed to God’s plan for her life and gave God all the credit. Joseph had the angel appear to him in a dream and upon waking, immediately he took Mary as his wife.
God used the angels to announce the birth of Christ and to share about the empty tomb. Jesus sent an angel to John to give the Revelation about the Return of Christ. Their messages ring forth for us to rush to the manger to contemplate the newborn king as the shepherds did, to examine the empty tomb where the Resurrection of Jesus occurred, and to wait for His return with patient endurance.
As amazing as these angels sound, let’s remember that they are created beings, servants of the Most High, and that Christ is greater. He’s the radiance of the glory of God (Heb. 1:3), greater than the angels (Heb. 1:5-7), and greater than Moses (Heb. 3:3). Let us then pay great attention to what we have heard in the message of Christ so that we don’t drift away from it (Heb. 2:1). After all, that’s the message of the angels about His Advent: the Savior is born! Let us join them in singing His praises!
He IS worthy!
Our faithful Savior and High Priest, Jesus Christ the Righteous, had many promises made about Him in the Old Testament which all came true in the New Testament. Several of these promises can be found in Isaiah 9:1-7 and Isaiah 42:1-8. Because Jesus brought with Him the promised Hope, Light, Rejoicing, Freedom, and Peace (see the Is. 9 passage), we can count on Him to be faithful to give us His life. We can also count on Him to NOT break the bruised reed or put out the smoldering wick (see Is. 42 passage). We can count on Him to bring us into the light, not plunge us further into darkness. He’ll bring us into His healing and not injure us further. Seeing as He’s the one who brought the Light, we must ask ourselves not only if we’ve seen the Light but if we are actually walking in the light (1 John 1:7-8).
What are the indicators that we are walking in the Light? Well, I’m glad you asked!
1. We are growing in knowing Him because John tells us Jesus is in the Light, thus giving us fellowship with Him as we are walking in the light. This means Jesus is on the journey with us in the light!
2. We have fellowship with one another. This is deep and actual fellowship that is both life-transforming as well as real relationships that sustain us in life and not simply tricking ourselves that superficial pleasantries can accomplish the same thing in our lives.
3. His blood is cleansing us. We are experiencing active repentance brought on by seeing ourselves accurately in His light and are thus knowing His gracious forgiveness to cover us. It’s worth the active reflection upon this in our lives because it tells us right where we are with Jesus, which truly determines our trajectory in life. Such meditation upon Him seems quite fitting in this Advent season.
Thanks for the privilege to journey with you!