Sunday, December 12, 2010


                                        A Celebration
                                      Of Christ’s birth,
                                       Born to die, yes
                                      But to rise again,
                                               death could not hold him,

                                 And so we can celebrate,
                                            He lives,
                                 And because He lives
                                      We too can live

                                  The manger is empty,
                                  The cross is empty
                                  The Tomb is empty
                                  Because the Christ is risen
                                            Our redeemer
                                            Life giver
                                            Almighty God

                                      And so we celebrate

Christ was born, not to remain in a manger, helpless, needy, cute, a babe to be sentimental about. He was born God enfleshed. God chose to make Himself available to His creation, and chose the way we would most understand. He chose to be born, to live, and to face death. Only unlike us he lived without sin, and chose to relinquish His life on the cross. He chose not to destroy all of creation for laying their hands on His body to destroy His life. And, He chose all of this as His gift to mankind. Our greatest gift back is to accept His work on Calvary.

His work simply stated was : 
     God made Himself known to us in personal form.

     He wants us to know Him.

     God, the unapproachable holy creator, has made Himself 
     accessible though Jesus Christ - The Word became flesh
     and dwelt among us.

     God makes us acceptable by clothing us with His
     righteousness.  God makes us holy, and as much as He
     is a part of us, He has made us a part of Him.
     He is the head and we are His body.

To me this is the reason I rejoice -  that Christ was born. And at Christmas, for me it’s not lights, trees, presents, kindness and good cheer. Those things are for me the trappings that make the world be able to forget real purpose of His birth. To hide the truth of who the Babe is, and why he was born.

By His loving grace to me, I pray that I will show kindness and love all the year. That in remembering his blessed birth I will remember His gift to us. And rejoice in His great gift of life and love.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

John 1:1-18 ESV

John 1: 1-18 (ESV)

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, Or was not any thing made. That which has been made was life in him and the life was the light of men.   “That which has been made was life in him ” correct wording

A picture has formed in my mind. The WORD was SEED planted in the womb of creation. In the womb of creation the WORD was life. That life, the WORD was birthed out of the womb of creation, and the WORD birthed, is the light of men. The WORD has been the light of men from the beginning, when he was God’s means of creating. So what was made was made by the WORD.  And that which was made was life in the WORD - and  the WORD became the light of men. 

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The light shines in darkness. Darkness cannot extinguish it, but the real evil is the darkness doesn’t comprehend it. The darkness can neither see or understand the light. It knows there is LIGHT because of it’s affect on creation and so seeks to destroy it but cannot. I see it in a dim way, as a lighthouse. The sea rages against it, but cannot reach the light to turn it off (in truth, lighthouses can be overwhelmed, yes) But this is a lighthouse / LIGHT proven by death, and resurrection to not destroyed / overwhelmed. That LIGHT, the WORD from the beginning is shinning and will shine forever!!

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

The life which was the LIGHT of mankind. This is True LIGHT. Meaning it is a valid, real, without blemish or fault LIGHT. All who live, whatever true light they have, it comes from the true LIGHT - even if they reject that light.

12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

We are Born of God, become children of God! Do we understand the magnificence of this? It is a transaction, no,  a birth into life. It was not by our will, or any other human agency. God birthed us into His family. If He took the time to birth us, cannot He hold us? If we are not birthed in truth - if we seek to be children through our own will then we are not children of God. My heart cries when I hear the words “I tried God, but it didn’t work for me”. That is a work from my will. We are promised if we receive him, and believe in his name, he will birth us.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The WORD became Flesh. This eternal, creating WORD yielded up his glory and submitted to becoming a created being, with all it’s weaknesses. His only advantage was He was the second Adam, having the blood of His father flowing in his veins, not the now tainted blood of the first Adam. This second Adam had created in him, as all creation had, CHOICE. He could be wounded, bleed, be hungry, tired, thirsty, and I imagine lonely. He could be tempted. Perhaps to bitterness, anger, murder and immorality. But most certainly, as Satan was before him, he could be tempted to become proud of his power and position in creation. To become enamored with himself.

And, enfleshed, he was vulnerable as all mankind is, to his enemy - the usurper who wished to be God himself. Again and again in history, Biblical and secular we’ve seen Satan incite murder of baby boys, and mankind to try and prevent first the birth of Christ, and I believe now, being blinded by evil, thinking “if I did it once, I can do it again, but this time I will prevent his resurrection” or maybe thinking by tearing down the LIGHT of God in the world by snuffing it out in the lives of God’s Children by sin, that he would show GOD.  He could overcome God. I don’t know but it is a battlefield. But, a God allowed battlefield, and with only God's allowed results. As in the death of Christ, Satan thought that was the victory - not knowing the fullness of God, and HIS power over death.

One of the lies of Satan, propagated in some human hearts that Satan was the firstborn of God, and Christ the supplanter. But the truth of God is Jesus Christ is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON of God, the WORD made FLESH.

I find it very interesting that God’s creation holds the ability to accept and love His creator or to chose not to love and believe in Him. God, even in creating man made one law. One law in all creation. But, in that law, God also made CHOICE possible. An interesting read in Isaiah 14:11-14 and Ezekiel 18:12-19 regarding who Satan was - naming him has guardian Cherub in the Garden of Eden. So at the beginning Satan was not yet fallen. He was made in fact the guardian Cherub in the garden. But his heart became proud of his own beauty it says, and caused him to become unrighteous. I’ve heard that he sought the praise that belonged to God, to be taken unto himself.

And here we find for the first time of one of the great evils in all the world. That evil, where the protectors or guardians become despoilers of those they are given charge over. Parents who abuse their children, Spiritual leaders and secular leaders who use and abuse those they are given charge to protect.

And Satan’s scheme as a despoiler worked. Moreover, it was/is the despoiled, mankind themselves who suffer for that terrible wrong against them. But, I also believe, as in the case of Christ’s resurrection, in  all that Satan schemes to do, in all his seeming successes  in God’s time and place, will prove to have failed, and I believe in the end his schemes will prove to be his own undoing. Part of our walk with the LORD in this life is holding onto that truth and walking in it, not in the evil done to us.

One further outcome of the lies of Satan. As in the birth of Ishmael to Abraham, truly the first child born to him, but not the child of promise. Satan has taken this birth and created a religion of hate in the world. Hatred of the children of the son of promise, and hatred of the children who are born of God, and hatred of women as those who bare children, who can in turn believe in God. Those to me seem the main tenets of that false religion and Satan is putting all his might into overwhelming the world with that religion. The soul purpose of this religion is to put out the Light of God in the world.  But praise the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, who was, and is and is to come, the only Begotten of the Father - even this great evil will not put out the LIGHT of the world.

15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

And so Christ, the WORD who was with God and was God, the LIGHT of the world, LIFE in us - from HIS fullness, WE have received GRACE upon GRACE.

17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

Law given to and through Moses, but through Jesus Christ is given grace and truth. Moreover, Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God has made his Father known to us.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Then and Now in Kenya Colony by Willis R Hotchkiss

An  Africa map showing old names - from 1950's
 A remarkable book - Mr. Hotchkiss went to Kenya in 1895 and worked there 40 years.  His writing is vivid, interesting, and exceptionally well written. 

But in describing why he went out as a missionary I felt he wrote an entire lifetime sermon and want to share it and make it available to a new generation.

     "The sin question must be settled before we can cope with the multiplied problems of the social and economic need.
     Suppose Jesus was right when He declared,  "I am the way, the truth, and the life"  I am THE WAY, not merely  one of the many religious ways in the world, but the only way.  For, to make His meaning crystal-clear, He adds the illuminating word, "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." 

     Again, "I am THE truth," not merely a truth amoung many truths.  We do not dispute the fact that the non-Christian religions contain truth, even much that is beautiful truth.  And truth the world over is from God.  But Christ does not merely teach truth, HE IS truth incarnate: He is truth personified.  And that is the reason He is forever calling men to come to Himself.  Not alone to follow Him, but first of all to obtain the life which makes the following possible.

     If He were no more than a teacher, though the greatest of all teachers, His constant use of the pronoun "I" would stamp Him as a charlatan or a fool.  But from the lips of Deity that little pronoun bridges the chasm that separates man from God and brings Him near in saving, sanctifying grace.

     "I am THE life," - not merely revelation of life, but Hi IS life, and the life is the light of men.  "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  There it is, the indisputable fact of divine revelation.  We may take it or we may leave it but we cannot evade it.  "There is none other name given under heaven amoung men whereby we must be saved."  If these words are not true, then the missionary enterprise is what a famous critic proclaimed it to be, "The dream of a dreamer who dreams that he has been dreaming."  If they are true, there is an end of argument.  No, we do not come to Africa because men are heathen and need civilization; we came because men are sinners and need a Saviour.

If you are interested in Africa at all, this book is filled with historical facts, both from the past in 1895 and present events during the time Mr. Hotchkiss worked there. 

Victoria Falls in 1990's

Another book of a missionary going to Zimbabwe  (now)   during the same time frame is "The Dust Diaries"   But this book for me lacks the inspiration as I don't see any real evidence of Christ.  However, the author is a present day relative enchanted by the man, not the Christ in the man.  But it's interesting to see that world in the early 1900's.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

God's Incredible Love

I am humbled, brought low in my own 'self esteem' - 2 times in one day God spoke - definitely I need to attend to His voice.
First, in seeing a news story on the actions of a member of another nation, I harshly declared "He is an evil man."

Then, just hours later, I was irritated by a next door neighbor's loud music out in his yard, right by a bedroom window where someone was sleeping - preparing for an all night job.  I was really upset.  Well, livid would more accurately describe my feelings. I imagined going out and screaming at him, or better yet,  at midnight, cranking up some loud music in my yard, to let THEM (now the enemy) see what it was like. 

Suddenly, I felt the scalpel of God cut through to the very core of my being.  His question? 

"You judge others lives and behaviors.  What about your own heart?"

I saw my own heart revealed. Though I maybe only thought of revenge, the hatred was in my heart, and colored my future responses and actions with my actually, innocent neighbor.  He would not even know why I was being cold or uncaring.  And what's more, I saw a pattern of my  'judgment of others' behaviour march before my eyes.  It's very hard, to get a true glimpse of myself, but I praise the Lord for His love in action.

I am so very blessed.  I have been redeemed  through  the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  God's love called me to salvation because of his resurrection.  Moreover, I was born in a home,  and in a land where God's love was taught, which  made that call easier to hear,  and respond to my Redeemer. 

But, how many that I have 'judged as evil' have lived in spiritual darkness, never having heard of God's love. Many who were taught about a god who is in truth, the god of lies, and deceit and destruction.  What about exchanging my judgment to praying for that person's darkness to be penetrated by God's light and God's love.

Then, later, the same day, while grieving and praying, no it was more a scream of anger and despair about a situation I felt was wrong, wrong, wrong.  I felt if I accepted it I would splinter into a million pieces.

I even thought, fleetingly, that if I could give up my own salvation, and guarantee it for another, I would.  I'd barely thought it when I knew, as much as I loved the one I was grieving for, I was not willing to sacrifice my salvation for another.  I could not bear to think of an eternity separated from God, not even for one deeply beloved of me.  And my heart broke that I could not love more. 

And in brokenness, I remembered a man, the son of the Most High God, who chose to suffer separation from His Father for my sin.  Not only separation but a separation caused by the sins of all mankind. He chose to take all sin and evil into himself,  and that bringing death.  The  stygian darkness, the overwhelming cesspool of absolute evil.  Oh God.  How could anyone love me so.  But you do my Father.

Because of Christ's righteousness, death could not conquer Him.  His righteousness overcame sin and it's attendent death and He arose alive, but truly, through fire and darkness, and experiencing separation from His father for mankind.  In our time/space world, it was for 3 days and 3 nights - 72 hours in time.  But God is not in Time.  There is an aspect that for Christ it was an eternity. 
Through his death and resurrection all mankind was redeemed.  Forgiveness for our sins was paid for. Those sins I think of as 'very bad' sins, and also those I think of as 'nothing much' - just a piece of dust on the window of my life.  But, for that DUST, Christ suffered and died!

I cannot fully comprehend God's Love.  It is greater than I can even imagine.  Not just in my own story,  but I saw that God' love is greater than the darkness, greater than all the evil conceived, greater than my worst fears, greater than Satan's plans for the Creator's creation.

That Christ chose separation from his father, that I might not have to be separated from my God and Father is beyond my true understanding.  But I praise Him for giving me a glimpse of His great love.  That I have been given life in place of death.    And, the God who called and bought me, is the only hope for all mankind.  And know this, He is up to the task.

My task.  To shed His love to those around me, not judge and critic them.  And to pray.  God is well able to bring His plans and purposes to pass. 

I don't fully understand how my prayer affects His plans but I believe it is God's gift to me.  It brings my heart's cares to Him and He brings His love and hope to my heart.  

So, I can release my anxiety and stress about those I love.  My judgment will not bring their release - I am not fit to judge.  But love will show forth the power and wonder of God's love. 

I worship you, Almighty God, there is none like you!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ezekiel 33: 10 - 11

“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’
 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

God here, is saying  much more (See full passage Ezekiel 33:10-20) but I wish to talk about what came to me personally as I read this passage.

I've often thought God must do the work in me. If He didn't turn me away from my unrighteousness and to His way, I was hopelessly lost.  And there is definitely truth in that.  God does the work but He gives me a share in His work.

So,  I am seeing God expects me to do the turning away: from my iniquity, from my unrighteousness, from my sins of omission or commission, or just from my careless wrongdoing.  It's called repentance.

     Repentance is turning away from sin.                     
                        It's a choice.

The bottom line is we always choose first, then we do.  Sometimes after our acts have become a habit, we get to feeling we have no choice but, ever and always, even with a strong habit, we first choose to act  - God's way or my way.

There is an onslaught against all mankind. It is from our great enemy - Satan.  His success is in how he packages his lies. What he offers looks so very glamorous, fulfilling, satisfying, desirable.

However, as there is no TRUTH in him, all he offers is a counterfeit of the reality God offers. 

Satan seeks ever to destroy God's creation. His real issue is with his own creator, the Father God he chose to rebel against. But, since he cannot touch God, he seeks to destroy God's creation.  He seeks to draw us into rebellion against, and independence from our Creator.  But, he is a thief.
                      The thief comes only to steal and kill
                            and destroy.
                            I came that they may have life and 
                            have it abundantly.  (John 10:10)

Once we have formed a negative habit the choice become more difficult because what we are now battling is a stronghold.

God uses no weapons on or against us; no coercion; no manipulation; no intimidation; no distorted truth. He holds out rather:
  Hope   Peace   Joy   Love   To be His very own

Though God never invades our will He has given us weapons (tools) to do His will. We are not left to fight alone.  But to fight is our job, with God’s weapons.

Just remember:
              We are not PROVING ourselves to God.

After all, it is He who reaches out first to us, who has made the first move already.  He tells us in Revelation 3:20 that He is standing at the door and knocking.  So, He is not looking for proof of our success.

             We are not WORKING for our salvation.

For, only the righteousness that He provides is a valid
righteousness. This is not about salvation, but about repentance from our sin/sins.

And in Repentance we are making a CHOICE to agree with Him. With that CHOICE we are giving Him the
right to carry on His purpose in our lives.

What we need to remember is as Christians we have amazingly more power than we sometimes think.  Power in and through Christ Jesus.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rooms by James Rubart

This book reminded me somewhat of Ethel Barrett's Holy War, and in kind, somewhat of The Shack by William Young. Of course, it is unique and not a copy cat of other styles - but I only say the likeness, to show you a bit of how it affected me.

I always love Ethel Barrett's Story, describing  how the enemy attacked the eye gate, and the ear gate etc of the great city, seeking to breech it's walls and take control.

Rooms  on the other hand is the story of a one occupied / filled up by self and where self was overwhelmed by the gods/idols who came along with the territory. It is a story of God's intervention to bring freedom and life.

I admit, even as an avid fantasy reader, it took me half the book to really figure out it's not a straight forward tale of a man's life. It is beautifully written and has the effect of lingering and forcing me to consider it in the light of my own life and walk with the Lord. Below is the Authors own write up about his book. I am eager for his next two projected books to be published.


On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out.

Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way.

But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.

Available in all major bookstores and online.

Order from Barnes & Noble here. Order from Amazon here. Also available online from CBD, LifeWay, Books A Million, Family Christian Stores, and others.

I personally ordered this book at Alibris as my own book seller of choice.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My friend Roberta Longacre Olbrantz

I want to tell you about my friend Roberta. I got to know her in about 1971. I was working at the Wycliffe headquarters then at Santa Ana, and she moved into the area. I have a blank mind about why we met, but I remember standing with her outside her apartment (I wanted to say flat, but remembered this was in my USA days) I had just returned from a trip to Bolivia to visit my own parents and she was there when I came back. I so admired her. She was beautiful, smart, slender and blond. Well, truth to be told I was a tiny bit (okay, quite a bit) jealous of her and figured I would never be one of the people she would want to hang out with. But, God had a beautiful plan and she became a friend, and she introduced me to another lovely friend of hers whom I learned to love deeply, Cynthia (now Payton).

In time we shared an apartment together. We had some extreme ups and terrible downs but amazingly, Roberta and I survived it all. She forgave me several times for unkindness, thoughtlessness and meanness, warmly embracing the 'who I am' even when I was less than lovely.

Then major changes lead me to Bolivia and on the South Africa where I met and married a wonderful South African man. After marriage he became a pastor in Zimbabwe and we had 3 wonderful children. In 1996 we moved to the states, to live in Oregon. Roberta and I didn't write a lot through the years, but enough to keep in touch. Also, I saw her several times through the years, when I visited my parents, then living in Huntington Beach, CA.

Now, all this to show how she has woven in and out of my life. She blessed me again and again in big ways (a never to be forgotten trip to England) and smaller ways, several times a year care packages of books and other lovely goodies appear in my mail box. Then one great week I even went to visit her and we sang in a choral production together at her church. It was fabulous.

Well, several years ago, about 10 I think, she had the very difficult experience of contracting breast cancer. After chemotherapy, she pronounced clear of cancer. It was only after the fact I got to know this. Then last year, she found, after many years free of all cancer, it had returned. It has been very difficult as she has also lost her mom in this time. There is a lot I don't know but what I have found is that her spirit has exploded upward and outward to all who touch her. I have been amazed and blessed by her faith and life.

Often, as a person who has loved the Lord Jesus Christ for many years, I've taken for granted, my health, and in a major way, a life that's been blessed and fun. As Roberta has shared a bit with me about the reality of facing cancer yet again, this time with removal of the infected flesh, and all that means to a woman, I have been deeply touched by her steadfast belief that the Lord is with her. Her assurance that has rested on the truth, that even in this hard time the Lord has not abandoned her. I am sure that faith didn't come overnight, but it has grown up in her as she has steadfastly faced forward and learned to lean on the strength God has given her. Roberta, you are my encouragement and I rejoice in you.

I just got another 'gift box' from Roberta with some wonderful books but more, 3 memorable poems. I'd like to share two here.

This first one is by an unknown author:


An angel came to me to say, "Hear my words with care today:
Fear is not fully knowing the Love of Christ who sees you from above.
Please don't be swamped by doubt and fright, for you are special in His sight."

"You have heard He guards the sparrow; do you think his view so narrow
as to let you walk alone?
He, who made this world from stone created you - you are a gem
for you reflect the face of Him!"

You walk within His light of love, protected by the hosts above.
When you feel dazed by doubt and fright, step back inside this love and light.
And when you feel the fear begin, remember that He dwells within.
He'll help you banish this fear-ridden pain as you look to Him again.

And as the angel turned to go, he put his hand upon my brow.
I felt the Light within me spread, releasing the drag of fear and dread.
And as I raised my head to nod, I knew this message was from God.

by Roberta L. Olbrantz
(written Nov. '09, after Roberta's mom had passed into the presence of the Lord and her father came to stay for a month)

Old Dog,

Old Cat,

Old Dad;

We are awash in antiquity in our house..

Dog dragging,

Cat sleeping,

Dad hobbling;

All showing evidence of their years,

And to us, all indescribably dear!

(I don't know how to make this page do what I want in appearance, which frustrates me no end, but imagine it set out in a defining style. ARG!!!!! )

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday's Sermons 2009 - high lights

It is interesting to consider that the voice of God heard after 450 years of silence was the cry of a baby.

It’s not our ability, but our availability that is our greatest asset in God’s calling on our lives

Whatever my situation, God knows my name and where I am.
Never judge God’s love by our current circumstance.

In building an altar to God, there is an order required.
Our praise ascending up to God.
God’s righteousness descending upon us

Repentance touches our will, mind and emotions. We must
Confess our sin, no excuses
Forsake and recognize it as sin
Plant joy by removing guilt.
Our behaviors will be affected bringing hope.

Forgiveness is the currency of the kingdom. It is given unilaterally from God, not earned, but given freely with our repentance.

The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the Law of sin and death.

No matter what the hand of God is doing in our lives, don’t be confused about His heart toward us as.

Our worship is where heaven and earth meet. It’s not out of feeling but in obedience that we choose to worship.

Blocked Wells:

Satan is a well stopper. He cannot take our salvation, but if he can clog our ‘well’ we won’t be able to refresh others.

How Satan works?
He tells us some wells need to be stopped up, such as what he tells us are old doctrines, or practices that are seem old fashioned and out of step with modern life.
He entices us away from keeping our ‘well’ unclogged, by other more fun, interesting activities.

How to unstop well?
1. Acknowledge the dryness
2. Make choices that will renew our desire for the Lord, actively praise, worship the Lord and give thanksgiving. Repent of sin.
3. Go to offended ‘brother’ and make reconciliation
4. Be alert to sabotage of God’s work.

How to spot a high place in our own lives.
What is it that occupies / consumes us. Do I feel praise and worship is for when I feel like it?
Do I choose to worshiping God “my way”
Do I interpret the Scripture to suit my outlook.

Worship is not based on ‘feelings’ but choice. We don’t drift into Godly things. It is what we choose.

Satan is the enemy of and actively opposes all who serve God.

It’s not intermittent opposition but a sustained ongoing onslaught.

God has given us a path to victory. He defeated Satan openly on the cross.

This broke Satan’s power over us. Now his weapons are to accuse and deceive us.

However, we cannot defeat Satan on our own. He is only defeated through our justification by Christ’s work on our behalf, on the cross.

Only by actively finding our refuge and remedy for sin in Christ can we have the victory over Satan. We have to cast ourselves on Christ’s mercy, and let Him do the work in and through us.

God is the light that Jesus brought and still brings into the world.

God is satisfied with the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, and our repentance and confession.

Then why are we still at odds with God if the price has been paid?
It is the consequence of sin. God hates sin because of what it does to man.

What is Sin? Simply “doin’ it my way”

The place where heaven and earth meet is in the Person of the LORD Jesus Christ. And when he have the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts, we become the Temple of God.

Rebellion is anger against God.
Damaging the “temple” of God is part of that rebellion.

Part of the answer to that rebellion is gratitude, thanksgiving, worship and repentance.

Be grateful for God’s provision. Don’t complain as Israel did, bemoaning the loss of leeks, garlic and cucumbers from Egypt, even wanting to go back to Egypt and slavery for those delicacies. Their complaining showed a lack of gratitude for the provision of the Lord. Yes, the manna may have been dull and monotonous but it was life giving.

The blessings of God’s redemption are greater than the things we had in the days of our bondage.

Our walk with the Lord is NOT a democracy, We don’t vote on what we like or don’t like. We are called to obey Him, not operate out of warm fuzzy ‘feelings’.

The issue is Sentiment vs. Love:

There is no reality or meaning apart from God.
God has a plan and purpose and He will perform it.
You cannot work the system - manipulate God - using sentiment to direct the result.
Love is real and hard. Not a feeling but getting our hands into the mix.

Don’t confuse glitter for glory, or sentimentality for reality

Sentiment. Easily leads us astray
Love. Is rich in mercy

S. Will smother you
L. Gives life and liberty.

S. Spoils, goes bad with resentment and pride.
L. Can be tough but is pure. It brings discipline
God loves us too much to leave us where we are when
it is not the best good for us.

S. Is heavy on ‘feelings’
L. Is an action, doing what is called for, even if hard.

S. Can be prompted/evoked to get a desired response.
L. Has no ulterior motive. Reproduces itself.

S. Leave a person helpless, untouched.
L. Brings empowering and security.

S. Is fleeting and insubstantial.
L. Is faithful and enduring.

Things to remember and Things to forget.

Remember: God is able
God is with us.

Forget Everything that is centered on self - disappointments, failures.

Close the gates of our lives to greed, anger, bitterness and pride.
Open the gates to God’s purpose and plan for us.

Remind ourselves there is a reason, a purpose for our life. It is God’s gift to us. He values our life.

GK Chesterson:
When people cease to believe in God, they don’t believe in nothing. They believe in anything.