Christmas message

Merry Christmas, God loves you!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:16

Romans 10:9 (NIV)If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:16-17

(Jesus said) “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” Revelation 22:12

Prayer of repentance and commitment to Jesus as your Lord and Savior:

Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins.  I open my heart to you. I commit and trust my life to Your Lordship. Please help me, Holy Spirit, to live the life God has planned for me.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

If you pray the prayer above, you are now a child of God and forgiven because of Jesus Christ! What to do next?

Christianity is not just a religion. It is a personal relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

God speaks to us through reading the Bible every day. (www.biblegateway.com)

  1. We speak to God through prayer in the name of Jesus.
  2. To hear good Bible teachings, look for a good Bible believing Christian church to be part of, or maybe look for online for now.

Thebiblegateway.com 

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JESUS HUMBLED HIMSELF & IDENTIFIES WITH US

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

Philippians 2:5-11(NKJV)

At this time of year, we often think about Jesus coming to earth in the form of a helpless baby, but do we really consider the implications of Jesus humbling himself by coming to earth?  Think about it.  Jesus left all the glory & splendor of heaven and the worshipping heavenly hosts to come and live among us.  He gave up His omnipresence to live in a human body confined by time, space, and geography.  He gave up the perfections of heaven to live in a body that was subject to hunger, pain, and discomfort.  I can imagine that, upon occasion, Jesus suffered the pain of hitting his thumb with a hammer or stubbing his toe on a rock.  When Jesus fed the five thousand, have we ever considered that Jesus himself was hungry?  When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, have we ever thought about how thirsty Jesus must have been?  And after a long day of ministering to the physical needs of hundreds of people, have we ever considered how tired Jesus must have been?  Or after seeing how the religious leaders of his day despised Him and His teachings, have we ever considered the degree to which Jesus felt the pain of being misunderstood and rejected?  And let us not forget the emotional pain that Jesus felt when his earthly father Joseph, his cousin John the Baptist, and his friend Lazarus died.

Dr. David Jeremiah recently did a teaching a series about the Nativity, has listed several reasons why Jesus came to live among us.  We often think about the obvious reasons – to fulfill the Old Testament prophesies and to save us from our sins.  But do we consider that He also came so that he could fully understand what it means to be human, to experience human emotions and to empathize with our weaknesses?  The writer of Hebrews brings out this point:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” 

Hebrews 4:14-16

I don’t know about you, but these verses bring me great comfort!  When I feel discouraged, I can remember that Jesus also felt that way from time-to-time.  When I feel alone, I can remember that there were times when Jesus also felt the pain of isolation.  When I am tempted, I can remember that Jesus also faced temptation, although of course He never yielded to those temptations.  Isn’t it comforting to know that whatever we are going through, we can bring those cares to the One who understands our struggles (I Peter 5:7), knowing that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  And there is nothing that can ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).  Now that is truly Good News!

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The Coming Power

Acts 2: 1-47

Part 3 : The power of the Holy Spirit to change people

Key verse: Then Peter said to them, repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (v.38)

Acts 2:38 (NKJV)

It was the day of Pentecost (Festival of Harvest in Israel). The disciples of the Lord Jesus were gathered together in Jerusalem, as Jesus instructed them to wait there (Acts 1:4-8). About 120 followers of the Lord Jesus and eyewitnesses of His resurrection gathered together in the Upper Room. As they prayed and worship, the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them. Each of them received the gift of speaking in tongues, (Acts 2:3-4). At the same time, there were God-fearing Jews who were visiting Jerusalem from different nearby countries.  

“Everyone heard them speak  in his own language, they were amazed and marveled” (v.5)

The visiting Jews heard the local disciples speak their native languages. Then Peter got up and explained to the crowd what was going on. Peter explained to the people that it was a fulfillment of God’s word in the Book of Joel.

“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:17-18

And Peter further explained that Jesus is their Lord and Messiah (v.22-26). Peter through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit made connections of the Jesus and King David in the Scriptures (v. 25-28). “For David did not ascend into heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, til I make Your enemies Your footstool’. (v. 35) “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ”. V.36

The Holy Spirit’s touch and power came to the disciples of the Lord Jesus on the day of Pentecost. They spoke new languages or spoke in tongues and gave witness to Jesus’ power and resurrection. The disciples obeyed the instruction of the Lord Jesus to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

About fifty days prior to this event, the disciples were all bereaved and bewildered with the death of their Lord Jesus on the cross. They were frightened for their lives and were in hiding (John 20:19). Then when they saw Jesus alive and had risen from the dead, they rejoiced! Even when Jesus commanded them to go and make disciples, they were still uncertain. But when they waited for the promise of Jesus,  they all received the touch and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).

Almost instantly they received the power-new courage, strength, and boldness. Peter also received wisdom and knowledge in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit gave Peter real strength and boldness. Before the day of the Pentecost, the zealousness and boldness of Peter were from his natural abilities and was limited. When Jesus was arrested and was in trial, Peter even denied Jesus. But when the power of the Holy Spirit came to Peter, he became a changed man. First Jesus restored Peter and their relationship . Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to redeem his denial of Jesus three times, (see John 21). Then through the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter became bold, courageous and full of wisdom. He was able to stand up and witness for Jesus in front of many people. He became anointed and powerful preacher for Jesus.  And that day, 3000 souls were added to the disciples!

Reflection:

Jesus changed Peter through the power of the Holy Spirit as well as the other disciples. As a followers of Jesus, the Holy Spirit can change us too. Through the power of the Holy Spirit He can empower us to be strong, courageous and bold witnesses for Jesus, of His love and saving grace.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I praise You for sending Your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, like Peter, please fill us with your spirit of wisdom, courage, strength and boldness to be Your witnesses.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

For part 1 and part 2 see attach files:

https://thecreels.org/2020/08/29/coming-power/ for part 2

https://thecreels.org/2020/08/15/the-coming-power/ part 1

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Coming Power

Click here for Part 1

Reading:  Acts 1:8- 26

The Holy Spirit gives power to do the works of Jesus!

v.8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

//Luke 24:49  Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

One of the last words of the Lord Jesus to His disciples before He returned to heaven was,  “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (v.5);  And “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” (v.8)His disciples thought Jesus was talking about physical power, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? (v.7). The disciples knew and believed with all their hearts that Jesus was their long -awaited Messiah or Savior. However, their definition of Messiah was different from Jesus’ kingdom’s definition. Perhaps in the minds of the disciples and other people of Israel, they thought Messiah or Savior was like Moses or David. Moses was their physical ruler who freed them from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 1). Then David later on, led the people of Israel into battles and established his kingdom throughout Israel (2 Samuel). Perhaps, the disciples and other people were thinking, Jesus would do the same, deliver them from oppression and tyranny of the Roman rule. However, as the Word says in Isaiah 55,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.”

The mind of Christ and the plan of God was far greater than the thinking of men- temporary relief. Men like the people of Israel thought of physical deliverance from hardships, taxation, violence and other physical oppressions. From the beginning, when Jesus was born on earth, God’s plan was to deliver people from the bondage of sin. 

for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 NKJV)

The plan of God was not just a temporary relief from hardships and oppression, His plan of salvation was far greater than temporary earthly relief- His plan of salvation was eternal- to deliver people from sin.  God ‘s plan of salvation for the people of Israel is still the same for everyone in the world. (John 3:16)

So, when Jesus told His disciples, You will receive power (Acts 1:8), He meant the power to preach the Gospel, the power to heal sick people, to perform miracles, so people would believe in Jesus.  When Jesus was with His disciples on earth, He did the Father’s will – preaching salvation, teaching the people the words of God, healing the sick, and delivering people from demonic oppression. Jesus’s focus and mission were to set people free from sin, from hell and eternal condemnation. The same power Jesus received from the Father, He passed on to His disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit so they could be witnesses in all places starting from Jerusalem, other cities, other places, other countries, and to the ends of the earth.

Reflection:

The same power Jesus gave His disciples is available to all His followers even to this day. The power to preach the Gospel, teach the Word of God, heal the sick, deliver people from demonic oppression, set people free from sin, hell and eternal condemnation.  As followers of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit is made available to us all.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to us. Thank You Holy Spirit for coming. Please fill us with your power – Your spirit of strength and courage to the works of the Lord Jesus, to be witnesses Him to everyone, in every place you send us.  

Your Reflection:

Your Prayers:

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The Coming Power

At the Upper Room in Jerusalem

Reading: Acts 1:1-8

Key verse – 5  “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:5

Other references: John 14:16, John 15:26

//Matthew 3:11& Luke 3:16-  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

The Lord Jesus spent 3 full years with His disciples. He ate with them, traveled places with them and did ministry together. The disciples studied and learned from Him directly, as they listened to His teachings and preachings. They witnessed and saw miracles He did firsthand. Jesus trained them to be teachers of the word of God, to be preachers, prophets and evangelists. However, Jesus had to go back physically to His heavenly home to be with His Father. Jesus had fulfilled His mission and primary purpose- when He gave His life as a sin offering for the world. Jesus died on the cross for the sin of the world, (John 19), then rose after 3 days. HE showed up to His disciples and other people for 40 days. They were together again for 40 days and gave them His last words and re-commissioning (Acts 1:1). Jesus encouraged the disciples one more time (not the last one).

for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (v.5)

Jesus promised this to His disciples even before He died on the cross.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

Jesus had to go back to heaven, leave the earth, but He did not abandon His followers, disciples and friends.

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (v.18)

He already made plans for them, to send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, He speaks the Truth, which is the Word of God, to enlighten people’s minds, to convict of sin.

 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. – John 15:26

The Holy Spirit is also the Helper. Like Jesus, He helps in time of need. Like Jesus, He promised to stay with them forever, As Jesus promised His disciples, I will not leave you orphans (John 14:18)

The Holy Spirit, like Jesus, is Truth and Helper. He continues to do the work of Jesus- to speak the Truth of God’s words. The Holy Spirit is the Helper, our help in time of need, whatever is the situation, whatever we need- healing, healing of bodies, healing of emotions, healing of minds, financial needs, guidance, protection, comfort, etc.

Reflection:

Jesus is back in heaven, but He is still with us, as His followers, through the Holy Spirit. He provides for us, every need we could possibly imagined. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us into Truth- to be our Teacher and Helper in time of needs. The Holy Spirit abides /or stay with us forever.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to us Your followers. Thank You Holy Spirit for helping me in time of need, and for guiding me and for teaching me the Truth of God and His words. Amen!

Your Reflection:

Your Prayer:

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Thank You!

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Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life.

Thank You, Jesus, for You are the Giver of life.

Thank You, my Creator, for the gift of life.

Thank You, Jesus, for giving us Your life.

Thank You, Jesus, for coming to preach Good News to the poor.

Thank You, Lord, that You came to heal the brokenhearted.

Thank You, Jesus, for coming to set people free.

Thank You, Jesus, for coming to open blind eyes.

Thank You, Jesus, for your life.

Thank You, Jesus, for your gift of eternal life.

Thank You, Jesus, for your great love.

Thank You, Jesus, for You are the God of love

Thank You, Jesus, for coming to make me free.

Thank You, Lord, You are my life.

Thank You for blessing me with Your life and love.

Thank You, Lord Jesus!

(Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2)

 “He who has the Son has [a]life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
I John 5:12- Bible Gateway
Peacewithgod.net

 

I am praying for you!

Praying… I am praying for you!  Prayers…

I see these comments a lot, especially these days in social media, but I wonder when people say that, “Praying, I am praying…”  to whom they are praying.  I heard that one religion has more than three million gods.  Another religion encourages its followers to pray to various saints for different needs.   When David and I travel to Asia, we often see places on the streets where food is offered on an altar to appease their gods so their petitions could be heard.

chapel

Others say they can only pray in certain buildings or cathedrals on certain days.

A few months ago, we were grateful for an opportunity to visit one of the holy sites for many Judeo-Christian people. While visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, we were told by our tour guide that we could write our prayer requests on slips of paper and stick them between the crevices of the wall.  I am not sure who actually prays for those many prayer requests.Wall_pr

Jesus addressed this issue when He was here on earth when He was talking to a woman from Samaria. The woman of Samaria told Jesus, Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” (John 4:20).

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24)

God in heaven is Spirit, He loves to hear our prayers and worship. The way to God is easy and simple since Jesus made a way.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

We pray to God in heaven in the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  What a wonderful privilege we have as children of God to be able to express our needs to Him in prayer.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (I John 5:14-15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rejoice!

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DSC_0621 (2)_M
The Garden Tomb, Jerusalem

 

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!

For the Lord is risen

He is risen indeed!

Death has no more dominion

Death and sin have lost its power

Because the Lord has overcome.

Rejoice!

People of God rejoice!

The battle has been won!

Christ has won the victor’s crown

Rejoice for the Lord Jesus has overcome!

Rejoice for the Lord is risen

He has risen indeed!

Rejoice!

For the battle has been won

Rejoice!

For Christ is coming back soon!

Rejoice,

For the Lord will be here soon!

– Matthew 28:9

Jesus has overcome!

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Title : Jesus has overcome!

Reading: John 16:25-33 // Romans 8:37

v.33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Jesus was encouraging His disciples on the night of their last meal together before His death on the cross. Jesus loved them and wanted to prepare them for what was ahead when He no longer would be physically with them.

Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his [e]own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” v.32

Jesus knew that even though His disciples loved Him and were committed to follow Him, yet there would be times of weakness when they might turn away. However, the love of Jesus still held them. Jesus foreknew His disciples would abandon Him in a moment of weakness, but Jesus still loved them and did not condemn them. He spoke words of encouragement to them.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you [f]will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” V.33

Jesus already knew that times of hardship, persecution, and tribulations were coming. But He told them, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”.  It is a comfort to know that Jesus has already won the battle. As Jesus encouraged His disciples then, He gives the same encouragement to His followers now. As we see distress, persecution, trials and difficulties in this world because of the enemy and the evil one, it is a comfort to know the words of Jesus, that He has already overcome. Jesus has already won the battle. His plan of salvation and victory for the souls of men was already accomplished and finished at the cross.

Through His death on the cross, we His followers receive the gift of eternal life. In His resurrection, we have overcome the evil one. As the Apostle Paul wrote,

 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

The love of Christ has prevailed and won the battle against the evil one.

Reflection:

Jesus already knew that His followers would suffer trials, challenges, and tribulation. However, as His follower, it is a comfort and encouragement to know that Jesus has already overcome the world. His death and resurrection have already won the battle. Whatever difficulties we face now, Jesus has already overcome!

Prayer:

Thank You Lord Jesus for your Word. Whatever challenges I go through, and whatever distress I see in the world, You have already overcome!

Rebirth in Jesus!

irina-murza-1221003-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Irina Murza on Unsplash

Title: Rebirth in Jesus

Reading: The Gospel of John 3:1-15

Key verse: John 3:3

 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly I say to you unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’”.

John, the writer of this Gospel, wrote about Nicodemus who came to Jesus one evening. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who was seeking for the truth. He wanted to know Jesus and the truth of His teachings personally. He wanted to hear and understand for himself as he heard Jesus speak and teach the crowd.  Even though Jesus was rejected by some of the Pharisees, Jesus did not turn down Nicodemus. Jesus knew the heart of Nicodemus, that he was sincerely seeking the Kingdom of God (v.2).

Thus, Jesus revealed to Nicodemus an important spiritual truth. Jesus showed Nicodemus the way to God.

Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, 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 Spirit is spirit…You must be born again!”   (v.5-7)

Nicodemus wanted to understand more, “How can these things be?

So, Jesus further explained;

No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven… that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (v.13-15)

Jesus gave a clear explanation to Nicodemus of the truth and showed him the way to God, which was to believe in Him, the Son of God. Jesus made Himself known to those who were sincerely seeking and searching for the truth and the kingdom of God.

Jesus was telling Nicodemus about life in the flesh and life in the spirit. Life in the flesh is merely living in the physical realm – with body, mind, and soul. However, there is more to life than just the physical life, there is life in the Spirit, which is only found in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, we people are all born on earth with physical life – the body, mind, and soul (emotions). However, because of the sin nature, we are born on earth with no spiritual life. We are dead in the spirit, which means separated from God.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

But through Jesus Christ we can be born again. Being born-again is to receive a new life in Christ. As Jesus told Nicodemus, “…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (v.15)

Reflection:

To be born-again is to have a new life in Christ. Believing Jesus is to receive a new life – a life in the Spirit of God, and eternal life in Christ.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving me a new life in the Spirit and for bringing me into Your Kingdom.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer: