The REAL Christmas Story

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

I want to share with you The Christmas Story. From a different point of view.

Based on John 1, before there was time, or matter, or substance, there was God. And with Him was His son. He was with God in the beginning.

As God The Father sat on His throne, beside Him, on His own throne of majesty and authority, sat His son, Jesus. Clothed in power, robed in splendor, a crown on His head, a scepter in His hand.

There came a time when God desired to create a world. So They did. With a Word, God created the heavens and the earth.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.

I love the way the last part of that verse is written, “He also made the stars.”

He made the sun and the moon and hung them in the vast vault of the sky on….nothing. He decided where they would go, and put them there. Then, and here’s the neat part, “He also made the stars”.  Almost like an afterthought, “Oh yeah, He made the stars, too.”

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.’

Here’s the scene in the throne room of Heaven; The Father and the Son have created the heavens and the earth, the sun, moon and stars, plants and animals and as they gaze down upon creation, they see that it is good. And yet, it is not VERY GOOD.

The Son looks to His Father and says, “Let us make man in our own image.”

So they reach down and scoop up some dust and form a man.

The Father looks at the Son and says, “You know that if I breathe life into the man, one day he will rebel against us.”

The Son says, “Yes.”

The Father says, “You know that if I breathe life into the man, one day he will forsake us and pursue sin and become unclean.”

The Son says, “Yes, I know.”

The Father says, “You know, that if I breathe life into the man, one day you will have to die for him.”

The Son looks down at the newly created form lying in the dust, then looks up to His Father and smiles, “Yes, I know, but I love him already, and I want him to know my love.”

So God leans down and breathes life into the man and man becomes a living creature, made in their likeness, and they saw that he was VERY GOOD.

In love, they did not want the man to live solitary, so they made woman from the man and gave her to him as a help mate and commanded them to care for the Garden and everything in it and to be fruitful and subdue it.

In Matthew 24:36, when questioned about when He would return, Jesus answered,  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

I believe the same was true for His first coming as well.

So, imagine with me The Father and The Son watching their children as they spread across the land, growing more arrogant and prideful as they forget their Creator and Father who has given them this world to live in and who has commanded them to subdue and care for it.

And one day in their pride they said to one another, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.”

The Son looked at His Father and said, “Lucifer has infected them with his own sin. Their pride overwhelms them. Is it Time?”

And The Father shakes His head, “No. I will go down and confuse their language and deflate their overgrown egos. It is not time yet.”

So time passes as mankind again spreads across the earth, growing ever more wicked, every inclination of their hearts was perverse and evil and God even reached the point of being sorry He made Man. And The Son asked, “Father, every thought of our children is wicked, is it Time?”

But Noah found Grace in the eyes of The Lord.

“No”, says The Father, “I will wipe away all but my servant Noah and his family and those creatures that I instruct him and I will let mankind begin again. It is not Time.”

So, once more, the years pass and God chooses from among the peoples of the earth a people that will be His Chosen. He makes a Covenant with them that all the earth will be blessed in them and gives them His Law and instructs them in the Way of Righteousness.

Once again, time passes and once again the people of God rebel and turn away from Him. Once more, they choose to give themselves to other gods. They choose to look to themselves for their God. They give themselves over to what seems right to a man, but leads to destruction. They turn to Rules and Works for deliverance even while their hearts are continually wicked.

And The Son turns to The Father and asks, “Is it Time?”

And The Father turns to His Son and looks upon Him with the infinite Love of the eternal Father and says, “It is Time.”

As His Son rises from His throne, The Father says, “You don’t have to choose this. We can wipe them out and start over.”

The Son doesn’t even consider, “I know, but I love them. I must go for them.” And He takes off His Crown of Majesty and places it on the throne.

“You know”, says His Father, “If you go, you will have to grow up fully human, subject to the same fears, pains, trials and frailty of humanity, but you must not allow yourself to fail, for this will cancel the perfection of the sacrifice.”

The Son does not pause, “I know, but I love them. I must go for them.” And He takes off His robe of the Shekhinah Glory of God, folds it up and places it next to His crown on the throne.

“You know,” says His Father, “If you go, you will be ridiculed, you will be betrayed, you will be beaten until not one inch of your flesh is whole, you will be crucified, nailed to a cross with iron spikes driven through your hands and feet, naked before all of mankind and you will experience all of this in the full pain and anguish of humanity.”

The Son nods and steps down from the dais, “I know, but I love them. I must go for them.” He turns and begins to walk toward the doorway of the throne room, prepared to go.

“Wait,” His Father stretches out His hand, “You know that when you die, every Sin of all time will be poured out on you. You know that I cannot look upon Sin. You know that, if you go, I MUST forsake you, turn my face from you and condemn you to receive the punishment for ALL Sin.”

The Son stops, still facing the doorway. I can imagine as He hears these words, understanding the Truth as only He can, of what torment He will face at the moment of that total separation from His Father, His God. And I can imagine His shoulders come up in a flinch as He accepts and faces this final declaration of The Sacrifice.

He turns and looks upon His Father’s face, “I know, that I must endure the pains and trials and temptations of humanity and must remain pure and unstained by the world, I know I must be betrayed and denied by the very ones I give my life to, I know I must be beaten unmercifully and be nailed to a cross to hang before my family, friends and enemies and that Lucifer himself will be in attendance and will accuse me and rejoice in my death. And, yes, I know that when the Sin of all of creation is poured over me, you MUST abandon me. And I will know the very deepest depths of Hell in that moment.”

Then He smiles at His Father, “But I must go. They cannot come to you unless I empty myself of all that I am and take on all that they are, giving them all of my righteousness for all of their wickedness. I love them. This is not my Sacrifice. This is my Gift.”

Then He turns and walks through that doorway and into the womb of a young Jewish girl to be born to die so that we can live.

You see, Christmas has nothing to do with stockings and sugar plums; there is no connection to some pagan Roman festival that no one even remembers anymore. The Real Christmas Story is not even about a babe in a manger, surrounded by farm animals and shepherds.

The Real Christmas Story is the Sovereign Lord of Glory loving us all so much that He made the decision to give up His Throne, His Crown, His Shekhinah Glory, His Self to be beaten, ridiculed, scorned and eventually crucified to give us His Righteousness for our wickedness in full foreknowledge before He ever formed the dust of the earth into a man shaped pile way back at the beginning of Time. This is the Meaning of Christmas; this is what we celebrate when we celebrate Christmas.

No matter what the world wants to say about celebrating Christmas, there is no other reason to celebrate this day than in commemoration of the greatest sacrificial Gift in all of Time.

The Gift of The Christ, The Messiah, come to give His life to us.

So  let us, every day, share the Gift of Jesus Christ and His Righteousness with all of the souls out there for the same reason we celebrate Christmas. Because He Loved Us.

Copyright Tim Wright,

2013

All scriptures from the New International Version.

Blow Your Horn

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Little Boy Blue, Come blow your horn, The sheep’s in the meadow, The cow’s in the corn; Where is that boy who looks after the sheep? Under the haystack, fast asleep. Usually attributed to Tommy Thumb’s Little Song Book c. 1744, this little poem may actually have biblical origins.

The prophet Joel, in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, cry’s out in chapter 2 verse 1 for someone to “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.” In chapter 1 verse 18 he warns, “How the cattle moan! The herds mill about because they have no pasture; even the flocks of sheep are suffering.” In chapter 2 verse 17, the prophet admonishes, “Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations.” There is too much similarity between the prophet’s warning and the nursery rhyme to discount the probability that the prophetic warning to the religious leaders of the Hebrew nation, at the very least, influenced the writer of this nursery rhyme.

You may be thinking, “An interesting bit of trivia, but what’s the point?” This “interesting bit of trivia” came to light after weeks of soul searching, biblical research and storming the heavens with prayer. After hearing a preacher expounding on scripture, giving what was supposed to be instruction in righteousness to a flock of new Believers, I was disturbed by some of the exhortations to live in freedom and not let legalism get a foothold in their life.

He began by citing Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” He stopped at that verse and began instructing his flock that this entire book is dedicated to the teaching that, as believers, we are to live in freedom from any notion of legalism, which he defined as requirements for living your life or adopting a lifestyle that is any different from how you lived before you came to Christ in order to be a “Super Christian”.

While I am 100% in agreement that Believers have been set free, according to Galatians 5:1; I am also in 100% agreement with Galatians 5:7-10, 13, 16, 19-25 “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

There is no such animal as a “Super Christian”. There are Christ followers and there are World followers. You cannot work your way to Heaven. You cannot be “good enough” to get to Heaven.  The only way to Heaven is to confess your sinful nature to God, publicly declare your allegiance and submission to Jesus Christ as Lord of your life and mean it. At that point, He becomes your Savior and you become a Christ follower.

You cannot work your way to an “elite” status as a Christian by doing this and not doing that. All followers of Christ are called to one all-encompassing general calling. Love the Lord with everything in you and love others, study His Word to learn what Jesus’ life was all about. Then do all the things Jesus did. Then, as one preacher once put it, “If you spend all your time doin’ all the “do’s” you ain’t got time to do any of the “don’ts”.

Now, what’s all this got to do with “Little Boy Blue”? During those weeks of asking God what to do, He said, “Little Boy Blue, Come blow your horn, The sheep’s in the meadow, The cow’s in the corn; Where is that boy who looks after the sheep? Under the haystack, Fast asleep.” My response was the same as yours. “Huh?” Holy Spirit then explained, “Little boy blue is not the boy who looks after the sheep. He is the Watchman on the Wall; the other boy, under the haystack, is the sleeping shepherd.

The shepherd’s flock is wandering around in the meadow, eating what they want, swallowing whatever tastes good to them. Some of those things are poisonous, but they don’t know it. But the shepherd does. But because he is sleeping, some of his sheep will die.

It is the job of the watchman to sound the horn that the shepherd, if he listens, will awaken and the sheep may be rescued, rounded up again and guided by the shepherd as his Lord, the owner of the sheep, commands.

I’m blowing as hard as I can. Wake up.

Am I My Brother’s Keeper? What is our resposibility to The Body of Christ?

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When we find that in the Body of Christ (The Church) that there has crept in one who is behaving in a manner that is blatantly in defiance of the scriptural doctrines laid out for our behavior as Followers of Christ, what do we do? Do we grab them after service, drag them into a “counseling room” and beat them repeatedly about the head and shoulders with a 90 pound Scofield Reference Bible screaming “Repent!” at the top of our lungs? Do we bring them before the church Body and confront them before the masses, calling for them to confess and repent or be cast into “outer darkness”? Or do we, in grace, hug them and encourage them that we do not judge them and God’s Grace will forgive them? Or do we do nothing? After all, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone…”

Coincidentally, the Word of God has something to say about this very issue, Paul writes;

14 Now we exhort you, brothers— be admonishing the disorderly ones, be encouraging the fainthearted ones, be holding-on-to the weak ones, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one gives-back evil for evil to anyone, but always be pursuing the good, both for one another and for everyone. 16 Be rejoicing always, 17 be praying unceasingly, 18 be giving-thanks in everything. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not be quenching the Spirit, 20 do not be treating prophecies with contempt, 21 but be testing all things. Be holding-on-to the good, 22 be abstaining from every form[Or, outward appearance] of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22.

Going further, Paul gives directions to the church in Corinth concerning one in the church who is living in rebellion against the express Word of God. It is harsh and “unloving” by the standards of the contemporary church.

I wrote you in the letter not to associate-with sexually-immoral ones— 10 not at-all meaning with the sexually-immoral ones of this world, or with the greedy and swindlers, or with idolaters, because then you would have to go out of the world! 11 But now, I wrote to you not to associate-with them if anyone being named a brother should be a sexually-immoral one, or a greedy one, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler— not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what do I have to do with judging the ones outside? Are you not judging the ones inside? 13 But God judges the ones outside. Remove the evil one from-among you yourselves. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13.

Then in addressing the same incident within the Corinthian church, Paul urges forgiveness after the one has repented.

For I wrote to you through many tears, out of much affliction and anguish of heart— not that you might be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have especially for you. But if anyone has caused-grief, he has grieved not me, but in part (that I not be a burden), you all. This punishment by the majority is sufficient for such a one, so that on-the-contrary, instead you should forgive and comfort him, that such a one should not somehow be swallowed-up by more grief. Therefore I urge you to confirm your love for him.2 Corinthians 2:4-8

When we follow the Word of God and confront the brother or sister in sin with the motive of restoration and healing, even though it seems harsh and unloving, we open the door to the one to repentance and renewal.

We have a responsibility to confront sin in the Body of Christ. It is not a pleasant responsibility, but it is a necessary one. We must not become arrogant in fulfilling this duty to the One whose Name we bear, but we must, in humility and holiness take a stand for holiness within The Body when we must.

Remember, after admonishing the judges, Jesus commanded the one caught in sin to “Go and sin no more.” We must do no less.

Christmas: Christian Holiday or Pagan Celebration?

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Should Followers of Christ celebrate Christmas, since we now know that Jesus of Nazareth was not born on December 25th? Many are asking this question and even more have decided, based on secular historical data, that to celebrate this traditionally Christian holiday is tantamount to heresy. Let’s look at the facts as well as the traditions and their effects on society.

Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness and debauchery celebrated between December 17-25 on the Roman calendar. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.

In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Kind of like how the contemporary church (over the past 50 – 100 years) chose to allow music, dancing in the Spirit, multicultural traditions and even Native American Pagan worship Rites into the Worship of Christ in order to “open the doors” to make the Church more attractive to the World. Is there really a difference?

When I celebrate Christmas, it never occurs to me to even think of anything pagan. The celebration of Christmas is recognized the world over as a uniquely “Christian” celebration by all who do not follow Christ, so why do some who claim to follow Christ have such a problem with it?

This day when Christ Followers choose to celebrate the choice that the Son of God made, before the Earth was even formed, to give His life for the entire mass of humanity is so recognized as a wholly Christian celebration that pagan societies throughout the world have been trying to ban it for centuries! Is it because it symbolizes rape, murder and debauchery? Does it offend secular governments because it is a day that sings of consensual and non-consensual sex in the streets? No. It is offensive to secular humanists and pagans because it is one of a handful of days in the year when the name of Jesus, Yeshuah, Jehovah, Yahweh is glorified and sung about even by those who do not follow Him. Those who denounce it are aligning themselves with pagans, not separating themselves from them.

It matters not that at one time in history, pagans were celebrating something else on December 25th. It matters not that on certain Catholic holidays in ages past, there were Satanists celebrating high unholy days. It matters not that certain Jewish holy festivals are held on days when pagans hold celebrations to their gods. What matters is that on these days, the Name that is above all names is held high and worshiped.

To single out Christmas as an “un-Christian” holiday is as hypocritical as condemning an adulterer in a drunken rant. If Christmas is a non-christian holiday that should not be celebrated by Christians, then every individual that chooses to make that claim MUST research back to the beginning of time, every feast or festival ever held that was pagan-based that falls on a Catholic, Jewish, Messianic Jewish, Native American/Christian or any other quasi-christian sect’s celebration date and denounce that feast, festival or celebration as pagan as well.

I believe that only the act of rejecting Christ completely is a greater insult to Christ than calling ANY feast, festival or holiday that celebrates Him a pagan celebration. And for one who claims to be a Follower of Christ, there is no greater insult than to flaunt your arrogance and self-importance by calling anything that brings attention and glory to Christ to be pagan.

Even Simon Peter was chastised for simply calling animals unclean which God had created, because according to the Jewish Law he had been taught they were unclean.

The next day about noon, while they were still on their way and approaching the city, Kefa (Peter) went up onto the roof of the house to pray. 10 He began to feel hungry and wanted something to eat; but while they were preparing the meal, he fell into a trance 11 in which he saw heaven opened, and something that looked like a large sheet being lowered to the ground by its four corners. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals, crawling creatures and wild birds. 13 Then a voice came to him, “Get up, Kefa (Peter), slaughter and eat!” 14 But Kefa (Peter) said, “No, sir! Absolutely not! I have never eaten food that was unclean or treif.” 15 The voice spoke to him a second time: “Stop treating as unclean what God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and then the sheet was immediately taken back up into heaven.” Acts 10:9-16, Complete Jewish Bible.

Be very careful how you judge the celebrations that bring honor to Christ.

 

Why I believe Arminianism and Calvinism are Both Unacceptable

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My first point should, to most discerning Followers of Christ and students of God’s Word, be acceptable Truth.
To call oneself an Arminian or a Calvinist is to identify yourself as a disciple of a man, Jacob Arminius or John Calvin, and deny discipleship of Jesus Christ. All Followers of Christ are identified solely as Christians, to be identified as anything else is to deny the Lordship of Christ.

Both teachings allow that Man is a depraved sinner, can do nothing of himself to reach God, requires the Blood of Christ to cleanse him of Sin and make him acceptable to God. Those are the bedrock foundations that are Truth. Both Jacob Arminius and John Calvin were flawed human beings and made some mistakes by taking scripture out of contextual teachings to support their own flawed opinions.

John 1 is very clear that Jesus the Son was present with God the Father “In the beginning…”. Before there was anything, there was Father and Son and Genesis 1 tells us that The Spirit was there as well, because He “hovered over the face of the deep…”.

I don’t think any Follower of Christ will deny the omniscience of God. Meaning He Knows All, He Has Known All and He Knows All that Will Be. That being Truth, He knew before He ever made anything that when He made anything there would be The Fall and The Son knew He would have to be born, live as a perfect human being, be betrayed by those He loved, be beaten unmercifully and die a cruel painful death as a fully human sacrifice and He chose to create mankind anyway.

Because of His omniscience, God knew the name and face and heart of everyone who would elect to choose to reject the sacrifice of The Son as well as those who would elect to choose to follow The Son. He did not create two classes of people, those to whom He would extend His Grace and those whom He would condemn to hell. A place, by the way, that He created for Lucifer and the angels who followed him, not a place for the receptacle of human souls. Calvinists seem to conveniently forget that little bit of scripture.

Predestination, as presented in scripture, hinges on “those whom He foreknew…”. You will never find a scripture which reverses the steps to “predestination”. In other words, nowhere does scripture imply or state that due to the fact that God predestined certain humans to go to heaven or hell he knew who would be chosen, it is always stated in the reverse order. Furthermore, in 2 Peter 3, God’s Promise to all mankind is very clearly stated, “The Lord is not being slow about the promise as some regard slowness, but He is being patient toward you, not wishing any to perish, but all to make-room for repentance.” Since even Calvinists acknowledge that repentance apart from God’s Grace is impossible, this pretty much blows the whole “Limited Atonement” mistaken teaching out of the water.

Arminius had it right up until he said scripture showed that those to whom eternal life had been given could somehow “lose it”. I’ve never understood how anyone with the slightest bit of discernment could think that anything that is Eternal could stop being. That’s kind of the definition of eternal, never ending. Furthermore, in Romans 11, we are taught, “For the gifts and the calling of God are without-regret.”, meaning that when He gives us a gift, He never takes it back. So much for losing your gift of salvation.

Ultimately it comes down to this. Will you choose to follow Jesus Christ and identify with Him and only Him, or will you choose to follow a man? Whether his name be Calvin, Arminius, Graham, Copeland, Hagen or Smith.

Take heed of these writings of Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 1; “11 For it was made-clear to me concerning you, my brothers, by the ones of Chloe, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this: that each of you is saying “I am of Paul”, and “I of Apollos”, and “I of Cephas”, and “I of Christ”.
Has Christ Been Divided? Were You Baptized Into Paul? Thankfully, I Did Not Baptize You! 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? … 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the proclamation to save the ones believing.”

Forsaking the Assembling of Ourselves Together…

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Hebrews 10: 23 – 25 instructs us, “23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. 24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.

As each day draws to a close, we stand one more day closer to the return of Jesus Christ. We rejoice in that. We also stand one more day closer to all out warfare. Knowing that, the writer of Hebrews instructed us to “spur one another on to love and good works.” What is spurring? Ask a horse. It is digging in sharp pointy metal things to encourage the horse to run faster, jump higher, perform better. Kinda like the old Red Ball Jets commercials of my childhood. (if you remember those commercials, comment on this post). This is why we are INSTRUCTED to “… not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.”

However, in the Body of Christ today, we have a tendency to hold ourselves aloof, telling ourselves it is because we are too busy, can’t take the kids, got business commitments and other equally limp excuses. The truth is, we are “…abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing…” As we see “The Day” drawing near, we cannot keep holding ourselves back from interacting with our fellow believers. Each time we stay away from worship, we weaken The Body. Each time we stay away from prayer meetings, we weaken The Body. Each time we stay away from Bible studies, we weaken The Body. Each time we stay away from fellowships, we weaken The Body. The Bottom Line is, when we neglect the coming together with other believers for no other reason than “I just don’t have anything in common with those people” or “I’m afraid to eat what they cook” or “I really don’t want to miss Bowling for Groceries tonight”, especially within the bonds of our own local church, we are being disobedient to Hebrews 10:23 – 25.

Family of God, we live in a world that is trying destroy the fabric that holds The Church together. We can no longer afford anything less than Radical Obedience to The Word of God and His instructions as to how we are to live as the Body of Christ.

We must “…hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess…”, we must “…take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works…” and we must “…not abandon(ing) our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage(ing) each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.”

Let us draw near to each other as we draw near to Him.

Do You REALLY Want to Get Married?

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I’m gonna be honest and straightforward with you. I believe in the Holy Bible, Scriptural, Word of God, Uncompromised definition of Marriage. One Man legally, morally, ethically and eternally joined to One Woman for All Time in a mutually committed, mutually monogamous, mutually self-sacrificing relationship.

By that definition, you may ask yourself, “Do I really want to get married?” By that definition and by my own experience of matrimony, my answer is “YES!”
As a woman, when you commit yourself to that One man forever, in submission and respect to his loving and self-sacrificial leadership, you are experiencing the closest relationship to the one you will have with Christ in Heaven that you can possibly have in this life.
Men, the responsibility is yours to make the relationship like the one between Christ and The Church. In the Book of Ephesians, chapter 5, beginning at verse 21, the Apostle Paul, an unmarried man with nothing personal to gain by instructing any other man or woman in the fine points of marital bliss, relates what Holy Spirit tells him is the key to marriage according to the Father of All.
“21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.”32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
He begins by giving instruction to both husbands and wives, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Men seem to miss that little tidbit quite often. We, as husbands, are COMMANDED to submit to our wives as they are COMMANDED to submit to their husbands simultaneously and with a distinct purpose. Not because either party deserves it, but in reverence for Christ, himself. It is an act of worship and obedience.
He goes on to devote three verses to instruction for wives to, “… submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. … as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

First, notice the qualifier, “your OWN husband”. God’s command is for wives to submit, respect and follow the loving and self-sacrificing leadership of their own husband. This is an admonition and instruction for marital fidelity and that the wife is never to give that respect that is due her husband to another man, no matter who he is. Fathers, brothers, pastors, counselors and especially your friend’s husband must always take the back seat to your own husband. Ladies, your model is given as The Church to Christ and the boundary is clearly stated as “… submit to their husbands in everything.” Wow. Pretty strong words. But trust me, you are getting off easy. The next NINE verses are aimed right between the eyes of us, your husbands.
Guys, you want a “submissive” wife? Get ready to put your workin’ britches on, ’cause her response is exactly that, a response to YOUR obedience to God’s instructions to you!
” Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”

Hmmmm. How did Christ love The Church? Well, let’s see… He knew when He created mankind that we would wilfully sin, and He would have to give up His place in Heaven and become the sacrifice for sin in order to return humanity to a right relationship with God, but He let us live anyway. He set aside His throne and position to become human, going through birth, potty training, zits, puberty (and lived a celibate life) bad food, no showers, walking everywhere He went. Then on top of that, He invested His life in twelve men every day for three years, then had one turn Him in on false charges to be beaten, stripped, ridiculed and nailed to a cross while all the others except one ran away and left Him to die.

How we stacking up so far, fellas? Think our wives are feelin’ the love while we’re glued to the game when she just wants to talk to us about her day?
Let’s move on, “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church for we are members of His body.”

This should be the easy one, love her as we do our own bodies. As we’re shoving hot dogs, pizza and beer down our gullet! Boys, we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves for our wife. Not just so she won’t be checking out the “Fabios” at the fitness center, but because how we take care of ourselves is a reflection of the importance we place on being able to care for and protect our wife. If I had to carry my wife’s unconscious body out of a burning building right now, we’d both end up extra crispy. But I’m working on it because I’ve come to understand that as Christ sacrificed all for His Church, I must sacrifice my all for my wife.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
As we read these last few verses, we see what Paul calls a “profound mystery”. In marriage, a man and a woman become One Flesh. This is the picture of how Christ and The Church are made One by the sacrifice of His Blood and the commitment of Man to submit to Christ as Lord.

Then he ends with the exhortation of each husband must love his wife as he loves himself and his wife must respect her husband. These are straightforward commands. It is not enough to have the attitude that “I’m willing to die for my wife.” or “I’m willing to give my husband the respect he deserves.”

Nowhere in scripture does God say “submit or respect as he earns it”. Wives, respect your husband whether he earns it or not. It is obedience to Christ.
Husbands, forget about being willing to die for your wife, willing is for wusses. LIVE for your wife, willing is not doing. Doing is doing.
So, do you REALLY want to get married? I say Go for it. But only if you’re committed to LIVING it, not just willing to try. Believe me, God’s Purpose for marriage is the closest thing you’ll ever experience to Heaven on this side of the Border.