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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The View From Above

So often when you live in the So. California beach area, people will say, "There are no season's", or "I'd miss the beautiful fall colors". This photo was taken of a neighbor's tree a few days ago. I think we have a lot of people living here who would miss God's glorious display of colors every autumn, so many trees have been planted for the 'shock and awe' of it! We'll hold on to autumn for just a few more days, then on to winter. Our east coast family has already brought out the mittens!

One of the amazing things about nature is that a tree, plant or bush can appear to be totally dead . It sits there in cold ground for many weeks with no sign of life, then suddenly, it comes alive, begins to sprout, blossom and grow new life. And so it is with us. There are times of no activity, when God is silent and we can't feel His presence, can't hear His voice, or see Him at work in our lives. This is how a believer would describe having a 'rough time'. It has very little to do with being employed, having a stash of money, being in good health or relationships. Then we suddenly feel the Spirit moving within us, God is on the throne and all is right with the world. We have come alive! Of course the truth is, we've been alive all along, we just didn't 'feel' like it. We've been walking by sight rather then by faith and looking for worldly, rather than Godly, answers to our problems.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal". 2 Corinthians 4:18

It's good to refresh our memories from time to time and re-visit some basic Biblical definitions. This is how the Bible defines the word 'faith'. Actually, not that much different than the dictionary.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". Hebrew 11:1

I've mentioned in previous blogs that my husband and I are in a study of the book of Isaiah. This prophet was writing about 700 years before Christ was born. God blessed Isaiah with 'a view from above' and revealed what His plan was for His chosen people. In some respects this study is difficult because it bounces back and forth from present day events, to past events to future events. The people of Isaiah's time were trying to find a way to solve their problems. It was an unstable world as ours is today. They looked to form alliances with other nations and worshipped idols of their own making rather than seeking the One true God. History repeats itself! This is a book of history and prophesy. As a writer, I enjoy the use of poetry as we see how God reveals His truth. Isaiah explains that there are two advents of Christ. Jesus Christ, being a part of the 'Godhead' has always been......'in the beginning God', Genesis 1:1. In John 1:1-2 we read

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning". Look down to verse 14......"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us".

The 'Word' is Jesus Christ and His birth in Bethlehem was the first advent. Isaiah 7 - 12 is called the 'Book of Immanuel'.

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel". Isaiah 7:14

Then in Matthew 1:22 we read that the child was indeed born of a virgin and was called 'Immanuel' which means, 'God with us'.

Prophesy fulfilled! Ho - hum, same old Christmas story! I hope the Lord gives you fresh vision to understand what the birth of Jesus really means, not just to believers, but to the whole world. God doesn't react to man, His plan has been in place from the foundation of the world. We human beings like to protect our 'sovereignty' and be in control. Many think they have a free will and God arranges and re-arranges His plan according to the choices we make. This is a humanistic philosophy and like everything that comes from sinful flesh, a flawed philosophy - not in line with Biblical principles. Even though Scripture will often say 'because you've done this my wrath will be shown'.....the bottom line is always that God had a plan in place, an eternal plan.

If you look at Isaiah, chapter 5 - 'The Song of the Vineyard' you will see a nation and its people being destroyed. In chapter 6 God commissions the prophet to go tell the people ....vs. 9-10

"Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes".

Amazing that God would want that to happen, isn't it? But He used it all to lead us to the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. His plan was to save a remnant, from the stump of destroyed trees, He would plant a 'holy seed', vs. 6:13. This seed was our Savior. In chapter 9 Isaiah talks about a child being born who will reign forever. These words are familiar to us, Handel, famous for his 'Messiah', put them to song....

"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end (eternal)".

This was the King Jesus, the Messiah, that the Jewish nation was awaiting. What they got was a baby born in Bethlehem and laid in an animal feeding trough (manager). He lived a humble life as a humble man who washed the feet of his disciples. He had no worldly treasures they could observe. He didn't fit the description of the Messiah King they were looking for. They couldn't understand that Jesus was coming to earth twice - two advents. Most Jews still can't recognize the Savior, but God will preserve a remnant of His chosen ones.

When Christ comes again it will be to establish is Kingdom on earth. We who believe will reign with Him and Satan will be sent to the 'abyss', no longer able to deceive us. There will come a time when 'every knee will bow', Is. 45:23. And then, we will finally have peace on earth!

Lord, thank you for coming to our rescue and bringing us to life, thank you for loving us, thank you for your carefully crafted perfect plan to bring us to you, the Messiah, King Jesus!