PORTAL TO HEAVEN

Jn.1:14 – 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.

Jn.1:51 – And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

The glory of Christmas, God taking on a human body, is impossible to fathom. We catch glimpses of it that take our breath away but far too often we are yawning at glory as the Christmas madness continues. Thinking about His birth can tie our brain in knots. Thinking about things like Mary giving birth to a fragile, vulnerable infant yet at the same time He is orchestrating all the events of Mary’s life. Or maybe sharing the feeding trough of an animal while He still fed all of the animals of the world. Then there is Jesus being nourished by the bosom of His mother knowing He formed His mother’s bosom in her mother’s womb. Take a moment and let Augustine take you on a journey gazing at the eternal invading His own creation.

“The Lord has made all things, and yet He takes His stand among the very things He’s made.

He’s the Revealer of His Father, and at the same time He’s the Creator of His mother.

He’s the Son of God born of the Father without a mother; and He’s the son of man born of a mother without a father….

He made the sun with His own hands, and yet He Himself was made under the light and heat of the sun.

He regulates human history from the bosom of His Father; and yet He consecrates this one particular day from the womb of His mother.

He remains with His Father, and yet He goes forth from His mother.

He’s the Creator of the heavens and the earth; and yet He takes His own rise under the heavens, that’s to say from the earth.

As God He has more Wisdom than He can mouth, and yet as a babe He hasn’t enough mouth to utter the Wisdom He knows….

He sets the stars in motion, and yet he sucks His mother’s breasts.

He’s so great as a God, yet so small as a slave….

He didn’t abandon His divine agenda when He picked up His carpenter’s tools.”

So Christmas is the bridge between eternity and this world encompassed by time and space. Living in this created world it is impossible to grasp eternal things. The humanity of Christ is our only portal into that beautiful world. Hope to see you there.

THE SPIRIT OF SONSHIP

Gal. 4:6 -TPT – And so that we would know for sure that we are his true children, God released the Spirit of Sonship into our hearts—moving us to cry out intimately, “My Father! You’re our true Father!”

Have you ever really thought about this verse? The Lord has sent the Spirit of Sonship into our hearts. One translation says that He has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. That must mean I was once not a son but now I am. There was a time when I was a child of darkness or you could say a child of the devil. That dark nature was prevalent in my life seen in the things I loved and the things that I did. One day, the Lord sent the Spirit of Sonship into my heart.

A number of things changed radically as a result. First, I was no longer part of the brotherhood of man in this present world. I was translated from one community to another, The spirit of the world is hostile to the kingdom of God. I am no longer a part of that dark world. Secondly, The spirit of Sonship immediately began to cry out prayers of intimacy to my Father in heaven. I recognized by this new Spirit in my life that I am loved and in turn I now have a love for my Heavenly Father. Next, my loves have been changed. Putting it plainly, I love different things now. My affections have been turned toward the things of God.This is how Albert Barnes describes this new life. He says in it we have…

“The feeling of affection, love, and confidence which pertains to children; not the servile, trembling spirit of slaves, but the temper and affectionate regard of sons. Adoption is the taking and treating a stranger as one’s own child. It is applied to Christians because God treats them as his children; he receives them into this relation, though they were by nature strangers and enemies. It implies,

(1.) that we by nature had no claim on him;

(2.) that, therefore, the act is one of mere kindness—of pure, sovereign love;

(3.) that we are now under his protection and care; and

(4.) that we are bound to manifest towards him the spirit of children, and yield to him obedience.”

Christianity is a radical new life. It is more than going to church and getting a weekly pep talk, it is a drastic heart and life change. The Spirit of His Son in me yearns for more of this great Father God.

EVERY DAY

Matt.28:20 – Mounce – teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you all the days, to the end of the age.

I love the Bible. It is amazingly new each time you read it. In today’s verse in the Mounce NT we see an amazing promise. He is not only with us always, He specifically said “all of the days”. There is not a day of your life that He is not with you. If you are His, He was with you from your mother’s womb until you take your last breath of air. He was with you when you almost had a life ending car wreck, He was with you you were out in sin doing stupid death defying antics, He was with you the day you got saved, and He is with you still. He is there when all hope seems lost with your finances, He is with you when the blessings abound, He is with you in sickness and in health. There is nothing you can dream of that you will face by yourself. Here is how A. B. Simpson describes this promise.

“He comes to us each day with a new blessing. Every morning, day by day, He walks with us with a love that never tires and a blessing that never grows old. And He is with us “all the days;” it is a ceaseless abiding. There is no day so dark, so commonplace, so uninteresting that we do not find Him there. Often, no doubt, He is unrecognized, as He was on the way to Emmaus, until we realize how our hearts have been warmed, our love stirred, our Bible so strangely vivified, with every promise seeming to speak to us with heavenly reality and power. It is the Lord!

God grant that His living presence may be made more real to us henceforth. Whether we have the consciousness and evidence-as they had a few glorious times in those 40 days-or whether we go forth into the coming days as they did most of their days to walk by simple faith and in simple duty, let us know this fact always, that He is with us….”

You may say I know He is there, it just doesn’t seem like it. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in, turn to Him in worship and before you know it this promise will burn in your heart, “I am with you all of the days”!

MY PEOPLE

2 COR.6:16 – Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

We have all been called lots of things; some worse than others. A famous running back for the Dallas Cowboys, Hershel Walker, said he thought his name was “Get Wood” until he was almost grown up. What kind of names have you been called? Student, worker, black man, white man, athlete, husband, wife, chump or looser; you get the drift, we all have been called and labeled all sorts of things. Today’s scripture tells us one of the sweetest things we can be called, my people. The Lord Himself has called us His very own people, what could be better than that? Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes this blessing.

“What a sweet title: My people! What a cheering revelation: Their God! How much of meaning is couched in those two words, My people! Here is speciality. The whole world is God’s; the heaven, even the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s, and he reigneth among the children of men; but of those whom he hath chosen, whom he hath purchased to himself, he saith what he saith not of others-My people. In this word there is the idea of proprietorship. In a special manner the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. All the nations upon earth are his; the whole world is in his power; yet are his people, his chosen, more especially his possession; for he has done more for them than others; he has bought them with his blood; he has brought them nigh to himself; he has set his great heart upon them; he has loved them with an everlasting love, a love which many waters cannot quench, and which the revolutions of time shall never suffice in the least degree to diminish.”

I am one of God’s people. He has loved me and known me from the days of eternity. He has set me apart for Himself, what could be a higher privilege than that? I am more privileged than a corporate executive, a Senator, judge, or a celebrity doesn’t have the privileges that belong to me. We are more special than Princes, Kings, Prime Ministers, or Presidents. We are the very people of God.

PRIVILEGE OF ADOPTION

John 1:12,13 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John seems to be rushing to the very point of his gospel in the opening lines, and why not; the unthinkable has become our privilege. We who were rascals, scalawags, liars, thieves, and worse are now called sons and daughters. John unveiled the greatness of the Eternal Son and then immediately talks about why He became man; He came to make us sons. John also begins to go beyond all of the other gospels in these opening verses, he says that as many as receive Him, John was describing the new birth. Receiving Christ, not performance or sacrifice or an intricate belief system but simply receiving Christ. This was the stumbling stone that caused much of the Jewish world to reject Him. He came for all, anyone could receive Christ. Here is how one of our Puritan fathers, Matthew Henry describes the privilege of adoption.

“The privilege of adoption, which takes them into the number of God’s children: To them gave he power to become the sons of God. Hitherto, the adoption pertained to the Jews only but now, by faith in Christ, Gentiles are the children of God. They have power, exousian—authority; for no man taketh this power to himself, but he who is authorized by the gospel charter. To them gave he a right; to them gave he this pre-eminence. This power have all the saints.It is the unspeakable privilege of all good Christians, that they are become the children of God. They were by nature children of wrath, children of this world. If they be the children of God, they become so, are made—Persons are not born Christians, but made such.—Tertullian. Behold what manner of love is this, 1 John iii. 1. God calls them his children, they call him Father, and are entitled to all the privileges of children, those of their way and those of their home.”

This is the heart of our Christian faith, this is why Jesus came, He came to make a way for us to become sons. This is a revelation that will change the way you live. Not only do we have privileges as sons, we have access to relationship with our Heavenly Father.

GOSPEL FEAST – ADOPTED

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Is. 25:6 ¶ On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples

a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,

of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.

This verse speaks about a gospel feast that would be spread for all mankind in the last days. Isaiah was prophesying 700 years before Christ about the results of His work on the cross. Today, this table is spread and the Lord is calling us to the table. This feast is for our spiritual nourishment and enjoyment and to strengthen us for the challenges we all face. One of the courses on the menu is our spiritual adoption. All of us were lost in our sins, far away from the Lord, without a chance of coming near our holy God. While we were in our sins Christ died for us, washed us in His blood, and sent the Spirit of sonship into our hearts. We have become part of the family of God, sons and daughters of the King, seated together with Him at His heavenly table. Unthinkable! No longer in sin but actually sons and daughters of God. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon’s Christmas sermon called Gospel Feast.

“Shall a worm of the dust become a child of God; a rebel be adopted into the heavenly family; a condemned criminal not only forgiven, but actually made a child of God? Wonder of wonders! To which of the kings and princes of this earth did He ever say, You are My Son”? He has not spoken thus to the great ones, and to the mighty, but God has chosen the base things of this world, and things that are despised, yes, and things that are not, and made these to be of the seed royal! The wise and prudent are passed over, but babes receive the revelation of His love. Lord, why me? What am I, and what is my father’s house that you should speak of making me Your child? This gloriously fat thing is also “full of marrow”; there is an inner richness in adoption for, “if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”

So go ahead and push up to the table, enjoy His bounty, delight yourself in the abundance of your Father’s house. This is food for your soul. The Father loves to have you seated with Him at His table.

ADOPTED

Rom. 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

For years I struggled with the concept of spiritual adoption because I just didn’t understand it. Once you taste the reality of adoption it actually becomes precious to us. Many adopted children live in wonderful homes with great parents who take good care of them, but something deep down inside of them wants to know about their biological parents. They want to know where they came from. When I was growing up, one of my best friends was adopted. His parents never told him that he was adopted, but he knew that he was. His parents were fair skinned, Anglo-Saxon people of average height, and my friend had dark skin and dark hair and was about one and a half feet taller than his dad. He had obviously looked at his mom and dad and realized that they weren’t his biological parents. It didn’t take a genius to figure it out. Nevertheless, they didn’t tell him. Even though he knew his parents loved him, my friend always struggled with who he was. He struggled all his life with questions like, “Who am I?” ”Where did I come from?” and “What is my origin?”

When I would look at God’s adoption of us, I thought it was wonderful that He adopted us and gave us a break. But then I realized that a difference exists between adoption in the natural world and adoption in the spiritual world. The Bible says that God sent the “Spirit of adoption” into our hearts. As an adopted child in the natural world, you cannot take on the biological nature of your adoptive parents. You cannot take on their chemistry. They can love you. They can provide for you. They can be your father and your mother in every sense of the word, but biologically you didn’t come from them. The Bible says that when we became children of God, He sent His Seed, His Word, and His Spirit into our hearts, not symbolically but in reality. He planted the essence of God inside of you when you accepted Him as your Savior. He placed the nature of the Holy One within you. A royal seed was planted inside your heart. It’s different from what the world has. We are connected with our Heavenly Father by more than just a legal contract in which He has agreed to provide us with food, lodging, work, and eternal life.

I don’t want an arrangement like that, where I never get to see the Father, where I just have all my needs cared for. My greatest need isn’t my physical provision. My greatest need is to be loved. My greatest need is a relationship. Our Father does much more for us than just meet our physical needs. Out of a thankful heart we cry, “Lord, we love all the gifts that You give us. Lord, we appreciate all that You do for us. Thank You, Lord, for the great job. Thank You, Lord, for the car. Thank You, Lord, for the clothes You have given me. Thank You, Lord, for everything that You have provided. But, Lord, more than anything, I thank You that You have given me Yourself so that I can know You, so that I can walk with You.”

MY INHERITANCE

Psa. 61:5  For You, O God, have heard my vows;

You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.

Have you ever inherited anything? Obviously, the value of an inheritance depends on the worth of the person that left the inheritance for you. Several years ago, Parris’s dad passed away leaving Parris and I a small inheritance. Her dad loved vacations, travel cruises,etc. We actually used this inheritance to purchase a time share for our personal vacations in honor of her dad, Tony Hanson. Every time we use our time share, we have fond memories of Tony and his love to travel.

In Christ, His sons and daughters have received a powerful inheritance. He is wealthy beyond comprehension and we have become heirs of His abundance. Not only have we inherited His possessions, we have inherited Him; He is our portion. Here are some thoughts from the Old Testament Word Book on our heritage.

“In civil matters the verb means to become an heir. In military matters it means to gain control over a certain area by conquering and expelling the current inhabitants of that area. In such a light the word came to take on the meaning of “dispossess,” “drive out,” “cast out,” and “seize.”

In Israel’s history the root takes on its double force, to inherit and to dispossess, in relationship to the covenant. God made a covenant with Israel that they would become his own special people. A major benefit on Israel’s side was the promise of an inheritance, namely a land where they could develop into a holy nation.”

This commentary points out two parts of our inheritance. First we become heirs of God, we have become His own special people. As the the nation of Israel was God’s chosen people, we have become His chosen people in Christ. Secondly, we have the power and authority to drive the enemies from our land. One of those great enemies is sin and compromise. Sin no longer has a right to rule in our world. We are now free. We live a different kind of life from the people all around us.  We are sons and daughters of God and fellow heirs with Jesus Christ. Every time we pray like Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father, in heaven…”, we are reminded of our inheritance. We are sons and daughters of the Almighty, our inheritance in unspeakable.

CHILDREN OF GOD

1John 3:1 ¶ See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

Sometimes I think us Christians become numb to the spiritual blessings that have become our heritage. For example, we are called children of God in the New Testament. Some folks think that all humans are children of God; that is just not the case. Until someone is born again they are actually called children of disobedience, children of darkness or even children of wrath. Jesus even told some of the religious leaders in Israel that the devil was their father. Only when someone experiences the blessing of the new birth are they called children of God.

What does it mean to be God’s child? It means that the Spirit of God has come to live in our hearts. His nature has become ours, we have literally taken on a new nature. We have the DNA of Christ throughout our being. The Fire Bible describes some of the incredible blessings we have received when we became God’s child. Check this out.

“The truth that God is our Father and we are his children is one of the greatest revelations in the NT.  Being a child of God—chosen and adopted through Christ as his very own—is among the highest honors and privileges of our salvation.  Being a child of God is the basis for our faith and trust in God and our hope of glory for the future. As God’s children, we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, which means that we have part in his eternal inheritance. God wants us to become increasingly aware that we are his children. This awareness comes through the presence of the Holy Spirit—the “Spirit of sonship”—within us. The Spirit allows us to call on God in a deep, personal and intimate way—“Abba, Father”—and he gives us the desire to be “led by the Spirit”.  Being a child of God means that, at times, we will be disciplined by the Father so that we can grow in spiritual maturity. God’s highest goal in making us his children is to save us forever  and to make us more like Jesus.”

Paul talks about a joyful expectancy that has come into our lives at the new birth. We are expecting the full manifestation of our sonship. As John said, “when He appears we will be like Him.” Those are some of the most exciting and sobering words I have ever heard. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will see Him and will instantly be like Him. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

gods and monsters

gods and monsters

Rom. 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Have you ever thought about what it means to be a son of God. Just as Jesus was clothed in humility when He walked among us, so are we in this present age. Jesus is no longer clothed in humility. Now don’t take me wrong, He is absolutely still a man. He is just quite a different kind of man. He is clothed in Glory, He is in His glorified, resurrected body. The day is coming when we will be like Him. We also will put off our mortal body and put on a different kind of body. The seeds of that person are in us now. Creation is groaning anticipating the revealing of the sons and daughters of God. C.S. Lewis said that we live among gods and monsters. Check out his powerful thoughts.

“The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

The point of Lewis’s teaching was this, if we saw who we lived among it would change the way we live. Concerning our fellow Christians, a glimpse of who they really are would give us an incredible respect for them. We might actually act as if Christ were among us.
As for the lost, seeing them in their horrible nightmare would cause a compassion and a fervency for the lost in us. It is devastating to think that any of God’s human creatures would face the horrors that awaits those who are not redeemed. I think it would awaken a fervency to do all within our power to reach the lost with the gospel.
So how is it with you? Are you a monster or one of God’s glorious creatures? Creation is calling, Jesus is waiting, call on The Lord. As you do He is fateful to forgive your sins and welcome you into His glorious family.