Skip to content

4

Photo credit - PatriotLeader.com
Photo credit - PatriotLeader.com

Merry Christmas!

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Philippians 2:5-11

He humbled himself.

He took off His royal robes and put on swaddling clothes.

He took off the purple robes of majesty and put on diapers.

The same mouth that uttered the words “Light Be” and exploded the universe into motion, now cooed and drooled and spit up on His mama’s shoulder.

The same mind that informed Solomon would soon sit and ask questions of the Spiritual leaders in Jerusalem.

The Captain of the Lord’s army who lead Israel into battle against Jericho would soon be taken captive by a Roman cohort.

The same lungs that breathed breath into the dust of the ground and brought forth Adam, would heave with the words, ‘it is finished’ and then be silent for three days.

The same Christ, this same Jesus, who condescended to put on flesh, would again put on immortality, and ascended into heaven.

This same Jesus who talked baby talk and ate baby food will one day judge all men dead and alive.

This same Jesus who was mocked and scorned is the One before whom every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess.

O come let us adore Him.

Ben NelsonHave a great Christmas Incarnation Celebration

Come back soon!

Ben

5

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NASB)

Eternal Father

Ok – Honestly – I am not smart enough to figure out the trinity. I get Father, Son, Holy Spirit (sort of) but now I am seeing prophecy that calls Jesus the Eternal Father.

How does this work?

I dunno – but I am OK with that.

I do know that Jesus has the heart of a father.

When He met the woman at the well, He confronted the mess in her life.

When He met the woman caught in adultery, rather than taking up stones, He treated her as a father would treat His daughter.

When He met the leper whose only question was whether Jesus was willing, He said I will.

When He met the man whose son was throwing himself into the fire, He listened to the man’s tale and cast the evil spirit out of the boy.

He gave the widow of Nain back her son.

He let the little children come to Him.

Truly this Son of God is an Eternal Father.

I am so thankful.

How has He been a Father to you?

Ben NelsonMerry Christmas

Ben

 

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NASB)

Mighty God

In this prophecy we have come to the most controversial note. Anyone who looks at the life of Jesus, even from a natural standpoint, and is not predisposed to hate Him would probably be OK with every name on this list with one exception.

There is enough empirical evidence that He did miracles – wouldn’t historians of the time have debunked all the talk of Messiah if no one ever saw or experienced His powerful touch?

Anyone who reads the Beatitudes, the Golden Rule or the Prodigal Son would agree that He was a great Counselor.

I suppose Father is a bit tricky since He never married or had earthly children, but the way he Fathered the multitudes with His words, healings, feedings, etc – no big problem here.

Clearly a man of peace – never raised His voice in His own defense as He was unjustly accused, tried and executed.

But Mighty God? Has Isaiah gone too far? Is this over the top?

Many Christians would point to His calming of the sea as to where His God robes were in full view, or perhaps when He was walking on the water, or multiplying the loaves and fishes.

But according to Jesus himself, this was not an exposé of Jesus as God, but rather the man, Jesus, full of the Spirit of God, who descended upon Him in the River. (He told us He only did what He saw the Father do, and that the works that He did, we could do the same way – eyes on Jesus)

I do believe there were 5 guys who got to see this “Mighty God” aspect of Jesus when He walked the earth. – Peter, James, John, Moses, and Elijah.

It was only on the mount of transfiguration that Jesus slipped back into the Mighty God Robe that He set aside just before stepping into that Manger.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:5-11 NASB)

[Sorry – I can’t break that bit up – my word processor was offended when I tried to only put the highlights in.]

Jesus emptied Himself, and took on the form of a servant.

But know this: HE IS MIGHTY GOD!

He has picked up that wonderful robe, and is seated on the throne of heaven, rising now and then to greet His loved ones into their eternal home.

Hey - I know the robe is not a perfect image, but it helps me understand the difference between Jesus wanting us to walk like He walked. We are tempted to say, I can't do it because He was God and I am not. Yes, He was, and IS God, but chose to walk as a man filled with the Spirit of God, as a demonstration of the "normal Christian life." He never stopped being God, but that does not excuse you from walking like Jesus.

That’s my Jesus!

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping in today.

See you tomorrow.

Ben

12

And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NASB)

Wonderful

Check this out – the word is not an adjective – it’s a noun. [Tweet This]

Another way to say it might be

He will be called Miracle!

Here – look where else this word is used:

Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11 KJV)

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. (Psalm 77:11 KJV)

Thou [art] the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. (Psalm 77:14 KJV)

And that is how Jesus lived. He was Mr. Miracle.

In fact when John the Baptist was in prison, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He was in fact the Messiah, and the answer was:

Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. (Luke 7:22 KJV)

And when people wondered whether to believe in Jesus He told them to “believe me for the very works' sake.” (John 14:11 KJV)

Furthermore, He was a light who lit us up so we can shine, He is the miracle that miracled us so we can miracle. (right – spell and grammar check hated that)

Here is what I mean:

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (John 14:12 NASB)

He truly is Wonderful!

Now it’s your turn to be wonderful!

Ben NelsonMerry Christmas!

See you tomorrow

Ben

 

6

Many Waters - SoS header

Remember the old cereal boxes where there would be a secret message hidden on the outside of the box, and “magic” glasses enclosed so you could “decode” the secret.

lucky_charms_magic_glasses_-_Google_Search[Spoiler alert – I am about to give away the trick] They would print the message in red, and obscure it with blue ink, and give you red glasses to don in order to receive your “private” message.

The simple trick employed here is that when you put on the “magic” glasses, which were simply blue cellophane, your eyes could no longer see the blue ink, and so the red secret was revealed.

Today we hear the Shepherd King say to His Shulamite Bride:

You are altogether beautiful, my darling,
And there is no blemish in you.

Song of Songs 4:7

Knowing that this is Jesus speaking to me, I wonder if He is wearing those red cellophane glasses. How can He look at me and not see the mess I have made of so many situations.

Doesn’t He see the people I have hurt with my sarcastic “whit” and sharp tongue?
Doesn’t He see the promises I have not kept?
Doesn’t He see the lies I have told, and the truth I have withheld?
Doesn’t He see the lust that lies beneath the surface?
My laziness?
My apathy?
My selfishness?

How can He possibly say I am altogether beautiful and there is no blemish in me?

Does Jesus really not see any of this?

Let me lay out one of those massive scripture tensions for you, and I think it will help here. This is actually one of those points where if you take one line of theology and run with it in either direction you will end up in error, so let’s see if we can get right in the middle of it, and push out toward the edges.

On one hand we have this truth:

He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we [us] might become the righteousness of God in Him [Jesus.] - 2 Corinthians 5:21 [bracketed text, mine]

God actually did make Himself a pair of sin colored glasses. Jesus had two “mount of transfiguration” days in His life on earth. Once with the boys when He met with Moses and Elijah to chat about the other, the day He was transformed into sin, so that the Father could look upon you and I and see Jesus.

So then, it is clearly true that when God looks at us He can no longer see our sin, right? How is it then that the Holy Spirit can so precisely convict me of the areas in my life where I am still entangled? If God forgot my sin, how does He lead me to further freedom by that wonderful path of conviction and repentance?

God knows us altogether, inside and out, and is aware of every fault, every sin, every shadow of turning that remains in us. His wonderful destination for us is, in fact, Christlikeness!

When the scripture tells us God will not remember our sin:

"They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." - Jeremiah 31:34

it is not saying He cannot remember, or He forgets, it is saying He chooses not to call to memory, or better, He does not remember it against us, or use it as an accusation.

When our accuser stands before God and says:

“Your honor, the defendant lied, and Your word says all liars must go to hell.”

Then your memory kicks in and says:

“Yes Lord, it’s true, I’m guilty as charged. I do in deed deserve to go to hell. I am not worthy to stand before you here today.”

God does not say “No he never told a lie, your both confused” Rather, the judge, that High King of Heaven, looks at His book, see the offence, and can clearly see that it has been blotted out, and obscured by the words “paid in full.”

Well – that is the way it plays out in my mind anyway.

Let me be clear here. I don’t believe we can hide behind a cardboard cut out of Jesus, and just continue to sin, counting on God’s forgetfulness to get us into heaven.

God is working in us to perfect us. The conviction of the Holy Spirit works to create a spotless bride for Jesus. He brings to mind the things that are broken in us, like my list above, and walks us through repentance so we can be free, and grow into the beauty that only He can see in us today.

Will you pursue the beauty that God can already see in you? [Tweet This] Will you run hard after Him with me today, and allow Him to create the spotless bride He sees?

Lord, I thank You that You do not hold my sin against me, and that You have a plan that culminates in Christ’s image in me. Lord, help me to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as You create in me a clean heart.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

Come back again soon.

Ben

Note: For a look at how conviction and repentance leads to true freedom check out this article:  Repentance – the path to Comfort

10

Today, let’s look at this encounter at the pool of Bethesda.

When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” ~ John 5:6-7

This is another wonderful story of Jesus and His ministry. And it certainly turned out to be a red letter day for the man at the pool, but I want to make an observation about how we guard our hearts, and can miss what the Lord is holding out to us.

Jesus asks a simple question. “Do you want to be made well?”

I wonder whether this man had not yet heard any of the stories of Jesus healing those who came to Him. Otherwise, why would he keep coming to this pool where his chances were slim.

In any case, observe with me how he answers Jesus.

  • He does not say, “If You are willing,” like the leper.
  • He does not say, “If you are able,” like the man at the bottom of the mount of Transfiguration.
  • He does not say, “If I can just touch His clothes,” like the woman with the issue of blood.
  • He does not say, “Just the crumbs from the table would do the trick,” like they Greek woman.
  • He does not say, “Yes Please,” my personal favorite.

He just begins to lay out reasons that it will never happen.

This is a defense mechanism many who have been struggling with the same issue for decades use. This man has probably been carried to every place miracles were reported.

After 38 years of infirmity, you might get tired of trying. You might still go to the pool, but you are not really expecting anything from the Lord.

You have done it all.

  • You have gone to the meetings when the healers came through town.
  • You have read every book on the subject of divine healing.
  • You have put your hand on the TV when the Televangelist prayed for the sick.
  • You sent your money in and received the “blessed” handkerchief in the mail.

So when Jesus shows up, rather than saying, “Yes Lord,” you begin to brace yourself for another disappointment.

I love that none of that stopped Jesus from breaking the power of the 38-year-old sickness.

I pray today that you have not given up. I pray you, yes I am talking to you, will hear the voice of Jesus asking, “Do you want to be made well?” And I pray you will not be afraid to simply say, “Yes Lord.”

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Have a Red Letter day.

Ben

 

Related article: Spiritual Healing by Keri Wyatt Kent

 

In the last installment of Another Red Letter Day we looked briefly at Jesus cleansing the temple. Today I want to ponder this answer the disciples came up with for our unspoken question of the day.

His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.” ~ John 2:17

Jesus sees what is going on, and something rises up on the inside of Him.

He must look like an angry young man to all those watching.

What had gotten into Him?

The disciples thought back to their Bible readings.

The quote they remembered comes from the Psalms:

For zeal for Your house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me. ~ Psalm 69:9

Jesus sees the oppression of the poor and the rich lining their pockets. These oppressors are using the system God put in place to bring relief from the burden of sin, the sacrificial system, the very system Jesus Himself would fulfill, to drag God’s people deeper into debt.

This oppression not only oppressed the people of God, but drove them further from Him. Church became a place where the sheep stood a better chance of being fleeced than fed, so the sheep would just as soon stay away.

Two applications here.

One for Church leaders – We need to lift the burden of sin and oppression, not the wallets of our sheep!

But what I really wanted to touch on today was the idea that Jesus is zealous for His Father's house. I know I have made application here for the house of the Lord as the Church, but YOU my friend, if you are in covenant with Jesus, are the House of the Lord.

Jesus is zealous for you. Jesus is zealous to see you become a house of prayer, to see you as a place of blessing for those who are oppressed. Jesus is zealous to see you set free, and then for you to be a place where the works of satan are destroyed!

Can you get yourself stirred up – can you let the Zeal of the Lord’s house consume you today? Are you zealous for your own life to be used by the Master to set others free?

Stir it up today!

Don’t miss SoS tomorrow!

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

photo credit: Harpersbizarre via photopin cc
photo credit: Harpersbizarre via photopin cc

I don’t want to take much of your time today, but these Red Letters are really important.

Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business. ~ John 2:13

Yesterday I talked about filling the waterpots.

Today we are cleaning the temples.

Jesus did this twice (that we know of.) once right here at the start of His ministry and once again right after the triumphal entry, less than a week from the day He would cry out “it is finished

Once the veil was torn, the temple of the living God was no longer a place. Oh, there was still a building, curtains and a box. But the lid was off the box, the curtain was torn and the very foundation was shaken.

So is God unconfined? Is He on the loose?

Today, He makes His home in you and me. He lives on the inside.

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. ~ John 14:23

You are the temple of the living God. He bought you. You are His, and He is a permanent resident in your life.

This first Passover of His ministry, He was shocked by the misuse of the temple, for men to profit on the backs of the poor. This place that was intended to be a ‘house of prayer for all people’ had become a place where the poor were exploited as they tried to pay for their persistent and unrelenting sin.

Jesus went out and made a whip, came back and drove out the money changers and the cattle that were desecrating this holy place.

Jesus' act of purging the temple as He took His place as the Messiah, is a demonstration of what He wants to do, and is doing in us today.

I have heard this story used to abuse Christians through the years, but not today friend.

Today I want you to know that Jesus is driving the garbage out of your life. He has a whip, and is ready to curse the things that daily plague you and keep you from walking with the Lord.

This purging was not a punishment to the temple – was it? NO it was a blessing to the temple, as He drove out the interlopers, those who did not belong.

He is not going to come in and drive you out of yourself – now is He? No, He is going to make you clean and present you faultless before the Father with exceeding joy.

Ben NelsonHope this makes you as happy as it make me today. It sure is another Red Letter Day!

Thanks for coming by

Ben

4

This week we have been talking a bit about Jesus getting out of the boat on the far shore of the Sea of Galilee.

One reader pointed out to me that Matthew has two demon possessed guys, and Mark and Luke only talk about one.

The question is clear – is it one or two and why the difference?

And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs; they were so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road. And behold, they cried out, saying, “What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” ~ Matthew 8:28-29

And when He had come out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, ~ Mark 5:2

And when He had come out onto the land, He was met by a certain man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. ~ Luke 8:27

That’s an easy one –  Matthew was after all a tax collector and those guys knew how to count! – Just kidding

But seriously folks, I sit in meetings and take notes every day at work. I will sit there with a couple of my colleagues and take detailed notes. One of the reasons I take careful notes when I am interested, or the content is important, is that I know we all observe things from completely different perspectives. Sometimes I am amazed that we can both listen to the exact same people saying the exact same thing, and we all hear completely different details. To the point where I will argue my side, then go back to the source and find out I was completely wrong.

It is amazing how differently we see things.

In this case my assumption is that Jesus interacted with one of the men in detail and the interview with the demonic hoard revolved around only one of the men, though this army of demons may have inhabited both.

It may be that only one wanted to join Jesus’ band, or one was more notably frightening.

Do you have a better explanation?

Share it with us, will you?

Ben NelsonSee you again soon. Don’t miss our study of the Song of Songs tomorrow.

See you then.

Ben

This week we have been talking a bit about Jesus getting out of the boat on the far shore of the Sea of Galilee.

One reader pointed out to me that Matthew has two demon possessed guys, and Mark and Luke only talk about one.

The question is clear – is it one or two and why the difference?

And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs; they were so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road. And behold, they cried out, saying, “What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” ~ Matthew 8:28-29

And when He had come out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, ~ Mark 5:2

And when He had come out onto the land, He was met by a certain man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. ~ Luke 8:27

That’s an easy one –  Matthew was after all a tax collector and those guys knew how to count! – Just kidding

But seriously folks, I sit in meetings and take notes every day at work. I will sit there with a couple of my colleagues and take detailed notes. One of the reasons I take careful notes when I am interested, or the content is important, is that I know we all observe things from completely different perspectives. Sometimes I am amazed that we can both listen to the exact same people saying the exact same thing, and we all hear completely different details. To the point where I will argue my side, then go back to the source and find out I was completely wrong.

It is amazing how differently we see things.

In this case my assumption is that Jesus interacted with one of the men in detail and the interview with the demonic hoard revolved around only one of the men, though this army of demons may have inhabited both.

It may be that only one wanted to join Jesus’ band, or one was more notably frightening.

Do you have a better explanation?

Share it with us, will you?

Ben NelsonSee you again soon. Don’t miss our study of the Song of Songs tomorrow.

See you then.

Ben

%d bloggers like this: