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Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The End. ~ Granpa (Peter Falk) – The Princess Bride

Ah, the Kiss – Do you remember when Jacob kissed Rachel? Check this out – I bet we will see this on Hallmark Movie night in Heaven.

Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted his voice and wept. (Gen 29:11 NASB)

In Psalm 2 we are told:

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:12 NIV)

Now to the Song.

Here, in the song, we are introduced to the voice of the maiden. We'll learn much about her in coming weeks. But our first glimpse of her tells us she is smitten. A man, familiar perhaps and a part of her daily life, has caught her passion. She wants to know him, but they are just acquaintances. They pass one another in the village square but have not connected in any real way. You might say she is an admirer of this Shepherd King.

The opening line belongs to the maiden.

May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! - Song of Songs 1:2)

The approach we're taking to this wonderful song places us squarely in the place of a maiden crying out for a kiss from the mouth from her would be lover. I told you that the maiden represents each of us as passionate believers. Our walk of passion begins right here, with a desire for kisses from the mouth of the Lord Jesus. This may seem strange if you are a man, but stay with me here.

Let's take a slight liberty with words here, to help us understand the heart of the Spirit in these words.  May He kiss me with the kisses of His Word. There—I know I feel better already.

We are going to see in this Song dozens, maybe hundreds, of word pictures, and Here's our first.

Since, for our purposes we are going to consider this Shepherd King to be Jesus, a kiss from His mouth – would be His Word.

When we look at the mouth of the Lord in the scripture we are usually looking at His Word and His speech. For example

  • …For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 1:20, 40:5, 58:14 NIV)
  • Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12 NASB)

The Word of God is food to us, bread, the bread of life.

  • In Matthew 4:3,4 Jesus tells us "man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord."
  • In Matthew 6:11, in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus asks God to give us each day our daily bread.
  • God gives us bread not stone as a good Father in Matt 7:9.
  • Matthew 26 shows us that the broken body of Jesus is the broken bread of communion.
  • John tells us that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh.
  • We understand that healing is the children’s bread from Mark 7:27.

When I speak of the Word of God, what comes to mind may be a leather bound stack of paper beside your reading chair, or perhaps the app on your communication device. Maybe you think of your pastor delivering a sermon.

But God speaks to—kisses—us in so many ways today. First and foremost he speaks to us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells us His words are spirit and life. This is the kiss I'm looking for. The kiss of the voice of Jesus through Holy Spirit leading and guiding, nudging and prodding.

Kiss me with the kisses of Your word!

This divine kiss speaks of the favor, blessing, salvation, healing and reconciliation offered to us freely in this day of His favor and grace. All that is available to any man by faith through Word of God (a.k.a. Jesus.)

Hallelujah - that is some kiss!

Join me in asking the Father for the divine kiss from the mouth of Jesus.

Kiss me with the kisses of your Word.

Thanks for joining me today.

Come back soon.

Ben

photo credit: Sarah Korf via photo pin cc

Yesterday, we looked at the fact that Jesus is the express image of God and to see God we should look at Jesus. But as I promised, I want to see where Jesus took this truth next as He answered Philip’s request:

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." - John 14:8

Here is the passage again, with my highlighting:

Again, it would be awesome if you would read this aloud:

Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 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. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. ~ John 14:9-21

Jesus, the way to know God

So along with telling the boys how they could see God, how they could get to know God’s character and nature, He was going to take this conversation to another destination.

The first paragraph of His answer basically goes like this. You have seen God because He lives in Me, and you have seen Me, the things I do and the words I say, show you exactly who God is.

And as we saw yesterday in Hebrews 1, He is not just the “good parts version” of the immutable (unchangeable) God, He is the “exact representation of His nature” (from Hebrews 1:3.)

The Other Shoe

After making it clear to the disciples that He was how they were to see God, He explains that in the very same way, they were, and we are, a way for people to see and know God.

Each reason Jesus gives Philip for seeing the Father through Himself, He turns around and explains how they will have the same ability to present or should I say re-present the Father to those they touch.

The same Spirit that was in Christ, “will be in you.” The same works that Christ used to demonstrate the character and nature of the Father, “he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.”

Just as Jesus spoke only what He heard the Father say, His promise to the boys comes down like this:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. - John 14:26

Honestly, this revelation is a bit of a world rocker to me. I can be such a screw up at times. I hurt the people I love on a regular basis because my head is stuck where the sun does not shine, and I am thinking about my agenda, my needs, my…self, and that is NOTHING LIKE GOD.

But THIS is His plan. The master plan, set in place before the foundations, before time, before sin, before life as we know it.

If you are in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, His idea is that when people see you, they would be looking at the Father. [Boy, that feels downright blasphemous, doesn’t it?] [Click here to tweet it anyway]

OK – let’s not get all arrogant-n-stuff, because we fall, we fail, and that’s on a good day. But the fact is, when men and women look at YOU and ME, because of the new creation, the new heart, the new covenant, God, using His infinite power, gives your circle of influence a glimpse of the Almighty.

When they look at you, they see God, and when they see you fall, and God lift you up, they see their own need for God, their own need for “my Glory and the Lifter of my head.”

I know, crazy, right?

Lord, today, this day, shine through my successes and my failures, so those around me can see You, and are drawn to the Lover of their souls.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon. In the mean time…

Shine where you're screwed in.

Ben

Hi all,

Today and tomorrow I'm going to re-air 2 posts from three years ago about the nature of Jesus. I think these two posts will bless you and I pray we would together turn our eyes toward Jesus. Here we go.

===

Let's dig into Jesus’ answer to Philip’s request:

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." - John 14:8

Have you been pondering this passage?

Here is what jumps out at me – Now normally I would put all these words in red, this being Another Red Letter Day, but today I am going to paint a just a few words in blue so they stand out.

It would be awesome if you read this out loud (or out quiet) but I want it to be oral. The more faculties you involve the more tuned in you are, so let’s have a faculty party today.

Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. "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. "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." ~ John 14:9-21

I know, that is kind of a big chunk of scripture for a blog post, but as you can see from what is highlighted, there are some pretty strong ties from top to bottom.

Here is what I saw as I pondered this passage.

There are two (or maybe three) aspects Jesus emphasizes, that He says will enable us to see the Father.

Indwelling, or cohabitation

The first is the fact that, as He says, “I am in the Father.” This He says three times, and two of these are followed with “and the Father is in Me.” He tells Philip and the rest of the disciples that they can know God. They can “see the Father” right before their eyes because Jesus is indwelt by the Father.

The best way for them to see God was to look at Jesus.

Words and Works

The second way they could see God was to look at the things Jesus was saying and doing, His words and works. He actually tells them that if they were not sure what to believe about Jesus’ relationship with God, this indwelling thing, they should believe just because of the works He was doing. He was… – well as Luke tells us:

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. - Acts 10:38

Jesus, because God was with Him, the Spirit of God dwelling on the inside, did works that demonstrated God, His character, and nature.

We read again in my favorite of all scriptures (I am pretty sure this is the top of my top ten list:)

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, - Hebrews 1:1-3

We see here that Jesus is not "like" God, fuzzy around the edges, like what the prophets taught, according to verse 1. Instead, Jesus is the “exact representation of His nature.” He is not a partial image, where He is only depicting "the good parts" of who God is, but Jesus is a complete revelation of God. If you don’t find it in Jesus, it is not in God. Jesus is the complete study guide to God the Father. Jesus is perfect theology. [Tweet This] There is nothing in Jesus that is not in God, and there is nothing in God that is not in Jesus. And God has seen to it that what is recorded in the Word about Jesus is enough of a revelation for us to know the Father.

So my first takeaway is pretty simple. The best way to know God, and what God is like is to look at Jesus, His words and His works. He, Jesus, tells us this repeatedly and these other passages reinforce this idea, that He only ever did what God was doing, or would do, and His words were coming straight from the throne of God.

But Jesus does not stop here. He does not simply say, you want to see God look at Me! He takes it to a place that changes everything.

Come back tomorrow, and we will see as the other shoe drops.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon. In the mean time…

Shine where you are screwed in.

Ben

When I was younger my family went every year to hear the wonderful oratorio Messiah by GF Handel. Even today as I was listening in the car it brought me to tears at points.

There is much credit due the wonderful music, but at the heart of this work is the text which is directly from the Word of God. I wanted to share it with you. No Rush, but sometime in the upcoming days you should sit down and just read through it (or find a copy and listen while reading the words so you don't miss the breath of God on this wonderful piece.

BenHeadshotMerry Christmas

Ben

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Messiah (HWV 56)[1] is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennensfrom the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer (which are worded slightly differently from their King James counterparts). It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.[n 1] (Wikipdeia)

To make it a little easier to follow I put the names of the songs in bold followed by the scripture reference which was supplied by the source listed below, followed by the text of the scripture printed out in the quotes boxes.

Lyric Source - http://www.worshipmap.com/lyrics/messiahtext.html

Handel's Messiah
George Frederic Handel (1695-1759)

Part I

(1) Overture

(2) Comfort Ye

Isaiah 40:1-3

1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .

3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(3) Every Valley

Isaiah 40:4

4.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

(4) And the Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 40:5

5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

(5) Thus saith the Lord

Haggai 2:6,7

6. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come

Malachi 3:1

1. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

(6) But who may abide the Day of His Coming?

Malachi 3:2

2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.

(7) And He shall Purify

Malachi 3:3

3. And He shall purify the sons of Levi. . . that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

(8) Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive

Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:23)

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us.

(9) O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion

Isaiah 40:9

9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, and be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Isaiah 60:1

1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

(10) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth

Isaiah 60:2,3

2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(11) The people that walked in darkness

Isaiah 9:2 (Matthew 3:16)

2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

(12) For unto Us a Child is born

Isaiah 9:6

6. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

(13) Pastoral Symphony

(14) There were shepherds abiding in the field

Luke 2:8

8. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

Luke 2:9

9. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

(15) And the Angel said unto them

Luke 2:10,11

10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

(16) And suddenly there was with the Angel

Luke 2:13

13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

(17) Glory to God

Luke 2:14

14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(18) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion

Zechariah 9:9,10 (Matthew 21:5)

9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior. . 10. . . And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

(19) Then shall the eyes of the blind

Isaiah 35:5,6

5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

(20) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd

Isaiah 40:11

11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Matthew 11:28, 29

28. Come unto [Him], all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and [He shall]give you rest. 29. Take [his] yoke upon you, and learn of [Him]; for [he is] meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(21) His yoke is easy

Matthew 11:30

30. [His] yoke is easy, and [his]burden is light.

Part II

(22) Behold the lamb of God

John 1:29

29.Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

(23) He was despised

Isaiah 53:3

3. He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . Isaiah 50:6 [He]gave [His] back to the smiters, and [His] cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: [He] hid not [His] face from shame and spitting.

(24) Surely He hath borne our griefs

Isaiah 53:4,5

4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . 5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him,

(25) And with His stripes we are healed

Isaiah 53:5b

5. and with His stripes we are healed

(26) All we like sheep have gone astray

Isaiah 53:6

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(27) All they that see him laugh him to scorn

Psalm 22:7

7. All they that see [him]laugh [him] to scorn: they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying:

(28) He trusted in God

Psalm 22:8 (Matthew 27:43)

8. He trusted [in God] that he would deliver him:let him deliver him, if he delight in him.

(29) Thy rebuke hath broken His heart

Psalm 69:20

20. [Thy] rebuke hath broken [his] heart; [He is] full of heaviness. [He]looked for some to have pity [on Him], but there was none; neither found [He] any to comfort [Him].

(30) Behold, and see if there be any sorrow

Lamentations 1:12

12. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto [his] sorrow. . .

(31) He was cut off out of the land of the living

Isaiah 53:8b

8. he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of [Thy] people was He stricken.

(32) But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell

Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27)

10. [But] thou [didst] not leave [his] soul in hell; neither [didst]thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

(33) Lift up your heads, O ye gates

Psalm 24:7-10

7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 10. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

(34) Unto which of the angels said He at any time

Hebrews 1:5 (Psalm 2:7)

5. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?

(35) Let all the angels of God worship Him

Hebrews 1:6b

6. "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

(36) Thou art gone up on high

Psalm 68:18 (Ephesians 4:8)

18. Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

(37) The Lord gave the word

Psalm 68:11

11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of [the preachers].

(38) How beautiful are the feet

Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7)

15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

(39) Their sound is gone out

Romans 10:18 (Psalm 19:4)

18. their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.

(40) Why do the nations so furiously rage together?

Psalm 2:1,2 (Acts 4:25-26)

1. Why do the heathen rage, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed,

(41) Let us break their bonds asunder

Psalm 2:3

3. Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

(42) He that dwelleth in heaven

Psalm 2:4

4. He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.

(43) Thou shalt break them

Psalm 2:9

9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

(44) Hallelujah

Revelation 19:6

6. Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 11:15 15. . . the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 19:16 16. . . . KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.

Part III

(45) I know that my redeemer liveth

Job 19:25, 26

25. I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand on the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

1Corinthians 15:20

20. [For] now is Christ risen from the dead. . . the firstfruits of them that [sleep].

(46) Since by man came death

1Corinthians 15:21,22

21. Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(47) Behold I tell you a mystery

1Corinthians 15:51,52

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;

(48) The trumpet shall sound

1Corinthians 15:52b-53

52. the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(49) Then shall be brought to pass

1Corinthians 15:54b (Isaiah 25:8)

54. then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'

(50) O death where is thy sting?

1Corinthians 15:55-56 (Hosea 13:14)

55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

(51) But thanks be to God

1 Corinthians 15:57

57. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(52) If God be for us

Romans 8:31, 33, 34

31. If God be for us, who can be against us? 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

(53) Worthy is the Lamb

Revelation 5:12, 13

12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. . . . Blessing, and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.      Amen.

 

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For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11 NASB)

Lord

I remember talking to you young boy (probably 9 or 10 years old) who had been involved in church programs for most of his life. I asked him about his relationship with the Lord Jesus, and he told me that he had made Jesus his Savior a couple years back.

I know he was young, but this was a turn of phrase that he had picked up somewhere, and it really got under my skin.

I gently (at least I think I was gentle, but in those days that was not necessarily my hallmark) explained that you could not make Jesus your Savior. Becoming a Savior is something He did. Your part is to surrender to Him as Lord.

In explanation of the concept of Lord, my friend Kim, who led me to the Lord a few decades ago, used to say (and no doubt still does) ‘unless Jesus is your Lord, your Master, your King, your Boss, you have no place in the kingdom of God.’

Let me be clear. This is not a works thing, it is a submission thing.

I have said it before in this blog, we come into the kingdom of God in the role of servant, bowing our knee to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The government of our lives must rest on His shoulders.

There are those who gather with the body of Christ, tares among the wheat, who believe all the right facts about Jesus, but have never bowed their knee to His Lordship. They live their own lives without any regard to Jesus and His word. Again it is not about their works, the things they do, but their hearts are not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They never respond to the twinge of conscience when they walk their own way, if they are even aware of it anymore.

But you, beloved, who love Him and surrender to Him, living life listening for the voice of the Spirit, there is no condemnation for you. When you misstep, you quickly adjust as the Holy Spirit within you suggests adjustments and corrections to your path.

Do you see the difference?

One life ship guided by the rudder of the Holy Spirit (this is the Lordship of Jesus Christ) and one guided by self preservation, or betterment.

Who is Jesus to you today?

Will you bow your knee to Jesus this Christmas? He is still King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and is ready to be your King and Lord even now. [Tweet This]

Here’s how.

Simply call out to Jesus today. Tell Him you need Him to take leadership in your life. Confess every sin He brings to mind, right now, out loud. Take responsibility for your sin, pride and rebellion. Then open your heart to Him. (What does that mean?) Ask Him to be your Lord, Master, King, Boss and begin to submit to Him every day. Romans 8:14 says "They that are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God," so ask the Holy Spirit to guide you today and every day.

Hey, thanks for stopping in today. If you surrendered to Jesus for the first time today, tell somebody about it, get plugged into a church where they teach the Bible, and hang out with people who know Jesus and can help you follow Him.

BenDirector3CroppedMerry Christmas

Ben

1

I'm away for the weekend at a wonderful (so far) conference - the Supernatural Life Conference in Harrisburg PA. One of my readers visited an article from two years ago and I realized it has been a long time since I shared my testimony on my blog, so I thought I would bring it back up for another look. This is my story. Perhaps you can share yours too.

Blessings

Ben

IMG_1069

Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ ~ Matthew 7:21-23

Who are these shocked folks outside heaven’s narrow gate?

  • They call Jesus Lord.
  • They have prayed “the” prayer.
  • They have been in Church – a lot.
  • They have even prophesied, cast out demons, and done many miracles.

When I read this I say with the eleven disciples at the last supper, 'Lord, is it me?'

In fact, this is the very scripture He used to draw me in.

I grew up as a church kid. I was always the good boy, always knew my memory verse, always got my Sunday school lesson done (albeit Sunday morning right before we left for church.)

  • I asked Jesus into my heart at age 4.
  • I was baptized in my little Plymouth Brethren Chapel when I was 11.
  • In my teens went through the Presbyterian Catechism.
  • At sixteen sang in a touring Christian choir
  • As a High School Senior joined the Church Choir
  • Considered becoming a missionary at the Urbana Conference at age 19
  • Taught Sunday school.
  • Ran the Christian Service Brigade boys program at our Church

Then one day I was listening to a preacher (Thank you brother Kim Josephson!) preach a sermon on the Rich Young Ruler, which described me to a tee.

I had to face the fact that I did not have an active, current relationship with Lord Jesus Christ. I asked myself, ‘Am I known by this Jesus?’

I started to ponder verses like John 4:10

…the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

I had to confess at age 25, I really did not know His voice. I knew His name, I knew His Word, I knew about Him, but He was not my Lord, my Master, my King, my Boss. I was not following Him, I was living life in a way that seemed right in my own eyes.

If you had asked me, I would say I had a relationship with Jesus, that He lived in my heart, but I could not point to His direction. I didn't know His voice. I didn't know His leading, so how could I be a follower?

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. ~ Romans 8:14

That morning, listening to that sermon, driving down the road, I pulled off to the side of the road and, brushing tears from my eyes asked Jesus to take control of my life.

He had used His Word and His faithful messenger to expose to me the “one thing I lacked” (from Mark 10:21) and from that moment, with that very first baby step of repentance and faith, I began to “hear His voice” in my life.

I am so glad He is faithful. I am so glad He pursued me. I have a sense that those prayers and activities early in life were not wasted. He honored the little boy’s prayer at age 4, and wooed me for over 2 decades until finally I was willing to give Him more than lip service.

Where do you stand today?

If you feel some kind of vague uncertainty, brush it away. Vague condemnation comes from satan, and he loves to exploit the Word of God to his own advantage.

However, if you sense the Spirit of God saying take up your cross and follow me today, even if you have considered yourself a Christian for decades, don’t hold back. Give yourself to Him today. You will never be the same.

He will lead you to the life you were created for. [Tweet This]

I am so glad you stopped by today to hear my story. I would love to hear yours.

Just think, someone who does not identify with my story, might really resonate with yours! Why not blog about it, and leave a link below – or if you are not a blogger, just use the comment section here to tell us your story.

BenThanks for reading today.

See you tomorrow

Ben

10

Here is a favorite post of mine from nearly two years ago - I think it will do us some good to take another look at the light!

Who is the Light of the World?

Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)

Here Jesus proclaims that He is the light of the world. So it would appear that the standard Sunday School answer will work here - Who it the Light of the World? - Jesus!

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5)

He repeats this proclamation here in John 9.

I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)

And again in John 12.

But in the Sermon on the mount we get a different take.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matt 5:14)

When our question is posed to Jesus, we get another answer today. Who is the light of the world? You are! That's pretty empowering isn't it? Jesus said that you (yes, I'm talking to you!) are the light of the world.

Light of the World

So how is it that He is the Light of the World, and we are the light of the world. Check out this bit from the first chapter of John:

He [John the Baptist] was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There [in Jesus] was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. (John 1:8-9)

You see, Jesus is not only the light, but he is the lighter. Check out this prophesy from Isaiah about our day. (my opinion)

Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth, And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you, And His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isaiah 60:1-3)

I have heard many folks say our job is to reflect the glory of the Lord before men, but I say Jesus is calling on us to be more than reflectors. When I read these passages (feel free to read more than what I have listed here, this is just a taste) I hear the Lord saying He is the source of all light, but He sets us aflame - like candles and lanterns, not mirrors or moons. We don't simply reflect His glory, we are set ablaze with His glory, and we shine the light He has given us in the darkness, gross darkness, He has trusted us to illuminate.

I love that! What a great job He has given us. My mother always used to tell me "Bloom where you're planted." Well today I say: "Shine where you're screwed in!" [Tweet This]

Can you shine the light into the darkness He has assigned to you today? Perhaps you can share your victories with us, to encourage us to shine in our own darkness.

Thanks for dropping in today.

Ben

All scriptures are quoted from the NASB.

Sunglasses photo credit: Easa Shamih (eEko) | P.h.o.t.o.g.r.a.p.h.y via photo pin cc

Light of the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lantern photo credit: ralphunden via photo pin cc

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc
photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc

How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your oils
Than all kinds of spices!

Song of Songs 4:10

It was all the way back in the second line of the Song that our Shulamite maiden called out to her heart throb, this Shepherd King that His love, then just an imagination to her, was better than wine.

She looked at Him from afar, dreamed of a day when He would hold her, when she would breathe Him in, when they would spend luxurious mornings together talking, laughing, loving.

Now they are married, on their honey moon, and the dream is a reality, and the words echo back to her from her past, and from His lips.

This wonderful Shepherd King has taken His place in her life as her King, her Love, her Brother, her Everything, and He breaths those words back to her.

How much better is your love than wine.

This brings me back to the realization of how far Jesus travels to make our relationship work.

Many speak of the Christian life as though it is hard work to keep up our relationship with the Lord, a struggle, a striving, just to keep your faith.

But in this wonderful Song, this picture of the relational nature of faith, we see that her (our) moves are slight, and He (Jesus) is the one leaping over mountains, bringing army’s to bear, and making call after call, pursuing us relentlessly.

One turn of her head, and glance of her eye toward Him and His heart beats faster.

I love that the Lord travels all the distance that separates us when we turn our desire toward Him.

The work of faith is to look to Jesus, turn your eyes on Him.

What a great Savior!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Walk in blessing in 2014.

Ben

Please take a minute to help get the word out by liking my Facebook page. - Thanks!

5

Messiah Score

This work of music and scripture moves me every time I listen to it. The words come directly from the scriptures and tell the wonderful story of the incarnation of the Word of God, and walk through His death and resurrection.

I hope over these next few days you will take a bit of time and look over these words and let them minster to your spirit. I am considering interspersing them with the opening of presents tomorrow as we celebrate with our family.

May God bless each of you as you turn your heart toward Him.

Ben NelsonMerry Christmas

Ben

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Messiah (HWV 56)[1] is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennensfrom the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer (which are worded slightly differently from their King James counterparts). It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.[n 1] (Wikipdeia)

To make it a little easier to follow I put the names of the songs in bold followed by the scripture reference which was supplied by the source listed below, followed by the text of the scripture printed out in the quotes boxes.

Lyric Source - http://www.worshipmap.com/lyrics/messiahtext.html

Messiah

George Frederic Handel (1695-1759)

Part I

(1) Overture

(2) Comfort Ye

Isaiah 40:1-3

1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .

3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(3) Every Valley

Isaiah 40:4

4.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

(4) And the Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 40:5

5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

(5) Thus saith the Lord

Haggai 2:6,7

6. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come

Malachi 3:1

1. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

(6) But who may abide the Day of His Coming?

Malachi 3:2

2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.

(7) And He shall Purify

Malachi 3:3

3. And He shall purify the sons of Levi. . . that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

(8) Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive

Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:23)

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us.

(9) O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion

Isaiah 40:9

9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, and be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Isaiah 60:1

1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

(10) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth

Isaiah 60:2,3

2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(11) The people that walked in darkness

Isaiah 9:2 (Matthew 3:16)

2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

(12) For unto Us a Child is born

Isaiah 9:6

6. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

(13) Pastoral Symphony

(14) There were shepherds abiding in the field

Luke 2:8

8. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

Luke 2:9

9. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

(15) And the Angel said unto them

Luke 2:10,11

10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

(16) And suddenly there was with the Angel

Luke 2:13

13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

(17) Glory to God

Luke 2:14

14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(18) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion

Zechariah 9:9,10 (Matthew 21:5)

9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior. . 10. . . And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

(19) Then shall the eyes of the blind

Isaiah 35:5,6

5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

(20) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd

Isaiah 40:11

11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Matthew 11:28, 29

28. Come unto [Him], all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and [He shall]give you rest. 29. Take [his] yoke upon you, and learn of [Him]; for [he is] meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(21) His yoke is easy

Matthew 11:30

30. [His] yoke is easy, and [his]burden is light.

Part II

(22) Behold the lamb of God

John 1:29

29.Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

(23) He was despised

Isaiah 53:3

3. He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . Isaiah 50:6 [He]gave [His] back to the smiters, and [His] cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: [He] hid not [His] face from shame and spitting.

(24) Surely He hath borne our griefs

Isaiah 53:4,5

4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . 5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him,

(25) And with His stripes we are healed

Isaiah 53:5b

5. and with His stripes we are healed

(26) All we like sheep have gone astray

Isaiah 53:6

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(27) All they that see him laugh him to scorn

Psalm 22:7

7. All they that see [him]laugh [him] to scorn: they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying:

(28) He trusted in God

Psalm 22:8 (Matthew 27:43)

8. He trusted [in God] that he would deliver him:let him deliver him, if he delight in him.

(29) Thy rebuke hath broken His heart

Psalm 69:20

20. [Thy] rebuke hath broken [his] heart; [He is] full of heaviness. [He]looked for some to have pity [on Him], but there was none; neither found [He] any to comfort [Him].

(30) Behold, and see if there be any sorrow

Lamentations 1:12

12. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto [his] sorrow. . .

(31) He was cut off out of the land of the living

Isaiah 53:8b

8. he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of [Thy] people was He stricken.

(32) But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell

Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27)

10. [But] thou [didst] not leave [his] soul in hell; neither [didst]thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

(33) Lift up your heads, O ye gates

Psalm 24:7-10

7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 10. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

(34) Unto which of the angels said He at any time

Hebrews 1:5 (Psalm 2:7)

5. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?

(35) Let all the angels of God worship Him

Hebrews 1:6b

6. "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

(36) Thou art gone up on high

Psalm 68:18 (Ephesians 4:8)

18. Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

(37) The Lord gave the word

Psalm 68:11

11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of [the preachers].

(38) How beautiful are the feet

Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7)

15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

(39) Their sound is gone out

Romans 10:18 (Psalm 19:4)

18. their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.

(40) Why do the nations so furiously rage together?

Psalm 2:1,2 (Acts 4:25-26)

1. Why do the heathen rage, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed,

(41) Let us break their bonds asunder

Psalm 2:3

3. Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

(42) He that dwelleth in heaven

Psalm 2:4

4. He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.

(43) Thou shalt break them

Psalm 2:9

9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

(44) Hallelujah

Revelation 19:6, Revelation 11:15 15, Revelation 19:16 16.

6. Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. . . . the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever.  . . . KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.

Part III

(45) I know that my redeemer liveth

Job 19:25, 26

25. I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand on the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

1Corinthians 15:20

20. [For] now is Christ risen from the dead. . . the firstfruits of them that [sleep].

(46) Since by man came death

1Corinthians 15:21-22

21. Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(47) Behold I tell you a mystery

1Corinthians 15:51,52

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;

(48) The trumpet shall sound

1Corinthians 15:52b-53

52. the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(49) Then shall be brought to pass

1Corinthians 15:54b (Isaiah 25:8)

54. then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'

(50) O death where is thy sting?

1Corinthians 15:55-56 (Hosea 13:14)

55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

(51) But thanks be to God

1 Corinthians 15:57

57. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(52) If God be for us

Romans 8:31, 33, 34

31. If God be for us, who can be against us? 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

(53) Worthy is the Lamb

Revelation 5:12, 13

12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. . . . Blessing, and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.      Amen.

 

5

He Shall Reign Forever And Ever

Yesterday evening I was reading about how "The Church" is losing relevance and how it is impossible for it to have both relevance and moral authority simultaneously.  The inevitable result is supposedly a decline into total insignificance.  (Alas)
Well this morning I was sitting in bed, praising the Lord, and praying in tongues.  A vision came to me of a stone on the top of a hill that got loose and rolled down the hill.  As it rolled it grew larger and larger.  When it got to the bottom of the hill it crushed an image (a statue) that represented all of the kingdoms (governments and cultures) of this world. [read more...]

Encouragements: He Shall Reign Forever And Ever.

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My dear friend Larry posted this, and it fits in wonderfully with my Messiah musing, so I thought I would share it with you.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by

Merry Christmas

Ben