Rebroadcast from Christmas 2012 - Enjoy...
origin_4213511374

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

Savior

For the next 3 posts we are going to take a brief look at the Job description for a Messiah.

The first requirement is He must be a Savior.

The word Savior here is “sōtēr” which comes from the root “sōzō,” another of my favorites words in the Bible. It is very similar to the word we looked at yesterday – Shalom.

Here are some places it is used.

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."(Matthew 1:21 NASB)

For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour (Matthew 9:21-22 KJV)

And besought him greatly, saying , My little daughter lieth at the point of death : I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live . (Mark 5:23 KJV)

"I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9 NASB)

So this job description includes the power to Save, Heal, and Make Whole.

I have heard it said “When Jesus saves a person, He saves the whole person.” But I will go you one better. When Jesus saves a broken person He make them whole.” [Tweet This]

This is what the writer to the Hebrews is saying:

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV)

I love this – He saves us, and keeps us saved by His constant intercession for us. What an awesome Savior we have!

BenMerry Christmas

Ben

2

It's a good day to remember the great God we serve!

VERSE 1
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest Whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
while I Know That in heaven 'n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

VERSE 2
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt Within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made ​​an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is free Counted
the Just For God is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Verse 3

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless Righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself, I can not die
My soul is Purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God

© 1997 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Here's where I found these lyrics.

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors. 

Isaiah 53:12 NASB

…Being found in appearance as a man, [And was numbered with the transgressors] He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, [Because He poured out Himself to death] even death on a cross. [Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors]

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, [Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great] and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, [And He will divide the booty with the strong] 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 2:8-11 & Isaiah 53:12  NASB

O what a wonderful Savior

===

Ben NelsonI hope this speed run though this most wonderful of Old Testament prophesies has done you as much good as it has me.

As we ponder the magnitude of what transpired those many years ago on a tree far away, my prayer for you is that the truth of Christ love for you transforms you into His image.

Ben

4

Pascack Bible Church

For the next 47 days - from now till Easter, my home church is using a home grown prayer guide. For each day, a ministry leader in our body has written a meditation.

If you would like to join us, you can get a free copy here.

I wanted to share with you today's entry from my friend, Joe Battaglia on John 3:16-17.

===

John 3:16,17 Joe Battaglia, Leadership Council 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. - John 3:16-17 NASB

John 3:16 may be the most familiar verse in the Bible. But, it’s not just about salvation or eternal life. If we stop there, we miss the additional significance of these verses. A more careful study reveals something deep about the nature of God and two areas of insight into the nature of His Love.

First, love gives. For God so loved the world, He gave. In order to best express itself, love must give. Love is not love if it’s self-contained. Jesus warns us that hoarding things for ourselves is not just selfish, it’s so unlike God. If we seek to become more like Him, we must give. And when we give of ourselves, we parallel the actions of God the Father who also gave of Himself because His nature demanded it. God loved His creation to such a degree that He was willing to sacrifice a part of Himself to reclaim it.

Second, love saves. Godly love implicitly reveals that there’s a value to saving something. The degree of how much we are willing to give or sacrifice underscores the importance we attach to the object of that salvation. To that end, God relinquished His Son, an almost unfathomable thought, which indicates the degree of love He had for the world. And for me. And for you.

God’s love gives and saves. Ours should do similarly. Only then can we become visible expressions of the invisible God.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. - Colossians 1:15 NASB

===

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping in!

Ben

7

Photo Credit Huffpost.com

I want you to close your eyes – Oh wait, this is a blog – OK then, eyes open…

Let me start again.

I want you to picture in your minds eye a man chained at the wrists and ankles to a stone wall in a dark and dirty dungeon. The shackles are cutting into his flesh. Covered in filth he and his clothes are tattered and worn. He has been here for years. He is slumped in a heap on the floor against the wall, resigned to his condition.

Now see Jesus walk into that filthy prison cell. He is dressed in beautifully tailored garments, spotless, and He is clean, except for the dust on His feet from the dingy chamber’s floor. It’s as though the dirt can’t reach Him. In His nail scarred hand He holds a key. As He approaches this shell of a man, He quietly asks him to stand.

At first this man does not even register that Jesus is talking to him. He has been alone so long that it never crossed his mind that anyone would come to him, let alone this majestic and beautiful man.

Jesus again asks him to stand, and as he struggles to his feet, Jesus reaches out His hand to help the prisoner rise. As he stand to his feet, he notices for the first time the markings across Jesus’ forehead, left there from that mocking crown He once wore.

Once on his feet, Jesus continues to hold his hand and looks into his eyes. With a smile at the edges of His mouth Jesus asks, “Would you like to be free?”

This hostage can hardly believe his ears. His simple longing was for contact with life, but free? He had not dared to think of freedom.

“Yes, yes please, yes Sir, Oh Thank you, Yes” he sputters.

At this point Jesus gently applied the key to each manacle, carefully, so as not to tear the man’s bruised and raw flesh any further, and set him free. Then Jesus said

“Come with me.”

Jesus led him out of that ugly cave and into a place of beauty.

There was a warm bath drawn, and clothes laid out for him, clothes that appeared to be cut from the same material as the Master’s.

Jesus helped him out of his rags and into the bath, and, as if he were a child, Jesus bathed Him until he was squeaky clean. Next He helped this newly free man (let’s call him Chris) into the garments of righteousness Jesus had tailor made just for him. They were a perfect fit.

Shortly after his freedom encounter he started to feel a longing to be with other folks who knew this freedom.

There was a church not far from his home, so on Sunday morning he donned his new clothes and headed down the street.

Upon arriving he was greeted and welcomed by a friendly couple. They seemed to be beaming, and made him feel like he was in the right place. They were dressed in similar clothing, yet each was fitted and equipped differently. There were a number of children buzzing around the couple, and as they shook hands, Chris noticed the scars on the young man’s wrists, a happy reminder to him of his new freedom. They quickly made him feel at home and helped Chris find his way around the facility.

As he left their company, he bumped into another gent. Also dressed in robes clearly made by the Master. He seemed a bit downcast. He did not have that same exuberance Chris had observed in the couple closer to the door.

Chris, encouraged by his encounter with the young parents eagerly offered his hand in greeting, but this gent held his hands behind his back and was not nearly as forthcoming in his welcome and greeting. As he introduced himself he somewhat awkwardly retracted his hand and slid it into his pocket.

Then he noticed something strange. This new acquaintance was in deed wearing a Jesus-made garment, but under it and around the edges he could see evidence that he had his filthy old clothes on underneath.

As he entered the sanctuary he saw dozens of folks already inside. Some were chatting quietly. Here and there he noticed a few more gregarious folks laughing and talking in what seemed like no regard for this beautiful place.

After his last encounter in the lobby, he began to look around and see if others might still have their old clothes on. Here and there he got a glimpse of a tatter or a rag. He even noticed a few folks who were carrying their chains.

The strange thing is the chains were not locked. These folks had somehow latched the manacles back onto their wrists, even though it was apparent that they were not locked.

Chris took his seat and a minute or two later the gent he met in the lobby came shuffling down the aisle. It was then that Chris noticed the cuffs on his ankles. They looked just like the ones Jesus had freed Chris from just days before.

Again, as with the others around him, the man’s anklets were not locked, just jury-rigged to stay on. As he passed, Chris got a look at his hands and sure enough, he was wearing handcuffs.

The service started and they sang songs of praise to their great Savior and Deliverer, Jesus. They sang songs of freedom, but most were forward looking to a freedom in the future.

After a couple songs a man slid in next to Chris.

[How is this new character dressed? Hmmm.

Shall we dress him in a red suit and put horns and a pitchfork in his hands? I think not. Perhaps all in black with a big black 10-gallon hat? No, that won’t do either. Let’s dress him in church clothes. Let’s put him in khakis and a polo shirt, or perhaps a suit and tie (this I will leave to your imagination since I am not sure what Church clothes look like to you.)]

So this new parishioner sidled up to Chris and began, in a whisper, to chat with Chris as the service continued.

“Are you new here?” he asked

“It’s my firsts time. Are you a member?” Chris responded.

“Oh, I have been sitting in the pews since the first time this Church met here” he said.

Chris thought it was strange that this guy was neither wearing the Jesus made clothing nor was he wearing rags, and he showed no signs of either chains or scars. How did he fit in?

Then this odd gent spoke up again.

“So, young man, where are your chains?”

“Jesus removed them, what a relief that was. I felt like they had been with me my whole life, and finally I am completely free from those shackles. I owe Jesus so much!”

“Are you trying to tell me that you’re no longer chained to that old nature? Didn’t I see you looking with lust at that woman on your way in this morning? Didn’t I see a glint of envy in your eye when you saw the deacon’s car in the lot? Wasn’t that comment you just made to me about freedom as good as a lie?”

This put Chris a little off kilter and he was not sure how to respond. Who was his new accuser, and how did he see so aptly the struggles Chris had been having that very morning.

Then he remembers what Jesus had done.

“Jesus unlocked my chains, He set me free, He washed me, He gave me these clothes and told me to wear them.”

“So then, you are not denying these feelings? You are saying that you are still a sinner, still bound and just pretending to be free?”

“NO” said Chris, raising his voice slightly. Then more quietly, but still with conviction and force, “no, I am not 'still bound.' I saw the scars on Jesus. He paid for my sin, and took them away. I am still tempted, this is true. Even in the short time since my release, I have stumbled a time or two. But I am free. I refuse to go back and get those chains. I refuse to carry around the baggage and bondage of my old slavery.”

He continued “I have a new heart, that though it is tempted, it has a deep desire to please my Lord and Master. There are even things that I never knew offended Him that this new heart tells me about myself.”

“I am sorry,” Chris finished, “but I will not listen to any more of your lies.”

Chris got up and moved to a different row, and raised up his scared by beautifully empty wrists and hand and began to sing love songs to his Great Deliverer.

5

First - let me say

HAPPY NEW YEAR - 2014  - We welcome you!

There - now that that is done, let me travel back in time a few days to last Sunday.

When you read the title of this post you probably said: Aren't we done with Christmas yet? - almost - I promise - at least here.

I had the privilege of preaching in my home church - Pascack Bible Church, in Hillsdale, NJ last Sunday, December 29, 2013 (I know - sounds like ancient history, doesn't it?)

Anyway - it was the last sermon in a series our Pastor, Chet Klope, walked us through this advent season, and I thought I would share it with you here.

Here is the link on our Church website to the audio of the sermon, and a place you can download it so you can take me for a walk as part of your New Years Resolution to move more.

=====

Angels From The Realms of Glory

Ben NelsonSpeaker: Ben Nelson
Series: The Songs We Sing As part of our Advent sermon series, “The Songs We Sing”, Elder Ben Nelson unpacks the deep meaning behind the powerful carol, Angels From The Realms Of Glory, including two lesser known verses.
=====
Below, for those of you who would rather read than listen is my sermon prep notes - the audio is pretty close, but this is not exactly a transcript.Once again - Let's walk together in blessing in 2014!
Ben

=====

Come and Worship 

Christmas is over. 

This year it seemed like a long haul, what with the Christmas commercials staring in September. Yes – September

No big surprise that yesterday my girls saw Valentine’s decorations in the Mall.

Many have eaten way to much. There was one 7-day stretch where I ate at 7 holiday meals/buffets, and believe me the 7 days were not the only things stretching.

Many have spent way too much.

I’m tired of the Christmas commercials.
I’m tired of the Christmas music playing in every store.
I’m tired of the ever-present Santas.
I’m tired of the elf watching my every move.
I’m tired of red and green.
I’m tired of the pine needles littering my living spaces.
If I hear one more rendition of “I’ll be home for Christmas” I think I might be sick.

So today when you walked into the sanctuary and the usher handed you a bulletin with yet another Christmas carol sermon… well, I get it. OK?

What I am defiantly not sick of is the story of the incarnation.

Paul captured its essence in one of my favorite passages in the Bible.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Philippians 2:5-11 NIV

Jesus is God. He always has been God.
There was never a day when He was not God.

But Paul tells us here He emptied Himself.

He took off His kingly robes

He set aside His omnis – Omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence.

He did not lose them, He simply took them off, set them aside for a time. They still belonged to Him, and He still had access to them. There were times in His ministry when He slipped back into them.

On the mount of transfiguration recorded in Matthew and Mark He slipped back into some of His heavenly garments and Peter, James, John, Elijah, and Moses got a glimpse of His deity – His majesty – His glory.

In the garden of Gethsemane, as Judas and those who came to arrest Him approached, there was one moment when He stood up to “greet” them.

Do you remember how it went down? Jesus, out of the predawn mist asks the oncoming army, “Whom do you seek?”

The leader of the mob sent to arrest him called out “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus spoke again and the strangest thing happened. He said “I AM” and all six hundred of the soldiers, the high priests and temple guards – everyone – fell to the ground.

He clearly never stopped being God. But the scripture tells us He humbled himself.

  • He took off His royal robes and put on swaddling clothes.
  • He stepped down from His kingly throne and lay down in a manger.
  • The same mouth that uttered the words “Light Be” and exploded the universe into motion, now cooed and dr00led and spit up on His mama’s shoulder.
  • The same mind that informed Solomon would soon sit and learn from the Spiritual leaders as a young boy in Jerusalem.
  • The Captain of the Lord’s army, who lead Joshua 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 called forth Adam, would heave with the words, ‘it is finished’ and then be still 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 and crucified is the One before whom every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess.

And that is what I love about Christmas.

One thing that strikes me in the Christmas story is the worship of this King of Kings when He does not appear to deserve or even desire worship. And I am not just talking about doting parents and grand parents. The story of the incarnation is full of folks who stopped what they were doing and worshiped this tiny king in a tiny town outside Jerusalem.

The carol we are considering this morning walks us right through the list of worshippers in a beautiful progression.

Angels 

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

So it is a quiet night over Bethlehem. Smarter folks than I say it could not have been winter. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that it happened on the day of some ancient Jewish feast. Perhaps Pentecost. The original feast of Pentecost or Shavu'ot – the feast of weeks.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no proof for this, and of course this is the day God chose to fulfill the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit. But to the Jews it was the celebration of the day the Law was given. It was the day the Word became “stone.” What better day for the Word to become flesh.

Anyway, an angel shows up and starts talking to some shepherds. Next the sky is full of angels. (I wonder if it would have looked like a new star in the sky from far off in the east!– hmmm)

You see the angels, who had an inkling of what was actually happening, came from all over the earth. I wonder if every angel in creation came to see this great unveiling of God in flesh.

The angels have come to worship the newborn king.

Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn king

Shepherds

Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:

Why shepherds?

Why not fishermen?

Why not tax collectors?

After all, that’s who Jesus picked when He was picking disciples. I don’t think there was a single shepherd in the whole flock.

But that night God sent the angels to tell shepherds.

Perhaps it was because they were the lowest of the low.
Perhaps it was because they were the most down trodden.
Or maybe it was because a thousand years earlier there was a shepherd boy who sat in these same fields under the these same stars and talked to God.
Perhaps it was because a millennium earlier Israel had a shepherd savior when they were faced with a giant problem.

I don’t know why God picked shepherds, but I know what the shepherds did.

They left their flocks and ran to worship Jesus.

Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn king

Wisemen

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.

Again we must tweak the traditional Christmas story with what the Bible says. These “wise men” may not have shown up on the scene for up to two years, and for the record, we really don’t know how many came, just that the gifts listed were three, gold for His royalty, incense to depict the intercession He would make for us, and myrrh for the death He would die.

I know the Christmas cards have them arriving while Jesus was still in the stable, but the Bible tells us they came to “the house.”

One of the reasons I think it may have been as much as two years later is that after quizzing these magi, Herod had all the male children, two years of age and younger slaughtered based on the time these sages indicated.

Can you imagine this brutality? This is a part of the Christmas story we would like to forget, but it is not forgotten. Herod’s holocaust against the children of Bethlehem is recorded for all eternity.

Matthew 2:16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

How did these sages, from far off lands, know a king had been born to the Jews?

Well, this word Magi is not a word that the Jews would have used to describe anyone in their world. It seems to have had Babylonian origins and so many scholars believe these “wise men” were not from the Far East – aka the Orient – but rather they were from Babylon.

Babylon was the land of Israel’s captivity, and it was in Babylon where Daniel and his crew Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego ascended from slavery to positions of honor, and Daniel in particular was given authority among the magicians and soothsayers.

It seems credible to me that Daniel would have told those in his circle of the promised Messiah. It was after all his great hope of deliverance.

So, these wise men, sages, soothsayers, whatever make their way from Babylon to Bethlehem and there they worship this child king.

Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn king

Saints

Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.

Next we come to Simeon and Anna.

Simeon was an old man who lived in Jerusalem, and had been told by the Holy Spirit that before he died he would see the Lord’s Christ.

When Jesus enters the temple on His eighth day to be consecrated, in accordance with Jewish law, Simeon speaks a wonderful prophecy over the child.

Anna was a widow who had been serving in the temple for decades, and now was eighty-four years old. As soon as she laid eyes on the child she began to rejoice and spread the news of the Messiah’s birth to everyone she saw.

These saints worship the child king.

Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn king

This is where our hymnal stops, but there is more to this carol. We will look at two more verses to bring it home.

Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.

You see, without Christ, this Messiah, this Savior, we are doomed to the hopelessness of life in slavery to sin, and the endless pain and suffering, the darkness and anguish of an eternal hell and separation from the One who so dearly loved us.

The solution?

Repentance

Repentance has a really bad reputation these days

What do you think of when you think of repentance?

Do you think of men in sandwich boards crying in the streets: the End is near!
Do you think of people weeping at an altar.
Do you think of guilty feelings.
Do you think of failure.
Perhaps you conjure up remembrances of childhood punishment.

Maybe you feel like repentance is nothing but an endless, useless saying “I’m sorry” to God and then getting up and falling right back into the same sin.

But in reality:

True repentance connects you with the mercy that paid the price God's justice demanded, and breaks the chains of sin.

Repentance is one of the greatest gifts ever offered by our Wonderful Lord.

Repentance – true repentance is a gift with a promise.

God gives repentance, and if we will accept this gift and walk through repentance from start to finish, in the end, we will have victory and freedom from that sin. The reason we continually fall back into the same sins, is that we never fully repent.

We just feel sorry

and guilty,

and go back for more.

Paul describes repentance in 2 Cor 7:10-11

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. –2 Corinthians 7:10-11 NIV

So then repentance breaks the endless cycle of sin and guilt and gives us the ability to live free and worship Him.

There is a moment when we begin this process with God. We come to Him with realization of our sin and our separation from Him. We see the doom of our current course, and turn toward Him.

The day of our salvation is the day we stand [or kneel] before Him and declare our need for forgiveness and our willingness to follow Him wherever He might lead.

Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn king

Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:

And so we have come full circle.

There will come a day, when not only those of us who choose to worship, but all creation, above and below will bow their knee. Remember where we started:

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. ~ Phil 2:10-11

And so I close with an invitation to you

Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn king

Don’t be one of those who bows only when there is no choice.

Join the angels, shepherds, sages, Simeon and Anna, and all those who call on the name of Jesus today in bowing your knee to Him.

It’s no mistake that you are reading this today. God is offering you the opportunity to bow before the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is offering repentance and salvation to you today.

Did your spirit jump when I said you could be free from that sin that keeps you chained? That was God offering you the gift of repentance, and the promise of freedom.

Do you wonder about where you will spend eternity today? Do you have a longing, a stirring right now within you to have relationship with Jesus?

Today is your day. Today is the day of salvation. Don’t wait one more minute. Don’t resist this opportunity.

Come and worship, Come and worship, Worship Christ the Newborn King.

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!

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

Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies

When we left our maiden she was resting in the arms of her lover, sleeping in His protective embrace. He left her there safe and warm and placed a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.

He had set things in place to allow her to be undisturbed in this time. She was under His hand of protection.

She awakes to a sound.

Listen! My beloved!
Behold, He is coming,
Climbing on the mountains,
Leaping on the hills!
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. ~ Song of Songs 2:8-9

She rushes to the window and sees what it is she is hearing. And there He is, her Beloved.

But this is a side of her Beloved she has never known.

In the beginning of the Song, her Beloved, Jesus, was a Great Shepherd.

Next He took her under His wing, protecting her, feeding her at His table, giving her shelter, as a Father to her.

I have referred to Jesus as the Shepherd King for weeks now, but it is really here that Jesus is revealed as a conquering King, the Vanquisher.

Let’s pick it apart a bit.

First, notice that He is coming to her. If you remember her life prayer expressed in the very beginning of the song: “Draw me after You.” ~1:4 She loved Him from afar, but now He is coming to her.

Where had He gone? He was preparing the way, making sure the way was passable for the object His love (you.) He was preparing a way to walk and works to do.

Mountains and Hills

Mountains are the obstacles in life that seem insurmountable. When you are facing a mountain, you can’t see what is on the other side. To go around would take ages, seemingly more time than you have. To go over would take skills you don’t have. To go through would take an army of dwarves. (Thank you brother Tolkien.)

What are your mountains?

  • Unemployment
  • Debt
  • Sickness
  • Disability
  • Loneliness
  • Poverty

Hills are the problems of day-to-day life. They don’t cripple you, they just keep you from making progress. They come one after another and never seem to end. Got any hills in your life?

  • Cars that need constant repair
  • Relationships that are work
  • Work you just can’t get under control

When she (our maiden) goes to the window and throws back the sash she sees Him. And she sees that the biggest things in her life, the things that keep her up at night, her worries, her worst fears are not even slowing Him down.

Here we see Him climbing over mountains, but we know that there will be a day when He banishes them with a single word.

The stuff of life that slows her down – He leaps over – He is running through the hills and handles the mountains like a gazelle.

Have you ever seen a mountain goat, or any other mountain dwelling creature, just prancing up and down the mountainside? It is a wonder to behold.

What does it do in your heart, when you realize that the things you fear the most are child’s play to Jesus?

Remember Jesus walking on the water? You can read the story in John 6:15-22. The boys were toiling all night long – then they saw a ghost. They were frustrated by their circumstances and afraid of the unknown that was heading straight for them.

Jesus’ words are simple and profound.

It is I; do not be afraid. ~ John 6:20

And these are the words He speaks over you today. When it feels like all these endless hills are leading you to an impassable mountain – look for Jesus. He is calling to you – He is saying:

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10 *

BenOh, that is good!

See you next week.

Ben

* I know this is an Old Testament quote and I am taking a bit of liberty putting it in red letters - but I want you to hear this from the mouth of Jesus. He is speaking this to you today! Thanks for reading with grace.

origin_4213511374

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

Savior

For the next 3 posts we are going to take a brief look at the Job description for a Messiah.

The first requirement is He must be a Savior.

The word Savior here is “sōtēr” which comes from the root “sōzō,” another of my favorites words in the Bible. It is very similar to the word we looked at yesterday – Shalom.

Here are some places it is used.

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."(Matthew 1:21 NASB)

For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour (Matthew 9:21-22 KJV)

And besought him greatly, saying , My little daughter lieth at the point of death : I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live . (Mark 5:23 KJV)

"I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9 NASB)

So this job description includes the power to Save, Heal, and Make Whole.

I have heard it said “When Jesus saves a person, He saves the whole person.” But I will go you one better. When Jesus saves a broken person He make them whole.” [Tweet This]

This is what the writer to the Hebrews is saying:

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV)

I love this – He saves us, and keeps us saved by His constant intercession for us. What an awesome Savior we have!

BenMerry Christmas

Ben