Don't Limit God!

Here we are at the beginning of a brand new year! This is always a very exciting time for me. I love the freshness of a new year, because new opportunities are about to become available.

As we near the end of one year, and the beginning of another, God always seems to speak something significant to me about the upcoming year. This year is no different. What is He saying to me? "Don't limit Me." So, I will say it to you. Don't limit God! I believe 2018 will bring you and me numerous opportunities for God to show Himself strong in and through our lives. However, in order for Him to do it, we must stop limiting Him! How do we stop limiting God? I thought you'd never ask.

First, we must avail ourselves to Him. A person who is available to Him is one who takes the limits off of Him. A person who is unavailable is one who limits God. How do we avail our selves to Him? We commit ourselves to a life of prayer to Him. Every great exploit God wants to do through you starts with a dream/vision. Visions and dreams pertaining to your destiny are conceived in and birthed through prayer. Prayer is what avails us to God. The more available you become to God, the less you will limit Him.

Second, we must take steps of faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7), "...for we walk by faith, not by sight." (Romans 10:17), "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." The truth is, to walk by faith is to walk according to God's Word. It is impossible to walk by faith without knowing and applying the Word of God in your life. The Bible says that the very faith we need to begin our walk with Jesus comes from hearing the Word of Christ. That same principle must be applied from that point forward in our lives, as we walk with Jesus through this life. If we believe what God says to us in His Word (because we know His Word), our faith increases even more to apply the Word in every situation, even the seemingly impossible! (Hebrews 11:6), "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."

And third, we must change the way we think about God and ourselves. We must believe that God is as big as He says He is. We must believe that He can and will do (for us) exactly what He says He can and will do. Think often about how BIG our God is. Our planet Earth is pretty big. But did you know that about 1.3 million planet Earths can fit inside of our sun? And did you know that 1 billion of our suns can fit inside the star/sun Betelgeuse? That's big! But God is much, much bigger because He made it all! Is it any wonder that Luke 1:37 says, "Nothing is impossible with God!" Stop putting the limits on God!

And as for you, think about this often. Before the world was founded, God made a destiny for you. No other person can fulfill your destiny. You fulfill your destiny by serving Jesus. Your destiny is designed and engineered by God to consist of great Godly works of power. He created the universe and all it contains so that you can fulfill your destiny. He made the stars and the planets (and more) so that you can serve Him. You are special my friend. The God who created all, and is far above all, created you to perform His will through. Think about it often. Study His Word. Look around at creation. Your significance to Him is extreme. Believe it, receive it, and in 2018 expect Him to do the greatest of exploits in and through you! Don't limit God.

Born Of God

As we enter the Christmas season I wonder how many of we  Christians will understand the significance of His coming? Sure, we all know that Baby Jesus in the manger is what it's all about, right? And of course, Jesus is the reason for the season.

Fact: What folks truly believe is the way they live their lives. So, will your Christmas season reflect your deep love for a King who came to His own creation? And don't get me wrong. Traditions aren't bad, and should not have to be abandoned if they don't swallow up your passion for the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is all about God becoming a human in order to reach a lost world. The fact that God came to us is awesome. But how He came to us adds extreme significance to the fact that He came. His conception was supernatural. His birth was a miracle. To understand how this happened is more than enough to set any captive free.

Mankind was fallen due to Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden. When Adam disobeyed God, sin entered in, and death on the back of sin. Since the day Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, every person born into the world is born with the fallen nature of Adam. You and I were born with the same nature: fallen, separated from God. We were born of this world, certainly not of God.

Joseph, engaged to Mary, found out she was pregnant. He wanted to secretly send her away to protect her. A messenger from God appeared to Joseph in a dream (Matthew Chapter 1). He assured Joseph that Mary was with child by the Holy Spirit.

In Luke Chapter 1, Gabriel supernaturally appears to Mary. He announces to Mary that she would bear the Son of God. Mary has only one question: "How can this be since I am a virgin?" To Mary this was not a legitimacy issue. It was a morality issue. She was a virgin. Virgins don't have babies. Gabriel then explains to Mary that, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason, the Holy Child will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) No human male was involved in this conception. The Holy Spirit touched Mary. The baby that was born 9 months later was literally the Son of God. He was born of man, and He was born of God.

This little baby had no sin nature at all. Why? Because He was conceived of by the Holy Spirit, carried in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of God. He was the sinless Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. He knew no sin, yet He became your sins and my sins on the cross. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I'm so glad Jesus came. But how He came explains what He did for you and me. Because He was born of God, we can be born of God through trusting in Him. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." (Colossians 1:15) Because Jesus is the "firstborn" of all creation, He made the way for you and me to be "born of God" in Him. 

This Christmas, I challenge you to ponder this. Think about not only His sacrifice, but how He came to His own. The fact that there was a baby in a manger screams to us that God became a human, through a human virgin. He was literally born of God and because of this, we who have received Him are born of God! If you've received Him, you are born again by the Spirit of God. "Born again" because you were already born into the world. This means that you too, because of His birth, are born of God. Amazing!

(Romans 8:29), "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;"

(Colossians 1:15), "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation."

(Colossians 1:18), "He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

(Hebrews 1:6), "And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM."

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A Perfect Picture Of Grace

One of the most incredible pictures of grace comes from the 8th chapter of John. It is an incident involving Jesus, the Pharisees and Sadducees, and a woman caught in the act of adultery. I sometimes wonder how the woman was caught in the act. The Bible doesn't tell us how, but it is possible that a Pharisee or Sadducee could have been the "other one" involved.

The Law specifically stated that if a man and a woman were caught committing adultery they BOTH were to be stoned. In this incident they brought forth the woman, but no man was accused. The issue here for the religious leaders was not the woman or the Law; but to try to catch Jesus in something He said to prove He was a false teacher. It never worked because Jesus is not a false teacher.

"Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" Jesus' answer to the religious leaders was the game-changer. "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) The issue was no longer about the Law, the woman, or accusing Jesus. Now the issue was about  everyone!

It's important to understand Jesus' use of the word "sin" here. From the original language the word implies a specific kind of sin. In this case adultery. He who has never committed adultery, let him cast the first stone. "When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court." (John 8:9) They could not stone the woman because of Jesus' words! None of them were without sin. Especially adultery! There was only one person on the scene that day totally without sin - Jesus!

Jesus stood up (from stooping and drawing in the sand), and said, "Where is everyone? Did no one condemn you?" "No one Sir". "I don't condemn you either", Jesus said. The Pharisees and Sadducees had no authority to condemn the woman and Jesus' words brought that truth to reality. Jesus, because He was the only One without sin, could have condemned her. He was the only One qualified to stone her, but He didn't. Instead, He pardoned her. This is a beautiful picture of grace.

Before releasing her Jesus gave her some instructions. "Go. From now on sin no more." The word "sin" used here is different from the word Jesus used earlier. This word means "To miss the mark and as a result, to not share in the prize." Her current life-style was the result of a whole life-time of missing the mark Jesus had set for her life. But things were about to change. The grace extended to her (in the midst of a mob that wanted to stone her to death), will put her on the course God set for her before the world was founded! Jesus  did the same for you and me over 2000 years ago. We no longer have to miss out on the prize! Jesus has come, and through the sacrifice of Himself we never have to miss the mark again! We never have to fall short of His glory because what He has done! Grace! Grace! Grace!

Understand that from this perfect picture of grace in John Chapter 8 we see God's grace extended to us by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Yes, we are forgiven, pardoned, and NOT condemned. And because of this, we are empowered by His grace to walk forward, free of not only the sins we have committed in the past, but of those in our future. We must learn to appropriate His grace by trusting in His love for the rest of our lives. Whatever you may be struggling with today, remember, He has dealt with those sins. You never have to miss the mark again!