There Is No Shadow In His Presence

I was awakened by God's Spirit this morning rather early.  This is no uncommon thing with me.  Many things can keep you awake at night or wake you up in the middle of the night.  It can be a barking dog, too much pizza, or stress and worry over current events.  But you just know it when it's the Holy Spirit. was the Holy Spirit.

I've walked with God long enough to know that when this happens to me, it's time to get up and pray. So I did.  These times are so extremely special to me.  So special because He is calling me to come to Him instead of me calling on Him to come to me.  There is nothing wrong with either scenario.  It's just more special to me to know He desires my presence enough to gently awaken me to come and be with Him.

I always employ the vehicle of anointed praise and worship to enter His gates and His courts.  This morning was no different.  The communion was sweet as I basked in His presence.  At one point during our fellowship He spoke something very significant to me.  He said "There is no shadow in My presence."  You see, the shadows of this life bring confusion, discouragement, and fear.  Shadows represent what we don't fully know, understand, or see.  It is in the shadows we can be overcome with these negative emotions.  But in His presence, there are no shadows! As a matter of fact, David wrote, "...In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." (Psalm 16:11) Oh that we would spend more time in His presence!

He is the light of the world. His life is the light of men. His light is the only light that dispels the shadow of death. He is the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. His light overpowers the darkness, because He Himself has overpowered all darkness!

It still amazes me how time in His presence gives me strength and changes my entire perspective.  God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.  Exposure to His very essence changes us.  I emerged from my encounter this morning with new perspective and new strength (even though I lost some sleep).

Even though He called me this morning, I feel He demonstrated to me (once again) the significance of an encounter with His presence.  Whether we initiate the approach to Him or He beckons us to come (like this morning) the key is the benefit of being with Him.  Try it.  I am convinced you will like it.

New Year, Fresh Start!

As we near the close of 2018 I am getting more and more excited! But then, this always happens to me every year as we embark on a brand new year.

2018 was a fantastic year. God was faithful to do even more that we anticipated! Our expectations entering the year were extremely exceeded by His goodness. So every year, near year's end, I start anticipating the new year! God has prepared great exploits for you and me as we pursue Him by faith!

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you know that He has only the best for you. You also know that if you trust Him (and His word) consistently, you can successfully navigate what lies ahead with great anticipation. I have no doubt that 2019 is full of adventure for those who are excited to be used by Him!

You can anticipate with excitement the new year because God always leads you forward with time. As time passes, you move forward with God. Of course, you and I must be diligently following Him, planting the seed of His Word into ourselves. As the seed of the Word grows, it eventually produces fruit in our lives and brings God glory.

Each new year presents new opportunities and new adventures in serving the King of all creation! Take some time and dwell on the idea of a new year just ahead. Think about how awesome our God is, and how He has called you serve Him. Also dwell on the truth that in serving Him, He has great things for you. Perhaps the year 2019 will bring forth the fruit of some of the things you have been believing Him for! One thing we can count on is that with a fresh, new year comes fresh, new vision. We are created to apply certain time marks and milestones to launch into the newer, fresher, bigger, and sometimes better things Jesus has for us. There is none better than the beginning of a new year!

So, my friend, as 2019 approaches, go ahead now and begin to thank Him for what the year holds. Embrace the new year with great expectations of our great God. Begin right now, to anticipate fresh direction from the One who desires to use you mightily in extending His kingdom to our world. Doesn't this excite you? I pray so!

Merry Christmas, and a most prosperous, successful New Year as you diligently seek Him for the fresh and the new in 2019!

The Truth About The Virgin Birth Of Jesus

Did you know that Jesus was not born on December 25th? Actually, it was probably in September or October - during the Feast of Tabernacles. So, does the world end over this? I don't think so. It's actually a good thing that most of the world at least acknowledges His coming on December 25th. Honestly, we should acknowledge His coming every day of the year. The truth (which is most important) is that He came. And December 25th is as good a date as any to celebrate and commemorate His arrival as Messiah!

More significant than the date He arrived is how He arrived: He was born of a virgin. "Behold, the Virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, God with us." (Matthew 1:23) No other human being has ever been born through a virgin the way Jesus was. No other prophet; no other so-called god was ever born of a virgin like Jesus. The way that He came distinguishes Jesus as the only way to the Father.

How could Jesus be born of a virgin? This was a miracle of course. As a matter of fact, everything about Jesus' coming  was a miracle; from His conception to His birth, to His death, resurrection, and ascension back to glory! But how did it happen?

I love the account in Luke chapter 1. The virgin Mary, about 17 years old, was minding her own business when Gabriel, the messenger Angel shows up. What he said to her could've been a bit overwhelming! He told her 3 things: 1.) You're going to conceive in your womb; 2.) You're going to bear a son; 3.) And you're going to name Him Jesus (Jehovah who saves). I can only imagine how Mary felt. And then Gabe began to tell her some spectacular stuff about this child, and what He would be. Mary, a good Jewish young lady says, "How's this going to happen since I am a virgin?" In other words, "How's this going to happen since I'm not married, and I've never had relations with a man?" Listen to Gabriel's response. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. " (Luke 1:35)

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. This wasn't anything immoral or kinky. So how did it happen? The Holy Spirit came upon Mary at some point. As a result, the power of the Most High (Supreme God) overshadowed her. Always remember. When the Holy Spirit comes, God comes. How cool is that! Because Jesus was conceived when the Holy Spirit, and the power of God came upon Mary, He would literally be called the Son of God. This is what sets Jesus apart as the ONLY way to the Father.

In the Gospel of John - chapter 3, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Pharisees came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." (Verse 2) Nicodemus believed Jesus had come from God, and that God was with Him because of all the signs and wonders He performed. Although this was true, Nicodemus missed the most important thing...Jesus was God! Jesus had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, and later literally was born of God. He was God's only begotten Son.

Jesus was the only human ever to be born of God when He came out of the womb. All of the rest of humanity is born of earthly parents into fallen, sinful flesh. We're not born of God (like Jesus), we're born of the flesh. This is due to the fall of Adam and Eve. But Jesus had no sinful nature because He was conceived by and born of the Holy Spirit. So you and I (like Nicodemus) must be born again. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."  (John 3:3)

Because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of God He Himself is established as the only way the truth and the life. Because He was born of God, we can be born of God. Because He was born of the Spirit, we can be born of the Spirit. Because He was filled with the Holy Spirit, we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. He is the "first-born" among many brethren. (See Romans 8:29) Because He died to sin, we can be dead to sin. Because He rose from the dead, we can live for God. "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." (Colossians 1:18)

So you see, it's all about Jesus. There is no other way to the Father. There's no other way to the heaven the Bible describes. Only Jesus. It's all because of the way He came to the earth. God is so infinitely good that He made the way for you and me to live forever with Him. His name is Jesus, and He was born of a virgin.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6)