I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior. I give myself to Him and will serve Him to the best of my abilities.
As I mentioned in my What Did I Prep This Month post I have been fighting a mild bout of depression. It has had a negative impact on my walk with God, my productivity, and my relationships with friends and family. We’re not talking about suicidal levels of depression, just a general and overall sort of a malaise; a feeling of heaviness (above just being overweight) and a lack of interest in most anything.
At some point in the last couple of weeks someone mentioned this song in passing. I remember when I was a kid and looked it up to give it a listen…
It continually amazes my how God can send just what we need at just the right time. It was just what I needed to hear at that moment in my life. It helped raise my spirits and lift a darkness that had settled over me. Someone else out there may need this today so I am passing it along.
…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Jesus Christ was tortured and crucified by the spirit of evil that resides in the hearts of men. But in His death was not a defeat it was victory for all of us. In His resurrection He destroyed the power of sin and evil. He paid the sin offering for all who are willing to accept His Grace.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Dear Lord, You loved this world so much, that you gave your one and only Son, that we might be called your children too. Lord, help us to live in the gladness and grace of Easter Sunday, everyday. Let us have hearts of thankfulness for your sacrifice. Let us have eyes that look upon Your grace and rejoice in our salvation. Help us to walk in that mighty grace and tell your good news to the world.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
On this day we celebrate a birth. Two thousand years ago in the city of David, Bethlehem, a young mother gave birth in a stable. An inauspicious and humble beginning for the Son of God who would suffer and die for our sins, a living sacrifice for our sins. The gift of grace and His everlasting atonement is the ultimate gift and one that should not be lost sight of in these trying times.
Luke Chapter 2 (NIV)
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
As I mentioned in my post about the attack on the Sutherland Springs Baptist church (link) there is evil in this word. In fact, as it states in Ephesians, our struggles are not truly against earthly things or people. They are actually against the forces of darkness in this world and in the spiritual realm. We need to protect ourselves from those evil forces as Paul wrote “by putting on the full armor of God.” I also believe we need to take physical measures to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Having an aggressive nature I also think we should attack the forces of darkness wherever we can, not just defend against them.
I was moved to take that stand and make that statement without really knowing exactly how that should all work. As I stated before, I do know that it doesn’t mean physically attacking those who hold different views than we do.
Today, I saw a glimpse of how to take the offensive.
I was in the Houston Medical Center waiting to pay for parking when I noticed an elderly man wearing a hat showing the unit her served in during Vietnam. Based on our location in the MedCenter and a few other indicators, he is probably battling cancer. I wanted to thank him for his service but he was focused on figuring out how to use the automated system to pay for his parking (I struggle with those kiosks as well) and I didn’t want to interrupt and distract him.
That’s when it hit me that this was an opportunity to “be the light” and push back against the forces of darkness. Instead of waiting for him to be finished I interrupted and paid for his parking while thanking him for his service.
It was a small thing. Not worth mentioning and I am definitely not mentioning for any sort of recognition but it does point the way to how we can shine the light into this world and drive darkness. Every single action we take that reflects God’s love displaces the darkness. Every tiny victory in the battle against the darkness counts because major victories are nothing more than a whole lot of tiny battles won.
I don’t think this is the complete answer on how to take the offensive against darkness and evil. There is more to it than a simple bit of “paying it forward” in a parking garage but it is a part of it. It points to the ultimate direction.
In the meantime, I will continue to look for every opportunity to “be the light.” Every kind word, every expression of thanks and compassion is a tiny win against the darkness.
25 I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.
David is often referred to as a “man after God’s own heart.” A man who, by his faith and the favor of God, fought and killed a giant in a duel and became king of Israel.yet, throughout the Psalms he writes of his failings and brokenness. In verse 25 he says he is “laid low in the dust.” we don’t know if that is from the weight of his own sin and brokenness or from the trials he faced at the hands his enemies. Regardless of why he feels this way, he asks God to restore his life and his spirit. The way out of his trials are through God’s word, strength and laws.
So it is with us as well. No matter the trials we face, no matter the struggles or pain, we can always lean on God since even our very breath is a gift from Him. The more we focus on Him and let Him reshape us, the stronger we become. We can always gain strength by keeping in mind that the struggles of this earth are only temporary. By the sacrifice of Jesus, by faith and by God’s grace we will have eternal life once we finish our temporary struggles on this fallen world.