As we are on the cusp of a new year and a new decade, many things come to mind that will or could happen over the next year or ten years. The Church is going through a difficult time, as is most of the World. How we look at the next 12 months, we will have a pending decision on an impeachment of President Trump and a national election. The world will get through the year regardless. But as we look from the vantage point of the Church and our Lord Jesus, we have a different perspective. It is imperative that we see with the eyes of God!
I was talking with Pastor Richard Scott the other day about the new year; and it came to mind that it is 2020. I started playing around with the idea of 20/20 vision and the myriad of issues with getting corrected vision. In this time of the Church and world events, I began to think about how to get a proper perspective on all that is happening in our world. Vision problems can occur rapidly or degrade over a lifetime. Sometimes a person may not even realize that their eyesight has gotten worse until there is a vision evaluation. As we look forward to a New Year of ministry; we are all challenged on what that might look like.
If we the Church are to fulfill our Great Commission, then we are going to need Good Vision to see clearly what needs to be done and how to accomplish it. Primarily I believe there needs to be a greater thrust towards evangelism from our local churches. I know so much is being said and done about “making disciples;” and rightly so. But our task begins with sharing the Gospel with the Lost. So, if we are to have “20/20 ministerial vision,” we will mostly likely need to have our “vision corrected.”
Some of the problems with vision from the scripture are listed below. I give these as suggestions for reflection and application as needed. You may even want to use this topic as a series for your church as you set forth ministry objectives for 2020.
1. Beam in your eye, speck in your brothers – Matthew 7:4
2. Without a Vision the people perish – Proverbs 29:18
3. Blind Bartimaeus story – Mark 10:46-52
4. The Eye is the window to the soul – Matthew 6:22-24
5. Blind Guides – Matthew 23:24
6. Blind leading the Blind – Matthew 15:14
When we think about almost all of us wear glasses or something to correct our vision. Sometimes the problem might be cataracts, astigmatism, near or far sightedness; cornea or macular degeneration, to name a few hinderances. These problems are normally corrected through surgery [Lasik], glasses or lenses.
What about our spiritual eyes? How do we view our current reality? What does 2020 hold for you? Just another year of slugging through ministry? There is an old saying looking through “rose-colored” glasses; to see things as we want instead of how they really appear. I think the worse condition would be to have complete loss of vision; being blinded intentionally [turning a blind eye to things] or unintentionally. In our full schedules we all can be suspect to “missing the forest for the trees.”
Before we get too far into the new year; we all could benefit from an introspection of our views about culture, church, ministry and personal lives. I’m not sure how each of you will receive these thoughts, but for me, I know that I must get a 20/20 focus for God’s plans for His Kingdom.
There are many distractions today to cause us to be out of focus. Let’s all strive for singleness of mind – Jeremiah 32:29! We all need a fresh Vision from God!
Oh, don’t forget Jeremiah Winter Bible Study January 12th -15th at Family Unity 6:30-8pm nightly. Refreshments provided. Call Caroline and sign-up.
Blessings for a Great and prosperous New Year!
Incarnation of Christ
We all know the various prophecies that tell of Jesus’ birth in the Old Testament. These predictions come to fulfillment in the New Testament. There are many questions of how Mary could conceive a child without a man; the conception being through the Holy Spirit. When we try to imagine God putting on flesh like the very creation He, himself fashioned – well that becomes mind blowing. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we beheld His glory as the Only Begotten Son, full of grace and Truth.” [John 1:14] In the beginning was the Word, The Word was in the beginning with God, and the Word was God. The incarnation is the revelation to Mankind of the presence of God in visible form. Jesus told His disciples “if you have seen Me, then you have seen the Father; I and the Father are One.” [John 14]
When I think of the story line of scripture, from Genesis with God making man from the dust of the earth and breathing into him the “breath of life, and man becoming a living soul, I am overwhelmed. When I think of the Fall in the garden of Eden and the devastation as a resulted, that even Creation cries out for restoration and reconciliation – it again is overwhelming. The Law of Moses given to try and reveal to harden mankind the failure and inability to be holy and to restore ourselves to the Only God – our creator, the situation seems hopeless.
Thinking through the past four and half years of blogging, the scripture reinforces the fact that only God can restore mankind back to Jehovah. No matter how holy or righteous we are in our behavior and attitudes, we will always fall short. Even today in churches across North America the clarion call is for “disciple making” instead of sharing the Gospel through evangelism. Men must be saved, not instructed on how to live better lives.
Jesus came because the Father in Heaven so loved us. Jesus came because it was the Trinity’s plan to do so. At the end of the Law there was not the restoration of mankind. Sin had not been dealt with, and mankind had become institutionalized by religious performance. The Pharisees and Sadducees in particular revealed the hypocrisy of performance oriented religion that makes us feel good about ourselves; yet does nothing to reconcile us to God.
Jesus came to show us the Father; He came to make the invisible, visible – Col 1. Jesus is the second Adam, for the first Adam, although created holy and innocent, rebelled and believed the lie of Satan, that man could live without God. Jesus, as the second Adam, revealed what mankind “could have been” had they lived in obedience to the Father.
Jesus was subjected to temptation and sin like as we all are, yet without sin. He [Jesus] came to be the vicarious atonement for all sin, the enmity that separated man from God would once and for all be dealt with, and the Accuser of the brethren – Father of lies would be dealt an eternal blow. Jesus came to deal with our sin, defeat Satan, and rose again for our justification – all by faith that the Father would be faithful to His own word. In the Birth of Jesus, a new era or day came. No longer would men be shackled by The Law requirements. Faith in Christ as the Anointed, Messiah to do for man, what man could never do for himself – to give life instead of death, to give hope in a hopeless situation. This Jesus born of a Virgin, lying in a cradle would change history forever, regardless of who sat on the thrones of kingdoms of earth. This Jesus would serve and be sacrificed as a Lamb before God, and God would be pleased – opening the pathway for all who would call upon Jesus as Savior and Lord to begin “New Life” being a “new Creation” having the Breath of Life breathed back into them. Oh, what a story of redemption!
Thank God for His amazing Love, Grace, Mercy and Hope – all because Yahweh acted on our behalf. The Plan of God is not complete, for this Jesus will return in like manner one day. Acts 1. Until then let us rejoice and live out that which is now living in us – Christ in You the Hope of Glory [Col 1:27]
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Tagged as Breath of Life, christmas, incarnation, Jesus Christ, justification, reconcilation, restoration, second Adam, vicarious death