What Would Jesus Do?

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.”

(Matthew 4:1-4 NIV)

The coming of a New Year brings with it a lot of things. We reflect upon the year that has just passed, and we look forward to the year ahead. 2015 was a tumultuous year, and 2016 looks to be much the same. For every bit of joy that has been or will be, we also have to deal with evil. The current culture chastises us for praying and persecutes us for believing in God. The times we live in are precarious and we must be steadfast in our Faith in order to survive the onslaught of evil that has invaded every aspect of our lives.

The phrase ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ has become somewhat cliché’.  Unbelievers and nominal believers will pull the phrase out and invent all kinds of strange ideas to suit their personal agendas.  These people are confused by their own self-serving pride. To those of us who know Jesus, the answer to the question is simple: Jesus would call upon God’s Word to fight the devil.  When Jesus was being tempted in the desert, every response He gave to Satan began with, “It is written…”  God gives us the instructions for life in His Word; knowing Scripture and living in the Word of God is the only way to defeat Satan’s evil plan for our lives.

In the coming year, I encourage you to spend as much time as possible reading and studying the Bible. Time in prayer and Scripture is a conversation with God. This is how we gain the wisdom to know what to do, the strength to do it and the courage to see it through.  When Satan shows up in politics, the workplace, your family, your personal relationships, your decisions, your church or anywhere else in your life, it is imperative to be prepared.  When you wonder what Jesus would do in any particular situation, look to His Word and the answer will be there. Ask God to direct your path, and know that He will guide you. When you come across someone who wants to quarrel about your faith, remember:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

(1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV)

In the coming year (and always) be prepared for anything and everything Satan will throw at you! Immerse yourself in the Holy Word of God and know His joy and peace in your heart. Be not afraid, for He is with you.

And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.  What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

(Romans 8:30-33 NIV)

What would Jesus do? Jesus would rely on God! So should we.

Prayer: Father, please give me a steadfast spirit to rely on You, and You alone. Strengthen my Faith and guide my path. Draw me to read your Word and to live it. Amen.

Happy New Year, Dear Reader. May God bless you with good health and great Faith!

Merry Christmas!

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

(Isaiah 9:2 NIV)

Our current culture has greatly disturbed the meaning of Christmas. If you watch television, listen to radio or go into a store this time of year, you are bombarded with images and sounds of what has become a secular, retail season.  Don’t get me wrong; I like the festive atmosphere, but there are some aspects of Christmas marketing that no one should have to put up with. They push ideas onto the populace that have absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. For instance, Christmas is not about elves, toys, jewelry, cookies or parties; it isn’t about romance, getting stuff on sale, vacations and it certainly is not about sex. Christmas isn’t even about family and warm-fuzzy feelings. Christmas is about Jesus Christ, and He alone.

People all over the world have their Christmas traditions and protocols. Some are beautiful, some are quirky and some are just wrong. There are even Christians who think that celebrating Christmas is blasphemous (yeah, I don’t understand that either).  The problem is that too many people get caught up in the traditions and become overwhelmed with supposed protocol. In order to really celebrate Christmas, one must get real. Jesus is God Incarnate. He emptied Himself of Glory; was born into this world; He lived a sinless life and died for our sins; He rose from the depths on the Third Day and He Lives so that we may have Eternal Life with Him. Not one thing in Scripture tells us to celebrate His Birth – we do it because He gives us Salvation. I don’t know about you, but I think being saved from my sins is worth celebrating.

So, here are a few things to ponder this Christmas: When you look at the pretty lights on the tree, remember, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5)  And when you see a stack of gifts or a man in a red suit, consider, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) A gift isn’t something mandated by a day on the calendar. Finally, remember the most important gift of all, “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.” (John 3:16-17) God gave us His Son; He gave us Himself. In order to have the fullness of Jesus in our hearts, we must accept that gift, open it and own it.

Dear Reader, I pray that your Christmas is Christ-centered, so that you may know the fullness of joy and peace only He can offer. Enjoy your gatherings, the decorations, the food and the fun, but focus on Jesus, first. Invite Him to join you and rejoice with the Angels at His Presence.

Merry Christmas and God bless you, always.

Gloria in Excelsis

 

Here am I!

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

(Isaiah 6:5-8 NIV)

When Isaiah stood in the presence of God, he was overwhelmed with grief because of his own sin and the sins of the people. God, in His mercy gave Isaiah atonement for his own sins and then gave him the purpose of giving God’s Word to the people. Do you know what it means to stand in the presence of God? What would you do if you suddenly found yourself standing before the Throne of the Almighty? What would you do if He said, “Whom shall I send?”  Would you volunteer, or would you try to get out of it? What about those seraphs with the burning coals coming at you? Would you allow them to touch your lips with fire?

The questions seem kind of silly, but when you realize some simple truths about standing in the presence of God, it becomes very serious.  Isaiah’s encounter was very similar to Moses’ meeting with God through the Burning Bush. God had a specific purpose for each man, and He made sure they each knew what that purpose was. Moses needed to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt and Isaiah needed to tell Israel about the coming Exile.  Moses and Isaiah were both extraordinary men, and both had extraordinary purpose. God chose these men; God called these men; God humbled these men, and God sent these men. God has also chosen you and me; ordinary as we are, we are called by God to do His Will and live for His purpose.

“The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

(Luke 17:20b-21 NIV)

The ultimate calling of God came through Jesus Christ – God Incarnate! When Jesus came into the world, He negated the need to speak to individuals through burning bushes or standing in the Temple.  When Jesus was dying on the Cross, the Curtain in the Temple that separated the people from God was torn, leaving the door to God’s Presence open for any and all to have fellowship with Him. The cover charge to step into God’s Presence is simple; confess your sins (“Woe unto me…”) repent and accept that God has atoned for your sins. Jesus Christ makes it possible for you and me to stand in the Presence of God, no matter where we are or the circumstances around us. Whether in the darkest depths of grief or on the highest mountain of joy; we stand in front of God. When you are working, exercising, helping someone, sitting in church, driving down the road or washing the dinner dishes; you are in the Presence of God.  So, what will your response be when He asks, “Whom shall I send”?

The realization that God is ever-present is daunting, at first. Then comes the recognition of the fact that He loves you in any and all circumstances.  He is constant, even (especially) when we are not. God has purpose for each of us, but we must accept the assignment and follow His lead. Just as Moses and Isaiah had specific jobs to do for God, so too, do you and I. (See 1 Corinthians chapter 12 for a list of Spiritual gifts God gives to us to use for His purpose) Moses doubted his own ability before God and Isaiah knew his sin made him unworthy, what is your reason for tying to back down? God gave Moses and Isaiah exactly what they needed to do the work, and He will do the same for you.

 Be bold, Christian! Right here, right now – you are standing in the Presence of God, and He has a mission for you. Lift your eyes to the Glory that exists before you and shout, “Here am I. Send me!” Be prepared and know that God will do extraordinary things through you, if you are willing to step up to the task.

Prayer: Father, cleanse me of the iniquity and doubt, and give me a steadfast spirit to listen to Your Word and follow Your lead in all situations. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

New Beginning

Hello Dear Reader,

In May of 2011, I started The Determined Christian for the purpose of sharing what God teaches me with you. I had quite a catalog of posts built, but in October of 2014, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to shut it down, and in doing so, I deleted that catalog of posts. When I reopened this domain and started up again last May (2015) I had every intention of reigniting the fire that I had in the beginning.  However, my schedule has been chaos and I have been focusing on writing my other blog, Voice of a Patriot. I come to you today, to let you know that the Determined Christian is back!  My goal is to post at least twice a week for the foreseeable future.  I have yet to determine which days will bring new posts. If you are interested, please consider subscribing to this blog, so posts will be delivered to your email when they are published (there will be no spam or other emails; the only thing you will receive in your in-box are new posts).

In the coming months I hope to add some new features to this site. First up, notice the Prayer Requests tab at the top of the page. This is a page for you to submit your requests for prayer or make comments to encourage others. Please visit this page as often as you wish, enter your requests and pray for others who have done the same. Comments on regular posts are closed, because I truly do not have the time to sift through spam comments and hatred. Honestly, I do not feel God has called me to debate with unbelievers; my purpose is to support and encourage my fellow believers.

The times we live in are frightening, and (quite frankly) evil. Drawing closer to God is as important now as it has ever been. We as individuals, as well as members of the Body of Christ must fight the evil that has invaded our world.  In order to do so it is essential that we study Scripture, pray and share what we learn with others. It is only through Jesus Christ that we overcome this world.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

(John 16:33 NIV)

This is a new beginning; a time to refresh a steadfast commitment to sharing God’s Word with any and all who are willing to hear and participate. Please join me, and together we will learn and grow in our faith. May God bless us with the wisdom to know what to do, the strength to do it and the courage to see it through.

Sincerely,

Susan

 

To Jesus

TDC Cross 2

© SDM 2002

It is Your eternal Kingdom

That is the core of my heart’s desire.

With every day that passes by

I am one day closer to You

And one step farther from the fire.

There is direction in Your Word

To guide me when I stumble.

There is comfort in Your Light 

That heals me

And teaches me to be humble.

It is Your Will for my life

I seek to find each and every day.

And to gain a clearer view of the Cross

Where Your blood poured out

To wash my sins away.

I pray that my worship of You

Will be ever more fervent.

Until that glorious day when I see Your Face

And hear You say,

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

amen.