He Reigns!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Who Can Be Against Us?

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.”
~Matthew 1:23-25

The chorus of the song, “God With Us” by Jesus Culture says:
“God with us, God for us
Nothing can come against
No one can stand between us
God with us, God for us
Nothing can come against
No one can stand between us…”

When Christ was coming into this world, few people knew about it. There was no announcement on the internet, no front-page news announcing the King is here, and no TV crews camped outside the stable awaiting the proud mom and dad to appear at the door holding their baby. In fact, aside from Mary and Joseph, and a few family members, no one even knew Mary was expecting, and it wasn’t until after Jesus’ birth that the shepherds followed the star, and it was two years later that the magi came from the east. To say this birth was kept under wraps is an understatement. But all of Heaven knew. The angels sang, and the trumpets sounded, and I imagine the birth of God Himself in the flesh was a celebration second to none in the heavenly realms. God came to earth to save His creation, to walk as we walk, to talk as we talk and to live as we live. What a glorious event!

As Christmas draws closer, I am reminded of what an event it was for Christ to leave Heaven and become a vulnerable human, subject to cold, hunger, pain and death. Who is this King of Glory who would give up so much for the very few who follow Him faithfully? Only Jesus, and I am so grateful He did. No matter what happens, I can also sing, “God with us, God for us, nothing can come against, no one can stand between us.”

For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:29-31)?”

Read Revelation 13

© 2018 Marie McGaha

Monday, December 17, 2018

Dubious Beginnings

“But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children.
~Galatians 4:4-5

There is a reason for everything—even when it’s not obvious to us. When Christ was born, it wasn’t obvious to the world that the Savior had been born. Only His parents knew He was the Son of God, and later, a few shepherds and some wise men were given the revelation that the prophecies of Israel’s Savior had been fulfilled. Christ’s dubious beginnings had nothing to do with His purpose or who He was, even though there were those who never forgot He was a Nazarene and the son of carpenter (John 1:46; Mark 6:3). There were those who scoffed at the idea Jesus was the Christ, the Savior they had been waiting for, because He didn’t arrive in an obvious manor, and didn’t look like what they thought a Savior should. In a few days, the world will celebrate Christmas but not all will celebrate Christ because He still doesn’t look like the Savior they want. But for those who recognize Him for who He is, those who know the reason for His birth, this is truly a time to celebrate and share His love with others.

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3-7).”

Read Revelation 12

© 2018 Marie McGaha

Friday, December 14, 2018

Personalize It

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in Heaven, making peace by the blood of His Cross.
~Colossians 1:15-20

As we get closer to Christmas, the day we celebrate God Himself coming to earth in the form of a baby named Jesus Christ, it is even more miraculous to me that He would subject Himself to such a lowly life because He loved me! Thinking of what Jesus did in a personalized way can help us to understand the fullness of God’s love for mankind. Sometimes, reading the Bible can become something we do but not something we understand in a personal way, but when we read the Bible and insert our own names into the verses, it comes alive. One example is John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son… When we replace the word ‘world’ with our name, it becomes a personal testimony. “For God so loved Marie, He gave His only begotten Son…” Or “Because God loved me so much, Jesus Christ died so I can live with Him forever…” When you personalize verses from the Bible, they begin to take root in our hearts and become real to us.

“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:9-11).”

We can personalize this verse by changing the pronouns:
“I have been justified by His blood, and I have been saved by Him from the wrath of God. While I was still an enemy of God, I was reconciled to Him by the death of Christ, and I am saved by His life. More than that, I rejoice in God through my Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him I have now received reconciliation.” When we look at verses in a personal way, we begin to understand what a love story the Bible is, and the verses become a prayer from that touches the heart of God.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate (me) from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).”

Read Revelation 10-11

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Focus on Jesus

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
~Micah 5:2

I’ve noticed on Facebook recently there have been a number of posts about saying Merry Christmas instead of happy holidays or season’s greetings. Apparently, Merry Christmas has become offensive to some, although I’m not sure why. Personally, I’ve always said Merry Christmas and always will, but I still wonder why people who don’t believe in Christ bother to celebrate Christmas at all. The word Christmas is a conjunction of two words – Christ and Mass, or a Mass in honor of the Christ. There are two beliefs where the date of Christmas came from. The first is that the pagan’s celebrated Yule, which was illegal, so the church decided to Christianize the holiday by making it Christ’s birthday. The other is that a popular holiday in the Roman Empire, dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”) was celebrated on December 25, and the Christianizing of that holiday related “sun” and “Son” and therefore, Christmas was born. Widespread celebration of Christmas did not occur until the late 9th century when churches held candlelight services at midnight on the 24th by reading verses and praying. This was the beginning of the service Catholic churches call ‘midnight Mass.’ Protestant churches adopted a similar service but held it at dawn on the 25th, and many churches continue to have “Sunrise Services.” Whatever the actual origins of celebrating December 25th as Christ’s birthday, it is still the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. So however you choose to celebrate, wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and remember, God loves you!

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So, we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:14-16).” 

Read Revelation 9

©2018 Marie McGaha

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Ultimate Verb

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace
there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
~Isaiah 9:6-7

There are more than 400 prophecies in the Bible that foretell of Christ’s birth, telling us who He is and what He will do. God didn’t keep it a secret; He wanted all of Israel to know that He was sending a Savior, and after Christ was born, His life was recorded for all of us to know who He is and what His plans for us are. God kept nothing from us, nothing hidden, so that each of us would fully understand the scope of His love for us. And as we get closer to the day we celebrate Christ’s birth, it fills my heart even more to know what Christ gave up to live among us here on planet earth so that we can live for Him.

It can be difficult for a hurting world to understand that scope of love. After all, how do we recognize love when we’ve never seen it in such magnitude? But as Christians, that is our task every day—to show the love of Christ to others in real and practical ways. Love is the ultimate verb—and covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). So, as we draw nearer the day of celebrating the ultimate act of love, when pure love came down from Heaven, remember the sins Christ’s love covered for you and pass that same love on to another.

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and 
grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19).”

Read Revelation 7

© 2018 Marie McGaha

Friday, December 7, 2018

This Smells Funny

“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’”
~ Luke 1:30-33

There are many instances throughout the Bible that foretell the birth of Jesus Christ through God’s prophets, but this verse is just a little different. Not only is it foretelling Christ’s birth, but it’s an imminent announcement directly from Heaven to the woman who would make it possible. Mary must have been in shock—she was a virgin, engaged to be married, and now she has to tell her fiancĂ© she is expecting a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit—no wonder Joseph needed his own visit from an angel to deal! Looking at this event from a world view, I understand why people scoff and think it couldn’t possibly be true. Human cynicism just isn’t geared toward believing the impossible. We live believing in what we can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell—and to our purely human minds, this smells funny. But as Christians, our five senses aren’t what gets us through life, it’s our sixth sense, the Spirit of God living in us, that tells us God’s Word is true. And it is these truths that we are to share with others, even if they scoff.

“For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:11-13).”

Read Revelation 6

©2018 Marie McGaha

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Believing Is Not Seeing

“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
~Isaiah 7:14

There is something magical about Christmastime; the crisp, cold air, snow, bright lights, festive decorations, and people just seem a bit more cheerful. But that sheen disappears after New Year’s and life is back to its normal pace, except for those who know that  our Savior’s birth is something to celebrate every day of the year.

Although Isaiah lived about 700 years before the birth of Christ, he had no doubt that God would fulfill His word and bring a Savior to Israel. Isaiah knew God was faithful and would do what He said He would do. His faith was steadfast and throughout the Book of Isaiah, he spoke of the Christ’s birth several times. What kind of faith must Isaiah have had to believe in a Savior that would not come into the world for centuries to come, and hold fast to that faith throughout his entire lifetime? It’s the same faith we must have to believe in a Savior that was born more than 2,000 years ago and is still saving people today.

“Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; put out your hand and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:27-29).”

Read Revelation 5

 ©2018 Marie McGaha