He Reigns!

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Hands & Feet of Jesus

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
~John 1:1-5

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).” The Bible goes on to tell that the world was dark, void, and without form, covered in water but then a magnificent thing happened, God spoke. And when He did, the world took shape and became a place perfect for human life. The Old Testament goes on to tell us how that all happened, and then becomes a rich history of mankind and our relationship with God, all leading up to the most magnificent thing of all, the birth of Jesus Christ. Everything from Genesis to Matthew was leading up to the One who would be responsible for the salvation of us all because no matter what mankind was given, we just aren’t capable of saving ourselves. Sacrifices didn’t do it, works didn’t do it, being good didn’t do it, only the perfect sacrifice of all could cover the sins of billions and make room for us in Heaven. And when Jesus chose to leave Heaven behind, to be born into a world that would hate Him, (and not just in His own day but in all the centuries to come), to reach out to the lost, lonely, desperate generations of people crying out for something, anything at all, He made the greatest gesture of love ever known—and was born to a life none of us can even imagine. He lived only thirty-three years, yet His legacy of love and salvation has survived for more than 2,000 years.

This Christmas share the love of Jesus Christ and the message of salvation in whatever way you’re able because the world still hurts and we are still called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created.”
~Revelation 4:11

Read Revelation 4

©2018 Marie McGaha

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Proclaim The Good News

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.
~1 Chronicles 16:23-24

There is no better day to praise the Lord and declare the good news of salvation than today! Each day is a great day to declare the glory of the Lord and sing His praises but as we go into this holiday season of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to tell even more people about what He has done in our lives. It seems impossible to me in this day and age there are still those who don’t know the goodness of the Lord. They are going through this holiday season stressed out, harried and hurried, as they attend parties, buy gifts and try to please everyone on their Christmas list while going further in debt to do so.

Years ago, when I still had children at home, one of my older sons brought his friend to our church’s Christmas service. About half way through, the friend asked if he could speak to me privately, so we went to a classroom. After a long moment, he said, “So, you believe some girl thousands of years ago became pregnant by a Spirit, had a baby, and that baby decides where you go when you die?” I couldn’t help but chuckle. After talking with him for a while, I found that he had never been to church, had no idea what the Bible was, who Christ was, or why we celebrated Christmas at all. His mother was a Wiccan, had raised him in her beliefs, and to him, Christmas was just some random holiday with a fat man in a red suit who brought kids presents. I asked him if he had seen nativity exhibits and what he thought they were—his mother told him they were a symbol of a fairy tale that weak people depended on, like the Cross, and churches. I had the opportunity to explain the Bible, Jesus Christ, and the importance of the Cross to a young man who had never heard the Word of God. I had the opportunity to proclaim the good news of His salvation and that boy accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. 

Christmas is the perfect opportunity to tell a hurting world what Christ can do for them.

“For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and gladness are in His place (1 Chronicles 16:25-27).”

Read Revelation 3

© 2018 Marie McGaha

Monday, December 3, 2018

Tis The Season

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  So, you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
~Galatians 4:4-7

As we go into the Christmas season there are many reasons I feel excited. First, the weather. I love the snow. I love going up to our local ski and tubing spot with my grandkids and spending the day on the slopes. My husband and I also take our dogs up the mountain and let them run. They also love the snow and love sniffing out snowshoe hares. Winter is my favorite season with crackling fires, spiced cider, and hot soup. It’s also the time of year when I reflect on the most important event in history, the birth of Christ, which occurred against almost impossible odds, for one simple purpose—God loves us so much, He came to earth as a man, born to a simple woman to be raised by a carpenter.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17).”

Jesus Christ gave up Heaven to live as a man amongst us, to come into the world in the usual way, live a life with no frills, and offer Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice to offer you and me the chance to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. His ultimate sacrifice is offered to us for no other reason than His great love for us. So, as we go into December and celebrate this season with trees, lights, and grand decorations, giving gifts to one another, and eating and drinking our fill, let’s contemplate the true reason for this season. We are celebrating the birth of our Savior, who gave up the glory of Heaven so that we might have everlasting life.

“And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).”

Read Revelation 1-2

© 2018 Marie McGaha

Friday, November 30, 2018

Happy Hanukah

“At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 
~John 10:22-24

The Hebrew word Chanukah means ‘dedication’ and came about in the second century when the Jewish people living in Israel were subject to Greco-Assyrian influence and revolted. Determined to stay true to God and not adopt the custom of worshipping idols like the invaders, they drove the Greco-Assyrian government out and recaptured the second temple. They cleansed the temple and rededicated it to the God of Israel. They lit the Menorah, and although there was only enough oil for one day, it miraculously burned for eight days, which is why Hanukkah is also called The Festival of Lights.

This year, Hanukkah commences on the evening of December 2, 2018 by lighting one candle of the Menorah, then, each consecutive night, another candle is lit, ending on December 10, 2018, when the last of the eight candles are lit. Prior to the lighting of the candle, special blessings are said, and songs are sung afterward. Jews recite the special Hallel prayer daily, and add V'Al HaNissim (an addition to the Amidah and Birkat Hamazon on Hanukkah and Purim) to their daily prayers and in the Grace After Meals, to offer praise and thanksgiving to God for “delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few and the wicked into the hands of the righteous.” It is also tradition to eat foods fried in oil such as latkes (a type of fried pancake made from potatoes, vegetables or fruit) or sufganiyot (a fried jelly-filled donut).

Jewish traditions are a part of who we are as Christians, and how we became a part of God’s family. I hope you will learn more about our Jewish ancestry and celebrate this wonderful season of Hanukah.

Blessing For Hanukah

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, she’asah nisim la’avoteinu, bayamim haheim baziman hazeh.
Praised are you, God, Spirit of the Universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors in their day at this season.
Read Jude
© 2018 Marie McGaha