The Power of Jesus’ Presence in Your Life and Mine!

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By divine sovereignty, the power of Jesus’ presence was put on display even before His birth.  (See here and here.)  Not only did the power of Jesus’ presence make Mary a favored one, but the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped in the presence of the Christ child alive in Mary’s womb.  Indeed, God the Father sent His Son to this earth in power!

Joy abounds in the presence of Jesus.  There is fullness and peace, and as in the case of Mary and Elizabeth, excitement.  This is true for you and me!  His presence breaks chains, heals hurts, dispels darkness and gives us rest.  As believers, the true gift of Jesus at Christmastime becomes our everyday reality.

My prayer is that we never lose the sense of wonder, awe and joy that we experience at Christmas.  When the joy of the Lord and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit engulf us, we live differently.  Just as Mary carried that powerful presence within her, so born again believers carry the same glorious gift.  Jesus Himself came to make His home within us (2 Corinthians 13:5, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:27), and Holy Spirit power dwells within (1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Romans 8:9-11)! 

Not only do we carry the power of Jesus’ presence within us, we are commissioned to share it with the world.  As we head into 2019, will the Light of Christ shine brightly through us?  Will we radiate the power that is within?  May we live our lives to reflect His, and to allow the power of His presence to be evident in all we do!

Enjoy the remnants of this Christmas season, and look with anticipation to the New Year as we live in the power of His presence!

Celebrating the Birth of a Jewish Carpenter: Part of a Master Plan

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of a Jewish Carpenter.  But why…what does it all mean…and what is the significance? This is the fourth in a series of short devotionals about Jesus’ birth, so if you’ve missed the previous ones, catch up on those to fully understand today’s final segment.

Let’s consider the Tabernacle, and a specific feature: the Ark of the Covenant.  God chose to make His presence known to the Israelites there as they wandered in the wilderness.  The Ark was made of acacia wood, but was covered in gold.  Acacia trees are not typically used to make things. In fact, they are thorny!  In Scripture, thorns represent sinful people. You may have some “thorny” relatives or friends and, at times, we can all be a bit thorny!  Yet, in us, the undesirable, God chooses to dwell…to make His presence known!  He makes His home in thorny, sinful, chopped down trees!

But the Ark was covered in gold!  The holiness and righteousness of God covers us.  His blood atones for our sin, his death on a wooden cross paid our redemption price, and when He rolled the stone away, He gave us new life! 

The life of a believer in Jesus is not a perfect life.  We still sin. Yet we are forgiven, and we don’t want to go on sinning.  Just as Jesus died on a wooden cross, so we must “crucify ourselves daily.”  (Galatians 5:24)  In doing so, He rolls the stone away so that we might have life!

In John 2:19-21, Jesus, the Carpenter, talked about a building project when He prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed, but raised up again in three days.  In hindsight, He was obviously talking about His resurrection.  Likewise, on the night of His arrest, Jesus spoke of a future building project when He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.”  (John 14:3)  The Jewish Carpenter continues His building project even today!  Matthew 16:18 tells us He is building His church, even as He prepares the eternal dwelling for those of us who trust in Him!

This Christmas, as you gaze upon the Babe in the manger, stop to consider the Jewish Carpenter.  From the beginning of time, God desired fellowship with us, His frail wooden vessels!  So much so that His Son hung on a wooden cross to make it so!  That same Jewish Carpenter has now come to dwell within us until He returns to take us to the place He is preparing.  He is fashioning us into the tool or vessel God the Father has intended from the very beginning.  The manger is our reminder of how He loves us and desires for us to live life to the fullest in the calling He has given us. Live well…and live free in Him!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Yeshua Showing up in the Gaza Strip!

Friends, after days of tension in and around the Gaza Strip, are you ready for good news?  If so, I’ve got just the thing: King Jesus is ruling in the hearts of a growing number of Muslim men and women in the Gaza Strip!  One for Israel is at work ministering to the people of Gaza and they are seeing Gazans respond to the voice of the Living God!  Check this out:

So, what is our response?  It should be one of rejoicing, as our gracious Lord has snatched souls from the grip of false theology and brought them into eternal life with Himself! 

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

~Galatians 3:27-29

Time to Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles!

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Shalom friends!

Tomorrow night at sundown marks the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles, the seventh (and final) annual feast of Israel.  What an incredible celebration it is!  (Be sure to read to the end for a special invitation to celebrate!)

Yesterday, we reviewed the fall feasts, beginning with the Feast of Trumpets and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).  Now we come to the culmination of the feasts!  Jesus will fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles, just as He has already fulfilled the spring feasts (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost).  In fact, fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles will also fulfill the Davidic Covenant, and we know that time period as the Millennial Kingdom!

It is this time period that the prophet Zechariah writes about in the passage above.  Notice that ALL nations are invited to the Feast of Tabernacles to worship the King of Kings!  This is the only Jewish feast that isn’t totally, 100% Jewish.  Why?

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
~Galatians 3:28

Related imageOne in Christ Jesus!  No Jews, no Greeks (no Gentiles)…just one in Him!  No need for “Jewish feasts” any longer because Jewish feasts are simply shadows of what is to come.  Jesus is the substance!  (See Colossians 2:17.  The context is a bit different here, but the principle is the same: God uses certain things to teach about Himself.  Those things, however, are not the “real deal,” they simply point to the “real deal” – Jesus!)

Thus, we are all invited to the Feast of Tabernacles, where the greatest worship the world has ever seen will take place!  It comes after the Feast of Trumpets (to be fulfilled when a trumpet sounds and Jesus’ foot touches down on the Mount of Olives) and Yom Kippur (to be fulfilled when the eyes of our precious Jewish friends are opened, they repent and finally see their Messiah).

For those who follow this blog, we just finished a study called Why Israel Matters.  In it, one of the foundational principles is that all nations will be blessed through Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12:3), and we know that blessing to be salvation.  Put the puzzle pieces together and you come to this:

  • God set apart a special group of people (Abraham and his descendants) for a very unique purpose: to be vehicles of world redemption.
  • They became that, but missed the day of His visitation (Luke 19:41-44).  ie – they did not recognize Him as the Messiah.
  • That opened the door for Gentiles to be grafted into the olive tree.  (The olive tree represents spiritual Israel.  Thus, Gentiles were offered a means of salvation through the Jewish Messiah!)
  • God implemented the 7 major feasts as a calendar of His plan for His people (the Jews), which includes drawing them back to Himself…in salvation.  Four of the seven are already fulfilled, the final 3 will happen in very quick succession!
  • Once the trumpet sounds and Jesus physically appears, the Jews will repent and turn to Him, THEN Jesus says He will “tabernacle” among His chosen ones…both Jews and Gentiles, and there will no longer be a distinction!

Wow!  Incredible, isn’t it!?!  I can hardly wait for that day!

But…we can practice while still on earth!  It is a faint glimpse, but a glimpse nonetheless, when the Feast of Tabernacles kicks off in Israel tomorrow evening.

Did you know the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem hosts a huge Feast of Tabernacles celebration each year, and that people come from all over the world to worship the King of Kings right there in the Holy City!?!  Yes, its a preview!

Most of us cannot physically go to Jerusalem to participate, but thanks to modern technology, the ICEJ sends the Feast of Tabernacles celebration right to our computer screens!  They will live stream (and record) events during the Feast of Tabernacles, and they invite us all to join!  You will find a calendar of events here, so join in by clicking the “Media/Live Stream” button on the top right!

Take advantage!  Join the celebration, and rejoice with believers around the world in worship of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  Enjoy!