Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A King Amongst Us


Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It with your friends


“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." - Psalm 2:6

  His hands were small, his fingers fat little stubs, soft to the touch and a delicate peach in color.  I imagine he cried when the cold night air filled his lungs for the first time.  As his father cut through the umbilical cord, his screams could be heard through the valley.  His eyes opened that first night as he lay in the darkness near his mother’s bosom.  Her loving comfort, soft murmurs and sweet singing of hymns quieted his fear that evening, and likewise for many evenings to come.  Songs from her youth, songs from her father and his that had been passed on from generation to generation in the faith of Father Abraham and King David.

From the moment the angel visited Mary, as a young girl in Nazareth, her life was to be forever changed. The Angel Gabriel told Mary, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33)  As she held that child in her arms that very first night and sung him lullabies to calm him, could she comprehend all that was to happen in the next 32 years leading up to Calvary.  As any mother after giving birth, she must have been exhausted, yet in my heart I believe the Lord would have given her supernatural strength enough to love, exalt and find peace in holding the King of All Kings in her arms.

Kings are inherently jealous of one another, and have very little temperament for uprisings against their throne.   This has gone on throughout history and one doesn’t have to look far to realize that it is still going on today.  In the times of Jesus birth, King Herod heard of the birth of a king and sent his military to kill all the male children under 2 years of age in the land of Bethlehem.  Fear of losing his throne drove him to react in a manner of this world, but as we know God’s chosen King would be protected.

Throughout his life there were no gold, no purple robes or signet rings.  There were no crowns of gold and fine jewels, no scepter or palace for him to rest his head.  He lived a humble life, serving mankind and loving others as God loved.  His royalty wasn’t recognized until the final 2 years of his life.  Yet even then there was no fanfare until the final week of his life.  He was a teacher, a rabbi in the streets and along the shores of ancient Judea.  Sandals covered his dirty feet, and his robes were likely soiled with daily dust and sweat.  At some point, his mother and those that followed him had to ask, “What is it with Jesus, when will he overthrow the Kingdom and establish himself as the rightful King” 

Even more so, they must have been shocked when they saw their king, the one they had trusted in, being dragged away in chains to his death.  Did they lose faith in him as their king when they saw his bloodied face and body carrying the cross through the streets of Jerusalem.  Did they comprehend that he was actually on his way to claiming his throne at that very moment.  The Sadducees and Pharisees out of fear and blindness, had no idea that they were actually entering into fulfillment of ancient prophecy by their actions in demanding his crucifixion.  Pontius Pilot could not have comprehended the depth of Jesus comments, "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (John 18:37)

Jesus Christ was born to be a King.  Not a king of this world, temporary and filled with greed, lust and self-righteousness; no, a King of the Most High God, over all of heaven and earth.  His Kingdom will reign forever, thanks to His resurrection from the grave.  There will come a day when we will stand in the presence of this glorious King and bow before His throne, singing praises and worshiping Him.  As we testify of His truth to the world and stand firm in it, we are ushered into His presence on this earth and can participate in His Kingdom within our heart and soul.  Do not wrap yourself up in defining kingdoms and empires of this world – for they will crumble one day, just as the kingdoms of old will.  Look to serve the true King of Kings by living out His will in your life until the day He calls us to join Him at His throne.

PRAYER:
Almighty Father,
You are sovereign and all knowing.  You are omnipotent and everlasting Lord, and we worship all that You are.  You have given us a King to glorify and honor in our actions, thoughts, words and steps.  We praise the name of Jesus Christ as King of all Kings and Lord of Lords.  Sanctify us Lord that we might put on His righteousness in this life and live to sing praises at His throne for eternity.  Let us not be lost seeking worldly kingdoms.  For only through You and by Your grace are we redeemed and allowed into Your perfect heaven.  In Your name we pray – Amen.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2012
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
http://www.10minutereader.com

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jesus – From the Beginning


Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It with your friends

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” - Genesis 3:15

  This week we will embark on a quest for a deeper understanding of ”Why was Jesus born?”. For over 2000 years people have looked at this man and made judgment against him in one way or another.  The most understood reason for His birth was the salvation story, and has been captured in the hearts of billions of people over the span of time.  This story is told in the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; and has become the foundation for the Christmas celebration held each year around the globe by believers and non-believers.  I propose that regardless of their beliefs or lack there -of, the story is known by all.

Question 1 for us to think about this week:
Was Jesus an afterthought or part of God’s sovereign plan from the beginning?

   God created the perfect man from the dust when He created Adam (Genesis 1:27) – “God created man in his own image.”  Once the woman and Adam were deceived by the serpent (Satan) and did exactly what God had told them not to do, the origin of sin had been formed in mankind forever more.  As humans, God has given us instructions on how to live a righteous and full life in Him, but He also gave us the free will to make choices.  This indeed was part of His original plan of creation, for He wanted man to choose to love Him, not to be forced.  He had given Adam a simple law to live by (Genesis 2:17) not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Satan had already turned from God and fallen from heaven (Isaiah 14:12) because he wanted to reign higher than God Almighty and refused to humble himself before the Lord (my interpretation).  In his intent on ruling over God, he persuaded the woman and Adam to eat from the tree, and we all know the choice that was made.

   In God’s sovereignty, He knows all things now and forever.  He gave Adam and the woman a perfect place to live, to praise and worship Him, to live forever in His grace.  They chose a different path and in making that choice, set in motion God’s ultimate plan of salvation.  As referenced in Genesis 3:15, we see God clearly telling Satan that there will come a day when he will be crushed under the foot of God’s chosen child born of a woman.  We find in (Galatians 4:4), “God sent His son, born of a woman, born of law.” and by faith we know that by Christ’s resurrection, He alone has defeated Satan.  Resisting the temptations of Satan throughout His life, He became the spotless sacrifice for all of mankind after living a life of perfection.   After 3 days in the depths of Hell, He came forth and ascended to the Father, crushing Satan’s hold on mankind in the process.

Answer to today’s question:
In God’s sovereignty, Jesus Christ was part of His plan from the beginning.

 
© Sondove Enterprises, 2012
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
http://www.10minutereader.com

Friday, July 27, 2012

Learning from the Best


Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It with your friends

“In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.”
                                                                                   - Hebrews 2:10

Mentor, counselor, coach, teacher and leader are examples of titles given to those that help others through instruction, discipline and motivation. Often times they are deemed qualified to due this simply because of their credentials. Perhaps, they have a certificate from the university, stating that they have sufficiently achieved all of the requirements entitling them to lead others. Through their studies of textbooks and manuscripts they substantiate themselves worthy of being in a position of authority. With this authority they then start down the path of influencing others, based on the wisdom they have obtained.  What qualifies someone with “book” knowledge to lead over someone who has lived it and has the scars to back it up.  Who would you rather learn from?

God gave us the perfect mentor, teacher, counselor, coach and leader in His Son, Jesus Christ. For you see, He was born to lead by example of His life, so that we might likewise follow Him and find the Father. God's perfect plan of salvation required that His Son live a human life, complete with the suffering, temptations, joy, sorrow, anger and peace that we each deal with daily. By looking to His life as our benchmark we discover that even in our humanity we are capable of discipline through the Father to withstand the temptations and struggles in life.

Christ perfection in life is unachievable by mankind because we are born in sin. Our sinful nature comes from the lineage and ancestry all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Because you and I (and everyone else) were created through humanity, we carry that sinful nature from birth. Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit, perfect from creation and birth. Yet, in His humanity, Jesus was tempted by Satan, by mankind and was mocked, ridiculed and persecuted by the same. He endured, in His humanity, the scorn of the world, with a purpose given from God the Father. He taught us through His examples how to lead, how to walk with righteousness and how to love one another.

The challenge for you and I then becomes focused on one thing - "Are we willing to walk as Jesus walked?" Don't make it more complicated than that. If your answer to this question is no, than you have to ask the next question. "Why? What more do you need to know that Christ didn't teach you?" This is the quest, there are millions of self help books, DVDs and tutorials, but none that will teach you more than God has taught you through the life of Jesus Christ. Do not view the scriptures as simply a story, it is your life manual.

Over the next week we will take a deeper look into Why was Jesus born? I hope you'll join me and share your thoughts along the way.  Pass this along to your friends and family, and invite them to join us as well in this study.


© Sondove Enterprises, 2012
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
http://www.10minutereader.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Never Stop Teaching


Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It with your friends


“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity”  – Proverbs 3:1-2


I have been teaching my son and daughters many different things this summer: how to paint, how to build a fence, how to fix a chain when it falls off their bike, how to read, how to tie shoes, how to greet someone with a handshake, how to roller skate, how to play guitar and so on and so on.   These are the things that come naturally when we are raising our children.  They each have their own development curve and the activities we take for granted in our old(er) age they must learn.  They pick up so much through simple observation of our actions and characteristics, but some things they need us to stop, come down to their level and teach them. Most of this seems trivial, but I want to stress that it’s not.

Let me share with you a recent example.  I was with David (age 6) and reached out my hand to him.  He kind of looked at it for a second and then slowly lifted his hand but gave me a high five (slapped hands) instead.  I looked at him and said, “No Son, you need to shake my hand.  It’s how you greet someone, and then you introduce yourself.”  David looked at me, and asked one question; “Why?”  I couldn’t help but recall a scene from the Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie, where Lucy (the youngest daughter) enters Narnia for the first time and encounters Mr. Tumnus at the light post.  He poses the same question to her when she extended her hand to introduce herself.  Anyway, I explained to David that it is good manners and polite and that a man’s handshake should be firm and strong, but not squeezing.  He laughed and said, “Okay, hey Dad, you want to see the new airplane I built from legos?”  Ahhh, the mind of a child moves so quickly from one topic to another.

This has me wondering though about the children around the world.  Parents are teaching them about the life skills required in this world, but who is teaching them about God?  Who is teaching your children?  I believe it is the one of the most important things you need to do in this life.  Your children need to understand the importance of the grace of God through His Son - Jesus Christ.  You cannot rely on someone else to share this with them and to help them understand this eternal gift.  You can’t save them, and they can’t get to heaven on your faith.  This is one purpose for your life that you cannot take for granted.  It’s not enough to know that you are secure in your faith and eternal destiny, your children must also understand the importance of this decision.  Lord knows, if we don’t teach them, someone else will, and you’ll have no visibility to their perspective.  As for me, I’m not interested in someone else teaching my children about morals, character, values and above all else God.


© Sondove Enterprises, 2012
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
http://www.10minutereader.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Mark


Read It, Learn It, Live It, Share It with your friends


“This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.  That number is 666.”  –Revelations 13:18


 I must admit I am as superstitious as the next person.  There is something about the number 666 that makes me stop and think about the situation every time.  For example, if I’m purchasing something and the total comes to $666, I’m going to add a pack of gum or a bottle of water so the total price changes.  If I’m traveling and the hotel room they give me is 666, I’m asking for a different room.  Some will say it’s silly, and to some degree their right, but there is no way I want to be associated in any way with that number.

Is it the number or the fact that it is specifically called out in God’s holy word.  The original in Greek was χξϛ which translated is (chi xi sigma or χ (chi) = 600; ξ (xi)=60; and ϛ (sigma)=6).  It is not something to be taken lightly.  When God tells us that the number 666 is the number of the beast it is worth taking note of.  The real question comes down to this do you accept God’s holy word as truth?  That means every verse, every word, every letter as the true manifestation of God’s word written by mankind.

We believe the stories of creation, or Moses crossing the Red Sea, or David killing Goliath, or Daniel living through the night in the lion’s den and that Christ lived, died and rose again.  Why, then do we come to passages like this and try to claim symbolism, or state that it’s not to be taken literally.  Either the entirety of the Holy Bible is God ordained or none of it is.  I believe the Bible is God’s word for us.  It is not intended to confuse us, or misguide us, or cause us to question Him.  We often times try to take the pieces of the Bible that pertain to us and accept those, but throw other parts out as not relevant to our lives.  You can’t have it both ways.  It’s either; all true and applicable to you or it’s not. 

Am I justified in my superstition of the number 666?  No, probably not.  It’s just a number, a combination of digits pieced together to fit in a linear numerical scale after 665 and before 667.  But, I believe the word of God and if His word tells me that this is the number of the beast and it will come to pass that all people will be forced to
receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Rev. 13:16-17)  I am going to avoid any situation where I am associated with that number.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2012
For more Daily Thoughts go to:
http://www.10minutereader.com