Friday, December 24, 2010

Salvation Prepared in the Presence of All Peoples

Luke 2:25-33

“And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

‘Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,

According to Your word;

For my eyes have seen Your salvation,

Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

And the glory of Your people Israel.’

And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him."

(for the full story read Luke 2.) :)

What an amazing passage. This part of Jesus’ life takes place about forty days after His birth. This man named Simeon is righteous and devout. He was looking for the consolation of Israel, the comfort of Israel. The comfort of Israel is the Messiah. He was told that he would see the Messiah before He died. Mary and Joseph came to Jerusalem about forty days after Jesus was born to offer Him to the Lord and to offer sacrifices for purification according to the Law. Simeon was also in the temple because the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him. Simeon took Jesus into His arms. Can you imagine how he felt? He was holding the Comforter of Israel. He blessed God. He had seen God’s Salvation. What is amazing about what Simeon says is in verses 31-32. HE says I have seen Your Salvation “which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6), And the glory of your people Israel.” Simeon knew that the Messiah had come not only for the Salvation of Israel but also to save the Gentiles. Way back when Jesus was around forty days old it was known by this man that He was to be the Savior of the whole world. How amazing is that?!! God who came in the humble form of a baby was to be the Savior of the World. He wouldn’t be one who fought bravely with the sword or a mighty General to defeat the Romans at the present time. His Salvation would be greater than that. It would last for eternity. It would be Salvation from sin, hell and separation from Him for all eternity. A Salvation that would last for all of eternity. A Salvation for all the peoples of the earth. The only way He could bring about this Salvation was to die on a cross. To pay the penalty of the world’s sins with his blood, the blood of the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice. But the greatest part is that the story does not end in death but in the fact the Jesus Christ rose from the grave to show that He conquered sin and death for all time. This great plan of Salvation is played out in the rest of the book of Luke what an exciting story. What a wonderful Savior is Jesus. We get to celebrate not only at Christmas time but all the time. Let us give Him all the glory now and forever not only at Christmas time, or at Easter, or Thanksgiving but all the time, every day. He has given us the greatest gift, Salvation to all men. Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, in the form of a baby to become the Savior of the whole world. Thank You, Father, for this great gift of Salvation to all men. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Here Am I

Here is a poem that I found in Nigeria. I have no idea who wrote it but I really like it. This is the prayer of my heart.

Here am I, Lord, Make me ready

Mold me use me Lord, May I give what I have

My testimonies, my prayers, my love

May I go into the world with the Good News, Lord

I am willing, I am ready

Here am I, Lord, send me.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Good deeds are not for Salvation so why should we do them? Part 1

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” Titus 2:11-15 (NASB)
Paul in this passage is talking to Titus. There are two things that we see here in these first couple of verses. First, God’s grace appeared bringing salvation to all men. Not just the Jews or the Gentiles but to ALL mankind. Second, God’s grace appeared instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age. God’s grace appeared instructing us, it appeared telling us what we need to do. Teaching us to DENY ungodliness and worldly desires. To deny, means to refuse to acknowledge. We are to not even acknowledge ungodliness and worldly desires. We are to have no part with them. We are to deny them access to our lives. We are to reject them. Paul then goes on to say that Gods’ grace appeared instructing us to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the past age? Or the future age? No, the present age! This means we cannot say I will deny ungodliness and worldly desires and live a sensible, righteous, godly life tomorrow or sometime in the future. We are to live a sensible, righteous, godly life NOW, in the present age. While living this life we are to be looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. Jesus came to this earth as a humble lowly servant that was when the grace of God appeared. Now we are looking for the appearing of the glory of Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus is our great God and Savior! He gave Himself for us for two reasons. To redeem us from part of our lawless deeds or a few of our lawless deeds? No! He came to redeem us from EVERY lawless deed! He also came to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, ZEALOUS for good deeds. I love that word zealous. Zealous means passionate, fanatical, fervent, keen, and enthusiastic. Every time I read that word zealous it gets me excited. We are to be zealous for good deeds. We are to be passionate, enthusiastic about doing good deeds. It’s not sitting waiting for an opportunity to do a good deed to come around, but it is looking for opportunities to do a good deed so that Christ can shine through what you are doing. We should be zealous for good deeds so that Christ is shown through them. Not for your own glory but for Christ’s glory. This verse reminds me of one of my favorite verses. Matthew 5:16 says “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” What is our light? Christ is our light. John 1:4-5 “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” We are to let Christ shine in our lives, therefore when we are zealous for good deeds, people will see Christ in us and we will have more opportunities to share Him with others both with our mouths and with our actions. Being zealous for good deeds is a lifestyle as is all of this passage.
Brothers and sisters this is to be our lifestyle. We are to deny ungodliness and worldly desires right now. We are to live sensible, righteous, godly lives right now, not tomorrow. We are to be looking for the blessed hope and appearing of our God and Savior, Christ Jesus. We are to be looking for this one who redeemed us and purified us. We are to be Zealous for good deeds, so that we can show our God and Savior, Jesus Christ to this lost and dying world.
Paul tells Titus at the end of this chapter, “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
*This has been posted but as I have gotten into this subject more and more I have decided to write more on this. So that is why it is called part 1. I am planning and hoping for a part two or at least another draft of this note including everything that I am finding. This subject has been something I have been learning about lately. I hope you all enjoy what the Lord has shown me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Alimo's Legacy by Shana Kerttula

Everyone has a heart full of love, not all will share it. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong, not all will listen to it. Everyone can see wrong, but few have the courage change. Everyone has a story, But who will listen. I have a story to tell but it’s not my own. A story of Neglect, a story of love, a story of grief, a story of joy. In 1979 a missionary woman named Esther Nordman was going to a conference in a village. She saw something out of the corner of her eye. At first glance it looked like a dead animal, left lying on the ground. She looked closer. It was not an animal nor was it dead, it was a small child. Esther went back home and brought back her husband Leslie to see the child. She was unbathed, naked and half starved. The couple asked around as to who her parents were. It turns out the father had died and the mother suffered of a mental disability. The family was happy to give the child to the Nordmans. They took her home bathed her, cut her hair, fed her, and poured all the love they could into her. Her name was Alimo. She was severely disabled both physically and mentally. Alimo was very happy, for a time. The couple tried to adopt her but they were unable before they had to returned to the United States. So Esther and Leslie had to leave their dear child and return home. They left her in the care of the CMML mission. The mission hired a nanny to care for her. The Nanny gave Alimo only two jobs. 1. Keep clean. 2. Not to eat anything that was not given to her to eat. So Alimo spent hours sitting quietly not allowed to play because she might get dirty, and fed very little. At this time Caroline Gross was in the United States burying her beloved husband, Paul Gross. She then came back to Nigeria. One Sunday Alimo’s nanny asked for ride to church. Mom Gross having a car at the time agreed to drive her. When Mom Gross arrived to pick her up the Nanny came out alone. She asked where Alimo was. The nanny replied that she was inside. When asked if Alimo was alone the Nanny said no someone was taking care of her. As Mom Gross drove her to church she couldn’t rid herself of the feeling that something wasn’t right. So she left everyone at church and went back to check on Alimo. As she walked into the room she saw Alimo, Alone, Quietly sitting on the bed. Across the room sat a basket of candy. Even though Alimo was very hungry she had not touched a single one of them. She had been so well trained, yet so very neglected. Mom Gross took her home, loved her, and devoted much of her time to Alimo. She decided to adopt Alimo, but when she went to adopt her she found out that Alimo had already been adopted. That she’d have to get permission from the Nordmans. They gladly consented to have Mom Gross adopt her. She ended up adopting Alimo in Nigeria but not in the United States because of some stipulations about the amount of time that she would have to spend in the USA, that she would not be able to fulfill. So when she traveled she got Alimo visa’s and brought along people to care for her while they were in the States. Mom Gross took in more children, caring for them, and loving them. Pretty soon the full time care became too much. The Doctor told her she couldn’t do it anymore. So Mary Edeh, one of the girls who had cared for Alimo while in the USA, packed everyone and everything up and moved them to Otutulu. This is where Mary’s Brother Daniel and his wife Esther lived. So they all lived in a house at the bottom of the hill. Soon they outgrew the house and built a bigger building. Over the years this became known as Ministry of Mercy Orphanage. Mom Gross had to return to the States for a bit of time. On this particular trip she left Alimo home. Alimo got very sick. She was taken to the hospital in Ika. Upon her arrival they performed a surgery on her. Mom Gross returned to more grief. On May 6, 2000 Alimo went home to be with her Lord and Savior. She was twenty-six years old. Loved and missed by many. To this day Alimo’s legacy lives on. I see it as I walk the halls, hear the joyful squeals, and feel the little body’s crowd around for a hug. As listened to this story, and later wrote it out, I was struck by how through it all I could see how God worked in everything. He had a plan. He was never surprised. God has a plan for every life. His greatest plan for us was sending His Son into the world to die on the cross to save us from eternal separation from God in Hell. Trust Him with your life He knows everything about you and what’s best for you!