Supremacy of Jesus (The Life & Teachings of Jesus Part I)

IMG_4039
Photo Credit: Pinterest (original Source unknown)

The world has ideas about Jesus. He is well known in many religions other than Christianity. Those religions call Him a good man, or a prophet. They do not call Him God or the way to salvation. They remove the supremacy of Christ which is crucial. The bible outlines for us who Jesus is. Let’s dive into some text…

Colossians 1:13-23 (NKJV)

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

What do we learn about Jesus in this passage?

1. He is fully God. The Father chose to have all His fullness dwell in Him.

2. He is the firstborn of all creation.

3. He was before the creation of the world and all was created through Him and for Him.

4. By Jesus the Father reconciles all things to Himself, by Jesus, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood shed on the cross.

4. Through Him we have forgiveness of sins. He presents us holy to the Father through His sacrifice.

5. He is the head of the church.

Let’s look at another passage about Jesus.

Ephesians 1: 19-23 (NKJV)

…what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

We learn from the second passage…

1. Jesus was raised from the dead.

2. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.

3. His name is above every name.

4. Jesus is far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

It’s important that we understand who we are following. Jesus is fully God. He’s not weak, powerless, intimidated, still hanging on a cross, defeated, or passive. The Father gave Him the name above all names. He is the way to heaven, salvation. Without relationship with God, no person shall enter heaven.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,“~John 14:6 (NIV).

So my questions for us this series post are?

A. Do we view Jesus as scripture depicts Him?

B. When we share the Gospel, do we let people know Jesus is Lord? We aren’t inviting people to live as they please. It’s an invitation to love and commitment.

C. Have we made Jesus Lord over every area of life?

To call Jesus friend is an honor and privilege. Yet have we made Him Lord. If He is Lord, then we are submitting to Him. We align our hearts with His will.

I hope this series challenges us to know Jesus and what He taught. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He’s highly exalted. He’s worthy!

Father, help us to see Jesus as He is, not our preconceived ideas of who He is. May we know Him and follow Him. In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Love,

Erin

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,~Jeremiah 29:13.

Merry Christmas (Celebrating a King)

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f21/30998939/files/2014/12/img_3076.jpg

Photo credit: Pinterest

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever,~Isaiah 9:6-7.

Merry Christmas to you and your families. Christmas is a time to reflect on the greatest gift ever given to humanity, Jesus. A King left Paradise to come and save a sinful world. He humbled Himself to take the lowest place, that of a babe. A child is dependent on others for care, protection, and provision. A babe cannot speak and is helpless in many ways.

The King of the Universe came into the world to bless the world. He wasn’t born into wealth. He left the riches of heaven for the poverty of earth.

Jesus is the gift who continues to give to the world. He’s continuing to bless the world. This glorious King is alive and pursuing the hearts of His people.

If you do not know Him personally, I invite you to get to know Jesus. Relationship with Him begins with the Father drawing us, acknowledging a need for Him, confessing our sins, repenting, and believing that He is the Son of God. He came for love. He came for you! God pursues to love!

If this season brings you stress, strain, pain, or grief, know that Jesus lives to intercede for you. He loves you! You are so deeply loved. Jesus said, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” My prayers are with you as well.

Sweet friends, God loves you. He SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so whosoever will believe in Him will have everlasting life!

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Erin

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f21/30998939/files/2014/12/img_3101.jpg

Believe, Know, Listen, & Follow (Intimacy with God)

This is from my book website ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com. I posted it this morning. I try not to post the same thing on both sites but felt led to. There are different followers on each site. I hope this encourages you to plunge the depths of God’s heart. He loves you!

IMG_0416.JPG

Photo credit: Son of God movie

John 10:25-30.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

I recommend reading all of John 10. In this passage Jesus refers to Himself as the good Shepherd. Shepherds were overseers of flocks. Sheep are not the brightest animals. They will fall into ditches, see another sheep in a ditch and fall in…they can wonder off and be destroyed because they are not wise. Shepherds protected their sheep. They were invested in keeping them safe. They’d lay at the gate to prevent them from escaping. They spent time with the sheep. They rescued wayward sheep.

Jesus is the good Shepherd. We are like the sheep. He’s responsible to care for us, reveal who He is to us, and we are to know and follow Him. We are not an obligation to God. We are His dearly loved children.

In the verses above Jesus is responding to the questions of the Pharisees about who He is. Is He the Christ? I love His responses. He stated, “You do not believe, therefore you are not my sheep. My sheep know and follow me.

Intimacy with God starts with faith. It starts with belief.

Do you believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do?
It is not enough to simply believe there is a God or Jesus is the Son of God. Even the demons believe and tremble. (James 2:19), yet they are not saved. There’s no salvation for them. There is for humanity.

If you’re reading this and you’ve never confessed your sins before God, repented (made a decision to turn from sinning and turn to God), asked God to cleanse you of your sins, placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the appropriation for your sins, and asked Him to be your Lord and Savior, I invite you do so. There’s no salvation apart from Him. There’s no entrance to heaven without going through the Son. We can’t do enough good works to earn holiness or righteousness. Jesus did it for us. We by faith, receive what He’s done and accept His righteousness as our own.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith,~Romans 3:23-25a.

If you invited God into your life, I would love to hear from you and provide more information to you.

The second step in intimacy with God is being with Him.

Sheep spent their time with the shepherd. They learned his voice, his smell, his mannerisms. It’s impossible to have intimacy (knowing) with someone and you never spend any time. If Sunday morning is the only time you spend with God, well your level of intimacy is not going to be high.

I am not stating you attend worship services all week, lock yourself in a room to pray and read the Bible all day. I am saying we can commune with God every day, as much as we’d like. One of my morning activities is to start the day with worship and thanksgiving. “Good morning God! I love you. Thank you for who you are and all you’ve done. I invite you to be a part of my day. What do you want to do? Who do you want to bless?” And there are days where I’m just listening. What is God doing? What is He saying? It’s not a ritual, it’s relationship.

Intimacy with God involves listening and knowing His voice.

The Bible says God speaks. There are some who teach He doesn’t and that does not align with scripture. God speaks to His children. If you had children and wrote an instruction manual for them, would you then say, “I refuse to speak to you. Go read the book I gave you.” That would seem insane. Yet some teach God only speaks to us through the Bible. God spoke to people in the Bible through dreams, visions, directly, through prophets, even through a donkey. Before you get too excited, let’s lay down some ground rules.

1. When God speaks He will not tell you to sin or violate His already written word.

I had someone tell me once the Holy Spirit told her not to read the Bible ever and only to listen to the voice she was hearing. That’s wrong and violates scripture.

I heard someone say God told them to leave their spouse for someone else. That’s wrong. It violates many scriptures.

Our culture says do whatever feels good for you and if it’s “love” or feels good, God must approve of it. That’s wrong. If there’s no place in scripture where God is condoning a behavior, you can’t condone it either and claim it’s God. There are some verses that seem to contradict each other which is why God gave His Holy Spirit to teach us.

We can’t toss out the Bible and rely on feelings, human wisdom, angelic visitations, or voices we believe are God.

2. All prophecy (speaking God’s word) is to be tested. Meaning the following:

Does it align with God’s word? Example, there are many false prophecies about when the world will end. Well, the Bible states the following:

“No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows,”~Matthew 24:36.

Does the prophecy fit the character of God?

I’ve had destructive words spoken over me. There was no life in them. God does give warnings. He also provides redemption. Those who repent can find hope and life in Him. Jesus came to save, not destroy. If people are destroyed, it will be because they refused the gift He offered and refused repentance.

Finally intimacy with God involves following Him.

We are called to obey God. It’s not a popular teaching, yet Jesus taught it often. Christianity is not simply praying a prayer, it’s following a person. That person is Jesus. We cannot claim to love God and live a life where we refuse to do what He says. He gives us grace and His Spirit to enable us to do His will. If we cease to obey, we will eventually cease to hear from Him. If He continues to speak, we are held accountable for what we know. So if you feel super disconnected from God, one thing to ask is , “Has He told me to do something I have not done?”

I will continue this series because I truly believe we perish for lack of knowledge of who God is. We are called to know Him, to be loved by Him, to love Him, and enjoy Him. God is not boring, cold, stern, a kill joy, or mean spirited. He is good, holy, exciting, adventurous, overflowing with love and joy. He’s beyond amazing. He’s generous, faithful, merciful, and forgiving. The evil one doesn’t want the world to know who God is and how good He is. Once you know Him, it’s almost impossible to resist Him.

Will you join me on this relentless pursuit of God’s heart? I hope so.

You’re continually in my thoughts, prayers, and you are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Love,

Erin

Heart Abandoned (Worship Series Part 6)

IMG_1077.JPG

Photo: Pinterest Lyric: Joel Houston (The Stand)

It’s around 5 am here. I’ve been waking up between 4 and 5 am the past few weeks. I mention this because it is the time of the most sweet fellowship with God. What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth? How does one foster relationship with the Creator of the Universe?

Well let’s start with the basics for the non Christian. Unlike what you hear on talk shows, there’s one way to God. It’s through faith in His Son Jesus.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6.

We believe Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin, was crucified for all sin, and rose again. We confess our sins before God (for all but God have sinned), we receive forgiveness, we are baptized in water and filled with His Spirit…

Jesus gives us access to the Father. His righteousness covers us. God is holy. There’s no sin in Him. We cannot remove our sin. Someone who never sinned had to pay for us. The cross represents perfect love and justice. The penalty for sin is death. Jesus paid for our sins with His life. He died as us and rose so we could have life eternal. It’s like someone sitting on death row for a crime and Jesus walks in and says, “I know someone has to pay, I will pay for this. Let this person go free.”

What does this have to do with worship?

Glad you asked!

I believe we sometimes forget what God paid for. When we begin to worship things other than God, we’ve forgotten the great lengths God went through to save us and call us His own. I can’t name one person in my life who would die for me if I were guilty. Forget guilty. I can’t name one who’d die for me if I was innocent. Maybe my mom, yet the way Jesus suffered is beyond comprehension. He was marred beyond recognition. Films can’t capture how badly He was beaten. His flesh was ripped off His body.

The cross reminds me of how good God is and how deadly sin is. To choose to worship anyone or anything above Him is ludicrous. He gave everything for a world that gives Him the scraps off the table. “Here God, here’s my Sunday morning attendance and offering. Please don’t ask for anything else.”

God doesn’t ask for part of our lives or part of our devotion. He asks for everything!

He’s worthy of whole hearted devotion. If my conversion and following Christ does not lead me to love Him more and more with each passing day, I must go back to the cross. If my love for Him does not lead me to want to do what He says, I must go back to the cross.

The cross…
Where Jesus took what I deserved.
The cross…
Where love was poured out so we would never have to experience the tragedy of eternity in hell and separation from God.
The cross…
Where God’s wrath for sin was targeted at His Son so forgiveness and grace could be appropriated to us by faith.

It cost God greatly to redeem us. He passionately pursues us. He gave and gives His best to us. Yet He often receives so little love in return. He’s the One people blame in crisis or they don’t get their way or is sought out only in times of trouble.

Sweet friends, God is SO much better than anything or anyone He created! We do not know how to worship until we know His love. We do not know His love until we know His Son. We can’t love Him until we first receive His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness for us.


Father forgive us for worshipping created things. Forgive us for making You an obligation or our genie in a bottle. Forgive us for being consumed by this world and not putting You first. Help us to reflect on the cross. Help us to know Jesus, know You, know the Holy Spirit. May we know the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of Your great love for us. Help us to receive the fullness of what You paid for. In Jesus powerful name, Amen!

Encounter (Holy Spirit Series Part 7)

20140415-200335.jpg

There are so many wonderful things I could say about the Holy Spirit. Tonight I wanted to share more testimonies that will hopefully fuel your faith.

I gave my life to Jesus when I was 7 years old. My parents are pastors. So, I grew up hearing about Jesus and watching them live like Jesus. I saw them open our home to the poor, widows, orphans, and even those who had done horrible things to them. I watched my parents love the man who murdered their oldest son and never served a day in jail for the crime. I didn’t know at the time that their love was a display of one the Holy Spirit’s greatest works-agape love.

My first realization of His work in my life came on Easter when I was 7. I was watching the Easter movie about Jesus. When it came time for Him to go to the cross, I recall being overwhelmed with sorrow and love. I wept. This man gave His life to save mine. The Holy Spirit was so at work that day! I didn’t want to live another day without Him!

Like many Christians I thought God only spoke to special people, like pastors. 😉 Yet, there was this hunger in me for Him that couldn’t be quenched. There were so many things I couldn’t understand, like walking in a place and being able to know if it was good or bad. My mom said I had an uncanny knack of knowing spiritual atmospheres. Later learned it is the gift of discerning spirits.

It wasn’t until college I begin to hear God speak to me. A still voice would bring scriptures to mind, line by line. I had to look them up because my memory was never excellent at memorizing scripture. I began to journal, date, and log those versus. I still have some of those journals. He moved from speaking scripture to providing wisdom, and insight. I keep a journal with me at all times to document what He’s speaking.

Knowing (Prompted to Pray):

One night at a Sunday night worship gathering I was caught up in worship (meaning really into it). I was joyful, excited, and happy. At one point sorrow hit me so profound I felt as if I wanted to die. This was so strange. I began to cry big crocodile tears. I excused myself to the restroom. I begin to pray. I didn’t know what else to do. After awhile the grief lifted. Days later I was talking to a friend and she confessed she was going to take her own life. She said Sunday night she had it all planned. A light bulb went off for me. I asked what time? She said that evening. It was the exact time I was hit with grief. She said something like a wave of God’s love hit her and she couldn’t go through with it.

Healed in a Moment/Delivered in a Minute:

I told you last post about being trapped in my car under water. Well, after that incident, I had awful panic attacks in enclosed spaces. Mainly in my car. I would have to get out of the situation as quickly as possible, or otherwise be overcome with fear. I went to my pastor at the time for prayer. He wanted me to go to counseling. I’m not against counseling. I’m pro take it to God first. I left church discouraged. I drove around worshipping and talking to God. I told The Lord , “I never want to feel this way again. I know You can fix this.” It was in a moment that I felt extreme warmth surge through my body. Fear was gone. I didn’t have anyone pray for me or lay hands on me. God did a complete work in one minute.

He did the same thing for my heart. Years before that awful car accident, I had a bad reaction to medication during a routine surgery and almost died. The outcome was a healthy teenager came out on heart meds and seeing specialists. I told God I knew He healed. Jesus paid for healing. I’m happy to say my heart is healthy!!!! This happened with me and God. One moment changed my life, one act of faith.

There are people who travel all over to see miracle workers or “super” spiritual people. The Miracle Worker is God alone. The Spirit of God is in every born again believer. He doesn’t come in percentages and is fully God. There are so many breakthroughs that can happen with just you and God. I’m an ordinary person who has suffered quite a bit and seen God bring miracle after miracle! I’m thankful for every person who refused to help or could not help because it’s taught me to rely fully on God. Yes, we need people too. God is everything. He is my everything. The Holy Spirit is all powerful. So, I encourage you to fan the flame of your love for God! Get into the secret place with Him. Get to know Him for yourself. Know the Author of the Book (the Bible). Encounter Him. Let Him encounter you!

Greater is He who is in you than in the entire world!~1 John 4:4.

Love in Christ,

Erin