Come Into The Light (Guess Blogger)

Good Morning Everyone I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you Don Merritt:

Don Merritt (that’s me) is just a regular guy who has had a half-century of living life. I’ve had experiences that are quite normal and typical… and some that are less common. I’ve been busy for a long time in activities that range from politics to writing to running a business I am finished ghost-writing for others and writing things from a purely technical point of view; it’s my turn to write about the things that are really important in life: God, hope, faith, understanding and encouragement for others. It’s my hope to do so in a way that you will find interesting, unusual and non-threatening… and at the same time challenging.

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This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:5-7

Earlier we looked at the introduction to this letter, and here, we enter the first section of the letter which begins at verse 5 and continues through 2:14. This section is given context in verse 5: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. Thus, this section is all about John’s declaration of light versus darkness, and it contains comparisons and contrasts.
Before we take a look at it, keep in mind what John wrote in John 1:4 “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” All through the Gospel story, John used “light” as signifying the presence of Jesus, contrasted with “darkness” denoting His absence. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at our text. After proclaiming that God is light, John gets down to his explanation claiming that if we claim to be in fellowship with God, but walk in darkness, we lie, and are not in the truth. This is a rather easy statement to understand, for if we are in darkness, then we aren’t in His presence, and if we aren’t in His presence, we couldn’t possibly be in fellowship: There is no half-way.

The contrast is that if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship… because we are with Him in the light. If we have this fellowship in the light of His presence and truth, then His blood purifies us from all sin. The reality of the statement is that we can’t be in fellowship with Him until our sins have been forgiven by His sacrifice on the cross.
Sometimes, we may walk a ways in darkness, and by this I mean that we may stray from time-to-time. John doesn’t suggest that our errors kick us out of fellowship as we will see a little farther through this text, but that there is a way to return to the light of His presence, by confessing our sins., as we see in the next paragraph:

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8-10
I think we all would agree that a claim by any one of us to have never sinned would be little short of crazy. John seems to think it’s worse than that− all have sinned, but take heart, for there is a way out, confess your sins and He will forgive; this is our covenant promise. There is simply no need for us to wring our hands and carry around a burden of guilt and shame before God, for when we confess our sins (acknowledge them) He will forgive; we have His Word on that.

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“Father, Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit”

Luke 23b.png It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shinning. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the woman who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.                               Luke 23:44-49

It is true the man that walk among the disciples and mankind, has been crucified. These words that Jesus spoke from the cross were as follows, the first three where about His love for humankind. Then came the godforsaken cry, the heartrending, “I am thirsty!” the triumphant, “It is finished” and the final words of Jesus, Into your hands I commit My Spirit!” The work of salvation was perfectly and finally concluded, we can now be taken to God and never be forsaken by Him.

Jesus’ deathbed was a new cross, but there we learn how to die worthily. First, Jesus bowed his head in humble obedience to God’s will and with calm acceptance of what God inflicted upon him. How readily we question God’s will. Here Christ set the example of how to accept God’s will, even if it was a merciless and brutal death on the cross.

Secondly, Christ surrendered His Spirit to God. With this he, without uttering a word, said that His death was not his fate, but his privilege. This differs dramatically from those who don’t know God as Father (Abba). In their dying hours they are filled with anxiety and are deeply disturbed in spirit. 

Let us reflect on Jesus’ words on the cross and rate them at their true value. They are at times more serious and deeper than the words He spoke in his lifetime. In order to understand and appreciate salvation and redemption, we must understand and appreciate what Jesus said in His dying moments. 

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

“It Is Finished”

 

jOHN 19bWhen Jesus had received the drink, he said “It is finished”.      John 19:30

Judas betrayed Jesus, Jesus sacrificed himself to become the perfect Lamb, laid on the altar, the perfect offering to measure up to all of God’s requirements. The enemies were defeated! Darkness turned into shining light. The power of Satan and darkness was broken and the triumphant Christ could now say, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life” Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying (John 11:25)

Sin won’t rule over us anymore, because hell is concealed beneath us and heaven above is open to us. The devil’s power has been destroyed forever for those who place their hope, love and faith in the Risen Savior.

The work of salvation had been completed. You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. You were killed, and Your blood has ransomed for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.         (Revelation 5:9)

holy-week1.jpgHere we hear the sixth words Jesus spoke on the cross. “It is finished!” What is translated into three words in English is only one word in Greek” Tetelestai. It is a triumphant cry, an exclamation of victory. It does not indicate defeat, but glorious victory! These are the only word spoken on the cross that are not directed at a specific person. They are meant for all nations, a triumphant cry of victory!

The Old Testament prophecies had been fulfilled. A virgin gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem, He was from the lineage of David; he was called Immanuel and his parents did flee to Egypt. He was numbered among the poor and the simple. He found his place among criminals, His hands and feet were pierced, His side was pierced with a spear, they gambled for His clothes by throwing dice, He made the disable walk, the blind see, the deaf hear and He raised the dead. Everything happened as it has been prophesied. The people of that time must have asked themselves, “Why didn’t we believed? Why didn’t we see it? And us? What about Jesus’ predictions about His second coming? Will the prophecies come true once again? He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him.   (John 1:11) Will you accepted or reject Him, it is your choice!

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

 

Feeling Forsaken

Matthew 27.png

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,” lema sabachthani? (which means) ” My God, my God, why have you forsake me?”

We are standing on Golgotha and watching in dismay how Jesus is dying a painful death, so that we may be united with God. Christ has prayed for His enemies, He has given a murderer the assurance of salvation. He has made provision for his mother and brother. Now a heavy silence rests on Golgotha, because darkness has descended. Then the air is split by an agonized cry: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Christ was not delirious, he was forsaken by God! He did not think he was forsaken by God: He was forsaken by God! This was all for our sakes. Forsaken! Is there a sadder word in any language in the world? Forsaken by your friends, your parents, your people and family? Jesus knew all of this. But now he had experienced the greatest rejection: being forsaken by God! The soul of Christ suffering was not the suffering of his body, it was the suffering of his soul.

Because he suffered, he is able to identify with us when darkness settles in our lives, and we all know such times. No torment we know could ever equal Christ’s torment. When we suffer, we once again realize God’s unshakable faith in his bottomless sorrow. Even if it was dark around him and he felt God forsaken, it was always, “My God”! He knew that he would never drift out of the sphere of God’s love. Thus we should also believe without a doubt that because Jesus died, we cannot drift away from God’s love.

Grace and Peace To You My Friends

 

Victory In Jesus

1 John 4.pngYou dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.  (1 John 4:4-6)

The true Christian life is often described as a battle, and this becomes true when a disciple is struggling against the forces of darkness. It is true that Christians find themselves in continuous conflict with demonic powers, temptations that threaten to overwhelm them, and subtle forces that carry out their destructive purposes before their presence has been perceived. Unfortunately, it is also true that many disciples rely on their own strength and resources when they come face to face with forces over which they have no control. They do their best, but is just a matter of time before they break down.

However, followers of the living Christ have spiritual reserves that they can call on when they are confronted by the Evil One in his many disguises. deep within them lives a Spirit that is sensitive to the intervention of Jesus Christ and empowers them to fight confidently against any evil force. Never trust in your own resources, but rely on the indwelling Christ, particularly during moments when you feel weak and helpless. In the power of Christ and through His wisdom you can overcome dark forces if you realize that your help and strength comes from the Holy Spirit who lives in you.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

You Can Not Hide From God!

Psalm 139.pngYou have searched me, Lord and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirt? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there; if I make my bed in the depths; you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. I say. “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me.” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.                        Psalm 139:1-14

It is that time once again where many of us make New Year resolutions, where some of us say, I will exercise more, get plenty of rest, eat better than I have in the past, work more when I need to do so, and to slow down and smell the roses. Take the time for your friends and family, and try and not take anyone for granted, and more important is to learn to forgive more the way that Christ forgives each of us. However instead of making all these plans and not sticking to them what if we just learn to take one day as if it is a gift from God, because you know it truly is. Yesterday is gone forever we can not go backwards and change it, tomorrow, it is not promise to any of us, however today which is called P-R-E-S-E-N-T is God’s gift to all of us. If you and I begin each day with the thought that today is a gift, maybe we will look at life a little different. Remember no matter how we might want to change any part of our life that through it all Christ will be with us every step of the way. He was there when you life began in the womb of your mother and he will stay with you until the time that you return to him for all ever. It gives me such great comfort that there is no place I can hide that Christ couldn’t find me. because he is my Redeemer, my Savior, the Alpha and Omega, my friend, and more important he is the “Great I Am” and I am wonderfully made by him.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Third Sunday of Advent

Joy.pngWe have lit the candles of Hope and Peace, and relight them now to remind us that our hope is in Christ and that he will come again to bring peace to the world. Today begins the third week in our Advent journey, and so we light the third candle, the candle of Joy. In ancient times, the prophet Isaiah said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; to those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.” Many suffer from despair, anxiety, or holiday blues. Others experience only the dark side of human nature. Christ’s light has power to overcome all dark places in our society and our souls. The Psalmist tells us “to make a joyful noise to the Lord, for the Lord is God who made us and whose we are, whose steadfast loves endures forever and faithfulness to all generations. Now we light the third candle, the candle of Joy, as we remember the angel’s words to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people.” We light it so that all who reap blue harvest from seeds of sadness may know the joy of Jesus Christ. We light it in honor of those who show us the joy of following Christ.

Let us pray: God of Good News, as we await your coming we give you thanks for the joy we have in Christ Jesus. May all who seek such joy find it. For all who have ceased to believe in its possibility, may you work through us to show your joy already present. Come, God of Joy, come.               Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends