By Barbara Rainey
First posted on EverThineHome.com
I’m beginning this post differently today because I need your help.
It’s an understatement to say life has changed in 2020. What wasn’t clear last winter is now becoming more obvious: The changes to our lives are not the result of just a single virus named Covid, but other viral infections are sprouting, too.
Loud shouts of censorship have been heard along with other unsettling noisy accusations nation-wide this year. It all seems so distant until it’s not. Recently we’ve discovered it’s not just rumors. Here’s our story:
In order to share the messages that God has given us, both Dennis and I, along with other Christian ministries, use Facebook ads. Like ads in any other media format, this paid space helps us find other like-minded readers. But in recent weeks, to our surprise, Facebook has blocked our ads. Our freedom is therefore restricted.
It’s not just about the actual blocking, which we learned was for reasons both political and religious, but undeniably now our assumed Judeo-Christian values are not valued or respected as they once were.
From the first century to this present one, believers in Jesus Christ God’s Son, have endured persecution, resistance from governing authorities, and hatred from those who do not know Him. Jesus said, “if the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).
But Christians have also resisted, stood strong and found ways to keep sharing.
I’m addressing you today as friends because you are. Most of you I have never met, but if you know Jesus as Lord we are related. Jesus called us friends and so we are to one another. Throughout the last 2,000 years believers, friends in Christ, have encouraged and helped one another to grow and stand strong in our faith for Christ and His kingdom.
So now I’m asking for your help. Because we aren’t able to run ads to share God’s truth will you take up the responsibility to share what you read with those you know?
When a blog or a social media post is especially meaningful to you in some way will you share it with others?
Will you become not just a consumer but a transmitter of what you learn to someone else?
Some have declared the 21st century to be post-Christian. But post-Christian could become anti-Christian quickly. I’m reading an excellent book on how we can prepare for this unwanted possibility. Live Not By Lies, by Rob Dreher, is compelling reading, full of stories of Christians who lived under totalitarianism in multiple countries. Readers learn what might be ahead and how to prepare now. And importantly Rob writes that the family and small groups of believers are the two crucial foundational units of strength and confidence in resisting hostility of any kind.
I should note that every book written by humans is less than perfect. You may not agree with everything in Live Not By Lies. That’s one of the gifts of reading widely; the sharpening of our thinking and belief system. Read with God’s Word in mind. He will show you what is for you to keep and do.
For today’s faith encouragement, I want to focus on the supremacy of Jesus our Messiah. He came at Christmas to call us to follow Him. He came to be Lord of our lives not to be simply admired or segregated to culturally accepted holidays.
Messiah means Savior.
I need a Savior.
Our large family (39 people) needs a Savior.
Our nation and world need salvation from our sinful misguided ways of living.
One of the most remarkable truths about Jesus and why He alone is worthy of the title Messiah is that He did nothing on His own. He never acted or thought selfishly. Jesus tells us plainly multiple times in the Gospel of John, “I can do nothing on my own initiative,” (John 5:30 NASB). This is and always will be stunning to me because I make decisions every day on my own initiative! And you do too I know.
But for Jesus, no choice was ever made on His own apart from following His Father’s will.
Jesus obeyed God with His every breath. He chose to execute God’s plan flawlessly. One little mean, cynical or selfish thought from His flesh and the work to rescue us would have ended.
But it didn’t end.
Therefore, the promised Messiah is a message of hope. God calls me to imitate Jesus the Messiah. Because His Spirit lives in me I know I can become more attuned to hearing His voice more clearly and obeying more quickly. Best Christmas Gift Ever!!!
The promised Messiah is a message of love. As John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.” This is the story of Christmas and Easter in one verse. We are so loved Jesus came to give us a new heart, to help us follow Him. Ezekiel 26:26 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.”
The promised Messiah guarantees a future of sinless eternal life. One day He will return and remove our dull sight and give us eyes to see and ears to hear. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts,” says the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 3:15), and 1 John 3:2 reads, “ … when He appears, we will be like Him …” Open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus!
If you read all the way here, to the end, I’d give you a hug of thanks if I could!
And if you were encouraged, please share this with someone else.
Christmas is about Jesus. Is He more prominent in your house than other holiday symbols? Is He first place in your life? There are only two choices. Make Him Lord in your home this year.
Finally, I want you to know our Messiah cross ornament, along with the other three crosses, and the other names of Jesus ornaments are available this year only. In case you missed it we won’t be ordering ever again. Sad but true and timely.
May Jesus the Messiah be Your greatest joy as you proclaim His name more clearly this year than ever!
He alone is worthy of our praise!
To read a sample chapter of Barbara's new book, My Heart, Ever His, or to purchase the book click here.
Untie Your Story
Use at your Thanksgiving table or any time your family needs a gratitude check! Creates engaging conversation and memories as individuals share from their personal stories. Tie one ribbon around the napkin at each place or choose one question for everyone gathered to answer.
This is too good to keep to yourself! Share with a friend or family member using the links below!