21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 NKJV
He came to save us not to smash us. The name Jesus was not uncommon in His day, and yet this birth and this name changed all of history as well as destiny. His name meant “the Lord saves,” and that was His mission in coming; a mission driven by His great love for us. That mission will mean nothing to the one who has either no view or an improper view of salvation and sin. I humbly present a major provision of salvation to be that which creates, restores and grows a right relationship and resulting intimate fellowship with the Father through Jesus. Sin, at a minimum then, would be that which diminishes, damages, or destroys that relationship. To enjoy the relationship God intended with us it is imperative to know that Jesus came to save us “to” new and higher things, which requires saving us “from” old and lower things. The former is not possible without the latter.
So why would all not immediately respond to this love that saves and makes brand new? Some may not want to change their lifestyle and consequently will bow only to the God of their own control or pleasure. Others feel that they can do a better job of being God than God can. There are many others who simply cannot comprehend the depths to which the love of God goes in transforming their hearts, minds, and everyday life. They hesitate to take the plunge of surrendering their lives to the Lord due to fears of being vulnerable, weak, and ultimately condemned if they face, admit, and confess their sin. They view God as standing over them with a big hammer waiting to smash them as soon as they confess. How sad of a lie that is, for God did not send His Son to condemn but to SAVE…and Jesus came to smash your sin not you…if you receive Him as Savior.
From your father’s heart with love
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21; “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 NKJV (emphasis mine)
Yes, on that amazing night some 2000 years ago perfect “Love” came wrapped in the simple flesh of a new born baby. His appearance was like any other baby boy who needed to be fed and changed, BUT as He grew into a man He would be feeding and changing lives on a whole new level. This Jesus came to seek and save for love does both.
His seeking was relentless and His love reached even the most unlovable. He kept changing the hearts and lives of all who received Him…all the way to the cross; and even on the cross He did not stop. While on the cross He still came to a criminal hanging beside Him, and to a Roman soldier there to facilitate a successful execution of Him. Love changed both that day. He is still loving and still coming, even in this moment to whoever calls on Him, for He came to save from sin and He is still relentless about that. His love never gives up you know…and it saves.
Even the most intense religious activities, programs and rituals will not and cannot do what this Jesus does. No self-help program, clever sounding spiritual fad, or new age philosophy can replace the need for why this Jesus came. There are only two real choices of spiritual operation. One is the draining work of determining to be your own lord and living out of your “self,” and the other is the ease and peace of allowing Jesus to be your Lord living in your “self.”Simply put, salvation is found only in a Person; the authentic, historical and still present Jesus; and the good, good news is… He seeks and saves. Mission Accomplished!
Jesus, I desire this day for your presence to not only surround but to fill me. I declare you not only my Savior but my Lord. I turn not just my sins but my “self” over to you. Create in me a deeper desire for relationship with You that will transform me into your image in my world. I seek to know you more through prayer and Your Word as revealed in the Scriptures. Thanks for seeking, loving, and saving me. Amen
Scripture reading Matthew 2:1-12
Text: But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel. Matthew 2:6 (NKJV emphasis mine).
We are told King Herod was deeply agitated and troubled by the birth of Jesus. Why, what is going on here? Why is this king who was so feared, shaking with his own fear and rage as the scribes read about the coming of a new kind of ruler? Well, He is a “Shepherd.” A what? A Shepherd? Really? Is this a joke? No, not at all, and Herod seemed to be grasping the danger of a ruler who would “shepherd.” Can you imagine the impact of being cared for, protected and loved by your Ruler? Greater still, what if this love would spill over and capture the hearts of people? They might be willing to surrender their personal kingdoms and lay down their lives for a kingdom larger than “Self?” How dangerous that would be to the “Self-Ruler.” What a concept of a “Ruler,” what a Jesus…what a God!
The “self-ruler” survives purely through repression and fear while the Shepherd-Ruler reigns through relationship and faith. Relationship is powerful. It replaces fear with faith, obligation with dedication, and force with freedom. Perhaps it is because relationship changes the heart while repression can at most control the head. There is a big difference between heart cleansing and brain washing. Changed hearts can really mess up “self kingdom” agendas. Perhaps that is why there is so much effort to eliminate Jesus from government affairs…and individual affairs as well.
Might I share one more observation? Could it be that earthly kingdoms are simply the reflection of individual kingdoms? What if your self-rule were given over the to The Shepherd’s rule? After the Wise Men knelt before Jesus, they were told to not go back to the Herod they had left…and they listened. Wise men and women will do well kneeling before the “Ruler who will shepherd.” I have to tell you though, you may be captured…by His love; and perfect love casts out fear. You likely won’t be going back to the old.
from "Your father's heart"
(Background Scripture Reading - Matthew 2:1-4)
A world shaking and life changing event was unfolding. A King from heaven itself had arrived, a leader on whose shoulders government could actually rest. This leader could bring peace beyond what the world claimed to give, which was external and temporary. His peace would be of the heart and mind, which is internal and eternal. He could do this because He was not only the King, but called the “Prince of Peace,”…what a description! Who in their right mind would not joyfully welcome this leader? What an easy decision it was to support this Man...or was it?
“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matthew 2:3).
It is apparently not so easy after all is it? The Kingdom of Heaven, and specifically Jesus and His platform, (the Scriptures), is almost always a trouble and threat to the “herods” and the “jerusalems” they trouble or entice into their agenda. Do not be surprised then that Evangelical Christianity, more than any other lifestyle, is seen as politically and socially incorrect. Do not be surprised that if you truly live this lifestyle you will most often be on the wrong side of the kingdoms of this world. This was true in New Testament times, as both the blood of the martyrs down through the ages testify to, and the ridicule if not removal of the things of Jesus today confirm. Governmental “herods” are still seeking to kill Jesus, and they do not care one bit the cost of doing so to society, for these “herods” may bring attempts at control, but only Jesus can bring real change. Yet there is another kind of “herod” to address which is larger than anything mentioned yet.
This larger obstacle to real change is the “herod” of the human heart. Jesus as “King” will likely pose a threat to my own personal kingdom and the “jerusalems” around me. There are only two responses available to me. One, allow the “herod” in me to seek out and eliminate any other “king” but self, and the other, allow the “wise man” in me to seek out the King of Kings and bow down and worship Him. Real change requires an admission that He is Lord, a submission to His love, and a surrender of my life…to fulfill His highest purpose. Now that is change to believe in. What is your response?
Your Father’s Heart with love
I have a desire to be the physical demonstration of the person of Jesus through all the ordinary activity of my life, and on this site through my "devotionals." My deep desire is to have intimacy with Jesus and the heart of my heavenly Father beating in my heart and impacting my wife and family, and then whoever and wherever God places me.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8