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Tue, Aug 11.20

  Beaver Creek Christian Church : A nondenominational fellowship of believers in Ashe County, West Jefferson, NC Minister's Minute: Minister's Blog - Posted Every Tuesday - Friday


The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

20. Peace - Ephesians 2:14

20. Peace – “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,” Eph. 2:14

The message of the angels to the shepherds was "peace on earth." Jesus was to bring peace. But if this is true where is it? The reality is that since the birth of Christ 2,000 plus years ago, there is no peace on earth. At any one moment in time there are at least 28 wars or armed conflicts being fought in our world. Hate, anger, jealousy, and greed seem to be the theme of attacks on innocent people.

There have always been tragedies that have tried to rob the season of peace and joy. On Dec. 7, 1941, The Japanese launched an attack on Pearl Harbor that killed 2,403 and injured 1,178. This attack ushered the United States of America into WW2 just before before Christmas. On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and fatally shot twenty 6 and 7 year old children and six adult staff members before he took his own life. Just in the past few weeks we have seen terrorist attacks, police men and women attacked, shot, or stabbed by criminals, fires that killed and took property set by individuals who were "bored".

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Jesus didn't bring peace but the message of "peace on earth" seems lost among the violence... or did we get the message wrong?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow felt the same way. He lost his wife to a tragic house fire in 1861 that caused him great anguish and a conflict of faith. On top of that, The Civil War broke out that same year producing a scale of battle casualties unprecedented in American history: 620,000 dead; 460,000 wounded. To say that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was blue was an understatement.

One Christmas, he sat at his desk and he heard the church bells ringing out the message of Peace. In his mind he thought, "There is no peace on earth." But he picked up his Bible and contemplated the Christmas story from Luke 2:8-14. Suddenly inspired, He wrote a poem called “Christmas Bells.” the poem was later set to music and given the name "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day".

Longfellow discovered the true peace of Christmas as he contemplated the message of "peace on earth, good will to men." The peace that Jesus brought was not peace between countries at war. He did not come to bring "world peace" or peace between man and man. He came to bring peace between God and Man.

You see, by not following God's commands we have rebelled and declared war on God. And we have all sinned and fallen short of his glorious standard. In doing so we have brought his wrath on us. We deserve to die and go to Hell. But because of God's great love for us, in spite of our sin, God sent his Son, Jesus to take our punishment. Jesus bore all our sins on the cross and died for us. He did this so that we could have the gift of life through his gift of grace. In other words, Jesus is the ultimate peace treaty between God and us.

In Longfellow's last stanza we can see the realization of this message of peace and our response to it:

Till, ringing, singing, on it’s way,

The world revolved from night to day

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,

of peace on earth, good will to men

This peace is for each person to receive and then, like the Christmas bells, we are to pass the message on to others. In sharing the message of peace between God and man we could bring peace to a sin-sick, war-torn world.

I thank God for Jesus, His peace treaty. May God bless you this day as you experience the peace of Christ in your life.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God Almighty. You are awesome and worthy of all my praise and worship. I know my sins have brought conflict between you and I. I thank you for Jesus, the ultimate peace treaty. Thank you for sending him to take my punishment and bring me the gift of grace and life. I look forward to being with you in heaven one day. In Jesus' name, Amen.

-Loren Lung

Dec 20, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

19. Light of the World - John 8:12

19. Light of the World – "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

What is Christmas with out lights? I love to see the light displays and the Christmas tree lights. This year the big item in lights is the laser projection... jury is still out on those. No matter how you look at it the lights are beautiful.

In fact, It aways seems so dark after Christmas. All the decorations have been turned off and packed away for another year. People moaning over the electric bill. The contrast is stark.

It reminds me of the stark contrast between holiness and sin. The apostle John must of loved lights as much as I do. John said, "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5). He goes on to contrast the holiness and sin by talking about walking in light or walking in darkness.

The world was sure a dark place when Jesus came. Jesus was born in the darkness of night. Mary and Joseph would have needed a lamp to see the face the newborn child. Shepherds were watching their flocks by night. Angels proclaimed his glory in the night sky. Magi followed a star at night.

But it was not only dark because of night. It was dark because of sin. The world was dark under Roman oppression. It was dark with Herod's paranoid concerns of a threat to his rule. It was dark with poverty and violence. It was dark with sin.

Our world seems dark too. Sometimes I can relate to Longfellow's poem about Christmas bells. "There is no peace on earth." I think about the mother and daughter who were murdered in Everetts just a few weeks ago. I think about all the acts of terror and violence. I think about the domestic abuse, molestation, hate, anger and just plain evil. I pray for our servicemen, law enforcement, and emergency services as they battle in the darkness. I pray for our missionaries, preachers, and evangelist who battle the darkness... Lord keep them all safe.

The answer is Jesus. He is the light of the world! Where we shine the light of Jesus the world is brighter. There is hope. There is life. There is joy.

I praise God for the beautiful light of Jesus. May God bless you today as you walk in the light and shine His light into this dark world.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord of Light, Lord of Life: I praise you for shining the Light of the World into my life. Thank you for illuminating and exposing my sins so that I could be brought to repentance and accept Jesus as my savior. I ask that you help me to continue to walk in the light and to shine your light on others who are in darkness. And Lord, please protect the men and women who serve in the military and in law enforcement and emergency services as they battle in the darkness. In Jesus' name, Amen.

-Loren Lung

Dec 19, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

18. Lamb of God - John 1:29

18. Lamb of God – “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Jesus is not only the good shepherd but he is also the lamb of God. The image harkens back to the Old Testament. It reminds us of some of the first sacrifices and especially of the Passover lamb.

The first Passover lamb was slain and it's blood was "painted" over the doorpost of the Hebrew slaves home. The angel of the Lord was sent that night to kill all the first born but the angel passed over any home with the blood of the lamb on it.

Jesus is that Passover lamb. We have all been condemned to die for our sins. But Jesus was slain on the cross so that we could be washed in his blood and made right with God. That is why we sing such songs at church as "Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb" and "There is Power in the Blood." It is because of Jesus, the lamb that takes away the sins of the world that we can have life abundant on this earth and life eternal with God.

I saw this rewrite of Mary had a little lamb the other day and had to share it with you:

Mary had a little Lamb,

Born in Bethlehem that day.

She laid him in a manger bed

To Sleep upon the hay.

Angels filled the night-time sky

And they began to sing.

Shepherds heard them all proclaim

The birthday of a King.

Wise men saw a blazing star

Up in the sky that night.

They followed it until they found

The King of love and light.

Mary had a little Lamb,

Who came from God above,

He is the very Son of God,

Who came to share His love.

The Father of this little Lamb

Loved the world so much

That He sent his only Son to earth

So we could feel His touch.

He came to give us joy and peace

And take away our sin.

So when He knocks on your heart's door,

Be sure to let Him in.

Why do I love this precious Lamb?

What can the reason be?

The answer is quite plain to see,

It's because He first loved me!

I praise God for the precious lamb of God who takes my sins away. May God bless you today as you celebrate the lamb of God.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, thank you for sending your precious Lamb to take away our sin. Help us to remember as we celebrate His birthday, that He was the greatest gift of all. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

-Loren Lung

Dec 18, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus-

17. King of Kings and Lord of Lords - Revelation 17:14

17. King of Kings and Lord of Lords – “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” Rev. 17:14

Sometimes it is hard for us to relate to a monarchy. We may understand the principle of that government but we haven't lived under it. So we may not get this whole "Lordship" thing down.

In Jesus' day most governments were a type of government with a king or lord. Herod the Great was king of Israel when Jesus was born. Caesar Augustus was considered a "god king" even though he also had a senate to deal with.

In the feudal system the King or Lord owned all the land he ruled. He also owned everything in the land... which means people. You were not just his subject but his possession to do with as he wished. Consequently life was often viewed as cheap.

Jesus is King of Kings. In other words, He is the King of all the other kings. Jesus is also Lord of Lords because he is Lord over all other lords. They are his possession and thus everything they possess is his possession. So we are his possession too. But Jesus doesn't think you are cheap.

Unlike the kings and lords of old, Jesus does not impose himself on us. He is King of Kings by right for after all, all things were created by him and nothing that has come into being has come in to being outside of him. He has a right to "Lord" over us. But he also has given us the right of choice. And He wants you to choose to follow Him.

You can choose to let Jesus rule over you. But he wants you to give him your all. He wants all your possessions... money, car, income, family, friendships, and even the everyday silverware and your favorite cup. You must give all to Jesus, you know, "I Surrender All".

Jesus not only wants your good stuff. He wants the dark stuff too. Give him all your sins and secrets. Give him all those dark memories and nightmares. Give him your guilt and shame. Give him your hate and anger. Give him your fear and dread. Give Jesus all the bad stuff and he will use it to make something beautiful in your life.

When you accept Jesus you not only become a citizen of the kingdom of God but you are also family...WHAT? That's right, you get an inheritance. You get life to the fullest. You get life forever in heaven with Him. You get a peace that guards your heart and mind. You get to be children of God. You get more than you ever gave.

I praise God for my King! Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. May God bless you today as you submit your life to him.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear King of my Life. Thank you for giving meaning and purpose to my life. Thank you for making me a part of your kingdom. Help me to serve you and be the man you have called me to be. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

-Loren Lung

Dec 17, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

16. Judge - Acts 10:42

16. Judge – “…he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:42

When I hear the title of judge given to someone I often think of Flip Wilson, a comic from back in the 60's who used to dress as a woman and say, "Here come the judge!, Here come the judge!"

A judge is the final authority. In a civil matter two people who are having a disagreement about something will agree to the arbitration in front of a judge. In domestic matter a judge will hear the case that is brought between a husband and wife to fairly divide assets and dissolve their union. In a criminal court the case is brought by the state and the judge hears the case that is presented between the state and the citizen accused of breaking the law. In all cases, the judge is the supreme authority in the room representing the law and justice.

Jesus is the final authority in the case of good against evil, right vs. wrong, God vs. man. He will judge not only the things that we have done but the very motives for why we did it. He will also look at our heart. And most of all he will look to see if your name is written in his book of life.

In fact, the case is very simple. WE ARE ALL GUILTY (Ro 3:22-24) and deserve to the judgement of death. "But there are extenuating circumstances, your honor. My client has been redeemed by the blood of the lamb (Ro 6:20-23, Re 12:10-11)." Case dismissed!

Those who have received Jesus Christ will be found innocent... not by anything we have done but by the grace and power of Jesus Christ, our lawyer, our judge, and our salvation.

"Here come The Judge! Here Come The Judge!" I praise God for the Judge who rules in righteousness, justice, and grace. May God bless you today through his Son, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER THOUGHT; Dear Lord of Heaven and Earth, I want to thank you for being a just God and a loving God. Your justice and your love balance out to provide for us salvation through Jesus Christ. I praise you for making Jesus both our judge and our advocate. Please help me live my life in accordance to your will and way. Help me to treat others as you have treated me. In the name of Jesus I pray, AMEN.

Dec 16, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

15. Indescribable Gift - 2 Corinthians 9:15

15. Indescribable Gift – “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” 2 Cor. 9:15

I don't know why we obsess over gifts at Christmas. I've heard all the platitudes of because we love Jesus, or because we love others, or because Christmas is all about giving. But it seems a little messed up to me.

Yes, the wisemen brought gifts. They put some real thought into them too. They were gifts for a newborn king. And they were very elegant gifts even today. Gold represents that he is the King of kings and that he is pure. Frankincense represents his priestly nature. That he has come in the order of Melchizedek as King, High priest, and sacrifice. And Myrrh represents his death. This pungent perfume was often used to mask the smell of death on dead bodies. The wisemen brought gifts because it was part of their worship.

But sometimes we obsess over gifts. I heard a lady say the other day that she would not give a gift from Dollar Tree...she was implying that she isn't cheap. There are others who buy extra gifts just in case someone gives them a gift and they didn't have a gift for that person. There are others who obsess over the perfect gift to give someone special that reflects their love for them...ahhh! But really, why do we make Christmas a giant gift exchange? Isn't it all just a marketing tool? Isn't giving gifts to kids just a way to make them "be good".

Don't get me wrong. I am not the Grinch (although I sometimes look like him)! I really like giving gifts. I just don't like giving gifts because I feel obligated to give them. I like to give a gift because I feel someone needs it. I like giving gifts when it surprises someone. And I like giving gifts without social norms dictating when and what that gift is to given.

We can never out give the gift that God gave us. Jesus is the indescribable gift. It is through him that we can have all our sins forgiven. It is through him that we can have a life worth living on this earth...abundant life. It is through him we can have eternal life in heaven where there is no pain, no trouble, no sin, no death. It is through him that we can stand before God justified. It is through him that we can live forever with our God who will wipe away every tear. It is through him that we can be apart of the heavenly worship team that sings praise before God.

But you have to receive God's indescribable gift, Jesus Christ. A gift is only validated when it is accepted.

I praise God for Jesus, the Indescribable gift. May God bless you today as you unwrap his present in your life.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Father, It's perfect. Just what I always wanted and needed. Thank you so much for your gift of Jesus. Thank you for saving me from my sins. Thank you for loving me so much. I will worship you, love you, and adore you forever. I look forward to worshiping you in person in heaven. In the precious name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

-Loren Lung

Dec 15, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Bible Names of Jesus

14. Immanuel- Isaiah 7:14

14. Immanuel – “…She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel, which means 'God with us.’” Is. 7:14

God with us. Amazing. Jesus is the deity who stepped out of heaven to be with us. To teach us. To guide us. To die for us. To be raised for us. To be with us.

When I think about Immanuel, I am filled with joy and excitement... and worry. I am like a host that has invited someone special to dinner but then I remember my house isn't clean enough for company. My happiness quickly turns to concern as I hurriedly put things away and get out the dust polish. I try to delegate some responsibility to others in the family but they say, "stop worrying he isn't coming to see the house, He's coming to get to know you better."

That's when my real concern kicks in... I worry that I'm not good enough. I worry not about my appearance as much as all the imperfections in my life. How do I get ready now?

My mind goes to John the baptizer. He was crying out, "Make ready, the king is coming. Prepare His way. Make the road straight. Level the hills. Get rid of every imperfection." But I am the imperfection...

...Slow down... just breath...

At Christmas, I am reminded that God came to be with us. I am reminded of how the perfect came to the imperfect. I am reminded that He still wants to get to know me in spite of all my bumps and bruises, my sins and the scars I bare from them. Jesus came to set me free from sin and give me life abundant and free. He came to give me hope.

How do I prepare for the visit of the Son of God? By humbly allowing him to come into my life and help me clean it up.

I praise my God for Immanuel, God with Us, JESUS. May God bless you as you allow Immanuel to come to you today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Father, I praise you and lift you up for coming to us, to teach us, to lead us, to provide for us, and to die for us. I thank you for your word that foretold Jesus coming. Help me be ready when he comes again. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

-Loren Lung

Dec 14, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

13. I AM - John 8:58

13. I Am – “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58

Perhaps this is one of the most profound statements that Jesus ever made about his identity. It was not lost on those Jewish leaders and Pharisees who wanted to see him dead. Some would have been left with their mouths gapping while others would seethe with anger. Still other Jews would rejoice to here him say this.

Jesus wasn't just saying that he is older than Abraham. He also wasn't just saying that he was more important that Abraham. He was saying that he is God.

The two little words that hold so much meaning is the simple phrase "I AM". In Exodus 3:14, Moses was talking to God at the burning bush. Moses tried every excuse in the book not to go back to Egypt and redeem God's people from slavery. So he wants to know who he should say has sent him to do this. "“I am who I am,” replies God, "Tell them I AM has sent you to them."

Jesus in this simple phrase is stating that he is God. He is telling them that he will redeem him. He is telling him that he is eternal and has always been and always will. He is telling them that he is ever present in their troubles and in their joy. He is telling them that he is the Messiah. Never has two simple words held such powerful meaning.

I praise God that I AM is in my life. May God bless you as you are touched by the hand of I AM today!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God in heaven above, I thank you for sending your eternal, ever-present Son. You have provided for me all that I need. You are the Great I AM and you are with me always. Thank-you, In Jesus' name, AMEN.

Dec 14, 16/ Minister/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

12. Holy Servant - Acts 4:23-31

12. Holy Servant – “…and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus..." Acts 4:23-31

Jesus was born a servant king. He did not come to judge or condemn but to seek and save the lost. He did not come in power or in might. He would not receive the honored welcome of a king or visiting dignitary.

Jesus was born in a barn. He was born in the shepherd's town of Bethlehem. His birth was surrounded by animals, strangers, and shepherds. He was born in humble circumstance to parents of modest means. Jesus grew up in the small, backwoods town of Nazareth. He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. But this was not the birth of one who came in the power and wrath of God. It was the birth of the Holy Servant of God.

He did not act on his own. His whole ministry was driven by the will of his Father in heaven. Even as he faced the upcoming agony of torture and death on the cross he prayed, "Not my will but thine be done." Jesus came as a holy servant of God Almighty.

Jesus described his mission from God in the parable of the tenants found in Matthew 21:33-46. The landowner (God) sent several messengers (prophets) to try to collect what was due (obedience and worship) but tenants rejected and beat them. So the landowner sent his son (Jesus) whom they rejected, beat, robbed, and killed. Jesus asked the Pharisees and leaders what the landowner would do to the ones who killed his son?

Jesus knew what was going to happen to him. In this round he was coming as a humble servant willing to die. But in round two Jesus will be returning in glory, power, and honor to judge the world.

I praise God for his Holy Servant, Jesus Christ who was willing to humble himself and die for me. May God bless you today as his Holy Servant shines the light in your life so that you too may be a servant of the Most High.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Holy God; I praise your name for Jesus who came as a servant to do your will. I praise you for his purity and holiness. Lord, help me to be a servant of your will also. Cleanse me daily of all unrighteousness and sin. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

-Loren Lung

Dec 14, 16/ Minister/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

11. Great High Priest - Hebrews 4:14

11. Great High Priest – “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Heb. 4:14

In the days of the temple/tabernacle, the high priest was able to go into the Holy of Holies once a year to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the ark of the covenant and pray for the people.

Jesus is our high priest in many ways but I will only take time to mention a few here today. The high priest wore vestments that reminded him of his man job, to intercede for the people. Jesus IS our vestments. Paul says that we are to be "clothed" in Christ. Where the high priest garments reminded him always of the sin of the people, Jesus reminds us of the forgiveness of sins that we have in him.

The high priest only entered the Holy of Holies once a year to sprinkle the ark with blood. Jesus has 24/7 access to the throne of God where his blood cleanses us from all iniquity. That's good, I need my sins forgiven "continually" not just once a year.

Not only does Jesus have the ear of the Father but he actually gave us access to God too. 1. At his death the temple veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was torn into from top to bottom signaling that it was now okay for us to have access to God. 2. His blood has actually purified us, sanctified us, and justifies us so that we are able to approach our Holy Father in prayer.

Jesus is our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek literally means king of righteousness. Jesus is high priest and King of Kings and Lord of Lords, a royal priest who calls us to his royal priesthood. Melchizedek was the king and high priest of Salem (peace). Jesus is literally our King of Peace. It is because his priesthood that we have peace with God. He took the punishment for all our sins!

I praise God for my High Priest, Jesus Christ. May God bless you today as you are sanctified, justified, and given peace through Jesus, the High Priest.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God Above, I praise your name and thank you for Jesus who is my high priest and my advocate. Thank you for the access that I have to you through him. Thank you for forgiving all my sins and completely eliminating them. You are a great God and it is in the beloved name of Jesus Christ in which I pray, AMEN.

-Loren Lung

Dec 12, 16/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

10. Good Shepherd - John 10:11

10. Good Shepherd - “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

I love the fact that shepherds were invited to the nativity. Shepherds? Who would invite shepherds? They hang around with sheep all day. They aren't as well educated, sophisticated, or well off as you would think one would be if they were invited to the birth of God's son. But the good shepherd made sure they would be there.

It really makes more sense than you would think. Abraham, Issac and Jacob were most likely shepherds. King David was a shepherd. There is a long line of decedents of Judah who were shepherds.

The shepherds probably spent many hours around the campfire discussing the politics of the day and awaiting the promised Messiah who would rule on the throne of David. They were probably more watchful for the Messiah than any of the religious leaders of the day. They were ready and willing to listen.

Jesus takes care of his sheep like a good shepherd. He protects, provides, guides them, and is willing to die for them... and he did. He knows his sheep and his sheep know his voice and follow him. When one goes astray Jesus goes after them. And he rejoices when that one sheep has been found.

I praise God for Jesus, my good shepherd. May God bless you today as you follow the voice of the good shepherd.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who leads me, feeds me, provides and protects me. Help me to follow his voice always. Give me the wisdom to trust and not stray. And help me to be a good shepherd too. In Jesus' name, Amen.

-Loren Lung

The Lord Is My Shepherd: Psalm 23 video
Dec 12, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

9. Faithful and True - Revelation 19:11

9. Faithful and True – “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.” Rev.19:11

There are few things that last in this world; Relationships change, jobs are terminated, families fall apart, marriages end, cars break down, houses need repair, things wear out, people get hurt and die. Sometimes life isn't pretty.

But Jesus is called the Faithful one. Solomon said, "One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24)." The writer of Hebrews reminds us that God said, "I will never leave you, I will never forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)" Isaiah the prophet said, "Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist (Isaiah 11:5). And Paul challenges us by saying "What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? (Romans 3:3). Jesus was faithful in his work and ministry and completed everything the Father had laid out for him to do. He was faithful even to death on the cross. And he is faithful in his promise to us of eternal life for those who believe and receive him.

Not only is Jesus faithful but he is also true. He told his disciples, "I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)." In our world it is hard to know what is right... people bend statistics and slant the truth. This is nothing new, Pilate sarcastically asked Jesus at his trial, "What is truth". Little did he know that TRUTH was standing right in front of him. Jesus is TRUTH. Jesus stands in stark contrast to what this world tries to pass off as truth.

I praise God for showing me the one who is "Faithful and True." May God bless you today as he shows Him to you too.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Father Above; I thank you for Jesus, the one who is both faithful and true. Over and over again you have shown your faithfulness. So often this world clings to half-truths and lies. Help me, Lord, to hang fast to the truth of your word. Thanks for your love. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

-Loren Lung

Dec 12, 16/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

8. Deliverer - I Thessalonians 1:10

8. Deliverer – “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thess.1:10

Yes, our God is full love and patience. He does not want anyone to perish. He gave his Son to pay the price for our sins. Jesus is the ultimate peace treaty between God and man.

The angels proclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest, Peace on earth and good-will to men." They proclaimed the birth of this deliverer of peace and good-will.

But let us not forget that those who reject Jesus will not be spared the wrath of God. John 3:36 states, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them." We do not like to think of God's wrath. We would rather talk about his unconditional love and grace. But It is the escape from that wrath that makes God's love and grace so wonderful... so, well...amazing.

Jesus is our deliverer. He paid the ransom for our sin so that God's wrath would be satisfied once and for all. Jesus delivered the peace treaty between man and God... but it is up to you to accept it or reject it.

I praise God for Jesus Christ, my deliverer. May God bless you today as you come to understand this nativity, God's peace treaty with you.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Gracious Father In Heaven, I praise your name. You delivered the Hebrews from oppression in Egypt. You delivered Daniel from the Lions Den. You delivered Israel from the exhale. Over and over again you have proven to deliver your people. Thank you for delivering me from my sins. In the name of Christ, Jesus my Lord, Amen.

Dec 12, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

7. Chief Cornerstone – Ps. 118:22

7. Chief Cornerstone – “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.” Ps. 118:22

You may know that Jesus was raised as the son of a carpenter, Joseph. We learn this in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 when Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth and is asked to read in the synagogue. The Greek word carpenter is tektōn (τέκτων) which is a word used for a master builder who is skilled in the use of various materials such as wood, stone, and masonry. Joseph knew how to build homes, public buildings, and all kinds of things.

As a young man, Jesus had most likely helped Joseph. He probably carried tools and building materials to Joseph and his workers. I imagine that Jesus knew his way around tools and building materials and had a good knowledge of how the trade worked.

This is evident when we read "The Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew 7. Jesus concludes the message with a powerful illustration. He says that those who receive his words are like a wiseman who builds his house on the rock... a firm foundation. But those who reject his words are like a foolish man who builds his house on sand... a shifting foundation. Without a good foundation the house will fall.

Jesus was a builder too. He was building God's kingdom. He was not only the builder and architech but he was also the building material... the foundation or cornerstone.

Jesus was no stranger in Nazareth. Joseph may have built some of their homes or helped repair and add on to them and Jesus may have even assisted. When Jesus came home for a visit these people knew he was a hometown boy who had become a teacher (rabbi)... but they didn't really KNOW HIM. His own people rejected him when he tried to share the deeper things of God.

Jesus' teachings are just a part of the foundation of the house we are to build. Jesus himself is the foundation... You can't just go to the buffet line to pick and choose the parts of his teaching you like. You must accept all of it... all of HIM. To reject any part of Jesus is to reject all of Jesus.

Many have rejected him over the years, just like his hometown folks. But God has used this cornerstone to build His house... His kingdom. And those who accept him and build their lives on him are wise and will gain eternal life with Him. Those who reject Him will find that everything... everything will be lost.

I praise God for the chief cornerstone, His Son, Jesus Christ. May God bless you today as you build your life on Jesus and his teachings.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Father in Heaven, I praise you for the foundation of my faith, Jesus Christ, the cornerstone. Thank you for helping me to build my life on Him. I ask that you will help me at to this house daily by following your will and word for my life. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

-Loren Lung

Dec 12, 16/ Preacher/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

6. Bridegroom - Matthew 9:15

6. Bridegroom – “And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Matt. 9:15

I have always loved weddings. The bride looks so pretty dressed in white. The groom looks so handsome in his tux. It is such a joyful occasion full of joy and hope for the future.

In several places in the NT Jesus is described as being the groom who will protect, provide, and love his bride. The church, the ekklesia, the called out ones (Christians) are his bride. The relationship was rocky... unfaithful bride... dirty garments... but Christ gave his life for his bride and was raised again so that the Bride could be cleaned... wear white... have joy... and the hope of eternal life. (This story is also echoed in the prophet Hosea)

Oh what a wonderful picture this is! The bride truly loves her redeemer groom. And the Groom loves his bride enough even to die for her. It's a happily ever after story! One of my favorite Hallmark movie endings!!!

I praise God for the bridegroom, Jesus Christ. May you be blessed today as you find this everlasting love in the groom, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Holy God, I praise you for all that you do. I thank you for this beautiful and romantic illustration of Jesus being the Bridegroom who rescues us from sin and redeems us from death. It reminds me of how much you love me. It reminds me of the dowry paid. It reminds me that I have value in your eyes. Holy Father, thank you for allowing me to be apart of this family. In Jesus' precious name I pray, Amen.

-Loren Lung

Dec 12, 16/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

The Real Reason For The Season: 31 Names of Jesus

5. Beloved Son of God –Matthew 3:17

5. Beloved Son of God – “And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:17

Jesus is the Son of God. Not Joseph. Joseph was a righteous man who also trusted God after having a dream that reminded him of the sign... Emmanuel was to be born of a virgin... the prophesy was fulfilled in Mary!

There were those in the Bible who accepted Jesus as being the son of Joseph. But when a voice from heaven says on two separate occasions, "This is my Son," who can argue with that!

Not only is he God's Son. But he is also beloved of God. That's important for us to remember. No one wants to see their kid suffer and die. Jesus did just that with all the sins of the world on his shoulders. You see, the cross cost God! It was the ransom he paid for our salvation. Yes, God did it because he loved us so much he was willing to let his Son die for us.

I praise God for his beloved Son whom he gave for us so that we could have life with him. May God bless you as you experience the beloved son of God this Christmas season.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Heavenly Father Above, I want to thank you for sending your Son, your beloved Son. I appreciate your gift so much. You gave a gift that was a part of you... meaningful. No cheap, Dollar Tree Gift from you. You gave your best for me so that I could have life with you! Help me, Father, to share the gift you gave. And help me to give to others in the same way that you give, from the heart filled with love. May every gift I give to you and others cost me. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

-Loren Lung

Dec 12, 16/ Anonymous/ Ministers Minute/

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