Category Archives: Faith

Heaven Can Wait, Government Can Save Us

Heaven Can Wait, Government Can Save Us

God’s Story—Our Story: The Reign of Christ—Now and Forever

Sermon by Chuck Foreman, Teaching/Missions Pastor
First Christian Church—November 11, 2012

Scriptures: Revelation 1-5; 19-22; Romans 8; 1 Thessalonians 4-5;
I Peter 2:9-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Heaven can wait, Government can save us…

SALVATION & POLITICS

We’ve bought into an idea about “salvation” that is more like fire insurance than Biblical teaching. “Just give me that ticket out of hell and into heaven, and we’re good.” That kind of thinking doesn’t cause us to do anything about the combustible material in our lives that will probably burn our house down.

We think we’re heaven bound, but that we’re still trapped in an ugly, fallen world, in which we have to scrape and claw to get what WE want. We think all we really need is a government that will make it all happen for us.
Unfortunately when we think like that, there’s nothing about us or our ideas that ever changes anything or makes a difference in this world.

Our idea of heaven is more like an Escape Route or a Safe House, not a place where Christ reigns and gives us hope for restoring God’s will & reign on earth. And we think that government ought to make things better, and we hope that it will, so we whine & moan when it doesn’t, instead of rolling up our own sleeves.

The symbol for King in Chinese

The symbol for “King” in Chinese

What if we’ve missed something? What if what God really wants to do is to accomplish something revolutionary in us, thru us, among us—here, now— as we establish His Kingdom here, while we wait for the return of our King?

Illustration: Chinese character—“King” 3 horizontal lines representing heaven, man and earth, connected by a vertical line representing the one vested w/ power between heaven and earth to rule uprightly over man.

God’s Story is Our Story: Let’s review what he’s been up to and where he’s taking us…

Creation (Genesis 1-2)

The Fall of Man (Genesis 3)

A New Nation—Israel—The People of God (Genesis 12:2-3)

Israel’s Failure—Matthew 23:37-38

The Messiah—Immanuel (“God with us”—Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)

The New Israel—The Church—The New People of God (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:42-48)

The transformation of the politics of Paul, James and Peter…
Galatians 3:28-29 (Revolutionary for Paul!)
Acts 15:16-18 (James quotes Amos 9:11-12)
Ephesians 2:10; 3:6-11, 14, 21 (God’s mystery made known thru the Church as we do the good works we were re-created to do!)
I Timothy 2:1-4 (Pray for kings so we can live peaceful, quiet, godly, holy lives—this is ultimately what will influence people to be saved.)
I Peter 2:9-17 (The New Order)

John’s Revelation…
Revelation 1-5: Message to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor—God is going to restore all things to the way they were. You’re in on it—it matters how you live! So get your act together!

Revelation 6-18: The Cosmic Battle between God and Satan over the Church

Revelation 19: Victory! The Defeat of the Beast/Babylon/The Prostitute (Rome), The Wedding of the Lamb

Revelation 20: Satan’s Doom & the Judgment of Mankind

Revelation 21-22: The Final Act—The Reign of Christ Fully, Finally Realized

Revelation 21:1-5 God with us—Out with the old, in with the new!
(This is where we place our hope, not in the White House, not in the Stock Market!)
Revelation 21:9-10 The New Jerusalem, The Church coming down from heaven

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 Let’s go meet our King!

Revelation 22:1-3a Eden Restored

Romans 8:18-25 The Redemption of Creation

Revelation 22:3b-5 We will reign with him forever!

Jesus is Coming—perhaps soon.

Listen to his final words: Revelation 22:7 Revelation 22:12

Jesus is coming someday. On that day, every knee will bow and tongue confess that he is Lord. Are you ready? You’ll either do it willingly or not, but you will bow. Are you ready?

The question is not, Is Jesus King?. He’s King alright. The question is, Is he king of your life?

You can make him King of your life today. There’s a lot of joyful work to do in His Kingdom, as we eagerly, patiently prepare for his will to ultimately be done and his kingdom to finally come “on earth—as it is in heaven.”

Right On!

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The Deadly Virus in our Churches Today

The Deadly Virus in our Churches Today
This entry is part 21 of 21 in the series Christianity

I met with my pastors, Jon Taylor, Lead Pastor of First Christian Church of Phoenix, and Chuck Foreman, the teaching/missions pastor, this week to talk about collaborating on a small-group study on WWJD?. They agreed to help write it as well as a companion sermon guide.

Chuck forwarded me a newsletter from the Disciple Nations Alliance. I loved the opening message and tried to find it in a blog online at their website so I could share it, but could not. It was written just for the newsletter recipients. Thus, I’m compelled to share it here since it highlights the need for a church-wide study on WWJD?.

Coram Deo: Before the Face of God

A deadly virus is running rampant through the Church around the world. Not a physical virus, but a mental one—and very subtle. Victims typically don’t realize they are infected.

What is this virus? It’s the idea that the Christian faith is primarily personal and private. It addresses personal salvation, and it focuses on developing a pious inner life, but it has little to do with how someone lives the rest of his or her life.

There are huge problems with this.

We spend the vast majority of our time working, eating, playing, and living in relationship with family, friends, and co-workers. If my faith isn’t informing how I live my life, something else surely is. And that something is the accepted norms, values, and practices of my surrounding culture.

The virus enables Christians to assume they are theologically orthodox because they affirm correct answers to the questions of God, man, the fall, and salvation. Yet it prevents them from making a connection between these personal/spiritual topics and how they think about work, life, leisure, and the broader culture. While holding to a form of Christianity, in practice, they are functional atheists, Gnostics, or animists, depending on the culture from which they come.

This explains how Enron’s indicted former CEO, Ken Lay, while serving as an elder in his local evangelical congregation, could drive his company off a cliff. In business, you play by the rules; and in today’s America, the rules are established by the secular, pragmatic, materialistic culture. It is OK to “cook the books” and deceive shareholders, so long as you don’t get caught.

This is just want Satan wants, for the virus strips the church of its saltiness. It is no longer able to influence and shape culture. God’s truth is shackled—prevented from penetrating and saturating all areas of life and society. As a result, the nations are not discipled. Rather, the church increasingly reflects the values and practices of the nations. This is the tragic consequence: The failure of the church to understand, much less carry out, the Great Commission. The nations—trapped in structures of poverty, corruption, and tyranny—are paying the price.

This is the problem we exist to address. This virus has to be attacked head-on, exposed for the lie that it is. When Jesus said “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” he really meant it. His truth applies to every area of public life. It is not merely a message of salvation; it is an all-encompassing way of understanding everything. We are called not just to save people out of the world, but to bring the truth to bear in all areas, thereby living God-honoring lives and creating God-honoring cultures, starting with our families, churches, arenas of work and, ultimately, nations. As this happens, the nations are blessed, just as God promised they would be (Genesis 12:1-3).

God loves His Bride, and we see increasing evidence that He is awakening her to this inward threat. We believe God has raised up the DNA to be part of the solution, and we are grateful for your partnership in the endeavor.

In Galatians 5:13, Paul tells us Christians:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Here, “the flesh” refers to the sinful nature of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit. You see, it’s not “natural” for us to be godly. We can thank Adam and Eve for that. But Jesus shows us how to live righteous lives and commands us to do so. (Romans 12:1-3)

WWJD? The Revival is not just another fad

Our mission is to help Christians strive to be Christ-like. It’s not easy. We are tempted by the world on a daily basis. That is why the small-group study that we’re preparing is so vital. When discussed in the small-group setting, the group members hold each-other accountable. That makes a big difference from just reading a daily devotional.

Please follow WWJD? The Revival on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. We will keep you updated on the progress of the study and when it will be available. In the meantime, look for devotionals, bible passages and encouragements.

God Bless,
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-winning Christian Author
@giselleaguiar 

One Righteous Man

One Righteous Man
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series The Story of God

Continuation from Chuck Foreman’s sermon 1/15/12 given at First Christian Church of Phoenix

God prophesies the ultimate victory of mankind over Satan, the Serpent in Genesis 3:15:

“And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

Crushing the snake (satan)Paul refers to this same OT verse in his letter to the Church in Rome in Romans 16:20:

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

Here’s what I want you to understand—from the moment of man’s first sin, God intervened to rescue mankind from the destruction our enemy has in mind for us. This rescue includes Nature too. Romans 8:19-24:

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.
Ultimately, Jesus Christ is the Hero of God’s Story—the Hero who came to save us all from the eternal consequences of our sin.

But all thru history, up to this very moment in time, God has been looking for ordinary people, devoted to Him, whom He can use in His rescue plan. II Chronicles 16:9a:

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

Act 1, Scene 3: The Different Man

Within just a few generations, mankind had plummeted into the depths of moral decay & corruption. The bottom had fallen out of South, things had gotten so bad. Genesis 6:5-7 is the first account in the scripture of God experiencing regret and grief. Divine Grief—Genesis 6:5-7

So the Lord God had decided He’d had all He could take. The demise of humanity was imminent. But then, right in the middle of this hopeless scene, when all seemed lost, God stops dead in his tracks. Someone had gotten His attention—one man, a different man. His name was Noah. Genesis 6:8

Noah's ArkWhat was it about this guy, Noah anyway? Well, here’s the account of Noah…
Tell: (slide) The Account of Noah—The Different Man, Genesis 6:9-22

So back to our original question: What was it about Noah?
Genesis 6:8 “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

  • Righteous (vs.9)
  • Blameless (vs.9)
  • Walked with God (vs.9)
  • Entered into a Covenant Relationship with God (vs.18)
  • Obeyed God (vs.22)

Could you be another Noah for your generation, for your family, for your work place, your neighborhood?

Seriously, could you be one who would catch God’s eye as He surveys the earth for someone different, someone who stands apart from the rest of the pack?

Which of these 5 characteristics of Noah could you do or be? How many out of 5? Let’s start at the bottom, in the Deep South, where things tend to go, and work our way up.

  1. Righteous? Here’s where we always rule ourselves out. Listen, R & B aren’t about being perfect, they’re about faith & the simple willingness to repent like David, & to earnestly seek God like Noah. (Rom. 3:21-22; Heb. 11:6-7)
  2. Blameless? (Psalm 51 David was able to pray this prayer because of who he was—he was willing to repent. — I Samuel 13:14)
  3. Walk with God? (Psalm 119:11; James 4:8a; Galatians 5:22-25)
  4. Covenant with God? (Luke 22:20) God has established a covenant of forgiveness in exchange for faith with every Xian. Do you really believe? Do you trust that Christ’s death paid for your sin—that God will forgive you?
  5. Obey? (I Samuel 15:22) Story of Saul… (In Noah’s day, no one obeyed!)

Here’s what I want you to get about Act 1 of God’s Story—The Creation & the Fall of Man: When everything was heading south, Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord! So can you! The eyes of God Almighty are searching for you, to see if your heart is fully devoted to Him—because He wants to strengthen you—to rescue you not destroy you! That’s what God’s Story is all about!

I’m gonna ask you the most important question you’ll ever be asked, right now:
When all is said and done, how will Your Story read?

You can start re-writing your story today…

  1. Have faith in God and let Him declare you righteous—like Noah.
  2. Turn from your sin and let Him call you blameless—just like Noah & David.
  3. Start walking with God each day, like Noah did.
  4. Remember the Covenant God made with you to forgive you and save you.
  5. Determine that regardless of what the rest of the pack of corrupted humanity is doing—You are going to Obey your God!

And I promise—You will find favor in the eyes of the Lord! Right On!

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

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Do not Fear Death!

Do not Fear Death!
This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Don't Worry

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?” ~1 Corinthians 15:55

Take care of your life; and the Lord will take care of your death ~George Whitefield

Jesus Resurrection
Jesus conquered death so we wouldn’t have to fear it.

Jesus didn’t spend much time worry about His death. Even as the Gospel story progresses and Jesus knows that His hour is approaching, He continues His mission in life. For each of us, God has a day set aside for us to face death. Why then should we worry? Until that day, let’s just spend our time doing what He did.

 

 

 

 

 Excerpt from:

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Check out these other great blogs:
Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author

Deo Volente (God Willing) – covering writing, Christian church history and Christianity

Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

Wisdom is a gift from God

Wisdom is a gift from God
This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Wisdom-A Gift from God

I’ve made my share of unwise decisions and I know many people including close family members who have made them also. All of these mistakes are opportunities to learn, but the key is to ask God for wisdom BEFORE you make the decision to HELP you make the right decision.

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. ~Proverbs 3:13-14

Joyce Meyer writes in her book “Hearing from God each Morning

Wisdom discerns truth in a situation, while common sense provides good judgement regarding what to do with the truth. I consider wisdom supernatural because it isn’t taught by men; it is a gift from God.

King Solomon is known for his wisdom. Why? Because he asked for it. God told Solomon:

Ask for whatever you want me to give you. ~1 Kings 3:5

Wow! That’s like finding the magic lamp with the genie inside! What would you have asked for?

Solomon could have asked for wealth or for long life, but no. He asked for wisdom – to be able to discern, that is, tell right from wrong. (1 Kings 3:6-14)

Because of that, God gave him the riches and long life anyway.

Folks going through recovery from addiction memorize the Serenity Prayer and are told to recite it often. But that prayer is not just for addicts. It’s for everyone:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Each morning we should ask God to provide wisdom (notice it’s not one of the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23) for each and every decision we need to make that day.

We must stop and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do in this situation?”

Be wise and we will live long and prosper.

Read the book of Proverbs – it’s what God wants us to do and how He wants us to live.

Follow WWJD on Twitter

Check out these other great blogs:
Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author

Deo Volente (God Willing) – covering writing, Christian church history and Christianity

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

When Everything is Heading South…

When Everything is Heading South…
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Story of God

Excerpt from Chuck Foreman’s sermon 1/15/12 given at First Christian Church of Phoenix

Usually when things begin to go south in our lives, it’s not because we’ve had nothing to do with it. But we often look for someone else to blame. Those “downward spiral” times when everything in our lives just starts to hit the fan are precisely the times when we need to stop and take a long, hard look in the mirror. We need to get on our knees alone with God and honestly ask Him, “How am I doing, Lord?” What do you want to teach me right now? Not so-and-so, not my mate, not the government, not my bank—but ME!?

Christ's ArmsA couple of ‘spiritual tune up’ suggestions:

Memorize James 4:8 and take it like big boys and girls as if God were getting right up in our faces. It goes like this:

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. ~James 4:8

We also need to understand and really believe that God is looking lovingly, deep into our hearts for something. He’s not looking for perfection; He’s just looking for openness to Him, a willingness to repent and change, and a desire to be used by Him.

Have you ever wondered what God does in his spare time?

Here’s what he’s up to:

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.~ II Chronicles 16:9a

God’s looking for a reason to rescue us, help us out of our downward spiral! He’s looking for some sign from us that we really want Him!

We’re going to see as we journey thru The Story of God this year together that rescuing His lost & fallen creation is THE PLOT in God’s Story—in Our Story.

Next: In the Beginning…

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

Additional Reading: The Devil Made Me Do It

Standing in Faith for Our Healing

Standing in Faith for Our Healing
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Guest Posts

By guest blogger, Ronnie Dauber

Our communities are often plagued with some kind of sickness and when we get it, the first thing many of us do is go to the doctor. We put our confidence in the medical world and we tend to follow its direction and accept its diagnosis because this is the norm for this world.

Jesus heals the crippled man

Jesus heals the crippled man

However, as Christians we need to get out of this mind set and begin to focus on one issue and that is, What would Jesus do? And to take it a step further, “What DID Jesus do?”

Did Jesus hand out business cards soliciting reputable doctors? Did He send them to the nearest clinic to get examined? Did He tell them they needed medical insurance first before He would heal them?

No, Jesus had only ONE prerequisite to getting healed and that was to have faith.

We need to have faith in Jesus because the Bible says in Exodus 15:26 that He is the one who heals us.

Isaiah 53:4-5 says,

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows….. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”

God is telling us to NOT go to the world for our physical healing but rather, to have faith in Him because He has already healed us – we just need the faith to believe it. And unfortunately, many of us miss this because we have one foot in the Christian doorway and the other still in the world. We need to seek His Word non-stop to get the truth into our hearts and know that He HAS healed us. We need to focus on Jesus and build our faith so we CAN believe.

Jesus heals the bleeding woman who just touched his robe

So much faith she had that she was healed just by touching His robe.

Romans 8:11 says that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us and will quicken our mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in us. This is the scripture that I held onto as I took my stand in faith last year to fight AND win my battle against cancer. I read the doctor’s report with the death sentence on my life, but I also knew that my body was the temple of the Holy Spirit. So I chose to follow God and trust Him for my healing rather than be at the mercy of chemotherapy. The Lord led me to a naturopathic doctor who helped me line my body up with the healing that Jesus had already given me.

Faith is not an easy stand to take because the world fights us and says it’s foolishness, yet it brings us into a divine relationship with God. And in the end, there is no greater reward than knowing that we trusted God for our healing and now His Holy Spirit, through us, can continue His mission on earth.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16


Ronnie Dauber is a Christian who knows what it’s like to stand in faith and believe God for healing against all the odds. She is the published author of a y/a adventure series and has an inspirational blog called, “Smile, God Loves You”, where she posts frequent messages of encouragement on faith. It’s her commission in life to help other Christians grow in faith so they can have a divine relationship with the Lord and live victorious lives here on earth.

Official website of Ronnie Dauber: http://ronniedauber.ca

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The Visit of the Magi cont.

The Visit of the Magi cont.
This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Christmas

In the previous posting, we covered the beginning of the story of the 3 Kings’ visit to find Jesus. So we continue with the excerpt from the Christmas Eve message by Chuck Foreman at First Christian Church of Phoenix:

Unintended Destination

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. ~Matthew 2:10-11a

“…and they came into the house…” Wait a minute—I thought Jesus was born in a stable? He was, but contrary to tradition, these Eastern Astronomers showed up some time after Jesus was born. But even a house in little Bethlehem Town that a lowly carpenter could afford was not exactly where they expected to find this new king. If you were looking for a king, where would you go? That’s what these guys thought too. That’s why they went to Jerusalem first—to the king’s palace…. Bethlehem was definitely not their intended destination!

A lot of us are like these Wise Men. We’ve been looking for, hoping for a palace, but we’ve wound up at a house in Podunk Bethlehem, or worse yet, a stable. Things haven’t worked out so far for us in life like we had hoped—in the pursuit of our dreams, our jobs, our marriages, our relationships. God has kind of let us down, we think.

See, God wasn’t in the palace. In fact, you’ll rarely find him there. He was in the stable—and he always has been! People, Jesus Christ, Emmanuel—“God with us” came to us in the most humble, demeaning way imaginable! You’ll find him in the stable, in the humble house. That’s the whole point of the Incarnation—The Word becoming flesh! What Jesus wants you to understand is that He gets down on your level. He meets you in your problems, in your crushed dreams, and in the challenges of life like no one else. When you’re willing to meet him there, he can change your life, like he’s able to do in no other place!

He’s not in the palace. He’s in the stable. He always has been. Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know him there—just as he is, just as you are.

Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.~Matthew 2:11b

The Magi - the first worshipers of ChristUnexpected Worshippers

Do you realize that this is the 1st recorded incident of anyone actually worshipping Jesus? He was still a baby boy. These men were foreigners, probably not too well received in Jewish territory by anyone but Jesus and his parents. They weren’t familiar with the ways of God or His People. They were likely idol worshippers, but they were able to recognize God when there wasn’t anyone or anything else in the way. And there He was—having humbled himself and become flesh—one of us; Emmanuel—God with us!

And did you notice that they bowed down to worship him? When was the last any of us did that? Do we even know what it is to worship anymore? They bowed down and presented him with treasures! Could it be that it might take some pagans like them to teach us how to worship our own God? I think Matthew thought so.

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.~Matthew 2:12

Get back home another way…

They couldn’t get back home the same way they had come. They knew what Herod had up his sleeve. They had to go home another way.

We’ve been talking about Going Home for Christmas lately here at FCC—home to God. Too often in life we seem to move away from God instead of toward Him. If you’ve drifted away from God, you’re not going to get back home to Him the same way you’ve come. You have to take a different route.

The Story of Christmas is about the God of the universe—Creator of the stars & the angels who announced the birth of His Son—Revealer of His cosmic plan even to pagans. He left His throne in heaven to be born in a stable, people! He wants you to get the significance of that!

And he wants to meet you, as He really is, right where you are.

Come home; come back to GOD this Christmas. I think He’s been waiting just for you. AMEN! [Right on!]

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Friend Giselle on Facebook
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Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar
http://twitter.com/wwjdrevival

The Significance of the Magi

The Significance of the Magi
This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Christmas

Here is the excerpt from the Christmas Eve message by Chuck Foreman at First Christian Church of Phoenix:

3 wise menThe Magi

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” ~Matthew 2:1-2

The Magi— A Greek word used to describe educated men who specialized in magic, sorcery, enchanting, astrology, and interpreting dreams. But we can tell that these guys were actually scientists, astronomers. Probably from Persia or Babylon. They were historically enemies of God’s People. The Babylonians had conquered and taken Israel captive 800 years B.C. And the Jews never forgot!

What about—The Star?

We actually have software now which enables us to look at what’s happening in the sky 2-3 years prior to Herod’s death. The heavens were full of activity! And here are some of the coolest astronomical occurrences: During this time period, the star Regulus (King) lined up with Jupiter (King Planet) 2 times—once on Sept. 12, 3 BC and again on Feb. 17, 2 BC. Then on June 17, that same year, Jupiter (King Planet) & Venus (Mother Planet) aligned. This would have looked like the largest star you’d ever seen! By God’s design, the Heavens were telling about the coming of a King.

It just so happened that some astronomer dudes in Babylon were watching. Get this—when this alignment of the King & Mother planets occurred, it happened w/in the Constellation Leo (the Lion). The Lion, is the symbol of Judah, which told these eastern astronomers right where to find this new King.

A Disturbing Visit

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. ~Matthew 2:4

Why?  We know why Herod was disturbed-jealousy. He wanted no rivals to his throne.  (After the Eastern Astronomers left, he sent soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all the boys 2 yrs. & under.)  But why was all Jerusalem disturbed?  I’ll tell you why—it was that the news of their long awaited Messiah was brought to them by these uncircumcised foreign heathens!  How dare God reveal the birth of His Son—the Messiah—to such people!

What do they know?!  What part could they possibly have in our  Messiah?!

But you see, I think that for the same reason Matthew included women—and not just women, but unmentionable women—in his genealogy of Jesus, he also included these Eastern Astronomers in the Story of Jesus.  God’s gift of Himself was not just for the pretty people—not just for the Chosen People, it was for the messy people, the foreign people, the most unlikely people.  Just as Luke’s poor, dirty, smelly shepherds were told by the angel, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL PEOPLE!  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord!” –so also God revealed the cosmic arrival of His Only Son to these outsiders.  He told them  before He told those who considered themselves to be God’s Chosen People!

Micah’s Prophecy and Herod’s Treachery…

When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”~Matthew 2:4-8

Yeah, right!

A Traveling Star?

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.~Matthew 2:9

Really? This is the part I had trouble swallowing. But look…We now know that On Dec. 25, 2 BC, Jupiter went into retrograde motion [motion which is contrary to the rotation of the primary]. From a person’s vantage point on earth, who might just happen to be in Jerusalem, it would appear that Jupiter had actually stopped in the evening sky right over a little Judean town called—Bethlehem.

Next: The Magi found Jesus in a house…

10 Ways to Pray for People in Authority

10 Ways to Pray for People in Authority
This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Pray for America
Washington DC

Washington DC (Photo credit: eGuide Travel)

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.~1 Timothy 2:1-2

No matter which political party you favor, if you voted for the current president, senators, congresspeople, representatives, federal, state or local, you can still pray for them. God calls us to.

  1. That they be God Fearing and recognize that they are accountable to Him for each decision and act. (Proverbs 9:10)
  2. That they be granted wisdom, knowledge and understanding. (James 1:5)
  3. That, if unsaved, they be drawn to a saving encounter with Christ; if born again, they be strengthened and encouraged in their faith. (1 Timothy 2:4, Ephesians 1: 17-23)
  4. That they recognize their own inadequacy and pray and seek the will of God. (Proverbs 3:5-8, Luke 11: 9-13)
  5. That they read the Bible and attend prayer meetings and Bible studies. (Psalm 11: 1-7, Colossians 3:2)
  6. That they be given godly counsel and God-fearing advisors. (Proverbs 24:6)
  7. That they be honest in financial, tax and ethical matters. (1 Corinthians 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:6-10)
  8. That they desire honesty, integrity and loyalty. (Psalm 26: 1-12, Proverbs 11:3)
  9. That they have courage to resist manipulation, pressure and the fear of man. (Proverbs 29:25, 2 Timothy 1:7)
  10. That they endeavor to restore the sanctity of life, families, divine order and morality in our nation. (Ephesians 5:22-6:4)

Note: I can’t take credit for writing this or the research putting scriptures for each number. This came from a handout with no copyright or author that I found in my church’s prayer room called “Prayers for Our Country and Our Leaders.”

Related reading: Wanting God’s Best for Our Land

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar

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Even Christians get Lost Sometimes

Even Christians get Lost Sometimes
This entry is part 18 of 22 in the series Striving to be Christlike

Excerpt from Jon Taylor’s sermon, First Christian Church of Phoenix, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011

Trail in Dreamy Draw, Phoenix Mountains

Trail in Dreamy Draw, Phoenix Mountains

We end up in places where we feel lost. We go down roads that take us away from who we really are.

What are these roads we go down that make us feel lost spiritually & emotionally; that make us feel like we are going towards an unintended destination?

  • Fear: of loss, humiliation, risk, rejection; timidity, being hurt
  • Self-doubt; guilt; unworthy
  • Worry; anxiety
  • Discouragement; loss of meaning, purpose
  • Busyness; doing more and more
  • Independence; self-reliance; pride
  • Dissatisfaction; critical spirit
  • Feeling condemned by God and others
    • There are consequences to sin, but not condemnation
  • Hurtful words from others
  • Loss of identity
    • Possessions
    • Opinions of others
    • Wearing masks to please others

These are all lies of Satan!

We build up walls and lose our way when we allow one or more of these to enter our lives and one day we wake up feeling like we’re in the largest parking garage in the world and we have no idea how to find our car, let alone how to get home.

What leads you away from who you really are?

These are lies and Satan wants to keep you there, but often we are accomplices. He tells the lies, but we are accomplices when we believe the lies. (Examples from list – “you’re right, I can’t do that.” “You’re right, it’s good to be so busy doing all these things.”

What I needed, what we all need, is to be reminded of who we really are.  Look at this list:

A Reminder of Who You Are

  • I am made in God’s image: Genesis 1:26-27
  • I am God’s child: 
John 1:12
  • I am a friend of Jesus: 
John 15:15
  • I have been justified:  
Romans 5:1
  • I’ve been united with the Lord and am one with Him in Spirit: 
1 Corinthians 6:17
  • I’ve been bought with a price…I belong to God: 
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • I am a member of Christ’s body: 
1 Corinthians 12:27
  • I’ve been chosen by God and adopted as His child: 
Ephesians 1:3-8
  • I’ve been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins: 
Colossians 1:13-14
  • I am complete in Christ 
Colossians: 2:9-10
  • I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesu: 
Hebrews 4:14-16
  • I am free from condemnation: 
Romans 8:1-2
  • I cannot be separated from the love of God: 
Romans 8:28
  • I am free from any condemning charges against me: 
Romans 8:31-34
  • I was washed…I was sanctified. I was justified in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of my God: 
1 Corinthians 6:11
  • I am hidden with Christ in God: 
Colossians 3:1-4
  • God started this work in me, and he will bring it to completion: 
Philippians 1:6
  • I am a citizen of heaven: 
Philippians 3:20
  • I haven’t been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind: 
2 Timothy 1:7
  • I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me: 
1 John 5:18
  • I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life: 
John 15:5
  • I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit: 
John 15:16
  • I am God’s temple: 
1 Corinthians 3:16
  • I am a minister of reconciliation: 
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
  • I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm: 
Ephesians 2:6
  • I am God’s workmanship: 
Ephesians 2:10
  • I can approach God with freedom and confidence – not because of my obedience, but because of Jesus’ obedience: 
Ephesians 3:12
  • I am a new creation: 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • I am dearly loved: 1 John 3:1; John 3:16

You can choose to trust God that this is who you really are!

God is far more interested in who you are becoming than what you are doing.

Here’s a sampling from Scripture as to who He wants you to become:

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18:3

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. ~Matthew 20:26

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. ~Romans 6:18

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18

[until] we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. ~Ephesians 4:13,15

Decide: to stop listening to Satan’s lies, to put on the truth of Scripture, that you want to become who God created you to be!

Choose: courage, trust, humility, service, encouragement, contentment, dependence, power, love.

Be: transformed as you let God work in your life. Experience true life change!

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.~ Romans 12:1-2

Become who God wants you to be. Don’t conform to this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Let God’s Word transform you into who He wants you to become.

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Check out these other great blogs:
Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author
Deo Volente (God Willing) – covering writing, Christian church history and Christianity

Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

God will meet all your needs

God will meet all your needs
This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Don't Worry

…my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:19

Faith in God will not get for you everything you may want, but it will get for you what God wants you to have. The unbeliever does not need what he wants; the Christian should want only what he needs. ~Vance Havner

WWJD? Reflection: Did Jesus have all He needed while He walked on the earth? Of course. His Heavenly Father saw that He had His needs met. For us to ask: “What Would Jesus Do?” we must realize, no matter what our financial status, that we are very, very, very rich. Our Father has for us “glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” In Him we have all we need to live life.

What else could we possibly want?

Excerpt from

Follow WWJD on Twitter

Check out these other great blogs:
Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author
Deo Volente (God Willing) – covering writing, Christian church history and Christianity

Check out Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar