Good Morning friends and followers!
FredWes Focus is MOVING! As of today, please visit fredwes.com/fredwes-focus for new posts. You can also go to fredwes.com and select the Connect link and then FredWes Focus from the menu!
Come visit my new home! Can't wait to see you there!
Thursday, January 3, 2019
“SURELY – goodness and mercy will follow me…..” Psalm 23:6
- "It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath." ~AeschylusHe began His ministry by being hungry, yet He is the Bread of Life.
- "Promises are like crying babies in a theater, they should be carried out at once." ~ Norman Vincent Peale
The future is your friend when you have a personal shepherd Who has an intimate concern and care for you! And, the future is your friend when you have a powerful shepherd who has seven-fold ability to protect and provide for you. But there is still another reason to trust this shepherd - His promises!
But the promises made are only as good as the previous promises that have been kept. How can you be sure you can trust the promises of this Shepherd? Has He proven reliable?
Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet He is the Living Water.
Jesus was weary, yet He is our rest.
Jesus paid tribute, yet He is the King.
Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet He cast out demons.
Jesus wept, yet He wipes away our tears.
Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeemed the world.
Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd.
Jesus died, yet by His death He destroyed the power of death.
Yes! This Shepherd IS trustworthy! He not only keeps His word HE IS THE WORD!
What He promises:
God’s presence -- "I will never leave thee" (Heb. 13:5)
God’s protection -- "I am thy shield" (Gen. 15:1)
God’s power -- "I will strengthen thee" (Isa. 41:10)
God’s provision -- "I will help thee" (Isa. 41:10)
God’s leading -- "And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them" (John 10:4)
God’s purposes -- "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil" (Jer. 20:11)
God’s rest -- "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28)
God’s cleansing -- "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)
God’s goodness -- "No good thing will He withhold from them that work uprightly" (Psalm 84:11)
God’s faithfulness -- "The Lord will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake" (1 Sam. 12:22)
God’s guidance -- "The meek will He guide" (Psalm 25:9)
God’s wise plan -- "All things work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28)
With the troubling and uncertain future you face how can you have hope?
You can be sure your future is your friend because your Shepherd is personal and He is powerful AND you can trust His promises!
The things that are coming in the next few months and years will be trouble on a scale you have never seen before. It will be frightening. It will be painful. You will be tempted to panic. That is why I want to remind you of your Shepherd and that if you fully trust Him, you will need not fear the future for He will make your future your friend!
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
"But the Lord God called out to the man. "Where are you?" he asked." Genesis 3:9
Intellectually we know that God hates sin. And we know that we should too. But, there is something deep in our being that finds it easier to love sin than to love God. That "something" deep within us is called our "sin nature". Genesis 3 tells the sad story of where that nature came from.
The sin nature is a perversion of the free will with which God graced Adam and Eve. That will that had drawn them to God and connected them with God, was twisted against God when they disobeyed Him. You and I have been born with that nature having inherited it from them.
Nowhere in the Bible do we see the ugliness of sin any more clearly than in the Garden where God's grace is so evident. That ugliness is so evident because the consequences of sin are so clear. I want to discuss those over the next few posts.
The first consequence I want to focus on is that sin separates.
Creation was all about God wanting to be intimately related to the beings He had made and placed in a pristine holy environment. And it was good! Very good! So good that He looked forward to being with them each day and strolling through the paradise of Eden.
Think about that! A perfectly perfect God (perfect means complete-lacking nothing) longed to be WITh Adam and Eve! This God Who dwelt in perfect unity within the Trinity, still desired to love and be loved by man! Amazingly good news for us!
I want you to wrap your mind around that so that you can hate what their sin did to God - it created a separation between Him and His created beings. Those whom He had created for Himself were now inaccessible to a holy God not able to experience intimate friendship with sinful ones.
While there is no doubt that Adam and Eve were the big losers in this transaction - and us by inheritance - God suffered from their sin as well. His will was frustrated and His plan was sidetracked.
Sin separates you from God. That explains the deep longing in your soul because you were designed and created and wired to live in perfect fellowship with Him. But sin makes that impossible. Until you comprehend this simple but profound truth, the rest of the Bible will make no sense to you. You must clearly come to grips with the bad news of separation before you can glady embrace the good news about salvation.
Paradise was lost. Perfect union was shattered. In the presence of absolute love and grace, sin is exposed in all its hideousness.
Sin caused us to give up on God, but it did not cause God to give up on us. He still longs for us. He still comes seeking us. As horrible as our sin might be, His love and grace are greater! Though we were helplessly separated from Him, He immediately anounced a plan to reconnect us with Him!
All these years later, God comes to you each morning and longingly calls to you, "Where are you?"
How will you answer?
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people." Luke 2:10
You have had it happen and so have I. It always happens at the most inconvenient time. You hurry to your car, slip the key into the ignition and turn the key but - nothing happens. Maybe you get a click or maybe not, but your battery is dead and your car is not going to start. What a horrible feeling! Your car needs a source of power to get started and your battery has no power. You are stranded! What will you do?
Obviously, you need to find a source of power to help start your car. You need a jump start. You need to get next to someone who has a poweful battery that your battery can draw power from. And since you are unable to move from where you are, someone needs to come and bring the power to you. When that helpful person arrives, either they or you should have some jumper cables to connect the powerless to the powerful. That transfer of power will get you started and on your way again! What a relief!
God sent His powerful Son, Jesus, to a powerless world to help jump start your joy. That is what Christmas was all about! God doesn't want you to be spiritually stranded. He is not pleased when your spiritual battery runs down. And since you were powerless to move, God sent Jesus to you! Jesus came with the power to jump start your joy!
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6
"He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— " John 1:11-12
That is the "good news of great joy" that the angel was sharing with the shepherds! That is the good news I share with you! You don't have to start a new year powerless! You don't have to be stranded in some lifeless useless unfulfilling spiritual place. God wants to connect with you to jump start your spirit and restore your joy! Jesus is the key! Not only is He the power source - He is the jumper cable. Not only does He recharge your spiritual battery, he replaces it!
On this second day of 2019, do you need a jump start?
Are you tired of being spiritually powerless?
What will it take for you to connect - or reconnect with Jesus!
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" II Corinthians 5:17
May God bless you with a healthy and joy-filled year!
Time marches ahead relentlessly and a new year is upon us! Will you make the New Year new or will you drag the same old pain and problems across the threshold of time?
Speaking of time, the Apostle Paul reaches across the centuries with this solid reminder that only in Christ can all things be made new! So, the New Year cannot be truly new unless you are "in Christ".
What needs to be gone in your life? What did you carry in 2014 that you don't need to drag into 2015? Is there a sinful habit? Is there shame over your past? Is there an unhealthy relationship? Is there a spiritual stronghold? Is there a lack of discipline? Is there discouragement or depression? Is there spiritual apathy? Is there outright rebellion against spiritual truth?
The promise is that if you are "in Christ" you can be made new and the old, painful, unproductive, and harmful things can be gone!
So, what does it mean to be "in Christ"?
It means to live in trust. When you trust "in Christ" for your salvation and stop trusting in your own goodness or righteousness, then you can enter into a spiritual relationship with Him.
It means to live in truth. When you are "in Christ" you surrender to His truth and "lean not unto your own understanding". His truth is expressed through His Word, the Bible. Living in truth means that you commit to defining what is real in your life based on what the Bible says is real. You live by its principles. You order your life by its priorities. You shed your past and plan your life according to its promises and you prevail in life according to its power.
The New Year can only be new if you are made new! It can only be happy if you are made whole - and holy!
As you turn the page on the calendar will you turn a page in your spiritual experience? Will you be "in Christ"? Will you trust His truth to transform you into a "new creation"? Will you allow Him to make "all things new" in you?
You can be "in Christ" or in crisis. It's up to you.