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Monthly Archives: December 2012

God with Us

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God is not willing to keep a distance between Himself and His creatures. His desire is nearness and intimacy, analogical to the personal intimacy that He, the Son, knows with the Father and the Spirit in the Holy Trinity. He comes because He wants to share Himself with us so that we who are creatures can receive into our creaturely lives the One who is holiness, love, and eternal life.

-Dr. Dennis F. Kinlaw

A Baby is Born!

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“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” …. Suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased.” (Luke 2:10-11, 13-14)

ShepherdsWith the utmost of care and detail, the Heavenly Father prepared for the arrival of His Son. There was no written “cutesy” birth announcements, no decorated nursery, nor specialized nursing to care for baby Jesus. While a mere a donkey, a few cows, and some sheep observed the labored and painful birth of God the Father’s human baby Son, the most miraculous and spectacular welcome ever known for a royal baby occurred.

According to Scripture, shepherds were not known as the most popular, nor was shepherding a prestigious vocation in “the world”—in fact, it was known to be despised (see Genesis 47). Think of it: at the very first Christmas, God’s birth announcement of His only begotten son was given first to no other than to those fearful and oppressed shepherds. Upon receiving the earth-shaking news from the Lord Himself, those dirt-coated, sun-bleached, unappreciated shepherds did not debate, attempt to rationalize the miraculous, dwell on their own condition, or decide to wait until the next day. “They came with haste and found the baby…” (Luke 2:15-16).

The Good News of the birth of Jesus is about the fulfillment of God’s intention for “all men with whom He is well pleased.” As He says in Isaiah, “O you afflicted one … In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear…” (54:11-14). I believe God the Father was proud and pleased to offer those shepherds, least in rank by human speculations, the first visitation rights to His newly born Son; the very One who would declare: “I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).

How did the Absolute Holy God identify with the affliction and humiliation of mankind (Isaiah 53:2-6)? How would He make His unfailing love known to those He created? HE BECAME ONE! (John 1:14)

In all of your human humiliation, welcome Him! Receive Him! Enter into the presence of JESUS and find peace! You shall be established in righteousness, far from oppression, without fear. Christ, with the limitation of man’s humiliation and the Absolute Love of God, came to set man FREE from fear (1 John 4:18). The Christmas Christ is here! O Come Let Us Adore Him—with haste!

There’s Going to Be a Baby! (part 3)

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“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which translated means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.  (Isaiah 9:7b)

God the Father prepares Joseph, His final vessel for the preparation for the arrival of His Son, through a bit of a hidden twist: working in human limitations and through the stripping of human securities.

Joseph had good hopes and dreams – no doubt inspired from years of parental guidance to plan to be successful as “head of his home” and known within the city gates. His carpentry business would be the means to provide for his home and betrothed one. Together they would settle in their own home, have children, worship Yahweh and continue to hope for the Messiah. He was known around the Jewish villages; he was from the royal line of David. If he worked hard, there were no limitations to what he could accomplish in his new life with Mary.

Alas, his fiancée reveals her mysterious secret—she is with child. In one brief moment, his future appeared to be in crumbles in an upside-down world! Would he risk a future ruined by the talk, scorn, blame, and persecution (if not death) that would come as this news took root within the neighborhood and temple? Scripture tells us he struggled with this: “Joseph, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to send her away secretly” (Matthew 1:19). Surely God had made a mistake. Do you suppose Joseph thought he had grieved Yahweh to deserve such dreadful news?

But we know the rest of the story! As Joseph was considering his crisis, an angel of the Lord paid a visit: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” Though at first disappointed and discouraged at what appeared to be the dashing of his own human expectations, in faith Joseph willingly yielded all that he hoped for: “and Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (v.24).

The Father received what Joseph gave. Because of a loyal heart, yielded will and the sacrifice of all his own hopes of position and possession, once again, the miraculous took place. Not only was preparation made for the arrival of baby Jesus, Joseph was the generation in which God’s promise to David was fulfilled. He was privileged to be the earthly father to the Heavenly Father’s Son, the human resource from whom Jesus received His protection and provision while growing up here on earth.

With just four days until Christmas, this segment of the Christmas Story has a powerful message. As recent as this past week, one of my human expectations crumbled. The Holy Spirit offered me an invitation of hope: “Linda, may I have the crumbles of your humanity to redeem for my eternal purposes, even if you never see the fruit? Will you trust me to be Enough?” When we belong to Yahweh, self-driven inspirations, even good hopes and dreams, can become limitations to knowing God’s absolute best—unless we turn them over to God. When we relinquish all that we are and have to the divine will and perfect ways of God, the Father receives all, and through the absolute divine work of His Holy Spirit our dream becomes His avenue to prepare the world for Jesus.

Remember this Christmas: God didn’t send His Son to get rid of our humanness, but to be at our very center! “And they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us.’” “The zeal of the Lord” will perform this!

“Lord Jesus, I give you my crumbs for Christmas.”

December 2012 Newsletter

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We’re so excited about all Jesus has done for and through Titus Women in 2012. We recently sent out a newsletter update that gives a brief synopsis of what we’ve been up to and where God’s leading us in 2013. If you haven’t had a look yet, you can see an online version here.

There’s Going to be a Baby! (part 2)

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“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus … The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…” Luke 1: 31, 35

Mary, who found favor in the sight of God, was chosen to be the carrier, the nurturer of His only begotten Son. A young humble virgin, waiting loyally for the coming marriage to her betrothed one, Mary never could have imagined what God would soon do for her very own heart all because she was loyal to Yahweh. Did she understand she was a vessel of fulfillment of God’s prophetic promise “in the beginning,” when woman was deceived to disbelieve in God’s absolute Holy Love? “Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed… He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:6, 15). Mary was acutely aware of her own unworthiness, and utter helplessness for such an appointment (Luke 1:29).

Yet, more important than her ponderings is Mary’s response recorded for us in His Word. “And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word’” (Luke 1:38, emphasis mine). God’s message is clear: the Father doesn’t look to our past in condemnation; God acts in His Nature: Hesed  love—full of mercy, grace, and truth offered to all generations for those who choose His covenant through a life of faith. (Psalm 103:17). Oh, the sufficiency of God’s grace! His Power is perfected in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).

Mary makes haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit is now six months pregnant. There is such a beautiful Word picture in this segment of our Christmas Story. The tenderness and kindness of God the Father touches my soul and strengthens my faith. Elizabeth’s baby, full of the Holy Spirit, leaps at the sound of Mary’s voice:  in the fullness of her own personal, Spirit-filled hope, Elizabeth gives Mary the strength she needs through her beautiful words of humble blessing and affirmation. Mary responds to Elizabeth’s greetings with an outburst of praise to “God her Savior!”(Luke 1:46) A new family is about to be born: the family of God through the body of Christ. Mary and Elizabeth were not just preparers of the Christmas Story, they were genuine participants in fellowship with Father, Son, Holy Spirit and each other.

Remember this year as you continue to prepare for the celebration of Christmas: the “over shadowing” in the Christmas account gives us a firsthand witness to a new beginning from an Old Testament Truth. The eternal, ever-faithful source of God’s provision to all who are chosen is always His present Holy Spirit. The Father never forgets or belittles our humanness. He continually offers His personal strength and comfort through His Holy Spirit from one filled vessel to another, especially in the midst of our limitations (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

There’s Going to be a Baby! (part 1)

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For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9: 6

As I began to prepare once again for the celebration of Christmas, I was worn to a frazzle. Life had been so full the prior weeks, and it seemed I was unable to think or move. As I poured out my heart’s cry to Father and Son, He met me. I began the study of the Christmas Story, and the precious Holy Spirit spoke at once: “Linda, do you realize how long I planned and prepared for the arrival of Jesus?” To be honest, I don’t think I’d ever taken time to study that particular point. He continued speaking, “You are attempting to forget the difficulties of life and even the loss of dreams and hopes through creating an atmosphere of delight and beauty of your own making. Linda, it is in these very real conditions of life that I chose to prepare for the arrival of My Son.”

Even before the conception of Jesus , the Father was preparing for His Son. Luke 1:1-25 gives us part one of this preparation. Zechariah and Elizabeth were both of the priestly line. The Word tells us “they were both righteous in the sight of God …”( Luke 1: 6). They were both at the temple; she with the multitude in prayer, Zechariah performing his priestly service before God. Few knew the hidden grief tucked inside their hearts: Elizabeth was barren and beyond the age of childbearing. By human standards, their situation was hopeless – they would never have the delight of giving birth to a child. But then, Zechariah got wonderful news: “Your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John…” (Luke 1:13). And so it was, Elizabeth became pregnant – the miraculous occurred.

Out of the Father’s Heart – the center of all – came LOVE! And out of His love came the source to prepare for, provide for, and present the arrival of His only begotten Son: the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of the Father. And the instruments He chose for His preparation? A disappointed couple who lived in the hopelessness of human limitations, yet remained loyal to the presence and promises of Yahweh. A hopeless dream filled with the Holy Spirit would prepare the hearts of man for the coming of the Lord.
Remember this year as you prepare for the celebration of Christmas; In the limitations of humanity and the absoluteness of the Divine, God prepares to fulfill the arrival of His Son.