Unaware of God’s presence

As Jacob was running away from his brother Esau, he stopped at a certain place to rest for the night and he dreamed. In his dream he saw the ladder set on the earth and the angels of God, ascending and descending on it and on top of it, he saw the Lord God standing. The Lord assured him of his presence, preservation and protection. When Jacob woke up from his sleep, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.

Points to ponder:
Into this dark world, where sin as the pitch of night abounds, God has shined his Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ – The Light of the World and Jesus’ presence, preservation by his Holy Spirit and protection is assured to all who believe in him and yet, many a times, we are unaware of God’s presence, as Jacob was. Let us recognize that God is in this place, no matter what the circumstances of your life are or how bleak the world may seem. Surely the Lord is in this place for Jesus is Emmanuel and that means God is with us – Are you and I aware of his presence? or as we saying, “I knew it not.” John 17:3 says – “To know God is Eternal life.” Are you assured of eternal life?

Genesis 28:16 (KJV)
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.

What kind of a father is Jesus?

We all celebrated father’s day 2010 yesterday and I thank God for having granted me the privilege of being an earthly father to Reuben Abishai Paul (RAP). As I reminisced about father’s day, I was reminded of my own biological father, Dr. R.A.C. Paul,  who on the 30th day of September, 1986 passed away from this ephemeral world to enter into an eternal kingdom. And as my heart wandered to wonder about why I was deprived of a father-son relationship, I was promptly reminded from the scripture that God is the father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Jesus Christ addressed Almighty God as Holy Father (John 17:11) while affirming that He and the Father are One  (John 10:30).

But what kind of a father is Jesus/God?

He is a
Friend of the sinner (Matthew 11:19),
Alpha/the First (Revelation 1:8),
Teacher from God (John 3:2),
Holy (Mark 1:24),
Emmanuel/With us (Matthew 1:23) and a
Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4) on whom we can depend.

And to all who believe and receive Jesus, He gave them the power to be called the sons of God (John 1:12) and because we have received the Spirit of adoption, we can call God, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). Our relationship with God is that of a father-son relationship only because of our Spiritual Father, Jesus Christ; it is by adoption, and not by ancestry.

And as children of God, what kind of father’s do we need to be?
We need to be
1. the friends of those who are lost (who have not believed and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Father);
2. the first (alpha) to pass the baton of faith to our earthly children;
3. the teacher of the fear of the Lord;
4. holy as God the father is Holy;
5. always with and for our children and loved ones; and
6. the rock on which our children and loved ones can depend on.

John 1:12-13 (KJV)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Ephesians 6:4 (KJV)
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The gifts at and the Gift of Christmas

For the past couple of nights, we have been as a Church going home to home, caroling and proclaiming the good news of God’s presence with man (Emmanuel) by being born into this world in the form of a baby, who is named Jesus, which means Savior a.k.a. He shall save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21-23). One of the songs we sang was ‘We three kings of Orient are’ which narrates the event of the wise men from the east that sought the king of the Jews who fell down and worshipped Jesus, when they came into the house and saw Jesus the child with his mother, Mary and in their act of worship, opened their treasures and presented unto him gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).

While the presentation of gifts may be considered customary and happenstance, there is more to learn from this portion of the Scripture, just as any other narrative in the Christmas account.

Let us at first we look at the givers and then we shall look at the gifts.
The givers first and foremost fell down and worshipped Jesus, then they opened their treasures and presented him with their gifts. We must do likewise as well. We must first fall down and worship Jesus for He is King of kings, then we must open up our heart (for out of it is the wellspring [treasures] of life) and present ourselves to Him.  In other words, our act of worship must include wholeheartedly surrendering all we have and are to Him, the King over all.

Now looking at the gifts. The gifts that were given were gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Gold signifies royalty and divinity. It is the gift given to kings. Here we see that Jesus is the King given the gift of gold.
Frankincense signifies the prayers of the saints. Jesus is given Frankincense to symbolize that He is indeed a Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, the High Priest of the Most High God who is the intercessor on our behalf to God.
Myrrh signifies aroma/perfume which was used when preparing someone for burial. By the presenting of myrrh to Jesus, it symbolizes the preparation for his death on the cross of Calvary as the final and acceptable sacrifice for the salvation of mankind. The cross overshadowed the cradle in the manger on the First Noel, the first Christmas, when the Son of God became the Son of Man, so that the sons and daughters of man could become the sons and daughters of God.

Additionally, we must not forget that the greatest giver was none other than God, Jehovah Jireh, The Provider of a provision for reconciling God with man (Emmanuel), through the greatest gift which was His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, THE GIFT.

What is the gift you/I are/am going to give Jesus?

Matthew 2:11 (KJV)
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

John 3:16  (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Name is Emmanuel

One of the songs I like to listen to is the song ‘From a distance’  by Bette Midler. This 1991 Grammy award Song of the Year talks about God watching us from a distance. The only change to the lyrics, I would suggest is that God is watching us, but not necessarily from a distance, because His name is Emmanuel and that means, God with us.

In the beginning God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) created man, so that God could be with man. Man chose to disobey God and a chasm between God and man arouse. Two pieces of wood and three nails were given to God the Son (Jesus) to build a bridge (shaped as a Cross) so that God could be with man again. When Jesus arrived on the scene, born of a virgin, he was to be called Emmanuel, which when interpreted means “God WITH us (man)”. Jesus was crucified and killed, but He rose from death, defeating death and the devil who held the power of death. He then ascended to God the Father in heaven. But when he ascended into glory, he counseled his followers to wait for God the Holy Spirit to come so that God could be with man once again, so that God could be Emmanuel, God with us.

My human intellect wonders if the time period from the ascension of Jesus to heaven to the arrival of the Holy Spirit on man is the only time period in history, when God was not with man, God was not Emmanuel. Now is that even possible? I don’t know and may never know.

Many times we simply fail to recognize God presence with us. Remember, the two who walked on the road to Emmaus, who did not recognize that God was with them, even though Jesus was with them in his resurrected body (Luke 24). Many times we are like the two not cognizant of God’s omnipresence. God is always with us. There are no SECRETS with God. We cannot hide from God (Psalm 139).

On the other hand, Even though God is with us today, there are many in this world who are not with God. What a pity! The world is asking those of us who know that God is with us, if He really is? They are seeking and expressing that God is NO WHERE to be found. Our response should be to make them realize that God is NOW HERE to be found and all they need to do is accept the lordship of Jesus, by believing in Him.

From the beginning, God has been with man, is with man and will always be with man, until the very end. He cannot be untrue to the Name. The Name is Emmanuel.

Matthew 1:23 (KJV)
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.