What did Jesus accomplish?


The incarnation.

Something no one can fully comprehend; it’s so fantastic, yet real.

And necessary.

Jesus. God with us. God being like us—yet not exactly like us.

Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, a miracle baby, conceived by the Holy Spirit.

I often wonder what it was like for her to have a perfect child. We can only imagine. After His birth, her other children were normal, sinful human beings. Can you visualize their home? Older brother is the perfect example. Younger siblings need correction and guidance. Older brother always does the correct thing—and He obeys without questioning, all the time.

Why didn’t his brothers trust Him to be their Savior until after the resurrection? They must have rebelled against this good Brother, never being able to measure up to His perfection. They might even have resented Him. But, when He rose from the dead and they saw Him, they knew He was the Messiah. They finally understood.

Was Jesus twelve when He knew who He was—or was it much earlier? The Bible doesn’t say, and I always try to envision what Jesus was like as a child—what He said and did.

In the Temple, He asked questions to the smartest, most schooled people in the world and answered their questions. It was, in a small way, the beginning of His ministry.

Of course, we know Jesus’ formal ministry began with His baptism—the amazing words from God the Father and the Holy Spirit Dove descending onto Him: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased (Luke 3:22b).

From that moment on, Jesus taught, preached, healed, did miracles, and led people to believe in Him.

He had three years before they killed Him.

Humanly speaking, His ministry was cut short. Yet, we cannot look at it that way.

Jesus accomplished salvation!

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Jesus did what no one else could possibly have done. He came, lived a perfect life, blessed others, died, and rose again—by His own power—and in so doing defeated death. He made a way for every person to live eternally. The Perfect Son of God was the only Person who could have paid for sin—because He was sinless.

I can’t fathom that kind of love.

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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:16-17). The whole purpose of Christmas was the salvation of the world.

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 (Matthew 1:23).

May God bless you as you celebrate this amazing Gift—God with us.

Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Have you believed on Jesus?

What I saw outside my window: Proverbs 7

Proverbs, Chapter 7 surprises because of its detailed description, as well as a few hidden extras. Let’s study!

Again, this Proverb begins with “My son”—a father instructing his son in wisdom. This is actually God teaching us, as well. He says, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee (verse 1). Not only keep my words but store them up as well. Remember them.

You’ve heard the saying, “apple of my eye,” which means something precious. Verse 2 says that the Father’s law is the vital apple of the eye. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Many times we think about God’s love, mercy, kindness, etc. as precious, but here, it says His law is special. Value God’s law.

Verse 3 continues this theme, saying the son should bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

Verse 4 is a little bit different. It personifies wisdom—as his sister or kinswoman. Verse 5 says this kinswoman will keep the son from the strange woman—whom we already know is an adulteress or prostitute. It’s an interesting metaphor: a sister. Sisters care. They want the best for us. They stick with us through thick and thin. Wisdom is like this.

The Father looks out his window, and lo and behold, he sees young men, among them one who isn’t wise at all. He’s on his way to her house (7-8). I think it’s worth pointing out that the young man in this passage has already made a bad decision and is on his way. What should we teach our sons? Avoid making bad decisions in the first place. When you’re already on the path towards wrong, it will be hard to resist.

It’s night and very dark (9). Should we be surprised? Remember, Proverbs often makes the comparison between light (God, righteousness) and darkness (evil).

How’s the woman dressed? In the attire of an harlot (10). Unfortunately, many Christian young women come very close to dressing this way. Think of what a harlot wears. Modesty never looks anything like that.

She’s also subtle—tricky (10). There’s more. She’s loud, stubborn, doesn’t stay at home, and goes out to lie in wait for some poor guy—to trap him (11-12). Contrast this woman with a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:4b).

She catches him and kisses him (13)—physical first, talk later. This is always the wrong order. If your date comes on physically and refuses to truly communicate and doesn’t wait for marriage for all intimacy, you need to run. This is the wrong order of things.

With an impudent face, she pours on the seduction, “I’m free; I searched for you; I came to find you. My bed is ready, and it’s beautiful and comfortable and smells wonderful. Come, make love with me all night.” (14-18) It’s embarrassing even to read this. How can any woman be this forward? But, this same scene happens over and over in every city in the world. “I thought I might find you here” is the oldest come-on line in the book.

Years ago, we were part of a tour with a group of young people. A few of us parents went along. In a major European city, we were going out to get into our bus after breakfast. Would you believe that there were prostitutes on every single street corner—four at every crossroads? Strange women, trying to entrap men of little understanding.

Verses 19-20 give the detail that this harlot is actually married, but her husband’s away, and she knows he’ll be gone for a while. Do women do this today? Oh, yes. (And, so do men.)

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him (21). By the way, she didn’t have to do much forcing. He was already on his way to her house when we first saw this man. He wanted to be seduced. The fault for his sin was all his. The adulteress was personally responsible for her adultery, as well.

The next part of this Proverb shows the consequences of adultery and fornication: He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life (22-23). Look at this carefully: slaughter, stocks, a dart through him, he doesn’t know he’ll die. The consequences of sexual sin are extremely serious.

The end of this Proverb broadens its warning to children, not only the son. The warning is clear: Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death (25-27).

“Oh, but Mrs. Keiser, I would never go with a prostitute” Or, “I would never sleep with someone else’s husband.”

Did you know that many Christian women watch dirty movies, read risqué novels, and view porn on a regular basis? They have gone down the path towards that house.

Many strong men (and women) have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death (26-27).

If you view anything that distracts you from having a pure mind, quit and get help. If you have a porn addiction (viewing or script), get biblical counseling. If you enjoy reading descriptions of immorality, quit and get help—and substitute squeaky clean Christian reading for it. These activities are addictive, just like gambling and drugs, and you may need counseling. Find your nearest Reformers Unanimous meeting place.* Get the help you need.

Wisdom is your sister. She wants the best for you.

God wants you to enjoy a clean, happy life.

Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b).

*Reformers Unanimous, also called RU Recovery Ministries, is a faith-based organization for people battling any kind of addictive behavior. Its program includes group Bible studies, accountability, and support. For more information and finding a group near you, access their website here.

** For a post about Christian girls and modesty, you might enjoy “Why do some girls who truly love the Lord dress immodestly?”

How God protected Mary, Jesus’ mother

Especially at Christmastime, we think about the mother of the Lord Jesus, Mary. She was willing to become the mother of the Savior. You can just imagine Mary trying to explain her miraculous pregnancy. “Oh yes, the angel Gabriel told me . . . .“ “No, Joseph and I have never . . . .” “My baby is the Messiah.”

And the reactions: “Yeah, right. Tell us another one.” “Great story, Mary. Now, can you tell us the truth?” “You saw an angel? Hmm . . . can you describe him to us?” “God chose you to be the Messiah’s mother?” “Bwa, ha, ha, ha!”

But, God helped Mary and protected her. He confirmed to her time after time what she must have sometimes doubted:

  • Joseph got the message of Jesus’ divinity also, straight from an angel of God. (Matthew 1:20-24)
  • Her cousin Elisabeth greeted Mary with, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke 1:42b-43)
  • The baby John the Baptist leaped in Elisabeth’s womb. Even John—before he was born—knew who Jesus was! (Luke 1:41)
  • The night Jesus was born, Mary had visitors. They were shepherds who told a fantastic story about angels and the message of the Messiah’s birth: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger (Luke 2:10-16). It’s no wonder Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19).
  • When Jesus was eight days old, he was taken to the Temple to be circumcised. An elderly man named Simeon was there. God had let him know he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When he saw Jesus, he took him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him (Luke 2:28-33). Can you imagine Mary’s reaction?
  • That wasn’t all on that day! Anna, a very, very old lady, gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem (from Luke 2:38).
  • A while later, wise men from the east showed up at their house. They probably told Mary and Joseph about how the special star lead them. I would love to have been there to witness this scene! 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 (Matthew 2:11).
  • Then, God preserved Jesus’ life and Mary and Joseph from Herod’s crazy persecution. The angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-14). See how God took care of their family?
  • The next confirmation to Mary that we know about was when Jesus was found in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers (Luke 2:46-47). Later, the Bible tells us that his mother kept all these sayings in her heart (from Luke 2:51).
  • To me, it must have been amazing to have this Child under her roof. The Bible tells about His obedience in this short statement: And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them (Luke 2:51a). Can you imagine what it was like for Mary to have the Son of God obeying her and her husband, perfectly, all the time? A perfect Child . . . Emmanuel . . . God with us (Matthew 1:23).
  • God allowed Mary to watch Jesus’ earthly ministry. We find her with the believers. She saw His miracles, heard His teachings, witnessed His death on the cross. She was there when He appeared after His resurrection. What a privilege!
  • When Jesus hung on the cross, Jesus, Mary’s firstborn, made sure Mary would be cared for. She was a widow by then, and Jesus asked John (the youngest apostle) to care for her. I wonder what she thought. Surely, she cried.

All through Mary’s life, God took care of her, confirmed to her that Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah, and ministered to her. God protected her.

Praise Him!

Revised from post first published in 2014, at “In the Way,” my first blog.

How to be holy in two easy lessons–and what to do when you’re not

Being holy thoretically depends on two easy concepts:

  1. Knowing God’s Word—what He wants.
  2. Obeying.

The problem is, we can’t do it. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10). For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).

Not one person in the history of the whole world has been able to live up to the standard of holiness, even the first two, Adam and Eve, who were created holy. The only exception was God in the flesh, Jesus.

So, does this mean we throw up our hands in despair?

Of course not. The command to be holy is part of Scripture: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).

We can’t be holy, but we should be? Is that right?


It’s a goal.

How do we do this? Know God’s Word. Obey it.

For example, here are some of God’s commands:

  • Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it (Psalm 34:14).
  • Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37).
  • But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (Romans 6:22).
  • There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).Take the escape!
  • Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).
  • Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).

And, so many more!

When we sin, we can get clean again by confessing our sin and forsaking it. 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).

The only goodness that we can have is through forgiveness in Christ. We have none by ourselves. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).

Holiness will ultimately happen when our spirits are completely redeemed—in heaven. Until then, we learn and obey—and confess—and go on.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 1:24)

Women of the Bible 13: Who am I?

I’m a woman who likes money and the things it can buy.

My husband and I are in the early church. I’m not sure I’d call myself a believer exactly, but we like the people and the atmosphere, and their dedication to God is impressive.

Hubby watches as Barnabas brings the whole price of land that he sold to the apostles as an offering. Of course, it was well received. At this time, there are a lot of Jesus followers in need and suffering persecution. Everyone chips in to help others. You can feed a lot of people with the price of Barnabas’ land.

So, my husband says to me, “We have an inheritance, too. Let’s do the same thing. We’ll be respected. And, we don’t have to tell that we keep back part of the money for ourselves. We’ll give the impression we’re giving the whole price.”

At once, I agree. It will be our secret. We’ll be able to live well while appearing sacrificial in the eyes of these Jesus followers. It’s a win-win.

That settled, my husband puts the property up for sale, and to our surprise, it sells fast to one of those Roman guys with silver to spare. We squirrel away our part, and my hubby takes the rest to Peter. “I sold a property, and here’s all the money. Use it for the poor.” (I was not there at the time. I found out three hours later that he’d presented the money.)

So, when I arrive later, would you believe—the nerve of him—the Apostle Peter questions me? “Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?”

I answer, “Yea, for so much.”

Then Peter says to me, “How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.”

I lied. And, I died.

The young men came in, confirmed that I was dead, and carried me away and buried me beside my husband.

In my attempt to fool people and gain money, in three hours I lost wealth, my husband, and my own life. Peter said we lied to the Holy Spirit and that Satan filled our hearts. Looking back, I know that’s true.

As a result of God’s judgment on my husband and me, great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

Who am I?

What was my husband’s name?

For bragging rights, in which book of the Bible can you find our tragic story?