Mankind’s True Hero, Jesus Christ: The man who was God, the God who became man

 Power in name of Jesus

Heroes. Hollywood has them in abundance: Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Flash, The Justice League, Thor, Ant Man, and on and on as the movie industry spins their larger-than-life, superhuman tales on the big screen. Their mythical stories are told and retold through prequels, sequels, and modernized renditions as millions become engaged in these tales at the theaters or in their own homes. But what are we seeking through these heroes of myth and lore?

Why do we seem to have this need for a superhuman hero in our culture, someone who will “save the day” and protect us from the bad guys and the evil villains? The answer is really a simple one: We have a need for mankind’s true hero, Jesus Christ, the Savior. Many do not know His story, which is not a tale or a myth but a real life lived and given on this earth for us. We have a need for this Savior, our Redeemer—the man who was God, the God who became a man.

The story of Jesus has characteristics similar to that of a superhero. He has superhuman powers: healing lepers, the blind, the lame; casting out demons; bringing a man back from the dead; walking on water; calming the seas and the winds; knowing a man’s thoughts; dying and rising again to life. His superhuman costume is described in Isaiah 11:5: “Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.” Garbed in this “costume,” Jesus confronts a superhuman villain, the devil, in the desert. Satan tries to tempt Him, but Jesus is not swayed and remains strong of mind and purpose, even after fasting 40 days and nights. (10) Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” (11) Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended Him. (Matthew 4:10-11) Defeated, Satan departs and heavenly beings arrive to minister to Jesus, physically weakened in this mortal state, which He chose to become in order to protect and save us.

Superheroes are always protectors of others, the defense against evil. Jesus is the ultimate Protector: “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah40:11) A superhero will personally suffer and even sacrifice himself to protect others. Jesus, our Savior, did this for all mankind: “For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17) This atonement came in the form of His own death: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)

Often, a superhero is not from this world. Jesus also had another home which He left for us: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The sacrifice was great; it was all for us.

Hero worship can occur with those who have great powers and make supreme sacrifices. (17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. (18) I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelations 1:17-18) In this case, the worship is not merely “hero worship” but  true worship toward the one and living Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The world needs to hear the story of Jesus. He already “saved the day” for all of us and gives us protection from sin and evil if we but follow Him. The cross was His weapon, His blood our shield. The sequel includes us in the story when we seek, believe, and follow His Truth–not the myths, tales, and gods of men.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/28/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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I KNOW I CAN—WITH GOD’S HELP

I can through Christ

      “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”              (2 Timothy 4:7)

In the children’s story “The Little Engine That Could,” the Little Blue Engine used positive self-talk to achieve the seemingly impossible task of pulling the train full of toys to the top of the mountain and down the grade to the city below. Merely thinking about the possibility of success was not quite enough as she huffed and puffed: “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” ¹ It was only when those spoken words were truly believed that the little engine chugged “faster and faster,” reaching the top of the mountain. The belief was uttered in a new phrase on the decline down the mountain to the city: “I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could.” ¹

Sometimes, our life circumstances make our daily walk a difficult uphill climb, “chugging” and “puffing” as we struggle to keep ourselves going. Our self-talk during these times is critical. These internal words can defeat us, delay us, or inspire us. This self-talk is also God-talk as He hears everything we think. There is no alone time. God is ever-present.

If we change our self-talk to “I think I can- with God’s help,” then we are closer to reaching the top of the mountain we need to climb– to reach a goal, endure a crisis, survive the work week, pay the bills, overcome a loss, see a way to keep going. To truly attain these things, however, our self-wording must be one of firm belief and action based on that faith: “I know I can-with God’s help” and “I thought I could-with God’s help.”

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.”                           (Proverbs 16:3)
(6) “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (7) That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (8) Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1:6-8)

With God as our Engineer, steering the course of our lives, we can know and believe with assurance that we will be able to “finish the race” and reach the “prize” waiting for us over the mountain in the City below: (13) Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Let us press onward like Paul, trust fully in the Lord, and commit to the ultimate goal of heaven.

“I didn’t come this far, to come this far.” ²
There is a view on the other side of the mountain
To behold— the City where I will reside.

¹Watty Piper’s 1930 “The Little Engine that Could.” http://www.printmag.com
²Anonymous. thinkinghumanity.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/21/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

God’s Valentine to Faithful Christians

Love of God cross and tomb

V ictory through Jesus
A bsolution from our sins
L ove that never fails
E mpty tomb of Risen hope
N ew body incorruptible
T omorrow-eternal promised
I nheritance of adoption
N ever-ending Light
E ternity with God our Father

1 John 3:1 – See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:10 – This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:9 – This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.

1 John 4:8 – Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/14/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

GOD IS the Source of All Wisdom

Wisdom depths of God

“The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.” ¹

Twitter, Facebook, and other social media or “news” sites offer those with access a platform to express personal “knowledge” and share or declare personal “wisdom” on many subjects and issues. Sometimes, however, these public sites become a stage for expounding untruths that reflect human pride—and human ignorance–not wisdom. As we approach “the doorstep to the temple of wisdom,” we need to fall prostrate before the One waiting at the door, Who holds the only key to enter. We cannot approach Him with our own agendas, opinions, and limited knowledge with the objective to instruct our Lord on what is wise, for He will ask us: (4) “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. (5) Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? (Job 38:4-5)

What our society desperately needs today is wisdom, which can only come from the ONE true source: GOD. When we seek His wisdom, we will have the knowledge we need to overcome the struggles, fears, and temptations of this world. We will have the Truth to guide us on the right path.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all
without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness
of God is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:25)

When we ask God for wisdom, we will have His support to make the right choices and decisions that honor Him. He, in turn, will bless us: “ To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. “(Ecclesiastes 2:26)

Paul tells us, through the Corinthian letter, that Christ is the way to find the treasures of wisdom and knowledge:
(2) My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, (3) in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3)

As Christ is without sin, the wisdom from God is 100% pure and true, freeing us from greed, covetousness, power-driven desires, arrogance, pride, and self. How different the world would be if we all sought the wisdom of God and practiced what we learned from the Master Teacher: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  (James 3:17)

Oh, the riches we gain from the asking, the receiving, and the gifting of wisdom from God:

(13) Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
(14) for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
(15) She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
(Proverbs 3:13-15)

In a world of folly and foolishness, greed and avarice, pride and selfishness, let us remember our Father, who will bequeath His legacy of a pure, true wisdom to us, His children, when we seek Him and call upon Him to help us through this life in order that we may enter His holy temple.

¹ Benjamin Franklin. brainyquote.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/07/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word