God loves the world, He hates sin
John 3:16-21 The Passion Translation
16 For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.
17 “God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! 18 So now there is no longer any condemnation for those who believe in him, but the unbeliever already lives under condemnation because they do not believe in the name of God’s beloved Son. 19 And here is the basis for their judgment: The Light of God has now come into the world, but the hearts of people love their darkness more than the Light because they want the darkness to conceal their evil. 20 So the wicked hate the Light and try to hide from it, for their lives are fully exposed in the Light. 21 But those who love the truth will come out into the Light and welcome its exposure, for the Light will reveal that their fruitful works were produced by God.”
Romans 1:18-32 The Passion Translation
God Reveals His Wrath
18 For God in heaven unveils his holy anger breaking forth against every form of sin, both toward ungodliness that lives in hearts and evil actions. For the wickedness of humanity deliberately smothers the truth and keeps people from acknowledging the truth about God. 19 In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart. 20 Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse.
21 Throughout human history the fingerprints of God were upon them, yet they refused to honor him as God or even be thankful for his kindness. Instead, they entertained corrupt and foolish thoughts about what God was like. This left them with nothing but misguided hearts, steeped in moral darkness. 22 Although claiming to be super-intelligent, they were, in fact, shallow fools 23 For only a fool would trade the unfading splendor of the immortal God to worship the fading image of other humans, idols made to look like people, animals, birds, and even creeping reptiles!
24 This is why God lifted off his restraining hand and let them have full expression of their sinful and shameful desires. They were given over to moral depravity, dishonoring their bodies by sexual perversion among themselves— 25 all because they traded the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served the things God made rather than the God who made all things—glory, and praises to him for eternity of eternities! Amen!
26–27 For this reason God gave them over to their own disgraceful and vile passions. Enflamed with lust for one another, men and women ignored the natural order and exchanged normal sexual relations for homosexuality. Women engaged in lesbian conduct and men committed shameful acts with men, receiving in themselves the due penalty for their deviation.
28 And because they thought it was worthless to embrace the true knowledge of God, God gave them over to a worthless mind-set, to break all rules of proper conduct. 29 Their sinful lives became full of every kind of evil, wicked schemes, greed, and cruelty. Their hearts overflowed with jealous cravings, and with conflict and strife, which drove them into hateful arguments and murder. They are deceitful liars full of hostility. They are gossips 30 who love to spread malicious slander. With inflated egos, they hurl hateful insults at God, yet they are nothing more than arrogant boasters. They are rebels against their parents and totally immoral. 31 They are senseless, faithless, ruthless, heartless, and completely merciless. 32 Although they are fully aware of God’s laws and proper order, and knowing that those who do all of these things deserve to die, yet they still go headlong into darkness, encouraging others to do the same and applauding them when they do!
Proverbs 9:10,11 NKJV
10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.
Proverbs 10:3 NKJV
3 The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish,
But He casts away the desire of the wicked.
2 Timothy 3
Godlessness in the Last Days
2Ti 3:1 But you need to be aware that in the final days the culture of society will become extremely fierce and difficult for the people of God.
2Ti 3:2 People will be self-centered lovers of themselves and obsessed with money. They will boast of great things as they strut around in their arrogant pride and mock all that is right. They will ignore their own families. They will be ungrateful and ungodly.
2Ti 3:3 They will become addicted to hateful and malicious slander. Slaves to their desires, they will be ferocious, belligerent haters of what is good and right.
2Ti 3:4 With brutal treachery, they will act without restraint, bigoted and wrapped in clouds of their conceit. They will find their delight in the pleasures of this world more than the pleasures of the loving God.
2Ti 3:5 They may pretend to have a respect for God, but in reality, they want nothing to do with God’s power. Stay away from people like these!
2Ti 3:6 For they are the ones who worm their way into the hearts of vulnerable women, spending the night with those who are captured by their lusts and steeped in sin.
2Ti 3:7 They are always learning but never discover the revelation-knowledge of truth.
2Ti 3:8 History has given us an example of this with the Egyptian sorcerers Jannes and Jambres, who stood against Moses in their arrogance. So it will be in the last days with those who reject the faith with their corrupt minds and arrogant hearts, standing against the truth of God.
2Ti 3:9 But they will not advance, for everyone will see their madness, just as they did with Jannes and Jambres!
All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God
2Ti 3:10 But you, Timothy, have closely followed my example and the truth that I’ve imparted to you. You have modeled your life after the love and endurance I’ve demonstrated in my ministry by not giving up. The faith I have, you now have. What I have hungered for in life has now become your longing as well. The patience I have with others, you now demonstrate.
2Ti 3:11 And the same persecutions and difficulties I have endured, you have also endured. Yes, you know all about what I had to suffer while in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. You’re aware of all the persecution I endured there; yet the Lord delivered me from every single one of them!
2Ti 3:12 For all who choose to live passionately and faithfully as worshipers of Jesus, the Anointed One, will also experience persecution.
2Ti 3:13 But the evil men and sorcerers will progress from bad to worse, deceived and deceiving, as they lead people further from the truth.
2Ti 3:14 Yet you must continue to advance in strength with the truth wrapped around your heart, being assured by God that he’s the One who has truly taught you all these things.
2Ti 3:15 Remember what you were taught from your childhood from the Holy Scrolls which can impart to you wisdom to experience everlasting life through the faith of Jesus, the Anointed One!
2Ti 3:16 Every Scripture has been written by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. It will empower you by its instruction and correction, giving you the strength to take the right direction and lead you deeper into the path of godliness.
2Ti 3:17 Then you will be God’s servant, fully mature, and perfectly prepared to fulfill any assignment God gives you.
I shared this Scripture as a warning and a self-check for us all. We need to be aware of what is going on in our world. We also need to search our own hearts for any areas we are working evil in us. Pray for God’s wisdom, revelation, and understanding. Ask Him to reveal these answers to you personally:
- How should I respond to these things?
- What is my responsibility in this season of life?
- What should I pray for myself, my family, my church, the Body of Christ and the world?
Father God, we ask you to reveal to us the next steps for our lives in response to the world around us. Help us to know how to navigate the tests and trials ahead. Show us the path of righteousness in the midst of darkness. We thank you that you are the Light of the World, and we can trust you to lead us in the Way, Truth, and Light throughout the coming days. Praise Your Name forever!!
Glory to God in the highest!
Luke 2:1-20 NLT
2 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no lodging available for them.
The Shepherds and Angels
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Jesus is the Light of the World
2 The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.
3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel,
and its people will rejoice.
They will rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest
and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery
and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.
You will break the oppressor’s rod,
just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
5 The boots of the warrior
and the uniforms bloodstained by war
will all be burned.
They will be fuel for the fire.
6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His government and its peace
will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
will make this happen!
A King Shall Reign and Prosper and Shall Execute Judgment and Justice in the Earth
Jeremiah 23:5-6 New King James Version
5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6 In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
The Christmas Story Part 3
Matthew 1 The Passion Translation (TPT)
From Abraham to Christ
1 This is the scroll of the lineage and birth of Jesus, the Anointed One, the son of David and descendant of Abraham.
2 Abraham had a son named Isaac, who had a son named Jacob, who had a son named Judah (he and his brothers became the tribes of Israel).
3 Judah and Tamar had twin sons, Perez and Zerah. Perez had a son named Hezron, who had a son named Ram, 4 who had a son named Amminadab, who had a son named Nashon, 5 who had a son named Salmon, who, along with Rahab, had a son named Boaz. Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed, who was the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse had a son named David, who became the king.
7 Then David and Bathsheba had a son named Solomon, who had a son named Rehoboam, who had a son named Abijah, who had a son named Asa, 8 who had a son named Jehoshaphat, who had a son named Joram, who had a son named Uzziah, 9 who had a son named Jotham, who had a son named Ahaz, who had a son named Hezekiah, 10 who had a son named Manasseh, who had a son named Amos, who had a son named Josiah, 11 who was the father of Jeconiah.
It was during the days of Jeconiah and his brothers that Israel was taken captive and deported to Babylon. 12 About the time of their captivity in Babylon, Jeconiah had a son named Shealtiel, who had a son named Zerubbabel, 13 who had a son named Abiud, who had a son named Eliakim, 14 who had a son named Azor, who had a son named Zadok, who had a son named Achim, who had a son named Eliud, 15 who had a son named Eleazar, who had a son named Matthan, who had a son named Jacob, 16 who was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary the mother of Jesus, who is called “the Anointed One.”
17 So from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the Babylonian captivity, fourteen generations, and from the Babylonian captivity to Christ, fourteen generations.
An Angel Comes to Joseph
18 This was how Jesus, God’s Anointed One, was born.
His mother, Mary, had promised Joseph to be his wife, but while she was still a virgin she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Her fiancé, Joseph, was a righteous man full of integrity and he didn’t want to disgrace her, but when he learned of her pregnancy he secretly planned to break the engagement. 20 While he was still debating with himself about what to do, he fell asleep and had a supernatural dream. An angel from the Lord appeared to him in clear light and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t hesitate to take Mary into your home as your wife, because the power of the Holy Spirit has conceived a child in her womb. 21 She will give birth to a son and you are to name him ‘Savior,’ for he is destined to give his life to save his people from their sins.”
22 This happened so that what the Lord spoke through his prophet would come true:
23 Listen! A virgin will be pregnant,
she will give birth to a Son,
and he will be known as “Emmanuel,”
which means in Hebrew,
“God became one of us.”
24 When Joseph awoke from his dream, he did all that the angel of the Lord instructed him to do. He took Mary to be his wife, 25 but they refrained from having sex until she gave birth to her son, whom they named “Jesus.”
The Christmas Story Part 2
Luke 2:1-39 The Passion Translation (TPT)
The Birth of Jesus
2 1–2 During those days, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, ordered that the first census be taken throughout his empire. (Quirinius was the governor of Syria at that time.) 3 Everyone had to travel to his or her hometown to complete the mandatory census. 4–5 So Joseph and his fiancé, Mary, left Nazareth, a village in Galilee, and journeyed to their hometown in Judea, to the village of Bethlehem, King David’s ancient home. They were required to register there, since they were both direct descendants of David. Mary was pregnant and nearly ready to give birth.
6–7 When they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor, and there she gave birth to her firstborn son. After wrapping the newborn baby in strips of cloth, they laid him in a feeding trough since there was no available space in any upper room in the village.
An Angelic Encounter
8 That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! 10 But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere! 11 For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah. 12 You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough!”
13 Then all at once, a vast number of glorious angels appeared, the very armies of heaven! And they all praised God, singing:
14 “Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven!
For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.”
15 When the choir of angels disappeared back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go! Let’s hurry and find this Word that is born in Bethlehem and see for ourselves what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16 So they ran into the village and found their way to Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in a feeding trough.
17 Upon seeing this miraculous sign, the shepherds recounted what had just happened. 18 Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was astonished by what they were told.
19 But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant.
20 The shepherds returned to their flock, ecstatic over what had happened. They praised God and glorified him for all they had heard and seen for themselves, just like the angel had said.
Baby Jesus Dedicated in the Temple
21 On the day of the baby’s circumcision ceremony, eight days after his birth, his parents gave him the name Jesus, the name prophesied by the angel before he was born. 22 After Mary’s days of purification had ended, it was time for her to come to the temple with a sacrifice, according to the law of Moses after the birth of a son. So Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to Jerusalem to be dedicated before the Lord. 23 For it is required in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be a set-apart one for God.” 24 And, to offer a prescribed sacrifice, “either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25 As they came to the temple to fulfill this requirement, an elderly man was there waiting—a resident of Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. He was a very good man, a lover of God who kept himself pure, and the Spirit of holiness rested upon him. Simeon believed in the imminent appearing of the one called “The Refreshing of Israel.” 26 For the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not see death before he saw the Messiah, the Anointed One of God. 27 For this reason the Holy Spirit had moved him to be in the temple court at the very moment Jesus’ parents entered to fulfill the requirement of the sacrifice.
28 Simeon cradled the baby in his arms and praised God and prophesied, saying:
29–31 “Lord and Master, I am your loving servant,
and now I can die content,
for your promise to me has been fulfilled.
With my own eyes I have seen your Word,
the Savior you sent into the world.
32 He will be glory for your people Israel,
and the Revelation Light for all people everywhere!”
33 Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby.
Simeon then blessed them and prophesied over Mary, saying:
34–35 “A painful sword will one day pierce your inner being,
for your child will be rejected by many in Israel.
And the destiny of your child is this:
he will be laid down as a miracle sign
for the downfall and resurrection of many in Israel.
Many will oppose this sign, but it will expose to all
the innermost thoughts of their hearts before God.”
36–37 A prophetess named Anna was also in the temple court that day. She was from the Jewish tribe of Asher and the daughter of Phanuel. Anna was an aged widow who had been married only seven years before her husband passed away. After he died she chose to worship God in the temple continually. For the past eighty-four years, she had been serving God with night-and-day prayer and fasting.
38 While Simeon was prophesying over Mary and Joseph and the baby, Anna walked up to them and burst forth with a great chorus of praise to God for the child. And from that day forward she told everyone in Jerusalem who was waiting for their redemption that the anticipated Messiah had come!
39 When Mary and Joseph had completed everything required of them by the law of Moses, they took Jesus and returned to their home in Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The child grew more powerful in grace, for he was being filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.
The Christmas Story part 1
Luke 1:1-56 The Passion Translation (TPT)
1 1–4 Dear friend,
I am writing for you, mighty lover of God, an orderly account of what Jesus, the Anointed One, accomplished and fulfilled among us. Several eyewitness biographies have already been written, using as their source material the good news preached among us by his early disciples, who became loving servants of the Living Expression. But now I am passing on to you this accurate compilation of my own meticulous investigation based on numerous eyewitness interviews and thorough research of the story of his life. It is appropriate for me to write this, for he also appeared to me so that I would reassure you beyond any shadow of a doubt the reliability of all you have been taught of him.
Angelic Prophecy of the Prophet John’s Birth
5 During the reign of King Herod the Great over Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah who served in the temple as part of the priestly order of Abijah. His wife, Elizabeth, was also from a family of priests, being a direct descendant of Aaron. 6 They were both lovers of God, living virtuously and following the commandments of the Lord fully. 7 But they were childless since Elizabeth was barren, and now they both were quite old.
8–9 One day, while Zechariah’s priestly order was on duty and he was serving as priest, it happened by the casting of lots (according to the custom of the priesthood) that the honor fell upon Zechariah to enter into the Holy Place and burn incense before the Lord. 10 A large crowd of worshipers had gathered to pray outside the temple at the hour when incense was being offered. 11 All at once an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing just to the right of the altar of incense.
12 Zechariah was startled and overwhelmed with fear. 13 But the angel reassured him, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God is showing grace to you. For I have come to tell you that your prayer for a child has been answered. Your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son and you are to name him John. 14 His birth will bring you much joy and gladness. Many will rejoice because of him. 15 He will be one of the great ones in the sight of God. He will drink no wine or strong drink, but he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even while still in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will persuade many in Israel to convert and turn back to the Lord their God. 17 He will go before the Lord as a forerunner, with the same power and anointing as Elijah the prophet. He will be instrumental in turning the hearts of the fathers in tenderness back to their children and the hearts of the disobedient back to the wisdom of their righteous fathers. And he will prepare a united people who are ready for the Lord’s appearing.”
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is too old to give me a child. What sign can you give me to prove this will happen?”
19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel. I stand beside God himself. He has sent me to announce to you this good news. 20 But now, since you did not believe my words, you will be stricken silent and unable to speak until the day my words have been fulfilled at their appointed time and a child is born to you. That will be your sign!”
21 Meanwhile, the crowds outside kept expecting him to come out. They were amazed over Zechariah’s delay, wondering what could have happened inside the sanctuary. 22 When he finally did come out, he tried to talk, but he couldn’t speak a word, and they realized from his gestures that he had seen a vision while in the Holy Place. 23 He remained mute as he finished his days of priestly ministry in the temple and then went back to his own home. 24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for the next five months. 25 She said with joy, “See how kind it is of God to gaze upon me and take away the disgrace of my barrenness!”
Angelic Prophecy of Jesus’ Birth
26–27 During the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the angel Gabriel was sent from God’s presence to an unmarried girl named Mary, living in Nazareth, a village in Galilee. She was engaged to a man named Joseph, a true descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Grace to you, young woman, for the Lord is with you and so you are anointed with great favor.”
29 Mary was deeply troubled over the words of the angel and bewildered over what this may mean for her. 30 But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift. 31 You will become pregnant with a baby boy, and you are to name him Jesus. 32 He will be supreme and will be known as the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will enthrone him as King on his ancestor David’s throne. 33 He will reign as King of Israel forever, and his reign will have no limit.”
34 Mary said, “But how could this happen? I am still a virgin!”
35 Gabriel answered, “The Spirit of Holiness will fall upon you and almighty God will spread his shadow of power over you in a cloud of glory! This is why the child born to you will be holy,[ and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your aged aunt, Elizabeth, has also become pregnant with a son. The ‘barren one’ is now in her sixth month. 37 Not one promise from God is empty of power, for nothing is impossible with God!”
38 Then Mary responded, saying, “This is amazing! I will be a mother for the Lord! As his servant, I accept whatever he has for me. May everything you have told me come to pass.” And the angel left her.
Elizabeth’s Prophecy to Mary
39 Afterward, Mary arose and hurried off to the hill country of Judea, to the village where Zechariah and Elizabeth lived. 40 Arriving at their home, Mary entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the moment she heard Mary’s voice, the baby within Elizabeth’s womb jumped and kicked. And suddenly, Elizabeth was filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit! 42 With a loud voice she prophesied with power:
“Mary! You are a woman given the highest favor
and privilege above all others.
For your child is destined to bring God great delight.
43 How did I deserve such a remarkable honor
to have the mother of my Lordcome and visit me?
44 The moment you came in the door and greeted me,
my baby danced inside me with ecstatic joy!
45 Great favor is upon you, for you have believed
every word spoken to you from the Lord.”
Mary’s Prophetic Song
46 And Mary sang this song:
“My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God!
47 My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God!
48 For he set his tender gaze upon me, his lowly servant girl.
And from here on, everyone will know that I have been favored and blessed.
49 The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me;
holy is his name!
50 Mercy kisses all his godly lovers,
from one generation to the next.
51 Mighty power flows from him
to scatter all those who walk in pride.
52 Powerful princes he tears from their thrones
and he lifts up the lowly to take their place.
53 Those who hunger for him will always be filled,
but the smug and self-satisfied he will send away empty.
54 Because he can never forget to show mercy,
he has helped his chosen servant, Israel,
55 Keeping his promises to Abraham
and to his descendants forever.”
56 Before going home, Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months.