Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals, Redemption, Salvation

Fire Breathing Dragon

photo credit: muhammad_elarbi <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/132357290@N05/24877953329″>The Fiery Dragon</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Though not a fire breathing dragon, he was once as deadly…

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem (Acts 9:1-2 KJV).”

Saul (Apostle Paul) He received the transforming breath of the Holy Spirit.

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ (Acts 9:3-22 KJV).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Crucifixion, Devotionals, Redemption, Salvation

Prophecy Fulfilled (Isaiah 53:3-12)

photo credit: L’art au présent <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/144232185@N03/39632042804″>BELLINI Giovanni,1465-70 – Le Calvaire (Louvre) – Detail 10</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

3 “He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who among them considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living [stricken to His death] for the transgression of my [Isaiah’s] people, to whom the stroke was due?

And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

11 He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord].

12 Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers], and He shall divide the spoil with the mighty, because He poured out His life unto death, and [He let Himself] be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore [and took away] the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors (the rebellious).”

[Isaiah 53:3-12 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition]

Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals, Redemption, Salvation

It is Finished!

photo credit: Angela-xujing <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/153103713@N04/36398558575″>The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

“After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now accomplished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, He said, ‘I’m thirsty!’ A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on hyssop and held it up to His mouth.

When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit (John 19:28-30 HCSB).”

Finished, what did Jesus mean; what was finished?

I’m no theologian but I have pondered the imponderable.

Was the agony, excruciating pain of crucifixion finished?

Yes, but I believe the statement holds much deeper meaning.

First I share an interpretation I heard many years ago. (I’m sorry that I cannot remember who shared this information). He said that in Bible times… when people were unable to pay their debts, they were arrested and put in jail. A placard was posted above their cell stating the amount they owed. The individual would serve their time until their debt was paid in full. Then the placard read, ‘It is finished!’

Jesus paid the debt I could never pay. God sent Him to earth to be the perfect sacrifice for my sin. As the spotless Lamb of God, He died in my place. 

The old covenant is finished.

“Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, ‘Drink from it, all of you.  For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:27-28 HCSB).”

The work of redemption is finished.

“But the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation),  He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:11-12 HCSB).”

Yes, forever finished!

“According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22 HCSB).” 

 

Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals, Salvation

A Family of Faith

15927-john-3-16-holding-bible

{Image: crosscards.com}

Faith…

Why do I complicate the issue?

The scriptures are clear.

“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4 NASB).”

By faith, by faith alone…

“… nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified (Galatians 2:16 NASB).”

We are a family of faith.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26 NASB).”

We are saved by faith through Christ Jesus. Our love for Him compels us to work in His kingdom.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10 NASB).”

 

 

Bible Studies, Christmas, Devotionals, Salvation

They Named Him… Jesus

photo credit: Thomas Hawk <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/89373348″>Nativity</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

In Bible times, names held significant meanings.

Samuel: ‘Heard by God’* (1 Samuel 1:20)

Jabez:  ‘He will cause pain’* difficult childbirth (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)

Benjamin: ‘Son of my sorrow’* as mother died following delivery (Genesis 35:18)

Simon Peter: Cephas ‘A Stone’* (John 1:42)

The angel directed Mary and Joseph to name the holy child Jesus, meaning ‘salvation.’*

“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21 NKJV).”

To know Jesus (by grace, through faith) is to experience His salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Jesus…  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12 NKJV).”

{* definitions from NKJV Bible notations}

Christian Growth, Devotionals, Salvation

WISHBONES

photo credit: Steve Corey <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/22016744@N06/38582927741″>Invited to Dinner !</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

“Make a wish!”

As a youngster, I made many wishes on turkey wishbones.

Evidently those bones failed to fulfill the wish of the turkey. His fondest wish to avoid capture and death did not come true.

Paul, with faith in the Lord and love for his people wished to see the salvation of his kinsmen.

“I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites (Romans 9:1-4a NASB).”

Israel’s orthodox Jews were in need of conversion and confession. Paul made their salvation his heart’s desire.

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:1-3 NASB).”

Our salvation, our forgiveness of sin is ample reason for thanksgiving and praise.

“He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB).”

Wishing on bones from a turkey carcass is foolish. I do pray for the salvation of many I hold dear. May God’s Spirit break my heart and give me a heightened sense of urgency to persevere in prayer.

Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals, Missions, Salvation

MEN ON MISSION

Peter and John, once common fishermen…

“Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed—  let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy.

This Jesus is the stone rejected by you builders,
which has become the cornerstone.

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.’ When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:8-13 HCSB).”

They stumped the religious authorities.

“What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign, evident to all who live in Jerusalem, has been done through them, and we cannot deny it (Acts 4:16b HCSB)!”

Men on mission for the Messiah!

“And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that Your slaves may speak Your message with complete boldness, while You stretch out Your hand for healing, signs, and wonders to be performed through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness. (Acts 4:29-31 HCSB).