Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals

It’s a Gift!

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It’s a gift!

I like to receive presents. Who doesn’t?

Excited, I’ve unwrapped gifts from family and friends.  

I recall the Christmas of 1967.

It was the last I’d spend living at home with my parents. I married a few days later on December 30th.  Strange as it may seem, I opened 2 timely gifts. My parents gave me a fashionable wrist watch; fiancé Norm gave me a dress watch with silver band. They were both special gifts.

The Father has given me His gift of peace.

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character] (Isaiah 26:3 a AMP).”

Jesus has given me the gift of peace.

“Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] (John 14:27 AMP).”

The Holy Spirit has given me the gift of peace.

“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace… (Galatians 5:22a AMP).”

It’s a gift. Won’t you receive it?

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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).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Growth, Christmas, Devotionals

A Christmas Without Batteries

 

 

photo credit: wuestenigel <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/37546469204″>Pile of batteries</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

What’s a Christmas without batteries?

Hmm, that’s an interesting concept. Let’s mull that over for a minute or two. So many of our gizmos need batteries inserted before we can operate them. Pity the parents who forget to buy batteries before children and teens open their gifts.

What about poor Dad? He will be unable to hear the whir of battery operated tools if they are not included.

There’s still time to buy extra batteries; you won’t want to miss a minute of the battery operated action.  The thrifty use rechargeable batteries. As a Christian, I depend on a far greater power than disposable batteries.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8 HCSB).”

Like rechargeable batteries, we receive God’s power through repeated fillings.

“… be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18b HCSB).”

While batteries power gizmos, the Holy Spirit empowers Emmanuel followers!

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).

Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals

Feeling No Pain

Who?

“Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has conflicts? Who has complaints?
Who has wounds for no reason?
Who has red eyes?
Those who linger over wine,
those who go looking for mixed wine.
Don’t gaze at wine because it is red,
when it gleams in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a snake
and stings like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange things,
and you will say absurd things.
You’ll be like someone sleeping out at sea
or lying down on the top of a ship’s mast.
‘They struck me, but I feel no pain!
They beat me, but I didn’t know it!
When will I wake up?
I’ll look for another drink (Proverbs 23:29-35).”

We each have a choice…

“And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18 HCSB).”

Christian Growth, Devotionals

Painful Probing

A BLOG SPLINTER              It is not logical.

 

How could such a minute speck of PAM CROPPED 2013dust or an eyelash under my eyelid be so painful? A splinter in my hand, so small that I need a magnifying glass to see it, can cause throbbing pain.

 
The unwelcome guests cause irritation; the probing to find and remove them goes beyond irritation to pain.

My removal process is in itself painstaking. If my eye is the problem area, I have to stand extremely close before a lit up mirror. Old age is robbing me of close-up vision. Once I find the culprit, I use a cotton swab in the delicate removal process. If the intruder is a splinter in my right hand, I have a major dilemma.

Being right handed, the wielding of a sterilized needle in my left hand for probing and extraction is haphazard. My sin is not easy to detect with the naked eye; the Holy Spirit shines His light on it, using conviction and the sword of the Spirit as instruments, He brings the transgression to the surface.

“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account (Hebrews 4:12-13 HCS).”

 

Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals, The Church

Ready-Set-Go!

 

CROPPED NOVEMBER 2012 PROFILE PICTURE

Dressed in running clothes and gym shoes, the hopeful squat at the starting line, prepared to run. Hearts racing, listening acutely, they wait for the command.

 “Get ready, get set…  Go!”

 Before Jesus ascended back to His Father, He gave commands, not pep talks, to His disciples.

“The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted. Then Jesus came near and said to them, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:16-20 HCS).”

Jesus had been readying them each step along the way. Through His teaching, preaching and healing miracles they learned the ways of ministry and outreach. Sent out by Him on two-by-two mission assignments, they discovered the necessity of going empowered by Him.  Were they all set to proceed?

“While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. ‘This [He said, is what] you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (Acts 1:4-5 HCS).”

Set, they waited and watched… “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8 HCS).”  Ready and set they waited on the Lord…

Preparation, presence, provision and power fell upon them. “When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech (Acts 2:1-4 HCS).” Peter and the others were at the starting line.

“Go!”