Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals

His ETA

photo credit: Luz Adriana Villa A. <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/11599314@N00/2355409494″>Resurrection Sunday</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

My husband Norm is good about keeping me updated on his daily activities. He calls me to let me know where he is and just before he is heading back home. With that information, I can estimate his time of arrival.

Jesus is in heaven at the right hand of His Father. We cannot know His ETA but He did tell us what we can expect before His return.

“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’

And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. ‘For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

‘Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:3-14 NKJV).”

 

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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).” 

 

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Christian Growth, Devotionals

Mourning

photo credit: babasteve <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/64749744@N00/25249726154″>Emotional Moment – Refugee at the Border</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

It had a catchy tune; I sang along with the lyrics.

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

I mean who wants to be sad?

Right?

Remember how Spock irritated his friends?

He was so logical.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5 NKJV).”

Spock leaned and relied on his understanding, his logic.

The truth is that I can receive a blessing (not happiness). It comes through mourning.

That may not be logical. It is factual.

“Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4 NKJV).”

Joy comes in the morning; that is true.

“For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5 NKJV).”

But, through mourning I draw nearer to God.

“Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10 NKJV).”

 

 

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Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals, Family

Free born…

Free born…

“Tell me, those of you who want to be under the law, don’t you hear the law?  For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman.  But the one by the slave was born according to the impulse of the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery—this is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.  But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.  For it is written:

Rejoice, childless woman,
who does not give birth.
Burst into song and shout,
you who are not in labor,
for the children of the desolate are many,
more numerous than those
of the woman who has a husband.

 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.  But just as then the child born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so also now.  But what does the Scripture say?

Drive out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never be a coheir with the son of the free woman.

 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman (Galatians 4:21-31 HCSB).”

In Bible times names carried significant meaning.

‘Freeborn’ is a family name in my genealogy. My grandmother’s maiden name was Freeborn. In addition my father was named Franklin Freeborn Ford.  

 

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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).”

 

 

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Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals

We Have Nothing to Fear

photo credit: ShanePix <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/131518729@N05/29919104495″>Sailing to Cape Cod</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

I’m not a fan of spooky movies. I can watch some of the earlier comedy flicks.  Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson (of the Jack Benny program) had a role in the 1941 film, ‘Topper Returns.’  Wide-eyed Rochester was afraid of ghosts; like Jesus’ disciples; he really had nothing to fear.

“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.  But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’

And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’

So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God (Matthew 14:22-33 NKJV).”

 

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Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals, Missions

Answered the Call

photo credit: byJoeLodge <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/93223484@N00/5412453784″>33/365 Atlas</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

“Now the Lord had said to Abram:

‘Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV).”

True, this was a call to the man Abram (Abraham). Yet, I believe parts of the call were given to each missionary serving in the foreign missionary field. Missionaries have answered the call, saying yes to Yahweh.

They have left the security of family, friends and their homeland.

In return, God has blessed them with purpose, fulfillment and impact on others.

I’m blessed to call missionaries my close friends.

 

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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!

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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}

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Christian Growth, Christmas, Devotionals

Ho-Ho-Ho!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwzYQopdHD0

Ho-Ho-Ho!

No, not Santa…

Sing praises to the Savior!

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

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.

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25 KJV).”

 

 

 

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