Thursday, December 14, 2017

Fw: The quiet king


Who is this quiet king?
Maker of all, Savior of my soul and yet...
Willing to let me make the choice.
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What kind of sovereign wraps such power in velvet mystery?
Nature has such balance that His rule seems self sustaining.
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Why would the Lord of life permit some to die without knowing Him?
But then, why would I?
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How does the One who is Master over generations and completer of History
permit us to choose foolishly and yet know that His plan will be fulfilled
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How is it that the Lord of all has come to me personally and yet I can forget Him so easily?
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Who is this quiet king, whose humble sacrifice draws me to choose to look His way, love His care and walk with Him this day?

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fw: More prophecies about Jesus


Jesus really did come...the Son of God...He was foretold centuries earlier by the prophets and in this season of Christmas it is good to remember that faith is confirmed by facts.

Isaiah 7:14  All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us').
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Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel,
    whose origins are in the distant past,
    will come from you on my behalf.
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Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice, O people of Zion!
    Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
    He is righteous and victorious,
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—
    riding on a donkey's colt.
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Zechariah 11:

12 And I said to them, "If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to." So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

13 And the Lord said to me, "Throw it to the potter"—this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potter in the Temple of the Lord.
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Zechariah 12:10 "Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.
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He really came...just as the prophets said...born of a virgin in Bethlehem as Immanuel, God coming to us.  He eventually entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  He was betrayed by Judas for 30 pieces of silver, which Judas threw back in the Temple after the betrayal.  And He was pierced by the Roman guard and mourned as the crucified only son of the Father.


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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."



Monday, December 11, 2017

Fw: Jesus in Psalm 22


We're considering messianic prophecies and, even though we are celebrating the birth of Jesus this month I thought it fascinating to share a prophecy of His experiences on the cross.
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King David wrote Psalm 22 about 1,000 years before Jesus time on earth. But consider the amazing prophecy contained within and fulfilled by the gospel accounts of Jesus as He suffered for us:

Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Matt 27:46 At about three o'clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which means "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"
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Psalm 22:8 
"Is this the one who relies on the Lord?
    Then let the Lord save him!
If the Lord loves him so much,
    let the Lord rescue him!"
Matt 27:43
He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, 'I am the Son of God.'"
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Psalm 22:18
They divide my garments among themselves
    and throw dice for my clothing.
John 19:23-24
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 So they said, "Rather than tearing it apart, let's throw dice for it." This fulfilled the Scripture that says, "They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing." So that is what they did.

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


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Rob

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fw: Jesus in the Psalms


Psalm 2:

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, "You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.

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The author of the epistle to the Hebrews in the New Testament confirms that this passage, written by King David about 900 years before the first Christmas, refers to Jesus as a prophecy:

Hebrews 1:

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

"You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you"?

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We ought to put our trust in the One who has not only created all we can see but knows ahead of time how He will restore a fallen world.  At the very end of Psalm 2 is the final thought: Blessed are all who take refuge in him.


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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."



Friday, December 8, 2017

Fw: Prophecy of Jesus coming


Genesis 49:10
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
    and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

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The prophecy above was written by Moses about 1400 years before the birth of Christ. It is one of the first Messianic prophecies.  We can see it's fulfillment chronicled in the Gospel of Luke, where the genealogy of Jesus is traced:
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Luke 3:23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli...33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah
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I suppose we should not be surprised that the God who is eternal, with plans that run from before the first sunrise to past the final sunset, who has a plan for the universe and a plan for you and me....we should not be surprised that He would give clues to his Prophets that the greatest ruler...the greatest king would one day come (and later come again) according to His plan.  These prophecies of the coming Messiah inspire faith in us...we who live so briefly on the face of the earth and have so little knowledge of what has gone before and what is yet to come...even in our daily lives!


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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Fw: The unwelcome rescuer

If you were drowning in the ocean it isn't likely that you'd ignore, despise, or reject the rescue helicopter, as it lowered a hook to save you.  But we see in the prophecy of Isaiah, written about 700 years before the first Christmas, that this is exactly the reaction of most people...consider the beginning of Isaiah, chapter 53:

53 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him. 
He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all.

We know from the gospel of John that Jesus had been with the Father from the very beginning and directly participated in the Creation...including the creation of man.  But when He showed up on earth "he was despised and rejected by men".  The very ones he had formed turned their backs on him.  But that didn't deter him from fulfilling his purpose for "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows".  But what has been the response of many to this: "we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted".  We decided to interpret his death on the Cross as a crushing punishment by God and deny the power of that death.  It was a death that had rescue stamped all over it: "he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace".   Amazingly, "with his wounds we are healed".
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But what is our response to this courageous one who was ignored, rejected and denied: "All we like sheep have gone astray;  we have turned-every one-to his own way."
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Yet, the end of the 12th verse in this chapter says: "yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors."
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Jesus was prophesied in Isaiah 700 years ahead of His coming and our response to His coming is not entirely a pretty picture.  His faithfulness and God's awesome rescue plan goes beyond beautiful...it is the epitome of grace.



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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fw: Awaiting the dawn


Psalm 46:There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
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Dawn comes and the sun rises for the entire world...hour by hour...as the earth turns daily.  But just as the sun rises for the whole world, it also rises for us individually as we move from sleep to wakefulness.  It occurred to me that Jesus came like the great dawn to save the world, but He also came for us individually to awaken hearts one by one.
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When we awaken each day you might say that is a picture of new life.  Each night of sleep might be considered a picture of death, for surely in sleep we are no longer conscious of thought or in control of action...as in death.  But every morning then becomes a picture of new life.  As the dawn comes to the world and as Jesus came, even as an infant, and came in ministry as Savior to the world...so does He come to us one by one, individually...personally...to awaken our souls as we bow before Him.
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We await the dawn with a sense of new beginnings each day and we celebrate the dawn of new life when Jesus has risen in our hearts.

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fw: He comes with Light


Isaiah 9:2  The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
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Matthew 4:16  "the people dwelling in darkness
    have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
    on them a light has dawned."
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John 1:4-5 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
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At Christmas time lights appear on homes, humble and great, as an expression of the One who was foretold in Isaiah and reported in Matthew and John.  He is the One who brings light to our personal darkness.  He was with the Father from the beginning, when light was spoken into natural creation and He came to bring light to our inner person.  We dress our homes in light to celebrate Him and we welcome Him within our hearts to be filled with the light that is also life.

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Monday, December 4, 2017

Fw: stepping through fog


It is a foggy morning.  On top of that, it is a foggy Monday morning.  Mondays bring the start of a work week and this will be a very busy work week.  Mondays can seem kind of foggy just getting back into the work routine after weekends have broken us free of the routine.  When you walk through foggy, busy times you can begin to sense anxiety.  But I noticed this morning that, despite the fog surrounding me, I could clearly see the path right in front of me as I walked by a small pond.  I remembered that the Lord will make the way clear, step by step, even if the bigger picture seems shrouded in the fog of the unknown.
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Today's daily verse from my Bible application seems appropriate: Isaiah 41:13
"For I hold you by your right hand—
    I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
    'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you."
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No matter how dense the fog, the Lord will guide us through, step by step.

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fw: all of God


All of God
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It occurred to me on reflection the other day that every aspect of life, including my life, was of God.  We speak of knowing God as one option among many...one choice in a basket full of choices.  But what choice did we make that brought us life?  What input of ours was considered in our personal design?  How much do we have to do with the trees, the sky, the birds above or the squirrels and deer that move below?
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Do we not, even in a natural sense, owe all of our life experience to God?  Some might say that all of nature is a chance occurrence...a random spark set in motion somehow from an unexplained source that triggered the complexity of nature and nature's harmony of days and seasons and all manner of life.  But a serious minded thinker must view that attitude with skepticism at best.
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My online Bible has this verse for today's daily meditation:
Proverbs 21:21
"Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life, righteousness, and honor."
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While we are all 'alive' we don't truly find life until we pursue the upward alignment with God (righteousness) and the horizontal outreach of love (kindness).  When we do that we follow the Lord's command to love Him and to love others as ourselves.  And the return is the righteousness we sought coupled with honor, as the echo of kindness...and we, who are already alive, will then find the eternal life that the One who fashioned all intends for all who will come after Him.
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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Fw: Follow the path


Paths can become roads.  I was told a long time ago about one heavily traveled local road that reaches from the high ground near where I live to the James River about a dozen miles away.  It isn't a straight road because it was first a path through trees and around swamps for natives to travel.  But it became the fastest way to move to the river.  Eventually it was paved and, unlike roads that start with vehicle travel in mind, it kept the curves and actually is more interesting to drive.
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There is a windy path that is your life.  It isn't straight because you have negotiated swamps and steered around obstacles (occasionally you have found yourself in the swamp and tangled with the obstacles).  But your path can surely lead to the eternal road that travels to Heaven's river.  If you look up you may see the Cross just ahead.
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John 10:9 "I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." (Jesus)

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Monday, November 27, 2017

Fw: Home

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
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This humble house reminded me of the place of "home" in our lives.  Home is where family forms...where new life begins, where birthdays are noted with cake and candles, where the day is revisited over the table, where the discipline of chores leads to the healthy routine of work, where the next crop of children is raised in the shadow of the parents' love...for each other and for them.  Home is where we grow up...home is what we build in our families...home is the context for activity and for rest that we have in common.
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And when we love the Lord and follow His direction the Father and the Son make their home within us...truly this is the completed home...a home we will never have to leave.

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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Fw: friends

I spotted this small group of geese recently, standing together by the water's edge.  They illustrate the power of friendship to me.  Friends go through life together.  They support each other.  They watch out for each other. They stand together and they move together.  They have a lot in common and this forges a strong bond.  Together they add richness to life.  And sometimes just being together by the water's edge is enough...if they do that together.
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3 John 1:

14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face.

Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.


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"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."