End of One Year, Start of Another

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As we anticipate a new calendar year, I intend to keep this “Bible blog” going, but not on the same, regular basis. Rather than every day (as in 2012) or every week (as in 2013), I will simply post “when the Spirit moves me”. The posts will be focused on biblical and theological insights, with missiological connections as well.

My guess is that I will only post a couple of times a month, but sometimes they may occur on consecutive days or more often than weekly. It will just depend on when I am, quite literally, inSpired.

For those of you who have followed regularly, I thank you for your interest. I do pray that the new calendar year presents great opportunities for you to grow in the Lord. The image above has all sorts of generic, safe good wishes for the New Year; I pray much more for you than that. I am thinking more along the lines of 2 Corinthians 5:17,

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Our life in Christ is new and renewed each time we take a step forward in our relationship with Him. And while we are walking with Him, we can always have the prayer percolating on the back burner of our minds, “Come (again), Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20), which points us to the new heavens and new earth of Isaiah and Revelation, and the risen, reigning Lord:

And the one sitting on the throne said,
“Look, I am making everything new!”
 (Rev 21:5)

In this sense, I pray you a very happy new year in Jesus, and so does my family.
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Week 52: December 22 – 28 ~ MERRY CHRISTMAS !

Week 52:  CHRISTMAS VERSES

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SETTING  ~

  • NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… plus a revelation of what is to come.
  • CONTEXT OF THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS: For this last installment of this year-long blog, I’m sharing my favorite verses related to Christmastime and the significance of the Christchild.

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A and Z Reading Tip: Blessings on you both this Christmas 2013. May all these verses be a blessing to you. My recommendation for memorization would be from John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Love, Dad.

GAZx3

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—– Sunday
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’).
=  Isaiah’s references to the Messiah are not the only ones in the Old Testament , but they are the best known to us. Take time to reflect on the importance of the concept of “Immanuel”.

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7  ~  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.
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!
=  In Christ, God sheds a light into our lives that helps us see things in a new and more accurate way. This happens not just once, like when we decide to follow Christ, but over and over again. Sometimes it happens when we are going through a dark time in our lives, and God’s presence helps us see our way through it, and sometimes the light comes as we get to know God better; more and more light, more clarity and understanding of the reality God has given us – these things shine increasingly as we draw nearer to God. He is a WONDERFUL counselor… He is mighty and eternal, and He brings us peace of mind and soul.

—– Monday
Micah 5:2  ~  But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.
=  Micah lived in the same historical time as Isaiah, the 8th century B.C., and he gave us God’s message that ties Jesus – through Joseph – to the hometown of the beloved King David. See Luke 2:4, below.

—– Tuesday
Luke 1:26-38  ~  26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.
28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.
30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
=  Mary’s vision. Imagine yourself in her shoes (if she wore any!) – how would you react? What does this teenager’s response imply about her trust in God?

—– Wednesday
Matthew 1:18-21  ~  18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.
19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
=  Joseph’s dream. This message from God comes later than Mary’s vision. Did Mary tell him about her vision early on? Or has her pregnancy already become obvious, so that Joseph starts to stress about it? Are people already talking about this? A more literal translation of the Hebrew says, “before they came together she was found to be with child.” Joseph was an unusual man – a good and righteous man (v.19).
The name Jesus has roots in the Hebrew word for saving/salvation.

—– Thursday
Luke 1:67-70  ~  67 Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:  68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. 69 He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, 70 just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.
=  This is John the Baptizer’s father, but he is referring to the coming Messiah, Who is soon to be born.

Luke 2:4-20  ~  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, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
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.
=  There it is, the most famous account of the birth of Jesus. Let’s be like the shepherds, unafraid o “tell everyone” about Jesus, and “glorifying and praising God” for all the things we see Him doing.

—– Friday
John 1:1-5  ~  In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
=  John calls Jesus “the Word”, the Logos, the primary thought and concept of all things – creativity itself, life-giving light. He is with God and He is God.

 John 1:9-16  ~  9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn — not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
15 John [the Baptizer] testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.'” 16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
=  And this life-giving Logos came to be with human beings and offered us a connection with God. He was full of grace and truth unfailing love and faithfulness (“grace and truth”). And John experienced Him personally, experiencing one gracious blessing after another. May this be true for you, too!

—– Saturday
Colossians 1:15-20  ~  15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
=  This passage, written by Paul or his followers, has a lot in common with John’s thoughts above. In Him all things hold together, and He is supreme over all God’s creation, which He miraculously redeemed through the mysterious event at the Cross. He is our Lord. The babe from Bethlehem is the Lord of all creation.

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Thank You, God, for Your Word – both written and living.
Thanks for the Scriptures and thanks for Jesus.
May He be “born anew” in my heart this Christmas season.
By Your Spirit, please help me stay in Your Word so I can slowly and surely come to know and love You more and more – that I may not only receive but also give “one gracious blessing after another” (Jn 1:16),  throughout my life.

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Week 51: December 15 – 21 ~ The Revelation to John, part 2

Week 51:  REVELATION, part 2

Revelation

SETTING  ~

  • NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… plus a revelation of what is to come.
  • CONTEXT OF THIS NEW TESTAMENT BOOK: It is said that this apocalyptic letter was written by the Apostle John when he was imprisoned on the island of Patmos in the 90s of the first century. Patmos is off the western coast of Turkey. The purpose of the book/letter was to encourage and strengthen believers in western Turkey, where the seven churches mentioned in the early chapters were sited.

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A and Z Reading Tip: The Revelation intimidates many readers. It is so different from the letters and gospels that precede it. The imagery is hard for modern minds to comprehend. But its basic message is clear: There will be hard times, but we can persevere because of
the One to Whom we belong.
“Jesus is gonna win.”
Ultimately God will bring His creation to a climactic and just consummation and “all things will be new” (21:5), with God and His people living together in
a wonderful new reality (21:2-4).
Read Revelation in that context.
Go ahead and marvel at the word pictures;
try to ascribe earthly meanings to them if you want. But stick with God, trust Him, and watch the basic message of the Revelation come to pass. I’ll be there with you.
Love, Dad.

2002-3

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—– Sunday
Rev 4:11  ~  “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
=  Yes, Lord, You deserve all the respect and glory we can send your way!

—– Monday
Revelation 5:11-12  ~  11 Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders.  12 And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered — to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”
=  Let us join this angel chorus!

—– Tuesday
Revelation 12:7  ~  Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels.
=  I just wanted you to get a vibe for “apocalyptic” literature – “war in heaven” between good and evil forces, angels and dragons!

—– Wednesday
Revelation 12:11  ~  And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
=  Let us not love this life so much that we are afraid to die for a godly cause.

—– Thursday
Revelation 19:7  ~  Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself.
=  We are the bride! Let us anticipate the wedding celebration with joy! Come, Lord Jesus!

—– Friday
Rev 21:1-7  ~  Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
=  Heaven is depicted as “new”, with God living among His people in a state of utter joy, with no pain or sadness… when things are “done” – brought to COMPLETION, FULLNESS, but in a “world without end”. Amen, amen.

—– Saturday
Rev 22:12-13  ~  12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
=  Let’s live as though Jesus were coming tomorrow.

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Lord, thank You for the challenging, thrilling, reassuring messages and images from the Revelation You gave to John. Help me to persevere with You from now “till Kingdom come”. 

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That’s it! We have worked through the entire Bible. Now pick out your own favorites and commit them to memory. Do it now, while you are young… I can testify that it gets harder to memorize when you are older!

There’s one more week left in the year. What will we do? Christmas verses? – Maybe. The Top 10 (or Top 7) verses from the previous 51 weeks? – Maybe. Come and see!

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Week 50: December 8 – 14 ~ The Revelation to John

Week 50:  REVELATION, part 1

Revelation

SETTING  ~

  • NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… plus a revelation of what is to come.
  • CONTEXT OF THIS NEW TESTAMENT BOOK: Believed to have been written by the Apostle John, the purpose of the book/letter “was to strengthen the faith of the members of these churches [the churches in the region of Ephesus, where he had been serving] by giving to them the assurance that deliverance from the evil powers arrayed against them was close at hand. John was confident that the great day of divine intervention would occur within a comparatively short time, but in accordance with the apocalyptic literature with which Jewish Christians were familiar, he knew that many terrifying events would take place first. He wanted to warn his fellow Christians concerning these events and thus prepare them for the time when their faith would be put to a more severe test than anything that they had experienced thus far.” This is the description from Cliffs Notes! I emphasized the word “apocalyptic” because that’s the genre of this particular book of the Bible. John had the vision and wrote it down most likely in the last years of the first century.

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A-Z Reading Tip: The Revelation intimidates many readers. It is so different from the letters and gospels that precede it. The imagery is hard for modern minds to comprehend. But its basic message is clear: There will be hard times, but we can persevere because of the One to Whom we belong. “Jesus is gonna win.” Ultimately God will bring His creation to a climactic and just conclusion and “all things will be new” (21:5). God and His people will live together in a wonderful new reality (21:2-4).
Read Revelation in that context. Go ahead and marvel at the word pictures;
try to ascribe earthly meanings to them if you want. But stick with God, trust Him, and watch the basic message of the Revelation come to pass. I’ll be there with you.
Love, Dad.

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They are warm… neither cold nor lukewarm.

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—– Sunday
Revelation 1:1-2  ~  This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, 2 who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
=  Jesus shares revealed information in the form of a vision with John, who writes down what he sees.

—– Monday
Revelation 1:8-10  ~  8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” 9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet…
=  John describes the situation in which the revelation came to him, imprisoned on an island off the west coast of Turkey. It’s a real place, described by a real human being, someone who personally knew Jesus. Alpha to Omega (A to Z), present/past/future… and almighty God.

—– Tuesday
Revelation 1:17-19  ~  17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. 19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen: both what is now and what will take place later.”
=  At first John is overcome by the wonder of this experience. But the Lord – First and Last, living now though He had been dead – gives John an assignment and he buckles down to do it.

—– Wednesday
Revelation 2:1, 4  ~  “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. …I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”
=  The letters to the Seven Churches in western Turkey still apply to today’s church. Let’s not repeat the sin of Ephesus, which was to let Jesus become less important to us, a love exceeded by our love of other things.

—– Thursday
Revelation 2:10  ~  Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.
=  Persevere through trouble, knowing that Heaven is before you.

—– Friday
Revelation 3:15-16  ~  14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen — the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”
=  Let’s not sit on the fence in our response to the Lord. Wishy-washy complacency is not what God wants.

—– Saturday
Rev 3:19-22   19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me. 21 To those who are victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
=  Open the door! – not just one time in your life (I don’t think this is only about conversion), but whenever the Lord knocks. The results will always be good.

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Lord, I always want to open the door when You knock. Please help me to always welcome You, always be with You.

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Week 49: December 1 – 7 ~ 2nd John, 3rd John, Jude

Week 49:  2 John, 3 John, Jude

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SETTING  ~

  • NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… letters from the apostles… plus a revelation of what is to come.
  • CONTEXT OF THIS NEW TESTAMENT BOOK: With regard to 2 & 3 John, see last week’s post. Regarding Jude, which Jude (Judah, Judas) wrote this letter? It wasn’t Judas Iscariot! Best candidates: Judas the Apostle (Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13) or Judas who was a brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3). Like the John letters, this one is concerned with false teachers and false teaching, but this letter was likely written earlier than those.

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A-Z Reading Tip: The letters of 1/2/3 John and of Jude can help arm you against false teaching. While love can cover a multitude of false behavior and sin, we should not let a focus on love let us avoid the rigor of good and critical thinking.
Memory verse? For you: Jude 20-21. For me: 3 John 1:4.
Love, Dad.

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—- Sunday
2 John 1:3  ~  Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.
= Claim this promise and live its challenge.
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—– Monday
2 John 1:6  ~  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
= Love and obedience do not go together automatically in some people’s minds. I pray that you find a way to live this out.

—– Tuesday
2 John 1:3  ~ 
10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.
= Spend your time in the presence of people who build you up.

—– Wednesday
3 John 1:4  ~ 
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
= Amen!

—– Thursday
Jude 1:17-23  ~  17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
= Be prepared for the doubters, scoffers, and even blasphemers. And figure out a way to extend God’s love to them. Don’t let them destroy your unity with followers of Christ.

—– Friday
Jude 1:20-23  ~  20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
= Hang around other believers, mutually edifying one another, and be ready together to reach out to encourage those without faith, but without affirming their bad behavior.

—– Saturday
Jude 1:24-25  ~ 
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
= I love this benediction. God will keep you, protect you, and present you “faultless” into His presence. He deserves the glory!

~   ~   ~

Lord, thank You for the letters of John and Jude, with their emphasis on “grace and truth” – love and sound doctrine. Keep me grounded in your Word and channel Your love through me that I may live in a healthy balance of truth and grace.

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Week 48: November 24 – 30 ~ First John

Week 48:  First John

Epistles-of-John

SETTING  ~

  • NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… letters from the apostles… plus a revelation of what is to come.
  • CONTEXT OF THIS NEW TESTAMENT BOOK: Though no author is named, this letter is attributed to John the Apostle, son of Zebedee, though some experts have questioned whether John’s Gospel, these three letters, and The Revelation are all written by the same person. It was either John or close followers who set down his teaching on his behalf. The letter was written late in the first century A.D., addressing the false teaching of Gnostics, who believed that those who had a special kind of knowledge/philosophy were “above” the restraints of Christian teaching. This led to loose living, since one’s knowledge, not one’s behavior, was the critical component in godly living. John writes to help people understand and believe the true faith.

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A-Z Reading Tip: As you read through John’s letters, keep his intentions in mind:
This eyewitness of Jesus has written these down so that…
1) You may believe that Jesus is God incarnate
2) You may succeed in walking in His ways of LOVE rather than in sin, and
3) You may be able to recognize false teaching and hold to the Truth of the Gospel.
May God bless You as You read His Word!
Love, Dad.

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—– Sunday
1 John 1:1  ~  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
=  John walked and talked with Jesus, even touched Him. He speaks from personal experience of the Lord.

1 John 1:5-7  ~  5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
=  John is addressing Gnostic themes, emphasizing that should live in the ways of God, and not behave one way in public (in the light) while doing other things in private (darkness).

—– Monday
1 John 1:8-9  ~  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
=  “All have sinned”, but God will keep His promise to forgive us when we repent. LGPC confession verse!

1 John 2:1-2  ~  My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
=  We do our best to “walk in the light”, and when we fail, we can be glad that the righteousness of Christ still saves us.

—– Tuesday
1 John 3:1   See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
=  LGPC baptism verse! How good it is to know that God considers us His children, and loves us accordingly.

1 John 4:1-3a  ~  Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.
=  “Don’t believe everything you hear.” Knowing what someone thinks about Jesus will help you evaluate the Spiritual value of what they say.

—– Wednesday
1 John 4:7-8  ~  7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
=  Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. It’s mentioned 5 times in these verses. Love is another standard by which we can make choices about who we spend time with.

1 John 4:9-10  ~  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
=  God has demonstrated His love for us. It all starts with God; even our own love comes from Him.

—– Thursday
1 John 4:11-12  ~  11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
=  We get to be channels of the love that starts with God. Without us, His love is impeded, because He chooses to work through us.

—– Friday
1 John 4:13  ~  This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.
=  This ties in to 4:1-3… an affirmation of God’s presence in our lives is the working of the Spirit within us.

1 John 4:20-21  ~  20 If we say we love God yet hate a brother or sister, we are liars. For if we do not love a fellow believer, whom we have seen, we cannot love God, whom we have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love one another.
=  This is a good “gut check” (or heart check) to help us assess our love habits and attitudes.

—– Saturday
1 John 5:13  ~  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
=  John writes these things down because he wants people to “know” that they are “saved”.

~   ~   ~

Heavenly Father, thank You for the Truth that You regard me as Your precious daughter, and that Your Spirit is at work within me. Please give me ongoing affirmation of Your loving presence, so that I can move through life with confidence and joy.

Father Daughter Bible 1

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Week 47: November 17 – 23 ~ The Letters from Peter

Week 47:  1 & 2 Peter

BTCB 1&2 Peter

SETTING  ~

  • NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… letters from the apostles… plus a revelation of what is to come.
  • CONTEXT OF THIS NEW TESTAMENT BOOK: These letters were written by the apostle Peter (though 2 Peter has enjoyed somewhat “less confidence” than 1 Peter among some scholars down through the centuries, regarding its authenticity), during the mid 60s of the first century – when persecution of Christians was on the rise. The first letter focuses on perseverance through difficulties coming from outside the church, while the second letter gives more attention to problems within the church: false teachers and evildoers. Both letters show Peter to be a “shepherd” encouraging his flock to develop a wholesome lifestyle balanced with Christian faith and practice.

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A-Z Reading Tip: We recently had an all-church study on First Peter, so some of these verses may be familiar to you. There are some valuable concepts in this collection; they can help you press through the times of trial and temptation. Probably the most famous verse comes on Monday, about being a “chosen people, royal priesthood, holy nation” (2:9). But perhaps the very first verse, for Sunday, the first part of 1 Peter 1:2, is the sweetest and most profound for this week: God knew and chose you long ago, and His Spirit makes you holy. You are precious in His sight! (And mine.)
Love, Dad.

HPIM0681

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—– Sunday
1 Peter 1:2a  ~  God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy.
=  There is important theology implied in this verse: the eternal purposes of God in knowing and loving you before you were born, and then doing the work of declaring and making you holy.

1 Peter 1:3-4  ~  3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance — an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
=  “Standing” on God as our foundation, secure in our salvation, we look to the future with hope.

—– Monday
1 Peter 2:9  ~  But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
=  Not only saved, but called: a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation… sharing God with those in darkness. Wow.

—– Tuesday
1 Peter 3:15-16a  ~  15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.
=  Are you “ready to explain” your hopeful faith?

1 Peter 4:10  ~  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
=  You are a unique child of God with special gifts to share!

—– Wednesday
1 Peter 5:7  ~  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
=  What a wonderful offer. (This verse is stitched in fabric on the wall of my study, an ordination gift from Sally Hewitt.)

1 Peter 5:8-9a  ~  8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.
=  When temptation or trial – danger – comes your way, take a moment to assess and respond in a Christ-like manner.

—– Thursday
2 Peter 1:5-8  ~  5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
=  Though growth in Christ only happens by the power of the Holy Spirit, this verse reminds us that we also must be intentional in our choices. Then we will be grow in productivity and knowledge of the Lord.

—– Friday
2 Peter 1:10-11  ~  10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
=  Again, the notion of intentionality is here: demonstrating the authenticity of our trusting relationship with God is Christ. It will lead to a precious welcome into God’s presence.

2 Peter 1:20-21  ~  20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
=  The Bible is not just made up of people’s opinions! God inspired it.

—– Saturday
2 Peter 3:3-4  ~  3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
=  There is a lot of scoffing about Christianity and Christians today, not just because of the length of time that has occurred as we are waiting for the return of Jesus. How shall we cope with it?

2 Peter 3:8-9  ~  8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
=  God has mysterious, divine reasons for taking His time on fully consummating His plans. Among these reasons is His desire that as many as possible will come to Him.

~   ~   ~

Lord, thank You for Peter, who had the privilege of walking closely with you during Your earthly sojourn… Thank You for the way he shares important insights from a lifetime of experiences, walking in Your ways.
Help me to learn from him about how to persevere through the tough times of my own life.

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Week 46: November 10 – 16 ~ The Letter from James

Week 46:  JAMES
BookOfJames

SETTING  ~

  • NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… plus a revelation of what is to come.
  • CONTEXT OF THIS NEW TESTAMENT BOOK: This letter was written by a man named James, a pillar of the early church who may well have been the brother of Jesus. It is one of the earliest New Testament documents, probably written in the 50s,  with a clear Jewish flavor; it is address to “the twelve tribes” dispersed outside Judea. It is straightforward and very practical, encouraging readers to translate their beliefs into actions.

~     ~     ~

A & Z Reading Tip: This letter is full of practical insights and exhortations. Let it help you integrate your thoughts and your actions.
Memory concept? – “Faith without works is dead,” based on 2:17.
Love, Dad.

G's Windows Phone_20131014_002

“Happy Birthday, Mom!”

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—– Sunday
James 1:2-4  ~  2 Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
=  Make the most of difficult experiences, trying to grow through them.

—– Monday
James 1:5  ~  If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
=  There is no shame in asking for help in your thinking. Both the OT and the NT encourage this.

James 1:13  ~  And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,and he never tempts anyone else.
=  God does not test us by trying to trip us up!

—– Tuesday
James 1:17  ~  Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.
=  Good gifts come from God, and God is faithful.

James 1:22   But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
=  Let your understanding of God’s ways influence what you actually do.

—– Wednesday
James 2:17  ~  So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
=  Mere intellectual assent makes no difference. Your deeds count, too.

James 3:1  ~  Dear brothers and sisters,not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.
=  If you presume to teach others, a higher standard is applied to you.

—– Thursday
James 4:7  ~  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
=  Submit to God’s righteousness and resist evil.

James 4:17   But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
=  God’s guidance is good in so many ways.

James 4:18  ~  And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
=  It is a good thing to seek peace.

—– Friday
James 5:14-15  ~  14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make them well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
=  Seek the prayer of church leaders.

—– Saturday
James 5:16  ~  16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
=  The act of confession demonstrates willingness to change, enhancing our chance to be healed.

~   ~   ~

Lord, by Your Spirit help me integrate my faith and thoughts with my actions and behavior. Help me to be consistent in developing a loving lifestyle.

Ariel-Siabulungu

The front-row kids are named Laura, Zoe, and Ariel…

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Week 45: November 3 – 9 ~ The Letter to the Hebrews, part 2

Week 45:  HEBREWS, part 2

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SETTING  ~

  • NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… plus a revelation of what is to come.
  • CONTEXT OF THIS NEW TESTAMENT BOOK:   This letter was written during the later part of the 1st century by a theologically well-educated believer. Most experts do not believe it was Paul. Some have said Apollos, others Barnabas. In any case, the message is clear and orthodox: It is about the preeminence of Christ as the incarnation of God and His superiority as a “priest” over all others forms of (especially Jewish) priesthood. His sacrifice is the only one necessary for our salvation.
    The message is aimed at Jewish Christians facing persecution. It encourages them to have confidence in Christ as their extraordinary and unique, all-sufficient priestly Redeemer.
    “The perseverance of Christians springs out of fellowship with God, activity for God, faith in God, and a consciousness of what lies ahead (10:19 – 12:29).” – A. Berkeley Mickelsen

~     ~     ~

A & Z Reading Tip: Chapter 11 of Hebrews reminds us of biblical heroes and heroines who responded to God with trust. They are spiritual forebears we share with all believers. But you also have other spiritual supporters in your own life: family, friends, and church members who pray for you on a regular basis. Sometimes they offer an encouraging or insightful word that moves you forward on your path. These folks are among your own “cloud of witnesses”, some of them “too good for this world” (11:38), who were able to persist partly because “God had something better in mind for us (you)” (11:40). Take a moment once in a while to thank God for them.
Memory verse?: Ariel once memorized the beginning of Hebrews 12;
that’s a good passage. A shorter one is 13:8 —
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Love, Dad.

Valkyrie Wardrobe

The “Valkyrie Wardrobe” from Beauty and the Beast exhorts a young man to straighten up.

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—– Sunday
Hebrews 10:23-25  ~  Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
=  This passage is about being connected to a group of other believers, so we can encourage one another by gathering together and motivating one another to walk in the way of Christ.

—– Monday
Hebrews 11:1  ~  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
=  Even though we do not see God, we trust Him and have hopeful confidence in the future.

Hebrews 11:6  ~  And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
=  Faith is belief that God exists, yes, and also that He is responsive to us as we seek Him.

Hebrews 11:13  ~  All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.
=  As hinted by 11:1 above, chapter 11 is “the faith chapter”, with examples of faithful people in the Old Testament, people who lived faithfully though God’s ultimate plans were not completed before they died. The best was/is yet to come.

—– Tuesday
Hebrews 11:33-40  ~  33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.
36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.
38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
=  After listing some faith heroes by name, the writer describes those nameless heroes, “too good for this world”, who persevered through great difficulties. Somehow their ultimate destination is bound up with ours (v.40).

 —– Wednesday
Hebrews 12:1-2a  ~  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
=  It’s as if those who went on before us are rooting for us in our faith journey, this marathon race of life. For me, it’s both an encouragement and an accountability factor.

 —– Thursday
Hebrews 13:1-8  ~  Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.
4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
6 So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
7 Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
=  This is one of those passages packed with practical wisdom: about hospitality, kindness to the imprisoned and the abused, about marriage and money, God’s faithful care, and appreciation for those who taught us about God. And verse 8 is a keeper – memory verse! 

—– Friday
Hebrews 13:14-16  ~  14 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. 15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
=  As I write this on “pledge dedication Sunday”, the idea of “continual sacrifice” resonates like holistic pledging of ourselves to God – our time, talent and treasure . We can live sacrificially because we know that we are on our way to our perfect, permanent home.

—– Saturday
Hebrews 13:17  ~  Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.
=  Once again, a nod to our spiritual leaders, who deserve our respect.

Hebrews 13:20  ~  20 Now may the God of peace — who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood — 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
=  What a great benediction! It is indeed my prayer that He will equip us to do His will and that He will produce in us good things that please Him!

~   ~   ~

Thank You, God, for the great “cloud of witnesses” upon whose shoulders I stand, who laid a foundation for my understanding of You, and who cheer me on as I run my own race of faith. Give me the wisdom to discern the truth and the perseverance to continue faithfully toward You.

G & A at VF

“Through everything that God made, we can clearly see His invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature.” – Romans 1:20

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Week 44: October 27 – November 2 ~ The Letter to the Hebrews

Week 44:  HEBREWS, part 1

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SETTING  ~

  • NEW TESTAMENT: The story of Jesus, our Lord & Savior… and the growth of His Church… plus a revelation of what is to come.
  • CONTEXT OF THIS NEW TESTAMENT BOOK:   This letter was written during the later part of the 1st century by a theologically well-educated believer. Most experts do not believe it was Paul. Some have said Apollos, others Barnabas. In any case, the message is clear and orthodox: It is about the preeminence of Christ as the incarnation of God and His superiority as a “priest” over all others forms of (especially Jewish) priesthood. His sacrifice is the only one necessary for our salvation.
    The message is aimed at Jewish Christians facing persecution, encouraging them to have confidence in Christ as their extraordinary and unique, all-sufficient priestly Redeemer.
    “The perseverance of Christians springs out of fellowship with God, activity for God, faith in God, and a consciousness of what lies ahead (10:19 – 12:29).” – A. Berkeley Mickelsen

~     ~     ~

A & Z Reading Tip:
Hebrews is not an easy book to understand; it’s quite theological and requires some understanding of the Jewish mindset. But it is deep and rich and worth engaging,
as I think you will recognize through the verses.
My recommendation as a memory verse from today’s passages is 4:16 — I hope you approach “the throne of grace” boldly, confidently, and that you will learn He is there for you when you need help.
Love, Dad.

WP_20131011_008

Sisters at the football game:
Ariel in the band and Zoe a spectator.

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—– Sunday

Hebrews 1:1-2  ~  Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.
=  After revealing Himself and His ways through spoken and written words as well as signs and wonders, God revealed Himself in the flesh: as Jesus, from Whom and for Whom all things exist.

—– Monday

Hebrews 1:3-4  ~  3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 4 This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names. 5 For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.”
=  Jesus is unique and supreme, not just one heavenly being among others.

—– Tuesday

Hebrews 2:1  ~  So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.
=  We proactively cultivate our understanding of the faith so that it does not fade from our minds.

Hebrews 4:12  ~  For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
=  God’s Word is not just words. It has power in our lives.

—– Wednesday

Hebrews 4:14-16  ~  14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
=  We can have confidence in God as our ultimate Priest because as Jesus He experienced the ups and downs of human living. Because He became like us and understands us, He is approachable.

—– Thursday

Hebrews 5:11-14  ~  There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
=  Let’s continue to grow in depth of faith and understanding. We don’t want to continue living on pablum when we are adults! We want to grow!

—– Friday

Hebrews 6:4-6  ~  For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened — those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come — 6 and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.
=  This verse is frightening to some people. They worry about people they know who appear to have lived this cycle. But I believe God always welcomes back a prodigal.

—– Saturday

Hebrews 7:25  ~  Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
=  What a comforting thought! – that Jesus “lives forever to intercede” for us. Thank You, Lord!

~   ~   ~

Lord Jesus, thank You that You intercede on my behalf. Help me to continue to read in Your Word, to communicate with You regularly, and to grow in Your grace and truth. I do not want to drift away from You; I want to get closer to You. Thank You for the work of the Spirit in my life.

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Zoe celebrates being “Human Again” in a production of “Beauty and the Beast” — a transformation parallel to the way our
existence changes when we are in Christ:
“truly human at last”.

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