Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Fw: Lord of All

The image of Jesus coming as a baby, just as we do, reminded me that we also must come to Him, one by one.  We are touched in the Christmas story by the  coming of shepherds and the coming of the wise men.  In a very real way we must also come individually to Jesus, in response to His coming to us.
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It occurred that Almighty God truly becomes almighty to us when we have humbled ourselves before Him...one by one...  The One whom we have become convinced loves us through our faults so much that He provided a solution to resolve the crevices created by those faults has now become Almighty God because He first became the God of our personal salvation.
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Of all the things we are grateful for, we who have placed trust in the God of Abraham and of David and of Jesus, we are most grateful that He rescued us personally from an eternity of separation and restored us to a close bond for that same eternity with our Maker.
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We hold life dear but we have come to hold the author of life even more dear.  The focal point of Christmas is the babe humbly lying in the manger.  This is the meekness with which our Lord has come to us.  How can we not also come meekly to Him...that the babe would become the mighty King in each heart.

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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, December 23, 2017

Fw: veterans of life


These old trucks remind me of people.  They remind me of people who have lived through a lot of life.  They have carried countless burdens, weathered storms across every season multiple times, survived bumps and scrapes and traveled untold miles...moving through the routines of life and the occasional long range adventure.
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Now they move no longer...they rest and watch the newer trucks pass by.  As they sit side by side they almost seem to be enjoying their bond as veterans of life.
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You may identify with these trucks if you have also weathered many turns of the calendar and have been through life's tests and life's rewards.  But isn't it encouraging to know that, even as the outer person declines, the inner person can be renewed and refreshed by the true and living God!  On Monday we'll celebrate the birthday of the Son who makes our new birth possible...the new birth by faith that will carry our weary chassis past this place of testing to a place of continual praise.
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Luke 1:

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!"


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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 18, 2017

Fw: power lines

As I sat and reflected on a new morning today I noticed the power lines that traced a line across the field where I was sitting.  (The picture is actually an internet find.)  I thought about power lines and their important function to connect people with the electricity needed to provide energy for their homes.  When we have an occasional ice storm or tropical storm we can lose those power lines and then we really appreciate power lines working as they normally do.  In our area the Dominion power people work tirelessly to restore the lines when they are down.
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I thought about my power lines to the Lord...power lines of prayer...of looking up and expecting to hear...of His Word.  When I utilize those power lines the energy flows from Heaven into my inner person and I can "power up" for daily living.  Storms can also affect these power lines, but my experience has been that they actually get used more in the storm than in the "good" times.
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How are your power lines?  Are they in place...have you established a living relationship with Jesus Christ, who carried the power line from Heaven to Earth and planted it at the Cross?  Nothing can disrupt the flow of power on this line once we have made the connection to our hearts...but we can fail to access the power or ignore the lines.
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Psalm 59:16
But as for me, I will sing about your power.
    Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge,
    a place of safety when I am in distress.

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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, December 16, 2017

Fw: The gift


John 4:10
Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water."
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Christmas and gift giving are closely joined.  We give to each other because God first gave to us.  But, just as the woman at the well (recounted in John chapter 4) didn't know the gift giver and didn't know the gift, many who give packages to each other at Christmas don't know the giver or the gifts either.
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And what is the gift that we ought to give the One who has given us and forgiven us and paved the road to life eternal?  Well, He gave himself and I think that He modeled the appropriate gift for us.  He gave His life for us and now we can give ours for Him.
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Romans 6:13
 Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

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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 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."


sup Contact


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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."