His powerful word: Hebrews 1.3 VOTD

“The Son … sustains all things by his powerful word …”

Hebrews 1.3

The beginning of this book holds a beautiful summary of the gospel. “All things” is inclusive. It includes his followers as well as the universe. His word, spoken and written, contains all power.

The Christian’s power is in the Bible, in great measure. We deprive ourselves of God’s help when we fail to read and follow it. Describe your practice of finding power in Christ’s word.

#Bible #VOTD #Christ

Jan. 21. Jesus Talks to Nicodemus

Jn. 3:1-21

One of the main sects of the Jews was the Pharisees. They were strict in their beliefs, but their traditions meant more to them than did obeying the Scriptures. The Pharisees believed that the soul was immortal and would be rewarded or punished in the future life.

Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews was a prominent Pharisee. Since Jesus had become controversial, Nicodemus came to Him at night so perhaps no one would see him. He understood that Jesus had come from God because of the things He had done.

Jesus recognized a need that Nicodemus had and taught him an important lesson about the new birth. Nicodemus could not understand how an old man could be born again. He was thinking about a physical birth, but Jesus was referring to a spiritual birth. Based on the teachings of Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-14; Titus 3:4-7, we know that we experience the new birth through baptism, which adds us to the family of God, the church.

As Jesus explained to Nicodemus His purpose for coming to earth, He reminded him of the story of the fiery serpents in Numbers 21:4-9. Even He must be lifted up to save mankind. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Verse 16 should be considered within its context in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. He tells Nicodemus AND us how we may qualify for the promise of eternal life.

God loves us enough to send His Son to die for us, but salvation is not automatic. Also, believing cannot save us without a new birth. Some use the term “born again Christians” as if there are other kinds of Christians. If one is a Christian, he is by definition, born again.

As we continue our study, we shall learn how the Old Testament prepares us for the New Testament to teach us how one may be born again to become a true child of God.


Jan. 20. Jesus Cleanses Temple at First Passover of Ministry

Jn. 2:13-25

Many years earlier, God, through Moses had attempted to get King Pharaoh to release His people from Egyptian slavery. God had sent nine plagues against the Egyptians and each had failed to win their freedom. The tenth plague against Pharaoh and the Egyptians was the death of the firstborn.

In order to save the Israelites from this plague, God required them to place the blood of a lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their houses. That night, when He passed over the houses sprinkled with blood, He spared their firstborn. God established the Passover as an annual feast to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt.

When Jesus arrived at the temple to observe the Passover, He was most unhappy with what was taking place in the house of God.

Since many of the people had to travel a great distance to Jerusalem, it was not easy to bring their Passover sacrifices with them. As a convenience, traders had located in various parts of town to supply those needs and make change for the temple tax. Unfortunately, some had taken over the outer court of the temple for their markets, defiling the house of God. Using a whip, Jesus drove them out and overturned the tables of the moneychangers.

The Jews were angry with Jesus and asked Him for a sign or reason for His actions. He made a prophetic statement regarding His death and resurrection: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” These words were used against Him three years later.


Those who stumbled: 1 Samuel 2.4 VOTD

“The bows of warriors are shattered, but those who stumbled have taken on strength.”

1 Samuel 2.4

Ana’s song of praise celebrates the God who causes the reversal of fortunes. Some think she appropriated an early, already existing song to her situation. She thanks God and acknowledges his grace.

God gives the advantage to the disadvantaged. How does this perspective affect our faith and work?

#strength #power #VOTD

Jan. 19. Jesus’ First Miracle

Jn. 2:1-12

Shortly after meeting Philip and Nathanael, Jesus and His mother were guests at a wedding in Cana. Since Cana was about ten miles north of His home in Nazareth and Mary was also invited, those being married were probably close friends of His family. A very embarrassing moment happened at the wedding party. They ran out of wine!

Knowing the divine nature of Jesus, Mary probably felt that He could save the day. She informed Him of the situation and He rebuked her for trying to get Him involved in something that wasn’t His problem. However, Mary told the servants to do whatever He told them to do. This is excellent advice for us today

After commanding the servants to fill six stone water pots with water, Jesus told them to take some of it to the master of the feast. The master did not know where the wine had come from, but he was amazed that it tasted better than the first. There is some question about the alcoholic content of this wine. Since there are many admonitions in the Bible against drinking alcohol, and Jesus did no sin, one can conclude that this wine was non-alcoholic.

Jesus, His mother, brothers and disciples left Cana and went to Capernaum and stayed a few days until time to return to Jerusalem for the annual Feast of the Passover.


Questions to Use in Premarital Counseling

Premarital Counseling is very important to those planning to wed. Marriage is a complex concept and if we’re going to do it well, we need guidance from someone with the training and knowledge to help us. These questions help facilitate these goals. Some or all can be used for these purposes.

With the couple before me, I have them fill these questionnaires out separately and then we discuss them together. Marriage brings people of diverse experiences and teachings together and these questions help them see what they know and whether they’re truly compatible.

In doing so, we can steer them to Scripture and give them spiritual guidance along the way. However, many of these questions are of a practical nature and cover subjects most couples never consider before their nuptials.

Continue reading

#counseling, #marriage, #ministry, #premarital-counseling, #wedding

Satan behind denominational divisions

Satan perverted the law of Moses. So Jesus called him the Jews’ spiritual father, Jn 8.44. He called the Jews who persecuted the church “the synagogue of Satan” Rev 2.9.

Satan has also perverted the church of God. He is behind the denominational divisions and all attempts to separate people from the apostolic truth, 2 Cor 11.12-15.

People who cause and support such divisions are “worldly, devoid of the Spirit” Jude 19. It plays into the devil’s hands to say that denominations are a good thing. It makes him one’s (un)spiritual father.

#Satan #devil #denominationalism