Reflection of glory

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3.18

Earlier in chapter 3 we read that Moses had to wear a veil when he returned from being with God. The Jews could not look at Moses’ face because of the glory that it reflected. That glory faded with time and the veil was no longer needed. However, the veil remained in place and can only be taken away in Christ.

However, in Christ, our faces reflect the glory of the Lord and there is no veil needed to cover it. There is freedom where the Spirit of the Lord exists. Freedom from the old law, freedom from sin, freedom from being stagnant.

Do you ever feel bogged down like you can’t go forward, that life is a burden that you are not able to carry? Jesus offers to give you rest from that burden, Matthew 11.28-30.

We learn from Christ. In Christ who is the Spirit, we are being transformed into the same image. We are transformed from one degree of glory to another. It does not come from us, but comes from the reflection of Christ living in us through his Spirit. He does the transforming. All we do is cooperate by learning and obeying.

#risingjoy #devotional

Active love

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3.16

God loved the world. God is so much greater than my finite self. He has the capacity to love everyone equally and unconditionally, without any kind of prejudice. So hard to do. At times, I find myself deciding whether or not a person would be open to the Gospel. Something I need never do since I cannot know what is in a person’s heart. Then there is the way in which God showed his love for everyone. He gave Jesus to die.

As a mother, I can only begin to understand how difficult that must have been. Romans 5.6,8,10 tells us that he did this while we were helpless, sinners, and his enemies. That paints a picture that is priceless! God’s love is unconditional. It is extended to all. However, there is a condition to eternal life. Eternal life is for those who believe in Jesus. Do not be tricked into believing otherwise. May I learn to love as God does and believe in the one who makes eternal life a reality.

#risingjoy #gospel-of-John #devotional

Trembling emotions

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.* (John 13:1 ESV)

Перед праздником Пасхи Иисус, зная, что пришел час Его перейти от мира сего к Отцу, *явил делом, что,* возлюбив Своих сущих в мире, до конца возлюбил их. (От Иоанна 13:1 Russian)

O LORD my God ~ most holy, kind, and loving Heavenly Father, we come most respectively before your presence with trembling emotions due to our own human weaknesses. Change all your people who obey Jesus as Lord so that we will never be embarrassed to say we love each other and take actions based upon our love that is patterned after the love you have for all people. Drive away the bitter hatred that has taken over the hearts and minds of many people including those who wear the name Christian. Forgive us dear Lord and help us to be quick to forgive others. We fervently pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister

http://www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com/

#davidbinkley #devotional

Uncomfortable problems the church needs to talk about (1)

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 604 • January 15, 2021

UNCOMFORTABLE PROBLEMS THE CHURCH NEEDS TO TALK ABOUT (1)

In the next several issues of my personal essays I intend to touch upon a few untouchables and mention a few unmentionables, maybe even one or two “please don’t talk about that” issues — difficult and uncomfortable matters that will not be solved and will not go away by being ignored. There are in fact many uncomfortable problems the church generally ignores, matters that cause great pain and perhaps some embarrassment and uneasiness but seldom get mentioned, either from the pulpit or in classrooms, or in printed materials produced by the church — perhaps not even in private conversation, matters we just don’t really want to talk about. There may be some people too who are “untouchables” – not to Jesus but to His hypercritical people. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #problems

Hugh’s News & Views (First)

FIRST

In reading the New Testament I have been impressed with the number of times the word “first” is used in what I consider to be strategic passages. It is a word that indicates primacy, that which is to be paramount, foremost, and pre-eminent, that which is of the highest and most urgent importance. Consider the following. Continue reading

#first, #hughfulford

Roy Davison: Take the sword of the Spirit!

God’s word is the sword of the Spirit!

Christians battle against false teaching and evils in the world using the sword of the Sprit, which is the word of God!

God’s word is the sword of the Spirit!
https://www.hearhisword.net/SWORD/SwordOfTheSpirit.html

Gods woord is het zwaard van de Geest!
https://www.hoorgodswoord.nl/ZWAARD/ZwaardVanDeGeest.html

These 15 minute sermons in English and Dutch explain the importance of the word of God as the weapon a Christian must use in his struggle against evil.

May the Lord protect and empower us in the battle of life.

Roy Davison

#roydavison #sermons #audio

Unity in the body by the cross

The unity of the Spirit is a critical aspect of God’s will for the church (Ephesians 4:1-3) but another critical aspect of God’s will for the church, when it comes to unity, is the cross of Jesus:

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14-16 NKJV)

The divisions of humanity are apparent … we look different physically, we live in different cultures, we speak different languages, we live under different governments, we fulfill different forms of employment, and we follow different forms of religion. I have no doubt that you can think of different examples of how humanity is divided through our differences.

Here’s what the gospel does to all those differences – it says we may be divided but we all have one common need and that’s our past and our present need for the cross of Christ when it comes to our future!

The cross of Jesus is a cornerstone of unity within the body of Christ because it’s by the cross that we can let go of our differences in order to lay hold of a heavenly unity that has the ability to erase all of our earthly divisions.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6 NKJV)

#unity #cross-of-Christ #division

Does all mean everything?

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS

Number 603 • January 12, 2021

DOES ALL MEAN EVERYTHING?

More about giving: How Much Is Enough?

The last essay, about The Widow’s Mite, did what I expected, raised a few questions and comments pro and con and ranging from “great” to “how dare you” – and between the two some serious questions, such as “how much is enough” and “does all really mean all” in the Bible? It also does not sit well with some to point out that we are not always telling the truth in songs we sing but obviously do not intend to be taken literally by God or by ourselves and others who hear and even sing with us. Some examples on the point: “All to Jesus I surrender … I surrender all.” “Now I’ve given to Jesus everything…Now I gladly own Him as my King.” “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold.; I’d rather be His than have riches untold.” “Take the world, but give me Jesus.” “We give Thee but thine own, what e’re the gift may be: All that we have is thine alone, in trust, O Lord, from Thee.” “Lord, I give myself to Thee, thine for ever more to be.” It seems as if just saying or singing the words is enough, even if our lives contradict what we are saying, We sing or say, “Jesus is Lord,” and do not hear Him asking, “Why do you call me Lord but do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Jesus is Lord, whether I know it or not, but He is not my Lord if I do not obey Him and his gospel. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #giving

Prayers for peace

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 ESV)

Просите, и дано будет вам; ищите, и найдете; стучите, и отворят вам; ибо всякий просящий получает, и ищущий находит, и стучащему отворят. (От Матфея 7:7-8 Russian)

Almighty God, our dear Heavenly Father ~ we offer you the highest possible praise from our hearts and voices on this new day. Hear our prayers for peace and orderly behavior among all faithful followers of Christ Jesus as Lord. Give us your pure wisdom so that we will think, speak and write clear thoughts that will provoke more brotherly love in the Church and in our nation and the world. Help all who are in positions of authority to speak and act with the kindness and patience that we see in your actions toward all mankind. Forgive us Lord, for the times when we have hastily blurted out words before taking care to consider whether it hurts or heals. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister
http://www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com/

#davidbinkley #devotional

The widow’s mighty mite

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 602 • January 10, 2021

THE WIDOW’S MIGHTY MITE
Putting in my two cents.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it: “I’ll just give the widow’s mite” – which means “I’m just giving a pittance, just a little bit.” Those who speak this way have decided that a penny or two counts with the Lord, so they’ll get credit as a giver, no matter what the amount actually is. If you ask for a scripture reference to prove the point most cannot tell you where to find it (can you?). There is one, in Mark 12:41-44, also stated in Luke 21:1-4. They also can’t tell you where it says attitude is more important than the gift itself, but they believe that if your heart is right the amount you give or how much you do is irrelevant – that God looks at the heart and not the gift itself. Can you give a scripture reference for this? Actually there is none that fits this. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #giving

God-given right

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

John 1.12-13 But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become God’s children – children not born by human parents’ or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God.

I am born by God. That is such an awesome thing. To think that the Creator of the universe takes such an interest in me. I am so small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but God gave me the right to become His child. Let it be noted that it is not something that I automatically have the right to become. He gives me the right. I have to receive what He gives. I have to believe in Him. To receive what He gives I have to obey Him. Many people have the belief that God wants me to be happy. It is true that He wants me to be happy, but not at the cost of doing something that will cause me to turn from Him. He knows better than I what will make me happy! God adds me to His family when I receive Him. What a remarkable thing!

#risingjoy #devotional #new-birth

Far Away

Rising Joy by Vicki Matheny

Ephesians 2.13 But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Far away. That is how I often feel in regards to family and friends. Living on another continent has a tendency to increase that feeling. It can sometimes bring feelings of helplessness when you hear what is going on with loved ones and cannot be there to help. Brought near. O what joy that brings! To arrive on the scene and share the hugs and laughter. To be able to catch up on all that you have missed since the last meeting.

God is so good. I was once so very far away in my sins, feeling helpless and unable to do anything about it. You see, once fallen, it is no longer up to me to do anything about my situation. I do not have that capacity. I will say it again. God is so good! He brought me near to Him by the blood of His Son, Jesus. When there was nothing I could do except receive His condemnation, He sacrificed Jesus to bring me near to Him. Actually there is something that I have to do to be brought near. I have to accept what He offers.

Are you still far away, feeling hopeless, lost, and in despair? Do you want to be brought near to God? Have you accepted what He offers? Do you even know what He offers? Read His word, do it, and be brought near.

#risingjoy #devotional #nearness

What does the Bible say about hope

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr

“For we are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24-25). Colossians 1:27 “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

The Bible speaks of the “hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2; 3:7). We can look “for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Our hope is “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). And 1 Peter 1:3-4 reads, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Hope is the moving force behind our activities. Sophocles stated, “It is hope which maintains, most of mankind.” Our world is one of hope! Martin Luther said, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” The Bible says, “he that ploweth should plow in hope; and he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope” (1 Corinthians 9:10).

Hope of a crop encourages the farmer to drive the plow; hope of victory urges the soldier to fight; hope of winning makes the athlete run; and hope of the incorruptible crown inspires the child of God to run in the race of life (1 Corinthians 9:10).

Our hope is in God, and it is powerful! Our hope is obtained from the scriptures (Romans 15:4), and as long as there is life, there is hope. Our greatest hope is for eternal life in heaven. No matter how many times we lose in this life, we can look forward to an eternal life where we win and never lose.

 

#bible-study, #hope-and-faith

I’m scared

Honestly, I am scared. I am afraid of this virus and the danger I might face if I caught it, as well as the danger I might put Doug in if I caught it. We take precautions as best we can, but I am still afraid. I pray about it, and ask God to please protect us, and I’m thankful that He is protecting us. At the same time I know God expects us to use good sense during this time and follow the rules. 

Some say, and I know the Bible teaches, we are not to be fearful. I remember how Ananias pleaded with God when He came to him in a dream and told him to go to the house of Judas on Straight Street, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. God said he was praying and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight. 

Whoa!!! Ananias said, “Lord, I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” Ananias was afraid, but he went and did what God wanted him to do.

I remember the replies Moses gave God when God asked him to go to Pharaoh to bring His people (Israelites) out of Egypt. Who would have ever thought of talking back to God, right?  After going back and forth with God several times, Moses finally said, “O Lord, Please send someone else to do it.” God’s anger burned against Moses, and He suggested Aaron go with him to speak, and that is what they did.

Moses and Ananias were desperate. They were fearful.

God knew. He knew about Saul. He had a plan for him…a great plan, and He needed Ananias to help with His plan. God had plans to get the Israelites out of Egypt and from under the rule of Pharaoh, the King. He selected these men to help fulfill His plan.

Who is to say that we haven’t been chosen for such a time as this to execute a plan God has to redeem his people from this sinful world? Lord, help us not be afraid, but trust You as we tread life’s highway.               

#bible-study, #faith, #fear

Hugh’s News & Views (Some Who Left Us…)

SOME WHO LEFT US IN 2020

The wise man Solomon wrote: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a). He further observed: “No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, and no one has power over the day of death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8). Truly, “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Likely during 2020 every one of my readers lost a loved one, a close friend, a neighbor, or a fellow member of the Lord’s church. Our daughter-in-law’s father, John Carson, a good man, a genuine Christian, left us in March. Almost 350,000 Americans died from the Covid-19 virus. From various causes, a number of well-known people passed into eternity. It can be sobering to pause and reflect for a moment on the names of some of these people. From different walks of life and in no particular order, I have listed below some of those who left us in 2020. You will think of others. Continue reading

#hughfulford