Friday, November 16, 2018

Thanksgiving

~Thanksgiving ~
I Thessalonians 5:18 KJV
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Well, Thanksgiving Day is almost here! Will our gratitude last beyond the afternoon nap? Is Thanksgiving—a one-time, get-it-out-of-the-way holiday that forces us to reflect on how blessed we are? Too quickly, people resort back to being ingrates and complaining about what they don’t have. God’s will for us is to be thankful for all things.  Believers, by faith, need to trust His design and sovereign will for them.

“In every thing” carries an unlimited stipulation. It refers to everything that may take place in one’s life, except, of course, personal sin. No matter what struggles or trials God will directly or indirectly allow in our lives, there is always a reason for thanking Him. I Peter 1:6-9 tells us that we are to rejoice when we have been grieved by various trials. These trials test the genuineness of our faith which is more precious than gold and results in praise, glory, and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we don’t see Him now, we do believe in Him and we will have a joy that is inexpressible because the outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls.

Gratitude should come naturally to believers for all that He has done for us. But, because of our hardness of heart, God encourages us to be thankful with commands that are essential and necessary. “Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). Joni Eareckson Tada, who was involved in an accident that left her paralyzed from the neck down, writes, “Giving thanks is not a matter of feeling thankful, it's a matter of obedience.” God wills our being thankful in all things because thankfulness is the ultimate expression of love. May you be filled with thankfulness for all Christ has done.


Lord, thank You for giving me the gift of eternal life.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Royal Banquet

A Royal Banquet
Esther 1:1-9 

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:)  That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, . . .

Esther lived during the Persian period of world history. The palace in Susa was the winter residence of the king of Persia which was a fortified palace built above the city for protection. In the third year of his reign, King Ahasuerus gave a magnificent banquet inviting his princes, army officers, and nobles of the provinces surrounding him. The main theme of this banquet was to display the great riches and glory of his majesty and splendor to all his guests. 

The Persian King is referenced to 175 times or more in the book of Esther but the name of God, the mention of God or any prayer worshiping Him is never stated. We know that God’s sovereignty prevailed in saving the Jews and if He desired to be mentioned in the writing of this book, He could have moved the author to do so. Though God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, His hand is seen in the saving of the Jews. God’s character and attributes are revealed in His eternal purpose and plan for Israel whether His name is ever written down. May we never forget that God, through the merits of His reputation and character, moves in His providential care for the eternal benefit of His people. 

We have read that great riches were to be displayed in Shushan the palace in the presence of the people as an attempt to bring glory and majesty to King Ahasuerus. But we know, that there is only one King that deserves such glory and majesty. Only one King worthy of praise and worship, only one King entitled to honor, reverence, and exaltation. He is the KING, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.


Lord, I worship You, as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Exodus and the Gospels

Exodus and the Gospels


Exodus 1-40

Scripture from the book of Exodus is mentioned by Jesus in the Gospels with reference to the burning bush and in the explanation of the resurrection (Exodus 3:6; Matthew 22:29-32; Mark 12:26; and Luke 20:37). When telling the rich young ruler how to enter the kingdom of God, Christ recalls the Ten Commandments quoting Exodus 20:12-16 in Matthew 19:18-19; Mark 10:19; and Luke 18:20. Jesus was clarifying that in keeping the Law perfectly one could enter the kingdom of heaven, but as we understood scripture, it is impossible to do that.

Some of the clearest engagements of the book of Exodus are found in (John 1:1–18) and the feeding of the 5,000 (John 6). Jesus interprets that the feeding of the 5,000 is likened to the manna which Moses gave their ancestors in the wilderness (John 6:31). Manna is described to be “bread from heaven” and in the Gospel of John, Jesus himself says, “I am the bread of life...” (John 6:35) the bread coming down from heaven.

How is the story of the exodus linked to the Gospels? In the Synoptic Gospels as well as in the book of John, the Exodus narrative takes on a significant role. This role does not take away from the importance of the Exodus but is used to magnify Jesus’ as the greater Moses. The Gospels make one point extremely clear that following Jesus leads to an extraordinary salvation and it is more than what the Israelites experienced in fleeing Egyptian rule. We are unable to defeat the enemy, Satan, or conquer sin altogether. Only God can do this for us.

The Exodus Passover lamb is a foreshadowing of Christ. The prophet John the Baptist called Jesus, “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29) and (Exodus 12:5) distinctly calls for a lamb without blemish. Through His sinless life and sacrificial death, Jesus is the only One capable of giving hope of eternal life. 


Lord, thank You for Your sacrifice.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Why Did Jesus Walk on the Water?

Why Did Jesus Walk on the Water?

John 6:16-21
Introduction: The Israelites are living in the promise land but are suppressed under Roman Law. It is the time of their great celebration, the Passover, and Jesus fed over five thousand people. They are at the point of wanting to take Jesus by force to make Him king. But, because it was not His time to be made King, He withdrew to the mountain to be alone. He is not the King of this world but of the kingdom that is to come.

The children of Israel were freed from the bondage of Egypt through Moses and now are desiring to be freed again from Roman rule. Moses is seen as a unique and marvelous picture of Jesus in many ways. In his final speeches to the Israelite people, he gives a Messianic prophecy saying to them: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15).

John 6:16 says that when evening came, the disciples went down to the sea, to cross over to Capernaum. The waves were rough and rowing became extremely difficult. After rowing three or four miles out into the sea, Mark 6:49 says that they were frightened thinking they were seeing a ghost. Jesus said, “It is I; do not be afraid” and they immediately helped Him into the boat and were at the shore.  Interesting! When Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt to the Red Sea, they, too, were afraid. Moses said to them, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again” (Exodus 14:13).

Why specifically did Jesus walk on the water? John wanted the reader to see that Jesus is God, the promised Messiah, the One who would fulfill the prophecy of the coming King of glory.


Lord, all praise to You, the King eternal.

Friday, October 19, 2018

More Than Bread and Fish

More Than Bread and Fish
John 6:1-21

The historical setting of John Chapter 6 is during the time of the Passover. The Passover is the remembrance and celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from the bondage of slavery under Egyptian rule through Moses (Exodus 12).

This is a crucial time in the lives of the Jews and John wants the reader to understand the atmosphere and mood of the people. The crowds are huge during this time and much excitement fills the air. It would be somewhat like our 4th of July celebration with fireworks, flag waving, picnics, and patriotic music. The Israelites, being under Roman Law, are again waiting for deliverance through the One prophesied to come.

An important passage to note is John 5:46 where Jesus says, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” John is trying to link Moses and Jesus together as the story of John 6 unfolds. The Jews knew the story of Moses and the exodus of their forefathers from Egypt. Jesus, being God, knew that Moses was their hero whom they looked to for hope. Because Jesus is proclaiming Himself to be equal with God, some are seeking to kill Him. He retreats to the other side of the Sea of Galilee where a large crowd follows Him for they have seen the miracles He was doing on the sick (6:2).

The crowd has gathered and the account of the feeding of the five thousand takes place. John’s purpose for giving this information was because of the miracles, or signs that were being carried out. What do signs do? They point us to something specific and in this narrative, they are pointing to Jesus Himself as Prophet, Priest, and King. This connects Moses, the Old Testament prophet, and the word picture of the coming Messiah, Jesus, together. Jesus is not coming to deliver them from Roman rule but to deliver them from the bondage of sin and for the Kingdom to come.


Lord, thank You for the miracle of Redemption.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Moses, an Old Testament Picture of Jesus

Moses, an Old Testament Picture of Jesus
Deuteronomy 18:15 
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen.

There are a number of ways in which Moses was an Old Testament picture of Jesus. Moses, with great power, led the children of Israel out of Egypt and out of physical bondage. Moses stood before Pharaoh and said, “Let my people go” (Exodus 5:21). Jesus, with greater power, leads people out of spiritual oppression and slavery to sin.  Jesus came “to proclaim liberty to the captives. . . to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).

Several of the miracles of Moses is like Jesus’ miracles, most notably, the provision of bread in the wilderness which was called, Manna (Exodus 16:32-35). This miracle is comparable to Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 (John 6:1-13). “When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, ‘This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!’” (John 6:14).

Moses was like Jesus in that he would intercede for his people. Exodus 32:11-13, 30-32 tells us that when the Israelites sinned, Moses was ready to plead to God and ask for forgiveness for their sins. Moses’ intercession was only temporary. Our Lord’s intercession is everlasting. “. . . But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1). Jesus is now “at the right hand of God,...interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).  Jesus “always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Moses was like Jesus in that he held intimate conversations with God.  “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Jesus had a relationship with the Father which was beyond compare. Matthew 11:27 says, “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son.”

Lord, thank You for the Messianic Prophecy of Jesus through Moses.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Where is Thy God?

Where is Thy God?
Despondency and Depression are Tumultuous Emotions

Psalm 42:1-3 KJV

As the hart (deer) panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?  My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?  

There is a conflict that runs between our faith (spiritual realities) and sight (our human emotions). As we read Psalm 42, notice the psalmist struggling with some depression and the feelings of isolation from God. These emotions may have come from an absence of fellowship or discouragement from other believers, or by relentless unbelievers. Whatever the cause, these sentiments are real and recorded for our benefit. 

Some have assigned David to this psalm with his heart longing for the worship he knew in Jerusalem. He has left his home, the throne on which he ruled and now is fleeing from his son, Absalom, in great despair. Eating nothing because of his extreme grief and the bitter words expressed, his heart is overwhelmed. The Psalmist feels it is important to be honest with God about his doubts and struggles with a heavy outpouring from his heart. The writer is responding to the oceans of trials in which he seems to be drowning in and alleges that God is ultimately responsible for each turmoil.

Have you wrestled with the emotions expressed in this psalm? Has your soul been “cast down,” within you? Are you facing challenges at this time and want to rely on God to work in your life? Psalm 42 reveals the character of God and ways He will help you to “walk by faith,” when you are downcast, in despair and depressed. Remind yourself, “Hope in God, He is your help!” Give thanks to God for His saving power and His mighty hand working in and through your life. He is the Lord God of all Truth (Psalm 43:11). You can trust Him.

Lord, thank You for Your presences in my life.