Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Being with Jesus


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I am still in awe
Of He who gave His all.
I’ll never take Him for granted…

I don’t want to stall,because
He may call, and
I want to be there to answer.

Wherever I go
He seems to know
And I am met with His presence.

I love my Lord Jesus
And I know He loves me…
We’ll be together, forever!

-the walrus

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Major Themes LXXXVIII – Believe


JOHN 20:1-31 NKJV
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Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,  and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and  looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father,  to  My God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”  And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”  Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Compassion: A Fourteen Day Journey – Day 12


LUKE 9:10-17 NKJV – And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”  And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

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The Love of Jesus

All the Gospel accounts relate the stories of Jesus feeding the thousands, exhibiting the profound love and compassion he had for all people. Stewardship writer Luther E. Lovejoy (1864-1936) expands that thought.

The motive that most deeply touched the people of his day, the one that keeps his memory green in a troubled world, was his compassion. He was full of pity; sensitive with sympathy for the vague soul hunger and the physical suffering all about him. The miracles that drew the curious multitudes had, no doubt, their evidential value; but their strange variation from other miracles of legend or Scripture is the fact that they are performed for the relief of sufferingÉPity for the blind eyes, the deaf ears, the paralyzed limbs, the epileptic nerves, the leprosy-polluted bodies, the fevered childrenÉ

Behind this motive of compassion was the deeper motive of love. As no other man had ever been able to do, he saw the actual potential worth in men and loved them for what they wereÉHow much more, those who reciprocated his affection and gave up all for him! To such he declared: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” The depth of this love he demonstrated when he laid down “his life for his friends”ÉThe Christian steward who does not share it is not a steward; he is a servant.

Lovejoy goes on to cite some of the missionaries and social reformers who have imitated the love of Christ.
David Livingstone, from the hour when his youthful imagination beheld Robert Moffatt’s “smoke from a thousand villages whose inhabitants had never heard of Jesus” to the somber twilight in his premature old age when, fever-consumed and death-smitten, he staggered into Chitambo’s village in Ilala, there to breathe out his dying prayer for Africa, is an illustration. Francis Xavier, on his face before God, crying: “More Lord, more; only save thy pagan children”; George Whitfield’s “Lord, give me souls or take my soul,” tell us how, in multiplied instances, God’s faithful stewards have held their lives “not dear unto themselves”ÉAnd time would have us to recall the yearning of Wilberforce and of Lincoln for the bondsmen of their day, of Shaftsbury for the child toilers of England, of Pitkin for the savage Boxers who murdered him, of Bashford for the millions of China, of Carey and Judson, and Thoburn and Fish for the sorrowing masses of India. Suffice it to remember that, in tune with the measureless love of Jesus for men, they offered the stewardship of time and talents and energies, that they might render to men the highest good.

Verse of the Day – February 17th


http://bible.com/114/psa1.1-2.nkjv

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord , And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2

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Compassion: A Fourteen-Day Journey #9


The Socioeconomics of Justice and Righteousness

This is only one of many Old Testament passages calling for the combination of justice and righteousness. Justice makes sense to us, but the concept of righteousness has become so spiritualized that we sometimes find it difficult to grasp. This passage helps clarify for us the connection between these Biblical terms and, more explicitly, economic social issues.
Jeremiah 21:11-12 connects faith and finances; justice and righteousness equate to the rescuing the poor and oppressed who have been robbed and exploited (cf. Jer 22:3). In contrast, injustice and unrighteousness describe the king’s extravagant lifestyle–to reach what he wants, he can’t avoid stepping on others (see Jer 22:13).
But there is also a clear social significance to this pairing of justice and righteousness. The passage draws an interesting connection between the way we deal with the poor and the way God deals with us. We tend to assess ourselves according to the quality of our connections with the rich and powerful, but God judges us specifically by how we relate to the poor and oppressed (see Jer 22:3-5).
The following paragraphs from economist Philip Booth introduce a discussion of Catholic social teaching in the light of economic reasoning. Booth points out the complexities of the issues, cautioning Christians not to oversimplify the dynamic interplay of religion/faith and economic/social policy.

It might be thought that economic considerations should feature only in a minor way in a Christian analysis of policy. Moral, philosophical, or theological considerations may be regarded as paramount. To think this way would be a serious mistake. Some Christians seem to wish to assume away certain economic laws when developing policies in areas such as the minimum wage or the provision of foreign aid. This is as sensible as assuming away the laws of gravity when considering the moral case for punishment by hanging.

We should also be careful before casually using words like “moral” and “just” to describe our favoured political policies. Those words have a powerful meaning and they should not be used without care. This is particularly so in the analysis of economic and political polices requiring compulsory redistribution of income or wealth through taxation. The issues are much more subtle than we think We should also be cautious before we proceed to implement such polices lest we undermine the love and charity present when assistance is provided to those in need through an act of free will, uncoerced by the state.

JER 21:11-14 NKJV

“And concerning the house of the king of Judah, say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord , O house of David! Thus says the Lord : “Execute judgment in the morning; And deliver him who is plundered Out of the hand of the oppressor, Lest My fury go forth like fire And burn so that no one can quench it, Because of the evil of your doings. “Behold, I am against you, O inhabitant of the valley, And rock of the plain,” says the Lord , “Who say, ‘Who shall come down against us? Or who shall enter our dwellings?’ But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings,” says the Lord ; “I will kindle a fire in its forest, And it shall devour all things around it.” ’ ”

JER 22:1-30 NKJV

Thus says the Lord : “Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and there speak this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord , O king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates! Thus says the Lord : “Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. For if you indeed do this thing, then shall enter the gates of this house, riding on horses and in chariots, accompanied by servants and people, kings who sit on the throne of David. But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,” says the Lord , “that this house shall become a desolation.” ’ ” For thus says the Lord to the house of the king of Judah: “You are Gilead to Me, The head of Lebanon; Yet I surely will make you a wilderness, Cities which are not inhabited. I will prepare destroyers against you, Everyone with his weapons; They shall cut down your choice cedars And cast them into the fire. And many nations will pass by this city; and everyone will say to his neighbor, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this great city?’ Then they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshiped other gods and served them.’ ” Weep not for the dead, nor bemoan him; Weep bitterly for him who goes away, For he shall return no more, Nor see his native country. For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, who went from this place: “He shall not return here anymore, but he shall die in the place where they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more. “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness And his chambers by injustice, Who uses his neighbor’s service without wages And gives him nothing for his work, Who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers, And cut out windows for it, Paneling it with cedar And painting it with vermilion.’ “Shall you reign because you enclose yourself in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, And do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; Then it was well. Was not this knowing Me?” says the Lord . “Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, For shedding innocent blood, And practicing oppression and violence.” Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: “They shall not lament for him, Saying, ‘Alas, my brother!’ or ‘Alas, my sister!’ They shall not lament for him, Saying, ‘Alas, master!’ or ‘Alas, his glory!’ He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, Dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem. “Go up to Lebanon, and cry out, And lift up your voice in Bashan; Cry from Abarim, For all your lovers are destroyed. I spoke to you in your prosperity, But you said, ‘I will not hear.’ This has been your manner from your youth, That you did not obey My voice. The wind shall eat up all your rulers, And your lovers shall go into captivity; Surely then you will be ashamed and humiliated For all your wickedness. O inhabitant of Lebanon, Making your nest in the cedars, How gracious will you be when pangs come upon you, Like the pain of a woman in labor? “ As I live,” says the Lord , “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear—the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die. But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return. “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol— A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the Lord ! Thus says the Lord : ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’ ”

JER 23:1-8 NKJV

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord . Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord . “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord . “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord , “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE Lord OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. “Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord , “that they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell in their own land.”

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Compassion: A fourteen-day Journey #5


The Stewardship Implications of Bodily Resurrection

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Though He Slay Me, Yet I Will Trust Him!

The story of Job is ancient–most likely one of Scripture’s oldest. Old Testament believers had no clear-cut concept of a bodily resurrection. However, Job appears convinced that a day is coming when he will be defended and restored, not just spiritually but also physically. Most scholars agree that the Redeemer he spoke of refers to God himself and that Job believed that God would offer vindication for Job in the face of his trials.

This appreciation for the physical dimension of salvation is crucial for understanding the Biblical message of generosity. As affirmed in a statement by The Gospel Coalition,

God created both soul and body, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both the spiritual and the material. Therefore God is concerned not only for the salvation of souls but also for the relief of poverty, hunger, and injustice. The gospel opens our eyes to the fact that all our wealth (even wealth for which we worked hard) is ultimately an unmerited gift from God. Therefore the person who does not generously give away his or her wealth to others is not merely lacking in compassion, but is unjust. Christ wins our salvation through losing, achieves power through weakness and service and comes to wealth through giving all away. Those who receive his salvation are not the strong and accomplished but those who admit they are weak and lost. We cannot look at the poor and the oppressed and callously call them to pull themselves out of their own difficulty. Jesus did not treat us that away. The gospel replaces superiority toward the poor with mercy and compassion.  I ndifference to the poor and disadvantaged means there has not been a true grasp of our salvation by sheer grace.

As expressed in the following quotation by Pope John Paul II (1920-2005),

In the resurrection the body will return to prefect unity and harmony with the spirit. Man will no longer experience the opposition between what is spiritual and what is physical in him. Spiritualization means not only that the spirit will dominate the body, but, I would say, that it will fully permeate the body, and that the forces of the spirit will permeate the energies of the body.

What does the believer’s ultimate participation in the divine nature say to us about the worth of each person? In Matthew 25:40 Jesus identifies bodily with “the least of these brothers.” True, when he spoke these words he was living in a human body, but we as Christians believe that this passage still carries direct implications for us.

JOB 19:25-26 NKJV

For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I  know, That in my flesh I shall see God,

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Jesus is “Matchless” by Billy Graham


1Corinthians 1:30 NKJV

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—

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Jesus is Matchless

More and more I am becoming aware of the truth that people change people as much as ideas change people. The power of personality is strong. One could find many illustrations to prove that often personality is greater than the idea. Such is the case with Christianity. The secret of the power of Christianity is not in its ethics. It is not in Christian ideas or philosophy, although Christianity has a philosophical set of ideas. The secret of Christianity is found in a Person, and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ. Men have discovered other philosophical and ethical systems, but they have not found another Jesus Christ. No one in history can match Him.

Daily Prayer

When I tell others of Your love, help me to hide my personality in Yours, Lord Jesus.

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