Friday, November 18, 2011

500 Years

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zech 9:9 (538 BC)

Matthew 21:2-7-saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "Say to Daughter Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'"t The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.
500 years before Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey, Zechariah was prophesying about it!!!  God's plan was in place from the beginning.  So cool!

Here are some others.
  • The Son of Man. Jesus is Joshua the High Priest and Zerubabbel the King at the resurrection. (Zechariah 3-4)
  • The Branch. Jesus was the Branch who was cut off at the crucifixion but sprang to life at the resurrection. (Zechariah 6: 12-13)
  • King on a Donkey. Jesus rode into the east gate of Jerusalem on a donkey during His final week. (Zechariah 9: 9)
  • Valued at 30 Shekels. He was betrayed for 30 shekels of silver. (Zechariah 11: 12-13)
  • The Pierced One. He was pierced by a sword. (Zechariah 12: 10)
  • Two Streams. Blood and water flowed from His side. (Zechariah 13: 1)
  • A Sword Strikes the Shepherd and Scatters the Sheep. The disciples scattered at His arrest. (Zechariah 13: 7)
  • Wounded by Friends. He was killed by Israel. (Zechariah 13: 6)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Under New Ownership



The secret to the true Christian life is exchanging our own lives for the life of Jesus Christ; allowing our bodies to be completely overtaken by a foreign power – the very Spirit of Almighty God. And declaring along with Paul, “…it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” 

Most of us stand in the way of letting Christ truly live in and through us.  

Instead of giving Him the ownership papers to our home – our body, mind, and spirit – we treat Him like a hired servant.

We come to Him when we need answers; we expect Him to provide us with quick solutions to our problems; we demand that He meet our needs and follow our self-made agendas. And when He doesn’t respond, we quickly dismiss Him and take matters into our own hands. We are led by our own whims and desires. We make our own choices, and then ask God to bless them.  

We often believe we are submitted to God’s will, but in reality we expect Him to bend to our own plans. We follow our own hearts and desires, and then ask God to make our spiritual lives vibrant in the midst of it all.  

But the true Christian life doesn’t work that way. When we exchange our lives for Christ’s, we lay our own agendas, dreams, desires, and plans at His feet. We get completely out of the way, and allow Him to live His life through us in whatever way He chooses.  

This is a difficult life-change to make. For our entire lives, we have been the sole rulers of our internal home. We are used to making the decisions. We are used to calling the shots.  But now we must take a lower position.  

Our entire home – our body, mind, and spirit – now belongs to a new Ruler. We turn the ownership papers over to a new Master. He is not our servant; we are His servant. We come and go as He commands.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Continually

I Thess 5:17 NIV
"Pray continually."

Two words, full of power.  When we see those short verses, sometimes we tend to skip right along, holding out for the longer, more meaningful verses.  But let's stop and take a look at this little one.

"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."
Jesus gives us the perfect example of praying continually.  He often went off by himself to pray to his Father.  

Should we plan times to pray?  Absolutely.  Should we pray at mealtimes, thanking God for His provision?  Of course.  But is there more than that?  Should words for our precious Jesus always be on the tip of our tongues?  At the forefront of our minds?  

Psalm 62:8 NIV
"Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."

There is nothing more fulfilling than ongoing conversation with our Lord.  He promises to listen and He ALWAYS answers.  Even if we don't feel His clear guidance, though we pray and pray about something, He IS answering!  Sometimes His answer is "Hold on, I'm not finished with __________ yet."  That's tough!  We can't control the outcome.  We can't make things happen any faster.  Instead, we are told to wait.  

The reason?

When we find ourselves in complete dependence on Him, and we can't do anything to effect a solution, the end result is glory for ONLY GOD!  

Sometimes God has to teach us to wait.  
Sometimes God simply wants to make His power and glory known.
Sometimes God says no.

But He always answers.  Always.  

And many time when He does, we are blown away by his perfect timing and solution.  

Psalm 27:8 NIV
"My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, Lord, I will seek."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Alone, yet not alone!

"I climbed into the tree and was left there alone in the bush.  The hours I spent there live all before me as if it were but of yesterday.  I heard the frequent discharging of muskets, and the yells of the Savages.  Yet I sat there among the branches, as safe in the arms of Jesus.  Never, in all my sorrows, did my Lord draw nearer to me, and speak more soothingly in my soul, than when the moonlight flickered among these chestnut leaves, and the night air played on my throbbing brow, as I told all my heart to Jesus. Alone, yet not alone!  If it be to glorify my God, I will not grudge to spend many nights alone in such a tree, to feel again my Savior's spiritual presence, to enjoy His consoling fellowship.  If thus thrown back upon your own soul, alone, all alone, in the midnight, in the bush, in the very embrace of death itself, have you a Friend that will not fail you then?"

- John G. Paton, missionary in the South Pacific, having lost his wife and child and surrounded by hostile natives as he hid in a tree

Friday, November 04, 2011

Save Yourself

"America today is a 'save yourself' society if there ever was one.  But does it really work?  The underdeveloped societies suffer from one set of diseases: tuberculosis, malnutrition, pneumonia, parasites, typhoid, cholera, typhus, etc.  Affluent America has virtually invented a whole new set of diseases:  obesity, arteriosclerosis, heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, venereal disease, cirrhosis of the liver, drug addiction, alcoholism, divorce, battered children, suicide, murder.  Take your choice.  Labor-saving machines have turned out to be body-killing devices.  Our affluence has allowed both mobility and isolation of the nuclear family, and as a result, our divorce courts, our prison and our mental institutions are flooded.  In saving ourselves, we have nearly lost ourselves."

- Ralph Winter, "Reconsecration to a Wartime, Not a Peacetime, Lifestyle"

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Compromise

The mixing and mingling of the holy with the unholy is a temptation God's followers still face today.  It just doesn't work!  Not because God is unreasonable in His demands, but because He knows such compromise will eventually destroy not only us, but everything He wants to do through us.

Whatever you allow into your life will eventually be revealed- both the good and the bad.

James 1:21- Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the Word planted in you, which can save you.

Proverbs 14:12- There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death.

(adapted from Having a Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

How Does One Gain the New Birth? (Part 3)


Work #3 of God in the New Birth:
God called us into new life through the living and abiding Word.


"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct," (I Peter 1:14-15)


There is a general call and an individual call.  Why do some hear and see while others do not?


The internal effective call creates what it commands.  When Jesus said, "Lazarus, come forth," Lazarus came forth!


"His internal heart-call opens the eyes of the blind heart and causes Christ to appear as the supremely valuable person that He really is. So the heart freely and eagerly embraces Christ as the treasure He is."


The gospel makes no sense to people who are dead; they must be made alive to see!


"For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (I Corinthians 1:22-24 ESV)



(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

How Does One Gain the New Birth? (Part 2)


Work #2 of God in the New Birth:
God raised Jesus from the dead.


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you." (I Peter 1:3-4)


"The new birth is something that happens in us when the Holy Spirit takes our dead hearts and unites us with Christ by faith so that His life becomes our life.  So it makes sense that Jesus must be raised from the dead is we are to have new life in union with Him."



(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

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