Monday, January 15, 2018

ZECHARIAH 4:6 - BY GOD'S SPIRIT, ZERUBBABEL

By God’s Spirit, Zerubbabel!


Zerubbabel, Governor of Judah,
Undertook to rebuild God’s temple.
It lay in ruins and enemies lurked.
This task would not be simple.
Through the prophet Zechariah
The Lord’s encouragement came.
The temple would be rebuilt
Only by the power of His name.
It would not be Zerubbabel’s might,
Nor by his building prowess.
Guided by the Holy Spirit,
He would repair the mess.
A descendant of King David,
Zerubbabel could have been king;
But since Israel was ruled by Persia,
He was named a lesser thing.
However, his work foreshadowed
The time when Messiah will reign.
His descendant Jesus is the One
Who Israel’s throne will claim.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Matthew 16:24


This is our suggested memory verse for the coming week. 
Are you hiding God's word in your heart? (Psalm 119:11)
Take a few minutes right now to internalize these 2 verses!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

LUKE 4:4 - MORE IMPORTANT THAN MEALS

MORE IMPORTANT THAN MEALS

The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. He fasted, and I think we can safely assume prayed, for forty days. Next, the Bible makes the completely obvious statement that after forty days of fasting, He was hungry. Therefore, Satan attacks Him at the point of His most pressing need—His extreme hunger. The rocks in the wilderness around the Jordan River look similar to the round loaves of bread the people of Israel used as a staple food. Therefore, Satan tempts Jesus to turn those rocks into the bread they resemble. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 as His reply. In fact, Jesus used scripture to combat every temptation the devil threw at Him. This reminds me of a statement made in Job 23:12, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (emphasis added). Do we view God’s word, the Bible, as more important than our daily bread, our basic sustenance? I’m not talking more important than dessert or eating at a nice restaurant. Is God’s word more important to us than eating enough to survive? Of course, God intends for us to be physically nourished, but He has provided what is necessary for spiritual nourishment as well. The Bible equips us for everything God wants us to do, but how many of us are malnourished when it comes to studying God’s word. Or do we read enough to barely survive but neglect to “hide it in our hearts” (Psalm 119:11)? When temptation hits, when the enemy attacks, does the Holy Spirit reach for His sword and find the sheath empty?  The Spirit will bring to mind the scripture we have studied, meditated upon, and memorized when we need it. But if we have never filled our mind with the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), we are presenting Him with an empty sheath where there should be a sword. The word of God needs to be inside us, internalized, ready for the Spirit’s use to encourage and exhort us. Dig in and feast on the Bible today!



Monday, January 8, 2018

LUKE 3:21-22 - JESUS ANOINTED TO BRING SHALOM


John the Baptist raised Jesus up out of the water after His baptism, and Jesus prayed. As He prayed, the Holy Spirit of God came down in form of a dove. In scripture, doves were important in the sacrificial system of the Jews. They also could symbolize peace. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom, meaning, “nothing missing, nothing broken.” Jesus was the Messiah, the One anointed by the Holy Spirit to bring shalom into the hearts of all who would trust in Him. As the Holy Spirit came upon Him, Jesus (John the Baptist, too) heard the Heavenly Father say, “Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.” Jesus had submitted to baptism not because He needed to repent of sin since He was sinless, but to fulfill prophecy and to set an example of submission to God. God visibly and audibly showed His approval of Jesus’s baptism as the beginning of His earthly ministry. Jesus was fully man as well as fully God. As man, He humbly submitted Himself to the will of the Father in complete obedience (Philippians 2). That obedience would lead Him to the cross, to become the perfect sacrifice for my sin and yours. Have you trusted Him? Have you experienced the love can take all your brokenness and make you whole again? Have you experienced the peace, the shalom, of His Spirit dwelling within you? If not, surrender your life to Jesus today!


Friday, January 5, 2018

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Matthew 1:21

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Matthew 1:21

Matthew 1:21 (AMP)   She will give birth to a Son, and you shall name Him Jesus (The Lord is salvation), for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21 (AMPC)      She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].

Matthew 1:21 (CJB) She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘Adonai saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.”

When the angel appeared to Joseph to assure him that Mary had not been unfaithful and explain that her baby was God’s Son, he instructed Joseph to name the baby “Jesus.” One must understand that in their culture most firstborn boys were named after their father which mean Jesus would have logically been named Joseph. Why the name Jesus? The translations of Matthew 1:21 above reveal the answer. He was named according to His God-given purpose to be the Savior of all who would put their trust in Him. Jesus (Yeshua or Joshua) means “Adonai saves.” Who is Adonai? Adonai is a word used by the Hebrews for God and is usually translated into English as Lord. It derives from a word that can mean “master” or “sovereign.” Therefore, the name Jesus means “the sovereign Lord God saves.” God did not have to send Jesus in the form of a baby to grow into the perfect God-Man and die on the cross to provide redemption from our sin. In His sovereign grace, He chose to do so out of His love for His people. The name Jesus should be precious on our lips. Even His name, when properly understood, proclaims the Good News that through Him salvation is made available to those who believe.  His name indicates a sovereign Lord who was willing, ready, and able to redeem His chosen ones from sin and death. May we be sure to reverence His name. May we never use it in vain, flippantly, or as a curse word. May we speak it tenderly in thanksgiving, and cry out in His name in times of trouble. May we remember that He is our Master and Sovereign who loves us with an everlasting love. As the Gaithers sing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, There’s just something about that name . . .”


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

LUKE 3:5-6 - MAKE WAY FOR THE KING OF KINGS


MAKE WAY FOR THE KING OF KINGS

When a king would come to town,
Servants smoothed the roads down,
Removed all obstacles before the day
The king’s caravan came that way.
John the Baptist was sent to prepare
The path before Jesus with care,
But the pathway he made for this King
Was the hearts of people he’d bring
To a realization of their needs.
He would plant in them the seeds
Of repentance for remittance of sin,
Symbolically baptizing them.
When the King arrived on the scene,
John the Baptist His praises did sing,
“Behold the Lamb God!” he cried
Foreshadowing that this King would die
To bring salvation to who all who believe,
Who by God’s grace the Spirit receive.

Monday, January 1, 2018

JESUS GREW - Luke 2:51-52


JESUS GREW
Luke 2:51-52

We visualize Jesus as a baby wrapped up in strips of cloth lying in a feeding trough. We sadly see in our mind’s eye, our Lord Jesus dying on the cross. But how often do we contemplate His boyhood? I have always found it amazing that the God who created the universe chose to become an embryo inside a woman He had knit together. I find it equally intriguing to think of our Lord and Savior subjecting Himself to be obedient to mere human beings. Even before that, imagine the all-powerful God humbling Himself to the point of needing His mother to feed and change Him! Picture toddler Jesus being told to stay away from the fire. Did He already know He would be burned if He touched it? Imagine Jesus needing to learn the carpentry trade from Joseph. “Yo, Dad, I invented wood!” No, I’m sure He resisted the urge to be insolent. How aware was He that He was God’s Son? At what age did Mary and Joseph tell Him about the circumstances of His birth? The Bible does not tell us much about Jesus’s boyhood. Luke gives us this glimpse of Him being obedient and growing wiser and taller. What I do know is this—Jesus, our High Priest, experienced everything as a human. We cannot say He can’t understand what we are going through. I praise the Lord that He chose to need to grow up both physically and mentally because it gives me confidence that I can share my heart with Him, and He will understand. Psalm 103:14 “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Amazing! Jesus submitted Himself to the authority of Mary and Joseph—people created from dust! The next time I balk at humbling myself, I need to remember this!


Friday, December 29, 2017

CHALLENGE FOR 2018 - PHILIPPIANS 3:12-14 (J.B. PHILLIPS)

CHALLENGE FOR 2018
PHILIPPIANS 3:12-14 (J.B. PHILLIPS)

Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself 
to have “arrived”, spiritually, 
nor do I consider myself already perfect. 
But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly
 that purpose for which Christ grasped me. 
My brothers, I do not consider myself 
to have fully grasped it even now. 
But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead 
I go straight for the goal—my reward 
the honour of being called by God in Christ.

The year 2017 saw many sad days for Susan and Susie. We each saw loved ones graduate to Heaven seemingly too soon. Susie’s great-niece was only thirty and Susan’s second cousin only thirty-five. A friend’s daughter who had cerebral palsy was freed from her earth-suit on December 2nd at the age of only eighteen. Susan’s Grannie Slade went to be with her Lord on December 1st. Her granddad spent Christmas Eve morning in the emergency room, and her aunt is in the ER as we write this.  One of Susie’s relatives broke her hip on Christmas Eve. Susan had her own ER visit in early December. Yes, we had sorrow in 2017. However, we also had great joy as we completed Susan’s first book, A Life’s Symphony of Joy, and received a donation of the first 100 copies printed at no charge to us! We celebrated one year of being a non-profit corporation in the state of Texas and had our first group of people committed to make monthly donations to Precious Jewels Ministries. We had the opportunity to speak at Freedom Church in Bedford in the Spring. Thanks to a dear friend at our church who has a van equipped to take the power chair, Susan has been able to attend church without going in an ambulance on a gurney for the first time since 2011. Yes, the Lord richly blessed us in 2017.


Now we are on the cusp of a brand-new year, 52 weeks, 365¼ days. Our past sorrows need to be laid aside, and we cannot sit back and bask in our past joys. We must move forward as the Lord leads us. He has called us to minister and to serve. Those of us who know the Lord must continually be moving forward to fulfill the purposes for which He chose us. We are on this earth to bring glory to the name of Jesus by loving and serving one another and spreading the Good News of salvation purchased on the cross by Jesus and by the grace of God. Each day of this new year is another opportunity to “press on” toward the goal of serving Jesus here and eventually forever in the place He is preparing for us (John 14). May our “New Year’s Resolution” be to live each day to the fullest by serving the Lord completely, not only making a difference in a specific incidence but by being a difference in the lives of others. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

INCARNATION IN A NUTSHELL

INCARNATION IN A NUTSHELL
By Susie Hale
Precious Jewels Ministries, Inc.

The virgin Mary conceived God’s Son
Angel told Joseph her baby’s the One,
Messiah, Anointed,
By God appointed
Salvation for men with this Babe begun.

There were no rooms in Bethlehem
A stable was the best to be found for them
Mary gave birth
God came to earth
Shepherds came from the fields to worship Him.

The Baby Jesus was circumcised and redeemed
Simeon’s eyes with tears of joy gleamed.
Simeon prophesied.
Anna evangelized.
The Spirit revealed this Babe was not as He seemed.

For this poor Baby Boy who had laid in a manger
Who had been King in Heaven was on earth a stranger.
Deity wrapped
in Baby who napped.
But soon His earthly life would be in danger.

Magi from the east entered Herod’s court
A strange phenomenon they had to report.
Glory shining as a star
Led the wise men from afar
to see a newborn King, so they came to consort.

Herod’s advisors said Bethlehem was the place
Where their Messiah was foretold to show His face
Wise men went
Where they were sent
Herod plotted to avoid being replaced.

The Magi found Mary in a house with the Babe
They opened their packs, and gifts they gave.
Gifts of great expense—
Gold, myrrh, frankincense.
They did not report to Herod, the Baby to save.

Joseph was warned by an angel to flee
To Egypt that night to protect his family.
Soldiers ravaged
As if they were savage
Killing all baby boys by King Herod’s decree.

From the beginning, Satan tried to prevent
Jesus from the purpose of His advent.
Jesus survived
God kept Him alive
Until the time had come for which He was sent.

Jesus performed many miraculous signs,
Asserted His deity numerous ways and times
Sinners revealed
People were healed
When the timing was right, to Jerusalem He climbed.

There He was arrested, they yelled “Crucify.”
The Babe in the manger had come here to die.
The perfect Lamb
The Great “I AM”
His mission on earth to be our sacrifice.

He died on the cross, paid the ransom for sin
To redeem lost sinners who would trust in Him.
Three days in the tomb
Then life He resumed.
Arose to Father, promised we’ll be with them.