Wednesday, January 16, 2019

MATTHEW 28:19 - BAPTIZED INTO GOD'S FAMILY

BAPTIZED INTO GOD’S FAMILY

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me
in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, 
and teach all nations, baptizing them
in1519 the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

1519 εἰς (ӗis) – primary preposition: to or into (indicating the point reached or entered) of place, time, or (fig.) purpose (result, etc.).

Baptism is an outward expression of something that has already happened inwardly. As soon as we surrender our lives to the Lord Jesus, we are adopted into God’s forever family. When someone is baptized, the person officiating usually says something like, “I baptize you, my brother (sister), in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Let’s look at that phrase “in the name of”. This can and does mean “on behalf of.” Which is how I had often thought of it. However, that little preposition “in” can mean “into.” We are baptized into the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We become one with the God-head as Jesus prayed in John 17:21-13. If this happens the moment we are converted, the moment we surrender our lives to the Lord, then what is baptism? Baptism does not save us. It is an evidence that we have been saved. When a friend of mine adopted children, they lived in her home, began calling her “Mommy,” and she loved them as her own. They were adopted into her family as far as they and she were concerned. Months later, the official papers were signed in court, and the adoption was “finalized.” However, there was a step in the process where she swore under oath before witnesses to be their mother in every sense of the word. This was an outward demonstration of the commitment she had already made to the children and had already made official on the documents. We are adopted into God’s family, and our baptism is the announcement to the world that this adoption has transpired. My friend provides for all the needs of her adopted children, and they are her legal heirs. When we are baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are acknowledging not only our obligation to obey God but our trust that He will now provide for all our needs, and as Paul wrote in Romans 8:17, we are joint-heirs with Jesus. Are we living like children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the all-powerful God? Do we stand on the truth that we have been welcomed into sharing His name? Are we remembering all the things we have in Him (see Ephesians 1)?

Father, thank you for the privilege of addressing You this way, the joy of being Your child. Help us to live each day with an awareness of carrying Your name. Help us to enjoy the benefits of being in Your forever family and be careful never to bring shame to the name we bear—Christian.




Monday, January 14, 2019

COMPUTER CRASH!!!

Last week, our computer crashed. We have someone trying to retrieve our data, and PTL we have this new computer. However, we are having to reconstruct our schedules, templates, etc.; so it may be next week before we get back on track with posting to our blogs. We are hopeful that we will be completely back on track by then. Please pray for us during this process, and pray that John is able to retrieve our data, especially a book we have been working on. Thank you!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

MATTHEW 2:10 STAR GAZERS


Excerpt from A Life’s Symphony of Joy
By Rev. Susan R. Slade

Day 31 – Star Gazers


The magi (wise men) had seen a great star from their country in the east and had read a prophecy of a king to be born of the Jews. They had set out following the star, but it disappeared for a time. They inquired of the Jews’ current king, Herod, where this child was to be born. After his scholars informed them the child was to be born in Bethlehem, they set back out on their journey, and the star reappeared. The wise men were not just full of joy when the star came back into view: their joy was exponentially overwhelming. It was also a relief that they could now fulfill their hearts’ desire to worship the baby King. They may or may not have understood that the God of the universe was Jesus’ Father, but they saw the celestial birthday candle, the ultimate celebratory sign in the heavens, to celebrate the birth of His chosen one. The star, which may have even been the Sh’khinah glory of God, led them to the house where Jesus and His earthly parents were staying, and they worshipped Him and gave Him gifts.

Think for just a moment about the glory Jesus left behind in Heaven to endure the sacrifice and humiliation of the cross in order to redeem His forever family. The next time He comes to earth, He WILL come in His full regal kingship. Does this not make you burst with great joy?!


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

LUKE 2:15-20 SHEPHERDS HERALD GOOD SHEPHERD'S ARRIVAL


SHEPHERDS HERALD 
GOOD SHEPHERD’S ARRIVAL

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad
the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things
which were told them by the shepherds.
Luke 2:17-18 (KJV)

An angel appeared to a group of mere shepherds and made the astonishing announcement that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem. He gave them the even more surprising news that this Holy Baby would be found sleeping in a feeding trough for animals! Then as quickly as the host of angels had appeared in glorious light, they vanished, and the shepherds were once again alone in the dark. The shepherds, like excited children on Christmas morning, ran to see God’s gift to the world. They found everything exactly like the angel had said. Afterward they did the same thing we did as children – they told the entire neighborhood the best gift they had received – a baby born to be the Messiah. They went back to the drudgery of guarding their sheep but with a newfound awe of the Lord. They praised and glorified God as they returned. We wonder if the sheep could sense the change in their shepherds or if even they were aware that the best Shepherd of all was now living among men? Just as we share about our “best Christmas ever,” we are certain those shepherds passed down the story of the night they found their Savior lying in a manger. We imagine their children and grandchildren, eyes bright with wonder, saying, “Tell it again! Tell about the angels and the Baby!” May the wide-eyed wonder of the Christmas story fill our hearts throughout the Year! May the Spirit of Christmas, the celebration of God’s perfect Gift, permeate our lives every day!

Father, let us see once again with wide-eyed wonder the Baby in the manger who was born to die in our place. May the miracle of the virgin birth and even more-so, the miracle of the resurrection constantly fill us with joy! And may we, like the shepherds long ago, proclaim the Messiah to everyone we meet. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

LUKE 1:42B-44 JOHN JUMPS FOR JOY


John Jumps for Joy


Unborn baby in the womb, at Mary’s greeting, John jumped for joy.

Filled with the Spirit from conception, he knew Messiah’s mother’s voice.

The Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth’s heart and enabled her to know

the presence of her Lord and Savior in a holy Embryo.

Yet today’s society justifies the murder of an unborn baby,

debating when embryo becomes a person, with no thought that maybe

since children are a gift from God and the fruit of the womb a reward,

A fertilized egg, an embryo, is declared a human soul by the Lord.

If you have already had an abortion, you will find no judgment here.

Mary’s baby was born to redeem you. Forgiveness is yours - draw near

to Jesus who bore our sins on the cross, the Lamb of God, our sacrifice.

Raised to life, He conquered the grave and offers you paradise!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

LUKE 1:30-33 MARY TO CARRY MESSIAH


MARY TO CARRY MESSIAH
Luke 1:30-33

Let me set the scene: Mary was a young, devout, Jewish girl going about her daily chores. She was pledged to marry a man named Joseph, but they were not even to the point of setting the wedding date. An angel suddenly appeared out of nowhere—not the norm in the obscure village of Nazareth or anywhere else for that matter. Mary shivered with fear because, in reality, angels are scary. The angel’s opening line is that of most angels when they appear to mere humans, “Fear not.” Just when she is feeling a little bit better about the situation, he drops a bombshell on her. You’re going to be pregnant! And this is going to be no ordinary baby. Gabriel made it abundantly clear that she was to bear the Messiah. First, Mary was to name her baby “Jesus” meaning “Jehovah is generous. Jehovah saves.” Then he said that Jesus would be called “Son of the Highest” meaning He would be God’s Son as foretold in Psalm 2:7. He tops it off by declaring that her son would reign on David’s throne forever and ever fulfilling the prophecies of Jeremiah 23:5 and Isaiah 9:6-7.  If you read on a few verses in Luke chapter one, you will see that Mary was too overwhelmed to take all this in. She asked how this could happen since she was a virgin—a logical question from a human standpoint—but this was a mighty angel of God she was talking to. Gabriel patiently explained that God’s Holy Spirit would accomplish placing the embryo in her womb and that with God nothing is impossible. Then in Luke 1:38, we have Mary’s beautiful response to this unsettling announcement, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”

God reveals His purposes for believers in His word, through godly preaching, and by the prompting of His Holy Spirit within. Mary was asked to risk her reputation and her relationship with Joseph and even give up her rights to her own body in order to carry God’s Son in her womb. None of us will be asked to sacrifice in that exact same way. However, whatever God is calling us to do, I pray we will humbly reply, “Be it done unto me according to thy word.” Mary did not achieve fame or fortune in her lifetime but has been remembered with reverence throughout history. We may receive no recognition for our obedience to God while we reside on this ball called earth. However, in Heaven, may we hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).