The Gospel of John 1:19-28

The Testimony of John the Baptist

19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

“I could sing of your love forever” performed by Hillsong

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeCwwaciAA8

Prayer, My Lord and my God, how amazing Your Word is.  Help us to be faithful in reading it every day so we can learn what Your Holy Spirit has for us.  Knowing that You come into this world to show us the way to You, is all that really matters.  We pray for Your continued guidance in this world. In Your precious name, Amen

The Gospel of John 1:1-14

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God;the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

“All I Have is Christ” by Sovereign Grace Music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsp-WuZR40g

Prayer, Our Lord and God, thank You for coming into the world as a man to save us from our sins, the world and Satan.  We cannot do it on our own, we need You. Help us to learn more and more about You each day.  May our lives glorify You until You call us Home to be with You for eternity!  What a wonderful day that will be!  In You we pray, Amen

January 2017

I have been reading the Valley of Vision devotional which you can read by going to,

The Valley of Vision Devotional

https://banneroftruth.org/us/devotional-series/the-valley-of-vision-devotional/

The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers that really help you in all kinds of circumstances.  I love to see how our Lord uses all kinds of people to minister to others.  I pray this will help you as much as it has helped me.

I am writing a few excerpts from the “New Beginning”

“. . . My thoughts are not screened from thy gaze.  My secret sins blaze in the light of they countenance.  Enable me to remember that blood which cleanseth all sin. . .

. . . Thou hast begun a good work in me and canst alone continue and complete it. . .

. . . Give me to distinguish between the mere form of godliness and its power, between life and a name to live, between guile and truth, between hypocrisy and a religion that will bear thy eye.

If I am not right, set me right, keep me right; and may I at last come to thy house in peace.”

Amen

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I posted this last year but it is always a great reminder of how much our Lord loves us!

In the 16th century in England, the church was controlled by the state; consequently, any teaching that contradicted what the state mandated, was not permitted. Nevertheless, people found creative ways to teach their children about God through songs. One of them was “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

All through the song we sing “my true love,” which refers to God almighty who really is our eternal true love.

–On the first day of Christmas the partridge; in England this bird is supposed to be very courageous because he defends his own with his life, that is why it is used here to represent Jesus Christ who gave His life for all of us. The pear tree symbolizes the cross. See John 3:16 and John 10:14-15.

–On the second day of Christmas two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testaments. Another post said that it represents the offering Mary and Joseph brought to the Temple when they presented Jesus, see Luke 2:22-24. Also the sacrifices offered by the Jews in the olden days as mentioned in the book of Leviticus 14:30-31.

–On the third day of Christmas three French hens represented the expensive gifts the Magi gave to the baby Jesus, see Matthew chapter 2. Gold represented Him as a king, frankincense represented Him as a priest and myrrh represented Him as a prophet. Another post says that it stood for faith, hope and love.

–On the fourth day of Christmas four calling birds were the four gospels or good news ofMatthew, Mark, Luke & John. The gospels are used by the Holy Spirit to call sinners to Christ.

–On the fifth day of Christmas five golden rings remind us of the precious five books of the Law in the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

–On the sixth day of Christmas six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation. This represents new beginnings or new life. See the book of Genesis chapter one.

–On the seventh day of Christmas seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit to believers: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy. See Romans 12:6-8. A-swimming implies action so these gifts are to be used by the believers for His Glory.

–On the eighth day of Christmas eight maids a-milking symbolize the eight beatitudes or blessings given by Jesus Christ to believers in the book of Matthew chapters three through chapter 10.

–On the ninth day of Christmas nine ladies dancing remind us of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. See Galatians 5:22-23.

–On the tenth day of Christmas ten lords a-leaping stand for the ten commandments given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, see Exodus chapter 20.

–On the eleventh day of Christmas eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful disciples: Peter, Andrew, James son of Zebedee, John his brother, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot. See Matthew 10:2-4.

–On the twelfth day of Christmas twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed,

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

5. The third day he rose again from the dead:

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:

9. I believe in the holy catholic (all embracing) church: the communion of saints:

10. The forgiveness of sins:

1l. The resurrection of the body:

12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

“Be Thou My Vision” an old Irish Hymn – with pictures of different old time preachers that have changed the world –performed by Robin Mark

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vcQFZyIrFs

Reformation Day

I posted this before but it is important to remember what our God has done!  Be encouraged dear brothers and sisters!

“Today we celebrate the historic beginning of the “Protestant Reformation” which started with Martin Luther in Germany.  Without it we would not have what we know today, that the Word of God is true, our loving Lord gave it to all of us, that righteousness is a gift of God’s grace and the grace of God is available to everyone.  The truth is that we don’t need “works” to be saved we only need Him.

The Unger’s Bible dictionary tells us that “reformation” is a “setting right, a making straight.”  It also “refers to the times of perfecting things, by a change of external forms into vital and spiritual worship referring to the times of the Messiah and the salvation He brought.”

Martin Luther was plagued with doubts about his salvation and how to find peace with God.  As an Augustine monk, he hoped to find what he was searching for by studying God’s Word.  “This study convinced him that the (Catholic) Church had lost sight of several central truths. To Luther, the most important of these was the doctrine that brought him peace with God.” “With joy, Luther now believed and taught that salvation is a gift of God’s grace, received by faith and trust in God’s promise to forgive sins for the sake of Christ’s death on the cross. This, he believed was God’s work from beginning to end.”

On October 31, 1517, Luther posted his “Ninety-Five Theses” on the door of the Church of All Saints, critiquing the Catholic Church’s “sale of indulgences and explaining the fundamentals of justification by grace alone.”  He also sent a copy to the Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz but “in Rome, cardinals saw Luther’s theses as an attack on papal authority.”

“In 1518 at a meeting of the Augustinian Order in Heidelberg, Luther set out his positions with even more precision.” But instead of refuting his arguments with scripture, he was told to “recant his positions by the Papal Legate, Thomas Cardinal Cajetan. Luther stated that he could not recant unless his mistakes were pointed out to him by appeals to scripture.”  Since this was not done. Luther “could not recant,” and his refusal “set in motion his ultimate excommunication, in January 1521.”

In this day and age we are certainly in need of “reforming” our hearts to go back to the basics of Christianity, the simplicity that is in our Lord’s Word, the Bible.  Without it, we won’t be able to really comprehend His love for us, what He wants us to do in this world and His amazing promise of eternal life with Him.

I got this information from the following sites:

http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformation_Day

http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-english-bible-history/martin-luther.html

Martin Luther wrote this wonderful hymn when he was troubled by doubts and insecurities, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y-_TsRjm5Y

Prayer, Our loving Lord Jesus Christ how wonderful, kind and timely You are.  Thank You for empowering people such as Martin Luther to continue to point us to You.  Help us to really learn Your Word and learn to know You, not just in our minds but also in our hearts.  Humbly we come to You for our daily sustenance and guidance, knowing that “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path…” (Psalm 119:105)  We love You and desire You always, Amen

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”

This wonderful hymn that tells us about trusting in our Loving Jesus is what we need to do was written by Edward Mote in 1837.

I found many sites that talk about him. He was born in London on January 21, 1874. His parents were not believers, but he came to the Lord while he was still a boy. The last 26 years of his life he was the pastor of a Baptist Church in Horsham, Sussex, England.  He passed away in Sussex on November 13, 1874. He wrote many pamphlets and hymns of praise.  I encourage you to read more about this wonderful man of God by doing an internet search.

In Psalm 62:5-7 King David wrote,

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

 

Charles Spurgeon writes in his Morning by Morning Devotional, “the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self.” He tells us that we are nothing, but that Christ is everything. “Remember, therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you – it is Christ; it is not your joy in Christ that saves you – it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, although that is an instrument – it is Christ’s blood and merits.”

We know that what this world is telling us about “self” is all untrue. This thing that we need to trust in ourselves and continue to look to “self” for all our security and significance is not coming from God but from the father of lies, Satan. We know that without Christ we are nothing because we “all have sinned” as Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 . In Colossians 3:11 we read that “…Christ is all, and in all.” Since He is our creator and Savior, He is the only one we can always trust and in whom we need to keep our eyes focused at all times. In Ephesians 4:22-23 Paul tells us “to put off your old self” and to “…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Oh Lord how trust worthy and comforting Your Word is, thank You.

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” performed by Sovereign Grace Music

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkMapZB8qMk&feature=related

Prayer, Dear Sweet Lord, thank You so much for people like Edward Mote who write wonderful hymns of praise to You.  Help us to learn more about the saints that have gone before us who encourage us to follow You.  Forgive us for not being the godly people You call us to be.  May Your Holy Spirit keep us always looking to You for our significance and security.  In Your precious name we pray, Amen

 

The Creation of Man and Woman

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is truly amazing to read our Father’s loving Word to how He created us!  I am not including all the verses in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2; but I advise you to read them in their entirety in your Bible.

Let us read about God’s creation of man and woman.

In Genesis 1:26-31,

“26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

In Genesis 2:5-9 we read,

“5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

In Genesis 2:18-24 we read,

“18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

“Thy Word” performed by Amy Grant

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ycs23FQDRI

Prayer, Dearest Lord, thank You for giving us life which should always be for Your glory!  Forgive us for all those times we have not glorify You.  Please help us to read Your Word frequently so that we learn what Your plan for us is.  In Your precious name we pray, Amen

Second Half of Psalm 71

Let us read the last half of Psalm 71:13-24

Forsake Me Not When My Strength Is Spent

13 May my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
with scorn and disgrace may they be covered
who seek my hurt.
14 But I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
16 With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
17 O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
18 So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.
19 Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
20 You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
21 You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
22 I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy,
when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
24 And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
for they have been put to shame and disappointed
who sought to do me hurt.

“How Great Thou Art” performed by Alan Jackson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXwrZ2bqHQA

Prayer, Oh sweet Lord, how marvelous You are!  Help me always praise You and glorify You because You are the only One who is worthy of my praise. May Your Holy Spirit lead me continually to You!  In Your precious name I pray, Amen

First Half of Psalm 71

Matthew Henry’s commentary o n Psalm 71 reads, “David penned this psalm in his old age, as appears by several passages in it, which makes many think that it was penned at the time of Absalom’s rebellion; for that was the great trouble of his later days. It might be occasioned by Sheba’s insurrection, or some trouble that happened to him in that part of his life of which it was foretold that the sword should not depart from his house. But he is not over-particular in representing his case, because he intended it for the general use of God’s people in their afflictions, especially those they meet with in their declining years; for this psalm, above any other, is fitted for the use of the old disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Let us read the first half of Psalm 71:1-12

Forsake Me Not When My Strength Is Spent                                                                                            

1 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame!
2 In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me, and save me!
3 Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
5 For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
6 Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.
7 I have been as a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all the day.
9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength is spent.
10 For my enemies speak concerning me;
those who watch for my life consult together
11 and say, “God has forsaken him;
pursue and seize him,
for there is none to deliver him.”
12 O God, be not far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!

Psalm-71 “I will Sing” performed by David Haas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2qwVDxGqvs

Prayer, Dearest Lord, in You only I trust!  You have been with me even before my birth, how amazing is that!  I also know that You will be with me the last day of my earthly life and  will carry me with You to my eternal home in Heaven.  Oh dear Lord, thank You for all you do for me.  May my life glorify You always, Amen

Pray for the Peace of Israel – Psalm 122

Matthew Henry’s commentary on Psalm 122 says, “This psalm seems to have been penned by David for the use of the people of Israel, when they came up to Jerusalem to worship at the three solemn feasts. It was in David’s time that Jerusalem was first chosen to be the city where God would record his name. It being a new thing, this, among other means, was used to bring the people to be in love with Jerusalem, as the holy city, though it was but the other day in the hands of the Jebusites.”

Let us read Psalm 122

I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet have been standing
    within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city
    that is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
    the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for[a] Israel,
    to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
There thrones for judgment were set,
    the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
    “May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
    and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
    I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your good.

 Here is a marvelous seven minutes of a flyover Israel done about six years ago.

Enjoy!

IMAX Fly over Israel

http://vimeo.com/15034110