Prayer

THIS IS SUCH AN ENCOURAGING POST, I HAD TO SHARE IT! TAKE A LOOK…-anita

New Hope for Dry Bones

The whole, full armor of God.  God designed this armor, not to stand on display in a museum or as decoration in a castle, but to be filled with men and women.  That turns empty armor into a soldier.

When this armor is upon and around me, I am ready to stand.  But what do I do while I am standing?

Ephesians 6:18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.6:18 Greek all of God’s holy people.
19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I…

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TAKE THE SPLINTER OUT OF YOUR EYE FIRST!

Does your ire ever rise at the blatant lack of the fear of God in the world today?  When I watch the news, I am appaled at the total disregard of all that is good and Holy!

Sometimes, I want to do like Peter did in the garden of Gethsemane and use my Sword on the world’s views!  And , yes…sometimes on people;   But, that’s when I most need to take a moment and realize it’s time to use that Sword on myself.  It’s time to cut away the parts of myself that are unpleasing to God.  Time to examine MY short-comings.  Time to make the necessary changes that are lacking in My Christian life.

I shouldn’t wield  the Sword of the Lord (the Scriptures) against others, but turn it on myself…let the Light shine through and show me my own sins.  If I allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in ME…change ME…transform ME..then the world around me will change for the better.

Jesus made a change in me by loving me to Himself.  This is how He wants us to cause change as well.  John 3:16 says, “For God SO LOVED the world, He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish, but have everlasting life.”

We cannot beat folks over the head with the Bible.  We can’t FORCE the world into a better way of life…we must LOVE them to Jesus!

I read a blog the other day that said this, and I quote: “Every attack I have made to force the world into better-ness has resulted in bitterness.” -New Hope for Dry Bones

That just about sums it up!  So the question is…Do you want people to listen?  Do you want to make a positive impact?  Do you want to change the world for Jesus’ sake?

If your answer is yes…then, start with yourself…take the splinter out of your own eye and then Love the world to Jesus!

anita

IT TOOK COURAGE

Lee’s on a roll!  Here’s another good one!  Keep ’em coming brother…we love it! -anita

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It Took Courage

 As I’ve been reviewing John’s account of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, two men stood out to me. Men not of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

 Both of these men had high ranking in society during the time of Jesus’ ministry and crucifixion. Nicodemus is a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, and is mentioned in three places in the Gospel of John. Joseph, according to Mark in verse 15:43, was “a prominent member of the Council (the Sanhedrin).” Matthew noted that Joseph was wealthy.

 Interestingly, the gospel of Mark explains that Joseph “gathered up courage” (NAS) and went in to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus. Obviously, given that Joseph moved in circles which very much wanted Jesus dead, he risked great disapproval and even hostility from that group for being associated with Jesus. One commentator I read noted that Joseph even risked “ceremonial defilement in handling a dead body,” a task typically left to lesser members of that society.

Nicodemus came to join Joseph bringing with him a large quantity of expensive myrrh and aloes to place on Jesus’ body. Myrrh was quite costly and was used primarily as a fragrance in perfume but also to hide the odor of decomposing flesh after death. One commentator said, “Joseph and Nicodemus’ act of love and respect for the body of Jesus was for them dangerous, costly, and without personal gain.” Clearly, for these men to even gain access to Jesus’ body required them to take His body down from the Cross in a very visible and public place, before all to see.

It apparently was Roman custom to allow those crucified as seditious criminals to remain on their cross for vultures to consume. Jewish custom, however, dictated that one crucified must be taken down before night fall and buried or it would curse the land [Deut 21:22-23].  To help keep peace, the Romans allowed Jewish custom to be followed and thus, agreed to the desire to remove Jesus’ body from the Cross. As a side note, it was custom for the Jews to bury criminals in a common grave outside the city.

 What I find most compelling is that our Lord was buried properly, with expensive spices, in a garden in a rich man’s new grave to satisfy prophecy [Isaiah 53:9].  Jesus as a man lived a life of complete poverty, never owning more than the clothes on His back, yet, due to the actions of these two men, Jesus’ body was treated as one of high estate. As another commentator put it in an article I just read: “Though Jesus had suffered much humiliation, the honor shown in His burial marks the beginning of a shift to a more exalted state for our Lord.” One justly deserved for One who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

-Lee Pierce

JESUS PAID A RANSOM, BUT TO WHOM?

Jesus Paid a Ransom, But to Whom?

 “The Son of Man came … to give His life as a ransom for many.” [Mt 20:28] I’ve been reading once again of the crucifixion of our Lord and His work of atonement. I guess I always dread reading this portion of Scripture because I always feel so badly that Jesus had to suffer so much when He was entitled to glory and great honor as the Son of God and a member of the Holy Trinity. It hurts me to see the shame, suffering, hurt and persecution He had to endure to complete the task of atonement.

 As I paged through this “old, old story” (from the old hymn Tell Me the Old, Old Story”), I began to think about the idea of ransom. In the Matthew passage (Mt 20:20-28) Jesus is quite clear in His understanding that He was being given a cup that only He could drink and was paying a ransom for His people. I suppose I had never thought too much about this ransom idea and maybe even had considered that the ransom was being paid to Satan to free believers from Satan’s clutches.

 Upon doing some research on this ransom idea, it seems the view that Satan was being paid off is an idea held by many in the church over the years. But in reading through material from one of my favorite sources, Dr. R.C. Sproul, the contention is made that payment of a Satanic ransom does not square with Bible teaching. Per Sproul: this idea does not agree with Scripture’s view of Christ’s work as “a victory over Satan.” He quotes 1 Jn 3:8b which states that Jesus “appeared…that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Dr. Sproul further notes that, for Satan to receive the ransom, Satan would actually be the victor in Christ’s death, and we all know that Satan has been defeated. If that’s not so, then we don’t have salvation! Further, Sproul states that, “… the devil is himself a rebel and has no right to demand a ransom for our redemption.”

 God our Father, however, has every right to demand a ransom to release us from the “state of condemnation” brought about by Adam’s sin [Rom 5:12]. A pure, just and holy God cannot permit even one sin to abide before Him. While, by Jesus’ atonement, we are secondarily freed from slavery to sin and death, we are primarily saved from the wrath of God Himself. As Sproul puts it: “We are saved from God, by God, for God.” In short, Jesus Himself was the ransom paid to His Father to rescue each one of us.

 Dr. Sproul, during the course of his teaching career, was always fond of saying that, for any of us to commit even one little sin, amounts to “cosmic treason” before a perfect and holy God. I suspect that you, like me, have many more than one sin for which Jesus had to atone. Thank God Himself, we have a Savior!

-Lee Pierce

MC CROSKY’S POND

I was thinking a lot about my dad today, and remembered the following story he used to use as an illustration in his sermons. Braden Mc Crosky and my dad were great friends! Take a look… -anita
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The Gathering Journal

I blogged this back in 2015 when we first started The Gathering Devotional blog site.  I thought about it again this morning as the sun shined bright through the window, revealing all the dust on my furniture!  Yikes!  Time to grab the duster….  LOL 🙂

Seriously though…Let’s all ask God to reveal the things in us that need to be changed… cleaned up, and then allow Him to do that for us! -anita

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“Search me O God, and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me…”  Psalms 139: 23 & 24

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It had become a ritual for Braden to walk the small parcel of land left to him by his father.  It was almost as important to him as his morning devotions.

In the middle of the property, was a small pond.  On hot days, he would stoop down…

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