An excellent introduction to the Bible!
Available in many languages!
or brain cells firing at random…
An excellent introduction to the Bible!
Available in many languages!
This is so beautiful said that I had to repost! I agree with my brother, “May the God of Israel bless you and write your name in the Book of Life forever.”
A beautiful painting of a Jewish priest blowing the shofar (ram’s horn) for Yom Kippur.
It is almost sundown here in Israel, and we are about to begin Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
In the Scriptures, the Israelites were commanded by the Lord to fast and pray and bring their sacrifices to the Temple in Jerusalem, and then to ask for the Lord’s forgiveness for all the sins they and their nation had committed that year.
Only the sacrifice of a perfect animal, done with a humble, repentant heart, and with faith in God’s mercy and grace, would bring about forgiveness of sins.
This Hebrew Bible precept was later underscored in the New Testament.
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This is one of my favorite writings from Max Lucado….
“Just a Moment”
It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment.
As moments go, that one appeared no different than any other. If you could somehow pick it up off the timeline and examine it, it would look exactly like the ones that have passed while you have read these words. It came and it went. It was preceded and succeeded by others just like it. It was one of the countless moments that have marked time since eternity became measurable.
But in reality, that particular moment was like none other. For through that segment of time a spectacular thing occurred. God became a man. While the creatures of earth walked unaware, Divinity arrived. Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb.
The Omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. And he who sustains the world with a word chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl.
God as a fetus. Holiness sleeping in a womb. The creator of life being created.
God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys, and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother.
God had come near.
He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty.
No silk. No ivory. No hype. No party. No hoopla.
Were it not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception. And were it not for a group of stargazers, there would have been no gifts.
Angels watched as Mary changed God’s diaper. The universe watched with wonder as The Almighty learned to walk. Children played in the street with him. And had the synagogue leader in Nazareth known who was listening to his sermons…
Jesus may have had pimples. He may have been tone-deaf. Perhaps a girl down the street had a crush on him or vice versa. It could be that his knees were bony. One thing’s for sure: He was, while completely divine, completely human.
For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt. He felt weak. He grew weary. He was afraid of failure. He was susceptible to wooing women. He got colds, burped, and had body odor. His feelings got hurt. His feet got tired. And his head ached.
To think of Jesus in such a light is—well, it seems almost irreverent, doesn’t it? It’s not something we like to do; it’s uncomfortable. It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation. Clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of his eyes. Pretend he never snored or blew his nose or hit his thumb with a hammer.
He’s easier to stomach that way. There is something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant, packaged, predictable.
But don’t do it. For heaven’s sake, don’t. Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out.
Listen to him.
“Love your neighbor” was spoken by a man whose neighbors tried to kill him.
The challenge to leave family for the gospel was issued by one who kissed his mother goodbye in the doorway.
“Pray for those who persecute you” came from the lips that would soon be begging God to forgive his murderers.
“I am with you always” are the words of a God who in one instant did the impossible to make it all possible for you and me.
It all happened in a moment. In one moment…a most remarkable moment. The Word became flesh.
There will be another. The world will see another instantaneous transformation. You see, in becoming man, God made it possible for man to see God. When Jesus went home he left the back door open. As a result, “we will all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”
The first moment of transformation went unnoticed by the world. But you can bet your sweet September that the second one won’t. The next time you use the phrase “just a moment,” …remember that’s all the time it will take to change this world.
To read more from the book, God Came Near, go to:
I thought this was a very good devotional on how fear affects our every day life. I can fool myself that I am not often afraid until I ponder the synonyms for fear….anxiety, concern, doubt, dread, unease, worry. Yep there is plenty of that in my life to deal with! Thanks for this great word about dealing with all of that!
Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 NASB
Today we are talking about fear. Not the kind of fear that suddenly grips you with terror, but the kind that lurks below the surface of your conscious mind. The fear we equate with terror comes on us in an instant, like a life-threatening wound from a gunshot. The kind of fear we are talking about today is more like a slow moving disease. It’s the kind of fear you may not even be aware of, or have forgotten was there, until you’re faced with a challenge (or an opportunity) that reminds you of its power.
This is the kind of fear every one of us inherited as a son of Adam. This…
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Hope. This is a word which I have often used – jam packed with meaning. There is hope for medical cures, hope for financial success, hope for love, and hope for progress that will lead to a brighter tomorrow. But lately I have wrestled with what having hope really means, particularly as it relates to hoping in God.
One of the common features about all of these hopes is that they are desires for outcomes about which I have little or no ability to produce on my own. I am not able to produce a cure for cancer, I am not capable of controlling the stock market, and I am not able to control how people feel about me. As hard as I try to move forward, there are frequently unforeseen disasters that thwart my progress.
Hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown. Some have even said that the biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.” I would go one step further to say that in the English language it takes two words to define the state of my mental being with regard to the unknown and unfulfilled future; faith is the “confident” component and hope is the component of “expectation.”
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
This “confident expectation” is the belief that something is going to happen and that “something” is based on a promise or proclamation that God has made to us. For instance:
“We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, but especially of those who have faith. That’s why we work and struggle so hard.” I Timothy 4:10; or “My dear friends, we are already God’s children, though what we will be hasn’t yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ is holy.” I John 3:2-3.
For me, faith and hope are the complete trust that my expectations are going to be fully met. And I cannot have one without the other. To trust without expectation is to be dull and stoic. To hope without trust is to merely wistfully wish. Thus, faith and hope are inseparable. And to have faith and hope in any thing or any one apart from an all mighty God is less than I desire, because I want a cure, I want security, I want to achieve, and I want love. And God is the only perfect one I know who can deliver.
Although I desperately need them now, faith and hope are temporary. As soon as all expectations are met there will no longer be need for them. (That’s Heaven!) I think that is the point of I Corinthians 13, the famous chapter of love. Love is the only component that is eternal. While the whole chapter is a worthy read, the last two verses sum it up so well, (I Corinthians 13:12-13)
12 Now all we can see of God
is like a cloudy picture
in a mirror.
Later we will see him
face to face.
We don’t know everything,
but then we will,
just as God completely
13 For now there are faith,
hope, and love.
But of these three,
the greatest is love.
This is such an insightful note of modern missions. While belief in Christ unifies it does not erase the beautiful way He created us diversified.
Tomorrow, people around the world will celebrate a very unusual happening on a Jewish festival some 2000 years ago. Read the account here.
But let’s back up a bit. One can read the Old Testament as the story of a tribal religion. By “tribal” I mean proprietary – belonging to a specific group of people. The religion of the descendants of Abraham came to them in their language, it is full of their stories about their God.
There are many tribal religions which also belong to people of a common ancestry, who share the same customs and usually the same language. Most tribal religions respect other peoples who have their own gods and religious practices.
A careful reading of the Old Testament shows that God had universal ambitions when he choose to start with Abraham and his descendants. Which brings us to the first festival of Pentecost…
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