Jesus Christ, Our #Ransom

This is another great piece from
The Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord.

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And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”  

—Revelation 5:9-10

A Ransom

The son of man came . . .
to give his life a ransom for many. 
—Mark 10:45

“A Ransom for many!” Here Christ is set forth as the penalty paid for the sins of the world. As sinners under the judgment wrath of God, He took our place and paid the penalty and the price of our deliverance with His own blood. Listen to the drops of blood as they fall from hands and feet and wounded side! They voice the words, “The ransom price for my sins and for the sins of the whole world.” Would that men everywhere would believe it and receive it. How dear, how precious is He to us, washed clean in His blood and freed forever from the punishment due us.

Lord, may our ransomed souls  well up in praise to Thy glorious Name! Amen.

[Taken from Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord, by Charles E. Hurlburt and T. C. Horton. Copyright © 2002 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.]

My thoughts

No one can redeem the life of another
    or give to God a ransom for them—
the ransom for a life is costly,
    no payment is ever enough—
so that they should live on forever
    and not see decay.
—Psalm 49:7-9

If you’re anything like me, the thought of what Jesus went through on the cross—just for us sinners—boggles the mind. He who was without sin, came to earth in human form to illustrate for us the right way to live. And not only that, He sacrificed Himself—just for us sinners—so that we could have the chance to live with Him in heaven forever!

Doesn’t that amaze you? And doesn’t it make you want to share this Good News with others?

Beloved, let me ask you:

how can we not share our JOY about what Jesus has done in our lives?

If it wasn’t for Jesus Christ dying for our sake, there would be no way we could get to heaven on our own. We would therefore be doomed to an existence in hell, where we would agonizingly suffer for eternity.

So, let me ask you again: how can we not share our JOY about what Jesus has done in our lives? Yes, I agree with the author of this piece from The Wonderful Names of Our Wonderful Lord, who said so well that we need to believe it and receive it, but there is also the challenge to share it with those who need to hear it! That is what is called the Great Commission:

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Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee,
to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

—Matthew 28:16-20

Beloved, Jesus is our RansomNothing we can do in our own strength can ever repay Jesus for what He did for us on the cross at Calvary . . . nothing except to believe that He alone paved the way for us to live in heaven forever:

  • ADMIT that you are a sinner.
  • BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you.
  • CONFESS that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord of your life.

And then share your HOPE and JOY with others!

Please visit my A…B…C… page to find out more about how to be saved. Jesus loves you and died for your sins. You can also email me at  faithlhj777 at gmail dot com. He longs to be with you forever in heaven! 

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A Feast of #Joy {Repost}

A FEAST OF JOY

by Patricia Knight

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“The cheerful heart has a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15). Joy is a perpetual, delicious smorgasbord of delight, an avalanche of dazzling power that encompasses the heart and soul. Joy is exhilarating, lavishing our lives with zeal. Joy captivates behavior, illuminating a smile or a deep sustained laugh. Body language conveys our emotions with a sparkle in our eyes, spontaneous hand-clapping, or a little jumping up-and-down.

The exchange of wedding vows amplifies hearts with love, flooding them with joy. In such instances, joy owns the gamut of our emotions, rendering us incapable of passively managing surges of jubilation. Because the occasion is so anticipated and celebrated, our hearts stagger under the load, making us feel as if our epicenter of joy will actually implode. The Psalmist expresses it well: “My heart leaps for joy” (Psalm 28:7).

God’s Word is replete with examples of people whose joy knew no bounds even under the most profoundly challenging circumstances. Miriam, sister of Moses, unabashedly rallied the Israeli women to sing, using tambourines and dance to exuberantly express joy and gratitude to the Lord following His miraculous delivery of the Israelites from generations of slavery in Egypt. The women converted their sorrow and mourning into enthusiastic singing to God for His spectacular victory over the pharaoh and the Egyptian army.

David, King of Israel, was ecstatic that the ark of the covenant, the representation of God’s throne on earth, was returned to  Israeli’s possession after many decades of absence following its seizure by the Philistines, who considered it no more than a lucky talisman. Rallying the people in a Jerusalem street parade, “David danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sounds of trumpets” (2 Samuel 6:14-15). It was a time of tremendous rejoicing of national impact. David’s dance was one of true worship, explicitly demonstrating extraordinary love for his Lord.

Job, an Old Testament character, was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). Job’s dilemma still raises the quintessential question of why the righteous suffer. Job was steadfast regarding his innocence, though his friends accused him of liability for his suffering, determined that Job had caused his own demise by sinning. Job’s wife was so repulsed and discouraged with Job’s all-encompassing body sores, she advised Job to curse God and die. Having little hope for a cure and grieving the loss of his ten children and all of his possessions in one day, Job knew his joy could be deferred as he anticipated eternal life in heaven. Thus he admitted, “Then I would still have this consolation—my joy in unrelenting pain” (Job 6:10). In light of heaven, Job could readily rejoice, knowing he had remained true to God throughout his long ordeal on earth.

Paul and Silas were captured by the Roman authorities, then stripped and beaten with a whip made of several strips of leather into which were embedded bone and lead at the end. Once severely flogged with the whip, they were thrown into an inner cell in the dark, dank, malodorous prison with their feet  fastened in stocks. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). Suddenly a violent earthquake shook the prison, opening the cell doors and loosening prisoners’ chains. The jailer, responsible for all prisoners, was startled from sleep and assumed the prisoners had escaped. Paul and Silas intervened before the jailer committed suicide with his sword,  and presented the Gospel to the jailer and his family. The jailer was then “filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family” (Acts 16:34). What unusual events were set in motion by a God who was honored and worshipped in spite of life-threatening conditions!  When we trust in God, joy reigns supreme, regardless of adverse situations!Jesus-ColorfulCross--AMP

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the epitome of joy.  He who was sinless during his entire life on earth, acknowledged His ultimate goal was to glorify His Father by offering His life as a perfect sacrifice, to redeem sinners of this world. When the soldiers burst into Jesus’ reverie of quiet prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane to take Him by force, Jesus succumbed to the Roman authorities, willingly complying with their orders. “Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and set down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3). Jesus obediently chose to die; otherwise no one would have had the power to kill Him.

The peace Jesus exhibited during his brutal trial and agonizing crucifixion ordeal is beyond our finite understanding. Though Jesus was exhausted and hurting on all levels, He rejoiced spiritually because He was accomplishing the goal for which He had given up His glory in heaven for a season to live on earth—that of becoming the perfect sacrificial Lamb to atone for sin. Jesus’ joy was powerful and zealous; the bounds of Christ’s joy were immeasurable.

If the man, Jesus, could prompt any amount of joy while confronting a terrifying, heinous crucifixion, it was only because He spent quality time with His heavenly Father in prayer, who strengthened Jesus’ commitment to His life’s goal. Utter joy is only possible for us because through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He guarantees our inheritance, providing hope for a life of joy on earth and a glorious eternity in heaven.

When Jesus appeared to His followers after his resurrection, He revealed to them the crucifixion wounds in His hands and His side. The disciples were so ecstatic to actually see Jesus alive, their joy was contagious, extending throughout the centuries to our current generation: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8). Indeed, we are commanded to rejoice. The Apostle Paul, himself frequently plagued with hostility and extreme suffering, taught: “‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!’” (Philippians 4:4). Christ was the source and secret of Paul’s joy.

Phil4-4-PinkPurpleAbstractFlower-smaller--AMPOne of our life’s objectives is irrefutable: we are to be defined by worshipful joy in which God’s entire creation participates. “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy” (Psalm 96; 11-12).  Since all of nature responds to His authority, God accepts joyful worship from everything He creates. On that premise, let us assess the amount of joyous adoration our Redeemer receives from us. “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth” (Psalm 47:1-2).

Joy is not passive, but animated, manifesting praise and thanksgiving. Miriam and David unapologetically sang and danced before God Almighty. Like them, we eagerly worship our Savior, passionately reflecting His character with effervescent expressions of joy. It is God’s desire that we live triumphant lives, for which joy is one of the important components. Jesus said, “‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly’” (John 10-10, KJV). Let our words and actions be saturated with bountiful joy!

 

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Living Water

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Living Water

By Patricia Knight

Within the hush of the forest, zealously guarded and protected by those apprised of its location, resides a quietly bubbling spring of water, purified through a naturally deep layer of fine oscillating sand. The water is inherently refined through layers of sand as it percolates from a destination below ground level. Camp owners in the vicinity have constructed a three-sided wooden hut that protects the spring from falling debris from the thickly surrounding forested area or contamination from rain water. The front of the rustic building is exposed, allowing access to dip the fresh gurgling water.

As I stand encompassed by a colorful canopy of rattling autumn foliage, I detect the subtle murmuring of the spring water as it regurgitates through deep layers of sifting sand, slowly overflowing and trickling into an adjoining brook. I’m mentally transported to the scene in Samaria where a local woman met Jesus at the town well during the noonday heat. She carried her large pots to fill for her family’s daily water supply when Jesus, parched after a long journey and resting at the well, asked her to dip a drink of water for Him. As they conversed, Jesus explained the gift of Living Water as a flowing, constantly replenished reservoir within Himself, as from a spring or a mountain stream that revives and refreshes life, not stagnant water like that from a cistern (John 4:10-11).

When the Samaritan woman asked Jesus where to procure living water, Jesus answered,

“‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water, welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).

When Jesus spoke of water “welling up,” the phrase indicated vital energy, a robust action like leaping vigorously in response to celebrating an abundant life.

Little did the Samaritan woman suspect she would meet the Source of Living Water through whom those who partake spiritually never thirst again. She couldn’t quite grasp the concept until Jesus compared the pure, satisfying drink of water to the yearnings of the human soul, reversing temporary thirst to that source which produces eternal life. Jesus is that Source. One drop of Jesus’ Living Water on a longing heart improves the parched condition eternally. Once you’ve sipped the pure living water, Jesus explained, the contaminated tap water of life will no longer provide appeal.

In our lifetime, do we find the love of Jesus, His gift of abundant life, and His promise of eternal life as spiritually satisfying as a drink of spring water quenches our physical thirst?

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1). A deer, its hide frothing with sweat from a long, demanding run through the forest, perhaps racing to evade a predator, approaches familiar streams and pants in anticipation of gulps of pure mountain water. As our hearts pant for the healing powers of living waters, we are propelled to the Source—Jesus.

Like the deer of the forest, our faith responds by longing for God’s presence. Jesus is our hope as we enjoy His gift of life to the fullest on this earth and His enduring promise of eternity with Him in heaven. “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).As the deer in crisis, we’ve had periods in our lives when the need for a drink was paramount, when we’ve felt parched, suffering from some level of dehydration. At such times, not only our mouth detects the need for hydration, but our hearts pant for the healing received from Living Water. We are propelled to the only pure Source, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hope in Christ is not a mere wish,
but an unshakeable confidence in
our faithful God.

Those things for which we inwardly and outwardly yearn, those which completely amaze and satisfy, abide in the Source and Person of Living Water, cancelling our need of ever seeking their renewal again, as we gain replenishment, regeneration, reinvigoration. Hope in Christ is not a mere wish, but an unshakeable confidence in our faithful God.

If we thirst for pure drinking water to satisfy our physical thirst, how much more we desire Living Water to fulfill our spiritual lives? Our needs for life are found in Jesus, the giver of all blessings. He is our supreme and sovereign, perfect and pure, unending supply. He is the Bread of Life and the Spring of Living Water to sustain us; the Root of all strength to empower us, with all the gifts of eternal life poured out for man’s redemption. Let us call on God to supply each physical, emotional, and spiritual requirement. His qualities run infinitely deep. There is nothing more pure, more authentic, and immaculate than our Savior. Let us tap into His gifts, which He so willingly offers to us, as He did for the Samaritan woman at the well. Hope is gained when we turn toward God during times of stress and chaos. God delights in intimacy with us.

“Blessed is the man who trusts the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:8).

Unlike the clear, pure water that bubbles perpetually from the natural forest spring, Jesus is our Source of Living Water, able to quench our heart’s thirst permanently. There is no necessity for knowing the secret location or the need to walk a distance to obtain Living Water. Jesus is as close as our heart, urging us to call on Him always.

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Hope is Alive

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Hope is Alive

By Patricia Knight 

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). 

We were watching the final segment of a law enforcement show on TV. The police found the perpetrator of a crime hiding at his mother’s house. As officers were escorting the felon into their squad car, one of them lingered to offer words of hope to his mother for the probability of a shortened jail sentence. She immediately retorted, “hope is useless” and turned away. There was no doubt about the growing bitterness and hate that was seething from deep within her being. At the conclusion of the show, overwhelming disillusionment spontaneously erupted from her heart as the door slammed shut behind her.

Hope is not about what will happen to us or around us. Hope resides in God and in His promises. King David admitted, “In His word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5).

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Hope is not an inaccurately placed belief. It is a personal desire that we expect to have fulfilled. It is a true yearning, an expectation that God will provide for us as He carries out His promises. Misplaced hope is of no value. Only when substantiated by God’s promises can hope have significant meaning in our lives. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

God is able to provide for every aspect of our future. All authority and power rest in Him, a guarantor of our hope. Just as God’s power worked in Christ’s life to accomplish His mission of redemption for all creation, He will also complete His sovereign purpose in each of our lives.

If we attempt to place our hope in ourselves or in anything finite, disappointment will ensue. Unless we place our confidence in God, our expectation for hope is dashed. No one is as worthy of our hope and our reliance on future good like God is. He is the author and embodiment of all hope. With confident expectation we diligently rely upon Him for anticipated results.

Godly hope renews our strength. Giving our hope to God, transferring it from our own inadequate efforts, liberates our meager inner resources. We are more fully equipped to do His work while we depend upon the Lord for all of our strength.

According to the felon’s mother, human hope is offensive. More accurately, true hope inspires and enlightens. God is the source of all hope. Our future rests in Him because   He has a plan for each of us. We can be assured that our life’s blueprint will be constructed just as He designed it for us.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

We are God’s workmanship. Let our hope reside in His design for us, for God doesn’t make mistakes—ever!

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Joseph’s Lullaby

Merry Christmas, Beloved!

After all the busy-ness of this Christmas season, please take some quiet time to enjoy this beautiful song by Mercy Me titled “Joseph’s Lullaby.”

If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

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Apathy Stifles Joy

 

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Apathy Stifles Joy

By Patricia Knight

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
and she {Mary} gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger
because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

Mary and Joseph sought overnight accommodations in Bethlehem, where their ancestors originally lived, the town where they were required to register for the government-decreed census. After an exhausting, three-day walking journey from their hometown of Nazareth, the couple probably found only one inn available. The Bethlehem inn could have simply been a personal dwelling that offered guest beds, still a welcome sight to the weary travelers.

We aren’t aware of the innkeeper’s name.  Though he most certainly observed Mary’s advanced pregnancy, he powerlessly quipped, “no room,” like he had to so many other travelers that day.  The innkeeper wasn’t altogether heartless; he did have the compassion to point the couple to a nearby barn. Early tradition suggests the royal family’s lodging may have been a cave, used as an animal shelter. The innkeeper today is known only as the man who missed Christmas, who participated only by complacency. His personal identity has passed into anonymity.

Consider how the innkeeper could have enriched his life if he had entered into worship—if only he weren’t so involved with everyday details. Down through the centuries the prophecy of a Messiah, promised as the Savior of the Jews, had been communicated to each generation. There was great anticipation and expectation associated with the promise. When the prophecy was finally fulfilled, the innkeeper was caught too absorbed with mundane business dealings to notice the Savior’s birth on his own property; too preoccupied with the ordinary to detect the extraordinary.

How do we react to the celebration of Jesus’ birth?

Are we too entrapped by daily demands to focus on the phenomenal entrance of Wonder into our lives? Are we too overwhelmed by family obligations to ponder the miracle of the Messiah’s birth? Have the demands of the season distracted us from the amazing plans of God to send His only Son into the world, forgiving sins, and securing eternal life for those who believe?  Do we allow the natural to interfere with the supernatural entrance into our lives?

God was aware that the known world at the time of Jesus’ birth would be indifferent to His sovereign, astonishing methods, so He chose to announce His Son’s birth to the shepherds tending their flocks of sheep in the nearby fields, men considered lowly outcasts of society and religious life.  To their limited audience the angels acknowledged the glory and majesty of God by singing praises to Him. The Prince of Peace had been born!  As we grasp the enormous gift of Jesus’ birth, we offer praise for a Savior who lived on earth, who experienced challenges and victories similar to the ones we confront daily, and who knows how to respond to our needs.

“The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:7) concluded God’s early prophecy of His Son’s birth. This year, like the innkeeper, does apathy relegate Jesus to the stable room of our hearts?  Or, do we resolve to emulate the ecstasy and enthusiasm the Father displayed for the sacrificial, extravagant gift of His Son, as the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the World?

You can read more of Pat’s writing here.

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