Posted on June 28, 2021
God’s design for humanity was never to exist and suffer under the curse of sin, separated from Him. We are made in His image, and He desires a relationship with us, His children. His plan was always to rescue and redeem us through His Son, who was there with Him at the beginning. Christ came to earth to seek and to save the lost. He conquered death by carrying out the will of His Father. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We come to the Father through Christ, by the sound of His Voice.
“Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.” (John 10:22-23)
Jesus taught about his status as the Good Shepherd during the Festival of Dedication, known today as Hanukkah, typically celebrated in November and December (NIV Study Bible). The festival was a commemoration of Jewish deliverance. Many surrounded Jesus at this time looking for Him to definitively claim his Messiahship, ready to claim blasphemy. Jesus turned their attention to his sheep, and the Good Shepherd who protects them. Matthew Henryexplained in his commentary of the Bible, “He described the gracious disposition and happy state of his sheep; they heard and believed his word, followed him as his faithful disciples, and non of them should parish; for the Son and the Father were one.” Jesus came to earth, fully God and fully man, to achieve the will of the Father in heaven. All things and everyone lie under the sovereign reign of God.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Joaquin Corbalan
Posted on May 31, 2021
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
The Book of Philippians began as a thank you note for the gift the church at Philippi had sent Paul when hearing of his arrest. Paul was no stranger to pain and dire straits. His letters to the churches he helped establish were meant to bring hope, encouragement, and instruction. He wrote to them to clarify things the early Christian churches were confused about, and to help them remember they were moving away from the legalistic religious structure of the past to embrace the hope of Jesus Christ, which no one could ever earn or be deemed worthy of.
Paul himself tortured early Christians before he became a Christ follower. To be washed in grace and forgiveness changed the countenance of his heart. He wrote this letter to the Philippians on what we would call a modern-day house arrest. He was imprisoned, but at a home in which he was allowed to preach the gospel to all those who came to him, explains the NIV Study Bible.
“The peace of God is the opposite of anxiety. It is the tranquility that comes when believers commit all their cares to God in prayer and worry about them no more,” explains the NIV Study Bible Fully Revised Edition. Paul knew this peace. As he wrote to the Philippians, Paul’s genuine hope and peace in Christ is evident, despite his past as a persecutor of the church, the thorn he speaks of living with, and his present suffering. It’s a prayer we can blanket our lives with today when we need to cling to the peace of Christ:
Posted on May 10, 2021
The Sermon on the Mount, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, includes some of the most well-known teachings of Jesus. Christ Jesus didn’t come to replace Jewish law, but to fulfill it. Our Savior spoke in a way all could understand, but in this sermon, He pulled His disciples closer. Every word was intentional, and full of wisdom to live by, not just rules to religiously follow.
Jonathan Pennington wrote for The Gospel Coalition that “Jesus’s message in the sermon is that God is our Father who sees and cares about the heart, not just external righteous deeds and religion.”
Posted on April 5, 2021
“Be joyful always…” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
The difference between joy and happiness is substantial. We often assume that the fleeting feeling of happiness, giddy laughter and contentment in the comforts of life is akin to the joy we experience in Jesus. But joy supernaturally sustains our souls in seasons of heartache, injustice, and sorrow. Enduring the valleys of life is nearly impossible without the life-giving fuel of joy in Christ.
There is a big difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a reaction to something great. Joy is the product of someone great. Let us never forget the difference, nor fail to enjoy both happiness and joy fully on this earth. Jesus died to erase guilt and shame. Every day we come to Him for grace, and He is faithful to give us grace upon grace upon grace. When we are quick to confess and forgive, we can move forward in the freedom of a repentant life in Christ.
Posted on April 2, 2021
Matthew, Mark, and Luke documented the tearing of the veil in the temple after Jesus’ death on the cross.
The Apostle Matthew left a historical trail of Jesus’ death by recording the events that immediately followed. John, perhaps tied in knots of emotion as he remained at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ mother as He died, can only move on after mention of His Savior’s last earthly breath before the crucifixion.