Nuggets – The gardens of the Lord

The Gardens of the Lord
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.” (John 18:1)

As Jesus, after the last supper with His disciples, walked out with them, they soon crossed over a small brook and entered the little garden called Gethsemane. Eventually, He left the disciples and went farther into the garden alone for a time of solitary prayer.

Perhaps He remembered how, long ago, He had walked in His first garden with Adam and Eve in beautiful fellowship. But then they had rebelled against His Word and had to be expelled from the Garden of Eden, leaving Him alone there also (Genesis 3:8).

As He prayed in Gethsemane, He knew that it would be only a few hours before He would be buried in still another garden, one “wherein was never man yet laid” (John 19:41). He would be carried to a new tomb prepared in a newly planted garden by the loving hands of Joseph and Nicodemus, but then He would be alone once again.

He had walked alone in the first garden, seeking His own; then had knelt alone in the second garden, praying for His own; and finally was buried alone in the third garden, after dying for His own.

But because He came “to seek and to save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10), and because He now “ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25) after paying the awful price of “redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7), all those who believe and trust Him will spend eternity in fellowship with Him in a beautiful garden city. Here flows “a pure river of water of life” surrounded on both sides by “the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month” (Revelation 22:1-2), and all will be “very good” forever. HMM
From the Institute for Creation Research

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All God’s people – Ode to joy

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What do you see when . . .

. . .you look at a boy on the playground with no arms or legs? Do you see a cripple? Do you see a kid without a prayer for ever playing baseball? A loner with no friends? A target for bullies? A kid to make fun of?

What did Jesus see when he looked at Mary and Martha’s dead brother in a tomb?  What did Jesus see when he saw a boy with five loaves and two fish? What did Jesus see when he stooped to talk with a guilt-plagued adulterous woman at a well?

When Jesus looked at Lazarus, lying dead in a tomb, Jesus saw the glory God would receive when Jesus brought him back to life. Jesus saw one of the most miraculous events in all of the Bible.

When Jesus saw a boy with five loaves and two fish, He saw 5,000 men and their families full and satisfied, grateful for their provision.

When Jesus stooped to talk with a sinful, adulterous woman at a well, he saw the hundreds of  folks who would believe on the name of Jesus after hearing the woman’s testimony.

Jesus doesn’t see the now. Jesus doesn’t look at circumstances. Jesus sees what will be in the unseen spiritual realm of our eternal home.

Do we often look at people and see them as they are? How they look? How they act? What they wear? What they say? How they treat people?

Or do we look at people through God’s perspective and with God’s unconditional love?life without limbs

By the way, that boy on the playground with no arms or legs became a successful, nationally known motivational speaker and Christian evangelist. Nick Vujicic started his own company. He is happily married with two children. He has written a best-selling book, Life Without Limits. Visit Nick’s website Life Without Limits  to learn more about this amazing man and he looked past his circumstances and saw the man he knew he could become.

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Nuggets – The family of a disciple

The Family of a Disciple
“Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Luke 18:28-30)

Unfortunately, this and parallel passages have been wrongly used all too often to justify the abandonment of responsibilities to family in the name of following Christ.

But Christ is not here advocating repudiation of family. Instead, He insists that our allegiance be to Him and to His will. Nothing must be allowed to usurp His rightful position of supremacy in our lives. While it is true that for some a life unencumbered by family duties may result in more efficient ministry (1 Corinthians 7:1-9, 25-38), family relationships and responsibilities are of great importance to Him (vv. 10-24; see also many other passages).

Consider the case of Elisha. God had instructed Elijah to train Elisha to take his place as prophet (1 Kings 19:16). Finding Elisha plowing in his father’s field (i.e., family duties) with 12 yoke of oxen, “Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him” (v. 19).

Elisha knew immediately that he was facing a dramatic change in his life. He did not refuse, argue with, or try to alter the call, but he did recognize a responsibility to his parents. “Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee” (v. 20). Elijah agreed. To solidify his determination to leave, Elisha immediately sacrificed a pair of oxen, using as fuel the plowing instruments he had been using. He was, in effect, making a clean break with his former life, yet honoring and respecting his parents. “Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him” (v. 21). JDM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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All God’s people – Holy holy holy

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Nuggets – Secret faults vs presumptuous sins

Secret Faults vs. Presumptuous Sins
“Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (Psalm 19:12-13)

David, the author of this majestic psalm of praise to God for His revelation of Himself and His nature to man, voices his own frustration at his inability to mold his life totally in accordance with God’s revealed plan. He recognizes and asks for God’s forgiveness for his failure to measure up, and asks for strength to avoid habitual sin patterns and willful rejection of God’s way.

God had already made a careful distinction between these types of sins. “The priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. . . . But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously . . . the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:28, 30-31).

Paul also recognized such a difference. Keep in mind that all sin is abhorrent to God and must be repented of, resulting, of course, in His forgiveness. But Paul claimed that even his blasphemous, murderous persecution of the church was done “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13). His plea of ignorance did not excuse his guilt, but through it he “obtained mercy” (v. 13) and “grace” (v. 14).

This is a “pattern to [us] which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (v. 16). Let us not be guilty of willful, presumptuous sin, but on these occasions when we do fall, we can be thankful that our “longsuffering” (v. 16) Savior still affords us such mercy. JDM
From the Institute for Creation Research

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All God’s people – To God be the glory

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The “good Christian” myth

There’s no such thing as a “good” Christian

Lots of folks who want to improve their lives (e.g. to be accepted by God, to get closer to God, to be loved more by God,  to gain God’s favor and blessing) try real hard to be a good Christian. The operative word here is “try“.

But “good” Christians don’t exist.

The moment we “try” to improve our lot as a “Christian” we take the focus off God and place it squarely on our self effort.

In God’s Kingdom what we do on our own doesn’t count for anything.  The only thing that counts in God’s Kingdom is surrender to Christ’s life in us. Christ wants to live His life (not ours) in us, through us, and as us to bring Glory to God. Period.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remains in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

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Nuggets – The redeemed of the Lord

The Redeemed of the Lord
“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” (Psalm 107:2)

This hymn of praise for God’s providence centers around four examples of God’s deliverance from particular problems. The four situations are as follows: Lost travelers who are out of provisions far from a city (vv. 4-5), prisoners imprisoned for their own rebelliousness (vv. 1-12), those who have been brought to physical illness due to their sin (vv. 17-18), and sailors who face shipwreck on stormy seas (vv. 23-27). In each case, the individuals prayed for deliverance that resulted in God’s miraculous rescue and a response of praise.

This cycle reminds us of the pattern during the time of the Judges when “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Due to their rebelliousness, God brought the people of Israel into captivity over and over again. Each time, in the midst of their oppression, they cried unto the Lord, who raised up a judge and empowered him to vanquish the enemy and free the people.

The exact same pattern can be found in Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple. He recognized man’s tendency to rebel and forget the Lord’s provision when things are going well, thus eliciting God’s judgment. But God has always used times of trouble to bring men and women back to Himself. He is a God of grace and mercy and love, desiring to forgive and restore those who repent and call to Him for deliverance (2 Kings 8).

The same truth applies today. We still tend to rebel, and He remains long-suffering, willing to forgive and restore upon repentance. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). JDM
From the Institute for Creation Research

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LB 90…”Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior”

Be blessed by this old hymn. Praise Jesus that He doesn’t pass His people by!

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