Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan thoughts: The Women in the Genealogy

In our Bible Reading Plan we come to Matthew 1-2 today. Don’t hate the genealogy. Don’t skip the genealogy. Since we are told that all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work, (2 Timothy 3:16-17), it means that the genealogies are also instructive. Here are a couple of thoughts that came to my mind as I read it.

1. Women are mentioned. In a society so patriarchal as to render the women invisible, the feminists say, here are some women added to the holiest of genealogies, the line of Christ.

2. The particular women mentioned by name. In Matthew 1:3, we read: “Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar” verse 5 has both: “Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab”, verse “Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth”, and verse 6b has “And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah”.

These women are outcasts, as John MacArthur’s commentary calls them. Tamar was a Canaanite daughter-in-law of Judah who dressed as a prostitute to trick Judah for various convoluted Old Testament reasons. As the Commentary concludes her story, “God’s grace fell on all three of these undeserving persons, including a desperate and deceptive Gentile harlot.”

Rahab was a Gentile and a professional prostitute. However, she feared God and protected the spies when they came to Jericho. As a result, God rained down grace by including her in the Messianic line, making her the mother of Boaz, King David’s great-grandfather.

Ruth was also a Gentile. She was a Moabite and a former pagan, who had no legal right to marry an Israelite, but God’s grace swept her into the family of Israel and into the Royal line through Boaz and she became David’s grandmother.

3. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah. Did you catch that? Bathsheba is mentioned, but not named. That jumped out at me.

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and later, Mary are mentioned by name. Not this one. Of course we know she is Bathsheba, who bathed naked on the rooftop under the lascivious eyes of David. Incited, David contrived a way to put Bathsheba’s husband Uriah at the front lines, David committed adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah was killed at the front lines, David took Bathsheba for his wife, and then the son from this illicit union died in infancy. Their second son was Solomon. But God’s grace was sufficient to keep ‘the wife of Uriah’ in the royal line and she became ancestor to the Messiah.

The genealogy of Jesus Christ is immeasurably more than a list of ancient names; it is even more than a list of Jesus’ forebears. It is a beautiful testimony to God’s grace  and to the ministry of His Son, Jesus Christ, the friend of sinners… If He has called sinners by grace to be His forefather,s should we be surprised when He calls them by grace to be his descendants? The King presented here is truly the King of grace! ~John MacArthur

Don’t skip the genealogies. 🙂

generations

 

matthew 1 verse1

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Thirty Days of Jesus

Christmas is coming. It’s a blessed time of year.

We always think of the Savior, all the year, every day. (Philippians 4:8). But the Christmas season is a time when we think more pointedly about His incarnation, life, ascension, and return. Who is this Jesus? He was born, lived, died, rose again, and promised to return, to bring eternal life to those who believe and eternal death to those who reject. He tore the veil of human history, parted it into BC and AD, and changed everything.

My contributions to the faith and fellowship of the saints is tiny, but I do my best with the resources He has given me. One thing I do is I use my photographs of God’s beautiful creation and overlay a verse on them, and post to social media each day. I organize them into weekly themes, for the saints to read and perhaps be encouraged by. Some people email or tell me in real life that they enjoy the scripture photos I put up each day. I’m always surprised by this, but in the end, that’s the point of the endeavor- to keep Jesus and His aroma of life before people, to encourage, stimulate, or convict.

Last week the theme was Hospitality, in deference to Thanksgiving and the gatherings that were sure to be held. I decided instead of a weekly theme this week, that I’d do a monthly theme: Thirty Days of Jesus. Thirty verses, thirty photos that reflect His life and ministry.

The entire Bible is about Jesus of course, and it was very hard to select verses and not feel bad about the ones I was leaving out! I chose three mini-themes for this month’s scripture photos that I believe will flow.

PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE, 15 verses.

In this section I chose verses that reflect the prophecies that predict His coming. Prophecy warns of coming judgment but it also comforts in that it foretells the holy and wonderful resolution of all things for the believer. That resolution will be in Christ and through Christ. Then since it’s Christmas, the beautiful verses that announce His arrival on the blessed morn. The third mini-section are verses that mention Jesus as a child and boy, before He began His ministry.

PREEMINENCE OF THE SON, HIS WORKS & MINISTRY, 10 verses

THE SON, 5 verses

Beginning with verses that declare the Son, I’ll share verses that focus Him as the Second Person of the Trinity. His sonship is integral to His ministry as the subordinate Person to God the Father. These verses reflect that reality.

Christ is preeminent. Always and forever. Let us exult in these verses which proclaim a truth that should enlarge our heart and shake our soul with wonder.

MINISTRY, 10 verses

This section will present verses that detail His attributes while He was on earth; Jesus as servant, teacher, shepherd, healer, and so on.

RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, & RETURN

Christ is unique in that He is the firstfruit of resurrection. He is unique in that He descended from heaven and ascended to heaven. As GotQuestions explains of the John 3:13 verse,

Jesus explains why He is uniquely qualified to teach of the kingdom of God—namely, because He alone came down from heaven and possesses the knowledge to teach people about heaven. Jesus alone has seen the Father, and He alone is qualified to declare God and make Him known.

Jesus was raised to life and brought back to heaven, and several verses in this section will illustrate what He is doing while we wait the long centuries for the fulfillment of the end of all things, His glorious return. The last verses will present Jesus in His glory, as He is.

The flow mirrors the Revelation 1:8 verse, where it is declared,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

This is no great project, to be sure. But I wanted to organize my thoughts ahead of the season and selecting verses that detailed the flow of Jesus’ life seemed a good way to do it. The photos are free for anyone to use and by the end, perhaps someone would like to make a bundle for their own purposes, printed out or digital.

THE PHOTOS

I enjoy using my photographs because an important-to-me aspect of His deity is Creator. Paul constantly exhorted the pagans with sermons and entreaties that distinguished his like-nature with them as man and the holy perfection of the Christ-nature Creator of all things. Paul frequently used creation as a foundation to proclaim Christ’s gospel. I came partway to Christ that way, by viewing the creation and understanding there is a God, and Romans 1 has great meaning for me. I knew there was a God, but I suppressed the truth of Jesus, just as the verse at Romans 1:18-19 says the pagans do.

Now that I’ve received grace, I’m viewing His creation through spiritual eyes and give homage to the Creator. Therefore, I enjoy photographing it with a mind of thanks for all He has made. The photos are the backdrop to this thought.

I wanted to explain a little, so that perhaps someone, somewhere might be encouraged or inspired or begin thinking along these lines too, in fellowship and joy with me throughout the month.

I also plan to allow these scripture photos to be my blog postings for most of the month.

If I write, I write. I enjoy my daily Bible readings and fill legal pads with notes, that in my excitement on learning something new, usually turn into blog essays. But I want to take a slowdown of the season and reflect on Christ without pressure of turning it all into a daily writing, so if you don’t see many essays, that’s why. I’ll decrease the pace this month and await the refreshing of the New Year. In a few weeks it will be 9 years of daily blogging. I attribute that longevity to the Holy Spirit for His illumination of biblical truths to my mind and curating in my heart the zeal I have for Christ. Lord, don’t let me stray! Writing helps me stay the course. I always want to use lots of scripture, keep things Christ-centric, and exhort with kindness wrapped in truth.

Both the illumination and the zeal are precious to me, and I dearly want to continue them both for as long as the Spirit wants me to continue this aspect of a writing ministry and not burn out. The Bible says to fulfill our ministry, and persevere over the long haul. If I die or I am raptured tomorrow, or in ten more years, I want to be found still exhorting Christ with zeal and truth.

Let’s enjoy the season. I pray that it does not become a hectic, shopping slog, frantic with focus on gifts and cleaning houses and to-do lists, though given family obligations and work colleague expectations, some of that is always inevitable. But don’t let it encroach more than it has to. Jesus is the reason for this season. If you’re a believer, this season is a gateway to a new year filled with many reasons each day to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (Psalm 86:9)

Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21).

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

or you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20).

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11).

morning glory imprint radiance verse

Posted in 2012 prophecy, prophecy, Uncategorized

Woe and Lamentation!

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. (Psalm 16:10)

Therefore he says also in another psalm,
‘”You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. (Acts 13:35-37).

O! It is grievous to think of our precious Lord being nailed to the cross as He was on ‘Good’ Friday. It IS a Good Friday because His life, death, and resurrection makes it possible for sins to be forgiven once and for all. Jesus’ work on the cross made permanent reconciliation with His called ones possible. It was effectual and final.

But oh! To think of his broken body being carefully lowered from the cross, quickly prepared for burial, and laid in a dark tomb…. it wounds the conscience. It darkens the heart. It grieves the flesh. Death is final, the body no more thriving with movement and color. Only limp, pale, dead tissue- a lump of nothing that came from dust and will turn to dust.

And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. (Mark 15:46).

But no! Not Christ’s body! He will not see decay. However, the grief and suffering of His disciples who did not know that at the time, is woeful to consider.

Giotto painted the lamentation over Christ’s death in the early 1300s. Grief is palpable to the viewer. The dead tree on the hillside symbolizing the tree in the garden where Adam and Eve made their fatal choice…the three women surrounding his limp body, likely Mary Magdalene gently cradling His feet and the mother Mary holding His head, the angels who long to look into these thing also shown affected by the death and burial of Christ, their God whom they had known since their own creation created in eons past.

Titian also depicted the entombment of Christ, painting the more intimate scene below in 1520. The major figures are at Christ’s death, including Mary, John, Nicodemus, Peter, and Joseph of Arimathea, displaying more restraint that Giotto’s depiction, still carefully remove the body and prepare Him for entombement. The twilight timing allowed Titian’s usual use of darkened tones to add depth to the lamentation. Christ’s upper body itself is receding into the darkness, foreshadowing the tomb. What strength they had to carry Him without staggering under unimaginable grief, and place Him behind the rock!

Bela Čikoš Sesija’s Mourning of Christ is an even more intimate portrait. Painted sometime in the late 1800s, this Croatian painter shows the undeniably lifeless Christ in shadow, but His white robe, symbolizing purity and sinlessness is highlighted by a heavenly glow, along with the crown of thorns, symbolizing His suffering. The grief of the two women is also palpable, as is their resignation to the finality of death.

Praise God, Sunday is coming! What joy they will know in one more day’s time! For all eternity, death is conquered, swallowed by His suffering and propitiation for sin, absorbing the wrath for His chosen sinners once for all. Hallelujah!

Posted in poetry, Uncategorized

Kay Cude poetry: Keep Christ central in the midst of trials

Kay Cude poetry. Used with permission. Click to enlarge

Artist’s statement:

The beginnings of a trial can be tumultuous and heart-wrenching, as well as physically and emotionally exhausting. But as we seek Scriptural guidance and encouragement from fellow believers, we quickly see that all of our communication and advice must center upon Christ and our personal relationship with Him. It is when one relies upon “other” solutions (or self), that one quickly experiences the futility of our “natural” reasoning and responses. When our trials exclude Christ as the resource of resolution, fleshly reactions will lead us into deeper distress with greater turmoil; an impasse can arise and anger, hurt feelings, confusion and chaos usually pursue.

I don’t like painful trials; I don’t know anyone who does. Yet I am so very grateful that Christ captures my attention during those times and makes it abundantly clear that He is the only source who can truly sustain, teach, discipline and encourage me while He refines and strengthens me, in and for Him. It is Christ who must always be the primary topic during our trials, because without the working of His indwelling spirit, our words and actions become futile.