Just Like Dad

You are just like your father!”

These are six powerful words. Have you ever spoken them? Have you ever heard these words spoken to you? They can create either positive or negative feelings. Since we will be honoring fathers this coming Sunday, let’s think about the potential meanings of this proclamation.

You are just like your father!”

These words may refer to a likeness in physical appearance or emotional temperament or spiritual beliefs. If there is a good father-child relationship, this phrase can be received as a compliment. The father may be fulfilling Proverbs 22:6 NKJV, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.A father’s positive influence is invaluable.

The same words have painful potential if the father and child do not have a good rapport. A dad’s behavior by words and actions greatly influences his children. Colossians 3:17 is a good reminder for all fathers, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

You are just like your father!”

This statement may be one of the best compliments anyone can receive! Genesis 1:27 tells us, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.This gives everyone the privilege of being just like their father – their Heavenly Father of whom they can be proud. I John 4:8 says, “God is love.” Love is the nature of our Heavenly Father. We have the potential to love if we are like our Father. I John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.Fathers love children and children love fathers.

Jesus sets a good example of a loving father in Mark 10:13-16. In verse 14, Jesus says, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.And in verse 16 “He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

Fathers, you have the potential and the privilege of being just like your Heavenly Father. However, this trait is not something to be taken lightly. Galatians 6:7 warns, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Unless an earthly father is a positive role model for his children, he will not be known as being just like his Heavenly Father.

Fathers, you have the best role model for fulfilling your responsibilities of being a dandy dad. Be “just like your Heavenly Father” so your children will be honored to hear the phrase “you are just like your father” spoken to them.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads!

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A Golden Gift for Our King

Gold, frankincense and myrrh. These precious prophetic gifts were presented by the Magi to Jesus as a young lad. They were not gifts for Jesus to play with. They were gifts foretelling roles He would fulfill.

Today we give our attention to gold.

The Magi had been following a star for approximately two years trying to find the newborn king of the Jews. Throughout their journey, they carried these costly gifts. Joseph may have later sold the gold to pay for their trip to Egypt.

Gold represented Jesus as king. The gift of gold was symbolic of Jesus’ divinity. He was God in the flesh. Son of God and son of man.

Gold was a valuable commodity. It was a precious metal. Gold represented riches and royalty. However, Jesus’ royalty differed from what people expected.

Let’s see how and when Jesus was considered a king.

Throughout their journey, the Magi were looking for a king. They asked in Matthew 2:2, Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” I doubt that they expected to find their king in a little home in Bethlehem. The house certainly was not a royal palace.

This past Sunday we observed Palm Sunday – the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. John 12:12-15 says, “The next day the great crowd that had come to the Feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!’ Jesus, found a young donkey, sat on it, as it is written, ‘Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.’The people referred to Jesus as king. But, did they really understand His kingly role?

Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king. Their conversation included the following words from John 19:36-37. “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ ‘You are a king then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.’” Although both Jesus and Herod talked about a king, they had different understandings of the word. Jesus was a messianic king while Herod was referring to a political king.

John 19:2-3 says, “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’” Jesus was not crowned with a kingly crown. He was mocked as a king while He walked the road to Golgotha.

Jesus hung on the cross. John 19:19 says, “Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.Jesus did not fit the Jews’ ideas of their coming king. They rejected Him.

Fast forward to our present day. We are now waiting for Jesus’ return. Selections from Revelation 19:11-13,16 describe Jesus as our coming king. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, . . . on His head are many diadems; . . . He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” When Jesus comes again, He will be riding a horse, not a donkey. He will be wearing a royal diadem, not a crown of thorns. His robe will declare Him to be King of kings and Lord of lords rather than a hand written note saying King of the Jews.

Let’s see how gold applies to us.

Jesus tells us in Luke 17:20, “The coming of the kingdom of God is within you.” Can we comprehend that God’s kingdom is in us?

In II Timothy 4:8, Paul talks about a crown of righteousness that we will be given. James 1:12 tells of the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. I Peter 5:4 says we will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

These are three wonderful crowns awaiting us, but they are not golden crowns placed upon our heads. These are crowns that will not tarnish or perish. They are heavenly rewards that God promises those who are faithful.

What are we to do with our crowns? The elders give us our answer in Revelation 4:10-11, “the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.’Let us express our gratitude to the Lord and worship Him by laying at His feet any honors or possessions we acquire. It is all about Him!

Remember gold, frankincense and myrrh as you celebrate Resurrection Sunday in just a few days.

I conclude with the words of All Hail King Jesus by Jeremy Riddle. Sing with me if you know the melody.

There was a moment when the lights went out
When death had claimed its victory
The King of Love had given up His life
The darkest day in history
There on a cross they made for sinners
For every curse His blood atoned
One final breath and it was finished
But not the end we could have known

For the earth began to shake
And the veil was torn
What sacrifice was made
As the heavens roared

All hail King Jesus
All hail the Lord of Heaven and earth
All hail King Jesus
All hail the Savior of the world

There was a moment when the sky lit up
A flash of light breaking through
When all was lost He crossed eternity
The King of life was on the move

For in a dark cold tomb
Where our Lord was laid
One miraculous breath
And we’re forever changed

All hail, King Jesus
All hail the Lord of heaven and earth
All hail, King Jesus
All hail the Savior of the world
All hail, King Jesus
All hail the Lord of heaven and earth
All hail, King Jesus
All hail the Savior of the world





A Gift for Our Savior

Gold, frankincense and myrrh. This is the second week we are looking at these valuable gifts presented to Jesus by the Magi. Each gift portrayed a purpose and position the little boy Jesus would grow to fulfill.

Today, we will look at the message of myrrh.

Like frankincense, myrrh is a natural gum or resin extracted from a small, thorny tree. A myrrh seed is bitter. When broken, the seed emits a sweet fragrance. Myrrh has been used as an embalming spice. When mixed with wine, it can be consumed as a drink. It symbolizes bitterness, brokenness, suffering and affliction.

Myrrh prophetically pointed to Jesus as the Savior of the world. Myrrh was an expensive gift for the Magi to purchase. However, it signified something even more costly – our salvation. It cost Jesus His life.

Jesus referred to brokenness when informing His disciples what He would face after the Passover meal. He used broken bread as a symbol.

Jesus reclined at the table with His apostles. And He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering’. . . . And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.’(taken from Luke 22:14-20)

Then came the reality. When Jesus was flogged and beaten, His skin was torn. When the thorny crown was pressed upon His head, the prickly points penetrated His skin. While He hung upon the cross, blood flowed from His hands and feet that were pierced by nails.

Paul echoss Jesus’ words of brokenness in I Corinthians 11:23-25 and adds in verse 26, For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” We are reminded of Jesus’ brokenness every time we hear these words spoken when partaking of the sacrament of communion.

The Seven Last Words are phrases Jesus spoke from the cross. Two of these phrases are applicable to myrrh and brokenness.

John 19:28-29 records, “. . . Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ . . . so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.” Myrrh was an ingredient of this drink.

Matthew 27:46 says, “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” This verse reveals the broken relationship between Jesus and His Heavenly Father. God the Father, perfect and holy, could not look upon His Son who carried the sins of the world as He died upon the cross.

Jesus, who was holy, became broken so that we, who are broken, can be made whole. Romans 5:10 says, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Now let’s see how myrrh applies to us today.

Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.Although Christ was broken through crucifixion for us. there is still an aspect of crucifixion we must encounter. We must be broken, or separated from, our old nature to become new creations in Christ. We must be willing to crucify, or break away from, our fleshly desires. Embracing Christ as our Savior requires us to be broken from our past.

The breaking process may seem bitter but the result will be a beautiful fragrance. We will become the aroma of Christ. (II Corinthians 2:15) We embody both the bitterness and the sweetness of myrrh.

Hear the message of myrrh. Jesus tasted the bitterness and experienced its brokenness. Now the sweetness of salvation is available to us.

Up and Down

It all began when I wanted to ask my husband a question. He was in the basement, so I went downstairs. When coming back up, I paused. I asked God, “Do You have something to show me about steps and stairs today?”

When I reached the top of the stairs, I went to my desk. With my Bible beside me and my fingers on the computer keys, I was ready for a search. The following is what the Lord showed me.

Jacob’s ladder was the first Bible story that came to my mind. Stairs and ladders are similar.

Genesis 28:10-22 records Jacob’s dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder between earth and heaven. In this dream, God talked with Jacob. When he awoke, Jacob said in verse 16, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.God in heaven communicated with Jacob on earth. Finally in verse 17, Jacob described this place as the gate of heaven. Halley’s Bible Handbook points out that the ladder was a hint of the Promises of God that would culminate in a bridge between heaven and earth.

Jesus says in John 1:51, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man. Jesus is referring back to Jacob’s dream while also revealing the purpose of His leaving heaven and coming to earth. The BibleRef commentary says that Jesus was giving His disciples a tiny preview of the miracles to come. He was making a subtle reference to the reason for His ministry: to be the connection between men and God.

Jacob described angels ascending and descending. Jesus talked about them too. What does God want to show me about angels and stairs? Are angels ascending and descending for us today?

Leslie White makes some good comments on the website beliefnet. Leslie writes,Though we may not see them or know they are there, angels are watching over us, transporting blessings into our lives, protecting us from danger and helping us to glorify God better. . . .  Angels are fascinating spiritual beings. . . . When we get to heaven, we’ll probably be amazed to discover just how often God’s angels protected us or intervened on our behalf. Whether you realize it or not, angels are watching over you at this very moment. What a wonderful creator God is.” Leslie validates her remarks with numerous scriptures. I will include a few.

See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” – Exodus 23:20

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” – Hebrews 1:14

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone.”Psalm 91:11-12

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2

I went downstairs to ask my husband a question. I did not want to just shout to him. I wanted to be near him so we could talk. We were able to hear each other better when we were in each other’s presence.

I believe the message God wants to relay to me is that He wants to be with us. He wants to communicate with us. He desires to be active in our daily lives. God relates to us in various ways. He speaks through His Word. The Holy Spirit lives within us and is our Helper. God may give us dreams and visions. And, He sends His angels as messengers and warriors. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

God took the opportunity to show me His symbolic spiritual stairway while I was descending and ascending our basement stairs. I am glad God spoke to me in picturesque ways that I could understand. Like Jacob, I declare, “surely the presence of the Lord was in this place.”

Turn on the Light

You are the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14

Last week I shared about being salt. This week, I am thinking about being light. Through both images, Jesus is speaking about being a witness.

The very first verse of the Bible states that there was darkness over the face of the deep before God created the heavens and the earth. God’s first words recorded in Genesis 1:2 are, “Let there be light and there was light.” This verse describes physical light replacing physical darkness. However, as a witness, I am thinking about spiritual light overcoming spiritual darkness.

Jesus says in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” Then Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world. How can I connect these verses of Matthew and John? I am reminded of Genesis 1:27, “God created mankind in His own image.So, if Jesus is light and I am made in His image, then, I guess I can also be light. However, I like to make a distinction by thinking of Jesus as the light of the world while I am a light of the world. I am like the moon that reflects the light of the sun. The moon has no light of its own. It reflects the light of the sun. I shine forth light, but my light is a reflection of the light of God’s Son.

When Jesus says that He is the light of the world in John 8:12, He goes on to say,Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.Jesus is explaining that He is the source of spiritual light that overcomes spiritual darkness. He declares in John 12:46, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should remain in darkness.

Ephesians 5:8 NLT says, For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light.’” I was not always light. I once knew what it was like to be in darkness without the light of understanding. I became light when I accepted Jesus, the Light, as my savior. Now it is my responsibility to be a light to those who are still in darkness.

Matthew 5:15 says I must not hide my light but let it shine. Matthew 5:16 emphasizes, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” My light is not to shine on me. My responsibility is to light the way for others to come to see Christ. I desire for God to be glorified – not me.

How can I be the light I am called to be? The natural realm helps me understand the supernatural realm. A lamp setting on a table will not emit light in a dark room if its cord is not plugged into a source of electricity. If I am to be a light to the darkened world, I must be connected to Jesus, the light of the world. The Holy Spirit is my spiritual cord. He is my connection. He is my helper. John 14:26 NASB says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Jesus says in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

John 1:4-5 says of Jesus, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Light overcomes darkness rather than darkness extinguishing light. Light is more powerful. It exposes the deceptions of darkness and illuminates the brilliance of truth. Proverbs 14:25 says, “A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful. As a witness, I am a light sharing God’s Word of truth with those who have not yet been enlightened by Jesus. Sharing scripture is one way of witnessing. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your (God’s) word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

Paul warns in Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.(my emphasis) Choices I make affect how effectively and brightly my light shines to those in darkness. My actions are as much a part of my witness as are my words. I must be careful or my light will be very dim.

I Peter 2:9 NKJV declares, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. The Lord has called me into the light and now I am to go back into the darkness to proclaim the marvelous light of Jesus Christ. I have a testimony to share. God says in Isaiah 43:10, “You are My witnesses.” It is a privilege to be light for Him!

My Reader, are you a light?  Think about it every time you turn on a light.

Lion and Lamb

There is an old proverb about March that says, “In like a lion and out like a lamb.” As a child, I would always watch the weather on March 1. Was it like a lion? Was it like a lamb? I have also heard that if March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion. Not much truth in this saying other than March weather can be a volatile. Spring arrives in the middle of the month but plenty of winter still hangs around – especially in the northeast where we live. March is a month with ferocious lion-like winter days as well as milder lamb-like spring days. 

Lions and lambs. Two very different animals. Both terms are used for Jesus Christ. He is the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb who was slain.

Lions are fierce animals that symbolize power. A lion roaming its territory creates a sense of majesty. A lion is known as the king of the beasts. What a powerful prophetic picture of Jesus!

In Genesis 49:9-10, Jacob blessed his son, Judah, saying, You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness – who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.The tribe of Judah became known as the kingly tribe.

I find it interesting that Judah was referred to as a lion’s cub. Was it significant that he was a cub while Jesus later became the Lion of Judah?

Lambs were often the sacrificial animals throughout the Old Testament. They were symbolic of Jesus who would become the sacrifice of all sacrifices. Hebrews 10:14 states, “For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

In Genesis 22, God provided the lamb for the burnt offering so Abraham did not have to offer the sacrifice of his son Isaac. The account of the first Passover is recorded in Exodus 12. The sacrificed lamb provided protection for the Israelites.

John the Baptist described Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” in John 1:29. Three years later, Jesus fulfilled the role as the Lamb of God when He died upon the cross for our redemption.

In the last book of the Bible, Jesus is described as both the Lion and the Lamb. John says in Revelation 5:5-6, “and one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw a Lamb, looking, as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by four lining creatures and the elders.

While Jesus is described as both a lion and a lamb, each animal reveals a different aspect of His character. We see Him as the conquering King who will slay the enemies of God when He returns. And, we see Him as the sacrificial Lamb who took away the sin from His people so they can share in His ultimate victory.

In one of his sermons, Augustine emphasized that the lion stands for Christ resurrected and the lamb for His sacrifice. His words are “He endured death as a lamb; he devoured it as a lion.”

I like the song The Lion and the Lamb. Partial lyrics are as follows:

Who can stop the Lord Almighty?
Our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before You
Our God is the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain
For the sin of the world, His blood breaks the chains
And every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb
Oh every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb
So open up the gates, make way before the King of kings
Our God who calls the saved is here to set the captives free

Lions and lambs create an interesting topic whether we are talking about weather or Jesus Christ. According to the calendar, we know March 1st is coming in a couple of days. Then we will find out whether the weather is like a lion or a lamb for 2019. We do not know when Jesus will return. However, the Lamb of God promises in Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I am coming soon!

WHAT IS IT?

If I make something new for dinner, my husband may suspiciously ask, “What is it?” Although he is not a picky eater, he says he will not eat anything he cannot identify. I wonder if this is how the Israelites felt when they first saw manna on the ground. Did they want to eat something they could not identify?

God had led the Israelites out of Egypt and they were on a 40 year journey to the Promised Land. Their stomachs were growling and their spirits were grumbling. God heard. God responded graciously. The Lord said to Moses in Exodus 16:4 I will rain down bread from heaven for you.”

In the morning, the ground was covered with a variety of Frosted Flakes. Exodus 16:14-15 says, “Thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, ‘What is it?’ Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.’” Exodus 16:31 tells us, “The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.”

Manna” comes from the Hebrew word that sounds like “What is it?” To answer this question, we can say that manna was both physical and spiritual food for the Israelites. It was a type of bread that satisfied their physical hunger. However, it also had a spiritual purpose. The Lord concludes Exodus 16:4 saying, “In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow My instructions.” God gave specific instructions how they were to gather this bread. Whether or not they would obey His instructions would reveal their commitment to Him. Deuteronomy 8:3, “He humbled you (the Israelites), causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Jesus makes a transition from the Old Testament bread of heaven to the New Testament bread of heaven. Jesus says in John 6:32-33, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” In John 6:35, Jesus declares, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”

In the Old Testament, manna was bread sent from heaven to save the Israelites from dying of starvation. They gathered fresh manna each day. Only on the sixth day could they prepare and keep it for the sabbath. In the New Testament, the Bread of Life(Jesus) was sent from heaven to save our souls from dying; we received salvation. We accept Him as our personal savior once and receive the gift of eternal life.

Bread is a basic dietary item – a staple for physical life. The Bread of Life is our spiritual sustenance – our assurance of eternal life. John 6:27 says, Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.

Manna was a prophetic shadow of Jesus. The Israelites asked, “What is it?” They were told manna was bread from heaven. Fast forward almost 1300 years. While Jesus was sharing His last Passover meal with the disciples, He gave a new meaning to bread. Jesus broke bread into pieces and told His disciples to eat it. I wonder if they asked, “What is it?” Jesus gave His answer in Luke 22:10,This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Today, “What is it?” is answered for us each time we take part in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and partake of the bread.

Before concluding, I would like to expand our question. “What is it you need?” Like manna, God’s mercies are new every morning. (see Lamentations 3:23) God provides fresh mercy every day. We are not stuck with stale bread or stale promises. May we pray as Jesus taught in Matthew 6:11, “Give us today our daily bread.” We need both the physical and spiritual bread the Lord provides. Taking some liberties, I translate Psalm 34:8 to say, “Taste and see that the Bread of Life is good.” Again I quote John 6:35 where Jesus promises, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” As the Bread of Life, the Lord will supply all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)