Adventures through the Holy Bible

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God Knows…When I Want Something Better – Part 1

Our world has beautiful places and beautiful people. But not all is beautiful. We get hurt. We get frustrated. We get tired. We get worried. But there’s good news. God has something better in mind.

Over fifty years had passed since Jesus returned to heaven. John was now the only one of the twelve disciples of Jesus still living. Finally John was called to Rome to be tried for his faith, as Paul had been. But nothing Emperor Domitian said or did could sway John from his faith in Jesus. “Take John to the prisoners’ island of Patmos,” he finally commanded. The barren volcanic island in the Aegean Sea was about 16 km long and 10 km wide. John’s enemies thought his influence would end with this banishment. But it didn’t.

What John Saw

One day when John was thinking about Jesus, he heard a trumpet-like voice behind him. John looked around. To his joy, he saw the Lord Jesus. Jesus said, “Write in a book the things you see and send it to the churches.” Then Jesus gave John seven pieces of advice and seven promises for the churches (the number seven stands for completeness). The promises are offered to anyone who heeds the advice. Here are some of the promises:

“To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Adam and Even were allowed to eat of the Tree of Life until they disobeyed and ate from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But someday those who overcome in the battle against sin will be able to enjoy the Tree of Life again.

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” The golden crown of joy and victory is offered to the winners in the battle of life.

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” White clothing stands for purity, the righteousness of Christ. Anyone who accepts Jesus’ offer of forgiveness is counted as though he hadn’t sinned.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock;” said Jesus. “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” You and I choose whether to open our hearts to Christ. If we do, we will enjoy a real friendship and an ever-growing discovery of truth and love.

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WOW – The Big Picture 4/17

April 17

David’s Last Words and Acts
2 Samuel 23; Psalms 45:1-2; Proverbs 12:16
Now these are the last words of David.
Thus says David the son of Jesse;
Thus says the man raised up on high,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel:
“The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me,
And His word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me:
‘He who rules over men must be just,
Ruling in the fear of God.
And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, A morning without clouds,
Like the tender grass springing out of the earth,
By clear shining after rain.’
“Although my house is not so with God,
Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant,
Ordered in all things and secure.
For this is all my salvation and all my desire;
Will He not make it increase?
But the sons of rebellion shall all be as thorns thrust away, Because they cannot be taken with hands.
But the man who touches them
Must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear,
And they shall be utterly burned with fire in their place.” Again the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”
So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people.”
And Joab said to the king, “Now may the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?” Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army. Therefore Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel.
And they crossed over the Jordan and camped in Aroer, on the right side of the town which is in the midst of the ravine of Gad, and toward Jazer. Then they came to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim Hodshi; they came to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon; and they came to the stronghold of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Then they went out to South Judah as far as Beersheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king. And there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men who drew the sword, and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.
And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”
Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”‘” So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”
And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Then David spoke to the LORD when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”
And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the LORD commanded. Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.”
And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. 2 Samuel 23:1-7; 24:1-25
WORSHIP
My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
WISDOM
A fool’s wrath is known at once,
But a prudent man covers shame.

The Sign on Christ’s Cross – UpWords – April 17

The Sign on Christ’s Cross
by Max Lucado 

John 19:19 says, “Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross: ‘Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews.'”

Why is a sign placed over the head of Jesus? Could it be that this piece of wood is a picture of God’s devotion? A symbol of his passion to tell the world about his Son? Pilate intended the sign to threaten and mock the Jews. But God had another purpose. Every passerby could read the sign, for every passerby could read Hebrew, Latin or Greek. In the language of culture, Christ was declared King in them all. There’s no language he will not speak. Which leads us to the delightful question: What language is he speaking to you? I’m referring to the day-to-day drama of your life. God does speak, you know. He speaks in any language that we will understand.

From On Calvary’s Hill

Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com and find resources at MaxLucado.com

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