Thursday, August 30, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus, Tending the Lamps

Date: August 30, 2012 9:25 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus, Tending the Lamps

Jesus, Tending the Lamps

"I saw seven golden lampstands and among the lampstands someone" (Revelation 1:12B-13A)
Scripture Focus: John 14:1-19

For years my wife and I have been praying for a particular need, yet we see no change. When we are tempted to give up, I think of John on Patmos. His seven churches were undergoing a heart wrenching test. Roman swords dripped with the blood of the followers of Jesus, and John must have wondered why does He do nothing to stop this?

John was in for a surprise. In his vision, he saw seven lamps burning, the only lights flickering in the darkness. It dawned on John that those seven lamps were his seven churches for whom he prayed constantly. Each was alight!

Then he saw someone tending the lamps. Knowing that lamps need oil, the Someone had a pitcher full of olive oil. With a knife He carefully trimmed anything that might hinder the full flame of each lamp. The hands that held the pitcher and the knife bore fresh wounds of eternal love.

Why do I doubt that my Jesus cares what's on my heart? When the curtain is pulled back, I see Him busy working on me, keeping me alight for Him.

Insight: My Spirit Is Revived When I See Jesus Tirelessly Tending Each Precious Lamp, Mine In Particular.

+DEV+ Jesus, Alive and Well

Date: August 30, 2012 12:00 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus, Alive and Well

Jesus, Alive and Well

"I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me and when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and someone 'like a son of man'..."  (Revelation 1:12-13)
Scripture Focus: John 20:1-18

Our dear elder, John, was troubled. Blocking out the world, he entered into the Spirit on the Lord's Day. This is the heart of revival. When all the books are read and closed, all the sermons heard and digested, all the good advice listened to and followed, and still there's no peace have you forgotten the God of mercy whose greatest delight is showing Jesus?

A voice behind John broke the silence. He knew the voice was the help he needed, so he turned to face it. A glance is not enough; a full turn is required. When I meet God, it must be face to face with me turning from everything else and giving my whole self to Him. In the words "turn around" is a hint of another key word John uses: "repent."

John found himself in the Holy Place where the lampstands dispelled the darkness, and he saw only light. He may have thought, "Can my darkness be broken?" Yes, John! Moving among the lampstands was a person, the one whose voice he'd heard. John would discover that the "Someone" was none other than Jesus Christ.

Insight: When Your Spirit Is Perplexed, Stop Examining The Problems. Look Up And Away. You'll See Jesus Come Into Focus Again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus, Companion in Suffering

Date: August 28, 2012 11:03 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus, Companion in Suffering

Jesus, Companion in Suffering

"I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." (Revelation 1:9)
Scripture Focus: 1 Peter 4:12-19

John placed himself among the suffering believers. He, too, was trying to make sense of it all. Bombarded with questions, John's spirit was revived when he saw Jesus as his companion in suffering. It helps just to know that Jesus is my suffering savior and friend.

When was the last time John saw Jesus? Probably over 60 years earlier when Jesus said, "You will be my witnesses in JudeaƖ" Then, "he was taken up before their eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight" (Acts 1:8-9). He was gone! Did He leave them for good?

In the Upper Room Jesus spoke to His disciples of His coming suffering (John 16). He said, "In a little while you will see me no longer. Then, after a little while you will see me." I nearly missed the point that He did not say, "In a little while I will leave you." It is "In a little while you will not see me." We may not see Him, but we can be assured He is always there, active, powerful and full of grace. Jesus is with us in all circumstances and for every need.

Insight: The Anguish Of Suffering Is Tempered By Knowing That My Jesus, No Stranger To Suffering, Will Never Leave Me Nor Forsake Me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus, My Sin-bearer

Date: June 2, 2011 2:05 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus, My Sin-bearer

Jesus, My Sin-bearer

"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood..." (Revelation 1:5B)
Scripture Focus: Matthew 26:26-30

I knew Jesus as my sin-bearer when, at age 9, I repented and felt the joy of sins forgiven. Unfortunately, that vision of Jesus as my sin-bearer faded as I determined to be a model Christian. I graduated from being a sinner to a "striving saint" with no need for the blood to cleanse me because I convinced myself I did not sin. I could disappoint God by failure but attribute it to my personality, blame it on someone else, brush it off, or strive to be better.

It was in that doleful state that I - at age 23 - was trying my best to be an exemplary Christian in Germany. I reached the end of myself. Joy vanished. My discomfort intensified because I was surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ who were seeing Jesus and testifying of His work in their lives. Then, inexplicably, the Holy Spirit laid bare the internal corruption I concealed. I saw myself as a sinner again, a hopeless one, just like when I first believed. I saw the Lamb again. By breaking and repenting at the Cross, I was free.

Insight: It's been said "move beyond the cross" into the resurrected life. But the cross is the center of resurrected life. Never move "beyond" it!

+DEV+ Jesus: The Lion of Judah

Date: August 27, 2012 2:25 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Lion of Judah

Jesus: The Lion of Judah

"The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his."  (Genesis 49:10)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 49

Chapter 49 details Jacob's blessing upon his sons before his death. Judah's blessing stands out among the rest. Judah is as "a lion's cub" (49:9). Jacob prophesies, "...your father's sons will bow down to you" (49:8). Remember, that was Joseph's dream which had already been fulfilled. The leadership was to shift to Judah - from whom would come David - the great king of Israel. Yet an even greater King would arise from Judah.

God's word came to David through Nathan: "Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me" (2 Samuel 7:16). Later, the prophet Micah would say, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2). In the New Testament, we find that both Mary and Joseph are descendants of Judah (Matthew 1; Luke 3). Jesus, born in Bethlehem, is "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David..." (Revelation 5:5). To Him be all praise!

Insight: The Bible Is The Inerrant, All-Sufficient Word. Trust God And His Promises. They Have All Become "Yes" In The "Lion Of Judah"  (2 Corinthians 1:20)!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: God's Grace Revealed

Date: August 23, 2012 10:32 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: God's Grace Revealed

Jesus: God's Grace Revealed

"'But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God...'"  (Genesis 45:7-8)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 44-45:13

In the brothers' second trip back to their father, Joseph's silver cup was found in Benjamin's sack. Joseph threatened to enslave his brother. To protect Benjamin, Judah proposed that he take Benjamin's punishment, depicting the biblical principle of substitutionary atonement. Then Joseph cried out, "'I am Joseph! Is my father still living?' But his brothers were unable to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence" (Genesis 45:3).

Next came Joseph's astonishing statement: "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you" (Genesis 45:5). He released them from guilt! He would say later in Genesis 50:20, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Then he made permanent provision for his family's well-being. At the cross, Jesus' brothers intended Him harm, but God planned good for you and me and all who believe on His name.

Insight: It Has Been Accurately Said Of Jesus, "All History Is His Story." Remember That "Your History Is His Story" As Well.

+DEV+ Jesus: Of Tender Compassion

Date: August 23, 2012 12:01 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Of Tender Compassion

Jesus: Of Tender Compassion

"Deeply moved at the sight of his brother [Benjamin], Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there."  (Genesis 43:30)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 42-45

We read in Genesis of Joseph's dealings with his brothers when they came to Egypt for food. Notice that they did not recognize him on their first trip. Similarly, the majority of Jesus' brothers - the Hebrews - failed to recognize Him on His first appearing. The brothers went back to their father, returning later with Joseph's full brother, Benjamin. Joseph wept upon seeing him, just as Jesus wept over his friend Lazarus (John 11:35), and for the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44).

Joseph would hardly be blamed if he treated his brothers with cruelty. Instead, when they recognized him on their second trip, he treated them with compassion. Jesus also showed compassion for those who crucified Him, crying out, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). But Jesus' ultimate love was in His sacrifice of Himself for His Church. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Insight: "This Is...What Love Is: Jesus Christ Laid Down His Life For Us. And We Ought To Lay Down Our Lives For Our Brothers"  (1 John 3:16).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Savior of the World

Date: August 21, 2012 9:34 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Savior of the World

Jesus: Savior of the World

"And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the world."  (Genesis 41:57)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 41:53-57

What would have become of God's plan to save the world and Israel from famine, had Joseph's brothers not sold him into slavery? We'll speak more of this later, but for now, suffice it to say that God chose the perfect person and plan for the job. During the seven years of plenty, Joseph accumulated grain in vast storehouses. Then, when the famine began, all the surrounding nations came to buy grain to make their bread. Joseph held the keys to the world's storehouse of bread.

In the same way, a great famine now exists among people throughout our world. Most of us in America have enough food in our pantries, but we have a spiritual hunger that won't be satisfied with anything but the Bread of Life - Jesus. He said in John 6:35, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry...." Just as the nations came to Joseph to get bread for life, so the nations now come to Jesus to get the bread of eternal life. God again chose the perfect Person and plan for the job.

Insight: Like Joseph, Jesus Has Full Authority To Distribute His Bread Throughout The World. Unlike Joseph, Jesus Holds The Keys To An Unlimited Supply.

Monday, August 20, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Exalted Worldwide

Date: August 20, 2012 11:39 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Exalted Worldwide

Jesus: Exalted Worldwide

 "So Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.'"  (Genesis 41:41)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 41:34-57

As early as the twelfth chapter of Genesis, God promised salvation to the nations of the earth. Abram was a pagan idolater from Ur of the Chaldees. The promise of a universal blessing to all nations of the earth continues throughout the Old Testament. For instance, Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Egypt represents the worldwide Gentile nations as Joseph is exalted to a position of supreme authority in the land.

Jesus came to earth first for His own people - the Jews. But His own did not receive Him (John 1:11). In the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus ordered that disciples should be made of the peoples of all nations. He died for His elect from the four winds - from all the nations. "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth..." (Philippians 2:9-10).

Insight: God Has Given Christians Everywhere The Privilege Of Exalting Jesus' Name. We Do So In Our Worship, Our Prayers, And In Our Service To Others.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Revealer of Secrets

Date: August 19, 2012 11:39 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Revealer of Secrets

Jesus: Revealer of Secrets

"Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard... you can interpret it.' 'I cannot do it,' Joseph replied..., 'but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.'"  (Genesis 41:15-16)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 41:1-33

Joseph had interpreted his own dreams of ruling over his brothers, as well as correctly interpreting the dreams of the cupbearer and baker. He also was able, by God's power, to interpret the dreams of the ruler of Egypt. Egypt is a picture of this world's evil system. The Egyptians were pagan idolaters. God, through Joseph, revealed to them the secret of what His plans were.

Jesus Christ is the greatest revealer of secrets who ever lived. He came to reveal the one, true God to a world of pagan idolaters. To the men walking on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection, Jesus "explained to them what was said in all the [Old Testament] Scriptures concerning himself" (Luke 24:27). In Matthew 24, Jesus gave His disciples a glimpse into future things, including the destruction of Jerusalem, which was to actually occur in 70 A.D. Most importantly, Jesus revealed Himself to be the Savior of mankind. He continues to reveal Himself by His Spirit, as people like you and me are added daily to His kingdom.

It Should Occur To Us In This Chapter, Indeed In The Entire Bible, That Our Great And Omniscient God Is In Absolute Control Of The Future.

Friday, August 17, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Amidst Transgressors

Date: August 17, 2012 1:48 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Amidst Transgressors

Jesus: Amidst Transgressors

"Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them... in the same prison where Joseph was confined."  (Genesis 40:2-3)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 39:20-40:23

Like Jesus many years later, innocent Joseph endured trouble and pain. Instead of brooding over his misfortune, Joseph responded as a suffering, dutiful servant, exemplifying the Lord Jesus who was to come. The captain of the guard increased Joseph's responsibilities, even putting him in charge of the entire prison.

"...[T]he LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did" (Genesis 39:23). Like Jesus, Joseph won the respect of all who knew him.

Seven hundred years before Jesus' death, Isaiah prophesied of Him: "...[H]e poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors..." (Isaiah 53:12a). In Joseph's story, the cupbearer and baker who'd been thrown into prison were to see the fulfillment of their destinies in "three days" (Genesis 40:12). One would be pardoned and restored and one put to death. Likewise, one of the thieves surrounding Jesus on a cross would perish, while the other was pardoned and entered Paradise. In "three days," Jesus Himself would rise physically.

Insight: God Gave Joseph Insights And Talents Beyond His Natural Abilities. In The Same Way, God Empowers Each Believer To Fulfill His Purposes For Us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Sinless Servant

Date: August 15, 2012 10:43 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Sinless Servant

Jesus: The Sinless Servant

"She caught him by his cloak and said, 'Come to bed with me!' But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house."  (Genesis 39:12)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 39

When sold as a slave, Joseph probably had to stand naked while potential buyers calculated his value. In much the same way, Jesus was stripped and nailed to a cross while onlookers mocked Him. Imagine being sold as a slave. You've lost your family and friends; life looks hopeless. Instead of adopting a victim's mentality, Joseph thrived as a faithful servant in Potiphar's household. Seduced by his master's wife, the young man might have rationalized sin. Rather, he said, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God" (Genesis 39:9)?

Jesus, too, was sorely tempted. Unlike the first Adam who sinned against God and His Word in the luxury of a garden, Jesus stood by God's Word in the wilderness of a desert (Matthew 4:1-11). Like Jesus, Joseph was falsely accused. Unwilling to sin against Potiphar or to defend himself, Joseph was found guilty and imprisoned. I've often wondered if Potiphar knew Joseph was innocent, just as Pontius Pilate said of Jesus, "I find no fault in this man" (Luke 23:4, KJV).

"God Made Him Who Had No Sin To Be Sin For Us, So That In Him We Might Become The Righteousness Of God"  (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Rejected by His Brothers

Date: August 14, 2012 11:23 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Rejected by His Brothers

Jesus: Rejected by His Brothers

"So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt."  (Genesis 37:28)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 37:23-28

Jesus may be seen in the life of Joseph as in no other life in the Bible, save perhaps that of Moses. For several days we'll see ways in which Joseph foreshadowed our Lord. Joseph, the son of Jacob's beloved Rachel, was his father's favorite. His "coat of many colors" was probably a manager's tunic, indicating his apparent leadership in the family business, though he was younger than his brothers.

The coat provoked jealousy among his siblings, as did Joseph's dreams of his future elevation above them. They plotted to kill him, and would have, had not Reuben intervened. Jesus, too, was betrayed by the brothers He loved - the very people He came to save. Both Joseph and Jesus were shepherds, the former of sheep, the latter of souls. Both men opposed evil and were beloved of their fathers. They were each hated without a cause. Both foretold of their own future glory and sovereignty. They came forth out of the pit of death - Joseph into glory in Egypt, and Jesus into eternal glory in heaven and on earth.

Insight: Perhaps You Have Been Rejected By A Loved One. Jesus Understands. He Said, "I Did Not Come To Bring Peace, But A Sword"  (Matthew 10:34).

+DEV+ Jesus: The Sovereign God

Date: August 14, 2012 12:05 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Sovereign God

Jesus: The Sovereign God

"But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out... And he was named Perez. Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out and he was given the name Zerah."  (Genesis 38:29-30)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 38

This unsettling incident reminds us again of our Lord's sovereignty over His creation. Paul addressed the men of Athens in Acts 17:24-25 and spoke of Jesus saying, "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth... he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

The narrative of Genesis 38 is one of the most shocking in the Word of God. Just look at the sin! God put Judah's firstborn, Er, to death for an unknown wickedness. Then Er's brother, Onan, was executed by the Lord for not fulfilling his duty to Er's widow, Tamar. Tamar then deceived and seduced her father-in-law, Judah, who had illicit relations with her. Judah later accused Tamar of the same sin and ordered her death. Then, when she delivered twins, we come to verse 29, above. Matthew's genealogy (1:3) reveals to us wondrously ("Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron...") that Perez - born out of wedlock and from incest - was in the line of Christ.

Insight: As We Look Back In Sorrow Over Sinful Decisions, We Can Rejoice In The Savior Who Uses Even Our Sin To Accomplish His Purposes.

Monday, August 13, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Commander in Chief

Date: August 13, 2012 7:02 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Commander in Chief

Jesus: Commander in Chief

"So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.'"  (Genesis 32:30)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 32:22-32

Up until this time, Jacob had been winning life's battles by his deceit and cunning - using the ways of the world. He cheated Esau and deceived his father, Isaac. Jacob then tricked his father-in-law, Laban, and escaped as a very rich man. At Peniel, he was alone in the wilderness and met a visitor with whom he physically wrestled all night. The "man" crippled Jacob and then changed the patriarch's name to Israel.

Every human who was ever born wants, like Jacob, to be in control. We want to command our own lives and to be autonomous - having our own will be done. On this night in the ancient Near East, Jacob discovered the folly of his thinking. Only God is sovereign over the affairs of this world, and over our individual lives. It is with this God - the preincarnate Christ - that Jacob wrestled and was overcome. His life was changed forever. "Israel" means "God commands." For the rest of his life, Jacob would be reminded by his limp, and by his name, that only God's commands will ever be accomplished.

Insight: Jesus Said In John 14:15, "If You Love Me, You Will Obey What I Command." To Love Jesus Means To Align Your Will To His.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Our Access to God

Date: August 9, 2012 9:44 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Our Access to God

Jesus: Our Access to God

"[Jacob] had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."  (Genesis 28:12)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 28:10-17

Jacob - later renamed Israel - had run away from home. With the help of his mother, Rebecca, he had tricked his father, Isaac, out of brother Esau's inheritance. He'd gone about 50 miles into his 500 mile journey to Haran when he had a dream. In it he saw a great stairway reaching from the earth to heaven and "the angels of God were ascending and descending on it." What did the dream mean?

First, the dream confirmed that heaven actually exists. Second, heaven is interested in the earth. Whatever else it meant, the stairway's central focus was on God and His promise to Abram that "All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring" (Genesis 28:14). The trickster Jacob was heir to that promise. Through him and his boys, not yet born, would come One who would be the ultimate blessing to the nations. The stairway foreshadows Jesus. Jesus said to Nathanael in John 1:51, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Jesus Is The Mediator Of The New Covenant. He Is The True Stairway To Paradise - Heaven - The Only Access To The Father  (John 14:6).

+DEV+ Jesus: Sacrifice Provided

Date: August 9, 2012 2:06 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Sacrifice Provided

Jesus: Sacrifice Provided

"'The fire and wood are here,' Isaac said, 'but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?' Abraham answered, 'God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.'"  (Genesis 22:7-8)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 22:1-14

Imagine the thoughts racing through Abraham's mind when he and Isaac set out for Mt. Moriah. How could he have told Sarah about God's command to sacrifice her only son, born in her old age? He must have been terribly confused. How could God ask him to sacrifice the child of promise? But he arose early in the morning and went. In doing so, Abraham demonstrated that his trust in God's promise was real (James 2:24).

God did provide the sacrifice. Abraham had raised his knife over Isaac when the Angel of the Lord - the preincarnate Christ Himself - cried out from heaven and told him to stop. A ram, caught by its horns in a thicket, was sacrificed instead. Abraham called the mountain there, "The LORD will provide." In Genesis 22:14, the exact mountain is called, "The mountain of the LORD..." Zechariah 8:3 says that this mountain is in Zion - that is, Jerusalem. Could it be Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified? Many scholars think so. It is the mountain on which the ultimate sacrifice for sin was provided.

Insight: Abraham Believed Everything Was Possible With God. He Figured That Even If He Sacrificed His Son, God Would Raise Isaac From The Dead (Hebrews 11:19).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Only Son of God

Date: August 8, 2012 12:59 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Only Son of God

Jesus: The Only Son of God

"Then God said [to Abraham], 'Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering...'"   (Genesis 22:1-2)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 22

Abraham had two sons at the time God spoke to him in Genesis 22 - Isaac and Ishmael. What did God mean when He said, "Your only son?" Why didn't God just say, "Take your son, Isaac?" Because Abraham knew that it was only through Isaac that God's promises would be fulfilled. Isaac was the child of promise. So God said to Abraham, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love..."

The Father said of Jesus in Luke 3:22, "You are my Son, whom I love..." And in the verse so well known to us in John 3:16 we read, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son..." Isaac is a type of Jesus in that he is the one and only son, whom his father loves in a special way. The Bible is clear that the Godhead consists of three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a profound mystery, although entirely reasonable and true. The ultimate "one and only Son" - Jesus - is the fulfillment of God's promise in Isaac. An Old Testament story that once may have been hard to understand, becomes clear in light of Jesus.

Many Deny The Deity Of Jesus. But The Bible Leaves No Doubt That He Is "The Christ, The Son Of The Living God (Matthew 16:16).

Monday, August 6, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: The Child of Promise

Date: August 6, 2012 8:45 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: The Child of Promise

Jesus: The Child of Promise

"Now the LORD was gracious...and... did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him."  (Genesis 21:1-2)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 21:1-7

Abram's name meant "Daddy." The problem was that he and the aged Sarai were childless. But back in Genesis 15:4, the LORD promised 99 year old Abram "a son coming from your own body will be your heir." God also changed his name to Abraham which means, "Big Daddy," because he would become the father of many nations (17:4). Can you imagine the gossip and jokes tossed out at childless Abraham's expense? "Here comes old Abe, the Big Daddy!"

But the LORD wasn't joking. God always keeps His promises. He is the great Promise Keeper! Thousands of years later, another child would be born, also a child of promise. Seven hundred years before that event, the prophet Isaiah wrote these words: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). Just as God miraculously opened Sarah's aged womb, so also He opened the womb of a virgin, who gave birth to Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

Insight: God Never Forgot His Promise To Abraham. Neither Will He Forget His Promises To Us. Our Assurance Rests On Our Promise Keeper.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Savior by Grace Alone

Date: August 5, 2012 10:40 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Savior by Grace Alone

Jesus: Savior by Grace Alone

"When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces."  (Genesis 15:17)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 15, Jeremiah 34:18-20

We find in Genesis 15 not only the principle of justification by faith alone, but a picture of our faithful God who saves by His grace alone. In Genesis 15:6 we read, "Abram believed the LORD, and [God] credited it to him as righteousness." But Abram wasn't so sure of the promise of a son and a land. He asked in 15:8, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?" So God had him cut up some birds and animals and arrange the pieces with a path down the middle.

In the ancient Near East, a king would do this and make his vassals walk between the pieces, causing them to swear an oath unto death that they would keep their promises to him. Shouldn't Abram walk between the pieces? But he's asleep! This is all God's doing! A "smoking firepot with a blazing torch" appear. These are "theophanies" - symbols of God's presence. God Himself swears the oath unto death! At Calvary, Jesus fulfilled the blood oath, and welcomed His Church into the ultimate Promised Land - heaven.

Insight: God Brought Abram Out Of Pagan Bondage, Just As He Chose And Brought Us Out Of Spiritual Bondage. He Is The Lord Of Sovereign Grace.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Eternal High Priest

Date: August 2, 2012 10:01 PM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Eternal High Priest

Jesus: Eternal High Priest

"Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram... Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything."  (Genesis 14:18-20)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 14

Following Abraham's rescue of his nephew, Lot, and his defeat of the four kings, an unfamiliar man named Melchizedek walked onto the stage. Notice he was both a king and a priest, two of the three biblical offices - prophet, priest, and king. He brought out the elements we now use in the Lord's Supper: bread and wine. Then, he blessed Abraham, calling upon God. His name means "king of righteousness." The name of his kingdom, Salem, means "peace." Like Jesus, Melchezidek was both king of righteousness and king of peace.
The only other place in Scripture where this enigmatic character is brought up is in Hebrews: "Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God [Melchizedek] remains a priest forever" (Hebrews 7:3). He is mentioned there to prove that a change in priesthood has been established by God. No longer are Aarron's mortal descendants priests. We now have a great High Priest - Jesus - not after the order of Aaron, but of this unique man, Melchizedek.

Insight: The Temple Was Destroyed, In 70 AD, By The Romans. The Hebrew Sacrificial System Had Ceased. A Better, Eternal High Priest Had Come

+DEV+ Jesus: Blessing the Nations

Date: August 2, 2012 10:38 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Blessing the Nations

Jesus: Blessing the Nations

"'I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'"  (Genesis 12:3)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 12

The recipient of these words of blessing from Yahweh was, of course, Abraham. In Genesis 22:17-18 God said to the patriarch, "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore... and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed..." Most Jews of Jesus' day looked to their physical descent from Abraham as the means of God's blessing. But they were terribly mistaken.

John the Baptizer warned them in Matthew 3:9, "And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham." God's blessing of Abraham was a spiritual blessing. Abraham's children were and are those of the promise. The blessing, through Jesus and His gospel of grace, has in these last days flowed out to all the nations of the world. Not to every person without exception, but to every "nation, tribe, people and language" without distinction (Revelation 7:9).

Abraham's Physical Offspring - The Jews - Did Bless The Nations. Israel Was A Conduit From Which Our Savior Would Come.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

+DEV+ Jesus: Covenantal Lord

Date: August 1, 2012 12:19 AM
Topic: +DEV+  Jesus: Covenantal Lord

Jesus: Covenantal Lord

“I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life."  (Genesis 9:15)
Scripture Focus: Genesis 9

If we had to pick one word that would characterize God's dealing with mankind, I believe that word would be "covenantal." A covenant is a promise. In this verse, God promised Noah that He would never again destroy all life on earth by a flood. Earlier, God established a covenant with Adam (Genesis 3:15-19). Later He would make promises with Abraham (Genesis 15 and 22), Moses (Exodus 20), and David (1 Chronicles 17).

The ultimate divine covenant, of course, is the new covenant. Jesus said in Luke 22:20, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." At the center of God's promises is His grace. God owes us nothing except the same divine wrath He displayed with the flood. But under the new covenant, Jesus Christ has given grace without measure to those who would but simply put their trust in His blood. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:20, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ." Jesus truly is Lord of the covenants.

Insight: Even The Covenant With Moses Was Gracious. It Promised Curses For Disobedience, But Graciously Revealed To God's People Their Need For A Savior.