Good News Then and Now!

The  librettist, Charles Jennens, of Handel’s Messiah put these two prophecy’s of HOPE together.  Both of them tell of the good news of Christ’s coming.   It is seen as prophecy applying to their return to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon, Christ’s first coming as a babe in the manger to save us from our sins and can be applied to Christ’s second coming where He will return as victor and judge.   All were good news of God’s care and plan to save mankind.

Isaiah 40:9 “Go on up to a high mountain,
    O Zion, herald of good news;
lift up your voice with strength,
    Isaiah-60.1O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
    lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
    “Behold your God!”

Isaiah 60:1  Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Just reading the words of Isaiah 40:9 makes me want to shout the good news of salvation in Jesus from the mountain tops!  The assurance of Isaiah 60:1 is profound- your light has come!  I am so thankful that Jesus came because He loved me and you.  Think back to John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”   Ponder anew the amazing provisions of our God both then, now and in the future.

Golden Bible verse John 3 16 , made hand lettering on watercolor heart.Blessings,

Linda

 

The Impossible is Possible with God

Isaiah 7:14 is one of the most beautiful prophecy’s about the birth of Jesus.  Isaiah gave this prophecy during the reign of wicked King Ahaz.  He had paid Assyrians to induce them to attack Syria.  King Ahaz had put his faith and trust in men instead of calling upon God for defense.  Isaiah invited Ahaz to request a sign of faith from God, but Ahaz in his stubbornness refused.  God then address the whole house of Israel with this prophecy of the coming Messiah, their true hope, and sign from Almighty God that He God with uswould provide deliverance.  Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”  

God is amazing as 400 years later this came to pass just as He said.  Matthew 1:19-25 gives us the account of the angel of the Lord appearing to Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, and telling him not to fear taking Mary as his wife. The child she is carrying will be called Jesus, Immanuel, meaning ‘God with us’ and was conceived by God the Holy Spirit.   “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

An angel also appeared to Mary and told her“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33

What amazes you today about this prophecy and drama as it unfolded?  I love the specific details of young Mary and the baby.  Jesus, God with us, truly came to save us from our sins just as the angel said He would.  The odds of this happening just this way in luke-1-37exactly the way God said it would affirms God’s sovereignty, omniscience, wisdom and power.  How can all this be we ask along with Mary?  The angel had it right in verse 37 “ For nothing will be impossible with God.”   

Praise Him and give Him your impossible today!

Linda

Messengers from God

Today’s passage comes from the Old Testament prophet Malachi.  He was a contemporary of Nehemiah who had returned to Jerusalem during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Babylon.  Nehemiah and those with him found the temple in disrepair and faced major opposition as they began the restoration.   Desiring to encourage His people, God gave Malachi a message of Hope to deliver in the midst of their trial.  Malachi was the last prophet to speak from God for 400 years until the announcements of John, the forerunner, and Jesus, the Messiah that are recorded in the gospels.

Messenger JohnMalachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.  God wanted the people to be ready and watching for the forerunner that would come preparing the way for Jesus, Messiah.  Luke 1:13-17 tells the story of the angel Gabriel announcing the coming of John to his father Zachariah.  But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”   John’s birth and life are a direct fulfillment of this Old Testament prophecy in Malachi that was given 400 years prior. 

The second line of Malachi’s prophecy is about Jesus, ‘the Lord who you seek, will come to his temple bringing a message of the covenant’.   God’s covenant was recorded in Genesis 17:7 “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between Genesis 17 7me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”  This covenant or agreement with God was His promise to be their God and they would be His people.  Jesus was God’s messenger of the covenant and the fulfillment of all God’s promises.   He was coming in the flesh to His temple to be with His people bringing a message of love, repentance, restoration and redemption from God.   John was going to come in the spirit of Elijah and prepare the way calling mankind to repent and return to God.  He was to prepare the hearts of the people so they would be ready to listen to Jesus.

This was the glorious message Malachi delivered about the arrival of His messenger who would prepare the way for the Messiah, their deliverer.   Their long awaited Messiah would come with a message of hope and righteousness.  Jesus still has that message for us today.  Let this remind you of the Hope and the right standing with God that Jesus brings.

Blessings of Hope as you listen to this instrumental version,

Linda

1st Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 40-5 The Glory Of The Lord Shall Be Revelaed redOn this first Sunday of Advent, our scripture is Isaiah 40:5.

“And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

What is the glory of the Lord?  God’s glory is the sum total of His attributes.  We see His glory displayed in the beauty of the earth and His creatures.  We have seen God reveal His power , mercy, grace, judgment, holiness, love and every other attribute in the Bible.  However, the complete revelation of God’s glory is in His Son Jesus Christ.  When Jesus came to earth, He revealed God’s great glory for all of mankind to see, touch, reason with, and behold in the flesh.  God’s plan of redemption for man was to show His glory to us in His Son Jesus.  John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Hebrews 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”   Jesus, the complete revelation of God’s glory, came to redeem us.

Let us praise and thank God for His glorious plan that sent Jesus to redeem and save us.

Blessings as you worship Him today.

Linda

Prepare the Way for the LORD!

Isaiah 40 1Isaiah 40:1,3,4 opens the Messiah and that is where our Advent story begins.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”  A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.

It had been 400 years since the prophet Malachi had spoken and the people were hungry and eager to hear from God.  Hundreds of years before Isaiah had prophesied that the people would be comforted by the voice of one crying in the wilderness who will proclaim the arrival of the Messiah.  The one spoken of here is John the Baptist.  His mother Elizabeth was Mary’s Aunt and their babies were due months apart.  Zachariah, John’s father, had received visit from the angel Gabriel foretelling the birth of this forerunner of Jesus.  Luke 1:13-17 “But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will luke 1 17bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.   Just as Isaiah had prophesied,  John came and proclaimed a message of repentance and prepared the people for the Lord’s coming.

Isaiah also spoke of leveling the ground in Isaiah 26:7 The path of the righteous is level;
    you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.”   Jesus, Messiah, would come and make way for the righteous.  Jesus indeed smoothed the way for mankind to be made righteous through His coming, His death and His resurrection.  All the mountains of sin that stood between God and man were made low through His sacrifice.  Jesus made “every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain” for those of faith to come to God.  He removed the barrier of sin between us and holy God.  Jesus made the way for us to be saved.

John, the herald of Jesus, came to call Israel to repentance and faith.  Let us answer his call today  as we meditate on the beauty, exactness and completeness of God’s Word and the hope we have in Jesus.

Let our Advent journey begin with repentance,

Linda

Journey through Advent with the ‘Messiah’

Psalm 22In Psalm 22 David wrote words that described the coming Messiah’s work and anguish while here on earth.  When he took the sins of the world upon himself Jesus cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far for the words of my groaning?” (verse 1)   The Psalmist describes Jesus’ conditions on the cross, “they have pierced my hands and my feet.” (16b) “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” (18)  These visions of Messiah and what awaited him were given to David.  By reading them, we can see proof that Jesus fulfilled each and every prophecy made about him and be assured that He is from God.  We catch a glimpse into the Omniscience and Sovereignty of God.

HandelMessiahThis advent season I will be blogging each day using prophecies about Messiah and His coming as highlighted in Handel’s Messiah.  He turned the words of Charles Jennens, his librettist, who created the story from Old and New Testament passages into glorious song.  Handel wrote the Messiah in about 3 weeks in the late summer of 1741.  His divine inspiration has humbled and inspired audiences ever since.  Recently, I got a copy of a handbill that is given out when one attends the Messiah.  It contains all the scriptures that the ‘story’ is based upon and their references.  Each time someone attends a performance of the Messiah, they are presented with these scriptures in both writing and song.  Praise God!  He has used Handel and his work ‘The Messiah’ to tell his story to the world since 1741 in this unique way.

Join me in a journey this Advent Season through the ‘Messiah’ to catch a glimpse of our Savior and His mighty works.

Excited about the journey,

Linda

A Time of Preparation- Getting my mind and heart ready

Since Thanksgiving came earlier this year, we have many days in November left before entering Advent which begins December 1.   This week I want to prepare myself for the coming of Jesus so I can better absorb the Christmas messages.  Hebrews 2:9 speaks of Jesus’ coming and the position it put Him in to come to earth.  “But we do see Jesus, who Hebrews 2-9 Jesus Made A Little Lower Than Angels brownwas made lower than the angels for a little while [by taking on the limitations of humanity], crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering of death, so that by the grace of God [extended to sinners] He might experience death for [the sins of] everyone.” AMP    The author of Hebrews wanted us to see and know how Jesus lowered himself to come to earth.  Being in a human body placed him lower than the heavenly beings He had created in the heavens and with mortal man who He has also created.  The Creator Himself came to earth.   Why?  The verse tells us God’s purpose in coming- to extend grace to us sinners and to save us from the penalty of death.  Because of my sin, Jesus came to save me and restore me.  Psalm 103: 3-5 sums it up perfectly.  Jesus “who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit  and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”    

psalm 103 4As we move towards December 1, let us be mindful of why Jesus came and what His coming accomplished for us.  Praise God that He came to forgive, heal, and redeem me from the penalty of eternal death for my sin and crowns me with His abundant love and compassion.  He alone satisfies my soul.

My prayer this week:   Thank you Jesus for coming.  I know it was at great cost to you both spiritually and physically.  There is nothing I can do to repay you for your gift, but I give you my love and devotion praising you for your mercy and grace towards me.  I am restored because you came.  I am forgiven because of your sacrifice.  I am humbled by your love, mercy and devotion to me.  Thank you Jesus for coming.   Amen.

Blessings as we anticipate His arrival,

Linda

Glorious Profit on the Blackest of Friday’s

black fridayI was thinking this morning about the designation ‘Black Friday’.  It seems that since the 1950’s the day after Thanksgiving has been called ‘Black Friday’.  It began as a term to describe the crowds,  like the street was black with pedestrians.  It then became a day  to retailers signifying when they began to turn a profit and moved from the ‘red’ into the ‘black’ as the volume of their sales increased.   In the Bible the blackest Friday would be the day of the crucifixion. It was the day when the skies turned black and darkness covered the land.  “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.  Luke 23:44-46   The blackness of that Friday is a picture of the sin that Jesus bore on the cross for you and me.  His death was the darkest day that brought the greatest profit for us.  John 12:46 puts it in perspective for us as to why that blackest of Friday’s had to happen.  “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.”

Even on that blackest of Fridays, the people were rushing around preparing for their Sabbath.  Since they could do no work on the Sabbath, they rushed to get Jesus down from the cross, hastily buried and settled in a borrowed tomb.  Mark 15:42-47 describes these events done in haste.  After the Sabbath was over, several women came back to the tomb to anoint Jesus with spices as his burial had been done in such a hurry they felt they had not been able to treat his body properly on that Friday.  “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.”  Mark 16:1  Their walk to the grave site was done in sadness but their return was joyous as the learned of Jesus’ resurrection and defeat of sin and death.  An angel spoke to them when they got there, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”  What joyous news they had to share!

That blackest of Friday bringing death to Jesus and a hasty burial brought the greatest profit to you and me.  Colossians 1:21-22 explains where we were on the black Friday and where we are now because of it.  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”    That was the the biggest gain or profit for mankind ever in history.  Christ reconciled us to God so that we can be colossians 1 ;21in communion with Him and have our sin’s forgiven.   We are free to live a life in Christ that is pleasing to God that is free from the penalty of death brought on by sin.  That Black Friday was the best one in history for you and me.

As you venture out today to do some shopping, think about that blackest of Friday’s and how much you gained through Christ.  Praise Him as you do.

Blessings,

Linda

God is Worthy of All our Praises!

give thanksGive thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8

This is a great way to view the opportunities we have a Thanksgiving time to share with our family and friends the many things God has done for us during the year.  Going around the table and naming our thanks, putting words to what our hearts know gives glory to God as we praise Him.

Here is another verse to stimulate your thankfulness- Hebrews 12:28  “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by unshakableworshiping him with holy fear and awe.”   Spend time thinking about the unshakable kingdom we have access to through Jesus.  His kingdom is without end, holy and pure, a place of hope and security, a place of worship and love, unchanging and permanently held in place by God, ordered and governed by righteousness and presided over by Jesus.   Having head and heart knowledge of God’s glorious kingdom leads us to praise and worship that is filled with reverence and amazement.  I am always brought to my knees when I consider the power and greatness of my Savior.  His sacrifice was great so that I may know and experience His kingdom during my life now and into the future.  

640x1136 mobile phone wallpapers download - www.wallpaper-mobile.comAs we approach this wonderful holiday time, take time to put words and thoughts to your thanks both to your family and to God.  Thank Him for all He has done, is doing and will do for you.  He is an awesome God worthy of all our praises!

Blessings,

Linda

Always Having a Grateful Heart Through Him

ThankfulnessIn Colossians Paul talks about specific areas in our lives that should create thankfulness within us.  15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:15-17 NLT

Paul teaches that we are to be thankful always for the peaceful living that is possible for us as brothers and sisters in Christ as we work together for the cause of Christ.  Next,  he reminds us that our worship should reflect our thankfulness to God.  Lastly, Paul explains that we need to be thankful to God as we are able to speak as a peace of christrepresentative of Christ because of His sacrifice for us.

One of the key elements in our thankfulness is the peaceful living in Christ we experience towards one another causing us to be thankful always.  Singing praises to God creates in us a state of worshipful living in the presence of God causing us to have grateful hearts and because of Christ we can be His representatives living in and with Him causing us to give thanks through Him.

May the peace you experience this season of Thanksgiving with your brothers and sisters in Christ make you always thankful.  May your times of worship be rich and fill your heart of jesusheart with gratefulness and may your times of sharing about Christ remind you that you speak for Him to others and cause you to give thanks though Him.

Thankful always for you -my brothers and sisters in Christ,

Linda