Praise and Thanksgiving on our lips today! Good-bye 2018!

On this last day of 2018, we conclude with the final chorus of the Messiah.  The scene is the throne room of heaven in John’s vision and Jesus is being praised and worshiped.  Revelation 5:9-13

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of worthy-is-the-lambthousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

They begin by singing a new song. In the Old Testament, a new song was sung to celebrate and act of divine deliverance or blessing.  Here the creatures and angels are praising Jesus, the Lamb, who delivered all mankind through his blood.  Jesus is worthy to receive all power, wealth, wisdom, honor and blessing because of the ransom He paid with His blood on the cross.  All heaven and earth will praise Him!  What a glorious scene this will be.  Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, is Worthy of all Praise!

1 Thess 5 18And so… what a fitting way to end our year.  Let us praise our Savior and Redeemer.  Let your lips utter praise today for all this last year has brought both good and bad.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”   Ponder the difficulties you’ve had in your life this year  in G-R-I-Tlight of James 1:2-4Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Let us take the adversity we experienced and the blessings we received and offer them up to Jesus today as and offering of praise and thanksgiving.

Linda

The Conclusion of the Messiah

Need focus? Be encouraged today!

1 Corinthians 15 51This last Sunday of 2018 where is your focus?  Handel turns our thoughts to Christ’s return and the changes it will bring as he nears the completion of his work in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.  “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”  Wow! Now that will be a transformation!  In a nanosecond in time we will be changed as we hear the trumpet signaling Christ’s return.  We do not know when this will happen, but can be assured that it will happen just as Christ said.  1 Thessalonians 5:2 addresses the time of His return. “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  We don’t know the day or time so we need to be ever ready for His return.  John ends his vision in Revelation 22:20 with this hope.  “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!

Praise our Savior today as you worship!  Revel in all He has done and will do in the future for you and me.   As you look to 2019, pray for His return and stand with new hope and assurance that He will help you to overcome all obstacles that lie ahead.  Praise Him for the victory that will be yours in Christ as you seek to follow Him each new day.

Linda

Enjoy the music and lovely pictures.

My Redeemer Lives

During this Advent Season, I journeyed each day using Handel’s Messiah as my guide.  On Christmas Day I ended with the Hallelujah Chorus which seemed so fitting for the celebration of our Savior’s birth.  The third and last portion of the Messiah focuses on Christ’s return and reign.  I could not leave this wonderful piece without including a few more days in Part 3.    It begins with Job 19:25-26.  Job is in discussion with his friends who encourage suffering Job to curse and reject God.  Job however, relies upon God’s my redeemerejustice and speaks these words of encouragement to his friends that echo throughout the ages.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,”

How has your year gone?  How did you face the trials that the year brought?  Did  you see time like Job as a journey that is led by hope in your Redeemer?  Or did you get bogged down in the daily struggle and lose sight of who was walking with you each day and who was there for you to lean upon?  Job had confidence that He served a living God that will someday reign on earth.  Even if he dies before this happens, he has the faith that he will live to see God.   Do you share that conviction with Job?  Peter shares our hope in Christ and echos Job’s conviction in 1 Peter 1:3-7.  Trials of life come but our hope remains steadfast in Christ.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Let’s end this year by turning our focus back upon God, claiming the assurance and  Hope of Job, that our Redeemer truly Lives!

Linda

A Christmas Hallelujah to You!

merry-christmas-john-1-16-550x320

It is fitting today we will conclude Advent with the Hallelujah Chorus.  Tradition calls for standing during this chorus but no one really knows the reason for this.  Some say it was when the King stood upon hearing this glorious chorus in 1743 at it’s premier because he was so moved.  When the king or queen stand, etiquette requires that everyone else stand and so the tradition continues to this day.  What ever the reason, the music is glorious and pays tribute to our God who Reigns forever.  The words were taken from Revelation 19:6, 11:15 and 19:16.  The facts of these verses are gloriously woven into this Chorus.

Blessings to you this Christmas and thanks for going with me on this journey through the Messiah.  I have seen prophesies that I had not realized before and heard them put to song in a marvelous way.  I pray it was a blessing to you and to our Savior.  I truly believe the sentiment of my Christmas Greeting given in John 1:16 “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”  We are blessed by His marvelous Grace each day.  Hallelujah and Merry Christmas!

Linda

Revelation 19:6 speaks of the glorious gathering to celebrate the lamb of God, Jesus and His bride the church.  Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God     the Almighty reigns.

Revelation 11:15 “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”  This kingdom rule was foretold in Zechariah 14:9   “And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.”

Revelation 19:16  “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

 

Christmas Blessings as you listen!

 

Possessed by the Savior

The duties of the risen Messiah are foretold in Psalm 2:7-9.  I chose the Amplified version to give us some additional help in understanding these words included in the Messiah.

psalm 2 7 “I will declare the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son;
This day [I proclaim] I have begotten You.

‘Ask of Me, and I will assuredly give [You] the nations as Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth as Your possession.

‘You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall shatter them [in pieces] like earthenware.’”

Paul quotes verse 7 in his impassioned preaching to the Jews in Antioch recorded in Acts 13:32-33.  He was describing Jesus as the awaited and prophesied Messiah.  And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’”  God claims Jesus as Son and establishes His right to rule over all the earth.   The author of Hebrews also includes verse 7 when referring to Christ’s God given superiority over all angelic beings.   He rightly includes all beings in heaven and earth will worship the Son.  Hebrews 1:5-6  “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?  Or again,  “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.

What do these prophecies mean to us? Our Savior and Lord is God’s Son and will rule over all creation both in heaven and on earth.  This is not wishful thinking by God but presented as fact that His Son will rule as King.  God gives each of us to His Son as a precious possession.  Ephesians 1:14 refers to all believers as belonging to Christ and being sealed by His Holy Spirit.In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Peter also refers to believers as being a special possession of Christ’s  special possessionin 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”   Peter reminds us we are called to proclaim Jesus as we have seen His light and were called out of unbelief.

christmasLet us praise our risen King and all He accomplished on our behalf as we consider the babe in the manger.   I love the description of Jesus in Hebrews 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”  Thank you Jesus.

Linda 

The 4th Sunday of Advent-worship and be blessed!

Psalm 2 is highlighted in the Messiah as it pointed to Jesus.  It foretells how the nations would conspire against Jesus to condemn Him, but even their plotting and actions were used by God for our good and the redemption of all mankind.                                                       Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed,

job42-2All the raging of nations, the shouting of atheists and the persecution of believers are all vain threats against the Lord and His plans.  Job spoke with confidence in Job 42:2 ““I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Isaiah 8:10 reveals God’s plans against the warring Assyrians.  Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand,  for God is with us.   

Do you have the confidence Job and Isaiah showed about who God is and what power He possesses?  Think about Christmas and the miracle of Jesus’ birth, the sovereignty of God shown in all the prophecies being exactly fulfilled at the exact right time in history.  In the spirit of God’s sovereignty, claim Jeremiah 29:11 for your own life knowing and trusting God and His will.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare  and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” 

psalm 2 11I love the way Psalm 2 ends with verses 11-12.                 Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Serve, fear-revere, rejoice, kiss Jesus (adore Him) then be ready to receive His blessings as you cling to Him.  Have a blessed Sunday worshiping the Lord!

Linda

Good News for you and me! Shout it out!!

In this next portion of scripture I envision the angels as they announce the arrival of our Savior to the shepherds, or Paul as he preaches about the ‘good news’ of the gospel.  Like many prophecies it has already been fulfilled and yet there is one fulfillment still future to us.

Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountainsgood news
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
 “Your God reigns!”

Scholars feel the first fulfillment of God’s return to Jerusalem (Zion) was when His people returned from captivity in Babylon.  Nehemiah led the group back to Jerusalem with the blessing and provisions of King Artaxerxes.  See the books of Nehemiah and Ezra for the full telling of their return, opposition, rebuilding  of the walls and eventually the temple.  The second fulfillment of this prophecy of good news being proclaimed in Zion comes through Jesus.  He proclaimed the ‘good news’ of the kingdom.  Jesus read the words in Isaiah as told in Luke 4:18 ““The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,  to set the oppressed free,”  He then in verses 20-21 Luke records, “Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Jesus knew the gospel or good news he preached was to bring salvation and deliverance for all who believed.  The final fulfillment of this prophecy is still future to us.  It will be when Christ returns triumphantly to Zion, proclaiming the good news of His return and reign over all the earth.  Revelation 19:6 “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.”  What a glorious time that will be!

The prophecy tells of good news- good tidings, that salvation is available to all who believe.  Jesus’ coming brought hope of restoration in our relationship with God and freedom from the bondage of sin.  Paul reasoned with the Jews in Antioch “Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.” Acts 13:39   Again in Romans 6:-6-7 and 18 Paul explains this freedom and our new view of righteousness this freedom brings. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that romans 6 18we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.  “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”   The good news of the gospel brings restoration and hope,  and that is good news indeed!

Who can you tell of the good news of Jesus this Christmas? 

Linda 

Messiah tells this scripture one way.  The traditional Christmas carol proclaims the good news too.  This one is just fun and makes me smile.

Who is your King of Glory?

Psalm 24:7-10 comes alive through the hands of Handel in the Messiah.  As I read the words I can hear melody as he accentuates them.    They are words that have been sung many times over the ages from David to today- if you have time,  listen to Chris Tomlin’s version of these ancient words too.                                                                                              Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,King of glory
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?                                                                                   The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.

 David first penned these words to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.  David realized the ark represented the dwelling place of God among them and wanted God to be in their midst.  This song shows the emotional return of the Lord to Zion.  It points to the Lord’s triumphant return.  This occurred in David’s time with the return of the ark, in Jesus’ time with His arrival in Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and points to Jesus’ return at the end of time.  Matthew 21:9 records the crowd’s praise as Jesus entered Jerusalem. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna  in the highest heaven!”  In John’s vision we see Christ returning to the city,  Revelation 19:11-13 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” 

The psalmist questions, Who is this King of glory? The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of gloryHis conclusion points to the sovereignty, power, and magnificence of God.  How would you answer this question?  Is God your Lord God's gloryAlmighty? Do you see and recognize Him as the King of all heaven and earth and see a world filled with glory? The Glory of God is by definition the sum total of all God’s attributes. Throughout history God has revealed His power, mercy, grace, judgement, holiness, love, kindness and every other attribute.  In the Old Testament God was symbolically present with the people in the glory cloud known as the Shekinah glory.  God indwelt the tabernacle and later the temple. Today God dwells with us through His Holy Spirit that indwells every believer.  The Lord Jesus Christ reveals God’s glory completely!

Ponder anew today the glory of God revealed in Jesus His Son.  Celebrate His coming this Advent Season with joy and praises!  The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.   Open the doors of your heart and let Him in for He is strong, mighty and filled with glory!

Linda

Here is another more modern rendition of the ancient words by Chris Tomlin- enjoy!

Assurance of Eternal Joy in Jesus

Handel used this next portion in Psalms 16 to remind us that our long awaited Savior would conquer death.   David penned the words of this psalm as a prayerful plea to God for His protection, guidance and victory over death in the many battles and struggles he faced.  How much more these words applied to our Savior during His life!  Both Peter and Paul quote these verses in speaking of Jesus as he faced death and died, but that the grave could not keep Him and He rose from the dead.

Psalm 16 8Psalm 16:9-11  Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

God did not abandon Jesus after death as He rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.  Peter preached these words about Christ in Acts 2:26-33 as he spoke to the crowds at Pentecost.  Paul  preached with these words in Acts 13:35-37  at the synagogue in Antioch.  These words exude confidence that Jesus would not see decay bring us hope.  He would not rot in the grave and return to dust but conquer death through the power of God.  Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the Romans 8 11dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of  his Spirit who lives in you.”  Praise God we have that spirit living within us!  Belief in Jesus brings freedom from the curse of death.  2 Corinthians 4:14 “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.”   Do you have that hope?   Praise Him if you do and seek Him if you do not.

The psalmist also wrote that this risen one would then be seated in heaven at God’s right hand.   Ephesians 1:19b-21 tells us of Jesus’ place in heavenThat power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,21 far above all rule and authority, power and ephesians 1 20dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”   Colossians 3:1 also gives this truth “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

The Psalmist’s words foretelling Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and placement in heaven are confirmed throughout the New Testament. What joy and hope they should bring to us!  Through the power of God, believers do not see death, eternal punishment and separation from God, but rise to live with Him in eternity.  We will see Him seated on His heavenly throne at God’s right hand.   What a glorious day that will be!

Praise God today for coming and making all this possible through our faith in Him.  Thank you Jesus.  You came to seek and to save those who are lost.  We can be assured today you will find us and save us for all eternity.

Linda

Purposed in LOVE

The Messiah next returns to Isaiah 53:8 as Handel continues to show the suffering and rejection of our Savior.  His birth at Christmas is a celebration but it led to a pathway filled with grief and sorrow for our Lord Jesus. I think the Amplified Translation will help us to see this verse more clearly.

Isaiah 53:8 “After oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation [His contemporaries], who [among them] concerned himself with the fact
That He was cut off from the land of the living [by His death]
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke [of death]was due?

Jesus’ persecution by both the religious Jews in several illegal mock trials and then His judgement by Jews and condemnation by the Romans are what is spoken of here as oppression and judgement.  His trial before the Sanhedrin is recorded in Matthew 26:62-67 “Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.  The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God:Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”  64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?” He is worthy of death,” they answered. 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him.”   Later before Pilate they all demanded death for Jesus.  Matthew 27:20-23 “But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.  “Barabbas,” they answered.  22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”  23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Verse 8 also states that Jesus would be cut off from the land of the living and sentenced to death for the transgressions of the people not his own.  Paul puts this cutting off plainly Romans 5 6 8in Romans 5:6-8 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  

How can we be encouraged by these words of suffering and death of our Savior?  Jesus came as a babe fully aware of his life and purpose.  Even as young as 12 when he spoke in the temple people were amazed.  Luke 2:46-47  “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.”  When Mary and Joseph asked him about it he replied in verse 49 ““Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  Jesus knew His purpose and came to earth to do the will of His Father in heaven.  He God loves youcame for us.   Are you motivated by the love of God to give yourself willingly to serve others?  It is Jesus’ example to us given at Christmas for us to ponder and imitate in our own lives.  What better time of year to put this into practice!

Linda