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14

 

 

Adulterous Man

How has it come to this? I’m standing here with a rock in my hand amidst all this anger. The anger is not mine, but I can feel it. It’s all around.

I didn’t see this coming as I sat at breakfast with my wife, Anna, and my two little ones. I think of myself as a good father, a good husband. I have a steady job working with the dairyman. We sell our milk from a cart near the sheep gate. I almost have enough saved to buy a few cows of my own.

But at noontime, as I sat in the square eating the lunch my Anna had packed for me, I saw her. I have known her for a few months. I say known, but not really, though our eyes have met often. The few words we have traded have been suggestive and flirtatious, but meant nothing.

When I first saw her, the words of my father rang in my ears. On my wedding day he told me I must be like Job and make a covenant with my eyes if I wanted to be faithful to my Anna. But that day, my eyes saw only my sweet bride, and I can remember thinking such evil could never tempt me.

The day I first saw this woman in the market, she caught me staring. I looked away immediately, but I felt temptation’s net, and it had me. The next time, I let my eyes linger a bit longer.

Once I saw her walking through the temple gate with a man I took to be her father. I later learned it was her husband. Not a great match for her.

Today, she walked right up to where I was eating and sat down beside me. I told her she should not sit next to me right there in the square because people would whisper.

“I just need someone to talk to,” she said, right on the edge of tears. “Where can I talk with you?”

I took her to a place I knew would be empty and quiet at that time of day, and she began to cry in earnest. She told me of her life, and at first I just listened. I told myself she needed me to listen. She needed a friend. She just needed to talk about it. I needed to be compassionate, to listen like a friend.

Soon I was holding her as she sobbed and trembled.

The rest is a blur. What started as a comforting touch became an embrace, and soon I found myself overwhelmed. Compassion became passion, and the next thing I knew, the door burst open.

A group of men broke in, some in religious robes, including my own rabbi. This rabbi had married Anna and me; he had circumcised my little Yacob. They grabbed us and started dragging us out into the square.

“Let the boy go,” my rabbi said. “I know him.”

The woman’s husband was among our intruders. “You Jezebel! You harlot!” he yelled in our wake.

I followed the angry group out into the square, where they had gathered up stones. I’d lived in Jerusalem my whole life, but I’d never seen anyone stoned in the streets. We read about it in the Law of Moses, but we never took it that far. My rabbi stood beside me. He bent down and picked up two stones. They were bigger than a man’s fist. He took my right hand and forced me to take the cold, hard lump of hatred.

I dropped it, but he reached down, picked it up, and gave it back to me.

“If you will not do this thing, you will be up there with her,” he said to me. I could hardly breathe.

Then the crowd swelled forward. One of the rabbis called out, “Jesus is in the outer court. Follow me, and let’s hear what that upstart will have us do with her.”

Soon the woman lay face down in the dust. I could still hear her sobs. Before her stood a man dressed in common robes. There was already a good-size crowd with Him before we pushed our way through.

“Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?”

It was then I realized this was not about the woman, or about her sin, or about the law. It was a test for this preacher. It was not the woman in the dirt who was on trial here. It was this Jesus. This was a test for Him. They wanted to see what He would do.

Would this so-called Son of Man side with the sinner, or would He side with the religious leaders? They hated the title He had taken. They worked so hard to be more than mere men. These priests, scribes, and Pharisees craved the esteem of men; they were anything but common.

But this Jesus, He would eat with sinners. He was not ashamed to be with them in their homes and in the streets. How would He deal with this woman? Would He take her part and defy the Lord God’s own law? Would He take up a stone with us and break faith with the people?

This had me nervous. If He took up the law, I might just be next.

As I stood, stone in hand and awaiting His judgment, I thought back to those glances that brought me to this place. I wasn’t so innocent. A place in my heart had sought out this adultery. I allowed my eyes to draw me into dissatisfaction with a life full of blessing.

Jesus positioned Himself between those of us with stones and the woman. She was still weeping with her face in the dirt. He knelt down and wrote something in the dust.

I could not see what He was writing, but, in the silence my guilt and shame were mounting. Again I heard my father’s words: “Remember son,” he would say, “Hell and destruction are never full, so man’s eyes are never satisfied.”

How had I fallen so far? How could this man expose my heart without speaking one word?

Then He stood and looked at us—at me!

The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone,” He said.

After a moment, He got back down in the dirt with the woman. As He continued to write in the dust, His finger tracing the law in my heart, I saw for the first time the wickedness of my actions.

And I was not the only one. First the elders began to back off, some dropping their stones, others taking them away as they quietly pulled back from the crowd.

As I stood there, I could hear my own voice speaking my vows to dear Anna those eight years ago. What I wanted to do was fall down and beg Him to forgive me. That’s when I had to leave. I wanted to run, but I just dropped the stone and backed away. My sin, my unfaithfulness, filled my heart. I had to be rid of it. But how? How could I be free of this guilt? I never knew this darkness of guilt and shame until I stood in the presence of such holiness, such wisdom, such purity.

Who is this man?

What must I do to be saved from this condemnation that fills my heart?

~~~

To read the original story, see John 8:1-11.

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If you find yourself asking these same questions check out this post - What Peace? - where I lay out God's plan in simple terms.

 

Copyright - 2015 -  Benjamin Nelson

This story comes from my book "Encounters With Jesus. Forty days in the life of Jesus through the eyes of those He touched." You can get yours today at Amazon.com.

If you've read Encounters it would be a huge blessing to me if you would write a review, and tell a friend about it.

If you would be interested in buying more than one copy, email me for bulk rates.

BenHeadshotThanks for coming by.

We'll talk again soon.

Ben

When I was younger my family went every year to hear the wonderful oratorio Messiah by GF Handel. Even today as I was listening in the car it brought me to tears at points.

There is much credit due the wonderful music, but at the heart of this work is the text which is directly from the Word of God. I wanted to share it with you. No Rush, but sometime in the upcoming days you should sit down and just read through it (or find a copy and listen while reading the words so you don't miss the breath of God on this wonderful piece.

BenHeadshotMerry Christmas

Ben

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Messiah (HWV 56)[1] is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennensfrom the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer (which are worded slightly differently from their King James counterparts). It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.[n 1] (Wikipdeia)

To make it a little easier to follow I put the names of the songs in bold followed by the scripture reference which was supplied by the source listed below, followed by the text of the scripture printed out in the quotes boxes.

Lyric Source - http://www.worshipmap.com/lyrics/messiahtext.html

Handel's Messiah
George Frederic Handel (1695-1759)

Part I

(1) Overture

(2) Comfort Ye

Isaiah 40:1-3

1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .

3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(3) Every Valley

Isaiah 40:4

4.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

(4) And the Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 40:5

5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

(5) Thus saith the Lord

Haggai 2:6,7

6. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come

Malachi 3:1

1. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

(6) But who may abide the Day of His Coming?

Malachi 3:2

2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.

(7) And He shall Purify

Malachi 3:3

3. And He shall purify the sons of Levi. . . that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

(8) Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive

Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:23)

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us.

(9) O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion

Isaiah 40:9

9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, and be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Isaiah 60:1

1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

(10) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth

Isaiah 60:2,3

2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(11) The people that walked in darkness

Isaiah 9:2 (Matthew 3:16)

2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

(12) For unto Us a Child is born

Isaiah 9:6

6. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

(13) Pastoral Symphony

(14) There were shepherds abiding in the field

Luke 2:8

8. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

Luke 2:9

9. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

(15) And the Angel said unto them

Luke 2:10,11

10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

(16) And suddenly there was with the Angel

Luke 2:13

13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

(17) Glory to God

Luke 2:14

14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(18) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion

Zechariah 9:9,10 (Matthew 21:5)

9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior. . 10. . . And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

(19) Then shall the eyes of the blind

Isaiah 35:5,6

5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

(20) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd

Isaiah 40:11

11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Matthew 11:28, 29

28. Come unto [Him], all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and [He shall]give you rest. 29. Take [his] yoke upon you, and learn of [Him]; for [he is] meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(21) His yoke is easy

Matthew 11:30

30. [His] yoke is easy, and [his]burden is light.

Part II

(22) Behold the lamb of God

John 1:29

29.Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

(23) He was despised

Isaiah 53:3

3. He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . Isaiah 50:6 [He]gave [His] back to the smiters, and [His] cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: [He] hid not [His] face from shame and spitting.

(24) Surely He hath borne our griefs

Isaiah 53:4,5

4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . 5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him,

(25) And with His stripes we are healed

Isaiah 53:5b

5. and with His stripes we are healed

(26) All we like sheep have gone astray

Isaiah 53:6

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(27) All they that see him laugh him to scorn

Psalm 22:7

7. All they that see [him]laugh [him] to scorn: they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying:

(28) He trusted in God

Psalm 22:8 (Matthew 27:43)

8. He trusted [in God] that he would deliver him:let him deliver him, if he delight in him.

(29) Thy rebuke hath broken His heart

Psalm 69:20

20. [Thy] rebuke hath broken [his] heart; [He is] full of heaviness. [He]looked for some to have pity [on Him], but there was none; neither found [He] any to comfort [Him].

(30) Behold, and see if there be any sorrow

Lamentations 1:12

12. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto [his] sorrow. . .

(31) He was cut off out of the land of the living

Isaiah 53:8b

8. he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of [Thy] people was He stricken.

(32) But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell

Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27)

10. [But] thou [didst] not leave [his] soul in hell; neither [didst]thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

(33) Lift up your heads, O ye gates

Psalm 24:7-10

7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 10. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

(34) Unto which of the angels said He at any time

Hebrews 1:5 (Psalm 2:7)

5. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?

(35) Let all the angels of God worship Him

Hebrews 1:6b

6. "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

(36) Thou art gone up on high

Psalm 68:18 (Ephesians 4:8)

18. Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

(37) The Lord gave the word

Psalm 68:11

11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of [the preachers].

(38) How beautiful are the feet

Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7)

15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

(39) Their sound is gone out

Romans 10:18 (Psalm 19:4)

18. their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.

(40) Why do the nations so furiously rage together?

Psalm 2:1,2 (Acts 4:25-26)

1. Why do the heathen rage, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed,

(41) Let us break their bonds asunder

Psalm 2:3

3. Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

(42) He that dwelleth in heaven

Psalm 2:4

4. He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.

(43) Thou shalt break them

Psalm 2:9

9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

(44) Hallelujah

Revelation 19:6

6. Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 11:15 15. . . the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 19:16 16. . . . KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.

Part III

(45) I know that my redeemer liveth

Job 19:25, 26

25. I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand on the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

1Corinthians 15:20

20. [For] now is Christ risen from the dead. . . the firstfruits of them that [sleep].

(46) Since by man came death

1Corinthians 15:21,22

21. Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(47) Behold I tell you a mystery

1Corinthians 15:51,52

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;

(48) The trumpet shall sound

1Corinthians 15:52b-53

52. the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(49) Then shall be brought to pass

1Corinthians 15:54b (Isaiah 25:8)

54. then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'

(50) O death where is thy sting?

1Corinthians 15:55-56 (Hosea 13:14)

55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

(51) But thanks be to God

1 Corinthians 15:57

57. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(52) If God be for us

Romans 8:31, 33, 34

31. If God be for us, who can be against us? 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

(53) Worthy is the Lamb

Revelation 5:12, 13

12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. . . . Blessing, and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.      Amen.

 

3

The Prophecy of Agabus by Louis Cheron

Yesterday, I posed a question. Here are a few verses we were considering:

After looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem. ...

As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem.

Acts 21:4, 10-12 NASB

The Question:

The ponderable on the table here is whether the disciples were right and Paul should have stayed out of Jerusalem. Or was Paul hearing perfectly, and the disciples were missing the point of what the Spirit was saying. They came pretty close (but not perfect - that’s a conversation for another day) as to what would happen when He got there. But did they mis-read God’s intention for Paul.

What if I told you Paul  could have stayed or gone and never missed God’s best for him?

Many Christians are stuck because they find themselves unable to make a decision. They are afraid they will miss God’s best in their life, if they make one wrong move.

I’m not talking about sin here.

Trust me on this, if among your choices is a clear violation of who God is and what He has commanded, there may be some consequences in your natural and spiritual life.

But let’s get back to Paul’s situation. He had what he believed was the voice of God (I’m not saying it wasn’t) and the council of men and women of faith.

Agabus was not some fly by night, hot and cold saint. He had a solid record of good prophecy. This is from about ten years earlier:

One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. - Acts 11:28 NASB

So who missed God?

What if?

What if the Father gave Paul the choice?

What if he could have picked either one and ended up in God’s perfect will?

What if God was able to work in and through Paul even if he chose not to go to Jerusalem?

Paul taught us in Romans 8:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28 NASB

And the writer of Hebrews tells us:

… for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. - Hebrews 11:6 NASB

Paul was a called and diligent seeker after God’s heart. The fact that He would again face chains did not persuade him to fade back from where He believed the Lord was leading.

This was not like his canceled stop in Bithynia:

and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; - Acts 16:7 NASB

Applied:

So - let’s bring the question closer to home. Can you miss God’s best for your life?

Again, let’s put blatant sin out of the picture. If that godly woman in your church makes you think you should divorce your wife, and marry her, think again (or stop thinking altogether because your brain needs a break—or brakes.)

But what if you find yourself, in diligent pursuit of the Father’s will, with two or more really good options? What if your oikos (the circle of fellowship and love the Lord has placed in your life) is not giving counsel that resonates or clarifies.

Just go for it.

When He said He would work all thing for your good, He really meant all things. God has seen the potential outcome of every choice you have ever made, or ever will, and has a plan ready to go.

Have you ever gotten a video, with an alternate ending. God’s got racks and racks of alternate endings with your name on them. Each one ends well, not only for you, but for all of His vast family.

It’s a little mind-blowing when you start to take all the choices made by all those called by His name and mix up all the possibilities. Factor in the chance circumstances that get sprinkled liberally into our lives. Now ponder how the infinite mind of God has fashioned our destiny from all that.

I can’t find words immense enough to even describe the mind and heart of God.

So be encouraged. Don’t be afraid to act. As long as you’re not violating love—aka God’s law—follow God’s leading as best you can and believe He will take care of the rest.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by today.

You’re a blessing. Keep shining.

Ben

10

The Prophecy of Agabus by Louis Cheron

After looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days; and they kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem. - Acts 21:4 NASB

I have a question for you.

I've heard smart Christians, godly men and women all, come in on both sides of this question. I'd love to get your take.

Here's the situation:

Paul is traveling all over the world preaching the gospel. Everywhere he goes the disciples (Christ followers) prophecy over him. They have heard from the Holy Spirit that he should not go to Jerusalem.

Agabus, by a prophetic demonstration showed him that chains awaited him there.

As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. - Acts 21:10-12 NASB

Paul took it as the kindness of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit gave him foreknowledge of what he faced. He faced hard times as he obeyed the call of the Spirit on his heart to go to Jerusalem.

The others took it as a warning from the Spirit not to go.

What do you think? Why?

2

Many Waters - SoS header

You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
As lovely as Jerusalem,

Song of Songs 6:4 NASB

The Shepherd King expresses once again His recognition of the beauty of His bride. This is, in fact, the 8th of 9 such declarations of her beauty in the Song.

Here He compares her to two cities, Tirzah and Jerusalem.

In Solomon’s day, the nation was one, and so Tirzah was a city far to the north of unified Israel. It lay in the mountains, and a beautiful setting, to the north of Sheckem and to the south of the Sea of Galilee.

The name Tirzah means pleasant or well-pleasing. It would serve as the capital of the northern kingdom for many decades, and was no doubt chosen for it’s beauty and it’s fortified location.

It was an ancient city even in Solomon’s time, and had been taken from the Philistines a few generations earlier.

It symbolizes the beauty of a converted life. There is a beauty in the way the Lord can take that which once belonged to the enemy and turn the ugliness of a worldling into the beauty of a holy child of the King.

This is the beauty carried by His bride. She was dark but lovely, and is now a lily among thorns.

Next He compares her to Jerusalem – Zion – the city of the great king – the city of God – beautiful, beautiful Zion.

Where Tirzah is the beauty of conversion, Jerusalem is the beauty of holiness. Jerusalem is the center of true worship. It is God chosen city. Jerusalem is God’s favorite place on earth!

And Jerusalem during the reign of Solomon would have been without equal in all the world.

Hear this – you who have given your lives over to the Lord – you are beautiful.

You are beautiful as one converted, one surrendered to Him.

You are a place of holy worship to Him.

You are a well pleasing dwelling place for the King of glory, the King most high.

What a wonderful King!

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

 

4

Photo credit - PatriotLeader.com
Photo credit - PatriotLeader.com

Merry Christmas!

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Philippians 2:5-11

He humbled himself.

He took off His royal robes and put on swaddling clothes.

He took off the purple robes of majesty and put on diapers.

The same mouth that uttered the words “Light Be” and exploded the universe into motion, now cooed and drooled and spit up on His mama’s shoulder.

The same mind that informed Solomon would soon sit and ask questions of the Spiritual leaders in Jerusalem.

The Captain of the Lord’s army who lead Israel into battle against Jericho would soon be taken captive by a Roman cohort.

The same lungs that breathed breath into the dust of the ground and brought forth Adam, would heave with the words, ‘it is finished’ and then be silent for three days.

The same Christ, this same Jesus, who condescended to put on flesh, would again put on immortality, and ascended into heaven.

This same Jesus who talked baby talk and ate baby food will one day judge all men dead and alive.

This same Jesus who was mocked and scorned is the One before whom every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess.

O come let us adore Him.

Ben NelsonHave a great Christmas Incarnation Celebration

Come back soon!

Ben

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Messiah Score

This work of music and scripture moves me every time I listen to it. The words come directly from the scriptures and tell the wonderful story of the incarnation of the Word of God, and walk through His death and resurrection.

I hope over these next few days you will take a bit of time and look over these words and let them minster to your spirit. I am considering interspersing them with the opening of presents tomorrow as we celebrate with our family.

May God bless each of you as you turn your heart toward Him.

Ben NelsonMerry Christmas

Ben

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Messiah (HWV 56)[1] is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennensfrom the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer (which are worded slightly differently from their King James counterparts). It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.[n 1] (Wikipdeia)

To make it a little easier to follow I put the names of the songs in bold followed by the scripture reference which was supplied by the source listed below, followed by the text of the scripture printed out in the quotes boxes.

Lyric Source - http://www.worshipmap.com/lyrics/messiahtext.html

Messiah

George Frederic Handel (1695-1759)

Part I

(1) Overture

(2) Comfort Ye

Isaiah 40:1-3

1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .

3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(3) Every Valley

Isaiah 40:4

4.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

(4) And the Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 40:5

5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

(5) Thus saith the Lord

Haggai 2:6,7

6. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come

Malachi 3:1

1. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

(6) But who may abide the Day of His Coming?

Malachi 3:2

2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.

(7) And He shall Purify

Malachi 3:3

3. And He shall purify the sons of Levi. . . that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

(8) Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive

Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:23)

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us.

(9) O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion

Isaiah 40:9

9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, and be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Isaiah 60:1

1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

(10) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth

Isaiah 60:2,3

2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(11) The people that walked in darkness

Isaiah 9:2 (Matthew 3:16)

2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

(12) For unto Us a Child is born

Isaiah 9:6

6. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

(13) Pastoral Symphony

(14) There were shepherds abiding in the field

Luke 2:8

8. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.

Luke 2:9

9. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

(15) And the Angel said unto them

Luke 2:10,11

10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

(16) And suddenly there was with the Angel

Luke 2:13

13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

(17) Glory to God

Luke 2:14

14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(18) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion

Zechariah 9:9,10 (Matthew 21:5)

9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior. . 10. . . And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

(19) Then shall the eyes of the blind

Isaiah 35:5,6

5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

(20) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd

Isaiah 40:11

11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Matthew 11:28, 29

28. Come unto [Him], all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and [He shall]give you rest. 29. Take [his] yoke upon you, and learn of [Him]; for [he is] meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(21) His yoke is easy

Matthew 11:30

30. [His] yoke is easy, and [his]burden is light.

Part II

(22) Behold the lamb of God

John 1:29

29.Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

(23) He was despised

Isaiah 53:3

3. He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . Isaiah 50:6 [He]gave [His] back to the smiters, and [His] cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: [He] hid not [His] face from shame and spitting.

(24) Surely He hath borne our griefs

Isaiah 53:4,5

4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . 5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him,

(25) And with His stripes we are healed

Isaiah 53:5b

5. and with His stripes we are healed

(26) All we like sheep have gone astray

Isaiah 53:6

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(27) All they that see him laugh him to scorn

Psalm 22:7

7. All they that see [him]laugh [him] to scorn: they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying:

(28) He trusted in God

Psalm 22:8 (Matthew 27:43)

8. He trusted [in God] that he would deliver him:let him deliver him, if he delight in him.

(29) Thy rebuke hath broken His heart

Psalm 69:20

20. [Thy] rebuke hath broken [his] heart; [He is] full of heaviness. [He]looked for some to have pity [on Him], but there was none; neither found [He] any to comfort [Him].

(30) Behold, and see if there be any sorrow

Lamentations 1:12

12. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto [his] sorrow. . .

(31) He was cut off out of the land of the living

Isaiah 53:8b

8. he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of [Thy] people was He stricken.

(32) But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell

Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27)

10. [But] thou [didst] not leave [his] soul in hell; neither [didst]thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

(33) Lift up your heads, O ye gates

Psalm 24:7-10

7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 10. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

(34) Unto which of the angels said He at any time

Hebrews 1:5 (Psalm 2:7)

5. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?

(35) Let all the angels of God worship Him

Hebrews 1:6b

6. "Let all the angels of God worship Him."

(36) Thou art gone up on high

Psalm 68:18 (Ephesians 4:8)

18. Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

(37) The Lord gave the word

Psalm 68:11

11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of [the preachers].

(38) How beautiful are the feet

Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7)

15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

(39) Their sound is gone out

Romans 10:18 (Psalm 19:4)

18. their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.

(40) Why do the nations so furiously rage together?

Psalm 2:1,2 (Acts 4:25-26)

1. Why do the heathen rage, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed,

(41) Let us break their bonds asunder

Psalm 2:3

3. Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

(42) He that dwelleth in heaven

Psalm 2:4

4. He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.

(43) Thou shalt break them

Psalm 2:9

9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

(44) Hallelujah

Revelation 19:6, Revelation 11:15 15, Revelation 19:16 16.

6. Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. . . . the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever.  . . . KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.

Part III

(45) I know that my redeemer liveth

Job 19:25, 26

25. I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand on the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

1Corinthians 15:20

20. [For] now is Christ risen from the dead. . . the firstfruits of them that [sleep].

(46) Since by man came death

1Corinthians 15:21-22

21. Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(47) Behold I tell you a mystery

1Corinthians 15:51,52

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;

(48) The trumpet shall sound

1Corinthians 15:52b-53

52. the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(49) Then shall be brought to pass

1Corinthians 15:54b (Isaiah 25:8)

54. then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'

(50) O death where is thy sting?

1Corinthians 15:55-56 (Hosea 13:14)

55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

(51) But thanks be to God

1 Corinthians 15:57

57. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(52) If God be for us

Romans 8:31, 33, 34

31. If God be for us, who can be against us? 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

(53) Worthy is the Lamb

Revelation 5:12, 13

12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. . . . Blessing, and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.      Amen.

 

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“I Shall Be Whole” { The Woman with an Issue of Blood } Painted by Al Young http://alyoung.com/art/work-hem.html
“I Shall Be Whole”
{ The Woman with an Issue of Blood }
Painted by Al Young http://alyoung.com/art/work-hem.html

Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" - Mark 5:30

When I read this, two things jump off the page for me.

First, Jesus sensed power flowing out of Him

Next, taking the passage at face value, He did not know where the power went.

(ok – let’s say three things)

Finally (for now) He did not cause the power to flow.

Power:

This power is tangible. Jesus could feel it flow or at least was aware of changes in it. This helps to inform me on what was up in Luke when he reports that:

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. - Luke 5:17 NKJV

Jesus carried an anointing for healing everywhere He went. There were times when He healed everyone, and there were times when He healed just one. There were times when He did amazing and over the top miraculous stuff, and there were times when ...

“He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.”(Mark 6:5)

So then – at least this time (I am loath to put Jesus in a box and say He does this under these conditions – so we will observe what He did do, but not assume that He does it exactly the same in every circumstance – is that fair?) Jesus was more or less a spectator, or perhaps a commentator on what God was doing with this woman.

She determined what to do. She pressed into proximity of Jesus. She touched Him. The power of God He was carrying responded to her faith.

Is that what happened? Does that sound too New Age-ey?

Did her faith move the power of God that was resident in Jesus without His knowledge or participation?

That’s the way I read it. How about you?

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

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Christ Heals a Man Paralyzed by the Gout. Mark 2:4. Engraving by Bernhard Rode, 1780. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rode_1.jpg

This story of the paralytic who was carried to the Master by four of his friends appears in 3 of the gospels. Each of course has it’s own highlights and details.

I particularly like how it starts out in Luke’s gospel.

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. ~ Luke 5:17 (NKJV)

I love this note at the end of this first part of Luke’s tale. “the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” This intrigues me.

Luke wrote this work as a documentation of historical facts, and probably worked from Mark’s earlier account for laying out the events, but clearly gathered information from other first hand witnesses.

It is clear to me that someone he spoke with was aware of the presence of a particular power that accompanied Jesus. I suppose it could be that he is simply stating the fact that since Jesus was there, and He heals folks, that the power of the Lord was there to heal or perhaps the fact that He was teaching, and His teaching was almost always accompanied by healing. Or it may be that someone in the room had been around the Lord when He healed in the past and was able to see the tell tale signs of this healing virtue, or power.

Do you remember the account of the woman with the issue of blood? It says virtue, or power flowed out of Jesus when she touched the hem of His garment, and He sensed this flow of power.

I believe that is what the writer is talking about here, a palpable sense of the power of the Lord to heal, that someone who had been around Him for a while would be able to discern.

The sad part here is that there was a house full of people who were not there to receive, they were there to pass judgment.

Who does this youngster think He is?

I taught Him to read and write, and now He thinks He is something?

What is all the fuss? Isn’t He the one who made my dining room table?

How do you approach the Lord and His word?

How do you listen when the word is preached? Are you a judge, or a recipient.

I have a really simple point today.

Next time you sit under the preaching or teaching of the word, take off your Pharisee’s robes, and put on your student’s (disciple’s) tunic.

The Sun of Righteousness comes with healing in His wings. (Malachi 4:2)

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"

Many Waters - SoS header

For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,

And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
The fig tree has ripened its figs,

And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. ~ Song of Songs 2:11-13

I owe you two more signs of life – The figs and vine blossoms.

We have been looking at season change now for a few weeks here on the SoS Saturday blog, and I hope it is doing you some good, I know it is helping me.

Today we start with the fig. I learned what I am about to share from  preacher and author Winkie Pratney in a sermon I had on cassette tape (that’s a audio medium about the size of an iPod which held between 45 minutes to 2 hours of audio only info) which I just about wore out, I listened to it so often. It was his sermon, “True or False Conversion,” or at least I think that was the name of the sermon.

In it he related the fact that as a child growing up in Australia, they had a fig tree in his yard, and what was unique about a fig tree was that the fruit shows up before the leaves. There would be fruit on the branches and as the fruit matured the leaves would come to protect the figs from the heat of the sun.

This opened my eyes to that story when Jesus cursed the fig tree. You remember? It was during His last week in ministry after the triumphal entry during His commute between Bethany where He was staying and Jerusalem where He was headed to turn over some tables. He came upon a fig tree with leaves. Though it was not yet fig season, He cursed the fig tree because it had no fruit.

I always wondered why curse a fig tree that does not have fruit out of season. Well, here’s the thing – it had leaves which were an indication that fruit was there. It had all the trappings of fruit, but could not satisfy.

Here is why this is so damnable.  As a fruit tree in His garden, to walk around with the trappings of fruit – with the air of spiritual life – and bear no fruit is the height of hypocrisy.

If you have no fruit in your life (and I don’t really care how you measure it, fruit of the spirit, or fruit of followers – whatever) and yet carry an air of spiritual life, you are in a very (VERY) precarious place.

Way better to own your fruit poverty, and pursue Him for the solution, than to look like you are doing great and it all be a sham.

Lord, today I need You to bring fruit to my vines, and help me to be honest with those around me, and moreover with myself about where I am.

Dang – I have gone too long already – well – one more week for signs of life. I know today was more of an anti-life sign blog. I do hope your tracking with me though.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you next week

Ben

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