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Posts Tagged ‘Savior’

Verse 13: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

The college conference that my alma mater belongs to is the SEC – Southeastern Conference. Each member school is proud of its standing, accomplishments, and strengths. You can hear it especially when any teams from any two of the schools play each other. But come college playoff / post-season bowl time, if a member team is up against a member of another conference (especially one that thinks that they’re better than the SEC), the conference pride comes out, and you might well hear the cheers of “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!” No matter the intra-conference college rivalries, the conference usually stands together.

That is somewhat a loose analogy as to what should be happening in Corinth. Paul is dismayed to discover that, although the church was founded on Jesus Christ, personality divisions have begun taking over: “I am of Paul…I am of Apollos…I am of Cephas…” and some still would say “I am of Christ”. Paul wanted them ALL to say “I am of Christ”! He is reminding them that Jesus Christ is the One who died for their sins, rose again, and lives that we may live in Him! It was not important how they came to Christ…only that they came to Christ! Or, to put it colloquially, Paul wanted to remind them to keep the main thing, the main thing!

Do you belong to the Savior? The introduction is surely not as important as the conversation.

Something to think about.

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2 Cor. 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

“One Froggy Evening” was a 1955 Looney Tunes cartoon that has gone on to become one of the masterpieces in cartoon history. It tells the story of an unnamed construction worker, helping to demolish an old building. As he is uncovering the cornerstone, he finds a time capsule of sorts. Included in this collection, a frog hops out. Once he spies the fellow looking back at him, the frog dons a top hat, grabs a cane, and starts dancing and singing “Hello, Ma Baby”!

What a gift! A singing/dancing frog! Does the fellow enjoy this gift that he has uncovered? Does he take him home to enjoy the unheard-of talents for such an amphibian? No, he does like most of us would do…dollar signs dancing in his head, he tries to find a way to cash in on his new discovery. The trouble is, every time he tries to show the frog’s talent, the frog reverts to type, sits there and croaks. He’ll only perform for the man and only if it is just the man watching. Through a series of attempts to get rich, the man becomes bankrupt, homeless, thrown in an asylum for being crazy, and finally becoming free again. Spying the construction site of a new building, he quickly puts the box with the frog in it inside its cornerstone, and runs away free. Years later in the future, a spacesuit-garbed “demolition man” is disintegrating the now old building. He find the frog, the frog dances and sings for him,…and history repeats itself as he scurries away with his gift, looking to cash in.

We, as Christians, have come into possession of a Gift offered to us. The Gift of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He paid the penalty of sin for us, and through accepting Him as Lord and Savior in our lives, guarantees us eternal life in Heaven. A set of dictionaries filled with every positive adjective in the English language would utterly fail at adding to the one adjective used in 2 Corinthians to describe this Gift: Indescribable. As such, we need to remember that we don’t need to waste the precious value of this Gift of God. We don’t need to behave like “heathens” brazenly continuing to sin just because we have “fire insurance”. We need to live for Jesus every day, telling others about Him, so that we can help share this Gift. We certainly don’t need to keep it to ourselves! People will see the value of this Gift, if they see the change that is brought in our lives by Jesus. Remember, we may be the only exposure of Jesus some people might see.

So what are you going to do with your Gift today?

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John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”

We were doing some yard work recently, and my wife was complimenting me on the trimming of a small tree/bush near my son’s window. My wife noticed that some leaves poking out were different from the other leaves she saw. While she was looking at the leaves, I was tracing the branches down to the root. While we were discussing if it was the same plant or not, I commented, “Honey, you’re looking at the leaves, and I’m looking at the roots!” Sure enough, it turns out that new leaves were part of one tree, and the other leaves belonged to a second tree growing close alongside. To look at it from far off, you would think it was the same tree, but when you look closely, you see which tree which branch of leaves belongs to.

Jesus was telling His disciples that they cannot bear fruit unless they abide in Him. Just like a branch cannot bear fruit unless it is attached ultimately to the roots, we cannot bear Christian witness or works apart from Jesus Christ. He is our Source. When I was a little boy, my grandmother had some grapevines that strung across an old bed spring-like fencing. Unfortunately, also in this fencing was poison oak. I didn’t want to touch either because I couldn’t tell which was which. Of course, once the grapes started growing, I could easily tell where the true grapevine was.

Jesus also told his disciples that God “prunes” the good branches to produce more fruit; if He has branches not producing fruit, they are taken away. Once you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, your salvation is guaranteed and you are going to Heaven. But we also need to use our gifts and abilities (that God gave us, by the way) to glorify Him and serve Him, else those gifts get rusty or fall into disuse…and what a waste of God-given talents that would be!

Tis better to be a fruit-producing branch of the True Vine; wouldn’t you agree?

Something to think about.

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Song of Solomon 2:1: “I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys.”

Shortly after I graduated college and had my first job, I was travelling home from watching a local high school football game with a friend. It was raining, and I was driving down a dark country road. I hit a tree branch that had fallen in the road; it was large enough that it caused me to skid off the road into a dark ditch. I couldn’t see the bottom of the ditch, so I had no idea if I could climb down; I was close enough to the road that I could climb out the window of my door. It was all but pitch-black and still raining. I had no idea how close I was to my folks’ house (that’s where I was heading), plus being the country, there were bound to be wild animals out. Well, it wasn’t too long after, a truck came down the road, and I managed to flag it down. the driver called out to me from his vehicle and asked was I okay. I told him I was, and asked if he could give me a lift to my folks’ house. He called out my name, recognizing my voice, and said “Is that you?” I aid, “Yes, it’s me! Who are you?” Turns out it was a friend of my family’s (for privacy, we’ll just call him Tommy) When he told me who he was, man, was I ever glad to see him! He told me to hop in, and he’d take me to my folks. The next day we were able to pull the truck out of the ditch with a tractor. At the time, no better friend and hero did I know than Tommy! He was a life saver in my dire predicament.

I always wondered why the “rose of Sharon” was one of the appellations for Jesus Christ. The Song of Solomon is a beautiful love poem between King Solomon and his Shulamite bride. It is also an analogy of the love between Jesus Christ (bridegroom) and the Church (bride). Though it is commonly assumed that this verse is spoken by the bride, many other translations state that it is the bridegroom who makes these statements (I did some research using Thru the Bible Commentary on Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon by Dr. J. Vernon McGee.) In Chapter 2, page 134, of this commentary, Dr. McGee states that “These words describe the Lord Jesus.” He explains that for anyone else to state this, it would be pride, but our Lord came down as a meek and lowly Savior, so it comes across as humility.

As Christians, we not only NEED a Savior, we should DESIRE or WANT a Savior. He should be the hero we need to rescue us in our sinful situation. And He is! The rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley are among the most beautiful flowers in that part of the world. Like my friend Tommy was that night, my Lord Jesus is the most wonderful Person I could see. He is there in times of trouble and of plenty.

To me, the old hymn says it best:
“I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
The Lily of the Valley, In Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.”

There is no more beautiful a Friend than Jesus.

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Ever seen two bighorn sheep “go at it”? Our pastor used to live in the Rocky Mountains area, and he has seen them. He told me it is truly something to see these 600-lb rams go full-tilt at each other, and then you hear that “CRACK” as they collide. It’s the power in that sound that gets your attention. I’d only seen it on TV programs such as National Geographic specials or Marty Stouffer’s Wild America.

When I first saw this name for Jesus, I was curious. True, Jesus is not recorded in the New Testament as calling Himself by that name, but others did. Once God loosened his mute voice upon the naming of his son John, Zacharias the priest (the father of John the Baptist) praised God, saying “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,” (Luke 1:68-69) I had thought “horn” in this case meant something like a musical instrument, but I was mistaken.

Below are some commentaries I have copied on this verse; I found them at http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/1-69.htm

You’ll also find the most common cross-reference from Psalms 132:17: “There I will make the horn of David grow; I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.”

“Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
(69) Hath raised up an horn of salvation.—The symbolism of the horn comes from Psalm 132:17, where it is used of the representative of the House of David, and answers to the “Anointed” of the other clause of the verse. It originated obviously in the impression made by the horns of the bull or stag, as the symbols of strength. Here, following in the steps of the Psalmist, Zacharias uses it as a description of the coming Christ, who is to be raised up in the House of David.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
And hath raised up a horn – A horn is a symbol of strength. The figure is taken from the fact that in horned animals the strength lies in the “horn.” Particularly, the great power of the rhinoceros or unicorn is manifested by the use of a single horn of great “strength,” placed on the head near the end of the nose. When the sacred writers, therefore, speak of great strength they often use the word “horn,” Psalm 148:14; Deuteronomy 33:17; Daniel 7:7-8; Daniel 7:21. The word salvation, connected here with the word “horn,” means that this “strength,” or this mighty Redeemer, was able to save. It is possible that this whole figure may be taken from the Jewish “altar.” On each of the four corners of the altar there was an eminence or small projection called a “horn.” To this persons might flee for safety when in danger, and be safe, 1 Kings 1:50; 1 Kings 2:28. Compare the notes at Luke 1:11. So the Redeemer “may be” called the “horn of salvation,” because those who flee to him are safe. In the house – In the family, or among the descendants of David.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
69. horn of salvation—that is “strength of salvation,” or “mighty Salvation,” meaning the Saviour Himself, whom Simeon calls “Thy Salvation” (Lu 2:30). The metaphor is taken from those animals whose strength is in their horns (Ps 18:2; 75:10; 132:17). house of … David—This shows that Mary must have been known to be of the royal line, independent of Joseph; of whom Zacharias, if he knew anything, could not know that after this he would recognize Mary.

Expositor’s Greek Testament
Luke 1:69…because kings were anointed with a horn of oil…because in their horn all horned animals have their power”

Many times, Christians and non-Christians alike point to the meekness and gentleness of our Savior. But do not be misled. Jesus is the mighty Horn of Salvation; only through Him can we be saved from sin. And as you’ll recall, He could be roused to righteous anger, too (just ask those moneychangers in the Temple!) Like the contemporary song states, “Our God is Mighty to Save”.

Something to think about.

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John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.””

In the Marvel comic book The Avengers, there was a storyline in Avengers Annual #14 called “The War to End All Skrulls” (the Avengers part of this story was called “Fifth Column”). It had the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, out in space, converging on a plot by a member of the shapeshifting Skrull alien race to use a “doomsday” weapon. A renegade named Zabyk was threatening to use a galactic bomb to take command of the Skrull race in the aftermath of the destruction of its throne world by Galactus. He used the genius of an old compatriot, a scientist named Myrn, to fuel a hyperwave bomb through a dimensional interface on the old Skrull power asteroid to “change the Skrull race forever”. The Avengers had allied themselves with a Skrull contingent under General Zedrao (originally to stop Thanos’s self-proclaimed granddaughter Nebula), and partnered with Zabyk’s old rebel ally, Prince Dezan, to try and stop him. To activate the bomb, Myrn had Zabyk shapeshift his form into insulate-armor, needed due to heavy radiation leakage during the bomb’s powering up. In his moment of seeming triumph, Zabyk slew Myrn and activated the bomb. What the bomb did, though, was not what everyone thought. The dimensional radiation from the bomb stabilized the Skrulls’ deviant DNA throughout the galaxy, thus removing their shapeshifting abilities! As Myrn said, “it would change the Skrull race forever”.

Once the Avengers and the Fantastic Four had broken through the chamber to confront Zabyk, he was pitifully whimpering that he couldn’t get out of the armor! As Reed Richards commented to Zabyk and to Captain America, they had found the dying Myrn when they entered the space station. He confirmed what Reed suspected the device to be. “Ironically,” Reed commented, “Zabyk killed the only person who could have possibly helped him get out of the armor”. No one else could.

In the passage above, Jesus is at the tomb of Lazarus, who had died days earlier. In talking with Lazarus’s sister, Martha, Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again. When Martha answered that she knew he would rise in the resurrection on the last day, Jesus said to her directly, “I am the resurrection and the life”. Only through belief in Jesus as Savior and Messiah, would a Christian never die. Our old bodies may pass, but our spirits will be forever with Him! Jesus goes on to demonstrate this by physically calling Lazarus back to life.

Only one Savior can give us that promise of resurrection and life. Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not any other prophet of any other religion in the world. Only Jesus gave Himself on the cross as the perfect offering for our sins, and only Jesus died and rose again to conquer sin and death’s power…forever! On this evening before Easter, think on that thought…and rejoice!

Happy Easter! He is Risen indeed!

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Isaiah 28:16 – “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.””
Ephesians 2:20 – “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,”

The following dialogue comes from the new Super Secret Secret Squirrel cartoon, which Hanna-Barbera aired as part of the show 2 Stupid Dogs.

Secret Squirrel was locked up in a cell in a straitjacket. A microscopic menace named Quark had made it look like he was crazy so that he would be locked up. Quark was destroying massive buildings, to which Secret asked him: “how could a subatomic speck like you destroy all those structures?”

Quark: “oh, it’s so simple; I just pulled out the bottom atom!” (which he demonstrates by removing the bottom atom of the stool Secret had sat upon, causing it to crumble.)

After bragging about his plan to wipe out North America for his entertainment career, he escapes. Suddenly the wall falls down; there stands Secret’s faithful sidekick, Morocco Mole!

Secret: “Morocco!”
Morocco: “Secret! I knew you weren’t crazy. You’re only crazy about catching criminals!”
Secret: “Thanks, Morocco. By the way, how did you knock down that huge wall?”
Morocco: “Simple; I just pulled out the bottom brick! heh.” (showing Secret the bottom brick as he unties him.)

Now what that humorous cartoon points out is a very simple construction fact: most all structures have a dependent component that the rest of the building is fabricated upon. It’s known as the cornerstone in most buildings. Wikipedia defines a cornerstone as “The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone)

My father, a retired brick mason, always started laying out a building by constructing a corner to build the intersecting walls off of; without that steady corner, the walls wouldn’t be sound enough.

What is Jesus without the church? Well, He is still the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior, God; that doesn’t change. What is the church without Jesus? That’s the point in a nutshell. Without Jesus, the church would be like other religions that eventually cave in and collapse. It would be a shell, a sham, a house of cards that would fold under pressure.

Christian, remember today that Jesus is the Cornerstone of your faith; faith built upon such a Rock can stand up to anything.

Something to think about.

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