He Came to Save

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!

He Came to Save
December 12, 2019

Read: Hebrews 9:11-28

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1 Tim. 1:15)

G. K. Chesterton converted from atheism to Roman Catholic Christianity as a young man. When people asked him why, he replied, “To get rid of my sins” (The Autobiography of G. K. Chesterton).

Christ’s advent brought many wonderful things into the world, but it’s important not to forget the most basic and important one for each of us: personal salvation. Jesus came to save sinners, to deliver us from the guilt and penalty of sin, and finally from sin’s very presence. To do that, he went to the cross and offered himself as the sacrifice for our sin. The book of Hebrews makes much of the fact that forgiveness has always required the shedding of sacrificial blood. Hebrews says flatly that without that blood there is no forgiveness (Heb. 9:22). We may wonder why, but we cannot doubt that it’s true—unless we think we know more about God than the Bible does.

Hebrews also insists that with Jesus’ death the true sacrifice for sin has been offered, once for all. Jesus has done what all those animal sacrifices could never finally accomplish. He has “put away sin” (v. 26), wiped out sin’s guilt and broken sin’s power, for all who believe in him. Nothing more ever needs to be offered by anyone in payment for the sin of the world. But Jesus will come again, not to deal with sin—he’s already done that—but to set us free from sin’s presence forever (v. 28). —David Bast

As you pray, give thanks for the gift of salvation.

He Came to Destroy the Works of the Devil

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!

He Came to Destroy the Works of the Devil
December 11, 2019

Read: 1 John 3:1-9

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (v. 8)

This statement bothers me: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him” (v. 6). The reason is obvious: I keep on sinning. Does that mean I don’t know Christ?

If continuing to sin disqualifies someone, then no one can be saved, because all of us sin. So what does John mean here? He’s talking about two different kinds of people. One kind pursues righteousness. They love God and seek to follow his Law. They hate the sin that still dogs them, and when they fall into it, they repent and turn back to the way. The other kind of people live without regard to God and without concern about sin. In fact, they often see nothing in themselves to confess. So it’s not sinning that disqualifies one from Christ; it’s sinning without repentance.

“You will recognize them by their fruits,” said Jesus (Matt. 7:20). Sin is the devil’s fruit. But Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. One of the best reasons I have for looking forward to Jesus’ return is that then I will finally be rid of all the devil’s fruit in my life, and be completely Christlike. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him” (v. 2). What a promise! —David Bast

As you pray, repent of your sins, and renounce the devil’s works.

The Life He Came to Give Life

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!cThe Life He Came to Give Life

December 10, 2019

Read: John 4:7-15

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

“Get a life!” It’s what we say to people who obsess over trivial matters, like chronic nitpickers. It could also be the subtitle of the fourth Gospel: (How to) Get a Life! John states this explicitly: “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).

The word “life” occurs 43 times in John’s Gospel, and it’s always connected to Jesus. “I am the bread of life” (6:35). “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25). “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (14:6). “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (10:10).

The life Jesus came to give goes by a special name. It’s not bios, physical life; it’s zoe. Zoe is often modified by the adjective aioniou, which literally means “of the ages,” but is usually translated “eternal.” Eternal life isn’t just everlasting life, the thing we get when we go to heaven. Eternal life is abundant life, life that is infinite in quality, not just quantity. It’s real life, the life everyone wants, and it comes from receiving Jesus.

Jesus put it this way: “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (John 4:14). What he said literally was, “he will never be thirsty forever.” The life Jesus gives is like a spring of water inside, “gushing up to eternal life.” —David Bast

As you pray, give thanks for (real) life.

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 41 December 9, 2019 Military Arms

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

Blog Number 41

December 9, 2019

Military Arms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Renaissance Man, staring Danny De Vito is an old film now, but I was thinking about it recently. In this movie, Danny De Vito is hired to instruct a group of under-functioning soldiers how to think critically. He instructs them by teaching them Shakespeare and succeeds in instructing them not to be just soldiers, but soldiers and scholars. There is more to being a warrior than strength and fighting.

This reminds me of the Medieval code that knights swore to when becoming warriors in Europe. The code is as follows:

  1. Believe the Church’s teachings and observe all the Church’s directions
    2. Defend the Church
    3. Respect and defend the weak
    4. Love your country
    5. Do not fear your enemy
    6. Show no mercy and do not hesitate to make war with the infidel
    7. Perform all your feudal duties as long as they do not conflict with the laws of God
    8. Never lie or go back on one’s word
    9. Be generous
    10. Always and everywhere be right and good against evil and injustice

And so, it is today that our soldiers are called upon to not just be capable making warfare but to defend and respect the weak. They must be violent when called upon as well be gentle and protective of the weak. How is one person to do all of these things. My hunch is that these soldiers need our help to balance such opposite behaviors.

On Saturday, my son-in-law returned from deployment with the National Guard. He was serving a mission in the horn of Africa and this was his fourth deployment. This return is different. He was married shortly before deploying and his son was born while he was away. Now, he returns as a husband and father. His warrior ways must yield to his loving protective ways. I bet he needs help and support to do this.

We train our young people in the ways of the warrior and send them off. Now, when they return, we must help them learn the skills of loving nurturers. Military arms must now hold spouses and children, not guns. Let us all be there for our returning warriors.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                   #NJNationalGuard

#113thRegiment                                                       #44thInfantryBrigadeCombatTeam

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book:

https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

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Lunes Musings Ministeriales Por el Reverendo Mark William Ennis Blog Número 41 9 de diciembre de 2019 Armas militares   

Lunes Musings Ministeriales
Por el Reverendo Mark William Ennis
Blog Número 41
9 de diciembre de 2019
Armas militares

Renaissance Man, mirando a Danny De Vito es una vieja película ahora, pero estaba pensando en ello recientemente. En esta película, Danny De Vito es contratado para instruir a un grupo de soldados que funcionan poco a favor de cómo pensar críticamente. Les instruye enseñándoles shakespeare y logra instruirlos no sólo soldados, sino soldados y eruditos. Hay más en ser un guerrero que la fuerza y la lucha.

Esto me recuerda al código medieval que los caballeros juraron cuando se convirtieran en guerreros en Europa. El código es el siguiente:

  1. Creer en las enseñanzas de la Iglesia y observar todas las instrucciones de la Iglesia
    Defiende a la Iglesia
    3. Respeta y defiende a los débiles
    4. Me encanta tu país
    5. No temas a tu enemigo
    6. No muestres piedad y no dudes en hacer la guerra con los infieles
    7. Cumpla con todos sus deberes feudales siempre y cuando no entren en conflicto con las leyes de Dios
    8. Nunca mientas ni vuelvas a hablar
    9. Sé generoso
    10. Siempre y en todas partes ser correcto y bueno contra el mal y la injusticia

Y así, es hoy que nuestros soldados están llamados no sólo a ser capaces de hacer la guerra, sino a defender y respetar a los débiles. Deben ser violentos cuando se les pide también ser suaves y protectores de los débiles. ¿Cómo puede una persona hacer todas estas cosas? Mi corazonada es que estos soldados necesitan nuestra ayuda para equilibrar comportamientos opuestos.

El sábado, mi yerno regresó del despliegue con la Guardia Nacional. Estaba sirviendo en una misión en el cuerno de Africa y este fue su cuarto despliegue. Este retorno es diferente. Se casó poco antes de desplegarse y su hijo nació mientras él estaba fuera. Ahora, regresa como marido y padre. Sus caminos guerreros deben ceder a sus formas amorosas de protección. Apuesto a que necesita ayuda y apoyo para hacer esto.

Entrenamos a nuestros jóvenes en los caminos del guerrero y los desviamos. Ahora, cuando regresen, debemos ayudarlos a aprender las habilidades de los cuidadores amorosos. Las armas militares deben tener ahora cónyuges e hijos, no armas. Vamos a estar todos allí para nuestros guerreros que regresan.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                   #NJNationalGuard

#113thRegiment                                                       #44thInfantryBrigadeCombatTeam

Para leer más de los escritos del Pastor Mark, por favor ordene una copia de su libro:

https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

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He Came to Do the Father’s Will

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!

He Came to Do the Father’s Will
December 9, 2019

Read: John 6:25-40

I have come down from heaven. (v. 38)

When we first meet someone we often ask, “Where are you from?” If you asked me that I would say I’m from Grand Rapids, Michigan. If you had asked Jesus you might have expected him to say, “Well, I was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth, but I’m now living in Capernaum.”

Listen to what Jesus actually says about where he’s from: “I have come down from heaven” (v. 38). Who in the world would talk like that? God would. Jesus, the divine Word, has existed with God and as God from all eternity (John 1:1). Jesus’ coming into the world was the result of a deliberate choice he made, to give up his divine position and prerogatives and become one of us (Phil. 2:5-11).

You and I didn’t choose to be born. We had no say in the matter; our coming was the decision of others. But Jesus chose to come into the world. And in choosing to come, he also chose to leave.

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me . . .

Why did he do it? Jesus didn’t come to do his own thing; he came to do the will of the one who sent him (v. 38). And what is the Father’s will? That we should never be lost, but have eternal life through faith in Jesus. “That life-saving manna,” Jesus says, “that was me. I am the bread that came from heaven, the bread of life.” —David Bast

As you pray, thank Jesus for choosing to come.

I Wait for the Lord

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!

I Wait for the Lord
December 8, 2019

Read: Psalm 130

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope. (v. 5)

What are you waiting for? That question is usually asked with impatience or exasperation. What we really mean is, “Hurry up, will you? Get a move on!” But there is another way to ask this question. Advent is all about waiting. So what are we waiting for? The short answer is that we’re waiting for the Lord.

Waiting for the Lord is an act of faith. We believe that God can and will deliver us when we cry out to him from the depths. But waiting is also an exercise in hope. To have hope you need a future. “Where there’s life, there’s hope,” goes the old saying. But when there is no longer life, there’s no hope either. King David stopped praying when his child died. You stop cheering when your team is behind by 20 points. When you finally realize you got the date wrong, you stop waiting for your friend to show up at the restaurant.

I once worked as a part-time night watchman, and I can attest to the truth that nobody looks more eagerly for the dawn than someone who’s been up all night on guard. The Lord will come, as surely as the sun will rise in the east; our waiting will not be in vain. But what are we waiting for? What do we hope Jesus will do when he comes again? The answer lies in why he came in the first place. —David Bast

As you pray, praise God for the hope of his Word.

The Friendly Church