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Jesus Saves!

As part of the Christian walk, life with God as a child adopted into His kingdom, and a bond servant to Christ, I am called to walk by faith, not by sight. If I could see t he road ahead, my destination, the culmination of God’s plan, I would not be walking by faith, but rather by sight.

But God has not left me without road signs, reminders. He has given me His Word, songs, hymns, creeds and personal testimonies, such are the billboards which placard my journey with God. One such billboard message comes to mind as I sit with God today. JESUS SAVES! This two-word saying, which some might call “a tired cliche” or “meaningless Christianese” has multiple messages of encouragement for me.

If “Jesus saves,” it follows that Jesus is a Savior. He must, therefore, have all the job qualifications a Savior should have. He must have much more power than the powers from which I need saving. As a Savior, He must have more authority than the authorities that hold me or threaten me. As a Savior, He must have superior wisdom and understanding than that which I possess to see the way through trouble or out of trouble or know when to wait for trouble to flee. He must have power over death–my most heinous foe. In short, a Savior must be a God among gods, able to save me from other gods and idols as well as men and demons. He must be the One true and almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen–LORD of lords. And so He is, my King, Jesus. He alone is my Savior.

“Jesus saves” also speaks of His willingness to save. This is good news because it means I can offer to those needing saving, asking for salvation–the willing one, Jesus. He saves because He is in the business of saving. It is His offer to me, to us. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that we might be saved.
“Jesus saves” necessarily implies a need to be saved. If the need wasn’t real, why would it even be important to say or billboard, “Jesus saves?” But it is necessary. It is urgently necessary to be saved, for it is appointed a man once to die and then the judgment. Jesus saves me from that–Judgment–the wrath of a holy God against a sinful humanity.

“Jesus saves” is also a reminder to me that I am no one’s savior. Jesus saves–not me. He alone has the words of eternal life. His blood alone atones for my sun. His sacrifice alone satisfies the requirements of the law, provides the price of redemption. For by grace I have been saved through faith and that not of myself–it is the gift of God. There is no other name given under heaven by which we may be saved.

“Jesus saves” gives hope. I may be lost or a dear friend or loved one may be lost, but Jesus saves. He will seek out the lost. He sought me out. He chased after me when I had nothing of worth to offer and had spent His inheritance in ungodly living, treading His commands underfoot like so much straw and dirt. But “Jesus saves” brings me hope. I look to Jesus author and finisher of faith in me and in others. If a good work was done in someone’s life, no matter how early or what has transpired since, Jesus will save. He will finish the work that He has begun. I can hope, have a certain expectation of good, in that.
Don’t disregard those road signs, those placards in your life. God is near. Look up. Your redemption is near.

biola sign

 

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Continuing with our series of studies in the Minor Prophets, today’s post covers an introduction to the Minor Prophet Habakkuk.

If you are interested in other studies in the Minor Prophets, we have the following available:

Obadiah BackgroundObadiah

Hosea IntroductionHosea Chapter 1, Hosea Chapter 2Hosea Chapter 3, Hosea Chapter 4 Hosea Chapter 5Hosea Chapter 6Hosea Chapter 7Hosea Chapter 8Hosea Chapter 9Hosea Chapter 11

Background
1. Who is the author of the book of Habakkuk?

2. When was this book written?

3. Who was the original intended audience for this book?

4. To which Kingdom did Habakkuk prophesy, Northern or Southern?

5. What does the name “Habakkuk” mean?

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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I saw the darkness near the start
glimpsed the
damage to the heart
but despite my pause
I wanted to receive
apologies and
other words that please

but missing
in my training
was the wisdom to heed
the warning
darkness unattended
will grow untended
and extended

hidden in unexplored corners
places kept secret
in pretends
in little lies
and tries to please
in every lack of integrity

darkness waited for its collaborator
an open door
for lack of transparency
to yield up dishonesty
and concealed iniquity

to slowly grow and seep
from the corners to the deep
recesses of the darkened mind
the one hiding behind
a disintegrating mask

pretend
became disinterest
became anger
became un-forgiveness

the avalanche of
deceit
betrayal
destruction
total darkness
threatened total black out

I didn’t truly know
but darkness has a foe
its weapons have no defense
its power lost against
the littlest ray of light

Light came for me
Light set me free
Light carried me
on to find my destiny

I’ll forever be a child of Light
and every darkness must take flight
when HaShem becomes my sole delight

Copyright M.E. Mullin

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Outside of Jerusalem as you travel east, you will find Wadi Qelt. A wadi is a common feature in Israel. It is a ravine or stream bed that dries up until the raining season when it may become a rushing river or a generous stream depending on the rainfall, the run-off and the ravine itself. Wadi Qelt is such a ravine that originates near Jerusalem and extends to the Jordan River near Jericho.

Some have suggested that David may have been thinking of such a ravine when he wrote Psalm 23:4 (CJB), Even if I pass through death-dark ravines, I will fear no disaster; for you are with me; your rod and staff reassure me.

This very familiar verse reminded me of God’s guidance and correction in my life and how they prove His love for me. Moreover, my love and acceptance of God’s correction speaks of His imprint on me. In that I can see that He has brought me to this point of sanctification. I also know that He will continue to sanctify me until I am made perfect when I see Him face to face.

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Wadi Qelt

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Wadi Qelt

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Wadi Qelt

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Wadi Qelt

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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I don’t know about you, but in this time of great confusion and conflicting views of the important truths of our day, I find the need to seek the truth that transcends–the truth of God. Wisdom is distilled into pithy, bite-size morsels in the Book of Proverbs. As usual, it keeps its promise to provide guidance for life.

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Proverbs 4:20

In Proverbs 4:20, we receive the imperative, “Give attention to my words.” The Hebrew writing style is evident here, namely the second part of the couplet is a reiteration of the first, “incline your ear to my sayings.” The repeat of the information is an emphasis–as if the author is saying, “hey, this is important, so I’m going to repeat myself.”

If we are looking for wisdom, we need to listen to God. We need to listen to His Word. This will be the only way to survive the pandemic without losing hope or faith or our witness.

But even more than an admonition to listen, God is asking for intentionality and diligence in our approach to our relationship with Him. He is asking us to apply ourselves to the systematic study of His word.

Consider the exhortation of Paul to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

In order for us to “rightly divide the word of truth,” we must know all of it. We must know the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as well as the New Testament. We must know the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament) as well as the Prophets. We must know the history of both the Jews and the church.

If we are to rightly divide the word of truth, we must understand its nuance, its context, its geography, its characters. We must exert some energy–get outside of our comfort zone.

It is not a once-a-week passive attention to a sermon. It is not working through a book written about the Bible–it is reading and studying the Bible for yourself. We must let God speak to us. We must meet day by day with the Creator and Author.

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Read Hosea Chapter 5
1. Against whom is Hosea prophesying judgment in this chapter?

2. Who is Mitzpah?

3. What is Tabor?

4. Who is Ephraim? Where is the land allotted to Ephraim located in Israel?

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View near Bethel

5. What does God accuse Ephraim of in Hosea 5:3?

Israel?

6. What does God say is the reason for His judgment in Hosea 5:4-5?

Hosea 5:6-7?

Hosea 5:11?

Hosea 5:13?

8. What will the judgment be according to Hosea 5:6?

Hosea 5:9?

Hosea 5:12?

Hosea 14-15?

9. In the territory of which tribe are the following places located: Gibeah, Ramah, and Beth Aven?

10. To what does God compare Judah in Hosea 5:10? What does that mean?

11. What do you learn from the following verses?
Deuteronomy 19:14

Deuteronomy 27:17

Proverbs 23:10-11

 

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Looking toward the celebration of Resurrection Sunday, let me share some thoughts from A.W. Tozer from his powerful book, Paths to Power

According to Tozer, “there are some things that only God can do, and for us to attempt to do them is to waste our efforts; and there are things which only man can do, and for us to ask God to do them is to waste our prayers.

Among the things which only God can do, of first importance to us is the work of redemption. Atonement was accomplished in that holy place where none but a divine Savior could come. That glorious work owes nothing to the effort of any man . . . It was all of God, and man could simply have no part.

Redemption is an objective fact. It is a work potentially saving, wrought for man, but done independent of and exterior to the individual. Christ’s work on Calvary made atonement for every man, but it did not save any man. . .  (Emphasis added)

If atonement was made for all men, why are not all saved? The answer is that before redemption becomes effective toward the individual man there is an act which that man must do. . . God cannot do our repenting for us.  . . God has commanded all men to repent. It is a work which only they can do. It is morally impossible to one person to repent for another. Even Christ could not do this. He could die for us, but He cannot do our repenting for us.”

As you look forward to the celebration of the Resurrection, consider the atonement–have you appropriated it for yourself? Have you repented of your sin? Repentance is a godly sorrow over sin and a turning from the sin. It is actually the idea of making a u-turn and going 180 degrees in the opposite direction from which you were traveling to follow God.

If you have assurance of salvation, then be praying for those for whom Christ died but who have not yet appropriated the free gift of salvation and have not repented for their sin. It is a great time to remember that God desires that none would perish but that all would come to repentance.

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. We are currently offering a special on our bible study, Road to Resurrection, which helps the student to delve into the events which took place leading up to and on the Day of Resurrection.

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One of the places that you may visit if you visit Northern Israel is Caesarea Philippi. It is where Jesus asked His disciples the pointed question, “Who do you say that I am? and of course, it is where Peter responded, “You are the Christ!”

But Caesarea Philippi is largely a pagan spot. It is also known as Banias (or Panias).  It was made famous in ancient times for being where the Greek god, Pan, was said to have visited a nearby spring. During those days, Pan worship was prevalent here.

What I enjoy about Caesarea Philippi is the abundance of living water. Water literally comes out of the rocks. The pictures below give you an idea.

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At the time Jesus and His disciples visited Caesarea Philippi it would have been a city filled with temples to a variety of pagan gods including those of the Greeks and Romans. Only the ruins of some of those temples and others built later remain today.  See the photos below of some images of the ruins and the cave of Pan.

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Temple of Pan

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Caesarea Phillip (1)

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Caesarea Philippi (2)

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Caesarea Philippi (3)

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Caesarea Philippi (4)

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Cave of Pan (Caesarea Philippi)

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