That We Should Be Adopted

 

 (c) Can Stock Photo

(c) Can Stock Photo

Jeremiah 31:7-14 
Psalm 84

Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a 
Matthew 2:13-15,19-23 

Paul could not contain his excitement when he began composing this letter to his beloved church. He dictated his letters to a scribe and was so amped up that verses 3-14 were originally one sentence. Imagine listening to Paul. I see him pacing the room, eyes jumping, and hands waving. Here in verses 4-6 we have the heart of his thrilling news.

For consider what he has done—before the foundation of the world he chose us to become, in Christ, his holy and blameless children living within his constant care. He planned, in his purpose of love, that we would be adopted as his own children through Jesus Christ—that we might learn to praise that glorious generosity of his which has made us welcome in the everlasting love he bears towards the SonPhillips

This is the heart of the Gospel. God picked me as his child. I am now a descendant of King David. At that first great family reunion in the New Jerusalem, I will get to hear grandfather David play the harp and sing a song.

John will be there, hopefully wearing a new white robe instead of his camel-hair cloak. Peter too, no longer smelling of fish. And Mary, and Mary, and Martha.

The oldest brother of us all will be there, the Word, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Son of Man. Without him, we would be lost.

God picked me as his child. I deserve to burn with the rest of humanity, but God decided to use his greatest power to save us from destruction, the power of Love.

Say it with me, “I am God’s favorite.”

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Dark Snow

This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book
This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book

 

Beginning January 1, I will be posting a description, every odd-numbered day, of stops and events along the way as Remmy Bevans seeks to avenge the murders of his family.

You will have a chance to see photos of the cities and other items in the order in which they appear in the story. This will give you a chance to visualize the story even before you read it.

Dark Snow is a murder mystery in which the wrongly accused must uncover the true murderer, even as he avoids being murdered himself.

He Hath Covered Me With the Robe of Righteousness

words

Isaiah 61:10-62:3 
Psalm 147

Galatians 3:23-25;4:4-7 
John 1:1-18 

In the beginning.

With these three words, John takes us to a time before the universe existed, even before time existed. He reminds us that God spoke creation into being. The power of the Word of God gave us the stars and the earth.

At the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, was with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginningPhillips

Most translations of verse 2 use the pronoun he, but the Greek does not. The King James is closer to the Greek: The same was in the beginning with GodKJV It is not an issue for us, because John goes on to say, So the Word became human and made his home among usNLT Not until verse 17 did John write the name of the one who became human: Yeshua the Messiah.

Why did John write the elaborate prologue to his Gospel of Jesus? Why is it important for us to connect the Word with Jesus?

References to the Messiah are found throughout the Old Testament. In today’s reading of Psalms, we see, Adonai is rebuilding Yerushalayim, gathering the dispersed of Isra’el. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their woundsCJB

Isaiah gives us riches for understanding the Messiah. In today’s reading, For He has clothed me with garments of triumph, Wrapped me in a robe of victory, Like a bridegroom adorned with a turban, Like a bride bedecked with her fineryJSB And in 62:2, Nations shall see your victory, and every king your majesty; And you shall be called by a new name Which the Lord Himself shall bestowJSB

John knew him as Yeshua, Jesus in English. In reality, we do not know the name given to him by God. We cannot know a heavenly name until we move to heaven, and also receive our own heavenly names.

Paul closes these thoughts. But when the appointed time arrived, God sent forth his Son. He was born from a woman, born into a culture in which legalistic perversion of the Torah was the norm, so that he might redeem those in subjection to this legalism and thus enable us to be made God’s sons. Now because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of his Son, the Spirit who cries out, “Abba!” (that is, “Dear Father!”). So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son you are also an heirCJB

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

He will stand and shepherd his flock

from Upsplash
from Upsplash

Fourth Sunday of Advent

 

Micah 5:2-5a

Psalm 80:1-7
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

 

O Lord, God of hosts,

how long will You be wrathful

toward the prayers of Your people?

You have fed them tears as their daily bread,

made them drink great measures of tears.

You set us at strife with our neighbors;

our enemies mock us at will.

O God of hosts, restore us;

show Your favor that we may be deliveredJSB

 

It was a terrible time for the Southern Kingdom of Judah around 700 BC. The Assyrians had defeated the Northern Kingdom and carried most of the people into captivity. Judah feared they were next.

Micah was a faithful prophet of God in those fearful days, along with the leading prophet of the day, Isaiah. Each of them had the same Word from God, but delivered in different ways.

Micah gives us an answer to the question of the Psalmist.

And you, O Bethlehem of Ephrath,

Least among the clans of Judah,

From you one shall come forth

To rule Israel for Me—

One whose origin is from of old,

From ancient timesJSB

 

But, we have jumped ahead of the story. How long shall we eat and drink the tears? What does that mean? What caused the tears?

The story of the people of Judah twenty-seven hundred years ago is the same story faced by millions of Americans today, as well as people all over the earth. In our times of trial, we ask the age-old question: “Where is God?” My child just died. I am facing divorce. I lost my job. “Where is God?”

When all is well in our lives; when we are rich, fat, and comfortable, it is easy to know that God is with us—even as we all too often forget it. It is in the midst of suffering that we cry out to God for help. We forget that God stood with his people for six centuries until they made it back to their homelands. We forget that the promises of God and will be fulfilled in His time.

We are people of the promise, not people of comfort. We know it will be better, we don’t know when.

The Messiah, the One Who Was Promised, came thousands of years after Abraham, a full thousand after King David, and six centuries after Micah voiced the promise.

God is here, but the tears will still flow. Only in Heaven will they by dried.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

I Will Bring You Home

90PZOijCSquhzM1A3cq8_photo

Third Sunday of Advent

 

Zephaniah 3:14-20
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18

 

In Luke’s account of the ministry of John, his first spoken words were, “You brood of vipers!” John was not handing out candy. He was not going for Miss Congeniality. John was the set-up man for Jesus. He was a prophet of the old school. His job was to deliver the Word of God no matter the cost.

The Word is: Repent. And the Word is: the Messiah has arrived.

Jesus did not change John’s message, for him it was more about what to do after repenting. It is not possible to be a follower of Jesus without repenting and turning away from all sins, sins that cause harm to other people and to God.

If I want to join an exclusive club, I must be willing to follow their rules. I may have to give up doing some things I once did. It may cost me time and money.

God’s club is not exclusive, but it does have rules, two to be exact: love God and love all humans. That seems to be too high a price for many people, but it is that easy. And that difficult.

What is the reward?

Adonai has removed the judgments against you,
he has expelled your enemy;
the king of Isra’el, Adonai,
is right there with you.
You no longer need to fear
that anything bad will happen. CJB

At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home. NIV

Why would anyone refuse to join God’s club?

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence