VIDEO A Proactive Pardon – Behold The Lamb of Almighty

A Proactive Pardon

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution gives the American President power to pardon those guilty of breaking federal laws. (States can pardon violators of state laws.) Usually, requests for presidential pardons are addressed to the President himself by the person seeking the pardon. Alternatively, the President can issue a pardon even if one has not been requested. Acceptance of a pardon is a tacit admission of guilt—and in such cases, sometimes a presidential pardon is refused when the recipient doesn’t agree to the assumption of guilt.

In humanity’s case, we did not have to request a pardon from God for our sins. God took it upon Himself to send a Savior to set sin-scarred humanity free from the guilt of sin. Jesus said, “[God] has sent Me to . . . proclaim liberty to the captives” (Luke 4:18). The Bible is clear that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We know we need a Savior from sin.

Thank God this Christmas that He sent a Savior to pardon and save us from all our sins.


“Behold The Lamb of Almighty” John 1:29 Explained

Following the Leader

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

In the sky over our house, three fighter jets scream through the sky—flying in formation so close together they appear to be one. Wow,” I say to my husband, Dan. “Impressive,” he agrees. We live near an Air Force base and it’s not unusual to see such sights.

Every time these jets fly over, however, I have the same question: How can they fly so close together and not lose control? One obvious reason, I learned, is humility. Trusting that the lead pilot is traveling at precisely the correct speed and trajectory, the wing pilots surrender any desire to switch directions or question their leader’s path. Instead, they get in formation and closely follow. The result? A more powerful team.

It’s no different for followers of Jesus. He says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

His path was one of self-denial and suffering, which can be hard to follow. But to be His effective disciples, we too are invited to put aside selfish desires and pick up spiritual burdens daily—serving others first instead of ourselves, for example—as we closely follow Him.

It’s quite a sight, this humbling, close walk with God. Following His lead, and staying so close, we can appear with Christ as one. Then others won’t see us, they’ll see Him. There’s a simple word for what that looks like: “Wow!”

Please, God, draw us close to You. Fill us with Your Spirit of love and joy and peace. Enable us to be a shining light in our world.

Our lives are a window through which others can see Jesus.

By Patricia Raybon 

INSIGHT

Jesus had been proclaiming His identity and mission for years, and now His closest followers understood who He is. But Jesus answers Peter’s confession that Jesus is “God’s Messiah” (Luke 9:20) with a curious warning “not to tell this to anyone” (v. 21). Jesus says in no uncertain terms that the disciples should keep quiet about His identity. Why would Jesus tell them not to let people know who He is? The answer may be in verse 22, specifically in the word must. Spreading Jesus’s true identity may have interfered with His larger mission. He needed to die, and if the crowds knew He was the Messiah, they may have taken actions that might have interfered, such as making Him king by force (John 6:15) or perhaps stoning Him (10:31). Jesus told them to keep His identity a secret for the sake of His mission—“to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

J.R. Hudberg

Your Testimony

Acts 6:1-6

A testimony is one person’s profession of faith in Jesus. However, our declaration of belief is much more than the story we tell. A good witness for the Lord consists of three parts: character, conduct, and conversation.

As Christians, we rightly place great emphasis on crafting a solid personal account of the Lord’s work in our life. We also talk about the ways that we can show Jesus Christ to our friends, family, and coworkers through our actions. But character is the part of every believer’s testimony that underlies both Christlike behavior and an honest life story.

In general, what we do and say represents the kind of person we are on the inside. Similarly, we can tell a lot about Philip’s character by noticing his actions and words recorded in Scripture. From among many believers, Philip was chosen as one who was wise and full of the Spirit. But he wasn’t selected for a prestigious ministry position—he was sent to serve food. Yet he went willingly to do this work and every other job the Lord gave Him, which shows his obedient spirit (Acts 6:5; Acts 8:5; Acts 8:26). We can be certain that he was a sincere and trustworthy man, because when he spoke, people listened (Acts 8:6). Philip’s testimony shines in every way.

You cannot trick God into thinking your character is righteous if it isn’t. Nor can you fake moral conduct or conversation with people for very long. Sooner or later, a proud, bitter, or unkind spirit yields behavior and speech contrary to the Christian message. But godly character produces real spiritual fruit.

Do You Know The Triune Comforter?

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) 

One of the titles of the Holy Spirit, especially as used in the King James Version, is His beautiful identification as “the Comforter.” The Greek word is parakletos, meaning literally “one who is called along side to help.” A familiar verse is John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things.” He is our teacher, our guide, our helper, our Comforter.

The same word is also translated “advocate,” meaning an attorney for the defense. In this capacity, it is applied to the Lord Jesus Christ. “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Though we are guilty and lost sinners, He takes our side before the Judge, pleading the sacrificial offering of His own blood for our sins, and we are saved (1 John 2:2).

Even the Father is our “paraclete,” according to the verses cited above. He is “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort” (Greek paraklesis), and as we pray to our heavenly Father, He indeed does provide great consolation in every hour of trouble and sorrow.

Thus, each person of the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—serves as Comforter (“paraclete”) to the believer, as needed, who also has access to the “comfort of the scriptures” (Romans 15:4). But there is still another “comforter.” Each believer receives such comfort so that we ourselves “may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” HMM

That which ye have already hold fast till I come

Revelation 2:18-29

Revelation 2:18, 19

This church grew better and better, and did more and more for her Lord. Progress should be the constant characteristic of a church of God.

Revelation 2:23

Probably a party in the church led by a woman had taught that the sins of the flesh might be indulged in without evil. The Lord is most jealous of the purity of his church, and those who enter her midst and teach lasciviousness must expect condign punishment. No church ought to endure such, but should cast them out at once.

Revelation 2:26-28

The grandest conqueror is the man who overcomes sin. He shall not only vanquish the world, but shall win the glory of heavens eternal day. On him Jesus, the morning star, has shone, and the dawning must be near.

Revelation 2:29

Ears are meant to hear with, but some have lost all power to hear the voice of the Spirit. If grace has opened our ear, let us attend to every word which the Spirit utters.

Revelation 3:1-6

Revelation 3:1

The bulk of the members were formalists and hypocrites, yet the church kept up its reputation, and it does not appear that any serious heresy had to be contended with. How beautiful may a fruit appear upon the outside and yet be rotten within.

Revelation 3:4

The Lord does not punish the righteous with the wicked; he discerns the pure in heart, and separates them from the unholy. Are we among those whose garments are unspotted?

Revelation 3:5

This is a choice reward. We are to be clothed like our Lord and to be owned by him. Who will not fight on till he conquers when such a prize is set before him?

Revelation 3:6

We are not to hear what the churches say to us, but what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Be not satisfied with echoes, hear the grand original.

 

Do You Love Beauty Only?

There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination. (Revelation 21:27)

When we look closely at this world system and society, we see the terrible and ugly scars of sin. Sin has obscenely scarred and defaced this world, taking away its harmony and symmetry and beauty.

That is the negative picture. Thank God for the positive promise and prospect that heaven is the place of all loveliness, all harmony and beauty.

These are not idle words. If you love beautiful things, you had better stay out of hell, for hell will be the quintessence of all that is morally ugly and obscene. Hell will be the ugliest place in all of creation!

It is a fact that earth lies between all that is ugly in hell and all that is beautiful in heaven. As long as we are living here, we will have to consider the extreme—much that is good and much that is bad!

As believers, we are held firm in the knowledge that the eternal Son came to save us and deliver us to a beautiful heaven and everlasting fellowship with God!

 

Men As Men; God As God

“I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?.” Isa. 51:12, 13

Let the text itself be taken as the portion for today. There is no need to enlarge upon it. Trembling one, read it, believe it, feed on it, and plead it before the Lord. He whom you fear is only a man after all; while He who promises to comfort you is God, your Maker, and the Creator of Heaven and earth. Infinite comfort more than covers a very limited danger.

“Where is the fury of the oppressor?” It is in the Lord’s hand. It is only the fury of a dying creature; fury which will end as soon as the breath is gone from the nostril. Why, then, should we stand in awe of one who is as frail as ourselves? Let us not dishonor our God by making a god of puny man. We can make an idol of a man by rendering to him excessive fear as well as by paying him inordinate love. Let us treat men as men, and God as God; and then we shall go calmly on in the path of duty, fearing the Lord, and fearing nobody else.

 

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