The Gospel of Matthew Chapter 3:1-12

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make His paths straight.'”

4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him
6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,
9 “and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
10 “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
12 “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ready for Rescue?

My devotional this morning found me in Isaiah 48:12-20 in which the Lord, through Isaiah the prophet, is reminding His people of Who He is – the Sovereign Creator of the Universe, on a mission for His people, Israel. As Isaiah reminds them of God’s purpose, amidst their being disciplined under the heavy hand of the Babylonians, Isaiah shares, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit,

“This what the Lord says….If only you had paid attention to my commands,

your peace would have been like a river,

your well-being like the waves of the sea.

Your descendants would have been like the sand,

your children like numberless grains;

their names would never be blotted out nor

destroyed before me.” (Isaiah 48:18-19 NIV)

Oh Lord, that we, too, would pay attention to Your Word and follow Your commands.

The Tapestry of Life

Tapestry of Life

This week at our women’s Bible study, the Lord demonstrated His love toward me in a special way.

Our group leader described the making of a tapestry to illustrate a truth in our lives. She explained that the underside of a tapestry typically has many unsightly knots that are often created in the process of producing the masterpiece on the front side.  As in the process of our lives, those “knots” represent “flaws” or “mistakes” that we have made. Another gal chimed in saying that those same knots also have another purpose, and that is, they provide strength and durability to the overall tapestry!  Interesting!!

While thinking about all this, I realized that the “mistakes” I have made in my life – those “flaws”: poor decisions, disobedience to the Lord’s commands, not listening to His still small voice (1 Kings 19:12), choosing His permissive will over His perfect will (Romans 12:2), missing the mark (Philippians 3:14), have resulted in regrets, followed by repentance, on my part. But all this reminded me that because of His love, our Heavenly Father sent Jesus for that very reason, to work in us a tapestry reflecting His glory.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
for good works, which God prepared beforehand that
we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.

I find more expressions of Christ’s love, in the Truth of His Word in

2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Or….

Romans 8:28, “….all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Or….

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.”

Well, after all this contemplation, I just “happened” to come across and read an article entitled Tapestry of Grace by Mark Johnson. Among the many points he shared, this one sums it up so well for me: “….the real hero on every page of Scripture is God – not man….God brings glory to Himself through imperfect people who are rich in faith.”

In closing, with the Lord confirming twice this understanding in me, this week, I am reminded anew of Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ: it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”(NKJV).

Dear Father, let this be our desire and our aim.

Blessings to you all.

And then, there was Moloch…

In my last post, I shared my perspective on three significant current events that seem to be repeating Biblical history.
A fourth, that is in the forefront of today’s news, so resembles the pagan god, Molech, (referred to in Leviticus 18:21 & 20:21; 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 32:35; and Acts 7:43, to name a few), that it, too, deserves attention all its own. The deliberate taking of innocent lives, sadly, is not new. years ago, I shared my thoughts regarding the implications of abortion.  They go something like this:

Those affected by abortion include

  • The aborted child.
  • The hurting mother.
  • The often forgotten father.
  • Many un-informed grandparents.
  • The siblings, left without more siblings.
  • Un-informed aunts and uncles.
  • The friends, left without classmates, schoolmates, and new friends.
  • The future spouses, who find themselves alone.
  • Society as a whole, which is founded upon all of the above.

At that time, those troubling thoughts were of great concern. However, today, some five-plus years later, they take on an entirely new meaning, one which grieves further the hearts of most of us. For as in the days of Moloch, we have and are repeating activities that grieve the very heart of our Loving God and Heavenly Father. In the process, we destroy innocent and vulnerable lives, (if that is not more than enough), and, also, ourselves. “For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23a.

Lest we forget that we “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, Romans 3:23, let us look at the latter part of Romans 6:23 above, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It’s time that we recognize that we need Him and need to ask His forgiveness. We are in need of a Savior, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, Who, while saving us from our sins, saves us from ourselves.

Dear merciful Lord, that is our prayer.