Saturday, August 25, 2012

Poem - Alpha and Omega

He is the Alpha and Omega
The beginning and the end
He is Creator and Caretaker
Our Comforter and Friend

He laughs at the impossible
He knows it can be done
All power and authority
Belong to the Son

Now if you didn’t get it yet
And if you haven’t heard
He always keeps His promises
It’s written in His Word

So whatever He has done before
He can do again
Remember He’s Creator, Caretaker
Your Comforter and Friend

By Christina Morley
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Oil – Part 3 of 3

Practically, the oil was a form of provision. During one particular famine, the Lord told the prophet Elijah to visit a certain widow (1Kings 17:8-16). This widow believed that she and her son would not survive the famine. All they had left was a little bit of oil and flour. In spite of her hopeless situation, Elijah told her to give him something to eat. She calculated that this would be the last of their provision, but still she fulfilled his request. Amazingly, that little bit of oil and flour did not run out until the famine ended. Through her obedience, God miraculously sustained all three of them on those two ingredients alone. We are able to know for certain that the Holy Spirit has been given by God as our provision for life.

The oil represents not only provision, but also abundance. We read about this in the story concerning a prophet’s widow (2Kings 4:1-7). She had debt collectors wanting to sell her sons into slavery to pay off her family debt. This time Elisha was on the scene. Elisha was the prophet that succeeded Elijah. Elisha asked the widow what she had in her house. Her answer was that she had nothing except a jar of oil. That was all she needed for her miracle.

Elisha told her to go and borrow many empty containers. Her sons brought her empty containers until there were none left in the town. Then she was to go into her house, shut the door, and pour her jar of oil into all the empty containers. Every container available was filled, and only then did the oil stop flowing. Elisha told her to sell the oil, pay off the family debt, and they were to live off of the rest. God wants to shower us with His abundance, too, in one way or another.

Both widows in these stories were at their lowest points when God performed His greatest miracles. They had come to the end of all possibility when God arrived on the scene and accomplished the impossible. Faith means confidently hoping in something we do not see (Rom. 8:24 &25 and 1Peter 1:3 & 4). When our circumstances are telling us otherwise, we can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we are still blessed. It’s all a matter of perspective. With confidence we can put our trust in God’s love and faithfulness because He is greater than the circumstances around us. By faith, we can live as blessed people because we have His Holy Spirit, His oil, operating in and through our lives.
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Oil – Part 2 of 3

As mentioned in the previous series “The Blood,” oil was also used symbolically to represent the Holy Spirit. In the time of the New Testament Church, believers anointed the sick with oil and prayed for them. Many were healed as a result. Many Christians today continue the practice of praying for the sick and anointing them with oil.

With prayer, we can also anoint people with oil for joy and gladness. The oil represents the joy and gladness that the Spirit gives to replace the spirit of heaviness and mourning (Is. 61:1-3). Despite a hurting and messed-up world, we can live free of fear, depression, anxiety, and undue sadness. Part of Jesus’ ministry was to heal the brokenhearted and to bind up their wounds (Ps. 147:3), and He continues this ministry by His Spirit.

In the time of the Old Testament, when prophets, priests, and kings were commissioned, they were anointed with oil. This was to consecrate them and to set them apart. Typically, with the anointing, the Holy Spirit would come upon them. The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit being poured out on anyone who believes (Joel 2:28 & 29; Acts 2:16-18). He is there to lead us, teach us, and empower us for service.

Olive oil was also commonly used as fuel to light lamps. The Word of God is described as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Ps. 119:105). Just as the oil brings life to the lamp, so the Spirit brings life to the Word by making the Scriptures plain to us. Just like the oil, the Spirit illuminates what we cannot see or understand, and guides us on our way.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Oil – Part 1 of 3

The oil is a significant symbol and application in our faith. When Jesus came to the Mount of Olives on the night of His betrayal, He was in an olive grove. It was no accident that Jesus was in this particular garden at the time of His arrest. Everything He did on this earth had a purpose and was ordered by His Father. Interestingly, olive trees represent righteousness, and Jesus was surrounded by olive trees. Perhaps Father God wanted the world to know that His Son was the perfect sacrifice, without spot or blemish, fully human, yet without sin.

Also, the garden that Jesus was in was called Gethsemane, which got its name for its olive presses. The process of pressing out the oil from the olives reminds us of the agonizing pressure Jesus went through on that terrible night. He knew what lay ahead of Him. He agonized over it to the point where drops of blood like sweat ran down His brow.

His time in the garden was a prelude to an even more immense agony to come. Once arrested, He was falsely accused and brutally beaten. He was so badly beaten that by the time He began the torturous walk to His own crucifixion, He was described as no longer having the appearance of a man. Isaiah prophesied about this event, and wrote that He was “crushed” and “bruised” for all our wrongdoings.

From olive trees and olive presses, we get olive oil. An interesting fact about olive oil is its healing properties. This is seen in one of the parables that Jesus told. The story was about a man who went on a journey. Along the way he was attacked by ruthless robbers who beat him up and left him for dead. Well, as you probably already know, this is the story of the Good Samaritan. Perhaps you might not recall that after taking pity on the man, the Samaritan dressed his wounds with wine and oil.
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Poem - The Substitute Lamb

A shepherd carefully scans his flock
The sheep look content under his gaze
But then he spots a lamb hidden by a rock
Abandoned, hungry, and too young to graze

Mothers recognize their young by smell
So they won’t adopt orphaned sheep
The shepherd knows this all too well
So this keeps him from his sleep

Only one way this lamb will survive
That’s if another lamb should die
The dead lamb’s fleece then will give
The orphaned sheep a way to live

Isn’t this what Jesus had to do for you and me
When He hung upon that awful tree?
His blood covers all our sin
Making us acceptable to God in Him

By Christina Morley
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