Meditations Of Light

(For audio narration you may click the Forward  button at left.)

Meditating on fundamental aspects of the Christian faith, such as those expressed in the Creeds, helps us grow closer to God.  For example, Jesus demonstrates the power of God among humans & brings light into our darkness.

  • Jesus was baptized by John the Baptizer, showing us the importance of baptism as a means of God’s grace in our lives. When the Son was baptized, the Spirit was present & the Father was pleased.
  • Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee, demonstrating the power of God among his people. By such miracles, Jesus draws our attention to God.
  • Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of God was present in the world, inviting people to turn away from the world & submit to God as king of their lives.

  • Jesus briefly revealed his heavenly glory to three of his chosen witnesses.   Though they did not clearly understand the significance of this event when it happened, it did help them understand more clearly that Jesus is God, after he had risen from death.
  • Jesus left his followers the ritual of communion, encouraging us to see his grace & mercy even in the things we take for granted, such as eating a simple meal, and encouraging us to renew our commitment to him as we remember his sacrifice for us.

LORD, please help us to love living simply in the  light of Jesus.

Christian Creeds

(For audio narration you may click the Forward  button at left.)

As the church grew in the early years after Jesus walked on the earth, it began to organize itself.  To help its members remain focused on Jesus, the church insisted that its ideas about God had to be consistent with the teachings of Jesus, as recorded in the writings of those who had walked with Jesus.

By the beginning of the second century, a basic statement of the Christian faith had emerged.  Now known as the Apostles Creed (from the Latin word credo, meaning “I believe”), this basic statement of the Christian faith may have been compiled by the original twelve witnesses, chosen & trained by Jesus.  The creed affirms that God has revealed himself to us in three persons: Father, Son & Holy Spirit — to make it easier for us to get to know him.

Over the next two centuries, certain heresies arose; heresies are wrong ideas about God that people simply make up.  One heresy was promoted by a church leader named Arius, who taught that the Son was subordinate to & somehow less significant than the Father. But most Christian leaders insisted that the Father & the Son were equally God, equally divine.

So, by the beginning of the fourth century, a second, more detailed statement of the Christian faith had emerged.  Now known as the Nicene Creed, this creed emphasizes that all three persons in which God has revealed himself to us – Father, Son and Holy Spirit — are equally God, equally divine.

These creeds remain in common use by most Christians in the world today, although with slight variations.  They are helpful for reminding ourselves of basic truths of the Christian faith.  Meditating on these truths helps us grow closer to God.

LORD, please help us to love Your revelation as three Persons in one God.

The End Of Time

(For audio narration you may click the Forward  button at left.)

Finally, John the Witness is shown the end of the world in a rapid-fire sequence of scenes (367).

  • Jesus returns to the earth with his church and wins an instant & total victory over the forces of evil.
  • Satan is bound for a thousand years, during which time Jesus restores & rules the earth.
  • Satan is then unbound briefly. His inevitable attack against Jesus results in his inevitable defeat; Satan’s forces are totally crushed & he is consigned permanently to hell.
  • All people are judged by God. Those who submitted to Jesus are taken to heaven; those who rejected Jesus are also consigned permanently to hell.

Judgement right left 2

The revelation concludes with encouraging images of God’s heavenly glory.  In Genesis, the first book of the inspired Jewish scriptures, we get a glimpse of God’s created children, living with him in an earthly paradise.  At the end of Revelation, we get similar glimpses of God’s faithful children, living with him in a heavenly paradise, beyond the ravages of time.

Heaven-300x225

At the conclusion of the revelation, John is given several important commands by Jesus:

  • We are to worship God, not men. (Nothing good comes from worshiping men, as the prior revelations have made clear.)
  • God’s people are to rely on God’s Holy Spirit to serve Jesus; that service involves showing & telling other people what Jesus does for us and what Jesus expects us to do for him.
  • For understanding the end to come, we are encouraged to trust the inspired scriptures — not adding to them or taking away from them. (The Bible may not contain everything there is to know about God, but those things it does contain are things we need to know about God.)
  • In this regard, we are encouraged to expect that Jesus may come back at any time, to begin the end described in these revelations. As Jesus taught his chosen witnesses, it’s absolutely important always to be ready for his return.

LORD, please help us to love Showing & Telling other people about You.

(367) Revelation 19-22

Jesus Conquered Death!

(For audio narration you may click the Forward  button at left.)

Paul continued speaking God’s message in the synagogue of Turkish Antioch (284).

“My fellow Israelites & you Gentiles here who worship our God, this message of salvation through Jesus has been sent to us.  The people who live in Jerusalem & their leaders didn’t know that Jesus is the promised savior; they didn’t understand the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.

“They actually made certain of the prophets’ words come true by condemning Jesus. Even though they could find no reason to have him executed, they insisted that the Roman governor, Pilate, put him to death.

cross 1

“After they had done everything that the inspired scriptures foretold about Jesus, he was taken down from the cross of execution & placed in a tomb. But God raised Jesus from death!

“For many days he appeared to his chosen witnesses, who now testify about him to the people of Israel.  We are here to bring this good news to you also.  What God promised our ancestors that he would do, he has now done for all of us — by raising Jesus to life!

“It is written of Jesus in the inspired scriptures, ‘You are my son; today I have become your father.’  And about raising Jesus from death, God said through Isaiah: ‘I will give you holy & sure blessings, as I promised David.’  And David himself says in another passage, ‘You will not allow your faithful servant to decay in the grave.’

Jesus-Risen-cropped

“King David served God’s purposes in his own time.  Then he died, was buried with his ancestors & his body has decayed in the grave.  But this did not happen to Jesus.  Instead, God actually raised Jesus from death!

“All of you, my fellow Israelites, must know that it is through Jesus that forgiveness of sins is preached to you.  You must know that everyone who believes in Jesus is set free from all sins, which is something the law of Moses could never accomplish.

“Take care, then, that this saying of the prophets may never apply to you: ‘Beware, you scoffers! Perish in your faithless astonishment! What I am doing today is something wonderful — that you will not believe, even when someone explains it to you.'”

LORD, please help us  love the new life You give.

(284) Acts 13:26-41

Invasion Of The Spirit

 

The day of Pentecost came about 50 days after Jesus had risen from death & about 10 days after he had returned to heaven (249).  On that day, the believers gathered in Jerusalem to remember Jesus & to worship God & to draw close to him in prayer.

Suddenly, the Holy Spirit of God invaded each member of their fellowship — with the sound of a strong wind & the appearance of flames flickering over every person there!

As the Spirit gave them power, all the believers began testifying boldly about how Jesus had changed their hearts & changed their lives — speaking in many different languages & dialects!

Pentecost

When a large crowd of people gathered to learn the cause of this uproar, every one of them was able to hear testimonies about Jesus in their own language & dialect.  They were amazed that this common testimony about Jesus was being shared by so many different people at the same time!

But there was also confusion.  It was well known that many of the believers were from Galilee, which was a fairly isolated area of Israel.  So how  were they able to speak in so many languages & dialects?  Many kept asking, “What’s going on here?”  Predictably, some people in the crowd made fun of the believers, saying, “These people are drunk!”

Then all twelve chosen witnesses for Jesus stood up as Peter addressed the crowd.

Bildergebnis für apostles stand with peter at pentecost

“People of Jerusalem, let me tell you what’s going on here.  None of us are drunk at nine in the morning.   What’s happening here is just what God foretold long ago through the prophet Joel:

“‘In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

  • Some will learn what I expect by proclaiming my message.
  • Some will see what I’m doing through dreams & visions.
  • Some will witness my miracles in the sky & my wonders on the earth.

“‘Finally, at the day of my judgment, there will be blood, fire, & thick smoke; the sun will be darkened, and the moon will be red as blood.  But I will save anyone who calls on me for help!'”

LORD, please help us to love calling on You for help.

(249) Acts 2:1-21

Home

 

Before going home to heaven, Jesus led his remaining chosen witnesses from Jerusalem to Bethany for their final meeting (247).  He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift I told you about, the gift that God promised. John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

His closest friends then asked Jesus, “Master, does this mean that you are now going to restore Israel to power as your independent kingdom here on the earth?”

In reply, Jesus said, “The time for that is determined by God, and it is not for you to know when that will be. But, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After saying this, Jesus was taken up to heaven as they watched.

ascension02-300x379

A cloud hid him from their sight, but still they fixed their eyes on the sky.  Suddenly, two men dressed in white stood beside them & said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but he will come back to the earth in the same way at the right time.”

the-ascension-of-jesus-39614-gallery

Then the  witnesses worshiped Jesus and went back to Jerusalem from Bethany by way of the Mount of Olives.  All of them were filled with great joy.

The remaining 11 witnesses included: Peter (originally named Simon), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James (a son of Zebedee), John (James’ brother), Philip, Bartholomew (also called Nathanael), Matthew (the tax collector, also called Levi), Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Judas (also known sometimes as Lebbaeus & sometimes as Thaddaeus), and Simon (the Patriot from Canaan).  Of the original 12 chosen witnesses, only Judas Iscariot was missing.

They went to the rooms where they were staying, where they often gathered for prayer with close friends & family members of Jesus.

LORD, please help us to love Jesus on earth as it is in heaven.

(247) Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50-52, Acts 1:1-11

Servants Of Jesus

 

For forty days after his execution & resurrection, Jesus appeared to his closest friends many times (243) in ways that proved beyond doubt that he really was alive! They saw him, and he talked with them about the kingdom of God.

One time in Jerusalem, Jesus suddenly appeared to the eleven remaining chosen witnesses as they were eating in a locked room! He encouraged them to have faith & to believe the reports of other people who had also seen him alive.

Then Jesus gave them this job: “Go throughout the whole world & preach the good news about God to all mankind. Whoever trusts in me — and begins obeying what I have taught by being baptized — will be saved.  Whoever does not trust & obey will be condemned.

jobs

Jesus continued, “Some believers will be given the power to do amazing miracles because of their close relationship with me:

  • They will expel evil spirits from people.
  • They will be able speak in languages they have never learned.
  • If they pick up snakes or accidentally drink any poison, they won’t be harmed.
  • They will lay their hands on sick people, who will get well.”

2_2_PeterHealingCripple-300x233

Jesus, please help us to love doing whatever You ask.

(243) Mark 16:14-18, Acts 1:2b-3