Promise

Message: “Steps of the Covenant” from Brian Eatock – FREEPORT FIRST

I will be your God

And you will be my people

And we will have a relationship

To which there is no equal

I will be there for you

Even when you stray

And I will pick you up

Returning to My way

You will often scorn Me

Looking for pastures seemingly more green

But you will surely discover

That their promises are bleak and lean

So I will redeem you

And show you once more the way

Though it will cost Me

More than I can possibly say


Padre

Of Sackcloth and Ashes

All over the city people followed the example of the king and pleaded with God to forgive them. God heard their prayers and because he is a God of mercy he spared them and did not destroy Nineveh. The Lord is good; His mercy is Everlasting. Psalm 100:5a (1 John 1:8-9). – Slide 34
FreeBibleimages

Nineveh corrupt and coarse

Set upon evil to obey

Upon the testimony of just one man

Turned to change their way

What brought on this quick remorse?

Made a king – ashes wear?

It was a prophet of the Lord

Who arrived from out the mer

For Jonah reluctant to his duty fulfil

The Lord his heart did convert

And with his mission now complete

Nineveh’s destruction he did avert


Padre

For Unto Us A Child Is Born

Unknown years of Jesus - Wikipedia

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).


Pastor Vince gave an enlightening message yesterday in which he expanded on the passage above. This is the season when followers of Jesus focus on the prophecy and the implications of the child born in the City of David two thousand years ago.

One event in the life of this child that is born to us did tells us much of the fulfilment Isaiah’s prophecy. When Jesus was twelve years old (a year short of is Jewish age of majority) He accompanied Joseph and his mother to Jerusalem for the Passover.

Luke gives us some details in Chapter 2:

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

He will be called “wonderful” – filled with wonders – and here we find a child (yes, unto us a child is born) conversing with the teachers of the temple giving answers to their questions that “amazed” them, and “astonished” Mary and Joseph. That is wonder! Not only that, but his understanding showed Him to be a “counsellor.”

The account ends with Jesus pronouncing that He was in His Father’s house – The House of God – making Him “a Son given” and heir to God. Fulfilled is the prophecy that he is “mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” He is more that just a babe in a manger!


Padre

Journey

To Bethlehem at Caesar’s behest

Mary journeyed in need of rest

And though no space at the inn was found

She was forced to give birth in a stable’s ground

Her babe small and innocent that day

Was placed in a manger’s hay

Her journey though was far from complete

For soon to Egypt she would be forced to retreat

Such a rough beginning – a tale so sad

Is in reality one of joy to make us glad

For it set the stage of things to come

Our salvation though the birth of that Holy One


Padre

Tumbling Walls

Wall, Brick, Fragment, Broken Wall

Some placed faith in things made by hand

As Joshua and the Israel’s children entered the land

Behind walls made of stone

They thought, “surely I’m safe at home”

But God, not idols or masonry deep

Would the victory win and keep

And with a mighty stomp and shout

Jericho fell without a doubt


Padre

Not Alone

Story of Gideon Images, Mighty Man of Valor

Jerub-Baal, Midian to defeat

Was told his army he must decrease

He sent away all who in heart did faint

But the numbers were still to large

He was to show even more restraint

And so he cut his forces to the core

A mere three hundred – not one more

And with this tiny band

It was God’s victory that was at hand

We too may face opposition strong

But if you feel alone – you are so wrong

For if the Lord is with you

And takes up the fight

You shall prevail through His might


Reflections on Judges 7

Padre

What Are You Searching For?

The Woman of Canaan by Michael Angelo Immenraet, Public Domain

I am going to preface this with a reflection on the media coverage of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Several commentators rightfully bemoaned the Talban’s record on women’s rights.  But what got my attention was one comment on social media that said Christianity is no better in that regard.

Since my planned message was going to focus on 4 Biblical women and their examples, I felt moved to address this topic first before proceeding to the main message.

Is Christianity anti–female?  Some argue that Eve being made “from Adam” as a helper shows subservience.  Let’s examine that.  The English says God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and God took one of Adam’s ribs and fashioned a “help meet for him.”

A better reading is that rather than rib, it should be seen a “flesh of his side.”   Note not flesh of his heel that he rule over her, not skin of his head that she reign over him; but flesh of his side that they might be equals, standing side by side.  She was a companion, not a slave.

Some Christian traditions move beyond this and say that priesthood is male.   John Paul II once said that when the priesthood was established on the night Jesus was betrayed, only Jesus and the apostles were present.  But is we read John’s account it is not only the mission of evangelism that is established in that meeting, but communion.  Does this suggest that only men can partake of the bread and wine?  Few if any would say so.

In fact, the first person to ever proclaim the full gospel of the resurrected Christ was not one of the Twelve, but Mary Magdalene.

Let’s look at the Second Temple period for a moment.  After the close of Malachi, a number of rabbinic writings and prayers became common.  One of these is known as the three blessings.  Jewish as part of morning prayers thank God for the new day, and that they are not Gentiles, slaves, or women.  This reinforces the often-cited misconception of Eve’s daughter’s lesser status.   But as we have seen this is not a Biblical principle.

Jesus’ ministry also shows and acceptance of women.  In His parables he uses women as key actors (See the Lost coin: Luke 15:8 – 10, the Parable of the Yeast:  Matthew 13:33, and the Ten Virgins of Matthew 25:1-13).

We can also note that Jesus’ teaching in the Temple were by their context in the outer courts where women and men could both hear his message (note the Widow’s Mite).  His public teaching as well was in homes where Mary and Martha were both called to listen, and on hillsides where men, women, and children could hear Him.

But if we look at Jesus’ ministry, we see that He treated woman in unexpected ways for His time –

It is now that I will note not His parables but His actual interactions, and what the women in these accounts can tell us about our main theme of “What are you searching for?”

I: Woman at Welldidn’t know what she was looking for or needed.    

John 4 tells us of Jesus’ interaction with a Samaritan woman. Their dialogue is one of mutual give and take, and she questions his request for water from her.  She is a Samaritan and a woman (remember the 3 blessings prayer).  He then reveals knowledge of her life, and she tries to deflect only to come to see what she is in need of.  Her life had been irregular if not outwardly sinful.  She had been seeking the wrong things, much as the majority of humanity does. See Romans 1: 35 where people look for the wrong things and worship the created or our own desires (like the woman and her multiple husbands did).

Jesus’ response in another passage reminds us (Matthew 6:33) to “Seek first the kingdom of God. . . and all other things will be given to us). 

Many of us need to learn that lesson and turn our focus to Him and His righteousness.

II: Woman with issue of blood Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48 is another human type.  This woman was afraid to ask.   She had suffered a bleed for 12 years, and the doctors couldn’t help her.  She knew (unlike the Samaritan woman) what she needed but couldn’t bring herself to ask.  She secretly touched Jesus’ garment and her act of faith after being confronted compassionately by Him led to her healing.

Jesus’ teachings on this can be summed up in – Matthew 7: 7-8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” 

Are we prepared to ask?

III: Mary – who we have already noted as the first preacher of the Gospel, was looking in the wrong places.  She had witnessed the crucifixion and the burial, and when the first day of the week arrived went to finish the burial process.  She had not understood Jesus’ words that the temple would be restored in three days.  

We too get caught up in traditions, religiosity, or our own plans.  In Matthew 28, Mary goes to the tomb to seek a dead Jesus only to be told by the angelic figure, “He is not here He is risen (verse 28).  

Don’t get waylaid by those things that blur our focus on the risen Lord!

IV: Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30 and Matthew 15:21-28)

This woman’s child has unclean spirits assailing her.  Though a Gentile and a woman she approaches Jesus.  She is initially rebuffed being told that Jesus has come the feed the children of Israel.

But shecontinued to seek what was beyond her reach or hope.

Are we any different? Remember “All have sinned and fallen short;”None righteous no not one,”

She therefore stands her ground.  She notes that the dogs can eat the crumbs that fall from the children’s table.

Jesus recognises her faith and commends it.  We too should not get caught up in our unworthiness, but trust in His mercy.

“While we were yet sinners” He came to seek us (Romans 5:8)!

Do we know what we are looking for? Are we afraid to ask? Do we sometimes look in the wrong places?  Are we trying to perfect ourselves? Or do we accept our own limitations and despite them seek the kingdom and His righteousness? 

I challenge you to know where your focus should lie.  I encourage you to ask, praying without ceasing for what you need.  I remind you to look to God, not to religion or yourself. 

We should be like the Syrophoenician woman.  He is here for us.


Padre

Samson

Jesus, Christ, God, Holy, Spirit, Bible
Pixabay

Judge Samson by his lusts was led
Took a Philistine to his bed
Her intent – his power to shed
Hair of his head, Hair of his head

They cut the thick locks from his head
Power gone – he was weak instead
But the temple where he was led
Collapsed on heads, Collapsed on heads


dVerse

On To Rome: Acts Poem 28

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Malta, Syracuse, and on to Italy

Then to Rome for a two year stay

In the presence of the Praetorian Guard

Paul taught both Jew and Gentile every day

Of the kingdom of God, and Moses’ law he did preach

And from the things the Prophets did say

Of Jesus’ salvation he tried them to persuade

So that they might find the way


Padre

Acts Poem 28 for February 28th.

Journey: Acts Poem 27

Wave, Huge, Wild, Ocean, Water, Nature
Pixabay

Paul, Rome-ward bound

Travelling the great Mediterranean Sea

When a great storm arose

To batter the saint and his company

The vessel on which they were embarked

Was being broken to pieces

And ropes were lowered to bind the planks

In hope of making the beaches

No calming of the storm did come

For Paul was but a man

But the entire party was nonetheless spared

In keeping with God’s greater plan


Padre

Acts poem 27 for February from Acts 27.