Advent 2017 - Day 16
Prophecy: So I said, “I will not pasture you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed; and let the survivors devour one another’s flesh.” (Zechariah 11:9, AMP)
Fulfillment: Then the disciples came to Him and asked, “Why do You speak to the crowds in parables?” Jesus replied to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.” (Matthew 13:10-11, AMP)
The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of December 17-23, 2017, is Acts 26:12-18. In this passage, Paul is speaking to Festus, Roman governor of Judea, and King Agrippa, the great-grandson of King Herod, who tried to kill Jesus as a baby. Paul has already appealed, and been granted permission, to take his case before Caesar and is awaiting transport to Rome. In speaking with Festus and King Agrippa, Paul shares with them how he became a follower of Jesus Christ.
“While so engaged, as I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission and full power of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven surpassing the brightness of the sun, shining all around me and those who were traveling with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice in the Hebrew dialect (Jewish Aramaic) saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick[repeatedly] against the goads [offering pointless resistance].’ And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.Get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you[to serve] as a minister and as a witness [to testify, with authority,]not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you,[choosing you for Myself and] rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,to open their[spiritual]eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified (set apart, made holy) by faith in Me.’ (Acts 26:12-18, AMP)
When and how did you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Perhaps your story is not as dramatic as Paul’s story - few are. That does not make it any less important. It does not mean that God’s plan for you is not important. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon Paul’s salvation story, consider your own. How has your life changed since you became saved? How is God working in your life?
December 18, 2017: Daily Bible Reading Commentary for Deuteronomy 29-31
Click here for the reading
Commentary: Today’s first two chapters are often referred to as the Palestine Covenant. It contains a reminder of all that the Lord has done for Israel and what will happen should they fail to keep the covenant. The actual covenant includes the future of Israel. In the final chapter, Moses prepares the Israelites for his departure and assigns Joshua to succeed him.
Focus Verses: 29:2-9 Have you ever stopped to ponder just all that the Lord did for the Israelites while they were wandering the desert? He never stopped caring for them! What does this tell you about the Lord and His Love?
December 15, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 50
India: Maninder Pandher has been sentenced to death for the brutal rape and murder of 25-year-old Anjali, a housemaid, in his home in Noida in 2006. He also ate her flesh after killing her. Pandher and his accomplice, Surinder Koli, have also been suspected in 16 other similar murders. Pandher has, so far, been convicted in three others, and sentenced to death in two. Koli has been found guilty in eight other cases.
Six men have been sentenced to death for the brutal murder of 22-year-old Sankar, who belonged to a lower caste. Sankar was a member of the Dalit caste, formerly known as “untouchables.” Approximately eight months after Sankar married a woman from a higher caste, several members of her family, including her father, stabbed Sankar to death. Sankar’s wife, Kausalya, was severely injured in the attack, but survived. Six of the attackers were sentenced to death, two others received lesser sentences, and three, including Kausalya’s mother, was acquitted. Financial compensation was also awarded to Sankar’s family. Kausalya’s family defended the murder as an “honor killing,” which are generally not judged harshly by the courts.
Iran: On Monday, December 11, 2017, five prisoners were executed by hanging at Kermanshah Central Prison in western Iran. All were convicted on murder charges. One of the executed was identified as Keykavus Ashouri.
On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, two prisoners were executed by public hanging in Khorasgan Square in Isfahan. They were convicted of murdering a police officer on April 9, 2016. One of the inmates was identified as Abdolmajid Hassanzehi.
Iraq: Thirty-eight terrorists belonging to the Islamic State or al-Qaeda were executed by hanging in Nasiriyah, in southern Iraq. All were accused and convicted of terrorist activities.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!
I’m rubber, your glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you!
I know you are but what am I?
Talk to the hand, ‘cause the face isn’t listening!
Childhood rhymes, all with a similar, overarching theme. They are uttered by children as a way to protect themselves against harsh words. As we follow the advice in 1 Corinthians 13:11b, when I became a man I put away childish things, we stop saying such rhymes as we grow up, as we have discovered other ways of dealing with harsh words, but the lessons those rhymes taught often remain - we must protect ourselves from harsh words.
If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (James 3:3-9, ESV)
We may like to deny it, or even ignore it and bury it, but words have power! Words can hurt and empower, words can destroy and create, words can motivate and manipulate, words can teach and instruct, words can heal and reveal. Words have power! Far more power than is often credited to them.
Mastering our tongue - our words - is one of the most difficult things to do. James argues that it is impossible. We cannot tame our tongue with a bit, as we would a horse. A rider uses a bit to guide a horse, just as a rudder steers a ship. So to, do our words, offered through one of our smallest, yet mightiest muscles, guide our actions, our attitudes, and our direction in life. Words have power! And it is a constant battle to maintain control over them. But it is not a battle in vain! It pleases the Lord and, when won, we use our tongue to glorify Him!
The Lord remembers our words, just as we do. We all remember that cutting insult made towards us. We may have laughed it off, outwardly pretended we did not care, but the insult lasted. Years later those words still affect part of your life.
On the flip side, we all remember that person in our lives who motivated and encouraged us. That person who made us strive for more, become someone better than who we were. Years later those words still affect part of your life.
How have words made you the person you are today?
Throughout 2018, The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries is going to examine the Power of Words, both good and bad. We will post our first study on January 7, 2018. Beginning in February, we will post a new study on the first of each month. The studies will include examples from the Bible and recent events to show that words have always held power and continue to do so! During this study, we challenge you to examine your own words and reflect upon the power your words are exerting!
Words have power!
Do you aspire to be a “better Christian?” Do you want to deepen and strengthen your relationship with the Lord? Well, I’ve got good news for you! It is possible! In as little as one year, The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries can help you transform your relationship with the Lord!
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)
Right there! That is how you are going to grow and deepen your relationship with the Lord! You have to take the first steps and draw near to Him! You have to actively seek after a relationship with the Lord. How?
A great starting point is simple: daily study of His Word, the Bible. God has given us the Bible as a history book, a textbook, a praise book, a philosophy book, a book of warning of the coming future, and so much more! By following along with our “52 Week Bible Reading Plan” (available here), daily study will allow you to completely read through the Bible in one year. It is perfect for beginners who don’t know where to start, or for those who have already read the Bible a couple dozen times. Each reading, each study can bring new meaning and realization.
The Forgiveness Foundation Christian Ministries wants to help you! Each day, we will post a summary of the day’s reading on our website, www.theforgivenessfoundation.org. We will also post specific verses to focus on each day. Read through the entirety of the day’s reading. Then come back and re-read the focus verses. Prayerfully contemplate the questions asked about the reading. If you miss a day, don’t worry! Past commentary can be found under our “Scriptures” tab.
Our 2018 Daily Bible Study begins on December 31, 2017, but join us anytime! So, are you ready to deepen and strengthen your relationship with the Lord this upcoming year? Then let’s go!
Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can anyone hope to separate themselves from the power of sin in this world. Through Him, all things are made new. For a complete listing of readings, please download our Bible Study.