Friday, December 17, 2010

Use Your Gift - A true story

' us use them...' Romans 12:6 

 The Bible says, 'Having the gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them...' (Romans 12:6)

God has 'graced' you to do certain things well. Now, that doesn't mean doors will automatically open, and, like cream, you'll just rise to the top. Indeed, what you get overnight you can lose overnight.

You must first discern your gifts, use every opportunity to sharpen them, learn from your mistakes, and be tenacious about what God's called you to do.

In high school 'Sparky' flunked Latin, algebra, English and physics. He made the golf team but promptly lost the only match of the season, then he lost the consolation match. He was awkward socially-more shy than disliked. He never once asked a girl out on a date in high school.

One thing, however, was important to Sparky-drawing. He was proud of his artwork even though nobody else appreciated it. He submitted cartoons to the editors of his high school yearbook but they were rejected.

Even so, he aspired to be an artist. After high school he sent samples of his work to The Walt Disney Studios.

Again he was rejected. But Sparky didn't quit.

He decided to write his autobiography in cartoons. The popularity of his cartoon strip eventually led to countless books and television shows.

You see, Sparky was Charles Schulz,  of the Peanuts comic strip, the most famous cartoonist of all time. Like his main character, Charlie Brown, Schulz seemed unable to succeed at many things.

But he made the most of his God-given talent, refused to quit, and ended up winning. So, use your gift.

The Passover - Detailed information

The First of the Months

It is significant that God deliberately set the beginning of the spiritual calendar on the month of Abib (later called 'Nisan') on which the Passover occurred. This is the first indication that there is order, a beginning and an end to the cycle of feasts described in Leviticus 23. It requires that Passover be the first feast of the set (Tabernacles is the last); and indeed it was foundational to all the rest. If there had been no Passover to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, they would not have been able to have the priesthood, days of ceremonial rest, crop harvests, and Tabernacle/Temple necessary for the celebration of the subsequent feasts.

The grand theme of the Passover is redemption.

The Passover and resultant crossing of the Red Sea in the Old Testament stands in an analogous position to the death of Christ and climactic resurrection in the New Testament.

Members of the covenant community throughout all ages were to consider themselves part of that community God redeemed out of Egypt. Consequently, the inner motivation for a life of obedience was to arise from a heart grateful for this deliverance. The Passover memorial was to refresh their memory and rekindle their sense of devotion to God.

New Beginning
Passover was also the celebration of Israel's birth as a nation. Prior to this God had dealt with individuals and families, but now He was to enter into a special relationship with Israel as a national entity.
Their departure from Egypt allowed them the autonomy and divine leadership requisite for the formation of this national identity. As the sons of Israel crossed the sea and left Northern Africa for Sinai, they were leaving one sphere of existence for another (antitypical fulfillment: Col. 1:13; John 5:24).

Centrality of the Lamb
The center of attention throughout this feast is undoubtedly the unblemished lamb that would be with the family for a little over three days, and then killed and its blood applied to the doorposts of the house. This motif is rich in typology relating to the death of Christ on the cross (which occurred concurrently with the slaughter of the lambs in the Temple precincts. The New Testament alludes to Christ in Passover language so as to make the connection all but unmistakable:

There are many points of resemblance between the Passover lambs and the Lamb of God:
An innocent, unblemished lamb had to die to secure redemption and avert God's judgment (death of the firstborn male).
The lamb was to appear at the house on the 10th (corresponding to the triumphal entry of Christ), and then be killed between the 14th and 15th (corresponding to the day and time when Christ sacrificed).
The blood of the lamb had to be applied to be rendered effectual (faith was required).
The lamb was to be roasted.
It was to be eaten as food.
No bone was to be broken.

Uniqueness of the Egyptian Passover
It should be pointed out that there were several unique features of the Egyptian Passover that differentiated it from all subsequent Passover memorials. Edersheim makes mention of the fact that, "Jewish authorities rightly distinguish between 'the Egyptian' and the 'Permanent Passover.'" (Alfred Edersheim, The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, p. 211).

Christ, the One Who Brought Israel Out of Egypt
It is important to realize that according to Judges 2:1, it was Christ, the preincarnate "Angel of YHWH', who Himself brought the children of Israel out of Egypt in the Passover:
Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, `I will never break My covenant with you. (Judges 2:1, NKJV).

How ironic that the Jewish leaders in John 11:47-57 were seeking to kill Jesus while preparing the celebrate the very deliverance that He Himself wrought!

Outline of the Passover
PASSOVER OBSERVANCES: (Ex. 12:43. Num. 9:12, 14 2 Chron. 35:15)
Preparations for the festival were to begin on the 10th day of the first month.
Abib (Deut. 16:1; later the Babylonian name of Nisan was substituted--Neh. 2:1; Esth. 3:7).
A Passover lamb was selected according to the number in the household.
The lamb was to be without blemish, a yearling and male.
The animal was to be kept under special care until the 14th day of the month, when it was to be killed "between the evenings" -Ex. 12:6 (margin), Lev. 23:5 (margin).
This is understood to mean "in the evening at the going down of the sun" (Deut. 16:6).
The blood of the animal was to be smeared upon the two doorposts and the lintel of the house.
A later development was to have the blood sprinkled on the altar or poured at its base (2 Chron. 35:11; Jub 49:20; Pes. 5:6)
The flesh was to be roasted by fire with its head, legs, and inner parts.
No bone was to be broken. (Ex 12:46; Num 9:12) It was not to be eaten raw or boiled with water.
The roasted meat was to be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
Nothing was to be left over until the morning; any remains were to be burned (Ex 12:10; 34:25).
The meal was to be eaten in haste, with loins girded, shoes on, and staff in hand.
Israelites who were prevented from keeping the feast for reasons of Levitical uncleanness or travel were to celebrate a month later (Num 9:10ff; Pes 9:3).
Exodus 12
New Testament
"Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover (lamb)." (Exodus 12:21)"
For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed." (1 Corinthians 5:7)
"Your lamb shall be an unblemished male" (Exodus 12:5)
"but the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, (the blood) of Christ." (1 Peter 1:19)

Daily benefits from God

“Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits...” (Psalm 68:19, NKJ)
This morning when you woke up, what was the first thing that went through your mind? Maybe you have a deadline to meet or a big appointment at work. Maybe you are facing a challenge or going through a difficulty in a relationship that seems to consume your thoughts. Today, I want to encourage you; instead of focusing on what your circumstances have to offer, focus on what God has to offer you.

His mercies are new every morning, and His compassion never fails. He has victory in store for you today; He has provision in store for you today; He has joy in store for you today, and He has peace in store for you today. He daily loads you with blessing!

The key to accessing these daily benefits is setting your focus in the right direction. You can’t wait to see how you feel, what kind of mood your spouse is in, what the traffic is like or what the stock market is doing. No, you have to choose to set your focus by saying, “This is going to be a great day. I am blessed and cannot be cursed! I know God is directing my steps; something good is going to happen to me today!”

A PRAYER FOR TODAY Heavenly Father, today I choose to focus on You. I open my heart and mind to receive Your daily benefits. Show me ways to be a blessing to others and a good example of your love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God's mercies begin afresh each morning

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22–23, NLT)
Isn’t it good to know that no matter what happened yesterday, no matter what you said, no matter what you did, God’s mercy is new for you today? Mercy is empowering. It frees us to make the right choices and live in a way that is pleasing to God. We have to always remember that God is not condemning us.

Romans tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. God wants to love us and equip us to overcome in this life.

Do you need new mercy today? Receive it by faith. You don’t have to beg God to forgive you. He forgives you the first time you ask, but it’s up to you to receive that forgiveness. Open your heart today and receive His mercy. Let Him wash over you with His peace and joy. Then choose to extend that mercy to others. Remember, you are God’s representative in the earth. As you show His love and character to others, He’ll pour out His blessing upon you and use you in ways you never dreamed!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY Heavenly Father, today I choose to receive Your mercy and forgiveness. Thank You for cleansing me of all unrighteousness. Thank You for making me new. I love You and bless Your Holy Name. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Authority to overcome all the enemies' power

“I have given you overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
God has given you all power and authority to overcome every obstacle you may face in life. That means you are well able to do what God has called you to do. You can accomplish your goals. You have the ideas, the creativity and the talent to be successful. You have been armed with strength for every battle!

God has already lined up the right people to come across your path; He’s already lined up the right opportunities. You have everything you need to live a victorious life.

Not an average life, not a barely-get-by, mediocre life — you were created to excel. You have seeds of greatness on the inside.

You may not have seen it in the past, but if you’ll stay in faith, it’s just a matter of time — victory is on the way. Don’t settle where you are. Rise up in strength today and begin to declare, “I will accomplish my dreams. I can overcome any obstacle. I’ve been equipped and empowered to live in victory in every area of my life.”

Heavenly Father, thank You for the power to overcome every obstacle I may face. Help me to see myself the way You see me. Help me to embrace the victory You have in store for me today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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