NOT ASHAMED

BC

BE BLESSED

All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God. – Deuteronomy 28:2, NASB

God wants His people to live a blessed life. He wants to increase You so that you can be a blessing to others. In scripture, God told Moses that if His people would obey Him, blessing would overtake them like a a flood!

Think about it, how would your life be different if every area were overwhelmed with God’s blessing? Now, think about your life. Are there any areas where you can rise up in your level of obedience to Him? Is there something you know you need to do? Is there someone you know you need to forgive? Are you being faithful in your giving of your time, talent, and resources? If you want to see the floodgates of blessing open, be quick to do what you know you need to do. Obey His leading and watch His hand of blessing overwhelm every area of your life!

ABOUT THOSE SCRIBES

Luke 6:7, “And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day, that they might find an accusation against him.”

MATTHEW 12:1-14; MARK 2:23-3:6; LUKE 6:1-11

The scribes were copyists of the holy scriptures. They preserved in written form the oral law, and faithfully handed down the Hebrew scriptures. In New Testament times, they were students, interpreters, and teachers of the Old Testament. Their functions regarding the law were to teach it, develop it, and use it in any connection with the Sanhedrin and various local courts. They were ambitious for honor, which they demanded, especially from their pupils, as well as from the general public. This homage was readily granted them (Mt. 23:5-11).

Ezra was a scribe during the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, and he was a very godly man. The office of a scribe was a worthy one, but the scribes of Jesus’ day were often rebuked by Him for having gone beyond the job of copying out the scriptures. They had a large volume of interpretations that they had added to the scriptures based on traditions, and had thus made “the word of God of none effect” (Mk. 7:13).

The scribes became an independent company of interpreters of the law and leaders of the people. Even they, themselves, sought to evade certain of their own precepts (Mt. 23:2-4). They clashed with Christ for He taught with authority and condemned the external formalism that they fostered (Mt. 7:28-29). They persecuted Peter and John (Acts 4:3-7) and had a part in Stephen’s martyrdom (Acts 6:12). However, although the majority opposed Christ, some did believe (Mt. 21:15).

Later on, we’ll read how Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of the scribes by dealing with issues of the heart. They appeared to be holy outwardly, but their hearts were far from God. It is important for us to keep our hearts tender and receptive to His Word, and give ourselves to Him in worship. Think about the good things he has done for you today and be thankful

THE REASON FOR THE RESURRECTION

Romans 4:25 – who [Jesus] was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

The Bible tells us that Christ was delivered up for our sins and raised from the dead for our justification. You may already know why Jesus died for our sins, but do you know the significance of God raising Him from the dead?

Let me give you an illustration to help you understand the significance of Jesus’ resurrection.

Let’s say that you are living in a foreign country. One day, you happen to break a major rule of the land. You appeal to the king for mercy. He says, “A rule is a rule. I cannot bend the rule for you. What will others say about my integrity? However, if you can find a substitute to take your punishment—three months in jail—I will allow it.”

By God’s grace, you find a willing substitute. He goes to prison on your behalf and you don’t see him for some time. Days, weeks and months pass by.

Now, how or when will you know that your crime has been fully paid for? When will you be able to rest easy regarding your crime? It is when you see your substitute walking free again! When you see him out of prison, you will know that the sentence has been fully served. You will know that you are now justified and no one can bring a charge against you for your old crime. No longer will you be afraid of the king or his guards coming after you because you know that the one who was punished in your place is now walking free.

Beloved, Jesus, your substitute, paid the debt you could not pay. On the cross, He bore the sins of your entire life. God put it all on Jesus and then He punished Jesus for every single one of those sins until He was fully satisfied. And because He was so pleased with what Jesus had done, He raised Him from the dead.

Today, Jesus’ tomb remains empty. He is not there for He has risen! His resurrection and empty tomb will forever be our assurance that we have been fully justified. You no longer have to be afraid of God judging you for your sins. His justice is on your side today!

SON REFLECTOR

This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light. —John 1:7

The cozy little village of Rjukan, Norway, is a delightful place to live—except during the dark days of winter. Located in a valley at the foot of the towering Gaustatoppen Mountain, the town receives no direct sunlight for nearly half of the year. Residents had long considered the idea of placing mirrors at the top of the mountain to reflect the sun. But the concept was not feasible until recently. In 2005, a local artist began “The Mirror Project” to bring together people who could turn the idea into reality. Eight years later, in October 2013, the mirrors went into action. Residents crowded into the town square to soak up the reflected sunlight.

In a spiritual sense, much of the world is like the village of Rjukan—mountains of troubles keep the light of Jesus from getting through. But God strategically places His children to act as reflectors. One such person was John the Baptist, who came “to bear witness of the Light”—Jesus—who gives light “to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (John 1:7; Luke 1:79).

Just as sunlight is essential for emotional and physical health, so exposure to the light of Jesus is essential for spiritual health. Thankfully, every believer is in a position to reflect His light into the world’s dark places.

Dear Father, help me to reflect Your light into the world around me today. May all that I say and do bear witness of Your light and truth. May others see how wonderful You are.

A world in darkness needs the light of Jesus.

BRING THEM TO JESUS

Arise, take up your bed… – Mark 2:9 NKJV

They came to Him, bringing a paralytic, who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic: ‘Arise, take up your bed…’ (Mark 2:9 NKJV) We learn from this man’s story that some people are incapable of getting to Jesus on their own; their condition makes it impossible. Notice two important things here: (1)When you’re weak or low in faith, gather others around you to encourage you in the Word and to lend a helping hand because fellowsip is important for us. ‘And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.’ (Acts 2:42-43 ESV) (2) They didn’t let the crowd stop them from reaching Jesus, it took some effort, a degree of difficulty and a measure of ‘chutzpah’ (boldness), but they didn’t quit. Jesus didn’t disappoint them, and He won’t disappoint you either. Don’t give in to weariness or discouragement, don’t stop until you get them to Jesus.

REST FROM THEIR ENEMIES

GOD CAN TURN YOUR EVIL DAY INTO GOOD DAYS

Esther 9:22 – …rest from their enemies…sorrow to joy…mourning to a holiday…

Today, many Jews still celebrate the feast of Purim. The name Purim is derived from “the lot” which a Gentile, Haman, cast concerning the fate of the Jews when they were in Persia under King Ahasuerus.

Haman, the villain in this story in the book of Esther, hated the Jews and sought to exterminate them. He got King Ahasuerus to allow him to issue a decree to annihilate all the Jews in one day—the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar. But God used Queen Esther and her uncle Mordecai, both Jews, to turn the tables on Haman and save the Jews.

Haman was hanged on the very gallows that he had constructed for Mordecai! Then, the king allowed Queen Esther and Mordecai to issue a counter-decree to allow all the Jews to defend themselves and destroy their enemies in one day—the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar!

So instead of the Jews being exterminated on that fateful day, their enemies were destroyed! God turned an evil day for the Jews into good days. He turned their mourning into rejoicing and gave them victory over their enemies.

My friend, God can do the same for you today. He only wants you to remain in your position of rest in Christ. You see, because of Jesus’ finished work at the cross, you are seated in heavenly places in Christ, far above every principality, and evil assault the devil can throw at you. (Ephesians 2:6) Just as Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, and refused to stand up and bow to Haman, let’s not “bow” to the devil by being persuaded to move from our position of rest in Christ. Don’t allow him to get you worried, frantic and doing things to save yourself.

Queen Esther was also in a position of rest before Haman was executed. (Esther 7) She was seated on a couch as Haman pleaded with her for his life. While doing so, he accidentally fell over the couch where the queen was. The king, thinking that Haman was assaulting his queen, sent him to the gallows!

Beloved, remain at rest in Christ’s finished work, and He will turn your evil day into days of rejoicing and feasting!

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