The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Why does the Word compare Jesus to being a light to the world? The world is in spiritual darkness. Islam has its followers deeply entrenched in a belief system that leads to death. Catholicism has its followers just as deeply, if not more, entrenched. Judaism has its followers just as deeply entrenched – despite the fact that they are God’s chosen. My friend, all religions which lead their followers down a path of salvation through someone other than Jesus Christ is a religion of darkness.

The veil in the temple leading to the Holy of Holies was torn when Christ’s shed blood on the cross paid the penalty for our sins [And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; (Mat 27:51)]. We no longer need a high priest because Jesus is our high priest and He offered a perfect sinless sacrifice in His own body for us [For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)].

Which leads me back to my initial question – why does the Word compare Jesus to a light? I’ll let the verses themselves answer this question:

For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. (Psa 18:28 )

[A Psalm of David.] The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psa 27:1)

For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. (Psa 36:9)

O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. (Psa 43:3)

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. (Psa 89:15)

Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. (Psa 90:8 )

Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. (Psa 97:11)

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. (Psa 112:4)

God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. (Psa 118:27)

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105)

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: (Pro 6:23)

O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. (Isa 2:5)

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isa 8:20)

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isa 9:2)

I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (Isa 42:6)

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. (Isa 42:16)

The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. (Isa 60:19)

He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. (Dan 2:22)

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (Mat 4:16)

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Mat 5:14)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Mat 5:16)

To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luk 1:79)

A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luk 2:32)

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (Joh 1:4)

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (Joh 1:5)

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (Joh 1:9)

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (Joh 3:19)

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (Joh 3:20)

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (Joh 3:21)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (Joh 8:12)

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (Joh 12:46)

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Act 26:18 )

That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. (Act 26:23)

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2Co 4:4)

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2Co 4:6)

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (Eph 5:8 )

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Eph 5:14)

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (Col 1:12)

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (1Th 5:5)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (1Pe 2:9)

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (2Pe 1:19)

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1Jo 1:5)

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1Jo 1:7)

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Rev 21:23)

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:5)

After all of these verses, it is evident that the light can be found in the Word of God. The Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Jesus is the Word: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Joh 1:1) The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. (Psa 119:130) The simple can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and be born again. This verse does not say the proud will be receive understanding. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6)

Islam will not get you to heaven, my friend. Buddhism will not get you to heaven. Judaism will not get you to heaven. Plain and simple, religion will not get you to heaven. Only ONE can get you to heaven and that is Jesus Christ. He is the light which the Word of God speaks of. He is the light waiting to shine in your heart to show you the way to salvation. The blessed Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what will shine in our hearts and take us out of darkness.

There is NO other way. God will not compromise. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Pro 14:12)

I was drawn to the Saviour because of His blessed return to earth to Rapture the Saints. When I heard this song, written by Thoro Harris, I received such a blessing!

Thoro Harris was born on March 31, 1874, in Washington, D.C., only 30 miles from where I now live. He died on March 27, 1955. He produced his first hymnal in 1902. When I read the words to this beautiful hymn, I cannot remain in a discouraged state of mind. I cannot remain ungrateful. It is beautiful hymns like these that encourage the Saint to look up to the hills from when cometh our help!

He’s Coming Soon
Thoro Harris

In these, the closing days of time,
What joy the glorious hope affords,
That soon—O wondrous truth sublime!
He shall reign, King of kings and Lord of Lords.

Refrain

He’s coming soon, He’s coming soon;
With joy we welcome His returning;
It may be morn, it may be night or noon—
We know He’s coming soon.

The signs around—in earth and air,
Or painted on the starlit sky,
God’s faithful witnesses—declare
That the coming of the Savior draweth nigh.

Refrain

The dead in Christ who ’neath us lie,
In countless numbers, all shall rise
When through the portals of the sky
He shall come to prepare our paradise.

Refrain

And we, who living, yet remain,
Caught up, shall meet our faithful Lord;
This hope we cherish not in vain,
But we comfort one another by this word.

Refrain

This dear brother in Christ sure knew his Bible. “He shall reign, King of kings and Lord of Lords.” Our Saviour shed His grace upon man and give His very blood so we could reign with Him. Isn’t that awesome?

(1 Cor. 15:52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

(Tit 2:13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what a blessed hope we have indeed! Chances are I will hear from one of my readers who picks apart my writings and accuses me of heresy over and over. He thinks he will “convert” me back to the “religion” of my youth but he is mistaken for sure. There was no hope in that religion. All I could say was that I “hoped” I would go to heaven. But after reading Ephesians 2:8-9, I saw that my religion was one of works and I could not get to heaven based on anything good that I had done. (Eph 2:8 ) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8 ) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (9)

My friend, our own righteousness (that which we think we have in our own lives and our own works) is considered a filthy rag in God’s eyes. (Isa 64:6) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. You know who you are, Sir, and I pray that you will allow God’s word to speak to your heart through His Holy Spirit so you can find true salvation – not man’s – not a church – but through Jesus Christ. Do so now for He is coming soon!

What a beautiful picture of Fall foliage in Northern Maine! Having grown up there, I remember the most vivid colors and how magnificent was the Lord’s handiwork! However, I don’t recall seeing leaves such as these. Did you notice the beautiful green centers of the leaves? It made me think that no matter how much turbulence there is around us, as long as we are attached to the Tree, we will have His likeness within us. The Holy Spirit resides inside us and glorifies Christ through our words and our actions. I praise the Lord for my salvation, don’t you? I cannot even begin to tell you how much He has changed my life!

Before I was saved, I had heard the instrumental version of the hymn that we are covering today. I had never “heard” the words, however. This hymn was played during the first church service I attended after salvation. When I heard the words for the first time, I broke down into tears! The lady sitting next to me turned to me thinking that I wanted salvation and walked me to the front of the church! God knew I needed to make public profession so this was timely. But the words penned by John Newton spoke to my heart. Although I did not have the same testimony as Newton, I was a sinner on my way to hell just as he. I shudder to think what would have happened if my dear friend had not submitted to God’s will to travel 1,000 miles to witness to me at the time that she did. Little did she know that had she not obeyed the Lord, I would have been dead a few short days later! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Thank You, Lord!

John Newton’s words reveal a very personal relationship with his Lord and Saviour. The softest of born-again hearts can utter the words of this song today and become teary eyed with gratefulness! John Newton was born on July 24th, 1725, and died on December 21, 1807. He wrote Amazing Grace at the age of 54 years old. He lived to be the ripe old age of 82!

John’s mother passed away when he was just seven years old. Can you imagine losing your dear mother at such a tender age? He was left alone to be raised by his father, a sailor. His father took John and set sail when he was but 11. John grew into a godless man and, as a result of such years, became a slave in Africa. God used these experiences to draw Newton to Him. His grace shown upon John at the age of 23 when his ship was taking on water and death seemed imminent. He spent the next six years growing in the Lord. After six years of commanding a slave ship, Newton spent the next nine years studying Hebrew and Greek, learning from Wesley, Whitefield, and other Nonconformists. He was ordained and became curate at Olney in 1764, where he became a friend to William Cowper and with him produced the Olney Hymns.

I look upon his testimony and how he looked back on his years as a slave ship commander and penned the most beautiful hymn known today. Amazing Grace is the most played hymn known to man. Why is this so, one might ask? Put yourself in Newton’s shoes as a young man on a sinking ship. He had read a piece by Thom­as à Kemp­is and it had sown a seed in his heart. Had it not been for these circumstances, these beautiful words would not have been written!

Amazing Grace
John Newton (1779)

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

(Mr. Newton did not write this last verse)
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

The first verse of this song summarizes salvation! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Eph 2:8 ) That saved a wretch like me! Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Rev 3:17) I once was lost, but now am found; For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. (Mat 18:11)

Was blind, but now I see. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. (Joh 9:39) John Newton began this hymn with the best news he could possibly write about!

The remaining verses spoke of how God revealed Himself to him and how he has been the Lord’s ever since, and forever more. Newton’s gratefulness to God cuts to the core, doesn’t it? I remember rejoicing and my heart leaping for joy when I heard this man’s beautiful song. I remember being able to relate to John Newton and being able to sing these words with truth and joy!

To have the veil removed my eyes where I could see the sinner I truly was and what great salvation was provided to me was more than I could bare! When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour, I felt as though a hundred pounds had been lifted from my shoulders! The lady who led me to the Lord gave me a Bible and when I opened God’s Word for the first time and read the Book of John, I melted! I could not believe that I actually understood His Word! I could read and understand whereas before salvation, the words were as dry as dust! Praise the Lord that He found me, His lost sheep!

I did not know John Newton’s testimony at the time I first heard this song but I remember praising God that He had placed such a beautiful song in my path that day so that I could sing along with the author the words that so beautifully depicted the joy in my heart!

I was drawn to William Cowper (pronounced Cooper) because of his testimony. He was born on November 15, 1731 in Great Berkhampstead, England and died in April, 1800. His father was chaplain to King George II so it appears that William was raised on God’s word. William studied to become an attorney but he never actually practiced law. He struggled with temporary madness to the point that he made several attempts at drinking poison only to have spasms in his hand which prevented him from doing so. Talk about the hand of God on his life! He then tried to hang himself with a strong garter. He passed out and then the garter broke while he was still suspended. After he recovered, he struggled with knowing that God could forgive him for this attempt. It was then his life changed.

Today’s hymn was the first hymn William wrote after his recovery. It is evident that the Lord worked in him and gave him the assurance of forgiveness.

There is a Fountain Filled with Blood
William Cowper

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

What words penned by a repentant man in need of the assurance of love from his God! William could not stand the fact that he entertained thoughts of suicide. I have been in his shoes. I did not suffer from madness but I entertained suicidal thoughts. Had it not been for the grace of God, I would not be here today writing devotionals and praising Him! My Heavenly Father sent a dear friend to me from a thousand miles away to share the salvation message! She arrived in the nick of time because a few short days later was when I planned to end it all. Thank You, Lord! I was born again and those suicidal thoughts left me and I have never entertained them since! \o/

The devil uses despair to play mind games with the believer. I have seen it in my own life and I have seen it in the lives of others. The key to despair is how we deal with it. I compare my Christian walk with that of a car. A car starts off brand new and it works beautifully. It smells good – it looks good – it drives great! Depending on the car’s owner, the car may or may not continue to run well. If the owner does not fill the car with fuel regularly, it will run out of gasoline and stop working. If the owner does not perform the scheduled maintenance checks, the car will begin to experience problems. If the tires are not checked from time to time, the owner can expect a flat. There are many things that must be maintained on a car to ensure that it runs properly.

The same holds true for the Christian. When the Christian first gets saved, he is on fire for the Lord and it seems that nothing can stop him. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Co 5:17) However, as the Christian gets older, there are things that he must do to maintain his spiritual zeal. Our fuel is the word of God. Without daily fuel from above, we can expect to sputter and eventually stop. How can we deal with the day’s problems without the proper fuel from above to keep us going in the time of storm? Without our scheduled maintenance (church services), we can expect to encounter problems with our walk. One cannot expect to be able to draw on our spiritual resources if we have not put anything into them. Being in the word of God daily helps us to remember a verse when we need one desperately. The Holy Spirit reminds us of a passage that we read a couple of weeks ago, or even that very morning. Paul exhorted the Ephesians not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God but to put away those old things (sins). That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (Eph 4:22)

The Christian who does not stay in the Scriptures will find himself grieving the Holy Spirit and he won’t be able to hear His still small voice when he needs it most. He will not have the resources to pull from when the devil begins to push him into the sea of despair. I have seen two types of people who suffer from chronic illnesses. The first is in God’s word and is able to make it through each day because of God’s grace he receives from the word. The other has become an embittered person, full of disdain for the world around him, because he has nothing to draw from. God’s word brings healing – maybe not physically, but spiritually. Our Emmanuel (God with us) is there to heal our broken spirits when the devil is busy trying us sore. How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Act 10:38 )

Have you ever heard the term FIFO? It is an inventory term used in warehouses. It stands for First In First Out. It means that the first piece of inventory that goes on the shelf should be the first piece of inventory that leaves the shelf. It is the same with our own spiritual lives. If we put something into our spiritual inventory, it will be the first thing that surfaces in our lives. If we read our Bible, we will be able to draw on that when we are in need of a word from God. If we neglected our Bible reading and did other things, we can expect to have nothing to pull from. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Ti 2:15) When we stand before God and receive reward for the works that we have done for Him, will we stand ashamed before Him because we did not study His word? Will we have to bow our heads in shame because we fell into the sea of despair instead of using our life raft, the word of God?

William Cowper saw this in his own life, I believe. I do not know whether his temporary madness was a mind game from the devil or an illness. I could not tell whether or not it was before his salvation or after. This is not clear in the history I have read. There may be some other accounts out there detailing this but I have not read it. However, I do know that his Heavenly Father reached down to him in his despair and lifted him. I do know that from that point on, William went on to write one of the most beautiful hymns about the blood of his Saviour. He totally grasped salvation and penned a clear message of how the Saviour paid dearly with His own blood the punishment for sin we so deserved.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

Despite our sin, the born-again believer can say the power of Christ’s blood will take us home and one day, we will no longer struggle with sin. Praise God! What do you have on your spiritual shelves to draw upon when you are in need? Do you have the latest movie details, lyrics to your favorite song, or the precious word of God to direct and guide you? God’s Word promises five things:

1. LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psa 119:89): We do not have to doubt its origin, preservation or authenticity because God’s word was and is forever settled in Heaven. We have God’s word to turn to – He has promised us.

2. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105): God’s word will keep us from stumbling spiritually because it will direct us.

3. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. (Psa 119:140): God’s word is pure – there is nothing in it which is polluted or corrupt.

4. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Psa 119:160): God’s word is true from the beginning of time and forever. There are no lies in it, no contradictions, and no faux pas! We can count on it to give us what we need, when we need it.

5. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (Joh 17:17): God’s word will set us apart from the spiritually malnourished believer as well as the unbeliever.

In the mean time, what kind of FIFO system do you have controlling your spiritual inventory today?

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Scriptures speak of Jesus Christ, our Rock and Saviour, seven times! Seven is God’s perfect number. It excites me to see that He would refer to the Rock (proper noun) seven times – the perfect Rock – the perfect plan of salvation – the perfect Saviour!

~Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

~Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

~Deuteronomy 32:18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

~Deuteronomy 32:30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?

~Deuteronomy 32:31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.

~2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

~1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

The Word describes the Rock’s attributes to us. The final verse in the New Testament tells us just who that Rock is: Jesus Christ!

(1) Rock = Works are perfect, ways are judgments, God of truth, God without sin, God is just and right
(2) Rock = Salvation
(3) Rock = Creator of man
(4) Rock = Does not forsake us
(5) Rock = Not the god of this world, but the one and only!
(6) Rock = God of Israel and Christians
(7) Rock = Jesus Christ

No other “religion” on earth can describe their god to such perfection through perfect scriptures as Christians can. Our Rock is God. Our Rock left His throne to take on flesh. Our Rock never sinned so He could be the perfect Lamb. Our Rock shed His blood so He could pay the ransom for our sin. Our Rock arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. Our Rock awaits His return to reign over this earth.

~Isaiah 9:6 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.

Our Rock is Wonderful! Our Rock is our Counsellor! Our Rock is the mighty God and everlasting Father. Our Rock is the Prince of Peace! Glory be to God in the highest!!

Psalm 110

A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2 The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
the conquest
5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

What a beautiful prophetic Psalm! David outlines both of the Messiah’s roles as Priest and King! No Old Testament King was ever a priest as well. Jesus fulfilled the priestly role in that He died for our sins, arose from the dead and now sits in Heaven making intercession for us! The Book of Hebrews explains Christ as our High Priest so well:

~Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

~Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

~Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

~Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.

~Hebrews 10:11-13 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

~Hebrews 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

Christ is our High Priest who offers Himself as the sacrifice for our sins (Heb. 2:17). He did this once for all who would accept Him as Saviour. His sacrifice is not one that has to be offered daily or annually (Heb. 10:12). His sacrifice is perfect because He is perfect.

The Christian has more to look forward to! We long for the day when Christ will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Tim. 6:15, Rev. 15:3, Rev. 17:14, Rev. 19:16)!

How love the Word of God is from cover to cover! Within the pages of Psalms, we can see what God has in store for us and it brings encouragement to our spirit! Praise ye the Lord!

Nativity Scene Pictures, Images and Photos

Since this is the day set aside to honor the birth of the Saviour, I believe It is fitting, to read about the prophecies regarding Jesus Christ, the Messiah:
Born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2
National Identity & Authority will not end until the Messiah comes – Genesis 49:10
Messiah will have a ministry in Galilee – Isaiah 9:1,2
Messiah will have a ministry of miracles  – Isaiah 35:5, 6; 42:7; and Isaiah 53:4
Messiah will preach good news to poor, encourage the brokenhearted – Isaiah 61:1
Rejection by Jews & Gentiles – Psalms 2:1-2; Psalms 118:22-23
Messiah would be persecuted – Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 53:3
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey – Zechariah 9:9
Zeal for God’s house would consume Him – Psalms 69:9
Betrayal by close friend – Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:12-13
Betrayal for 30 pieces of Silver – Zechariah 11:12
Purchase of the Potter’s Field with 30 pieces of Silver – Zechariah 11:13
Desertion of the disciples – Zechariah 13:7
Silent under accusation – Isaiah 53:7
Mocking – Psalms 22:7-8
Hands and Feet Pierced – Psalms 22:16
Patience under suffering – Isaiah 53:7
Crucified – Psalms 22:14
Offer of gall and vinegar – Psalms 69:21
Cries upon the Cross – Psalms 22:1
Death with the wicked and transgressors – Isaiah 53:9, Isaiah 53:12
Casting of lots for His garments – Psalms 22:18
Bones not broken – Psalms 34:20
Pierced – Psalms 22:16, Zechariah 12:10
Suffered for us, suffered in our place – Isaiah 53:4-6
Born of a virgin – Isaiah 7:14
Messiah will have a forerunner – Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5
Buried with Rich – Isaiah 53:9
Specific time of arrival – Daniel 9:24

Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 outline in more detail about the Saviour:

~Isaiah 53

1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

~Psalm 22

To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David.
1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. 4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. 10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. 11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. 21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. 22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28 For the kingdom is the Lord’S: and he is the governor among the nations. 29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

God formed us. Sin deforms us. School informs us. Christ transforms us.

What a great quote!! The Word supports it repeatedly!

~John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

~John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

~1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

~Colossians 3:9-10 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

~Galatians 3:26-27 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

~Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Have you changed since you claimed salvation? If you cannot read these verses and understand them, that should be a red flag because the born again Christian is given the ability to understand God’s Word. If you can understand them, then can you truly say you have changed? If you have not changed much from your previous life, you are quenching the Holy Spirit and not allowing Him to change you from within. Let Him be the Potter and you be the clay – let Him mold you into Christ’s image!

~Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

~Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

~Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

~Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

The average “religious” person today believes that whatever he is doing is probably enough to get him into Heaven. However, I can think of no more poignant question to ask one’s self to turn that “probably” into “assurance.”

Do I truly seek after God?

Answering this question with all honesty will reveal whether you are sure of where you will spend eternity. If your answer is that you seek after the things of God, then you still do not have assurance.

~Luke 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

~Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Christ’s precious Holy Spirit stands knocking at your heart’s door so that He may enter in and save you from the wrath to come, which is life everlasting in the Lake of Fire. Don’t be counted with those who will be cast there:

~Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

~Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Only the righteous can enter Heaven. Our own righteousness is filthy before God. Christ alone can provide us with His own righteousness so that we may be found worthy to enter eternal life with the Father.

~Romans 3:22-23 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

~Acts 16:31a And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.

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~2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Paul was chosen to write most of the New Testament and was given an abundance of revelations from Christ. If anyone could have been elevated to a position of authority in the church, it would have been Paul. However, even Paul stated that he was given a thorn in the flesh to buffet him, lest he should be exalted above that he should!

Christ is the head of the Church, not a pope, not Peter, not anyone! This is stated three times in the New Testament:

~1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

~Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

~Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

There is no one that is “above another” in the Church other than Christ. There are Pastors (elders) who teach us from the Word.

~Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Yes, follow after those of the faith, but only if they speak unto you the Word of God! We need to be preached to about sin so that we will fall under conviction, repent and keep going down the straight and narrow road. But not to the point of elevating such a Pastor to a place where it is taught that he is the Vicar of Christ (which means Christ’s replacement here on earth), the pope. Paul did not want to be elevated. Peter did not want to be elevated (Acts 10:25-26). They were our examples and continue to be in God’s Word. Look at what Peter said:

~1 Peter 5:1-3 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: (1) Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; (2) Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (3)

Something went wrong in the catholic church. The leaders stopped obeying God’s Word and Peter and Paul’s example, and started being lords over God’s heritage. I don’t know how much Bible one needs to see and understand that the hierarchy of the catholic church is wrong!  But their entire Gospel is no longer the simple salvation that Christ taught but their religion is filled with complicated rules, dogmas and unbiblical traditions of men.

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Source: C. Truman Davis, M.D., M.S.
Arizona Medicine
Vol. 22, No. 3, March 1965

In this paper, I shall discuss some of the physical aspects of the passion, or suffering, of Jesus Christ. We shall follow Him from Gethsemane through His trial, His scourging, His path along the Via Dolorosa, to His last dying hours on the cross.

I became interested in this about a year ago when I read an account of the crucifixion in Jim Bishop’s book, THE DAY CHRIST DIED. I suddenly realized that I had taken the Crucifixion more or less for granted all these years—that I had grown callous to its horror by a too easy familiarity with the grim details—and that as a physician I didn’t even know the actual immediate cause of death. The Gospel writers don’t help us very much on this point because crucifixion and scourging were so common during their lifetime that they undoubtedly considered a detailed description totally superfluous—so we have the concise words of the Evangelists; “Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to them to be crucified—and they crucified Him.”‘

I am indebted to many who have studied this subject in the past, and especially to a contemporary colleague, Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon who has done exhaustive historical and experimental research and has written extensively on the subject.

The infinite psychic and spiritual sufferings of the Incarnate God in atonement for the sins of fallen man I have no competence to discuss; however, the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord’s passion we can examine in some detail…what did the body of Jesus of Nazareth actually endure during those hours of torture?

This led me first to a study of the practice of crucifixion itself; that is, the torture and execution of a person by fixation to a cross. Apparently, the first know practice of crucifixion was by the Persians. Alexander and his generals brought it back to the Mediterranean world—to Egypt and to Carthage. The Romans apparently learned the practice from the Carthaginians and (as with almost everything the Romans did) rapidly developed a very high degree of efficiency and skill in carrying it out. A number of Roman authors (Livy, Cicero, Tacitus) comment on it. Several innovations and modifications are described in the ancient literature; I’ll mention only a few which may have some bearing here. The upright portion of the cross (or stipes) could have the cross-arm (or patibulum) attached two or three feet below its top—this is what we commonly think of today as the classical form, of the cross (the one which we later named the Latin cross); however, the common form used in our Lord’s day was the Tau cross (shaped like the Greek letter Tau or like our T). In this cross the patibulum was placed in a notch at the top of the stipes. There is fairly overwhelming archaeological evidence that it was on this type of cross that Jesus was crucified.

The upright post, or stipes, was generally permanently fixed in the ground at the site of execution and the condemned man was forced to carry the patibulum, apparently weighing about 110 pounds, from the prison to the place of execution. Without any historical or Biblical proof, medieval and Renaissance painters have given us our picture of Christ carrying the entire cross. Many of these painters and most of the sculptors of crucifixes today show the nails through the palm. Roman historical accounts and experimental work have shown that the nails were driven between the small bones of the wrists and not through the palms. Nails driven through the palm will strip out between the fingers when they support the weight of the human body. The misconceptions may have come about through a misunderstanding of Jesus’ words to Thomas, “Observe my hands.” Anatomists, both modern and ancient, have always considered the wrists as part of the hand.

A titulus, or small sign, stating the victim’s crime was usually carried at the front of the procession and later nailed to the cross above the head. This sign with its staff nailed to the top of the cross would have given it somewhat the characteristic form of the Latin cross.

The physical passion of the Christ begins in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of this initial suffering, I shall only discuss the one of physiological interest; the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”

Every attempt imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away this phrase, apparently under the mistaken impression that this just doesn’t happen.

A great deal of effort could be saved by consulting the medical literature. Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional strain, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.

We shall move rapidly through the betrayal and arrest; I must stress again that important portions of the Passion story are missing from this account. This may be frustrating to you, but in order to adhere to our purpose of discussing only the purely physical aspects of the Passion, this is necessary. After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiphas, the High Priest; it is here that the first physical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.

In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, is taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. You are, of course, familiar with Pilate’s action in attempting to pass responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrach of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate. It was then, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Barabbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion. There is much disagreement among authorities about scourging as a prelude to crucifixion. Most Roman writers from this period do not associate the two. Many scholars believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as his full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly defending Caesar against this pretender who claimed to be the King of the Jews.

Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. It is doubtful whether the Romans made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter of scourging. The Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes. The Pharisees, always making sure that the law was strictly kept, insisted that only thirty-nine lashes be given. (In case of a miscount, they were sure of remaining within the law.) The Romans legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum (or flagellum) in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs. At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.

The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stones pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a King. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hands for a scepter. They still need a crown to make their travesty complete. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns (commonly used for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a crown and this is pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body). After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. This had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, causes excruciating pain…almost as though He were again being whipped—and the wounds again begin to bleed.

In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans return His garments. The heavy patibulum of the cross is tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and the execution detail of Roman soldiers, headed by a centurion, begins its slow journey along the Via Dolorosa. In spite of His efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance. The centurion, anxious to get on with the crucifixion, selects a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus follows, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock. The 650 yard journey from the fortress Antonia to Golgotha is finally completed. The prisoner is again stripped of His clothes—except a loin cloth which is allowed the Jews.

The crucifixion begins. Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic mixture. He refuses to drink. Simon is ordered to place the patibulum on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stripes and the titulus reading, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.

The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain—the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet.

At this point, another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically He is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in the lifegiving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences which are recorded.

The first, looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

The second, to the penitent thief, “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”

The third, looking down at the terrified, grief stricken, adolescent John (the beloved Apostle), He said, “Behold thy mother,” and looking to Mary, His mother, “Woman behold thy son.”

The fourth cry is from the beginning of the 22nd Psalm, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber; then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.

Let us remember again the 22nd Psalm (the 14th verse), “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”

It is now almost over—the loss of tissues fluid has reached a critical level—the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick sluggish blood into the tissues—the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain.

Jesus gasps His fifth cry, “I thirst.”

Let us remember another verse from the prophetic 22nd Psalm; “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death.”

A sponge soaked in Posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionnaires, is lifted to His lips. He apparently doesn’t take any of the liquid. The body of Jesus is now in extremis, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brings out His sixth words—possibly little more than a tortured whisper.

“It is finished.”

His mission of atonement has been completed. Finally He can allow His body to die.

With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

The rest you know. In order that the Sabbath not be profaned, the Jews asked that the condemned men be dispatched and removed from the crosses. The common method of ending a crucifixion was by curifracture, the breaking of the bones of the legs. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward, the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocation tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when they came to Jesus they saw that this was unnecessary.

Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. The 34th verse of the 19th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John: “And immediately there came out blood and water.” Thus there was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and blood from the interior of the heart. We, therefore, have rather conclusively postmortem evidence that our Lord died not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation but of heart failure due to shock and construction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.

Thus we have seen a glimpse of the epitome of evil which men can exhibit toward man—and toward God. This is not a pretty sight and is apt to leave us despondent and depressed. How grateful we can be that we have a sequel: A glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man—the miracle of the atonement and the expectation of Easter morning!

The Catholic Catechism states that the catholic becomes Christ Himself!

“Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ.” Pg. 210, #795

“For the Son of man became man so that we might become God.” Pg. 116, #460

“The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” Pg. 116, #460

The mormon church and other cults teach that man can become gods. However, even having grown up as a catholic, I had never heard the catholic church teach this. So why are these three quotes found in the catechism? The catechism is a book detailing what the church believes and teaches its members, is it not? So why are these found in the catechism?

The Bible states:

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Matthew 24:5

Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ… Luke 21:8

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. Matthew 24:23

Don’t be upset with me – I am merely quoting what is written in your catechism! I would not stay in a church that taught such things. If you did not know about these three quotes, what else is there in the catechism that you do not know about? Read the other articles I have placed on this page. I beg you to allow the Holy Spirit of God to minister to you instead of the catholic leaders who are filling you with lies.

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Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Th 4:17)

What a day it will be when the Rapture takes place and we meet our Saviour in the clouds forever to be with Him! I long for the day, don’t you? I feel that the Rapture is one of Christ’s gift to the born-again believer! How precious a gift it is indeed! This picture was taken in Monticello, Virginia, at Thomas Jefferson’s home. A storm was coming and the clouds were rolling in. What a beautiful view we had. Mr. Jefferson’s home sits on a hill and we had a panoramic view of the valley as we watched the storm come in. My son, Adam, took this picture of the clouds as the sun’s rays came through. He commented how he believed the clouds would look this way at the time of the Rapture! Oh what a gift! A grateful heart always takes our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances and places them on the Lord. We are able to thank Him for our blessings even while in the midst of a storm!

I recently celebrated my birthday and received several wonderful gifts which were so appreciated. I meditated on the absolute and Perfect gift – God’s gift to me through the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ, so I may be saved! Praise the Lord for this wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father. I did a search for the phrase gift of God and was delighted to see that there were eight verses with this phrase in the Word! The number eight symbolizes “new beginnings” and Christ gives us a new beginning through the new birth! Praise His Holy Name!!

In reviewing the eight verses, I noticed that they could be broken down into seven categories.

1. The fruit of our labour: And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. (Ecc 3:13) and Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. (Ecc 5:19) Why should we consider the fruit of our labour a gift? If it weren’t for the health God has given us and the ability to work, we would not be able to enjoy the fruit of our labour. I also think of the precious fruit of saved souls as a result of the labour of our work at soulwinning.

2. Jesus is our gift: Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (Joh 4:10) There is no greater gift in the world than to give your life for a friend. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13) I think of those who give their lives every day in defense of freedom for our country and they die for those they don’t even know! Praise God!

3. The Power of the Holy Spirit: But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. (Act 8:20) To think that the power of God could be purchased is ridiculous. However, there are religions today who practice this very belief. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9). Buy indulgences and buy your way out of purgatory – buy masses for those who are dead and their time in purgatory will be greatly reduced!

4. Eternal life: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:23) What a gift indeed! To be forever with our Saviour in Heaven is indeed a gift!

5. God’s spiritual gifts to Christians: For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. (1 Co 7:7) We’ve all been blessed with one or more gifts from the Holy Spirit. These gifts are a whole other study unto themselves but the fact of the matter remains that we all have at least one. The gift is not for our glory or benefit but for the glory of God and for the cause of His work. All the gifts put together through the various members of a church make up a whole body of unified believers who are producing a beautiful work unto God.

6. Grace: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Eph 2:8 ) Grace, unmerited favor, is most certainly a gift! God shows us His agape love by giving us His undeserved kindness! We are putrid sinners, my friend. It only takes one sin to keep us out of heaven. A Holy and Righteous God cannot allow even one sin into His presence. To do so would infest a perfect place. Look at the Garden of Eden – it was perfect until Adam and Eve’s sin entered. They were cast out of the Garden. Lucifer and his band of angels were cast out of heaven when they sinned. Praise God for His grace in our lives and giving us His only Son so we can have eternal life in His heaven!

7. Preaching: Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Tim. 1:6) What a gift indeed. Our Pastor is our gift from God. How do you treat a gift which has been given to you? Do you discard it? Do you mistreat it? No, you cherish it and you make sure that it is well cared for because it is precious to you. So should our Pastor be to us. So should any preacher of the Word, an evangelist, a missionary, or a street preacher! If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Pe 4:11) Treat your Preacher as a precious gift and let Christ’s name be praised in so doing!

It amazes me that this phrase, gift of God, can be categorized into seven types! Seven symbolizes perfection and completeness! Doesn’t this totally bless you? God’s perfect and complete gift to us is through His Son, who gives us a new life!

How can one not be blessed by the Word when you pick it up apart and see that God has given us more to glean from! What people miss when they don’t spend time in the Word!

Father, God, We Glorify
Charles and John Wesley

Father, God, we glorify
Thy love to Adam’s seed;
Love that gave Thy Son to die,
And raised Him from the dead:
Him, for our offenses slain,
That we all might pardon find,
Thou hast brought to life again,
The Savior of mankind.

By Thy own right hand of power
Thou hast exalted Him,
Sent the mighty Conqueror
Thy people to redeem:
King of Saints, and Prince of Peace,
Him Thou hast for sinners giv’n,
Sinners from their sins to bless,
And lift them up to Heav’n.

Father, God, to us impart
The gift unspeakable;
Now in every waiting heart
Thy glorious Son reveal:
Quickened with our living Lord,
Let us in Thy Spirit rise,
Rise to all Thy life restored,
And bless Thee in the skies.

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Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20)

I find the studies on the number seven to have been my biggest blessing thus far. I was looking at the seven churches in Revelation and reflected on how each referenced “saith he” and just who that “he” was. We all know that He is Christ. However, the characteristics used to depict Christ are awesome!

1. Jesus holds His messengers in His right hand and walks in the midst of the church. Rev 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; The seven stars are the angels, the messengers. It is thought that these messengers are the pastors of the seven churches (the candlesticks). It is interesting that these angels are held in the palm of Christ’s right hand! They are His. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (Joh 10:29) Also notice that the seven candlesticks (the seven churches – seven is perfection, completeness) are shown with Christ walking in the midst of them. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Mat 18:20) Not only is the Pastor held in Christ’s palm but Christ Himself walks amongst us through His Spirit. How can we go wrong?

2. Jesus is the first and last and is alive! Rev 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; We do not serve the dead gods of the world. We serve a Risen Saviour! I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Rev 1:18 )

3. Jesus is sharper than any two edged sword! Rev 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; Since Jesus is known as the Word: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Joh 1:1) – He is fulfills the following verse: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb 4:12) Jesus came in the flesh – He became the spoken Word of God to us in the flesh. When He returned to Heaven, He left us His spoken Word in written form through the power of His Holy Spirit. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Joh 14:26)

4. Jesus is the Son of God! Rev 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; The only time the Son of God is found in the O.T. is in Dan. 3:25 when the Son of God walked in the midst of the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! The phrase Son of God appears in 45 verses in God’s Word. I found it interesting that the number forty symbolizes “probation, testing, closing in victory or judgment” and the number five “grace, cross, atonement, life”! Isn’t it appropriate that Jesus’ ministry on earth (His hour of testing) closes with His reign in both victory and judgment? Isn’t it also interesting that His grace given to us by His blood’s atonement on the cross results in eternal life for us? Glory!! How can we say that God’s Word is not complete? Every jot and every tittle will be made manifest one day. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Mat 5:18 ) This series is only scratching the surface – it would be like placing a pencil mark on Mount Everest! I’m certain that when we reach Heaven, we will see so much more!

5. Jesus has the seven Spirits of God. Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. The Holy Spirit resides within every born-again believer and every born-again believer makes up the church. The word “hath” reveals that Christ holds the church and possesses the church. What a blessing this is!

6. Jesus is holy, He is true and is the door. Rev 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; Jesus is the only door. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. (Joh 10:7) and I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (Joh 10:9) It’s interesting that the phrase “I am the door” appears twice to depict the Second Person of the Trinity! I also found it interesting to see that the door reference is for the Church at Philadelphia – the church that will experience the rapture!

7. Jesus is the Amen. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Rev 3:14) Salvation is final, firm, established and complete in Jesus. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6) Jesus is the only way to Heaven – He is the final way to Heaven – He is the beginning and the end – no other way! Plain and simple! Period! No Allah, no Buddha, no Mohammad! It is Jesus and Jesus only!

What a blessing to read these this morning! God is so good to us, my friend! We spend but a few minutes or hours in the Word yet we walk away with eternal blessings! Thank You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Hark He is Calling
Fanny Crosby

Though young in years, we are all taught,
The way that leads to Jesus;
The way that must by faith be sought,
If we would come to Jesus.

Refrain

Hark! He is calling every day,
He says to each one, “I am the way.”
Let us arise, arise without delay,
And come at once to Jesus.

How happy they, who safely rest
Within the fold of Jesus;
Beneath His kind protection blest,
They walk and talk with Jesus.

Refrain

There is a door that leads from sin,
That blessed door is Jesus;
And there we all must enter in,
To reach the fold of Jesus.

Refrain

And, as His sheep have learned to know,
The loving voice of Jesus;
So we, like them, may gladly go,
And ever dwell with Jesus.

Refrain

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