Born Again

Bible:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:1-8 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. I Peter 1:3-5 ESV

Reflection:

The Asmat people of New Guinea had an interesting custom. When two villages were at war with each other, and they wanted to make peace, they would have a big ceremony. Men from the two villages would lie down on their stomachs side by side in a long line, and women would stand by their husbands and spread their legs to make a long arch. Then children from both villages would crawl through the arch over the top of the men’s backs. When they came out of the arch on the other side, men and women from the two villages would pick up a child from the other village, and they would rock these children and give them baths and treat them like new little babies. For several days there would be a big celebration, and every night women would rock and sing lullabies to a child from the other village. The meaning of this custom is that these children had been born again into the kinship ties of the other village, and because these children were now considered part of the other village, there would be peace between the two groups of people.

When Nicodemus came to Jesus to learn more about his teaching, Jesus told him that anyone who wanted to see the kingdom of God would have to be born again. Nicodemus didn’t understand this. How could he, an old man, crawl back inside his mother and be born again? But Jesus said that the new birth he was talking about was a birth of water and of the Spirit. Jesus was talking about baptism and about the work of the Holy Spirit. We can’t see God the Holy Spirit, but it is his work to bring us to faith in Jesus, through Baptism and also through reading and hearing the Bible. We can’t see the wind, but we can see the work that it does, and when the Holy Spirit gives us faith we see his work, and it is like seeing the leaves of the trees move in the wind. This new birth makes peace between us and God, and gives us a brand new life in his kingdom.

Jesus came to teach people about his kingdom, and more importantly, to open his kingdom to all people by dying on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have peace with God. Because of Jesus’ work for us, we are born again into the kingdom of God, a kingdom that will last forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us a new birth into your heavenly kingdom. Amen.

Source:

Richardson, Don Eternity in their Hearts Ventura, California: Regal Books, 1981.

Advertisements

Zeal for His Father’s House

Bible:

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:13-17 ESV

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that dishonor has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.

For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me. Psalm 69:6-9 ESV

Reflection:

Mr. Corse was the teacher in Almanzo’s school. He was gentle and kind, unlike other teachers Almanzo had had. Other teachers might beat a little boy’s hand with a ruler if he hadn’t learned his lesson well, but Mr. Corse would just tell him to stay in at recess and learn it. There were some rough older boys at Almanzo’s school, and they often broke up the school by badly beating up the teacher. These boys were planning to beat up Mr. Corse, and the other students knew it was going to happen. They were very upset, and some of the little girls were crying. But when the rough boys tried to jump on Mr. Corse and beat him up, the teacher took a blacksnake ox-whip and lashed a couple of them with it. The gang was so upset and frightened that they ran away, and they didn’t hurt Mr. Corse or break up the school.

Jesus is a lot like Mr. Corse. He is gentle and kind with people who are weak, but he is stern with evil. When he saw the business that was going on in the temple, his Father’s house, he became very angry. What was happening in the temple was very wrong. People who traveled from a distance to worship God couldn’t always bring their own animals for sacrifices, so they would buy an ox or a sheep or a pigeon at the temple. They also couldn’t use Roman money to pay the temple tax, because it had the emperor’s image on it, so there were moneychangers at the temple who would exchange Roman money for Jewish money. The temple officials made a big profit out of these businesses because they took advantage of the people who were coming to worship. Jesus took a whip and drove their businesses out of the temple, with all the animals, and he turned over the tables with all the money on them with a crash. The Son of God was angry with these sins, and he carried out God’s judgment on them.

Jesus is gentle and kind with people who come to him for help and forgiveness, but he is stern with people who do evil things and aren’t sorry for them. We all rebel against the Lord’s holy law and deserve his judgment, but Jesus came to take God’s judgment on himself. He went to the cross to die for all the sins in the world, and he offers forgiveness to everyone who turns away from evil. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us want to stop doing things that are wrong and to make us able to look to Jesus for forgiveness and help. Because of what he’s done on the cross for us, we can be sure that Jesus will be gentle and kind to us when we turn to him.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for your love and forgiveness. Amen.

Source:

Wilder, Laura Ingalls Farmer Boy New York: Harper and Brothers, 1933.

John Reflects the Light

Bible:

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” John 1:6-8, 29-34 ESV

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Psalm 115:1 ESV

Reflection:

When you look up into the sky at night, you can often see the moon. The earth’s moon is the largest and brightest body in the night sky. Astronauts who have landed on the moon tell us that its surface is dark gray, like pavement, but even so a full moon shines so brightly that it hides the light of many of the stars near it in the sky. Astronomers often put away their telescopes when the moon is full because it gets in the way of their seeing other things farther away. The moon is so bright that we can see it in daylight sometimes, even though all the light of the stars we see at night are washed out by the light of the sun during the day. The moon is even bright enough to cast a shadow, but it doesn’t have any light of its own. All of its light is reflected from the sun.

John the Baptist was a lot like the moon. He became so well-known and so many people were going out into the wilderness to see him that some of them started to wonder if he was the promised Savior. But the Bible says that he was not the light. John the Baptist’s job was to reflect the light of Jesus and point the way to him. He knew for sure that Jesus was the promised Savior after he baptized him and saw the Holy Spirit come down on him in the form of a dove. Even though Jesus started his ministry after John did, John knew that Jesus was going to be much greater than him, and that Jesus had come before him because he was God from the beginning. The greatest message John ever told was when he pointed to Jesus one day and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He reflected the light of Jesus to everyone who heard him.

We had been in the darkness of sin and death and all the forces of evil, and there was no way we could ever have found our way out of the dark. Jesus came to us on earth to bring us his light. He died on the cross to defeat all the forces of darkness that held us in their power, and brought us into the light of his love. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us reflect his light in our lives.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying for us and bringing us into your light. Help us to reflect your light to others. Amen.

Source:

https://www.universetoday.com/75891/why-does-the-moon-shine/

Jesus is Baptized

Bible:

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:13-17 ESV

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. II Corinthians 5:16-21 ESV

Bible:

In baseball, when the team’s pitcher is not doing well, and he’s starting to give up runs or there are runners on the bases for the other team, the manager will usually decide to put in a relief pitcher. The manager will walk out to the mound and tell the pitcher to give him the ball. Then he will call in the relief pitcher from the bullpen and give the ball to him. From then on, the relief pitcher will pitch, and his job will be to get the starting pitcher out of the trouble he was in. A good relief pitcher can save the game for the team.

This is a little bit like Jesus’ baptism. People were coming to John the Baptist so they could show that they were sorry for their sins and wanted God to forgive them and help them live new lives. Jesus had no reason to be baptized, because he never sinned. John knew this and didn’t want to baptize him, but Jesus said that it was necessary. He was now a grown man and ready to start his ministry, a ministry that would end with his death on the cross. At Jesus’ baptism, God the Father called on Jesus to take on the mess the whole world had gotten itself into by its sin and rebellion. Jesus took on our need to repent and to be forgiven. He took all our sins on himself and became our substitute.

When Jesus was baptized, God the Father spoke from heaven. He said that Jesus was his beloved Son, and that he was pleased with him. Jesus’ life and death would please God perfectly and cover all our sin and guilt and win us his forgiveness. God the Holy Spirit came down on Jesus in the form of a dove, to give him power and strength for the important work he had to do. When we are baptized, our Heavenly Father calls us his own children, and everything Jesus did becomes ours. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us follow him in a brand new life.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for taking all our sins on yourself and being our Savior. Amen.

What Shall We Do?

Bible:

And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:10-14 ESV

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 ESV

Reflection:

When Seattle, Washington was a very young city, a man named Henry Yesler was its mayor. Henry Yesler wanted to construct a wagon road over the Cascade Mountains, which would help connect the city to the rest of the country by an overland route. To pay for this road, Yesler held a lottery. That meant that people would pay money for tickets, and the winning ticket would win the prize of his own sawmill. But Mayor Yesler never held the lottery drawing. He just kept all the money from the lottery for himself–and the sawmill too! Henry Yesler used his position as mayor to benefit himself rather than to serve and help other people.

When different kinds of people came to John the Baptist and asked him to help them understand what it meant to turn away from the sin in their lives, John talked about their positions, the vocations that God had given them. He warned them to stop using their vocations as ways of benefiting themselves, and instead to use their positions in life to serve others. He told everyone to see themselves as neighbors to others and to help their neighbors in need with food and clothing. He told tax collectors to stop taking more money than they had permission to collect and keeping it for themselves. He told soldiers not to use their positions to gain power by using more force than was necessary or to scare people into giving them money. Instead, they should be content with the pay they were given.

God has given us all vocations in our lives. We might be sons or daughters, students and friends, brothers or sisters, and so forth. Whatever position God has put us into, he means for us to use it to serve and help other people, and not to get all the good things for ourselves. But the sin in our lives often makes us selfish, and to try to get all the benefits we can. Jesus came to be our Savior, and he completely gave himself so that he could die on the cross for us and our sins could be forgiven. Because of Jesus, God forgives us for our sins of selfishness, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to help us learn to love and serve others in our lives.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving yourself for us. Please help us to use our lives to help and serve others. Amen.

Source:

http://www.historylink.org/File/223

The Holy Spirit and Fire

Bible:

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:7-12 ESV

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:6-7 ESV

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. I Thessalonians 1:5-8 ESV

Reflection:

There was once a wolf who always wanted to eat some sheep from a flock, but the shepherd was very watchful and the wolf could never catch one. Then one day he found a sheepskin that had been left lying on the ground, and so he put that sheepskin on over his fur and was able to sneak into the flock that way. He caught and ate all the sheep he wanted until one day the shepherd decided to eat one of his sheep for dinner. He happened to take the wolf in sheep’s clothing, and ate him!

We often talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing when we mean someone who is pretending to be something he or she is not. John the Baptist had some very stern words for the religious leaders of his time. They were coming out to hear him speak and be baptized, but John could tell they were only pretending to be sorry for their sins. He compared them to a bunch of snakes, and he also called them trees who never gave any fruit. This meant that their lives didn’t show any evidence that they had turned away from their sins. He said that they would be cut down with an ax and thrown into the fire, even though they were the descendants of Abraham. God wasn’t interested in who their father was, but instead if they lived in repentance and faith.

John the Baptist used a lot of other pictures in his words. He talked about a winnowing fork that separated grains of wheat from their husks. People who wouldn’t turn away from their sins would be like husks that were thrown into the fires of judgment forever. John said that he baptized people with water, but that someone was coming who would baptize people with the Holy Spirit and with fire. John was pointing ahead to Jesus, and the baptism Jesus gives us through his church gives us the forgiveness of sins, and it also gives us the Holy Spirit so we can have new life in him. Sometimes God allows us to go through tough times, and these times can seem like times of fire, but that fire is helping our faith to be stronger and more pure, the way fire purifies gold. Our faith is more precious to God than all the gold in the world, and the Holy Spirit gives us our faith and helps us stay strong till the end, when we will be like wheat that is taken safely into the barn.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help us to be sorry for our sins and to come to you every day for forgiveness. Please send your Holy Spirit to help us stay strong in our faith, no matter what. Amen.

Wise Men from the East

Bible:

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 ESV

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3 ESV

Reflection:

In the early days when the American west was being settled, it took a long time for messages of any kind to reach the west coast from the eastern part of the United States. A letter might be sent by steamship around the southern tip of South America to the west coast, and that could take months. The Panama Canal hadn’t been dug yet, but sometimes steamships stopped in Panama and the mail would be carried across the narrow stretch of land by mules, and then loaded onto another ship which would carry it up the west coast. It was important for messages to reach the west coast quickly, especially California, where many settlers were coming because of a gold rush. People found a faster way to carry the mail across the country by something called the pony express. Riders would carry mailbags on fast ponies, and the riders and ponies were changed at different stations. In this way the mail could reach California in about ten days! The pony express only lasted for 18 months, though. It was expensive, and when telegraph wires were stretched across the United States, the pony express came to an end.

God sent his Son Jesus into the world for all people, even those who were far away and hadn’t heard his message. After the baby Jesus was born, some wise men from a distant country followed a star to find the King of the Jews. We don’t know much about these mysterious wise men. We don’t know where they came from, or what they knew about the true God, or how they understood what the star meant. But what we do know is that the Lord wanted them to come and see the Savior he had sent to the whole world. He sent them a star because they didn’t have his Word to guide them. This star was like the pony express. It brought a message to people far away, and it was the best way for them to get the news until they could have God’s word and God’s Son.

We don’t need stars to guide us, because we have God’s word, the Bible, and best of all we have Jesus. Jesus sends us his Holy Spirit so that we can see him and know him when we read and learn the Bible. We learn about how he died on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven and we can be God’s people for always. We also know that this message isn’t only for us, but also for all people around the world. We are happy to send missionaries and Bibles all around the world so that the message of God’s love reaches all people everywhere.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to all people. Please help us send your message of love all around the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pony-Express

The Song of Simeon

Bible:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:25-32 ESV

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Philippians 1:21-24 ESV

Reflection:

Carter and Edward were two men who met in the hospital and discovered that they both had cancer and were going to die. They started working together on their “bucket lists,” the things they wished they could do before their lives came to an end. Edward was a very rich man, and he decided that they should choose some extraordinary things to do together before they had to die. The two men left the hospital and had adventures like driving race cars, climbing the Pyramids in Egypt, going on a lion safari in Africa, and going skydiving. While they traveled and had fun together, they became good friends, and each one discovered what was the most important to him in his life.

Simeon was an old man, and he had only one thing on his bucket list. He wanted to see the promised Savior before he died, and God the Holy Spirit had promised him that he wouldn’t die until he had seen the Messiah. Simeon was in the temple when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus there to be dedicated to God, and the Holy Spirit told Simeon that the promised Savior had come to the temple. He came up to Mary and Joseph and took the little baby into his arms and praised God in a song. Simeon said in his song that he was ready to die, because he had finally seen the one that the Lord had sent to be his Savior. He said that Jesus was the glory of God’s people Israel, and also a light for all the Gentiles, the people of all the other nations of the world. Simeon knew that having the baby Jesus in his arms was the most incredible thing that could ever happen to him, and that nothing else could ever compare with that moment.

We might have bucket lists of things we hope to do before we die, and it can be good to enjoy the good gifts God gives us in this life. But there is nothing more important than the gift God gave us when he sent Jesus, his Son, to be our Savior. Because of Jesus, we have the forgiveness of our sins and life forever with him. We might find happiness and fun in life, but we will also know sin and pain and sadness. We are happy to live in this world so that we can serve and love others for Jesus’ sake, but the best things are coming to us in the future. When our time comes to die, we will see Jesus and be with him forever, and there is nothing else that can ever compare with that promise and that hope.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to be my Savior and for giving me a chance to live for you in this life and to be with you forever in the life to come. Amen.

Source:

Reiner, Rob, dir. The Bucket List Warner Brothers, 2008. Film.

Overflowing Joy

Bible:

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:39-45 ESV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV

Reflection:

There’s a fun science experiment you can do if you have some baking soda and vinegar and a small empty pop bottle and a balloon. What you do is put about 4 ounces of vinegar into the bottle, and about two tablespoons of baking soda into the balloon. Then you fit the opening of the balloon tightly over the bottle opening, and after that you let the baking soda in the balloon fall into the bottle. When the baking soda mixes with the vinegar it will start foaming and fizzing and bubbling, and the carbon dioxide that is produced by this chemical reaction will blow up the balloon until it is round and full!

This science experiment is kind of a picture of the work of the Holy Spirit. When Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth after they both had received wonderful promises from God, the Bible says that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit gave her incredible joy that filled her and overflowed into words of joy. Elizabeth’s little baby, who hadn’t even been born yet, jumped for joy inside his mother when Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice. The joy that the Holy Spirit gives fills up his people and makes us overflow with praise to God and words of love for others.

God the Holy Spirit speaks to us when we hear God’s word, the Bible. He teaches us God’s ways, and most importantly, he teaches us about Jesus, our Savior. Jesus was born of Mary, and he grew up to take our sins on himself on the cross. Because of what Jesus did for us, we are God’s children, and he gives us his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes us able to put our faith in Jesus and to know that we belong to God. This wonderful promise gives us great joy, a joy that bubbles up inside us and fills us and overflows into lives that praise God and share his love with other people.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for making us your people, and for giving us the gift of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Source:

https://www.education.com/science-fair/article/balloon-gas-chemical-reaction/

Getting Ready

Bible:

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 4:4-6 ESV

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5 ESV

Reflection:

Being a nurse is a challenging and rewarding job, and people who become nurses have to go to school first and learn how to do the work. At school they study books and learn the right way to do things and the reasons why things are done a certain way. After they have studied for awhile, the students practice doing the work. They might practice on dolls as big as people, and they might also practice on each other. When they practice, their teachers watch them and tell them what they are doing wrong and what they need to improve. All of this studying and practicing helps them get ready for the big day when they first start taking care of real people.

The prophet Malachi talked about the people getting ready for the promised Savior. First he talked about the law God had given them through Moses. This law showed them what God was like and how he wanted them to live. Then Malachi told them again about a messenger who would be like Elijah and would come and get people ready to meet the promised Savior. This messenger would call people away from their sins and bring families back together so that fathers could teach their children the ways of God. The Day of the Lord was coming, and if people weren’t ready to meet the promised Savior, they would instead earn God’s judgment.

John the Baptist was the promised messenger, and he called the people to turn away from their sins. They had not followed God’s law, and they deserved his judgment, but if they would repent, the promised Savior would forgive them and bring them back to their Heavenly Father. Jesus was the promised Savior, and this promise is also for us. We’ve sinned against God’s law, but Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins. We can come to Jesus every day for forgiveness and help. He sends us his Holy Spirit and helps us to follow God’s ways. Instead of judgment, we have the Lord’s blessing, now and always.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to give us forgiveness and blessings from our Heavenly Father. Amen.