The Scriptures must be Fulfilled

Bible:

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. Matthew 26:52-56 ESV

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:6-8 ESV

Reflection:

During World War I, a British officer named Robert Campbell was taken prisoner by the German army. While he was in prison he heard that his mother was dying of cancer. Captain Campbell wrote a letter to the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm, begging him to let him go home to visit his mother before she died. He promised that if the emperor would let him do this, he would return to prison after his visit. Kaiser Wilhelm gave his permission for Captain Campbell to go home for a visit, and the captain could have stayed in England and not honored his word. But Robert Campbell kept his promise and returned to prison in Germany after visiting with his mother for a week, even though it must have been a terribly hard promise to keep.

God promised in his word that he would send a Savior who would bring people out of sin and death and back to him again, and he kept his promise in Jesus. When Peter tried to defend his Lord by taking a sword and cutting off Malchus’ ear, Jesus told him to put his sword back. He didn’t need Peter to defend him. He said that if he wanted, he could ask his Heavenly Father for more than twelve legions of angels to protect him! But if Jesus had done that, then he couldn’t have kept the promise God had made in Scriptures. He also told the people who had come after him that there had been no need for them to hunt him down with weapons and soldiers in the dark of night. They could have taken him any time they wanted while he was teaching, but they hadn’t done that. This also fulfilled what God had promised in the Scripture.

God always keeps his promises, and that is very good news for us. For Jesus to come and suffer and die for us was a very hard promise to keep, but Jesus did what he had come to do. He didn’t choose to take the easy way out and call on his Father to send angels to rescue him. Jesus did this because he loves us, and he wanted to bring us back to him. Because of Jesus, we are his people, and we can trust him to keep all of his promises to us, now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping your promise to save us in Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-23957605

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Peace I Leave With You

Bible:

[Jesus said:] “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:25-27 ESV

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

Reflection:

In 1914 a terrible war broke out in Europe, in many ways the worst war the world had ever known. It lasted for four years, and nine million soldiers died, as well as 12 million people who weren’t soldiers. Many more soldiers were terribly wounded. Soldiers fought from trenches that they dug in the ground, sometimes knee deep in mud, and new weapons made the fighting even more deadly. But World War I, as it is now called, was sometimes called the war to end all wars. Many people hoped that when the war ended and peace came, it would be a peace that would last forever and put an end to the evil in the world that causes war. But instead, within 20 years there was another war, World War II, even more terrible and deadly. The peace of this world rarely lasts for very long, and sin and evil often dash our hopes that peace and goodness will win.

Jesus gave his disciples a wonderful promise. He promised to give them peace, and not the kind of peace that the world gives. The peace Jesus gives will last forever, and because of it Jesus says that our hearts don’t need to be troubled and we never have to be afraid. Jesus also gave another wonderful promise, the promise that the Heavenly Father would send his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would give the disciples peace by reminding them of all the things that Jesus taught them and help them understand the things that Jesus said. So many times the disciples hadn’t understood what Jesus was trying to tell them, but when the Holy Spirit came to them, he would help them, and they would know what Jesus wanted them to understand.

We also have the gift of the Holy Spirit. He gives us peace by helping us understand what Jesus has done for us on the cross. Jesus died to pay for our sins, and because of this, our sins are forgiven and we have peace with our Heavenly Father. God’s love for us will never end, and the peace Jesus gives us is forever. God the Holy Spirit speaks to us through his word, the Bible, and helps us to know and love Jesus and to remember and understand everything he wants us to learn.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us Jesus to win our peace, and the Holy Spirit to help us know and understand that peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

https://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/138823855/the-human-toll-of-the-war-to-end-all-wars

Take up Your Cross

Bible:

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38 ESV

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:5-11 ESV

Reflection:

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt was a man from New York City, who was sailing on a ship named the Lusitania in 1915 while World War I was raging in Europe. The Lusitania had almost reached England when it was torpedoed by Germans from a U-Boat, and it began to sink. Mr. Vanderbilt didn’t seem to think of himself, even though he couldn’t swim. He and his valet, Ronald Denyer, helped as many people–women and children–to the safety of the ship’s lifeboats as they could. A steward on the ship saw him and shouted, “Hurry, Mr. Vanderbilt, or it will be too late!” but he only smiled and continued to help others. He made no effort to push his way through the crowds of people who were hurrying to get into lifeboats. Mr. Vanderbilt died when the boat sank. He gave up his life to save others.

Jesus told the people who wanted to follow him that they would have to take up their cross to do that. He said that people who wanted to save their lives would lose it, but people who were willing to lose their lives would save it. Jesus calls his followers to put others’ needs before their own, and to give ourselves in service to others. He calls us to die to the sin that is in our lives, and to go God’s way instead of our own. Our soul is more precious than anything we could possibly gain in this world, so no matter what we lose in following Christ, it is better to do that than to be ashamed of him and to turn away from following him. If we become ashamed of Jesus and reject him, we will lose the eternal life he came to give us.

These teachings of Jesus can be scary, because we always struggle with selfishness and wanting to do things our own way. But Jesus came to die for all our sins, including our sins of selfishness. He forgives us and helps us every day. He helps us to put our trust in his forgiveness rather than trying to earn our way to heaven by our own good works. Trusting Jesus instead of ourselves is the biggest way we deny ourselves. The Lord sends us his Holy Spirit to help us continue to trust him, to turn away from sin, and to learn to live a life of service to others.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please help us to take up our cross and follow you every day. Amen

Source:

http://www.rmslusitania.info/people/saloon/alfred-vanderbilt/#lusi

Lord of Compassion

Bible:

Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. Luke 7:11-17 ESV

For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not afflict from his heart
or grieve the children of men. Lamentations 3:31-33 ESV

Reflection:

Many years ago an English woman named Amy Beechey had eight sons. These sons were young men when World War I broke out, and all eight of them went off to fight. As the war continued, five of these sons died, and one by one Mrs. Beechey, whose husband was already dead, received word that another son had died in the war. This mother’s grief was overwhelming as she lost one son after the other. One son, named Eric, came home safely in 1919, but then he came down with influenza and after that, pneumonia. He was very sick and almost died, but imagine the happiness of Mrs. Beechey when Eric didn’t die, but instead recovered. She must have felt as if at least one son had come back to her from death.

Jesus met a mother who had suffered terrible losses as well. She also was a widow, but she had only one son. In those days a son was very important to his mother, because he would take care of her after his father died and make sure she had everything she needed. When her son died, this mother had no one to be with her and take care of her. Jesus met the mother when her son’s dead body was being carried out of the town of Nain. He saw her crying, and he felt a deep compassion for her sorrow. He told her not to cry, and he touched the frame that was carrying her son’s body. The people carrying the body stopped, and Jesus told the young man to get up. He sat up and started talking, alive and well again! Jesus gave the son back to his mother to continue his important work of loving and caring for her. The people of the town praised God for the wonderful thing they had seen him do in Jesus.

The deep compassion Jesus felt for the widow of Nain is the same compassion he feels for us when we are hurting. He especially feels our sorrow when we lose someone we love to death. Jesus went through death himself, and when he did that he conquered death. He proved it by rising from the dead on the first Easter Sunday. Everyone who believes in Jesus will come to life again on the last day, and we will all live together with Jesus forever in his heavenly kingdom. Now we can come to Jesus with all our sorrows, and know that he will comfort and bless us. Jesus shows us the compassion of God, and through him we know we have a loving Heavenly Father who cares about us, forgives us, and loves us always.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the love and care you show us in life and in death and forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2060179/Armistice-Day-2011-The-mother-lost-sons-WW1.html

The Proclamation of Cyrus

Bible:

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” Ezra 1:1-4 ESV

For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:10-14 ESV

Reflection:

When World War I broke out, Germany invaded the little country of Belgium. The Belgians fought back, but they didn’t stand a chance against the German army. A million and a half Belgian people became refugees and fled their country. Some of them went to France, and some to the Netherlands, and some went to Great Britain. The Belgians worked for the war effort in Great Britain, especially in ammunition factories. When the war was over and British servicemen started coming home, the British wanted the Belgians to return to their own country. They gave them one-way tickets to return, and the refugees went back to a country that had been destroyed by a terrible war, needing to start life again and to rebuild their country.

When the time of exile had come to an end for God’s people, the Lord stirred the heart of Cyrus, the ruler of the Persian empire. Cyrus sent out a proclamation that said the exiles could return to their own country and rebuild their temple. He also said that people who were their friends and neighbors, and people of Judah who decided not to go home, should help them by giving them gold and silver to build the temple, and also animals and money and whatever else they could give the travelers for their journey. God was keeping the promise he had made years before through the prophet Jeremiah, that someday the exile would end and his people would come home again. He was bringing his people home so they would know that he cared for his people, and so that they would trust him and pray to him.

God kept his promises to his people long ago, and the greatest promise of all was to send the Savior into the world. When the exiles returned home, they could once again hope and wait for the Messiah that God promised to send. They waited for many years, but when the right time came God kept that promise too, and sent Jesus, his Son. Jesus came to die on the cross for the sins of all the people in the world, and all people who believe in Jesus have their sins forgiven and become God’s people. We know that the Lord cares for us very much, and we can trust him and pray to him every day. He hears our prayers and helps us and blesses us for Jesus’ sake.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping all your promises to us, and for Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/refugees_belgium

True and False Prophets

Bible:

Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Hananiah the prophet in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord, and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord make the words that you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. Yet hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”

Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke-bars from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet and broke them. And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the Lord: Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years.” But Jeremiah the prophet went his way. Jeremiah 28:5-11 ESV

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Psalm 4:1-4 ESV

Reflection:

One invention that made war an even more terrible thing than it had been before is the machine gun. The machine gun made it possible to quickly and automatically shoot many rounds of ammunition at the enemy. It completely changed how World War I was fought, because to protect themselves from machine gun fire soldiers dug themselves into trenches. But the interesting thing about machine guns is that their inventor, Hiram Maxim, thought that they would bring peace. When people asked him if his invention would make war more terrible and cruel, he said instead that it would make war impossible. Many people believed this. They thought that the death and suffering a machine gun could cause would make nations want to work for peace and avoid getting involved in such cruel warfare. But this was a lie, unfortunately. Wars continue to happen, and more and more cruel inventions make them even more devastating.

When Hananiah told the people that within two years God would return the true king and all the exiles to their own country, many people believed him. Hananiah even broke the wooden yoke that Jeremiah had made to give the people a picture of obeying the Babylonian empire. Jeremiah wished that what Hananiah said was true, because of course he wanted his people to know happier times. But Jeremiah said that the only way to tell if a prophet was telling the truth is if what he predicted would come true. Jeremiah knew that the truth was that the people were under God’s judgment, and that there would be more war and trouble to come. Jeremiah was a true prophet of the Lord, but he didn’t argue with Hananiah. He simply walked away, and he left Hananiah and his lies in God’s hands.

We sometimes want to believe lies that are positive and happy. We want to believe that through our own efforts we can bring an end to war, or cure all the sicknesses in the world, or even put an end to death. But these are lies, because only God can do these things. God came to us in Jesus to destroy sin and death and all the forces of evil forever by dying on the cross and rising again. Because of what Jesus did for us, we know that we will live forever in his heavenly kingdom, where there won’t be any more sickness or death or war. In the meantime, it pleases God if we work to heal sickness and pain and to bring peace. We shouldn’t be surprised or worried, though, when we see war and evil and disease, and we can be confident that God will bring all our suffering to an end in his time. We can leave it all in God’s hands.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to destroy sin and death and evil, and help us to trust you to work for good in our broken world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.theglobaljournal.net/article/view/1107/

I Will Rejoice in the Lord

Bible:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19a ESV

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. II Corinthians 4:7-11 ESV

Reflection:

Dog Monday belonged to a young man named Jem, and Dog Monday was a faithful dog who was devoted to his master. When Jem went off to fight in World War I, Dog Monday waited at the train station every day for Jem to come home. Jem’s brother Walter died in the war, and the day he died, before the word reached his parents or anyone else in town, Dog Monday howled mournfully, as if he knew what had happened. Jem was reported to be missing in action, and his parents knew that there was almost no hope that he would come home safely from war and imprisonment with the Germans, but Dog Monday kept on waiting at the train station every day. Jem’s family continued to hope that Jem would come home again, because they saw Dog Monday’s faithfulness, and trusted that he would continue to wait as long as he knew that Jem was alive.

This is only a story. The prophet Habakkuk had seen terrible violence and injustice and unfaithfulness to God among his people, and he had heard words of terrible judgment from God. Habakkuk knew that there was little hope for peace or good times, but he still had hope in the Lord. He closed his book with a beautiful poem that talked about fig trees and grape vines withering without their fruit, crops in the fields failing, and flocks and herds of animals dying. This would completely ruin the people of God and their land, and show that the Lord had taken away his blessing from them. But Habakkuk still had hope, because he trusted in the faithfulness and love of God rather than in the terrible circumstances he knew he would soon see. He compared his trust in the Lord to God bringing him to the top of high mountains like a sure-footed deer.

We also sometimes face terrible circumstances that seem hopeless. We can’t see anything good coming out of the sad times we face, and God doesn’t seem to hear or answer our prayers. When we face a situation like this, God sends us his Holy Spirit to help us to see beyond our circumstances and to find hope in God’s faithfulness and love. The Lord showed us his faithfulness in the worst of circumstances, when his Son Jesus faced a terrible death on the cross. When Jesus died, it seemed as if there could be no hope, but Jesus didn’t stay dead. He died so that our sins could be forgiven, and he rose again from the grave to defeat death for all his people Because of what Jesus did, we are God’s people now and forever, and we can be sure that he hears our prayers and will always work for good, no matter how bad things seem.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for working for good in the death of Jesus, our Savior. Help us to trust you even when there doesn’t seem to be any hope in our circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Montgomery, L. M., Rilla of Ingleside Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1921.

Surrender Now!

Bible:

And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Washer’s Field.

And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? Behold, you are trusting now in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. But if you say to me, “We trust in the Lord our God,” is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, “Go up against this land and destroy it.”’” II Kings 18:17, 19-25 ESV

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.

O Lord, save the king!
May he answer us when we call. Psalm 20:6-9 ESV

Reflection:

During World War I, British balloons flew over Germany. They didn’t fly to drop bombs or any other weapon that would kill people. Instead, they dropped papers, and on these papers were German words and pictures that were meant to discourage the German people and their army. One of these, for example, was a cartoon that showed a long line of American soldiers marching from the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor all the way across the ocean into France. The words under the cartoon were, “Die erste Million,” which means, “the first million.” The British were telling the Germans that the American army would be coming to Europe to help fight the Germans. They wanted to make the Germans feel as if they couldn’t win the war, and that they should give up.

The king of Assyria sent some officials to Jerusalem, who surrounded the walls and shouted things to King Hezekiah’s officials and the people of Jerusalem who were on the walls. They wanted to discourage the people of Judah and make them want to surrender to Assyria. They told them that they didn’t have enough soldiers to fight the Assyrian army, and even if the Assyrians loaned them 2000 horses they wouldn’t have enough soldiers to put on them. They also told them that Egypt was weak, and wouldn’t be able to help them. Worst of all, they told lies about God. They said that God wouldn’t be able to help them, and also that when King Hezekiah had taken down the high places where the people had been worshiping idols, they had actually stopped worshiping the true God. They also said that God had told Assyria to conquer Jerusalem. All of these words made the people fearful and worried.

We also sometimes feel fearful and worried. The devil and his evil angels whisper lies to us about God, and people around us sometimes tell us lies about God, too. Worst of all, our own sinful hearts tell us things that aren’t true. They tell us that God doesn’t love us or care for us, and that when we have troubles, it’s proof that God doesn’t care or that he can’t help us. Our hearts tell us that our sins are so bad that God can’t forgive us and keep us as his children. But these are all lies. God proved his wonderful love for us when he sent Jesus to die for us on the cross. We can always look to Jesus when we feel discouraged and wonder if God is there for us. We can be sure that because of what Jesus did for us, God will always love us and forgive all our sins and welcome us into his family, no matter what happens.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to bring us back to you. Please help us always to trust in him. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.psywarrior.com/BalloonPSYOP

One Life for Many

Bible:

And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. Jonah 1:7-16 ESV

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. I Timothy 2:3-6 ESV

Reflection:

Vince Coleman was a railway dispatcher in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1917. A railway dispatcher in those days used the telegraph to send messages to help route trains through the busy stations. His station was near a harbor during World War I, and when he went to work one morning he heard a crash and saw black smoke pouring into the sky. One of the ships in the harbor that held a lot of ammunition had caught fire, and a sailor was sent to shore to warn everyone that the ship was about to explode. Vince Coleman could have run away, but he stayed at his post and sent this message along the line: “Hold up the train. Ammunition ship afire in harbor making for Pier 6 and will explode. Guess this will be my last message. Good-bye boys. His message might have saved Passenger Train #10 and 300 people on board that had been heading into the station, and it certainly alerted the railway lines about the terrible explosion, and a lot of relief was quickly sent in for the many people who were injured in the explosion. Vince Coleman died because he sent that last message, but his death saved many other lives.

Jonah knew what the cause of the storm was, and he knew the way it could be stopped. He told the sailors on his ship to throw him into the sea, and then the storm would stop and their lives would be saved. The sailors didn’t want to do that. They used their oars to row as hard as they could, but the storm was too strong and they couldn’t get to shore. They finally threw Jonah in while asking God not to hold it against them, and as soon as they did, the storm stopped. This made them believe and trust in the true God. Jonah was willing to give his life because he knew he was guilty, and the sailors were innocent. He wanted to die so that they could live, but he probably didn’t realize that they not only saved their lives, but found life with the true God as well.

Jesus also gave his life so that we could live, but there’s a big difference. Jonah was guilty and the sailors were innocent, but in our case it was Jesus who was innocent and we who were guilty. But Jesus gave his life for us, not because we deserved it, but because he loves us. He gave his life so that we could have life with God forever. But the good news is that Jesus didn’t stay dead, but instead he rose from the dead and is alive forever. Our life with Jesus will never end.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving your life so that we could be saved and live with you forever. Amen.

Source:

https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/vincent-coleman-and-halifax-explosion

A Costly Rescue

Bible:

At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. Then he summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!” Exodus 12:29-32 ESV

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:11-14 ESV

Reflection:

When Europe was at war during World War I, the United States didn’t enter the war right away. The president and the American people mostly wanted to stay out of the war and live in peace. But German submarines were sinking peaceful passenger ships with American citizens on them, and this activity looked like it would continue. President Wilson finally asked Congress to declare war on Germany. It was a very hard thing for him to do. He didn’t want to send young American men to their deaths as soldiers. But he believed he needed to stop the evil at all costs–even the cost of American soldiers’ lives.

God wanted to free his people from slavery in Egypt, and he was ready to do this at all costs. Because of the stubbornness of Pharaoh, the cost of Israel’s freedom was very high. It cost the Egyptians their firstborn children, even the firstborn of their animals. This last plague was a horrible plague, and it caused terrible sadness in Egypt, but it was what finally made Pharaoh allow the people of Israel to go free.

We all were slaves to sin and death and the powers of darkness, but God was willing to set us free at incredible cost. Our freedom came at the highest price, and God paid the entire price himself. The cost of our freedom was the death of God’s firstborn Son, his only Son. Jesus died on the cross to bring us back to God and give us the forgiveness of our sins. When Jesus died for us, he set us free from everything bad that held us, and brought us into the light of his love and grace.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your only Son Jesus to set us free. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://history.state.gov/milestones/1914-1920/wwi