One morning, the air was crisp and still, I saw on the horizon, three trees, standing on a hill. The two trees on the outside, shorter than the center one, how they stood out in the rising sun. A refuge for the birds, in the time of storm, a nesting place, so peaceful and warm. Seeing these trees, so majestic, standing in a row, took my mind back, 2000 years or so; to a place called Calvary, where three wooden crosses, stood out so plainly in a row. On the outside crosses, hung two guilty thieves; on the center cross, hung the only Son of God, He was dying for you and me! Jesus was baring our sins, so we could be free! ~ Winston Staples
TOPIC: ATONEMENT: As Easter fast approaches and the world get out all the wrong trimmings for all the wrong celebrations, we the followers of the risen Savior remember the great atonement that took place on that cruel cross where my Savior hung and shed HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD for sinners such as you and me. The next few weeks we will open God’s word and see some things it says about atonement.
*atonement explained—- Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. [ read 2 Cor.5:18-19 ] Let’s look at Galatians 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,. Let us turn to 1 John 2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
*atonement forordained—-Romans 3:25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. In first Peter 1:11 and 20 we read:11 inquiring what person or time[a] the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you. Revelations 13: 8 states:8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
[ to be continued ][ prepared by Winston Staples ]
TOPIC: FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST
*in benevolence—-Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” [ it is more blessed to give than receive ] 2 Cor.8:7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you[a]—see that you excel in this act of grace also.8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
*in forgiving injuries—-Col. 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
*in overcoming the world—-John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. [ we are not to let the woes of the world get us down ]. 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
*in being not of this world—-John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [ we who follow Christ are not of this world].
*in suffering wrongfully—-1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
*in suffering for righteousness—-Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
*as saints we are predestinated to follow the example of Christ—-Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
This concludes the brief study on following the example of Christ.
TOPIC: Following the example of Christ
*We are to follow His example in meekness. Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
*in obedience —– John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
*in self-denial—- Matt.11:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. ( Romans 15:3 )3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”
*in ministering to others —- Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His [a]life a ransom for many.” ( John 13: 14-15 ) 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
( prepared by Winston Staples )
Topic: The Example of Christ
*the example of Christ is perfect —- Hebrews 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
We are to follow Christ’s example:
*in Holiness—-1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. [ Romans 1:1-6 ]
1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
*in righteousness—-1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
*in purity—-1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
*in love—-John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. [Eph.5:2 ] 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. [ 1 John 3:16 ]16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
*in Humility—-Luke 2227 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. [ Phil.2:5,7]5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
[ to be continued ]
March is half way through,
Spring is getting near,
near for me,
and near for you.
A Winter storm,
begins to blow,
with a lot of wind,
and a lot of snow.
We want Spring,
green grass to grow,
birdies to sing,
not a foot of snow.
To be patient,
is a must,
wait upon God,
and in Him trust.
~ Winston Staples
in my rocking chair,
looking out the window,
to watch the birds there.
The day is sunny,
the day is long,
my heart is homesick,
for Spring flowers,
and the robin’s song.
I thank God,
for the seasons I see,
each so different,
each wit it’s own,
own special memories.
Fall is my favorite,
then comes Spring,
Summer and Winter,
are nice too!
For all the changes,
special changes they bring,
I bow my head,
and I say,
T hank you Father,
for every precious day!
~ Winston Staples
Psalm 52 King James Version
52 Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually.
2 The tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
3 Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
4 Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue.
5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
6 The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
7 Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.
8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.
9 I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.
EXPLORING GOD’S WORD 50f
God’s promises give us assurance by the knowledge we find there. 2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godl7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
*We must strive to maintain righteous things and have the assurance of God’s peace and rest by doing HIS will. Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
*We have confidence and hope in God’s assurance: Psalms 42:3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.8 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
[ prepared by Winston Staples ]