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Bible In A Year Podcast

ESV Chronological with Jim McCracken

December 31st - Day 365

Revelation 19-22 • December 31, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 31st Our bible reading today is in Revelation 19-22...the last day of the year ushering in something new, something Praiseworthy, something hopeful is our prayer... And we come to such a passage in our reading as we finish our Bible in a Year journey. Before we get into the text I want to thank each of you who have made the journey with me in 2020. You had plenty of choices as to bible reading programs and devotional thoughts to go along with your time in the Word. You chose the ARCC Bible In A Year schedule and podcast to guide you in your bible reading. And you have blessed me and encouraged me along the way by your participation. I want to thank the elders of ARCC for asking me to do the daily podcast this year. Little did they know that I needed the challenge as much as any member participating. Because reading and thinking through the bible texts regularly isn't easy. The enemy will do everything that he can to keep us out of the bible. And I for one fell to those temptations many times this year. Reading through the Bible requires not just a love and respect for God’s word but also a desire to hear from God. And some days that is easier said than done. O but the reward is great. By the way, I had an advantage friends. And that advantage was James Evans our producer. His kind encouragement and spot-on suggestions for excellence pushed me just when I needed it. Thanks, James. Now...New Years...and something hopeful ahead...it’s in our reading today. In John’s God-given vision we read of such a glorious day to come..." the marriage supper of the Lamb”...the party of all parties...where all the church experiences the fullness of happiness and joy in the perfect union with her Savior and Lord, Jesus...together (think on it...all the church...down through the ages), in heaven together with the God of salvation, Jesus! “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭19:1‬ John saw it and heard the acclaim given to God for it. He saw, perhaps to his unbelief, the evil and corrupt culture of the antiChrist, on earth, defeated and destroyed by Jesus at the battle of Armaggedon. And John saw and heard the magnificent praise and worship service in heaven that followed that decisive victory. Satan had long worked toward destroying God by destroying his faith promised people. But God was working his own plan for His glory and what he would share with all who believed and loved Him. “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! O friends, at times there is nothing better than “quiet time” alone with our Lord...soft music of a much-loved hymn perhaps...solemn meditation upon a special text of scripture perhaps...and just slowly listening and thinking upon the goodness of our God toward us. However, when the church, the blood-bought, Spirit indwelled family gathers for worship, “remembering” from whence they have come...“saved” from their sins and the doom of everlasting judgment “Saved” into the light and love of a new kingdom...the kingdom of God...One of forgiveness and fellowship shared with him and with all who have gathered around the throne... May our praise and worship be allowed full hearts and full voices...for those occasions. As John found out in the vision and passed it down to us, Heaven is always heavenly, full of blessing. But apparently, even Heaven has its holidays where celebration overflows its banks and the Spirit-filled family is flooded with new measures of joy...and in that blessedness of light and joy that invigorates their souls so that all they can do is love and praise God with all of their hearts and enthusiasm. Praise the Lord. For the Lord our God, the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭19:6-7‬ We are that bride friends. The marriage of the Lamb is coming. May we be made ready by the Spirit with grateful hearts and fresh desires to love the groom, Jesus, more than ever. Have a great day and a great new year!!

December 30th - Day 364

Revelation 12-18 • December 30, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 30 The bible reading today is in the book of Revelation chapters 12-18. From chapter 4-19, John was showing the 7 churches of Asia what God’s future work on earth looked like from heaven’s vantage point. Over the years, I have read what my spiritual mentors had to say about the unveiling of future events found in Revelation. Some differed widely. But one thing that they all had in common was how important it was to understand that heaven shows us “what” happens and not necessarily “when”. So I have tried to concentrate on the occurrences themselves and not lose their significance by getting bogged down in a timeline. Sometimes the occurrences and a timeline fit perfectly. But sometimes they don't. Spurgeon told his church family that his messages on Revelation came from his Spirit-filled heart. But...He had no doubt that there were deeper meanings to the visions of earth from heaven than he understood at the time of his life and ministry. And I say Amen and Amen to that! Now to the text in chapter 12...“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭12:1-2‬ This chapter speaks of a woman, a child birthed by the woman. and a red dragon. Question: Who do they represent? Before I take a stab at that...let’s look at some more of the text. “The woman was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭12:2-6‬ The red dragon represents the devil of the garden of Eden. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭12:9‬ Yes, verse 9 gives me confidence that the red dragon in the story is Satan himself. And up to a certain time the deceiver had privilege at the court of heaven as seen in the book of Job. But now this text says that he doesn't any more. And he and his fallen angels/now demons are thrown down to earth by Michael the archangel to be used and judged by God. Now the child born from the woman...who did the male child represent? “ Let’s look at Psalm 2. “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭2:6-9‬ Psalm 2 is a Messianic Psalm. Jesus was the Godhead choice for King in Israel...who would become king over all the nations on earth including Israel at some point in time. And that Gentle Lamb of God would rule the nations with “a rod of iron”. The woman gave birth to the Messiah, Jesus. And when would “he” rule the broken world with a rod of iron? Perhaps that is related to the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth before the new heaven and new earth are created. Revelation 20. At that time in the future, Satan would be imprisoned in a pit...not to deceive the nations again until after the 1000 years. “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also, I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. So the male child...He represented Jesus and the red dragon represented the devil. So who did the woman represent? Some say, Mary. But nowhere in scripture do we read that Mary fled into the wilderness for 3 1/2 years after Jesus was born. Some say the church. But the church didn't give birth to Jesus. Jesus gave birth to the church. I think that the woman represented Israel. It was prophesied that from Judah the Messiah would come. And Judah was a son of Israel. Israel birthed Jesus. And during the great tribulation on earth, the devil will persecute Israel and those who turn to Christ during that Great tribulation prophesied by Christ in Matt 24. A remnant of Israel will believe and they will be protected by Jesus in the wilderness for 1260 days. And where will the believers be at the beginning of the great tribulation? The woman’s child was caught up to God in heaven. I believe that scripture indicates that Christ and his church of believers are one. Could it be that God will catch up the church...snatch up/rapture the church of believers to heaven before the great tribulation? We will see. May Jesus our Revealer make this vision clear to each of us. For now, let us be ready for every good work and be found faithful as we head into the days of Revelation. Have a great day

December 29th - Day 363

Revelation 6-11 • December 29, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 29th The bible reading is in Revelation chapters 6-11. “And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭5:6-7‬ ‭ God gave John a vision of Jesus in heaven while on the Isle of Patmos. Could it have been that Jesus, who could have given this vision to any one of his apostles...Chose the one who loved him most. John and his brother James were among the first chosen by Jesus to follow him and be his disciples. John often sat next to Jesus at meals and rested his head upon the chest of the Messiah. John knew the lamb of God who was sent to save his people from their sins. He experienced the gentle lamb ministering to the children and the sick and afflicted. John had seen Jesus as the gentle lamb who was taken away to be slaughtered on a cross for sin...for his own sins. So what a contrast we view in the record we read from yesterday and that we read today...From the sin-bearing Lamb on earth...To the Glorious Lamb in heaven. The slain Lamb “standing”...alive and in charge...The saving sacrificial lamb in heaven, not only interceding for those who believe Him, but also The Lamb, the Revealer...Revealing the secrets that had been bound up in the Father’s scroll since eternity past. The angel cried out, “Who is there that can open the seals and reveal God’s plans for the future? He was saying that there was no one outside the throne room who was powerful enough to break the seals and reveal God’s mind. Then stepped up “the Lamb who was slain” and He took the scroll from the Father and broke the seals. Often I have encouraged my own heart like David did his by thinking on God...in particular, God the Son...especially when things seemed hopeless. For the Spirit would remind me that Jesus is the one who comes to the hopeless and does what no other can do. I have prayed that He would be the powerful Revealer to me and mine many many times. And in one way or another, The Lamb has stepped into my fearful despair and broken the seals so that I could see more clearly what God was doing and then join him by faith. You may ask...” what did Jesus reveal to John on Patmos and the angels and elders in Heaven? Well, that’s the rest of the story... Have a great day

December 28th - Day 362

Revelation 1-5 • December 28, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 28th The bible reading today is Revelation chapters 1-5. The word Revelation comes from a Greek word meaning apocalypse. That makes sense because The Revelation is a book of disclosure and unveiling of events in the future. Tradition says that Roman authorities took elderly John into custody...tried him...found him guilty and put him into a pot of boiling oil to execute him. But God intervened and miraculously saved him, like he did with the three Hebrew children who were thrown into a fiery furnace by Nebechadnezer for their refusal to deny their Lord. So the Roman authorities exiled John to the Isle of Patmos. It was there that John received visions from God around 95 AD. John wrote them down and sent them to seven churches in Asia...beginning with the church in Ephesus where he served the last years before Patmos. Spirit inspired John begins The Revelation with prophetic words to the pastors of the seven churches. “ “To the Pastor and the church in Ephesus write:...I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance"...In other words...You are Heroes to your children...your courageous lives during suffering...commendable indeed. "And...I know...how you cannot bear with those who are evil, those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” I know how you seek to protect your church family from false doctrine...not tolerating evil in the church to go unchecked...Yes, you have a testimony of being bold and brave... ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:1-2‬ ‭ But hear this...“I have this against you”, Can you imagine hearing those words from your loving Lord?...Complimented by Him in the beginning of the conversation...only to hear him use the scary “But...I have this against you”... Oh, what is he fixing to say? "You...You have abandoned the love you had at first.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:4‬ Wow....is that what love incarnate says to his promised ones? Yes...true love tells the truth no matter how much it may hurt...especially for the sake of his kids. Those friends of Jesus had their good days...exemplary days in Ephesus...to be sure. But they were still human and susceptible to temptations and sinning, even to the point of slowly but surely drifting away from their first devotions to their Lord. They were saved by grace and they would be restored by the same. God reminds us...and draws us back to Himself...and I am so glad! Have a good day!

December 27th - Day 361

2 John 1, 3 John 1 • December 27, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 27th The bible reading today are two short, one chapter letters from the apostle John...2 John and 3 John. “The elder to the elect lady and her children, The elder is the apostle John...a leader and missionary in the church from the beginning...The elect lady and her children could refer metaphorically to the church in Asia. And her children could refer to church members in particular. I lean toward the literal “Christian lady” and her sons and daughters...so John was writing to a friend in the faith whom it appears was a friend for some time. Whom I love in truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth,” John expressing his love and appreciation for this sister and her testimony of faith. ‭‭2 John‬ ‭1:1‬ Continuing in the text...“I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth. I want to believe that this woman led her children to Christ and they were walking in the truth of the gospel. Perhaps she had other children who were not saved yet. Such as...they were very young and had not yet made a confession of faith in Christ...But either way, it is always noteworthy when the children of church members get saved. Let us rejoice with those parents who have received grace for their children’s salvation...just as we were commanded by the Father. ‭‭2 John‬ ‭1:4‬ And John wrote a warning to this lady and her children...“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God." They are not saved...beware...Plain and simple...and when someone doesn't know Christ, we must be very careful to always prove what they say and teach using the bible as the standard for any doctrine taught. Whoever abides in the teaching of Christ has both the Father and the Son. Awesome...But...If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching of Christ, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,” ‭‭2 John‬ ‭1:9-10‬ We should bear testimony to Christ our Lord but we are not to show any appreciation for their message that is contrary to Christ’s gospel. Now to John’s letter written to a man named Gaius...a beloved friend of John’s... “The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom “I love in truth”. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truthful life message in Christ, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” ‭‭3 John‬ ‭1:1-4‬ We read that John referred to Gaius as one of his spiritual children...someone that got saved under his ministry. John said that when he heard that Gaius was still going on with the Lord (even during the Roman persecution of Christians), he was filled with joy. I believe it because I have received grace from God to rejoice in the spiritual growth of men women and children who were converted to Christ through our years of ministry. Praise his name! May our personal influence for Christ continue to grow in graciousness and love and joy! Have a great rest of the day.

December 26th - Day 360

1 John 1-5 • December 26, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 26th The bible reading today is in 1 John 1-5. There is no doubt in the general theological community that the apostle John wrote 1,2,3 John. And I believe that too. The gospel of John and these three epistles have many similarities...but the main ones that I see are the eternal life that is in Jesus and the love of God that is seen through Jesus and those who believe him. There doesn't seem to be a particular recipient of 1 John. However, we have reason to believe that this letter was written in the early 90s...about the same time he penned Revelations to 7 churches in Asia. Some commentators believe that it's possible 1,2,3 John were written to those same 7 churches and some individuals in them. We will ask John when we get to heaven. Now to the text...1 John 1:1,2 “That which was from the beginning, Who was that? from the beginning? God...Father Son Holy Spirit...which we have heard. Who was that? Jesus...which we have seen with our eye. Who was that? Jesus...which we looked upon and have touched with our hands. Who was that? Jesus...concerning the “word of life". Who was the Word of life? Jesus... the “life” was made manifest, and we have seen it. Who was that? Jesus...and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life. Who did they testify of? Jesus...who was with the Father and was made manifest to us—Jesus. ‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:1-2‬ Next in the text...John wrote...“that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you”, What was it that John saw and heard and preached? Jesus...that simple...that profound! “So that you too may have fellowship with us;" Jesus and I want you to have life eternal and friendship and companionship with us. “and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Awesome! ‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:3‬ And one more piece of the reading...“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, From who? Jesus that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. There is no sin God the son Jesus..If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. So what is the hard truth? If one is continuing in sin...with no remorse, and no repentance is evident, that person should examine their faith and immediately beseech God to either save them or restore their faith in Jesus...otherwise, without a life of fellowship with God...there is no light...there is no salvation. Now let us note these next verses...“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,” we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:5-7‬ Real fellowship with one another in the church comes from walking in the light...doing life with Jesus. Putting a potluck dinner together and inviting church members over to your house for fellowship doesn't automatically constitute spiritual fellowship for all...only those who are walking in the light...which is desiring the Lord from your heart and confessing your sins to him regularly and thank him for the grace of his forgiveness. Outside of Philippians, my joy book, 1 John is my love and spiritual assurance book. Enjoy... Have a great day

December 25th - Day 359

2 Peter 1-3, Jude 1 • December 25, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 25th The Bible reading today is in 2 Peter and Jude. We will start with an introduction to 2 Peter. Since Peter’s first letter, Paul had learned that there were false prophets in the region of Pontus, Galatia, and Capodicea in western Asia Minor north of Lystra and Derbe. Peter wrote the church leaders in that region calling them to be alert to that insidious ploy by Satan to disrupt the church families and corrupt their sound doctrine. “...false prophets arose among the people...and the result, if left unchecked, will eventually be” false teachers among you,” Right in the church...“secretly bringing in destructive heresies”, that is...Opinions and beliefs that are contrary to God’s word...“even denying the Master” even denying Jesus as Lord...the one who supposedly saved them according to their initial confession of faith...bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭2:1‬ So be alert to false teachers, those who claim to be Christians but teach and live contrary to the word of God. Also, Peter wrote to this scattered group of disciples, called aliens by some. And they were called that because the faith they lived with Jesus was so different from the surrounding culture. But as faithful as they might have been, Peter reminded them of what being Christians looked like....“As obedient children, they were doing something right as God’s children in the faith...Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. Do not let the culture you live in shape your loyalties...but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Holy? What’s that? Holier than thou? No! Checking all the religious boxes? No! Holy...means Saint...Sanctified...through Christ...not through yourself...what has Jesus done for us who truly believe Him? He has set us apart unto Himself...for a holy priesthood...He has set us apart unto Himself for a holy house where He dwells by the Holy Spirit. In other words, Christ saved us for His use only. I'm reminded of some of our Old Testament reading...On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it with all its furnishings and he anointed and consecrated the altar with all its utensils,” ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭7:1‬ 1 Peter‬ ‭1:14-16‬ The consecration of the Tabernacle, its furnishings, the altar, and its utensils meant they were holy unto God...set apart for God’s use and God’s use only. Should any tent piece, or tabernacle furnishing, or altar, or sacrifice implements ever be used for a common task, that piece must be destroyed...they are no longer holy to the Lord. Listen to Peter in his first letter...“But you, believers and followers of Christ...you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:9‬ In Christ we are chosen ones...we are royal intercessors...we are a holy people...for God’s own possession...to spread the good news of our savior God’s excellency...excellent at calling us out of darkness and into his marvelous light...in heaven and even on earth. Enjoy the rest of 2 Peter Have a good day

December 24th - Day 358

2 Timothy 1-4 • December 24, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 24th The bible reading today is another pastoral letter...2Timothy. By the time Paul wrote this encouraging letter to the young pastor, Timothy had been pastoring in Ephesus for over 4 years. Timothy received Paul’s first letter some 3 1/2 years before this one. Timothy left his home in Lystra over 10 years before to join Paul on his second and then his third missionary journeys. And Timothy ministered alongside his mentor Paul in Ephesus for about three years at the end of that third missionary journey. At the end of the third missionary journey, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to serve the growing church there. Four years into his ministry in Ephesus Timothy was facing trials and difficulties and uncertainties inside his church. Thus, Paul wrote to encourage and inspire the young pastor. Paul was in a cold and damp cell in a Roman prison when he wrote this letter. Paul had been out of prison for a season. But somewhere along the timeline, he was apprehended by Nero’s persecution squad. Shortly after Paul sent the 2nd letter to his young protege’ he was beheaded by Roman officials... This letter was sort of a “state of the church” address. Paul let Timothy know some of the things that God was up to in other churches. Paul was hoping to build faith in his young friend. Paul knew that his time on earth was short and he wanted to instruct Timothy in such a way that he could continue with courage the ministry God called him to in Ephesus...especially when the aged apostle was gone to heaven. Let us hear and feel the passion of Paul for his beloved student...“I charge you, Timothy, He was saying...This is important, my young friend...listen...and recognize where I get my authority to charge you...I charge you Timothy...in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, This is not frivolous...this is not extracurricular...this is as important as anything the Lord has laid on my heart to teach you...And I don't carelessly say this because God the Father and Jesus are watching and listening...And they judge the living and the dead...so here it is...“preach the word”...The words of God...for they are God-breathed and not just man spoken... “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man and woman of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16-17‬ Stay in the Word, Timothy...Preach the Word, my son in the faith...you will lead and bless your church best by consistently preaching God’s Word. “Be ready in season and out of season;” Be ready for every good work that God brings your way...reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. Rescue the perishing...turn back the wandering brother...with love...For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” ‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭4:1-4‬ You and Jesus, Timothy, you've got this

December 23rd - Day 357

Hebrews 11-13 • December 23, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 23rd The bible reading today is in the final chapters of Hebrews...chapters 11, 12, and 13. To this point in our reading, we heard the case that... Jesus is better...and...that is what I'm going to tag Hebrews with...“Jesus is just magnanimously Better than everything else. We read that Jesus was and is greater than Moses. Moses was a rescuer...rescuing Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses was the lawgiver from Mt Sinai...Moses was the covenant agent for Israel with God...And Moses was the warrior prophet and chosen intercessor with God for God’s chosen ones...He led Israel through the wilderness and to the entrance of the promised land. Moses was a great man. But Jesus is better! Jesus rescues people, Jews, and Gentiles, from something much worse than Egyptian abuse. Jesus rescued and rescues sinners from the jaws of hell to the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus did not give the law of sin and death. He, through his atoning death, gave a different law...the law of the Spirit of life...grace and truth and mercy! Moses sat on a hillside and raised his staff during Joshua’s battle with the Amalekites in the wilderness journey to the land of promise. As long as Moses held his hands up Joshua prevailed. Jesus stretched his arms and hands and feet on an old rugged cross. He chose the help of Roman spikes driven through his hands and feet to keep his arms raised. And for 6 hours he battled hell on a hillside called Calvary and won salvation to the fullest for his followers. Yes, Moses was great, but Jesus was and is better. “By faith, Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than his brother, Cain...And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:4‬ Abel’s worship of the Father was accepted by God...and though he died, he still speaks. Jesus’ worship of the Father from the garden to the cross was accepted by the Father and proven so when he raised his son from the dead. And Jesus being alive still speaks. Abel was commended by God. The resurrected Jesus ascended to God. Abel was great...but Jesus was and is better. “By faith, Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death...before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:5‬ Others commended Enoch for a faith that pleased God. Awesome. But Jesus and the crowd at John’s baptism, heard the Father say from heaven...” this is my beloved son”...in whom I am well pleased. Enoch was great in his faith toward God. But Jesus was loved by His great Father who took pleasure in him. Jesus was and is better. “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this, he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:7‬ Noah trusted God and built a great boat to save his household from the flood that God sent to judge a wicked godless world. Noah became an heir of the righteousness of God. Amazingly wonderful! What a husband and father for his family. Noah was great. Jesus did not save his life from the righteous wrath of the Father upon sin and sinners. Jesus gave his life as a substitute for me and you who believe him. He took our sin on himself and put his righteousness upon us, making us the heir of God and heaven. Yes, Noah was great, but Jesus was and is better. “ And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—of whom the world was not worthy...they did not receive all that was promised...God was going to provide something better...Jesus! Have a great day

December 22nd - Day 356

Hebrews 7-10 • December 22, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 22nd The bible reading is in Hebrews chapters 7-10. Jesus is better. Jesus is a better Priest than Aaron and his line of sons who became High Priests after him. Let us listen... “And the lineage of Aaron indeed have been made priests...as God commanded Moses to bestow the High Priest office upon his brother Aaron and his sons after him. There were many in number...in the hundreds up until the time of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem...because by death they were hindered from continuing: Just like Aaron died so did his sons...they were all mortal...“but he...”Jesus...“because he lives forever, his priesthood is forever unchangeable.” Jesus was mortal and immortal in the same body...every bit man and every bit God...Jesus suffered and died on the cross in his mortality and was raised from the dead to live forever...never to die again...showing his immortality. “Therefore he (Jesus) is able to save to the uttermost (even to the guttermost) them that draw near unto God through him,” The priests in Aaron’s order could only present sacrifices to save in their short lifetimes. There was bound to be Israelites who mourned Aaron’s death because they were now without an intercessor between them and God...forever how long that may be. But Jesus is better...the better High Priest because...“He ever lives for us." That phrase, he ever lives for us, thrills my soul...it doesn't say that the one who went to extraordinary measures to save me from my sins lives for me until he doesn't...he died for me and now lives for me forever. Praise his name. And in particular, Jesus ever lives...to make intercession for us who believe!.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭7:23-25‬ O friends I got saved by Jesus on the cross...and I am forever being saved by his forever life! Awesome. And the writer continues to make the case that Jesus is better by far always...“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, A high priest with salvation power...then through the greater and more perfect tent ( not made with hands, that is, not of this creation). Heaven’s perfect Temple...Jesus entered once for all into the holy places not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭9:11-12‬ Jesus...the High Priest that went into the holy of holies in Heaven...not to place animal sacrificed blood on the ark of the covenant for one more year of salvation for the believer...Jesus went in and placed his own sacrificial blood from the cross upon the ark of the covenant securing for those who believe Him as the one and only savior God an eternal redemption...an eternal life with God. So awesome to my heart...Jesus was and is better...Let us trust him more friends. Have a great day

December 21st - Day 355

Hebrews 1-6 • December 21, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 21st The bible reading today is in Hebrews chapters 1-6. 60 years after the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ this letter to the believers on the western front of the spread of the gospel was received and accepted as worthy to be apart of the Biblical record. The authorship of the letter is certainly God, but who he used to pen this scroll is still a mystery. Many believe the author of Hebrews was Paul. Still, others thought it was Apollos. And still, others thought it was Clement of Rome, a disciple of Paul and Peter before their deaths. Imagine learning of Jesus at the feet of Peter and Paul. Well historians say that Clement, mentioned in Philippians, and who became the leader of the church in Rome, he was that person of that tutelage privilege. So who penned Hebrews? I don't know. I want to lean toward Paul. All I really know for sure is that its message is from heaven for Jewish believers in Jesus, most likely in Rome. The author writes...“Since we have a great high priest...The one who makes sacrifice for sinners...who has passed through the heavens, Not the Tabernacle...not the Temple made with human hands...but our high priest came from heaven...not an earthly high priest, but a heavenly one...Jesus, the Son of God, Not Aaron or any of the sons of Aaron...but Jesus, God the son, is our high priest who made the perfect sacrifice for our sins...So...let us hold fast our confession. Let us not be intimidated or made fearful and doubting...say it out loud...Jesus is Lord...our perfect high priest who makes the way for sinners to fellowship with God and worship Him...justified and sanctified unto God forever! And we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, Our high priest was/is perfect...but he was and is human...and understands our temptations and our spiritual challenges in our flesh and blood. Who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Since we have a high priest who saves sinners like us through his perfect sacrifice, let us also be confident that he saves and “keeps” his own with abundant grace for every other need that we have on our journey from earth to heaven." ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:14-16‬ Hebrews makes clear that there is but one who deserves our utmost devotion and the primary place in our lives...Jesus. Hebrews proves that “Jesus is just better” than anything and everything we could ever desire. Have a great day!

December 20th - Day 354

1 Peter 1-5 • December 20, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 20th The bible reading today is in the book of 1 Peter. Yes, all five chapters...but it’s worth the read. The apostle Peter wrote to a group of disciples, Jews, and Gentiles, scattered through the northern mountain ranges of Asia...modern-day Turkey. Peter wrote quite a lot about persecution aimed at Christians. By tradition, Peter spent his final years ministering in and around Rome. More than likely, Peter wrote his epistles from Rome just before Nero began all-out destruction of Christianity, including mass murdering of the followers of the way. Peter wrote a message preparing the believers for suffering. “For this is a gracious thing, when mindful of God...what is?...suffering unjustly just as the savior suffered for you and me without bitterness...that is a thing only accomplished by the grace of God...pray for it... What is that gracious thing? It’s when a believer endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a “gracious thing” in the sight of God.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:19-20‬ Some have called this letter of Peter the “Job” of the new testament. Like Job, Peter, and the disciples that he sent the letter to would experience much suffering. They must see the hand of God in the suffering. God is up to something in the midst of unjust persecution. It would be a time for grace to be given by God to the humble sufferers. For three years, Peter lived in close proximity to Jesus....as a member of the twelve apostles. He saw first hand what it looked like to live by grace in the midst of a hostile world. He saw Jesus berated and betrayed with false and hateful words. He saw Jesus denied by friends in His darkest hours. He saw Jesus threatened and beaten and crucified falsely. Peter saw Jesus suffer physically and spiritually as he took on sin and satan and death. And he saw Jesus win by the grace of the Father. He saw Jesus win through sacrifice and forgiveness. Peter knew what the Spirit was communicating to these who others called, exiles and aliens. Suffering was coming. But there was...The Way to endure and win...Jesus...who is indeed everything they/we need! And Peter by the Spirit continues...“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, “you will be blessed”. Think on this friends...The Holy Spirit through Peter was promising benefits from heaven to earth for any believer suffering for doing God’s will. So awesome! Peter continues...Have no fear of the persecutors, nor be troubled, Be courageous in your hour of fear... Moses told Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous...and do fear what oppressors might do to you...for the Lord your God goes with you, never to leave you nor forsake you.” By the way...this verse was highlighted in my Grandson Warren’s bible and in his spiritual journal...it became our rallying cry as we said good by to him 6 years ago...and it’s the first word from God to us when life gets hard...Thank you, Warren. And Peter continues..."But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, In your hearts see Jesus and honor him in life and death...the one who makes both eternal Gain for us who believe. Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; with gentleness and respect,” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:14-15‬ O Lord make us ready for every good work and witness...especially in our hours of darkness and suffering...may our testimonies be of you and your faithfulness to persevere with us! Have a great day

December 19th - Day 353

Titus 1-3 • December 19, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 19th The bible reading today is in the three chapters of Titus. “To Titus, my true child in a common faith:" No one is absolutely sure about the nature of Titus’ relationship with Paul. Most believe that he was converted to Christ during one of the missionary journeys of Paul. And that he served alongside of Paul on parts of his first missionary journey. However, Paul calls Titus his “true child” in the faith. Perhaps Paul got to lead Titus to Christ in a one on one witnessing experience. I wouldn't doubt it. It is obvious that Paul held Titus in great respect. Paul called him a friend and a fellow worker in the Gospel ministry. ‭‭Titus‬ ‭1:4‬ Paul chose his friend, a converted Gentile, as the disciple servant leader to help the churches that were planted in Crete. “This is why I left you in Crete so that you might "put what remained into order”, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—” ‭‭Titus‬ ‭1:5 What an important assignment Paul entrusted to Titus. The churches were birthed from the missionary journeys of Paul. He had to have a great measure of joy and a sense of gratefulness to God for using him and his teams to be a part of something so awesome. The Island was known for their one hundred towns. And they all had a church that needed encouragement, guidance, and Godly leadership. So Paul sent Titus...to oversee that process...how special! And Paul gave Titus some instructions that would apply to him and all leaders in the churches...for instance “as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” ‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:1‬ “Titus, teach the truth of the word...every truth and every word. And keep doing it. You will lead best from your teaching of the word.” Paul also wrote Titus to constantly remind the Pastors to say “yes” to whatever God brings their way...even before they know what it is. “Remind them...to be ready for “every” good work,” ‭‭Titus‬ ‭3:1‬ One Sunday after church, in Spring Texas, a woman who just started visiting our church came to ask me to pray for her family, a husband, and two sons...one in high school and another in college. Several months later her husband walked the aisle after my sermon to talk to me about Christ’s salvation. That day through a contrite spirit and slow tears, that man expressed a heart-felt desire to be saved...to believe Jesus and follow him with his whole heart. Some would call that a good work. Later that week I made a follow-up visit on the new convert. Some would say that was a good work. The wife met me at the door to let me know that her husband got hung up at work and was going to be late. She asked if we could reschedule. I said sure and headed for my car. Then I heard some laughter and loud teasing coming from the garage...the door was open and I saw 4-5 young fellows playing pool. They saw me. They invited me to play. I could have excused myself. But I didn't. I wound up accepting their invitation and enjoying an hour and a half of pool with the guys. Some would say, even me, that the games of pool were me being ready to be polite. But months afterward, three of those young men, including the two sons, bowed their hearts to Jesus and began to follow Him as their savior God. Some would say that those guys getting saved under my preaching was a good work. But...knowing what I do now...the good work began in a garage playing pool. Lord, keep making me/us ready for every good work...my answer is YES...whatever! Have a great day

December 18th - Day 352

1 Timothy 1-6 • December 18, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 18th The bible reading today is the book of 1 Timothy...Paul’s first letter to his disciple from Lystra, young Timothy. 1 Timothy along with 2 Timothy and Titus make up Paul’s final letters...we call them the pastoral letters of Paul...offering practical pastoral counsel from the Holy Spirit...to these young pastors. Paul had recruited young Timothy to accompany him on his second missionary journey alongside Silas. Timothy would be much-needed refreshment for Paul since his recent split with friend and partner, Barnabas. Maybe Paul learned something from Barnabas’ heart for training young John Mark. The book of Acts ends with Paul sitting in prison awaiting an audience with Caesar Nero. Paul was expecting to be released. Perhaps he was. And from there, perhaps Paul took a fourth missionary journey. Perhaps this was when he visited Ephesus again...placing Timothy over the church there. And then Paul winds up back in a Roman cell awaiting his death. And this would be where the aged Paul wrote Timothy and Titus pastoral letters. Just my accumulative info on when Paul died. Why is 1 Timothy so important? Perhaps it is because it is the most complete instruction on pastoral leadership for the church in our New Testaments. We read where Paul by the Spirit made it clear that order for worship and living was essential for a healthy church. He gave instruction on the qualifications and duties of elders and deacons. Paul was trying to help Timothy to understand the importance of the purity of heart and life for leaders in the church. And he was also giving guidelines for the gatherings that Timothy would oversee. Paul knew that Timothy’s youth would be a blessing and a curse for his pastoral ministry. Let us listen to Paul’s encouragement. “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4:12‬ Paul knew that Timothy would need the energy of the young to lead the fast-growing church. But he also knew that his example of godliness would come in handy when older brethren questioned his motives. Paul knew that Timothy was young in the faith. Paul knew that Timothy would be tempted to discouragements and despair in the midst of his ministry. So Paul admonished the young spiritual leader...two times in the same letter...to stay the course...endure to the end. “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭1:18‬ This ministry would be one battle after another...but remember the gifts you've received from the Spirit and use them! “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:12‬ Fight Timothy...fight the good and courageous and honorable fight...even unto death for the sake of the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation! Go for it Timothy...perseverance will be hard and costly...but remember that your own salvation came to you at a high price! March On....another favorite hymn... “Then let our songs abound and every tear be dry...we’re marching through Immanuel’s ground, we’re marching through Immanuel's ground, To fairer worlds on high to fairer worlds on high.” Have a great day

December 17th - Day 351

Philippians 1-4 • December 17, 2020 • Jim McCracken

Join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2183117951984132/?source_id=181918175166472 December 17th The bible reading today is in the four-chapter letter of Paul to the church at Philippi...probably the last of the four prison epistles written during his first imprisonment in Rome. The Prison Epistles from Rome..? Philemon was a letter to a personal friend in the church of Colossae...concerning victory that comes through forgiveness. Colossians was a letter to a church that dealt with the divinity of Christ that had been denied by some teachers in that church. Ephesians was a formal letter to the church at Ephesus dealing with the doctrines and applications of such doctrines in the daily disciple life of doing church together as the Holy Spirit-filled body of Christ. And now Philippians...A brother in the Lord from the church in Philippi, Epaphroditus, came to Rome to see Paul. He was delivering a financial love offering from the church. Paul’s heart was lifted and the joy of the Lord became his renewed strength for carrying on while in the custody of Rome. Paul’s letter was a thank you to the church for their timely gift. He wanted to encourage them as they encouraged him. He wanted to give them something that would make their hearts glad forever. And he did. Now for some of my favorite texts in this letter of joy. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ Paul wanted his good friends to know beyond a doubt that the salvation that God began in them through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus would be completed...by Him, not by them...talk about good news and some. Phil. 1:6 was one of the first 60 bible verses that I memorized right after I got saved 50+ years ago. I had grown into manhood believing as my family believed...Jesus may have begun my salvation process at the cross, but I had the responsibility of completing it with my faithfulness to God in my daily life. I was always messing up. I was always sinning. I was so far from being faithful to God. Therefore I had grave doubts that I would wind up in heaven one day. And that led me to simply dismiss myself from all conversations about God and salvation. Then at age 19, I began to follow Jesus, trusting in Him alone for my salvation. And then to run across this verse in my bible reading was confirming to my soul...”He which began a good work of salvation in me would be the one who would complete it. Now that is something and someone to rejoice in! Next...“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:21‬ Paul shared his own testimony of life and death. Both of those can be complicated for any believer in Jesus. So Paul, by the Spirit, brought life and death to their common denominators. Life...including all of its parts...including personal discipleship...marriage relationship...family interaction, jobs, education, friends, etc... All of that Is Christ...plain and simple. And death? Well....It is GAIN! It may be mixed with loss for the loved ones left behind...but for the Christian who has departed? It is GAIN. Thanks for sharing Paul...You and Jesus...us and Jesus too. So...Even when I feel so weak...when I feel so incapable...when I feel so inadequate...I remember and I believe...“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:13‬ Have a great day

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