Pillars of Creation
James Webb Space Telescope
“Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
NOTE: THERE IS A LOT HERE….. TAKE YOUR TIME
As we prepare for this weekend, ask the Lord to reveal, not only this Christmas, but throughout 2023 who you are “IN” Him. If convicted, plan to do a study of the “in Christ” verses this next year.
Reflecting on the familiar Pillars of Creation image above, I thought it might be much more significant than just embedding a single star, like Earendel that the JWST took earlier this year (see photo at left – or my April Friday Letter). Just to refresh your memory, Earendel means: Morning Star from J.R.R. Tolkien. This star is 12.9 billion LY (light-years) from earth…… one of the farthest stars in the known universe. Back to the Pillars of Creation…….. As some of you know, it is just a very small region in the Eagle Nebula, which is 6,500 LY away. Feel free to do a Google search to know more.
Anyway………… my point is to look at this amazing creation in light of the above verse from Colossians. Take your time to break it down as you gaze at the image. Then reflect on this following verse:
“All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:3) How do you effectively describe that? On top of that, He has come to “live in us” (Gal 2:20) Jesus is truly INDESCRIBABLE!
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A good buddy in San Diego passed the short statement below on to me. This might be your Christmas Eve or Sunday Morning Devotional:
Reflecting on Mary’s statement to the angel in Luke 1:38, when told that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit with the Son of God: “Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word”. (ESV)
Two questions worth asking ourselves:
- Are you willing to obey anything the Bible clearly says to do (or not do), whether you like it or not?
- Are you willing to trust God in anything He sends into your life, whether you understand it or not?
If you can’t answer these two questions in the affirmative, you may believe in Jesus in some general way, but you have never said to Him: “Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word”.
Questions taken from the book Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller.
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IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
I got back from Zion on the 4th, then on the morning of Dec 10th put our India brother Daniel Janagam on a SWA down to our brothers Andy Fetsis and Trevor McDowell in Arizona. I then, find out later that day our well went out “again” ……. Ugh. Fortunately they were able to come out on that Monday the 12th. They had to pull the entire string of pipe to find a split at the very bottom. Fortunately for me, it turned out to be warranty work, but these (2) young guys that pulled the pipe really worked hard. With Christmas bearing down upon us and these guys making about $18/hr, I thought what a great time to give them a few hundred bucks (1 Cor 4:7). While they were still working and giving them hot chocolate and coffee, I handed them the money. They were BLOWN AWAY! They said, “No one gives us this kind of money!”
As they were finishing the job and putting their equipment away, I came out again with the Steps to Peace with God and the Million Dollar Book of John (see photo). I explained both and they were very interested. One of the men (both were in their mid-20’s) had a 4 year daughter. I said you could read portions of that Book of John to her. He like that idea. One guy was born a Catholic and I asked him if he had heard the term, “Born Again?” He had, so I said, when I was a Catholic, I hated that term “Born Again”……… until it happened to me!! I shared my testimony of how I received Christ under a tree in my backyard at the age 40. These guys appeared to hang on every word. I said to sincerely read the Steps to Peace with God, it will change your life eternally. They both said they would. I hugged them both and they drove off……… As I walked into the house, I felt like someone had just handed ME a million bucks and I shared the encounter with my wife. (I left them with my phone # and email……. I hope they contact me)
“We Fear Man So Much,
Because We Fear God So Little”
Think about that quote for a moment. Ask yourself the question: Who do you fear more, man or God? One primary reason we don’t share the Gospel (The REALLY “Good News”) with others, is simply that we fear man! I read recently that most of our anxieties are one of great fear: The Fear of Man. We’re terrified of being rejected, embarrassed, finally exposed for who we really are. We then end up worshiping all the wrong things.
This Christmas, let us ask God that our attraction to the things of this world become less and our attraction to the One that is preparing an eternal home for us, becomes more.
Merry Christmas Men!
Until Our Nets Are Full,
[ Let’s re-visit this once more]
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1) Note: Mary knew clearly that she was the bondslave of Christ. Greek word for bondslave: doulē = female slave. Mary was the willing slave to Jesus!
In the song, “Mary, Did You Know?” …… I love the line: This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you
Men: I would encourage you to read all (8) “Lies Men Want to Believe” starting on December 22 in the Red Book.
Today we find so many men that have no desire to walk in the solid truths of the scripture. Actually they enjoy attending churches that promote watered-down scriptures and “easy believism.” Just read these tough passages in Jeremiah 6:16-18 & 18:15-16 (click here)
But they said, “We will not walk in it”
Lies Men Want to Believe – Part Two Day 358 Red Book
The purpose of these devotionals is to help you think Biblically
I thought this was so good from the book, Piercing Heaven, Prayers of the Puritans
Joseph Alleine (1634 – 1668) was just one of many Puritans that contributed. He was severely persecuted during his years of ministry. He traveled with the grandfather of John and Charles Wesley. He and his wife Theodosia worked together tirelessly in neighborhood evangelism and discipleship. The more I read about the Puritans, the more I see in living color what a big wimp I am…..!!
Men: This is only 5 minutes. If we take our faith seriously and speak on behalf of Christ and His Kingdom, we will at some point be accused of fanaticism.
“Have you ever been called a religious fanatic because of your faith in Christ? R.C. Sproul suggests that we should be more concerned if our faith offends no one than if we are mocked for Jesus’s sake.”
Fanatics and Fair-Weather Christians…
By R.C Sproul (YouTube 5 minutes)
or ….. From the Renewing Your Mind website, with transcript:
Great Audio Message
Faith and Claiming the Promises – By Walt Henrichsen (60min)
I shared this joke by Walt at Zion. It really makes a great point:
The Chicken and the Pig were walking through the field and they come to a large sign that says Ham and Eggs at Joe’s Grill. The chicken turned to the pig and said, “Look at that, equal billing.” The pig then says, “Yah, for you it’s participation, but for me it’s total commitment.”
That’s what God wants from us…. Total commitment, not just participation.
Men: This is a great message. Not only make time for it, but pull out your notebook.
Faith and Claiming the Promises (60min)
( Maybe a good devotional to discuss at Christmas Dinner)
Christmas is a time of hope and blessings, a celebration of life and salvation. The Scriptures teach us that children are a blessing from God. It has also been said that the birth of each new child is a sign that God has not yet given up on this world.
That was never more true than the night two thousand years ago when the Son of Man was born in Bethlehem; born to bring the hope of salvation and the blessing of eternal life. When the Christ Child came into the world, his cry pierced the night and split all of human history in half.
During a message in 1926, James Allan Francis summarized the profound impact of life of Jesus Christ. No doubt many of you will recognize his words written in One Solitary Life:
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village as the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty and then for three years was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of his divine manhood. While still a young man the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. Another betrayed him.
He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon the cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while he was dying, and that was his coat. When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today he is the center of the human race and the leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon the earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life.
No one can predict what will occur in the weeks and months ahead, but we can rest assured that one day every head will bow and every knee will bend before the King of Kings.
There is No Escape for procrastinators. The following verse from Hebrews 2:3 is the latest of our Friday Group memory verses:
“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard.”
A dear brother sent me this. This will definitely give you pause. Make sure to bookmark this and listen when you have 16 uninterrupted minutes. Of course the average televised college football is 3 Hours and 22 Minutes, so you might not have time this weekend (haha…. I’m such a piece of work!)
Stranded on Patmos – The Apostle John
Stranded on Patmos (YouTube 16 minutes)
“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
(1 Tim 2:5)
“……… and more than 800 people prayed before the image.” [Clipping from the December 2022 issue of the Knights of Columbus Magazine]
And as many of you know, I used to be one of those guys! And not only did I pray to St. Joseph, but dozens of saints and of course the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary).
For over half my life, I prayed to statues, icons, images; I prayed the rosary, performed indulgences, novenas and Stations of the Cross.
Months back, I addressed where the Catholic Church removed the 2nd Commandment and split the 10th Commandment.
If interested, click here: E² Vegas.org/Friday-Mens-Group-7-2-21 and scroll down to:
This Will Make You Think Differently About Catholicism…
This quote and verse below was exactly where I was, until I started reading the Bible:
“Nothing could persuade them [Danny Russell] until Truth meant more than tradition”
“Fools have no interest in understanding;
they only want to air their own opinions.” (Proverbs 18:2) That was definitely me!
Here is a chart you may find interesting on a few of the differences between the Apostle Peter and Pope Francis
[Note: For those unfamiliar, CCC is: “Catechism of the Catholic Church”….. my official edition has about 800 pages]
Let’s end with a couple verses and a quote to discuss and give thanks,
while passing the baked yams with marshmallows……..