"...for you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again of fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship...and by Him we cry, "Abba" ["Daddy"], Father..." (Romans 8:15)
"...I'm a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down..." (Abraham Lincoln)
"...weeping may remain for a night... but rejoicing comes in the morning..." (Psalm 30:5b)
"Gracious, loving Savior God! We come to you this day as hapless, helpless sinners before you - your perfection and your glory...You offer us the bronze serpent in Jesus. We look upon Him and acknowledge several things. Sin and death have no power over us. Our gaze upon Him makes us whole, with forgiveness and great resolution for our human problem with sin in the process. We can take on each new day as refreshed, energized persons, anticipating the assurance of everlasting life, not based upon our merit, but rather based on our gaze upon the bronze serpent, Christ. Thank you, Lord, for this time of thought, regarding these benefits, and reflection. You give us only the very best...
In Jesus' name. Amen.
"O, Lord, what is humanity - that you care for us, the Son of Man - that you think of us...we are like a breath, our days are like a fleeting shadow..." (Psalm 144:3)
WHAT COUNTS IS THAT GOD'S WAYS ARE BETTER
When we think ourselves, on one hand, as deserving God's love, benefits, and assurances...or, on the other hand, when we think we cannot deserve it because of our sordid past, or what evil and unhelpful deeds we unwittingly continue to do...
FOCUS UPON THE ACTION OF GOD
Simply...stop thinking so much about yourself...let the God of the Bible forgive, restore, grant assurance, give you strength to live your life the way the Lord intended...
I'm absolutely fascinated with the narrative of the bronze serpent in the wilderness when Israel was under Moses (Numbers 21:8,9). The image has been so effective my life that I've dreamed time and time again the details of the narrative and I've awakened feeling forgiven and refreshed. Sin in my life has nearly destroyed me at times, time after time, so, the promise of the Scriptures in regard to forgiveness and redemption are quite live-giving for me.
Because of that image in my personal life, it amazes me that it shows up again in the superlative third chapter of John's Gospel. We're all familiar with what is often regarded as the most important verse in all of Scripture (John 3:16):
"...for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life..."
It has granted to me, eternal life...and that eternal life...began as soon as I looked up. That bronze serpent was Jesus lifted up for me on the pole known to us as the cross.
a thought - Eternal Life
STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT THINGS
When I received "new life" in Jesus, I also received eternal life. Eternal life for me is "heaven". I'm in heaven on earth. Daily I live within the context of peace, joy, and perfect love. But... I'm challenged because, living in this first phase of heaven, I also live on earth, and in a real world. As Jesus made a choice to provide forgiveness and eternity for me, both phase one and phase two (after this present life), I need to make my choice... to stop complaining about things...and come to terms with a very real world...without using unacceptable language and having killing thoughts about other people and my circumstances. In this regard, Saint Paul in Romans 8:28 is very helpful to me:
"...and we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose..."
Recently I ran across a terrific quote from the pen of William Law: "...if anyone could tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness and perfection, that person must tell you to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you...for it is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you...if you thank and praise God for it...you turn it into a blessing..."
Please note a little gem from Charles H. Spurgeon: "...cry from grace from God to be able to see God's hand in every trial, and then, for grace to submit to it...I think there is generally an end to troubles, when we get to that..."
THE BRONZE SERPENT AND PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION
When you and I focus totally upon the "bronze serpent" in Christ Jesus we come to terms with ourselves, our world, and our destiny. We step into Eternity, the "new life" in Christ. We are solidly grounded and yet we're able and willing to adequately deal with the real world we live in. We don't complain any more because all that we encounter is the next divine step in our eternal destiny. It's a choice we make, being well informed in the ways of God. God is in charge and we are focused upon His Lordship. We look upon the bronze serpent and we are forgiven and healed. We focus upon the image of the bronze serpent and we are transformed to live out God's plan for our lives. Obviously, this is too big to pass off in our lives. All else is mere religion, having nothing to do with the saving power of Christ in our lives.
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