December, 2010 Archives

31
Dec

Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


sunrise over the Sea of Galilee, Jim Denison Bible study tour to Israel

sunrise on the Sea of Galilee

I do not know a more beautiful place to watch the sun rise than over the Sea of Galilee.  Our study tour of Israel began Wednesday night in Tel Aviv, arriving last night at the modern city of Tiberias on the most famous body of water in Christian history.

The “Sea” is actually a fresh water lake, fed by the Jordan River to the north and emptied by the Jordan River to the south.  It is not large—13 miles long by seven miles wide.  Its waters are clear and teeming with fish.  Jesus based his public ministry in Capernaum, a fishing village on its northern shore. Read the rest of this entry »

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24
Dec

We have seen his glory

posted in Daily Devotional by Janet Denison

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Behold the Man, The Word Became Flesh, original watercolor by Debbie Turner Chavers

Behold the Man, The Word Became Flesh, Copyright 2005, Debbie Turner Chavers, http://artparables.com

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth   (John 1:14).

I hope it is a cold day and the fire is lit.  I hope the coffee is hot and the quiet is peaceful.  I hope you are content and overwhelmed with God’s blessing.  I hope your Christmas season has been about Christ.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning (John 1:1-2).”  And the “Word became flesh” and was laid in the manger.  He came to dwell with us so that we could one day dwell with him.

Spend some time in that Bethlehem cave. Think about the crowd of shepherds who just had to see the baby.  Spend some time thinking about Mary and Joseph – in awe of this perfect baby, who was their King.  Read the rest of this entry »

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23
Dec

The key to spiritual power

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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Virgin in Prayer by Il Sassoferrato

Virgin in Prayer by Il Sassoferrato

This week we’ve been discussing Jesus’ ancestors in Matthew 1.  As our Lord was the only baby to choose his lineage, the names recorded by Matthew are especially significant.  We’ve seen “outlaws for in-laws” such as Tamar, Bathsheba and Rahab.  We’ve noted a foreigner in the list.  Now we come to the most famous name at Christmas, but one of the greatest surprises to Matthew’s readers.

There are nine names in the genealogy which are found nowhere else in Scripture.  Then we come to “Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (v. 16).  The Jewish people taught their daughters to pray each night that they might be chosen to be mother of the Messiah.  However, everyone expected the Messiah to come from the family of the high priest, a member of the Pharisees or Sadducees, or another noted dynasty or family.  No one imagined that God would pick a peasant teenage girl from a tiny village to be the mother of his Son.  But that’s just what the Father did. Read the rest of this entry »

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23
Dec

Celebrate with God’s strength

posted in Daily Devotional by Janet Denison

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Bald Eagle flying off after an aborted salmon pick-up in Eagle River, Alaska

credit: Alaskan Dude (Frank Kovalchek) via Flickr

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).

Invite the peace of God into this moment and trust his strength to be sufficient for all that needs doing.  What matters most, is what will matter to God.  And he will give you the strength for all that matters.  In these moments give him your thoughts and ask for his.  His thoughts are not yours and his ways are not your ways. Read the rest of this entry »

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22
Dec

Moabites and the God who loves them

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison

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Ruth in the Fields, 1876, Hugues Merle

Ruth in the Fields, Hugues Merle, 1876

Jesus was the only baby who chose his ancestors.  On this Christmas week we’re considering some of the shocking choices he made.  Matthew 1 traces his descent from Abraham, and is the only ancient Jewish genealogy to include women.  Not Sarah or Rachel, but notorious figures like Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba.  However, none would be more shocking to Matthew’s readers than Ruth.

The great-grandmother of King David was from Moab.  Located on the southeastern bank of the Dead Sea, this ancient land was named for one of Lot’s sons.  On their way to the Promised Land, the Israelites encountered the ancient Moabites, who led them to worship their god Baal.  God’s wrath against his chosen nation resulted in the death of 24,000 Israelites (Numbers 25).  The Jewish people never forgot the injury done to them by the Moabites. Read the rest of this entry »

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22
Dec

Abide in the peace of Christ

posted in Daily Devotional by Janet Denison

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Image of an etching by artist William Strutt in 1896

Peace by William Strutt, 1898

Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.  The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, and the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them… In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious (Isaiah 11:5-6, 10).
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21
Dec

Genealogical confusion

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


Messianic genealogy

genealogy of Jesus Christ

In yesterday’s blog I referred to Bathsheba as an “ancestor” of Jesus, as Matthew records in his genealogy.  A kind reader replied, “Actually Jesus was a descendant of David but not Bathsheba.  Luke records Jesus’ descent though his mother Mary who was descended from Nathan who was the son of another of David’s wives.”  The reader correctly observes that Luke’s genealogy is significantly different from the one we find in Matthew.  How could Jesus be descended from both Solomon/Bathsheba (Matthew’s version) and from Nathan (Luke’s version)? Read the rest of this entry »

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21
Dec

Practice the humility of Christmas

posted in Daily Devotional by Janet Denison

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His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful by Simon Dewey

"His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful" by Simon Dewey

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6-7).

It is impossible to fathom the transformation Jesus endured to leave the glorious perfection of heaven, for a manger.  Maybe the most important lesson of that first Christmas comes from the utter humility of the circumstances.  There was no room at the inn for the King of Kings  – but he knew that ahead of time.  The shepherds lauded his birth and Herod wanted his death.  Mary and Joseph were betrothed, not married but we needed to understand who his “Father” truly was.  Jesus chose the humble circumstances of his birth, therefore we can know he had a perfect reason.   Maybe the reason is found in the passage above, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Read the rest of this entry »

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20
Dec

The lunar eclipse and Bathsheba

posted in Jim's Blog by Jim Denison


December 2010 lunar eclipse from Orlando, FL

courtesy of user: 350z33 at en.wikipedia.org

According to The Washington Post, the last time the winter solstice occurred on the same day as a lunar eclipse was 1638, 372 years ago.  Their alignment will not occur again until 2094.  Unless I live to be 136 years old, this is the last one I’ll see.

What happens between astronomical entities is seldom remembered.  What happens between people can bear eternal consequences.  In my blogs on this Christmas week we’re considering the “outlaws for in-laws” which Jesus chose to be his ancestors.  Yesterday we remembered the story of Tamar.  Tonight consider this entry in the record: “David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife” (Matthew 1:6). Read the rest of this entry »

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20
Dec

UAE hotel claims most expensive Christmas tree

posted in Culture & Faith by Jim Denison

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original story from: BBC

A hotel in Abu Dhabi has asked the Guinness Book of World Records to verify that they do in fact have the most expensive Christmas Tree ever recorded. The 43 foot tree contains over $11 million worth of jewels, gold, and other valuables serving as its ornaments and resides in the main lobby of the hotel. The hope was that it would demonstrate the safety of the hotel as well as increase publicity. By all reports it has been successful on both accounts.

The contrast between Christmas decorations today and the cave of Bethlehem could not be greater.  Jesus still welcomes those who worship him, however impoverished or wealthy they might be.  He became one of us, that we might be one with him.

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