Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"The True Miracle of Thanksgiving"

"The True Miracle of Thanksgiving"             

Do you know about Squanto, a Patuxet brave? Are you aware of the calamity and victory he experienced leading up to the first Thanksgiving?

As we in the United States prepare for Thanksgiving this week I’m reminded of the true story of Squanto along with Proverbs 16:9, which says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” This passage can certainly be applied to young Squanto.

I want to share some of Squanto’s experience with the help of a book and a few of its wonderful illustrations by Shannon Stirnweis. The book is, The True Miracle of Thanksgiving, by Eric Mataxas. 

This book is categorized for children but the story is so good and the art so excellent I want you to have a chance to see. I recently read it to a small group of adults and they loved it.

Book Description: Every once in a great while, the hand of God is easy to see, and so it was with a lonely Patuxet brave and a struggling band of Pilgrims.
In 1608, a 12-year-old boy named Squanto was captured in America and taken to Spain as a slave. With the help of Spanish monks who taught him about God, Squanto make his way to England and finally back to his homeland.
Squanto arrived to find an empty village—a deadly virus had wiped out his entire tribe. In their place, a small group of struggling Pilgrims settled and called their new community Plymouth.
Because of his time with the monks and in England, Squanto could communicate with the Pilgrims and knew about God. Soon he became their valuable guide and true friend. 


"Hallelujah! Who but the glorious God of heaven could so miraculously weave together the wondering lives of a lonely Patuxet brave and a struggling band of English Pilgrims in such a way that would bless the whole world for centuries to come?"

Chuck Colson, about this book: “The only thing more amazing than this true story from American history is the fact that so few people have ever heard it. I’m glad to know that my colleague, Eric Metaxas, has written this wonderful book.”

This post shows just a few of the pages from Mataxas' book. Hopefully you get the gist of the story.

Happy Thanksgiving!

©Copyright 2017 Connie Wohlford

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Lamb’s Blood -1 Peter 1:18-19

The Lamb’s Blood                         
           -1 Peter 1:18-19

In my last post we rejoiced in our redemption as being reclaimed by our Creator and made new, much like a craftsman uses reclaimed wood to create something new and beautiful (1 Peter 1:17-19).

Now let’s go into a little more depth as to how God brought this incredible miracle about. Peter explained, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, (v. 19) but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV).

Peter implies that his readers knew that their redemption did not come from any material wealth, good conduct, or through any kind of tradition passed down from forefathers.

This apostle wants to make it clear that salvation comes through the precious blood of Jesus, stating that Jesus was the once for all sacrificial lamb. Jews of that era were knowledgeable of the significance of the shedding of the blood of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Even the Gentiles of the day were somewhat familiar with these Jewish practices.

About 1400 years prior to Peter’s writing God gave Moses instructions on the atonement of the sins of the people through the sacrificial shedding of the blood of an unblemished lamb. Step-by-step instructions are recorded in Leviticus 14.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11 NKJV). This shedding of the blood of lambs and other animals was a foreshadowing of the crucifixion death and shed blood of Jesus.

In several places, the Bible states that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. A sacrifice is defined as offering something of value for a cause or for a specified reason. Making an atonement is offering a compensation or penitence to make amends for an offense committed. 

Therefore the system set up by God in the Old Testament stated that those who offered and were covered by the blood sacrifice were released—set free—from the consequences of their sin. But this was only temporary and needed to be repeated periodically. 

Jesus was without sin—that is without spot or blemish. When His life’s blood was shed, He made atonement for all the sins of all Mankind once for all. His dying words proclaimed that fact: “It is finished” (John 19:30). Each person then has the option to accept or reject His sacrifice. 

The writer of Hebrews goes into detail to explain Jesus’ atoning sacrifice: “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of the creation) he 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. For it the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. ... Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:11-15 ESV).

As we enter into this season of thanksgiving, let us be mindful of the sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus—the Lamb that was slain on behalf of sinners like you and me. I’m thankful for and rejoice in many things—especially family, freedom, home, and such. But the number one thing I’m thankful for and rejoice in is the blood of Jesus which was shed for me. Because of His atoning sacrifice my sins are washed away. My debt to God has been canceled out; I am in His own family for all eternity; and my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. 

Besides that, my precious loved ones, who I’m so thankful for, also have the privilege of being in God’s family and we can all be together with Jesus in Heaven. All our tears will be wiped away. There ‘ell be no hurt, no sorrow, no evil of any kind. Like my friend used to sing, “There‘ll be no band-aides in Heaven—no emergency medical care ...”

So number one on my Thanksgiving list is Jesus and the fact that He gave Himself a sacrifice to pay my sin debt.

Are you covered by the blood of the Lamb? We each have the choice to accept and receive Him (Jesus) or reject and deny Him. 

Your comments are welcome.

©Copyright 2017 Connie Wohlford