Devotional: Jesus Christ, The Firstborn Son of the Father

Adam and Eve failed to live in perfect beit ab. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the children of Israel were conditioned by the Fall. While they lived in beit ab at times, they were sinners, and they were unable to restore beit ab. God provided the perfect way. He was Jesus. Paul called him the firstborn of all creation. Continue reading

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Devotional: The Father’s House

In Hebrew, the phrase is beit ab (pronounced “bait av”). Beit means “house.” Ab means “father.” A derivative of ab is abba (father).

Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2).

These words from Scripture, along with their cultural context, give us a glimpse of life with our God. It is a relationship that the Father longs to have. It is a relationship that was born at the creation of humans. It is what life in the world-to-come will be like. It is a portal into life everlasting in the kingdom of God. Continue reading

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Devotional: The Tomb is Empty!

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

1st Century Tomb

1st Century Tomb

Why was the stone rolled away? Certainly the Son of God did not need to have the stone moved to open his escape route. The Gospel writers make it clear that he had already risen and had already departed from the tomb. Continue reading

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Devotional: The Lamb Was Chosen!

In 1 Corinthians 1:18 the apostle Paul writes, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Scripture does not simply present the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus as isolated events. God’s redemption plan was unfolding from the story of the Fall in Genesis 3. The context of history and culture helps us to better understand the fullness and completeness of the story. There are no coincidences with our God. His plan unfolded purposefully and perfectly. And in God’s plan, his Son completed the work of redemption according to God’s calendar. Continue reading

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Devotional: I am a Pharisee

“Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.’ When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided” (Acts 23:6-7). Continue reading

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Devotional: Not Like These Pharisees

“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach’” (Matthew 23:1,3). Continue reading

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Devotional: Listen to the Pharisees

“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you.’” Continue reading

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Devotional: Pharisees

It is very difficult, seemingly impossible, to undo our engrained understandings. Our perception of the Pharisees is one of those things. For as long as I can remember, the word Pharisee was synonymous with hypocrisy or evil. The definition is affirmed by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “Pharisaical = self-righteous hypocrite.” I learned it in school. Pastors warn about it. But is that definition scriptural? Were the Pharisees evil, self-righteous hypocrites? Continue reading

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Devotional: King Solomon

First Kings 3 tells a story of God speaking to Solomon. God says, “Ask for whatever you want me to give to you.” Solomon replies in 1Kings 3:9, “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and discern between right and wrong.” Solomon asks for wisdom. God is pleased. God tells him that because his request was good, he would receive not only wisdom, but also wealth and honor.

What did wise Solomon do at the beginning of the very same story in 1 Kings 3? Solomon married the daughter of Pharaoh. Continue reading

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Devotional: King David

King David was one of only three successful kings of Israel. Think about that for a moment. To use approximations, the Israelite exodus happened between 1500-1300 BC. David reigned around 1000 BC. He was followed by Solomon. Then the kingdom fell apart. Before the captivity, only Hezekiah might be considered a successful king as nations are evaluated.

David’s kingship could be categorized as an enigma. Continue reading

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