Christmas … the Rest of the Story

For You created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb … all the days ordained for me were written in Your Book before one of them came to be.
–Psalm 139:13,16

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The God Without … A Thanksgiving Message

A Thanksgiving Message by Jack Kelley

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.   For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)

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God’s Blessing Game

Commentary by Jack Kelley

Every year at Thanksgiving I’m reminded of the holiday’s origin, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. It was the crowning event in Israel’s cycle of fall feasts that also included Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It was a celebration of the harvest, of God’s mercy in forgiving their sins for another year, and a remembrance of the time when He lived among them in the wilderness, setting them apart as His people.

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Jesus And Peter

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matt 4:18-20)

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Names of Jesus: Immanuel

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Names of Jesus

 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

It defies logic that the eternal, Son of God stepped down off His Heavenly throne and became the Son of Man, entering our world as a helpless infant. He became flesh and dwelt among us to save us from our sins and allow us to become children of God and dwell with Him forever. (Psalm 23:6) He is Immanuel, God with us. He is with us always, (Matthew 28:20) He will never leave us nor forsake us, (Hebrews 13:5) and we can never flee from His presence. (Psalm 139:7-12)

In the midst of our growing to do lists and our anxieties, God is with us. In our loneliness, God is with us. In our pain and suffering, God is with us. He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4) He comforts us in all our troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:4) He is our refuge, our strength and our ever present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) He is forgiving and faithful and delights to show mercy. (Micah 7:18) Our God truly is an awesome God. He is great beyond our comprehension. We put our lives into His hands knowing that He will do a much better job with it than we ever could.

Today as we go about our last minute tasks, let us keep in mind that our God is with us. Instead of anxiety over all there is to do, let’s remember that the only work He requires is to believe in the one He has sent. Once we have entered His rest  everything we do from then on, we do in gratitude. We can do nothing to earn this unmerited favor, and nothing we do can take it away. He is with us. Immanuel. Let us keep this immeasurable truth in our minds today and always, that the creator of the universe, our Savior, is for us and is always with us. Praise be to God! Amen and Amen!

Names of Jesus: The Gate

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Names of Jesus

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley 

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:7-9)

There is no way around it, through Jesus only can we be saved.

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Names of Jesus: The Good Shepherd

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Names of Jesus

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:11-15)

No one expects sheep to be responsible for themselves. Owners hire shepherds for that purpose. A shepherd’s job is to accept responsibility for the safety and well being of his flock.

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Names of Jesus: Light of the World Part 2

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Names of Jesus

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

We read last time that Jesus is the Light of the World:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus is the Light of the World, and by the grace of God, so are we:

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Names of Jesus: The Light of the World

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Names of Jesus

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Literally this means that those who join Jesus as one of His followers will not be ignorant of spiritual matters but will have the power of understanding especially of the spiritual truth that brings eternal life. When we take the time to learn and apply these truths in faith we discover that the old adage is true. Whatever the spiritual question, Jesus is the answer.

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