Behold the Lamb

“And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36)

As he spoke to two of his followers, John the Baptist was, in effect, telling them that they should henceforth leave him to follow Jesus. “And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus” (John 1:37). On the previous day, when John had first seen Jesus coming, he had said, apparently to all his disciples, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

This is the first use of the word “lamb” in the New Testament, and it is significant that it refers here to the Lord Jesus as the one great sacrifice for our sins. He is called “the Lamb” 30 more times in the New Testament, the final time no longer viewing Him on the altar but on His eternal throne (Revelation 22:3). Yet, even on His throne as our King, He is still the Lamb, and we can never forget that He once died for us that we might live with Him.

Long before this, Isaac once asked his father, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God will provide himself a lamb” (Genesis 22:7-8). God did just that 2,000 years later, when Christ, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), “came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Then when God was ready to set His people free in ancient Egypt, He told them to place the shed blood of a spotless lamb on the doorpost of each home and said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13). In fulfillment of all these ancient sacrifices and types, the once-for-all Lamb of God came, and “Christ our passover is sacrificed [even] for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Now, like John’s disciples, it surely compels us, in the very depths of our souls, to “behold the Lamb of God” and follow Him. HMM

From The Institute For Creation Research

Best Friends

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“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17

There is a limit to the openness we have described. It can be used to create insecurity and gain power over your spouse. I (jcd) know of a handsome young company president who told his wife every day about the single women at the office who flirted with him. His candor was admirable, but by not also stressing his commitment to his wife, he was saying (consciously or not): “You’d better treat me right because there are plenty of women out there just waiting to get their hands on me.” His wife began to fret about how she would hang onto her husband.

He should have reflected on his real motives for alarming his wife. Did this kind of sharing nurture or injure his friendship with her? And she could have helped redirect the conversations by pointing out to her husband—in a calm, non-threatening manner—how his words made her feel.

If you reveal your inner feelings honestly, with pure motives, and continually reaffirm your commitment to your marriage, your spouse will become your most treasured confidante, protector, adviser, and friend. After forty years of marriage, I can happily report that Shirley and I are best, intimate friends—in no small part because we’ve earned each other’s trust.

Just between us…

  • Have you shown me the “real” you?
  • How should we respond when our partner shares a weakness?
  • How can I be a better friend?

Father, thank You so much that my spouse and I are lifetime partners. But we want to always be best and dearest friends, too. Bless us with Your wisdom, grace, and power to this end, we pray. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Doctrine: The Ten Commandments: “You Shall Not Steal”, Day 7

Today’s reading is drawn from Malachi 3:8-10 and Proverbs 3:9.

Businessman Mike Herman tells of his lifelong attempt to catch a souvenir baseball at professional baseball games. A foul ball, a home-run ball or even a batting-practice ball—anything would do. One day, at a batting practice for the St. Louis Cardinals, he got to know James, a 5-year-old boy who was also trying to get a ball. James tried hard to pronounce the players’ names as he politely asked them for a ball. Herman describes the scene: “Before I knew it, my mission became getting a ball for James. For about 20 minutes, I told him the names of the players who had a ball near the fence we stood behind, and the players turned and smiled as James tried to say their names. Still, no ball. Finally, I told James he could have my ball if I caught one (I had been unsuccessful in catching a ball for almost 28 years, so that felt like a safe promise). I wouldn’t be telling this story if you didn’t know what happened five minutes later. I caught a ball, and yes, I gave it to James. I wonder how often God waits to give us something until we are willing to give it away?”

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The Benefits of Reading Scripture Aloud, Day 6

Habit: Engaging Scripture

Today’s reading is drawn from 1 Timothy 4:13 and 2 Timothy 3:16.

Paul told Timothy to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13) “That’s a passage about preaching,” notes author Tim Challies, “but it’s also a passage about just plain reading the Bible out loud.”* Here are a number of practical reasons why reading the Bible aloud is a beneficial habit to adopt:

Reading aloud is multisensory — Outside worship services, our engagement with Scripture tends to involve only one of our five senses — sight. When we add hearing to seeing, we stimulate different areas of our brain, providing a multisensory experience that can help us have a more meaningful experience with the Word of God.

Reading aloud improves retention — When we read aloud, the words we speak are translated into speech, giving us two types of memories — the knowledge of producing the spoken words as well as the memory of hearing them. This makes our memory for the spoken word more distinct from the verses we read silently.**

Reading aloud slows us down —Our eyes and brains are faster than our mouths. When we read silently we see and process the words rapidly. Reading aloud forces us to read more slowly, which gives us more time to process what we’re reading and broadens our opportunity to hear God speak through Scripture.

It is also valuable to read aloud to several individuals and groups. Here are some tips for making reading aloud part of your routine.

You and your family — It might feel odd at first, but try reading aloud to yourself regularly during your individual Bible reading sessions. Or add reading aloud to your family night or family devotional time.

The young and the old —Offer to read to children who might only hear about God during Sunday school class. Or perhaps volunteer to read to the elderly, who because of infirmity or advanced age might no longer be able to read the Bible for themselves. Every believer, whether young or old, benefits from being frequently engaged with Scripture.

PRACTICAL TAKEAWAY: Reading Scripture aloud can help us — as individuals and as a community — to better hear and connect with God’s Word.

* Tim Challies, “A Cost of All This Preaching?” Challies.com, April 21, 2014, http://www. challies.com/articles/a-cost-of-all-this-preaching.

** Art Markman, “Say it loud: I’m creating a distinctive memory,” Psychology Today, May 11, 2010, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201005/say-it-loud-i-m-creating-distinctive-memory.

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