Rebirth in Jesus!

irina-murza-1221003-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Irina Murza on Unsplash

Title: Rebirth in Jesus

Reading: The Gospel of John 3:1-15

Key verse: John 3:3

 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly I say to you unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’”.

John, the writer of this Gospel, wrote about Nicodemus who came to Jesus one evening. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who was seeking for the truth. He wanted to know Jesus and the truth of His teachings personally. He wanted to hear and understand for himself as he heard Jesus speak and teach the crowd.  Even though Jesus was rejected by some of the Pharisees, Jesus did not turn down Nicodemus. Jesus knew the heart of Nicodemus, that he was sincerely seeking the Kingdom of God (v.2).

Thus, Jesus revealed to Nicodemus an important spiritual truth. Jesus showed Nicodemus the way to God.

Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit…You must be born again!”   (v.5-7)

Nicodemus wanted to understand more, “How can these things be?

So, Jesus further explained;

No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven… that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (v.13-15)

Jesus gave a clear explanation to Nicodemus of the truth and showed him the way to God, which was to believe in Him, the Son of God. Jesus made Himself known to those who were sincerely seeking and searching for the truth and the kingdom of God.

Jesus was telling Nicodemus about life in the flesh and life in the spirit. Life in the flesh is merely living in the physical realm – with body, mind, and soul. However, there is more to life than just the physical life, there is life in the Spirit, which is only found in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, we people are all born on earth with physical life – the body, mind, and soul (emotions). However, because of the sin nature, we are born on earth with no spiritual life. We are dead in the spirit, which means separated from God.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

But through Jesus Christ we can be born again. Being born-again is to receive a new life in Christ. As Jesus told Nicodemus, “…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (v.15)

Reflection:

To be born-again is to have a new life in Christ. Believing Jesus is to receive a new life – a life in the Spirit of God, and eternal life in Christ.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving me a new life in the Spirit and for bringing me into Your Kingdom.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

Jesus honors His mother!

xavier-mouton-photographie-744396-unsplash
Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash

Title: Jesus obeys God’s words by honoring His mother!

Reading: John 2:1-12 ; Deuteronomy 5:16

Key verse:   “His mother said to the servants, whatever He says to you, do it”.  John 2:5 NKJV

Jesus, His mother, and His disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. In Jewish tradition, a wedding feast could last up to three days. In a typical wedding, the host usually served a lot of food and wine.  The host may not have expected more people to come, but as more guests came in-and-out, they ran out of wine. (John 1:1-2) Mary, like any other mother, cared about such things. She saw the need for more wine to be served to the guests. She was concerned and brought her concern to Jesus.

“They ran out of wine” (v3).  Mary knew Jesus could do something to help. When Jesus was growing up, perhaps Mary had seen Jesus do little miracles in their family. Mary knew her Son well, who He was, and what power He had.  So, Mary, with confidence, presented the need to Jesus. However, at that time Jesus had no intention of showing off His divine power to the public.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” v4

Again, Mary believed in her Son.  She told the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it”. (v5)

Jesus looked around and saw what was available. He saw the six, empty, stone waterpots. So, Jesus instructed the servants to “Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.” (v7) After the waterpots were filled with water, Jesus told the servants to draw them out and take it to the master of the wedding feast. (v8) And the master of the ceremony, not knowing where the wine came from, was very pleased that the host kept the best wine until the last day.  And he said, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” (v.10)

Thus, the wedding celebration was completed with more than enough wine. And Mary was relieved that her concern was taken care of by Jesus.  Jesus may not have had the intention to do a miracle at the wedding feast, but because Mary, His earthly mother, had presented the concern to Him, Jesus honored her request.

Jesus loved His earthly mother, and He also knew the word of God which says, “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16 & Exodus 20:12).

When Jesus was here on earth, He was fully human and fully divine, too.  He had the creative power that God had when He created the heavens and the earth, (Genesis 1).  Like God, who created the world and everything in it from nothing, Jesus also had the power to create through the power of His spoken word.  And without drawing attention to Himself, Jesus took care of His mother’s concern by turning the plain water into wine. Even when Jesus’ miraculous power was not seen by the public, He cared for those whom He loved.  Jesus used His creative power to honor God’s Word and His mother. 

Reflection:

Jesus honored the Word of God by honoring His mother. Jesus showed His love for His earthly mother as He took care of her concern.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for Your example of obeying the Word of God by honoring your mother. Help children to honor their mothers and fathers, too.

Your Reflection:

Your Prayer:

Jesus’ final words!

IMG_0324.JPG

Title: Jesus’ final words!

Reading: Matthew 28: 1-20 (NKJV)

“Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)

Jesus died on the cross even though He did not deserve it. (Matthew 27:50). However, on the third day, God raised Him up. (Matthew 28:6). Many of His disciples saw Him and spoke with Him. Just before Jesus went back to heaven, He met with His eleven disciples in Galilee, on the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. (Matthew 28:16) Jesus came and spoke with them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples”. (Matthew 28:18-19)

Jesus obeyed the will of the Lord God for the plan of salvation for all men of all the nations, for it is the will of God for all – every man and woman to be saved.

Mark 16:15 said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature”.

It is the heart of God that none shall perish.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

God loves everyone and cares for each and every person in the world.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

The Lord God commissioned and sent His Son Jesus to preach repentance and salvation to the people of Israel. Jesus obeyed and did the will of the Father. Therefore, God exalted Him and gave Him power and authority. (Matthew 28:18).

Jesus then empowered His disciples and followers to go and make disciples as He had done for them.  In the book of Acts, the stories are written where the disciples fulfilled and obeyed the final words of Jesus to go, make disciples, baptize and teach (Acts 2:14-47).  The disciples and followers of Jesus continued the work of preaching the Gospel to others, even it cost their lives (Acts 4 & 7). The disciples of Jesus fulfilled the final words of Jesus to make disciples in their lifetime. And the Gospel spread from Jerusalem, to Judea and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8).

For two thousand years, men and women, followers of Jesus continue to go, preach and make disciples in almost every country and to every people group in the world. From the country of Israel, to Europe, to America, to Africa and Asia, the Gospel and the Kingdom of God have spread. And Jesus promised to everyone who obeys, “And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. (Matthew 28:20)

Reflection:

The final words of Jesus to His followers before He went back to heaven was:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”

This is still the words of Jesus to everyone who follows Him and who truly desires to follow Him. It is the heart of Jesus and the Lord God for everyone to receive salvation – for the Jews, and for every people of every nation, and tribe and tongue.  As a follower of Jesus, we are called to obey His Words.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, please help me and every one of Your followers to obey Your final words and commission to go and make disciples of all the nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Your Reflection:

Your Prayer:

Jesus You Gave Your All

josh-applegate-1437648-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Jesus You Gave Your All  (Song Poem)

Jesus You gave Your all,

Jesus You gave Your all,

Jesus You gave all of Yourself

To a sinner like me, You gave your all.

Words are not enough to say, thank You my Lord.

How could You love a sinner like me

You gave your whole self to us all.

With Your nail-pierced hands,

And Your body was bruised, wounded and all

All because of Your love for us all.

Jesus Your deep love nothing and no one could ever compare,

For the love You have shown

Jesus You gave Your all (3x)

Body, soul and all;

The greatest love of all.

  • A song-poem by Vicki Creel

 

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

ben-den-engelsen-1509373-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Ben den Engelsen on Unsplash

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” v.46

Readings: Matthew 27:27-47; Isaiah 53:1-12 (NKJV Bible Gateway)

Jesus was scourged and beaten severely by the Roman soldiers. They mocked Him and ridiculed Him.  The soldiers demanded that He walk from the Governor’s headquarters to Golgota carrying a big piece of a wooden cross.  His beaten body, bruised and scourged, could barely walk, much less carrying a heavy piece of wood.  The soldiers saw a man passing by, Simon of Cyrene, and compelled him to help Jesus carry the big piece of wood. (Matthew 27:27-32). Then they crucified Him along with the other criminals. (Matthew 27:35-38)

The people of Israel, the religious leaders, and the Roman soldiers all saw Jesus hanging on the cross and mocked Him.  They spoke unkind and insulting words. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save…” (Matthew 27:39-44).

Jesus did not say a word against them. He did not call out for His angels to consume them. He did not use His power to call for lightning from heaven to strike those who insulted Him. But instead He took it all upon Himself – the shame, the humiliation, the insults, the mocking, and the beatings. Jesus chose love, instead of defending Himself. The pain was too much for His earthly body. And Jesus cried out to His Father:

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” v.46

That was the cry of pain and agony. Did God forsake His only Son? Lord Jesus, why did you say these things?

The prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament said,

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord [n]has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. (Isaiah 53:8)

Reflection:

Jesus carried our sins. All the sins of men were imputed to Him. He took all the punishment for our sins, so we do not have to its eternal consequences. All the sin of the world was laid upon Him. The ultimate penalty of sin is death – or separation from God. For that moment, God had to turn away from His Son because Jesus became a bearer of sin. God and sin cannot be together. God our Father in heaven is holy and pure. Jesus took all the sin and the punishment of sin, so I do not have to carry and suffer the penalty of sin, which is death, eternal death. Jesus paid it all.

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 6:23

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for choosing to give Yourself for us, and for dying on the cross for my sins.  Thank You that You took my sin, and the punishment of sin, so I could be reconciled with our Heavenly Father and live with You for eternity.

Your Reflection:

 

Your Prayer:

Choose Jesus, Choose life!(Jesus or Barabbas?)

joel-mott-1393157-unsplash

Photo by Joel Mott on Unsplash

Choose Jesus, choose life! (Jesus or Barabbas?)

Reading: Matthew 27: 1-26; Luke 23:1-25

  Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”  – Matthew 27:17

Jesus was ordered to be arrested by the chief priests. The chief priests incited some people to bring false accusations against Jesus. (Matthew 27:1-2) Then Jesus was brought to Pilate. And the governor asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, ‘It is as you say’. Matthew 27:11

After examining Jesus and talking with Him, Pilate did not find any fault against Jesus.

“And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;  no, neither did Herod, for sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.” (Luke 23:13-15)

At the time of Jesus’ arrest, it was also the feast of the governor.

 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”  For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy, (Matthew 27:15-17).

But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. (Matthew 27:.20)

Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?”

But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”  (Matthew 27:23)

When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.

And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”—  who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder. (Luke 23:18-19)

Pilate felt he was powerless over the cry of the people of Israel, so he gave in to their demand. “Let Him be crucified!”. It was not Pilate’s wish or plan to execute Jesus, but Pilate did not want an uprising over the life of one person. Sad to say, it was the religious leaders of Israel who instigated the penalty for Jesus because of jealousy and envy.  (Matthew 27:18)

Sad to say when Pilate asked the people whom to release, the people chose Barabbas, a rebel and a murderer.

Reflection:

The people of Israel chose Barabbas over Jesus. They chose a murderer over a sinless man, similar to the people of today’s generation. Sad to say even today, it seems some people choose a life of rebellion against God. Thus, they choose death instead of life. Some people end up dead-physically and spiritually. They choose rebellion, a life away from God, therefore they make a choice of death over a life with Jesus. Jesus died so that we could have eternal life. If we choose Jesus, we choose life.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, it is our sin that crucified You on the cross. Lord forgive us, help us choose You, help us choose life and not death.

Your Reflection:

Your Prayer:

 

 

 

Because of Jesus, I am a child of God!

 

ben-white-167553-unsplash
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. John 1:12 (NKJV)

Reading: John 1:1-12

(Galatians 3.26; Ephesians 3:6, Romans 8:16)

Title: Because of Jesus, I am a child of God.

The apostle John wrote his testimony about knowing Jesus who was there from the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2). John also testified that all life on earth was made through Jesus. (John 1.3). Jesus was life and the light of men (v.5). John further testified that another man, also named John, was a witness to the deity of Jesus.

“He was not that light but was sent to bear witness of that light”, (John 1:6).

The apostle John was referring to John the Baptist.

The apostle John further explained, Jesus was sent by God into the world, but the world did not receive Him. (v.11)

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1.12

What a great truth and blessing to be called ‘children of God’, because by nature, we, the people of the world are all born with sin.  (Psalm 51:5).

Ephesians 2:3 says we are by nature children of wrath.  And because of Jesus we are now called children of God.

The apostle Paul wrote, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus”. (Galatians 3:26)

 He also wrote in Romans 8:16-17

 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God… heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ”.

Reflection:

Through the Lord Jesus Christ we are adopted into the family of God and become part of His Kingdom.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, because of You, I am now a child of God, and a fellow heir with You. I am forever grateful to You!

Your Reflection:

Your Prayer:

John 1.12 PDF copy

In Asia_Spring 2019

David & Vicki Creel in Thailand and Indonesia, February 15-28, 2019.

 Indonesia

53226724_10219728791436990_9187798892916244480_n

David fixing a mixer in Jakarta.

 

IMG_0494
The user interface of the transmitter that David worked on

 

 

IMG_0545.JPG

David attended a local church in Jakarta

 

Thailand
IMG_4820.JPG

 

Praying for the many people in Thailand to be set free from the idolatry of Buddhism.  

 

 

IMG_0653.JPG

Riverside in Bangkok, Thailand

6D8394F4.jpg

Vicki helping with FEBC  Thailand admin staff .

IMG_4797.JPG

FEBC staff working with the Bible correspondence course

IMG_4874.JPG

FEBC Thailand Daily Staff Devotion & Prayer

53683234_10219728773636545_4987993757069606912_n

 David & Vicki enjoyed a lunch treat of Northern Thai flavor from the FEBC Thailand Director.

Creel Spring 2019 Prayer Letter-PDF