Monday, October 27, 2014

Do You Know the Significance of the Number 12 in the Bible?

Signs occur throughout the Bible. One of the greatest of all scriptures is in Luke 2:12 "This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger."

What a glorious sign that was for those shepherds that night.

But what about the number 12 and its significance in the Bible? Do you know how many times it is used and why?

1. In Genesis 35:22
...Jacob had twelve sons...

2. Genesis 49:28
All of these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

3. Matthew 10:1
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

4. Mark 3:14-16
He appointed twelve that they might be with him that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter) James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means "sons of thunder"), Andrew Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5. Luke 8: 42
because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying

6. Luke 8: 43
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years but no one could heal her

7. Luke 9:17
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

8. Revelations 21:12
It had a great wall with twelve gates ...

9. Revelations 21:12
... and with twelve angels on the gates ...

10. Revelations 21:12
... On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

11. Revelations 21:14
The wall of the city had twelve foundations ...

12. Revelations 21:14
...and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Twelve times the number twelve is mentioned in the Bible.

So, why did Jesus only choose twelve apostles or disciples? Why were there only twelve tribes of Israel?

Did Jesus choose these men because of their faith? No, their faith faltered many times. He didn't choose them because of any special talent or abilities. They had no more leadership capabilities than any other man at that time. Then what was it about them?

They all shared one quality. A willingness to obey Jesus. Being a good disciple is simply a matter of following Jesus with a willing heart. Do you have a willing heart? Could you drop all your possessions and follow Jesus at a moment's notice?

So, why the number twelve?

Twelve is both literal and symbolic. There were twelve tribes and twelve apostles, however the number twelve also symbolizes the fullness and completeness particularly when it refers to the relationship between God and His people.

So, next time you are thinking about how you can fulfill your duties for Christ, don't discredit yourself for what you lack, or think of qualities you don't have. Obedience to Jesus and a willing heart is all you need.

Can you think of any better reason?

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Simon versus the Sinful Woman

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house, and took his place at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment,  and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 
Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "What is it, Teacher?"  "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly." 
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."  And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."   Luke 7:36-50

Simon had committed several social errors in neglecting to wash Jesus' feet (a courtesy extended to guests because sandaled feet got very dirty), anoint his head with oil, and offer him the kiss of greeting. Did Simon perhaps feel that he was too good for Jesus? Was he trying to give Jesus a subtle put-down? Whatever the case, the contrast is vivid. The sinful woman lavished tears, expensive perfume, and kisses on her Savior. In this story, is is the grateful prostitute, and not the religious leader, whose sins were forgiven. Although God's grace through faith is what saves us, and not acts of love or generosity, this woman's act demonstrated her true faith, and Jesus honored her.

Overflowing love is the natural response to forgiveness and  the appropriate consequence of faith. But only those who realize the depth of their sin can appreciate the complete forgiveness that God offers them. Jesus had rescued all of his followers, whether they were one extremely wicked or conventionally good, from eternal death. Do you appreciate the wideness of God's mercy? Are you grateful for his forgiveness?

The Pharisees believed that only God could forgive sins, so they wondered why this man, Jesus, was saying that the woman's sins were forgiven. They did not grasp the fact that Jesus was indeed God.

Contrary to popular opinion, God does not sit in heaven with His jaws clenched, His arms folded in disapproval, and a deep frown on His brow. He is not ticked off at His children for all the times we trip over our tiny feet and fall flat on our diapers. He is a loving Father, and we are precious in His sight, the delight of His heart. After all, He "has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." (Colossians 1:12) Think of it: He's put us in His inheritance!
Remember that the next time God is coming down on you. You have reason to give thanks. You don't have to qualify yourself for His kingdom. His grace has rescued you. -- Rick Robertson, Pennsylvania- guest poster

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Monday, October 13, 2014

What are You Doing today to do the Work of God?

In John 6:28-29 it reads:

Then they asked Him, "What must we do to do the words God requires?"
Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent."

What are you doing today to do the work of God? Jesus tells us that the "work" of God is to believe. In the Chapter of John, at this time, Jesus was across the lake from Capernaum. The people had been searching for Him.

They asked this question only after they had their fill of the bread they'd eaten. Jesus told them "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." (John 6:27)

So, I ask you, are you working for God? Are you believing?

What is believing?

Believing is something Jesus was urging the people to do. They were worried about the temporary things like food when they needed to invest their efforts in eternal matters.

Jesus wanted them to put their trust in God for who He was, not for the physical conveniences He could offer them.

Satisfying God does not come from the work WE do, but from WHOM we believe. The first step involves accepting that Jesus is who he claims to be. All spiritual development is built on this affirmation.

Still, to believe is more than to work, faith is a gift of God's grace, prompted by God's mysterious work within us.

Declare to Jesus, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God," (Matthew 16:16) and embark on a life of belief that is satisfying to your Creator.

I'll ask you again, What are you doing today to do the work of God?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Local Law Firm Supports Teachers of Tampa Bay

The Fernandez Firm recently launched a Facebook Giving Campaign on behalf of the dedicated and hard working public school of teachers of Tampa Bay which you can find in this link:

At the Fernandez Firm, they firmly believe in Florida’s public education system and hope that you will join them in supporting the selfless Tampa Bay educators. For every “Like” they receive on their Facebook page, The Fernandez Firm will contribute $1.00 to local schools to help defray the cost of being a dedicated Tampa-area public school teacher.

August in Florida means the end of another hot summer and “back to school” for students and their families. For many Tampa Bay teachers, the start of the school year means that it is time, once again, to reach into their own pockets for the money needed to equip their classrooms. You may be surprised to learn that each year public school teachers spend, on average, $400 of their own money on school supplies necessary for their students.

At the Fernandez Firm, they  firmly believe in Florida’s public education system and hope that you will join them in supporting our selfless Tampa Bay educators. For every “Like” they  receive on their firm’s Facebook page, The Fernandez Firm will contribute $1.00 to local schools to help defray the cost of being a dedicated Tampa-area public school teacher. “When our students excel, we all benefit,” says attorney Frank F. Fernandez, III. “We consider it our obligation, as responsible members of the Tampa business community, to support public educators in every way possible and are excited to partner with our Facebook friends in doing so.”

Like them on Facebook today and help the Fernandez Firm show Tampa Bay teachers just how much they appreciate their hard-work and sacrifice.

I've already clicked and "liked"  the page, how about you?

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