Wednesday Wallpaper: I Am the True Vine

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Jesus is the true vine.

Frequently in the Old Testament, the vine is used as a symbol of Israel, God’s chosen people. However, they failed to produce fruit and were subjects of divine judgment. Jesus, on the the other hands, is called “the true vine” because His followers abide in Him and produce fruit. Let this wallpaper remind you to abide in Christ, the true vine. This design was requested by Rachel.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:1-11)

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Serious Ministry Stirs Serious Meditation

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The nation of Israel was continually shaped by the history of the Exodus. “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place,” Moses commanded them (Ex. 13:3).

As believers, we should also remember the great salvation that came through the work on the cross. Jesus, being obedient to the Father, humbled Himself to be like us in order to die for us. How do we remain mindful of His work today?

“Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19). Communion immediately comes to mind, but unfortunately the routine of it can sometimes lead to dullness, instead of resonance—often due to our familiarity with God’s goodness and the reluctance to tread deeply in it.

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Innocent Sinner and Monstrous God: A Response to an Atheist Who Took Offense at God

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“A loving [god] would protect his [people] if he was able. Anything else would make him a monster,” she said.

Recently, a tree hugging humanist (her words) kindly wrote a public response to my article, 8 Reasons God Allows You to Suffer. I was pleased to find it—for a few reasons. First, it means someone other than my mom is reading my material. Second, she misspelled my last name and ironically used a Lord of the Rings reference, which we privately use to refer to our home, The Shire. Had she said nothing more worthwhile, I would have been satisfied. But, there was more.

Third.

Dena Nechama is an unashamed Jewish atheist who argues Christians go to great lengths to make a “cruel god even more cruel.” My writing was exhibit A.

To convey her point—that the Christian God is a monster—she told a rather disturbing story about a husband who wakes from his sleep to the smell of smoke. His house is on fire. He leaps up and darts outside to save himself, but leaves his wife snoozing in bed—intentionally. He knew if his wife survived such a tragedy, it would encourage them to grow closer together.

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Wednesday Wallpaper: I Am the Good Shepherd

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Jesus is the good shepherd.

In contrast to the Jewish leaders of His day, Jesus calls Himself the noble shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. The leaders of His time are described as hired help. They care only for self-interest. This “I AM” statement also foreshadows the Lord’s substitutionary death He will die on the cross (cf: Jn. 10:15; 6:51; 11:50-51; 17:19; 18:14).

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:11-16)

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Wednesday Wallpaper: I Am the Light

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Jesus is the light and salvation.

Steeping in Old Testament allusions, Jesus uses the “light” metaphor to describe Himself as the Messiah and Son of God (Ex. 13:21-22; 14:19-25; Ps. 27:1; 119:105). It is the second of His “I AM” declarations. He promises those who perceive the true Light will never walk in spiritual darkness and will be a light to the world. Let this wallpaper remind you to behold Christ and share the Light of the world with others.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

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Wednesday Wallpaper: In the Morning

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God hears the prayers of the faithful worshiper.

In David’s lament, he directs his prayer toward heaven in expectant faith. The mention of morning and sacrifice suggests his prayer “comes in the context of a faithful worshiper who receives assurance and expresses personal consecration by way of these ordinances; it is small wonder that such a person will watch, looking around and ahead in expectant faith” (from the ESV Study Bible). Let this wallpaper remind you to pray early, expectantly, and faithfully.

“Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” (Psalm 5:1-3)

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Wednesday Wallpaper: Pray to Me

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God always responds to the prayers of His people.

In today’s wallpaper, we highlight the Word of the Lord spoken to Israel through the prophet Jeremiah. Though it doesn’t exclude suffering in this world, God desires to bless those who behold Him as Lord. To them, He gives hope. When they call upon Him, He hears.

This text reminds us of the hope we have in Christ. Through Him we are made righteous and have access to God. We can and should pray to Him. He promises to listen.

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Sharing in Excitement

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The disciples moved inward from the shore of Galilee and gathered around Jesus once more. He taught them again, opening their understanding. Confidence chased away all their remaining doubt. Courage took over. This was their last moment with God in the flesh.

What a journey it had been! These eleven ordinary men were extraordinarily touched and intimately trained by the Lord of heaven and earth. Unlikely men were bound together to an unlikely Lord—fishermen from Galilee and a servant from Nazareth. Although it felt like a lifetime, they had only been together for three short years.

Stretching out His hands, Jesus blessed the disciples. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Then, He was lifted up into heaven.

The disciples stood there in wonder, looking upward. They had nothing to say. It was as if they were expecting more. Jesus had ascended to heaven. Now what? The cry of the wind and the racket of the waves were all they heard, until an angel asked, “Why do you stand looking into heaven?”

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Surrendering in Reverence

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With the Festival of Unleavened Bread now finished, the disciples returned to Galilee as Jesus had directed them. Doubt still lingered in their hearts about what was to come now that Jesus had resurrected and was gone. So, they began fishing—their familiar livelihood before following Christ.

Fishing was their means of support, their job, their source of income. It was their way of life. They found subsistence in the work of the waters. Without it, they had very little.

Yet, Jesus had taught them to find subsistence in Him. He had called them out to be fishers of men—those who cast the net of the gospel in hope that some will be drawn in. Fishing was not wrong. They were called to a higher calling, and Christ would be their livelihood.

Having caught no fish that day, the disciples heard someone cry out from the shore, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” They reluctantly tried, and fish swarmed to their nets. It was a miracle! They knew then it was Jesus.

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Satisfying in Assurance

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Throughout this mysterious day, Jesus appeared to Mary, the other women, Peter, and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Now at the end of the day, they all gathered to deliberate about what was happening. The stories were too coincidental to be ignored.

Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the room and stood among them. “Peace be with you!” Despite the four appearances, the exposition of Scripture, the empty tomb, and the fact that Jesus had told them about all that would take place, they still doubted and assumed they were seeing a ghost. “Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts?” Jesus asked them.

Sin causes us to doubt and be troubled. It feeds on our perception and misguides our meditations until we convince ourselves that what we know is untrue. But God was pleased to rescue them from their doubt. He came to satisfy their wandering hearts.

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