Tuesday, May 29, 2012

...For Theirs Is the Kingdom of Heaven

Hi Friends~

Thank you for your well wishes on Joshua's recent visit home.  I hope each of you had a special weekend full of prayer time with the Lord.  I tell you what--since Josh has joined the Air Force, my prayer time has at least quadrupled!

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."
(Matthew 5:3)

Last week I was sharing an article from the Discipleship Journal, Nov./Dec. 2003.  This article was written by David W. Henderson.  I shared the part of the article that spoke about being "poor in spirit." I thought it was very insightful, and if you haven't had a chance to read it, I hope you will skip down to the post that is 2 spots down and read it. Today we will read about the second part of that Scripture, which is, "for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

We ended the first section with 2 Corinthians 3:5:  "It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves.  Our only power and success come from God."  Do I hear an "Amen" out there?  I will be quoting excerpts from this article.  We left off with...

"Coming up short and knowing it: that is what it means to be poor.  And that's what God wants us to see.  I have, I am nothing."

 OK--that is where we left off, and some of you left some very interesting comments to get us thinking about our own state of heart.  Thank you for that.

Today we are moving on to talk about:

The Super-Abundance of God

"A second recognition must join the first:  God has, God IS, everything.  We must see our poverty against His plenty.  God delights to bring us to the end of ourselves, to expose our deficiency, that His sufficiency might show forth.  For instance, when half a country ambled hungrily about the hillside, the disciples brought the problem to Jesus.  (Luke 9:12-13)

Jesus:  You feed them.
Disciples:  Impossible.  We have only five loaves and two fish.
Jesus:  Now you're talking.

Not until the disciples saw their limited resources for what they really were did Jesus go into the fast-food business, taking their little and multiplying it such that "all ate and were satisfied."  (Luke 9:17)

Scripture is replete with promises of the superabundance of God:  His grace sufficient for our every frailty.  (2 Corinthians 12:9);  His wisdom adequate for our every perplexity (Jas. 1:5); His peace ample for our every anxiety (Phil. 4:6-7); His forgiveness equal to our every iniquity (1 Jn. 1:9).  God IS enough!  (Praise His Holy Name for that, shall we?  He is enough for all of our circumstances.  He is MORE than enough for all of our circumstances!  Amen?  Amen!)

We begin to comprehend what Jesus meant when He promised His followers, "All I have is yours." (Jn. 17:10) 

 There's just one catch.  Only one occupation exists in the Kingdom of God: beggar.  The white clothes with which Jesus dresses us are beggar's robes.  To the beggar alone the cupboards, the pantries, the warehouses of God are thrown open wide.

For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."


Wow!  That gave me a lot to think about.  What about you?  If you want to share more than a comment's worth about any of the Beatitudes, feel free to let me know.  You just send me an email with what you know about one of them, and I will share it...if it is Biblically correct of course!

Next week we will be reading a section by Larry Libby.  He has written many articles in this Journal, and I love what he has to say.  He will be sharing about this Beatitude:  "Blessed are those who MOURN, for they will be COMFORTED." (Matthew 5:4)  A very difficult topic for this formerly Jewish--- now Christian woman.

I look forward to reading your comments on today's piece.  I can't wait to continue through these Beatitudes.  There is so much good information here.  I will see you on Thursday, when 2 winners will win He IS Able Card Sets of the Week.  Just leave your comment before midnight on Tuesday to be eligible.  I can not afford international postage...so this is for people with an address in the United States.  Perhaps a friend or relative who live here would be willing to mail them to you?  We are SO very glad you are here.  Anyone can leave their comment on any thought. 

If you enjoy this blog.  Please consider signing up as a Google "Blog Follower."  The more people signed up...the more who will learn about the Bible, Jesus, and our lives with Him as our Lord and Savior.  Thank you for taking this step to show others you like this blog.  (Yes, use a user name or a "fake name."  God Bless!

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

Hi Friends~

I only have a few minutes to write.  My son came home from Shepperd Air Force Base yesterday and we are pulling together a party for 15 people today.  It's mostly family but my siblings, ex-husband, and Josh's friends have either never been here, or it has been a very long time.  He just told me he is going to be stationed somewhere in the UK for 2 years.  Sounds fun--from what I have read in my friends blogs...but 2 years!  A long time for a Mum. 

Anyway, even though we are having a party today, I wanted to ask each of you to please take time over this weekend to pray for the families that had have their family members and friends give their life for their country.  It is a very tough rode, as I have learned from a friend who went through it.  Please pray that no matter how many years have passed...that the Lord will comfort them every day, but especially on this day (Monday in the US) as they see cars filled with fun-seeking beach going people on the day that their most precious are supposed to be honored...especially this day. 

Have a Safe, Prayerful, and Loving Memorial Day Weekend!

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Starting off with the Beatitudes--"The Poor in Spirit"

Hi Friends~

As I stated in the last post, we are going to look at the Beatitudes from the writings of different Pastors who shared their thoughts in the Disciple Journal in November/December, 2003.  I will be sharing excerpts from their writing to keep this to a one cup of tea or coffee size reading!

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 5:3)
The Pastor who wrote for the Disciple Journal on this topic is David W. Henderson.  This Pastor went away on a weekend retreat to spend some quiet time with God.  He met up with other Pastors before hand, and heard about some quality time they had at previous outings.  He felt bad because he had been swimming, paddling hiking, napping and very little time, according to him seeking His face.  So, the last night, he climbed up on top of the bunk house's roof, and stared at the stars.  He thought of a Scripture he had tucked into his mind years before.
"You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.  I counsel you to buy from me my gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and a white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see."
(Rev. 3:17-18)
It was there that he slipped from his disappointment to praise!  Yes!  I thought! It is here that I derive my ability to lead.  I serve because God Saved me from myself---and Saves me still--not because I merit the office.  He had renewed in me a heart of gratitude.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)
Besides calling the Disciples to stop whatever job they were doing and  follow Him instead...the first real words Jesus said to them was the above Verse. Pastor Henderson concluded that accepting Jesus' teaching requires at least two things of us: acknowledging our impoverished condition and depending upon God's plentiful provision.  Yet, all that we have is a gift.
In ourselves, we are incapable of doing anything that will endure.
"It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves.  Our only power and success come from God."  (2 Cor. 3:5)
Coming up short and knowing it:  that is what it means to be poor.  And that's what God wants us to see.  I have, I am nothing.

Well, I think we will stop here as for reading about the first part of the Scripture:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, "  Soon we will learn a bit more about the second half of this Beatitude.  "...for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)


On Thursday we will announce the Winner of the He IS Able  Card Set of the Week!  Please leave your comments or prayer requests in the comment section.  This will make you eligible to win 1-5 Cards if you are randomly chosen!  We do need an address in the US to mail packages to you.  I am so sorry about that.  Especially since we have more readers from outside the United States than we do in the US!  We are glad you are here!  God bless!

He IS Able!
Traci S.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let's Introduce Ourselves to the Beatitudes! Winners!

Hi Friends~ 

Great news!  We did have a person leave a Scripture from a mother in the Bible over Mother's Day.  She has an extra card coming to her.  Congratulations Charlotte Ann. And, I am so glad you had such a special day! Here is her comment:

Beautiful! I'm sorry your son wasn't able to be with you this weekend. I understand. Having lived on the mission field, I've experienced many holidays (including Mother's Day) separated from my children. And, even though we are now pastoring here in the States, it's still difficult to see them on the holidays. But, I'm extremely thankful that we're on the same continent and I can talk to them daily. {And, I was blessed today, as my two sons surprised me by traveling up to spend the afternoon with me! What a joy to see them!} You asked for a quote from a mother. Oh, there are so many wonderful examples of mothers in the Bible, but today I thought of Hagar. After she became pregnant, Sarah mistreated her, so she fled. But the angel of the Lord found her near a spring in the desert, and told her to go back to her mistress and submit to her. At that point, she gave a name to the Lord who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me, for she said, 'I have now seen the God who sees me."
Let's Introduce Ourselves to the Beatitudes!
I found a wonderful series about the Beatitudes in the Discipleship Journal from November/December 2003!  I will be sharing excerpts about each of the Beatitudes in the next few posts.  Don't worry...I will still be announcing winners of the He IS Able Card Set Give-Away each week.  Today's portion is from Sue Kline, Editor of Discipleship Journal.
Miss Kline writes the introduction telling us that besides when Jesus called  the Disciples to follow Him, He led them to a mountainside where they were hungry to learn from Him.  "Ah, now the teaching would begin!  But I doubt they imagined that the first words from His mouth--and all the words that came after--would turn everything they knew upside down.
It wouldn't surprise me if their first response was despair.  For the heartwarming "blessed are" statements are easily drowned out by words such as poor, mournful, hungry, persecuted.  This is the lot of a disciple!  Can I un-enlist?
Essential to comprehending the blessing of the Beatitudes is understanding the teacher who speaks them to us.  For this is no ordinary teacher.  This teacher is also the Savior.  As a teacher, He tells us what we should be --and it is frightfully distant from what we sense we are in our hearts.  Hence the despair.  But as Savior--the only Savior--He transforms us into what He says we should be.  Hence the blessing.
"Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher," Jesus tells us in Luke 6:40.  The teacher we follow is poor in spirit, pure in heart, meek, merciful, a peacemaker.  He is the embodiment of the Beatitudes.  And, so are His disciples.  We may not always feel meek or pure in heart; we may fail at times to demonstrate mercy and peaceableness.  That does not cancel the reality.  We have, by God's grace and mercy, become like our teacher. We are, by the power and persistence of the Holy Spirit, becoming like our teacher.
This issue's special section is filled with stories from disciples like you and me--the people of the Beatitudes.  They live with poverty and spirit, they mourn, they are persecuted, they hunger, they embrace purity of heart, and they make peace.  They have discovered that while being a disciple may not always be easy, it is blessed.  May you, too, embrace and enjoy the blessings of Beatitude living."
OK-- The Winner of this week's He IS Able Card Set Give-Away is...
 Congratulations, Tammy!  Please email me your mailing address if it is here in the United States.  You have won 3 wonderful, hand-made, donated cards and envelopes.  I will mail the cards out to you.  How did you win?  Not by what you wrote...which was very sweet and kind of you...thank you.  Your comment was randomly drawn...and then we drew a number 1-5 to decide how many cards you would receive!  You have until Tuesday at midnight to email me with your address or the cards go back into the stash of cards we have.
The rest of you also have until Midnight Tuesday to leave your thoughts, prayer requests, anything in the comment section to be eligible to win the give-away next week!  Maybe you want to share your favorite Beatitude or your Testimony...perhaps your favorite woman of the Bible!  It would be very exciting to read about any of the things on your mind!  God bless!
He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

p.s.  I do not know why the post went into a skinny little column in parts.  If any of you have a blog, or dont, and know what I have done to cause this, PLEASE let me know, so I can fix it!  Please, my email is just above.
Thank you so very much!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting Cards Out

Hi Friends~

We are still going through pretty bad storms here...so I have to unplug my computer or it may be zapped by lightning.

I do remember my promise of sending a card to anyone who left a comment with a quote from a mother from the Bible.  Please send me your mailing address if you left a comment before Tuesday at midnight...and I will mail you a card.  Please send your address to my email:  tracistarkweather@gmail.com

Tomorrow is the day I will announce the Winner of the He IS Able Card Set Give-Away.  You could win up to 5 cards if you left a comment before Tuesday at midnight...so stop by.  I also have some very interesting reading on the Beatitudes to share with you.

I will get it done if I have to type one sentence at a time between storms!  I apologize.  I have fallen behind in getting cards out to some of you.  I will get them packaged up today and out to you by tomorrow. 

By the way, what Bible version do you use? Please let me know in the comment section.

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day...and a Challenge!

Happy Friday, Everyone~

I hope that you are looking forward to a wonderful weekend. If you are not a mother...please read today's post anyway.  There are some important things to consider in this post.

Proverbs 31:26-29 states:
"...She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all...”

And, to you mothers out there, I pray you have a delightful Mother's Day. My Mom has raised 4 of us, quite the task at times, I am sure! And, you may not be an actual mother, you may be a grandmother, or aunt who raised a friend or relative's child.  Perhaps you are a Dad living out both  roles as Mom and Dad.   My sister is a foster parent for her first Mother's Day.  My other sister is a Step-Mom to 3 wonderful step-adults.  I think being a part of a child's life is one of the most important things we can do as adults...so I thank you for raising children in a way that God would want you to.  Not a mom?  You could make a difference in a child's life by spending time in their classrooms as a volunteer and modeling how to get along with each other and showing honesty, or being a coach and showing how God created these wonderful machines we call bodies, and how we should take care of them.

I had a call from my son, Josh last night.  He can't get home for the weekend.  He just transferred to a different Air Force base in Texas, and they aren't allowing travel yet. This will be my first Mother's Day without spending the day with him.  However, he is trying to come home for Memorial Day! That's wonderful!  So, weather you have raised a child or make a difference in children's lives...have a Happy Mother's Day.


I would like to share a copy of an old Ann Lander's column.  I don't have the original date, but she ran it every Mother's Day.  I have had it hanging on my refrigerator since May 2001. I read it many times when I felt that I wasn't living up to the title of "Mom."  Little did I know that I wanted to be "perfect Mom"--impossible! I was a divorced Mom who loves her son. I was not yet a Christian when Josh was born...but I would be 5 years later. Praise God!  Here is the column in direct quotes:

To All The Moms Who Do Their Darndest

"Dear Ann Landers:  A friend sent this to me for Mother's Day.  I hope you will share it with the women who try to be good mothers, often with no help from a significant other.---PROUD

Dear Houston:  Parenthood is the hardest work there is, but the rewards are enormous.  This was written by Cindy Lange-Kubick and reprinted with permission of the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star.  Here it is on Mother's Day:

This is for all the mothers who didn't win Mother of the Year.  The mothers too tired to enter, too busy to bother.

This is for all the mothers who froze on metal bleachers at soccer games instead of watching from cars, so that when kids asked, "Did you see my goal?"  They could say, "Of course," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes.  And all the mothers who don't.

This is for all the mothers who mess up.  Who yell at their kids in the grocery store.  This is for all the mothers who taught their daughters to tie their shoes before they started pre-school.  And all the mothers who chose Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with stains on their blouses and diapers in their purses.  This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.  For all the mothers who bite their lips when their 14-year-olds dye their hair green.

This is for all the mothers who give birth to babies they'll never see.  And, the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

What makes a good mother anyway?  Is it patience?  Compassion?  The ability to fry a chicken and sew a button at the same time?  Or is it the ache you feel when you watch your child walking to school alone for the first time?  The need to hug your child every time you hear news of a school shooting, a fire, a car accident?

This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation.  And mature mothers learning to let go.  For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.  Single mothers and married mothers.  Mothers with money, mothers without.  This is for you all.  So hang in there.  I'll be rooting for you."

I have a bit of a challenge for you!  I will send you a card from the donated He IS Able cards if you quote a mother in the Bible...besides Mary...that would be too easy!  Please show the reference of where you found it. Please don't use the Scripture posted above.  Sadly, as I have stated before, I can not get to the Post Office so I can not send mail out of the US.  Please leave your quote and your source, and anything else you would like to share in the comment section before Tuesday midnight--Eastern Time that will make you eligible for the He IS Able Card Set Give-Away!


Lastly, I want to remind you of something very important to me. We (the Prayer Team and myself) are here to pray for you!  Any request.  There is no prayer request that is not important enough for the Lord to hear!  You can send it to me via email, and I will share it with the Prayer Team. Or you can put it in the comment section, and we will pray for you, as well as some of your fellow readers.  This is so important...this is a very rough time of year for some people. But this is an important aspect of our lives daily, as Christians.   Please let us help bear your burden!  It is what He wants us to do.  It has been put on my heart so much in the past few weeks leading up to today's post especially.  God bless!

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blessings in Thanks!

Hi Friends~

Wow!  I have been so blessed by reading your comments for the last two posts, if you haven't read them, please do so.  It is one of the best ways I have seen the comment section used to encourage each other...except when prayer requests are listed, and we lift you up in prayer.  Reading how you love God, how you praise Him, what you are thankful for- has been a joy for me, and very enlightening as to areas that I may not acknowledge Him for in my life!  I thank each of you who have been taking the time to leave comments.  Of course it also makes you eligible to be randomly chosen to win 1-5 cards that were made and donated by fellow guests!  The only thing is you need to have an address in the United States for me to mail the cards.  You may know that I am disabled and can not get to the post office to post cards to other countries, or afford the postage...even though I am so very glad that all of you are here.

If any of you would like to make some cards to be shared as a part of the
He IS Able Card Set Give-Away, please follow these few requests.  Please make them as an A2 card.  No square cards please, it costs an extra 20 cents per card to mail!  Please decorate the outside of the card...and you can put some in the inside, but please leave plenty of room for the card recipient to have room to share about their love for the Lord, His Word, or the amazing gift of Salvation which He gives as a GIFT to us.  It would be wonderful if the cover had a Scripture or word like "Blessings" or "Faith" on it.  And, please put an envelope with the card.  When you get ready to mail the     card(s), please set it in a ziplock before mailing it.  We get torrential downpours every day in the afternoon...I don't want them to get ruined!  I would be happy to share that you made the card when given, or tell about your blog, and link it if you would like.  If you don't want to be known, please let me know that you wish to remain anonymous. These cards are very much appreciated!  Here is my mailing address:

Traci Starkweather
116 Colyer Drive
Longwood, Florida 32779

Now, I was unable to post on Thursday so I would like to announce the randomly chosen person who won the He IS Able Card Set Give-Away!  This person knows the Lord, and obviously loves and respects Him and is so grateful to Him.  She listed many items of praise, as did many of you!  The comment that was chosen belongs to Charlotte Ann!  Congratulations, Charlotte Ann!  We hope you will enjoy the 5 cards that will be coming your way after you email me your complete mailing address.  Each week a number is randomly chosen 1-5.  This week the number 5 was chosen, so that is how many cards you have won!  Please email me before next Tuesday at midnight, or the cards will be put back into the He IS Able Card Stash.  Here is my email:  tracistarkweather@gmail.com

One of Charlotte Ann's Comments:
"What a wonderful testimony! I sure wish I could hear you singing that scripture, especially in Hebrew! I love the Psalms put to music, and I love hearing the Hebrew language! (My husband is a Hebrew and Greek teacher.) Your testimony reminded me something I experienced while living on the mission field in Kenya. I was going through a difficult time, and decided to place a pretty paper gift bag in the bedroom - with a paper of paper and a pen next to it. Each night before I went to bed I had to write something that I was thankful for that day (it had to be something different each day - no duplication) - and, place it in the gift bag. It was my gift from God that day. It helped me focus on the blessings of the Lord rather than a rather difficult situation I was facing. He is greater than any problem we face, and even if we never received anything from the Lord other than salvation (which, of course, we do), that would be plenty!!" on Week of Praise! And, Our Winner of the He IS Able Card Set Give-Away!!


Following is a column written by Dr. Jack Graham.  He writes a daily column titled Power Point by Jack Graham.  We were given permission by his organization to share his columns here on the blog.

Daily Embracing the Remarkable Gift of Eternal Life
November 26, 2010
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
(John 3:14-15)
When the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, many were killed by poisonous snakes sent by God because of their rebellion. But in the midst of all of the death and agony, God proposed a solution. He told Moses to take a pole, put a brass serpent on that pole, and lift it up. He said everyone who looked at the brazen serpent upon that pole by faith would live. And so those who were bitten and looked in faith lived (Numbers 21).
That instance from the Old Testament is an amazing picture of what happened when Christ was lifted up on the cross. And today, everyone who looks and believes that Jesus' death atones for his or her sin will be saved and receive eternal life!
Jesus Christ was lifted up in shame before the world. But while the people of Moses' time only had glimpses of God's future plans to send His Messiah to die on the cross, we today are blessed to be able to look back at that remarkable act of love!
God sent Jesus to die on the cross and give you life with Him. So we should continue to look to him as God's gift of eternal life each day!


Please leave your comments by midnight tonight (Tuesday) to be eligible for the Recipient Announcement on Thursday!

May you have a wonderful and praise-filled day!  God Bless!

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Why Should I read the Old Testament?"

Hi Friends~

I hope everyone is doing well.  Please take a look at the comment section from the last post.  If you are in a blue mood now, I believe it will put a smile on your lips!  People are continuing to post an item a day on what they praise our Father for.  It is a beautiful Testimony.  I am so grateful to each of you for participating...it encourages others...and we are to praise Him anyhow!  I love this!

You probably know that I read many columns, essays, poems and other items for this blog, and for my own research and joy.  I came across a wonderful column that I wanted to share with you.  I have come to find, in my own un-professional opinion, that many Christians when first coming to the church on their own, are told to start with the book of John.  Now, I have nothing against the book of John, but I believe some people never get around to embracing the Old Testament with the reverence and excitement they can find in the New Testament.  I promise, I am not including everyone in this--but should you take a look back through the OT?  Take a look at this column written with permission by Paul Benware who wrote this for "Question of the Week."  I hope you find this as interesting as I do. Please let me know.


Question: "Why should I read the Old Testament?"

Answer: "
The Bible is a progressive revelation. If you skip the first half of any good book and try to finish it; you will have a hard time understanding the characters, the plot, and the ending. In the same way, the New Testament is only completely understood when it is seen as being built upon the foundation of the events, characters, laws, sacrificial system, covenants, and promises of the Old Testament. If we only had the New Testament, we would come to the gospels and not know why the Jews were looking for a Messiah (a Savior King). Without the Old Testament, we would not understand why this Messiah was coming (see Isaiah 53); we would not have been able to identify Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah through the many detailed prophecies that were given concerning Him (e.g., His birth place (Micah 5:2); His manner of death (Psalm 22, especially vv. 1,7-8, 14-18; Psalm 69:21, etc.), His resurrection (Psalm 16:10), and many more details of His ministry (Isaiah 52:13.; 9:2, etc.).

Without the Old Testament, we would not understand the Jewish customs that are mentioned in passing in the New Testament. We would not understand the perversions the Pharisees had made to God's law as they added their traditions to it. We would not understand why Jesus was so upset as He cleansed the temple courtyard. We would not understand that we can make use of the same wisdom that Christ used in His many replies to His adversaries (both human and demonic)."

 (Tell me this, does it tell of the New Testament in minute detail?  I was going to list all of the Scriptures referenced in this column...but thought the column would be extremely long, and that you will find most of the references answered in this one Scripture.)  Here is Isaiah 53:

Isaiah 53
New International Version (NIV)

53 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors."
(Isaiah 53)

"The Old Testament also contains numerous lessons for us through the lives of its many fallible characters. By observing their lives we can be encouraged to trust God no matter what (Daniel 3), and to not compromise in the little things (Daniel 1) so that we will be faithful later in the big things (Daniel 6). We can learn that it is best to confess sin early and sincerely instead of blame-shifting (1 Samuel 15). We can learn not to play with sin, because it will find us out and its bite is deadly (See Judges 13-16). We can learn that we need to trust (and obey) God if we expect to experience His promised-land living in this life and His paradise in the next (Numbers 13). We learn that if we contemplate sin, we are only setting ourselves up for committing it (Genesis 3; Joshua 6-7). We learn that our sin has consequences not only for ourselves but for our loved ones around us and conversely that our good behavior has rewards not only for us but for those who are around us as well (Genesis 3; Exodus 20:5-6).

The Old Testament also contains vast quantities of wisdom that the New Testament does not share. Many of these are contained in the Psalms and Proverbs. These bits of wisdom reveal how I can be wiser than my teachers, what various sins will lead to (it helps us to see the hook that the bait is hiding), and what accomplishments in this world hold for us (nothing!). How can I recognize whether I am a fool (moral fool, that is)? How can I inadvertently turn people off without trying? How can I open doors to lasting success? How can I find meaning in life? Again, there is so much there that is just waiting to be found by one who truly wants to learn.

Without the Old Testament, we would not have a basis for standing against the error of the politically correct perversions of our society in which evolution is seen to be the creator of all of the species over millions of years (instead of them being the result of special creation by God in a literal six days). We would buy the lie that marriages and the family unit are an evolving structure that should continue to change as society changes, instead of being seen as a design by God for the purpose of raising up godly children and for the protection of those who would otherwise be used and abused (most often women and children).

Without the Old Testament, we would not understand the promises God will yet fulfill to the Jewish nation. As a result, we would not properly see that the Tribulation period is a seven-year period in which He will specifically be working with the Jewish nation who rejected His first coming but who will receive Him at His second coming. We would not understand how Christ's future 1,000-year reign fits in with His promises to the Jews, nor how the Gentiles will fit in. Nor would we see how the end of the Bible ties up the loose ends that were unraveled in the beginning of the Bible, how God will restore the paradise He originally created this world to be, and how we will enjoy close companionship with Him on a personal basis as in the Garden of Eden.

In summary, the Old Testament is a mirror that allows us to see ourselves in the lives of Old Testament characters and helps us learn vicariously from their lives. It sheds so much light on who God is and the wonders He has made and the salvation He has wrought. It shares so much comfort to those in persecution or trouble (see Psalms especially). It reveals through repeatedly fulfilled prophecy why the Bible is unique among holy books—it alone is able to demonstrate that it is what it claims to be: the inspired Word of God. It reveals volumes about Christ in page after page of its writings. It contains so much wisdom that goes beyond what is alluded to or quoted in the New Testament. In short, if you have not yet ventured in depth into its pages, you are missing much that God has available for you. As you read it, there will be much you do not understand right away, but there will be much you will understand and learn from. And as you continue to study it, asking God to teach you further, your mining will pay off in brighter treasures still.

Recommended Resource:
A Survey of the Old Testament by Paul Benware."

I hope you will continue to Praise God in the comment section.  And, that you will find some quiet time this week to be with our Lord.  God Bless!

He IS Able!
Traci Starkweather