The Easter Lamb

by Fran Caffey Sandin

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! Revelation 5:12 ESV

Normally on Easter Sunday morning I arrive early at church to practice a rousing organ rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus. The year 2020 was very different as we watched our pastor online due to the Covid-19 virus lockdown. Now, in 2022 we will meet again together at church and rejoice that Christ the Lord is Risen. Hallelujah!

When I recently read about the Jewish sacrifices (Tamid), I found it both interesting and related to Easter. The Lord told Moses: “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day regularly. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight”(Exodus 29:38-39 ESV). Just think, a 24-hour sacrifice, every day.

Now imagine the temple in Jerusalem during the time of Christ. At 6 a.m. the priest entered the Lamb Chamber to inspect and select the one-year-old male lamb without blemish. At 9 a.m. the morning sacrifice began. The chief priest cut the lamb and sprinkled its blood on the altar as a covering for people’s sins, a temporary solution to an ongoing problem.

Then the priest placed the lamb on the fire, and its flesh ideally represented the people yielding their hearts and their wills in submission to God. Their daily worship service included reciting the Ten Commandments, reading from the Psalms and prophets, and music. Just imagine the sights and sounds, not to mention the smells, as all this took place.

One morning outside Jerusalem at a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was hung on a cross for crucifixion. His charge read THE KING OF THE JEWS. He was mocked, spat upon, and placed between two robbers (Matthew 27:29-30, 33, 37-38).

Then darkness fell over the whole land from noon until 3 p.m., when, with a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The heavy tapestry veil in the temple separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, where only the high priest was permitted to go, was torn from top to bottom (Exodus 27:33; Matthew 27:51). God was now personally accessible and desired fellowship with all mankind.

Meanwhile, back in the temple that day the sacrifice continued burning. At 3 p.m. the second lamb (called the twilight sacrifice because the Jewish day began in the evening) burned all night. It represented the purpose of staying close to God.

The word Tamid means continual, daily, perpetual, always, and forever. In those six hours, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jesus became sin for all. His blood became a covering for every sin, every need, every moment, every problem, and every answer. He became the fulfillment of the Tamid.

Death and the grave could not hold him. Jesus arose! His resurrection occurred on the day of the Jewish Feast of First Fruits. Hallelujah!

Dear Heavenly Father, our hearts are overflowing with gratitude that You loved us so much You sent your only Son to sacrifice Himself and shed His own blood to cover our sins, to forgive our sins, and become our mediator to access Your throne of mercy. When we receive His gift of grace and forgiveness, He lives in our hearts today. To God be the glory! In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Information in this devotional has been summarized from two sources:

Michal E. Hunt. Jesus and the Mystery of the Tamid Sacrifice. Agape Bible Study (Fishers, IN: 2016)

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. The Book of Mysteries (Frontline 2016)

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Fran is a retired nurse, organist, mother, and grandmother living in Greenville, Texas. She has authored See You Later, Jeffrey, Touching the Clouds, and has contributed to thirty books. She and her husband, Jim, have traveled to many countries and states. Her latest book, HOPE on the Way, Devotions to Go— contains 52 devotionals for those who love to combine faith and adventure. HOPE on the Way was acknowledged for outstanding Christian Literature both in the Devotional and Christian Living sections by Joy and Company in Arlington, Texas. Visit Fran’s website at www.fransandin.com.

Join the conversation: What part of Easter inspired you most this year?

The Fight

by Fran Caffey Sandin

For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 ESV

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? How do they work out for you?

January initiates a fresh year, an opportunity for setting goals, and making changes. Unfortunately, my resolutions only last a few days. So, I make plans and take one day at a time, keeping in mind that God is with me, helping me to be flexible and aware of the needs of others while working toward personal goals.  

The book of Nehemiah describes how, following captivity and wanderings, the children of Israel returned to Jerusalem. Having viewed the destruction, and inspired by God, Nehemiah challenged the people to rebuild the broken walls and the gates destroyed by fire. The people responded favorably and replied, “Let us rise up and build” (Neh. 2:18 ESV). They began the good work, looking to the future.

But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah, the Ammonite, and Geshem, the Arab, heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed them. Nehemiah responded to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper” (Neh. 2:20 ESV).

This was an opportunity to start something new, but already opposition had arisen against the enormous project as, one by one, the gates were being replaced and the stone wall gradually gained height. When Sanballat heard about their continuing progress, he was furious and doubted the Jews could restore the wall from all the rubble. Tobiah joined in the mocking.

Meanwhile, the priests and men were working with all their hearts, but Sanballat and Tobiah plotted together to cause trouble and fight against Jerusalem. These enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work” (Neh. 4:11 ESV).

When that news reached Nehemiah, he expressed faith to his workers, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes” (Neh. 4:14 ESV). He had stationed some families with their swords, spears, and bows at the most vulnerable areas of the wall. Aware of the constant danger, Nehemiah ordered half of the men to do the work and the other half to protect them with their swords and weapons. Each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. The wall was completed in 52 days.

Victorious God! When the enemies saw what happened, they were afraid and lost their confidence.

As believers in Jesus Christ, our sword, the sword of the Spirit, is the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Our adversary, the devil, Satan, is a liar, deceiver, and makes plans for our destruction. Jesus used the Word of God to defy the devil’s schemes (Matthew 4: 1-11), and so can we.

We see the evil around us, but we fight for our families, our children, our brothers, sisters, our homes. Let us learn from Nehemiah and face adversity by expressing faith in Almighty God. We can use our spiritual sword, His Word, to defeat the evil one whose goal is to discourage and silence us. Let us stand firm in 2022. Now that’s a resolution worth making!

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Fran is a retired nurse, organist, mother, and grandmother living in Greenville, Texas. She has authored See You Later, Jeffrey, Touching the Clouds, and has contributed to thirty books. She and her husband, Jim, have traveled to many countries and states. Her latest book, HOPE on the Way, Devotions to Go— contains 52 devotionals for those who love to combine faith and adventure. HOPE on the Way was acknowledged for outstanding Christian Literature both in the Devotional and Christian Living sections by Joy and Company in Arlington, Texas. Visit Fran’s website at www.fransandin.com.

Join the conversation: What adversity have you faced recently?

Thanksgiving Boulevard

by Fran Caffey Sandin

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.   1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

When devastation touches our lives, responding with a thankful heart becomes a challenge. Everyone has a story. Mine began when our seventeen-month-old, Jeffrey, became ill on a Sunday and died on Thursday. Bacterial meningitis. Everything medically possible had been applied. Many prayers for Jeffrey’s earthly healing remained unanswered, but I know I will see Jeffrey in Heaven.

Years later, we said goodbye to our forty-three-year-old son, Steve, a godly physical therapist who spent his life serving and helping others. He passed away after a fourteen-year struggle with cystic fibrosis and kidney failure. My heart still aches, but I cannot live in constant grief knowing Steve will greet me in Heaven.

So, the question becomes: How can we be thankful when grieving such great losses?

I once heard singer Joann Shelton say, “Praise moves me from Complaint Avenue to Thanksgiving Boulevard.” I found the four-lane divided parkway beneficial.

  1. Thankfulnesssoothes our distresses as we recall joyful memories from the past. It is comforting to recall the times we enjoyed with our loved ones and thank God for those blessings.
  2. Thankfulness—helps to allay anxiety. God is in control, and we do not have to live in fear. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).
  3. Thankfulnessheightens our hope. Remembering God’s past faithfulness and mercy causes us to look to the future with hope. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23 ESV).
  4. Thankfulnessstrengthens us for endurance. After the crisis and adjustment time has passed, we look toward what the Lord has for us to do, and we become the person He wants us to be. We press on and will remain on earth until our work is done. No one else can complete the unique assignment He has given to us.

When I think of the apostle, Paul, who endured shipwrecks, beatings, hunger, sleepless nights, imprisonment, and weary days, I marvel that he wrote I Thessalonians 5:18. He did not mean that we thank God for bad things that happen. But we can say, “Dear Lord, even in this heartache, I believe You are working things out for my good and for Your glory.”

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Fran Caffey Sandin is a retired nurse, wife, mother, and grandmother in Greenville, Texas. She has authored See You Later, Jeffrey, and Touching the Clouds: True Stories to Strengthen Your Faith. This devotional is an excerpt from her new book, HOPE on the Way, DEVOTIONS to Go, published by Roaring Lambs Ministries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For more information visit Fran’s website: www.fransandin.com.

Join the conversation: On what “street” are you living?

Broken and Beautiful

by Fran Caffey Sandin

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12: 1 NIV

October’s birthstone is the opal. Light appears to emanate from the lovely gem when internal spacing of silica spheres, like broken chains, cause the diffraction of light to enhance various colors. In other words, the tiny open spaces inside the stone project a beautiful image.

This reminds me of broken things in the Bible that shine for God’s glory.

BROKEN JARS (Judges 7) The Lord directed Gideon to take 300 men to save the Israelites from the numerous Midianites. Gideon gave all the men trumpets and empty jars with torches inside them. When commanded, the men simultaneously blew their trumpets, smashed the jars, and with torches aflame, shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” The Midianites became confused, turned on each other with their swords, killing their own, and many ran away crying as they fled. The light within the jars could not be seen until those jars were broken.

BROKEN ALABASTER JAR (Mark 14: 1-9) Jesus was in Bethany two days before the Passover when the chief priests were secretly plotting to arrest and kill Him. While Jesus was in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head. Some guests were complaining that she had done a wasteful thing, but Jesus said, “She has done a beautiful thing. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. What she has done will be told in memory of her.” The scent from the oil only could be smelled until after the jar was broken.

BROKEN BODY (I Corinthians 11: 24) On the night Jesus was betrayed, He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body, which is broken for you, do this in remembrance of me.” Jesus gave himself so that all who believe in Him will be saved. His body was broken to redeem us from our sin.

BROKEN WILL (Psalm 51: 17) The Psalmist, David, reminds us that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” He did not come to God for forgiveness until his spirit was broken, revealing the sin within his heart.

As a young wife and mother attending an evangelistic meeting, my heart was broken when I realized the wickedness of my sin. Although a church member for many years, I opened my spiritual eyes for the first time to see that my “righteousness” was like filthy rags in God’s sight. I had all of Jesus, but He did not have all of me.

I confessed my strong will and submitted my heart to Jesus. His sacrificial love on the cross caused me to give myself to him wholeheartedly. I visualized myself lying on an altar and said, “Jesus, I am yours–body, soul, and spirit. Take me and use me for Your glory.” I had a new hunger for the Bible and could not stop singing God’s praises. The hymns I learned in my youth had a new and deeper meaning. I felt renewed!

Through years of both happiness and heartache, failures and successes, the Holy Spirit has emboldened me with supernatural peace and joy. Even when I have been broken-hearted or discouraged, I remember…He makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Fran Sandin is a retired nurse, organist, mother, and grandmother living in Greenville, Texas. She and her husband, Jim, have traveled to many countries and states. Her latest book, Hope on the Way, Devotions to Go– contains 52 devotionals for those who love to combine faith and adventure. Visit her website to order with a click on the home page fransandin.com. Hope on the Way has been nominated by Joy and Company in Arlington, Texas, for the Henri Award (for outstanding Christian Literature) both in the Devotional and Christian Living sections.

Join the conversation: How important has brokenness been in your life?

The Power of the Spoken Word

by Fran Sandin

How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  Romans 10:14 ESV

In 2012 my husband, Jim, and I were ministry partners for “The Singing Men of Texas” and the Michael and Jan Gott International Ministries. We traveled on mission to Crimea.

In Sevastopol, where the Russian Baltic fleet is based, we visited a lovely area that had a shaded park and a large, decorative, white archway with steps leading down to the water’s edge—a great photo op. A small adjacent street market sold fashionable large-brimmed hats, and Jim bought one for me—a perfect black and white stripe. On a hot spring day, the extra covering came in handy.

At the Singing Men’s concert that evening, I met Ira. She grew up in a non-Christian home, but her parents were interested in her getting a good education. Ira did not want to be a Christian, because they endured constant discrimination and got the worst jobs. So she was fine with her life as it was.

However, when an opening came up for an interpreter at a Baptist church, her father encouraged her to apply so she could improve her English-speaking skills. Also, she might get a better job as a result. Yay! She got the church job.

One of her first services was to translate an English-speaker’s words to Russians. The pastor was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a strong southern drawl. She said, “I could barely understand him, much less translate!” But after listening to his sermons several times, she was beginning to understand.

One Sunday morning as she was translating the gospel message, Ira understood for the first time the love of Jesus in giving His life to save her. That very day she gave her heart to Him, with tears streaming down her face. She was converted through the sermon she was interpreting. That is the power of the spoken Word.

The Bible tells us words have power. Especially God’s words. He told Isaiah, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 ESV). His words are more than inspiring. They are transformative.

Now Ira is married to a church leader, and they are parents of two children. She supports women’s ministries, has done magazine editorial work, and actively participates in her church and community. Ira is enthusiastic about her faith. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she has a gift of encouragement. She is an asset in God’s Kingdom, and I feel so honored to have met her.

Dear Heavenly Father, Your children come from all parts of the globe. They are gifted in so many ways and are eager to spread the good news of salvation to all who will hear. Help us not take for granted the sacrificial gift of Jesus’ death in our place. Let it be fresh in our hearts every day so that we will want to share the good news of His love for others. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Fran Caffey Sandin is a retired nurse, wife, mother, and grandmother in Greenville, Texas. She has authored See You Later, Jeffrey, and Touching the Clouds: True Stories to Strengthen Your Faith. This devotional is an excerpt from her new book, HOPE on the Way, DEVOTIONS to Go, published by Roaring Lambs Ministries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For more information visit Fran’s website: www.fransandin.com.

Join the conversation: How have words influenced you?

His Love

by Fran Caffey Sandin

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.                                                                                                                                                    Psalm 33: 22 NIV

Weary from staying two weeks in the hospital with Steve, my sick son, I craved a big glass of iced tea with lemon. The cafeteria food was served in a covered plastic container, convenient for take outs. I made my selection and poured tea from the cannister, but no lemons were available.

After finding a quiet place to sit, I opened the plastic lid, and there to my great surprise was a large slice of lemon! Tears filled my eyes as I realized that lemon was added, not appropriate for the entrée I ordered. It seemed such a trivial thing, maybe even a mistake by the server, but to me God was saying, “I love you.” With gratitude I bowed my head and thanked my Heavenly Father that He loved me, He knew where I was, what I wanted, and He cared. Years later I still remember the emotions of that day.

My daughter, Angie, had a similar experience when she came to the hospital the same week and realized she needed to spend the night with her brother, Steve. Normally she would be at home preparing the evening meal for her husband and three children, and she wondered, what should I do?

Within seconds, before she could even make a plan, her neighbor sent a text: “Angie, don’t worry, I am taking dinner to your family tonight.” God loved Angie by providing for her loved ones while she was away. Sometimes we are responding to God’s promptings in helping others, and at times we are the ones being helped.

My husband and I felt God’s love in our early years when we had placed some money in an investment account recommended by a reputable source. One day the Holy Spirit strongly urged my husband to transfer our funds to a different financial institution. He did. Later we learned that our money was the last transaction made by the company, before they declared bankruptcy.  God protected our modest savings.

The various ways God shows His love highlights His PRE-VISION and PRO-VISION. I am always encouraged to read verses that speak of God’s love. Here are a few: 

God is love (I John 4: 8 ESV). This is God’s character. 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136: 1 ESV). God’s character never changes.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar (Psalm 139: 1,2 ESV).  God knows all about us from before birth.

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB). There is nothing we can do to make God stop loving us. He will always forgive.

Dear Father, thank you that You are God with us, and we can enjoy a personal relationship with You. What a blessing that while we were sinners, you came to earth to pay the penalty for our sin and guilt. It is more than we can comprehend, but You have shown true love. Help us recognize both large and small ways you demonstrate your love to us every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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His Love – encouragement and insight from Fran Caffey Sandin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Fran SandinAbout the authorFran Caffey Sandin is a retired nurse, wife, mother, and grandmother in Greenville, Texas. She enjoys baking, flower arranging, hiking, and traveling with her husband, Jim. Fran is a church organist, a core group leader for Community Bible Study, and author of See You Later, Jeffreyand Touching the Clouds: True Stories to Strengthen Your Faithand has co-authored othersJim and Fran are parents of two sons awaiting them in Heaven; a married daughter and son-in-law, and three fabulous grandchildren. Visit Fran at her website:  www.fransandin.com.

Join the conversation: What aspect of God’s love means the most to you?