Archives for March 2016

He’s Working With Us

He is Risen, Indeed!

This Easter was my first away from my immediate family. It wasn’t easy, and as a result, I learned some valuable life lessons.

In preparation for the Easter weekend, my pastor encouraged the congregation to read Jesus crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection in all four Gospels. In doing that, there were many poignant details I had never noticed.

I parked for a bit at the end of the Gospel of Mark. Mark 16: 14a, 15 says: “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating…He said to them. ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to ALL (emphasis mine) creation…’

The next part jumped out at me and encouraged me so much:“After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it.” –Mark 16:19-20

How refreshing! Jesus didn’t leave the disciples on their own to tell others about the resurrected Jesus. Pentecost was coming and they would have the Holy Spirit in them, through them, working with them.

Precious friend, if you are like me, sharing our faith or evangelizing may seem intimidating. May we be renewed and inspired today knowing that the Lord is “working with us” and “confirming His word” as we share the Good News of Jesus. There is no way we can mess up God’s plan.

May we have the courage and sense the urgency to tell others what Jesus has done in our lives and will do for them. We have a voice to use it for His glory to tell this Good News and encourage others to strengthen their faith.

I am reminded of the following story about using our voices to tell others about Jesus.

In the mid-1950s, the Rev. W.E. Sangster noticed a strange feeling in his throat and that his leg had begun to drag. He promptly went to visit his doctor. Rev. Sangster was diagnosed with an incurable disease that caused progressive muscle atrophy. His muscles would continue to waste away, including the muscles in his throat, and he would eventually be unable to swallow.

Knowing that his time was growing short, Rev. Sangster decided to use his time in writing for British home mission and in prayer. During this time, he wrote numerous articles and books, and organized prayer groups throughout England. His disease did progress. Eventually he was unable to talk, but he could hold a pen.

On Easter Sunday, just a few weeks before he died, he wrote a letter to his daughter. Barely able to control his pen, he wrote, “It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and no voice to shout, ‘Christ is risen, indeed!’ But it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout.Amen.

Reflect:

–What does sharing the Good News mean to you? Please comment.

–How does today strengthen your faith and how will you use your voice to tell others?

Renew:

–“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples: He has risen from the dead…’ So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples.” –Matthew 28:5-8

–“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than 500 of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” –1 Corinthians 15: 3-6 NIV

–“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” –Galatians 5:22-25 NIV

Recharge:

–What will you do this week to spread the Good News? To bear fruit?

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It Is Finished.

Cross

Ironically called Good Friday, it is the most somber day of the year for Christians.

It was before 9am that morning when Pontius Pilate handed the badly beaten and scourged Jesus over to be crucified.  As He  carried His heavy cross, He began the agonizing climb to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.

“Here they crucified him, and with him two others–one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: ‘JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS…’ (John 19:18-19 NIV).

The criminal on one side of Jesus threw insults at Him asking if He were Christ, why didn’t He save Himself and them? The other criminal feared God and rebuked the other criminal, saying Jesus had not done anything wrong. The criminal humbly said,

“Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.’ Jesus answered  him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise. ‘ “ (Luke 23:42-43 NIV).

Like the two criminals, one on each side of Jesus, we are given a choice. Perhaps that’s why there were two criminals being crucified beside Him– not one, not five, but two–because of THE choice.

To accept Jesus as our King of King and Lord of Lords or not.

To ask Jesus to remember you in His Kingdom or not.

To hurl insults at Jesus or honor Jesus with humble praises.

Have you humbly asked for Jesus to remember you as His and to join Him in the paradise of eternal life?

“…Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed his head and gave up His spirit.” –John 30b NIV

The Greek word “Telelestai” means “It is finished.” During New Testament times the word “Tetelestai” would have been stamped or written on business documents or receipts to indicate that a bill had been “Paid in Full.” The connection between this common business transaction stamp and the Ultimate Transaction Jesus accomplished on the cross was conveyed crystal clear in the Gospel of John with Jesus’ words.

Sweet friend, you are so loved. Jesus paid a sin debt He did not owe because we owed a sin debt we could not pay.

One of my favorite hymns, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” includes the following tender, honest revelation. May these words echo in our souls this Easter and each day of our lives.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Reflect:

–Please try to fathom how deep Jesus’ Love is for you. How will you show your gratitude and tell others? Please comment.

–Which crucified criminal beside Jesus do you relate to?

Renew:

–Please read Psalm 22 and compare it to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John story of Jesus death and resurrection.

–“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations…They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn–for He has done it.” –Psalm 22: 27, 28, 31 NIV (written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection).

–“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” –Isaiah 53:5-6 NIV (written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection).

–“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect.” –1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

Recharge:

–Friday’s here; Sunday’s coming!!!

Resource:

To view a wonderful rendition of “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” by Selah, please watch this link: How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

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Journey to Easter: From Waved Palms to Pierced Palms, Part 2

This Holy Week is the most significant, most meaningful for us Christians. As much as I have prayed about what to write to inspire you, to help strengthen your faith, the Lord said, “From the mouths of babes.”

Please click on this link below to receive the purest Gospel message and “Pure Inspiration” from these precious children.

The sweetest Easter Story

Stay tuned for a special Easter installment of “Pure Inspiration” this week. Happy Easter, friend.

 Reflect:

–How comfortable are you with telling others about Jesus?

–What can you learn from Levi and Lia in this video?

Renew:

–“‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.” –March 10: 14-16 NIV

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” –John 3:!6 KJV

Recharge:

–How may we live more deeply for Jesus and show love to others?

–How will we tell more people the Gospel message?

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