Monthly Archives: April 2019
It is the week after Easter. Are we still thanking God for our Risen Savior?
Praise the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly,
who always do what is right.
Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people
come to my aid when you save them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may share in the joy of your nation
and join your inheritance in giving praise. Psalm 104:1-5 NIV
Are we still acknowledging our rebellion and our forgetfulness?
We’ve sinned a lot, both we and our parents;
We’ve fallen short, hurt a lot of people.
After our parents left Egypt,
they took your wonders for granted,
forgot your great and wonderful love.
They were barely beyond the Red Sea
when they defied the High God
—the very place he saved them!
—the place he revealed his amazing power!
He rebuked the Red Sea so that it dried up on the spot
—he paraded them right through!
—no one so much as got wet feet!
He saved them from a life of oppression,
pried them loose from the grip of the enemy.
Then the waters flowed back on their oppressors;
there wasn’t a single survivor.
Then they believed his words were true
and broke out in songs of praise.
But it wasn’t long before they forgot the whole thing,
wouldn’t wait to be told what to do.
They only cared about pleasing themselves in that desert,
provoked God with their insistent demands. Psalm 106:6-14 The Message
Was Easter just another “holiday” for us – a time for fun with family and friends – a time to take off work, eat good food and start spring cleaning?
Where are we in this week after Easter? Are we in the desert? Are we giving into our cravings?
Remember . . . Easter is not just once a year. It is everyday! We are blessed to live in the day, week, month and year after the first Easter. Hillsong says it this way ….
Let us not forget . . . lest we succumb to the temptations of the desert that occur when we fail to remember . . . when we fail to turn our thoughts to praise . . . when we fail to walk with our Risen Savior.
We look forward to “holidays” – a time to celebrate our faith, spend time with our families and contemplate the Blessings which have been poured out upon us. However, many times these holidays come and go with no real impact on our souls. Many of us spend too much time preparing for the festivities and not enough time remembering the purpose of the celebration.
Don’t despair. Remembering today – the day after Easter – is in fact extremely important for the soul. Today, we are living in the aftermath of Easter – we are living in the dawn of the Resurrection. We can rest in the peace that comes with knowing in our souls that Jesus is Risen.
So take some time to contemplate these words from Jesus. Words to live by – words to nourish the soul.
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:1-16 The Message
Today, remember the Blessings that were given to us – remember the gift of the Risen Christ – who conquered death and in that process provided a way for those who believe to follow Him to where He is – Eternity.
Remember, we are God’s light in this day – the light that shines eternity into this world.
What do you do to remember the Risen Christ? Isn’t this coming week – referred by some as Holy Week – a week of remembrance?
And who cares anyway? Why is it so important that we remember?
Because, it is a matter of life eternal or death eternal.
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate and remember Christ’s triumphal walk into Jerusalem – crowds acknowledging that He is the Messiah – people celebrating his kingship.
On Thursday, we celebrate and remember Christ’s last supper with his disciples – a meal where Jesus gave us communion to remember Him by – a time to come together as fellow followers and to remember His body broken for us and his blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins.
On Friday, we celebrate and remember his final sacrifice – a day when Christ’s love for humanity ran so deep that He died in our place for our sin – overcoming death once and for all.
On Saturday, we remember the heartache we face when we forget that Easter Sunday has already come – the day after Christ died and before the first disciples knew that Easter Sunday was coming.
And then . . . Easter Sunday . . . the day we celebrate and remember the Risen Christ. This is the day, we celebrate and remember and understand that Jesus IS the Son of God – that He conquered sin and the resultant death – our death – that He went before us to prepare a place for us – that He is already there, waiting for each of us, expecting us. We remember His Words to us before He left:
“I didn’t tell you earlier because I was with you every day. But now I am on my way to the One who sent me. Not one of you has asked, “Where are you going?” Instead, the longer I’ve talked, the sadder you’ve become. So let me say it again, this truth: It’s better for you that I leave. If I don’t leave, the Friend won’t come. But if I go, I’ll send him to you.
When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin. That righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted.
I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, ‘He takes from me and delivers to you.’
John 16:5-15 The Message
RETURN – REFOCUS – REBUILD – RECONCILE – REMEMBER – REJOICE!
FOR CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!!
What is the reason you are opening your Bible? Are you looking for something that will speak to you about a situation you are in? Are you looking for encouragement? Are you looking for comfort? What ARE you looking for?
It seems like some of us approach reading the bible as a “chore” – something we are supposed to do. We memorize scripture because we are told that it is good to memorize scripture. We read a daily devotion because we believe that is the “right” way to start or end our day. Some of us never open the Bible because we have no idea why we should. So . . . What is the “purpose” of the WORD?
We are told that JESUS is the Word – the Word of Life.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood. . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:1-5, 14
That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:1-7
God the Father and Jesus the Son were together in the “Beginning”, along with the Holy Spirit (See Genesis 1:2). These three persons have always existed together in relationship. God is described as “Father” throughout the Bible – “father” implies that there is a child* – who is described as the Son of God – Jesus.
Jesus, The Word, tells us this: This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:46-49
God gave us the Spirit. (See Joel 2:26-28; John 20:21-22; See Acts 1-2) God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us. Romans 5:5 The Spirit is the person who brings to life the Word through sharing his loving relationship with God and Jesus with all of us.
So . . . Why do we open our Bible? Is it not to uncover each and every time a new facet of our relationship with the one who created us and who wants to be in relationship with us – to know the Triune God more intimately?
Remember, the Word is alive and moving through us by the Spirit.
So the next time you open your Bible, do so reverently and with excitement, wonder and amazement – realizing that the Spirit of the Living God will be with you as you seek relationship with God – our Father, our Jesus and our Holy Spirit.
For Further Reading about the Trinity see “Delighting in the Trinity” – Michael Reeves
Are you feeling lost and alone? Wait upon the Lord!
Are you plagued by doubts and what ifs? Wait upon the Lord!
Are you bruised and broken within? Wait upon the Lord!
You are not alone.
Psalm 38 – A Psalm of David – The Message
Take a deep breath, God; calm down—
don’t be so hasty with your punishing rod.
Your sharp-pointed arrows of rebuke draw blood;
my backside smarts from your caning.
I’ve lost twenty pounds in two months
because of your accusation.
My bones are brittle as dry sticks
because of my sin.
I’m swamped by my bad behavior,
collapsed under gunnysacks of guilt.
The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots
because I’ve lived so badly.
And now I’m flat on my face
feeling sorry for myself morning to night.
All my insides are on fire,
my body is a wreck.
I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it—
my life is a vomit of groans.
Lord, my longings are sitting in plain sight,
my groans an old story to you.
My heart’s about to break;
I’m a burned-out case.
Cataracts blind me to God and good;
old friends avoid me like the plague.
My cousins never visit,
my neighbors stab me in the back.
My competitors blacken my name,
devoutly they pray for my ruin.
But I’m deaf and mute to it all,
ears shut, mouth shut.
I don’t hear a word they say,
don’t speak a word in response.
What I do, God, is wait for you,
wait for my Lord, my God—you will answer!
I wait and pray so they won’t laugh me off,
won’t smugly strut off when I stumble.
I’m on the edge of losing it—
the pain in my gut keeps burning.
I’m ready to tell my story of failure,
I’m no longer smug in my sin.
My enemies are alive and in action,
a lynch mob after my neck.
I give out good and get back evil
from God-haters who can’t stand a God-lover.
Don’t dump me, God;
my God, don’t stand me up.
Hurry and help me;
I want some wide-open space in my life!
Do you want some wide-open space in your life?
Then . . . Remember – Wait upon the Lord.
Turn to God, be still in His presence and ask for help. He will provide what you need – not necessarily what you want – but what you need in this moment. Do not refuse His help. Do not wallow in your issues – as a matter of fact – cease complaining and analyzing. Acknowledge your behavior – share your remorse with God. Remember . . . He already knows – He was there when you did it. Let Him deal with your enemies – the ones that seem to be coming after you in your weakness.
Put your trust in Him – the One who Saves – the One who provides wide-open space in your life – where peace abounds.