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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Jesus’ seven last words Luke 23:34; John 19:26-30, Mark 15:34

Today is commonly known as Good Friday; however, I prefer to see to this day as the day my Lord was crucified fulfilling prophecy. Reflect with me if you will on the last seven words Jesus spoke and consider what they mean to each of us individually.

Let’s begin with the phrase “Father, forgive them,” Jesus is asking His Father to forgive the persons carrying out this treacherous act. Consider this thought for a moment, Jesus asking the Father to forgive all humanity for our sins. What love! Jesus nailed to the cross from 9 AM to noon suffering excruciating pain while bearing the sins of the world expresses pure love. His second words “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (v 43) speaks of salvation to all who trust Him as Lord and Saviour. This peak to the issue of some will recognize Jesus for who He is and accept Him while desiring to spend eternity with Him while others will not make the connection or refuse to accept Him as Lord and Saviour. Jesus’ third words speak of love when He utters “Woman, behold thy son…Behold thy mother” (John 19:26-27). What is being displayed during His dying hours is Jesus expressing concerns for the welfare of His mother while leaving her in the trusted hands of someone who would care for her every need. Also, these words give children the responsibility of caring for their dependent parents.
According to scripture during the three hours of darkness from noon until 3 PM Jesus spoke no words. During those hours of darkness, history records that all of the elements went out of control as we know them to operate. The earth acted as if it was drunk; the sun refused to shine; you could say it turned its face toward heaven and looked at the Father, saying “I cannot look at Your Son die.” The moon hid itself.
About 3 o’clock Jesus began to speak what is considered spiritual words on this order, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46). This phrase depicts the separation Jesus experienced from His father as the sinner’s substitute. These words can be looked upon as the apex of Christ’s suffering for a lost world, and the Father could not look on His Son dying for all humanity’s sins. The thought of Christ dying forsaken so mankind would never be forsaken should make us all shout halleluiah--- thank God for Jesus!  Next Christ addresses His physical need, again fulfilling scripture by saying “I thirst” (John 19:28); they gave Jesus vinegar to quench His thirst. From this we see again prophecy being fulfilled according to Psalm 69:21. Christ’s victory/triumph of death and sin states “It is finished” (John19:30). This phrase signified Christ’s earthly mission was complete, He had fulfilled all prophecies, He had completed the redemptive work as the sacrificial Lamb of God by the shedding of His blood as an atonement for sin, He had won a decisive victory of Satan, and He had reconciled man back to God, thus bridging the spiritual divide that once existed between humanity and God. Finally, when Christ stated “It is finished,” He committed Himself to the Father when He stated “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). At this point, Jesus gave His life over to death, and His spirit went home to the father (Psalm 31:5). Therefore, no one can say that they took Jesus’ life because He came to earth to give His life as a ransom for humanity and through all the physical agony He experienced Christ remained on the cross until the end. Jesus may have died that Friday evening, but the Saviour got up out of the grave that Sunday morning with all power.
I am glad He did what He did!                   

Friday, April 12, 2019

Psalm Sunday & Passion Week Matthew 21:1-17; 24:3-25:46; 26:26-30; 36-56

The month of April is widely associated with Psalm Sunday, Passion Week, Good Friday and Easter or Resurrection Sunday as they relate to Jesus Christ.
As we reflect on each event, let’s ask ourselves what does each event mean to me? As we remember is it with heartfelt compassion and adoration for what Christ did for all humanity? As we celebrate Psalm Sunday is it with the full understanding that Jesus entry into Jerusalem was triumphal because He was the prophesied King bringing salvation to all who believe and the same crowd that praised Him on Sunday morning saying “Hosanna in the highest” would cry “Crucify Him” on Friday. The questions now become, if we were there, what would our conduct be during each event? Would we recognize Him as King? Would we have the faith to believe that prophecy was being fulfilled as these events occurred? Finally, what position would we have taken during Jesus’ trial and crucifixion?  Each of us as believers must answer the above questions in our hearts by saying “to thine own heart be true.”
This brings us to Passion Week also known as Holy Week which is the time between Psalm Sunday through Resurrection/Easter Sunday. The question is why is this week referred to as Passion Week? Because it showed Jesus’ genuine passion for humanity as He willingly suffered the pains of sin for humanity. The events that occurred during that week were Jesus cleansed the temple for the second time (Luke 19:45-46), and then disputed with the Pharisees regarding His authority. Next, Jesus gave His Olivet Discourse on the end times where He pointed to signs of His second coming. Luke 22:7-38 records Jesus eating His last meal (Last Supper) with His disciples in the upper room. Then Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray before His arrest by the Roman soldiers where His trials began before the chief priests, Pontius Pilate, and King Herod. Following His trial, He was forced to carry His cross to His death. He was crucified that Friday, but the main event occurred early Sunday morning.
In closing, let’s re-ask the question of what does this week and the events that occurred mean to me? Are we passionate in our worship of Jesus and His gospel? Will we spend some time Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday worshiping Him? He is worthy!
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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A Call to Remember: Matthew 26:1-13

And it came to pass when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Today's message title and scriptures are from the Sunday school Publishing board Teacher's commentary of the Townsend's Press.
The lesson text looks at events that occurred before the Passover meal, His arrest, and crucifixion. My approach to this lesson is to bring back to our remembrances the following: (a) who is Jesus and (b) His purpose for coming to earth in the form of a man.
That said Jesus is God's only Son who was slain from the foundation of the world to be the human sacrifice as required by God the Father to restore a broken fellowship between God and humanity. Jesus was found worthy to be the perfect sacrifice because He is God in the second person who could relate to humanity, God the Father and world.
Jesus' mission for coming to earth was to redeem man back to the Father through His shed blood on the cross at Calvary. It was on the cross at Calvary that Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior took our unrighteousness and gave us His righteousness. All who believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior receive salvation-eternal life which is our gift from God the Father. Therefore, when God the Father looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ.
Let's eternalize the works of Christ on our behalf; He poured out His precious blood for me. He paid my sin-debt that I could not pay. My sins are forgiven, and now I have a right standing with the Father and will live forever in the presence of God.
We serve a living Savior Jesus Christ because He rose that glorious Sunday morning with all power in His hands; power to heal the sick, power to raise the dead and power to save all from sin.
What a mighty God!
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Friday, April 5, 2019

A Call to Repentance: Hosea 6:1-3

Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight? Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

Today's message is another call to repentance by the prophet Hosea as many prophets had done throughout the Old Testament that continued through the New Testament and is continuing today and will remain until the end of time.
 If we pose the question, why was it necessary for repeated calls for repentance? Sin causes a separation from God and His love for His people motivates Him to call for repentance. God desires an intimate relationship with His people, but even with that sincere desire, He punishes sin.
While being punished for our sins God still loves us, and when true repentance occurs God heals and showers us with His love and affection. It is noteworthy to say, true repentance brings all believers into the knowledge of God where we reap the benefits of His protection, and never-ending love that flows as steady rain. Rain symbolizes His spiritual blessings.
Repent and live in the light and love of the Almighty God.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

When the rain is gone: Song of Solomon 2:11-12

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;” “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;”
The Song of Solomon is a love book of poems that express the love between husband and wife. The writer uses allegory to describe the relationship between Christ and His bride the church.
Today's message begins with an allegory depicting seasons of the year such as winter that represents the spiritual conditions that arose from sin, the wrath of God and the curse of the law. These sinful conditions made would be believers afraid to come to God, but Jesus Christ state implicitly that I have removed all those hindrances; therefore, come unto me for I am your Redeemer who has reconciled you back to God the Father.
With Jesus removing the scourge of sin and the law of the covenant, believers are now the flowers that can bloom again which represent a restored communication with God through His gift of grace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Believers present the flower buds that appear in spring which is Jesus Christ. Christ and His church are the married couple pictured as happy and delightful because the Spirit of God is upon them.
Christ is coming back for His bride the Church; then all of her troubles will be over; therefore, remain faithful to Christ.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Standing Firm on Truth: Ephesians 6:11-18

 Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    For the past several messages I have tried to provide words of encouragement as this country is in a very dark place as we have never experienced before. I have talked about love from different perspectives such as love having no boundaries, us loving one another as God loves us, and we as believers are protected by God as there is safety in Jesus Christ who died for the sins of the world.
That being said, our focus today is standing firm on the truth of God's Word because the truth of God's is what will see us through the evil and dark days we are experiencing here in America. The truth of God's Word will see us through these evil and dark days as we are witnessing all manner of evil and wrongdoings that is emanating from our seat of government.
Scripture tells us the battle that we are currently engaged in, but God has prepared us for this fight. He said us to gird up our loins with the truth (His truth), put on the breastplate of righteousness. We are to wear the gospel of peace as we fight this fight, then we are to have the shield of faith knowing that our God is our mighty warrior who has gone before us in this battle. We are to wear the helmet of salvation, which is our deliverance as we take our sword; God's Word praying as we go with the assurance that victory is our (vv 16-18).
Let me close by saying, victory is our but we must continue fighting for truth, and justice because the stronghold of injustices and wrongdoings is coming to an end. God is a just God, and when His people call on Him, He moves because He hears the cries of the righteous.
Therefore, be encouraged; fight for truth and then justice will prevail.