At The Tomb

Mary meets Jesus at the tomb

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Today is the day that Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  In the Bible, John the beloved, writes of Mary’s encounter with Jesus when she went to the tomb early on Resurrection Day.  John 20:1-18 tells this story, how she went early in the morning while it was still dark and saw that the tomb was empty.  In verse 11, the story picks up with her being emotionally distraught because she thought someone had stolen His body.

John 20:11-18 NKJV  But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.  And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.  Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”  Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?”  She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and said to Him, “Rabonni!” (which is to say, Teacher).  Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God'”  Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

As this story progresses there are several important points that I see revealed to us through the Scriptures that apply to us personally in coming to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Mary was searching for someone in particular, not just anyone.  She was seeking the Lord.  Have you searched and sought to know Jesus?  Have you looked diligently for Him, to see Him personally as your Lord and Savior.  Salvation begins with a heart hunger that seeks to know Him.

Mary saw Jesus first as a person, but came to know Him personally as she encountered Him and heard His voice speak her name.  You may know Jesus as a person but until you have a personal encounter with Him where He calls your name and you see Him as the Savior, you have only really known Him about Him.  Once you encounter Him and recognize Him, acknowledging Him as Lord and Savior, you will truly know Him and receive His salvation.

Jesus met Mary where she was in her humanity.  He took the time to seek her out, to speak to her personally that her eyes might be opened to see Him in His resurrected form.  When she left that place of encountering Jesus she told the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”.  Jesus wants you to know Him personally, even more than you think you want to know Him.  He desires for you to have a personal relationship with Him!

Today I would like to ask you some questions:  Have you come to the place in your life where you are seeking Jesus, your Savior and Lord?  Are you hungry to know Him?  Have you heard Him call you by name?  Have you encountered Him, met Him and received Him personally into your life?  If so, are you sharing with others that you have seen Him, met Him, and received Him?  These are all things that happen when we personally come to know Jesus.

If you have not had a personal encounter with Jesus as Savior and Lord, today is the perfect day to invite Him into your heart and life.  If you will pray and ask Him to come into your heart as your own personal Savior, He will do that.  Your life will be changed and you will become born again, born anew and saved from sin and the darkness of a life without Him.

Romans 10:8-13 says that “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.  For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Do you believe that Jesus died for you, was raised from the dead, and lives today?  Have you confessed Him as Lord?  Have you called on His name for salvation?  If so, you have been born again and are a part of the family of God.

If you have not made Jesus your own personal Savior and Lord, I urge you to do so today!  Don’t let another minute pass by without Him.  We can see by the signs of the time that His return is imminent and only those who are born again will go with Him back to Heaven when He returns.  Don’t miss out!  Believe and receive Him as Savior and Lord today!  Make this your day of salvation.

Father God, I thank You for sending Your very own Son to die for us.  I thank You, Lord Jesus, for laying your life down for us willingly, that we might be saved from our sins.  Thank You for such a great sacrifice and salvation.

Father, I pray this morning for all those who may be reading this blog that have not yet received Your free gift of salvation.  I pray that You will pull down the blinders that are covering their minds and eyes that they might see Jesus as the one true Savior of the world.  Open their eyes to see, their hearts to receive, that they might truly be born again.  Give them the courage to boldly confess Jesus as Savior and Lord.  I pray that they will believe in their hearts and confess Him with their mouths to receive salvation.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Her Sins Which Are Many…..

cryingathisfeet

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Luke 7:47 “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of Jesus being at a Pharisee’s home when a woman comes in and expresses the great love she has for Him through weeping and wiping His feet with her tears and anointing His feet with oil. The Pharisee couldn’t understand her expression of love for Jesus or why He would allow such a sinner as her to do that. Jesus contrasted the way the Pharisee had welcomed Him without expressing a love for Him by not even giving Him water to wash His feet, and the way she had expressed her great love for Him, by saying, “her sins which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” He was telling the Pharisee that sin, whether small or large in his viewpoint, could be forgiven and this woman understood the devastation of her sin and His ability to forgive and save her from it.

There are two key words in this verse of scripture that, through looking at their definitions, can give us an understanding of the magnitude of what Jesus was saying: sins and forgiven.

The Greek word for sins is hamartia – which means literally “missing the mark”, failure, offense, taking the wrong course, wrongdoing, sin, guilt.

The Greek word for forgiven is aphiemi – it means to let go, send away, remit, forgive.

The woman who came to Jesus  had committed many sins throughout her life. She had missed the mark of God’s righteousness and had taken the wrong course in life evidence by the way she lived. It was clearly known that she was a sinner. The Pharisee had spoken to himself in verse 39 that if Jesus were really a prophet He would have known who this woman was and what manner of lifestyle she was living, for “she is a sinner”. He had judged her sin as being greater than his. Jesus brought clarification to this man’s understanding of sin; it being simply that sin is sin, regardless of whether or not we think one sin is greater than another, and when a person understands the enormity of their sin and how much He has forgiven them, their expression is much love.

In our humanity we often categorize sin as being little or much. But regardless of whether we view our sin as small or large, we all are sinners and in Him there is forgiveness. The depth of our sin has no limitation on His ability to forgive. This woman placed her faith in Him to forgive her sin and in return expressed her great love for Him because of His love for her. He later told her that it was her “faith”, her confident trust and belief placed in Him, that had saved her. When she looked to Him, knelt at His feet, anointing His feet with oil, she expressed her confident assurance and reliance on Him to deliver her from spiritual death and to give her new life.

Friends, none of us are able to overcome or change the course of life we have taken. Romans 3:23 says that we have “ALL” sinned. We have all fallen short of God’s glory; none of us, through our own human ability, is able to change the course of our life. I had a very dear friend, Betty, tell me one time that you can’t pick up spilled milk and you can’t unscramble eggs. We can’t go back and change any part of life regardless of how much we would like to. But there is One who can change our lives, who can wash away the sin that taints us. His name is Jesus.

Just as Jesus forgave the sin of that woman in the scripture reference so He can forgive your sin and mine. He forgave when He went to the cross to pay for our sin. But it’s not appropriated, or made effective, in our lives until we acknowledge that sin, ask Him to save us and confess Him as Savior and Lord of our lives. We do that through prayer and confession.

Romans 10:9, 10; 13 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Jesus told the woman in our story in Luke 7:50 that it was her “faith” that saved her. Faith is placing your complete confidence in the finished work of Jesus on the cross that paid for our sin and then evidencing it through the belief in your heart and the confession of your mouth. To be “saved”, according to scripture, you must believe in your heart who Jesus is, what He did for you, and then by personally confessing Him as Savior and Lord you make that belief yours.

My friend, have you personally received the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ? Have you acknowledged your sin before Him and ask Him to be your own personal Savior and Lord? If not, today can be your day of salvation. Today can be the day that you see all your wrongdoing washed away through the blood of Jesus. It’s very simple, just pray and confess your sin to the Father and ask Jesus into your heart to be your Savior. If you would like to receive Jesus as your Savior today, please pray this prayer with me:

Father God, I come before You today acknowledging that I am a sinner. I have missed the mark of Your righteousness. I have lived my life to please myself, doing my own thing, living a life that led me down the wrong course, away from You, instead of towards you. I believe that Jesus is Your Son, that He lived a sinless life on this earth and went to the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin. I ask You to come into my heart and life to be my own personal Lord and Savior. I thank You for loving me and for forgiving me of my sin. I confess You, Jesus, as my Savior and Lord and I promise from this day forward that I will live my life to please You. Thank You for saving me! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer for the first time today, you are now a part of the family of God. Welcome to my family! You have made the most important decision of your life! Your eternity is sealed by the Holy Spirit and you have a home awaiting you in the presence of God in heaven. Congratulations!

Strength To Strength

Psalm 84 7

Psalm 84:5-7 NKJV Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion.

I was thinking this morning about how our walk of faith is like a pilgrimage, just as this portion of scripture describes. This faith walk takes us to different destinations, some of which are good and some, not so good. But as the scripture says when the man reaches the Valley of Baca, or weeping, he passes through it after turning it into a spring. And the rain covers it with pools, or blessings.

The people that are able to go through difficult times have set their eyes on the victory that is on the other side of the difficulty. They have determined to look for the blessings while in the midst of the weeping, or difficulties. They are the ones, who on this pilgrimage of faith, are able to go from strength to strength because they don’t allow the difficulties to break them down, but instead they use the difficulties to strengthen them.  The scripture says this man, whose strength is in the Lord, TURNS his valley of weeping into a spring.  He doesn’t just passively endure his problem, but he turns it into the opposite of what it normally would be.  He strengthens himself through the difficulty instead of resigning himself to the problem and just enduring.

We all experience difficulties but the important thing to remember is that they will not last forever, we will pass through them, and how we come out of the difficulty is much more important than the difficulty itself. Will we come out stronger or weaker; will we look for blessings or see nothing but doom and gloom?

2 Corinthians 4:17, 18 NKJV For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Whatever you are going through today, keep on walking by faith, not dwelling on the things that you see happening around you, but by focusing on the eternal weight of glory that is being formed out of that difficulty that will strengthen you and give you blessings that can only come from standing strong and relying on a living and vital relationship with Jesus Christ.  He will sustain you and turn your trials into blessings!  Take a proactive approach to the problems of life, viewing them as stepping stones to a greater destination, rather than stumbling blocks to hold you back.  Pass through the Valley of Baca (weeping) by faith, from faith to a position of stronger faith!

If you don’t have a relationship with Him, start out your faith walk today by inviting Him into your heart to be your very own personal Lord and Savior.  Pray and ask Him to come into your life and give you the peace of knowing the One true God.  He is waiting to be Your all in all if you will invite Him in.

Father, I pray for those today who may be going through trials and difficulties.  I pray that they will know You, the One who sustains and gives strength and peace in the midst of the storms of life.  Father, I ask You to draw them by Your Spirit into a living and vital relationship with You and fill their hearts with the satisfaction and contentment that only You can give.  For those who are in the midst of the storm I pray that they will feel renewed strength and a vision of the victory You have stored up for them after passing through the storm.  Help them to keep their eyes on You and know that this is a temporary place that they are walking through and not one in which they camping out.  May they experience Your peace and strength.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Are You Listening?

Spirit to spirit encounter is God speaking directly to our spirits as we wait in His presence. His Spirit speaks to our spirits and His direction comes to our minds.

Romans 8:14-17 NKJV For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

The subjective and objective voice of the Spirit are both in operation today. We hear His voice through the written word and He speaks and leads also through the subjective voice of His Spirit. One without the other leaves a person lacking, but when the two are combined there is a fullness of guidance that is recognized and realized. The subjective voice of God’s Spirit speaks directly to our spirits. He sometimes comes though a prompting, other times an inner voice and if necessary can be heard almost as an audible voice. God is still speaking to His people today when they will quiet themselves before Him and wait for Him to share His heart with them. Do you hear the subjective voice of God’s Spirit or have you limited Him to only speaking to you through His Word? His subjective voice will always line up with His written Word. He is the speaking Spirit of God who will always guide you into all truth.

John 16:13 NKJV “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

God’s Spirit wants to tell us those things that are yet to come. Will we take time to listen and hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church in these last days?

 

Father, I pray this morning that we each will quiet ourselves before You and give You the time to speak to our hearts through Your Spirit’s interaction with us.  Help us to be more sensitive to Your voice.  Cause us to lay aside the distractions of this world to give you quality time each day to reveal to us what we need to know for guidance according to Your way and Your word.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

My times…..are in His hand!

My Times Are In Your Hand

Psalm 31:14, 15 NKJV But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.

Regardless of what happens in this world, I trust in the Lord! My times are in His hand. What comfort that scripture gives me in the tumultuous times in which we live. Along with that scripture is another of my favorites: Psalm 31:19 NKJV Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men!

His goodness is “laid up” for those of us who fear Him! That means that in difficult times when we don’t know or understand why things happen the way they do that we need to look for His goodness! It’s there, laid up for us!

And then there is Psalm 138:8: NKJV The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

God will take those things that concern us and bring them to perfection or maturity. In the good times and the bad we can trust Him to work all things out for our good. We are in the hands of the Almighty, where no foe can touch us. His goodness surrounds us and causes us to prosper even when things seem to be going “down the tube”, so to speak. God is for us, not against us!

Maybe you would say that I am overly optimistic or maybe you think I have my head stuck in the sand. No, I just choose to believe and stand on the promises of God. He is a positive God and in His economy He works all things out for my good! I choose to trust Him and place my faith in Him because I know Him. I have experienced His goodness in troubled times and He has proven to me that He has my best interest at heart.

Father, today as we are aware of the terror that continues to present itself in our world, we see the opportunity to cower in fear and dread going about our daily affairs.  But I pray that we will all turn our eyes and hearts to You, knowing that You alone, Lord Jesus, are our Savior, Protector, Provider, Deliverer and Healer.  You alone know what faces us today and in every tomorrow in which we live and it is in You alone that there is peace.  I pray that the hearts of people will turn to You and trust You for their every need and for the safety and security that they long to have.  Draw people to Yourself and bring salvation into their hearts that they may know You, truly live in relationship with You, and place their trust, hope and faith in You.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Set Your Eyes

Eagle soaring

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What you set your eyes upon is what you will walk towards! What are you fixing your eyes on today…..success like the eagle soaring above the earth or as the chicken with eyes fixed on the ground where limited opportunities for success exist?

The Greek word for “eyes” is atenizo and it means look steadfastly, behold steadfastly, fasten (one’s) eyes, look earnestly on, look earnestly upon, look up steadfastly, behold earnestly.

To set your eyes would mean to fasten one’s eyes earnestly upon something, such as a goal, or a direction in which you desire to go, or to incline toward a certain person, thing, or destination.

Proverbs 29:18 KJV Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

The vision that God has given you is what you will walk towards when you fasten your eyes upon it. He directs us by His Spirit as we focus on His word, His presence and His guidance.

Hebrews 12:1, 2 NKJV  Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We have a great example of soaring above the challenges and obstacle of life when we look at Jesus who set His face like flint to do what God had called Him to do.

Isaiah 50:7 NKJV “For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

Luke 9:51 NKJV  Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,

Does setting your face or fixing your eyes on what God has planned for you mean that you will not encounter difficulties, failures or discouragement?  No, that is why the scripture says to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”.  Challenges will come and we will have to “lay aside” the things that try to hold us back.  We will have to be determined to reach our goals and run our race to win, but the key is in the promise that Jesus is ahead of us drawing us and leading us by His Spirit, strengthening us for the journey.  With God on our side, what or who could possibly be against us?!

Romans 8:31, 32 NKJV  What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not freely give us all things?

This portion of scripture goes on to say that nothing can separate us from God’s love.  He is for you, not against you!  He wants you to run your race to win, not to be defeated.  Look unto Jesus and fix your eyes on the goal of fulfilling the plan that He has for your life.  With God nothing will be impossible (Luke 1:37) and all things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23).

Today I pray that you will set your eyes on what God has for you, the plan that He has for your life, to live above the circumstances of life that have hindered you from becoming all that He has designed and created you to be. Look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of your faith and walk towards the goals that He has given you!

Apples Of God In Settings Of Silver

Apples of Gold

 

Proverbs 15:23 NKJV A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

Make your words work for you! We can either encourage or discourage those around us by the words that we speak! Proverbs 25:11 says that “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.” How precious is silver and gold? We see beautiful jewelry pieces set in both gold and silver! Many precious stones have their settings in silver or gold and are a beautiful adornment to whomever is wearing them.

 

Our words can be the settings for our lives and those that we come into contact with when fitly spoken. Likewise, our words can tear down the spirits of those when we speak harshly or out of our own hurt or disappointment. I pray that my speech might always be with grace, seasoned with salt as is instructed in Colossians 4:7, that I might know how to answer every person in ways that will be gracious and kind. I can’t say that I always exhibit that gracious nature but my goal is to express the character and nature of Jesus to everyone that I come into contact with. God’s word gives us guidelines to live by and goals to achieve!

 

May you have grace-filled conversations with those around you today!

 

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