How many times today have you caught yourself talking to yourself? Are you rehearsing the words of the accuser of the brethren? He says “you cannot be assured of your salvation.” You are not alone my friend. Before David was crowned king he faced many difficult and challenging circumstances and often if truth be known, they came about because he was blameshifting, not taking ownership of his own sin of unbelief in God. We too often go this route and fail to see God’s graciousness in spite of ourselves. It is important when God reveals this to us that we stop and testify to who God is and who we are.
Jesus reminded us “the mouth speaks what fills the heart.” [Matt 12] Therefore, we must fill our hearts with the inspired Word of God that we might resist the devil and tell him to “Go away.” His desire is to make you doubt but God’s word is true: NO ONE or NOTHING can snatch us from the Father’s hands where our names are engraved upon his palms. Speak the words of Jesus and Satan will flee from us and in that moment, the Illuminating Holy Spirit will come and refresh our spirits.
If you want assurance, hold fast to your confession. Confidently approach the throne of grace. Cling to that which is good. “STAY, PRAY and WATCH.” It is then that you will see the truth of John 3:36 “The one who believes in the Son “HAS,” eternal life.
While the world celebrated, a joyful Easter celebration became a place of execution because the celebrants called Jesus, Savior. Instantly they were transported to heaven where they met the Savior, the heir of all things, the very Word of God who spoke the word creating all that has life and breath and even now is sustained by the word of his power. As Savior, they saw him as the very radiance of the Father’s glory and the exact representation of His nature who was given up by the Father for their sins. They saw the nail prints in his hands from being the purifier of sins by his sacrifice on the cross and then ascended into the heavens where he sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high interceding. They loved him and looked for his appearing. Because he is the Resurrection and the life, he lives, and they live also. (Rom 8; Heb 7Jn 14) We mourn but rejoice in their heavenly gain.
But if they did not “know” the Savior, they met him as judge. From his lips they heard; what did you do with Me who lived, died and rose again for your transgressions? It is then that they experienced the piercing of their heart and saw their deeds as dung. They heard “depart from me, I never knew you…go away into eternal punishment,” [Mat 7 & 25 selected scriptures]
Beloved, if today is your day, will you meet Jesus as Savior or will you meet him as judge?
After the Sabbath, three women arrive at the tomb of Jesus as the sun was rising. They had come to anoint the body of Jesus and along the way had discussed and questioned: “Who will roll the stone away for us?” Upon their arrival, their discussion was abruptly ended for with eyes to see and ears to hear the scene before them brought several emotions to the surface. The stone was already removed and on it sat an illuminating man, an angel, brilliant like lightning, in snow-white garments. He had been dispatched from heaven to roll the stone away not to release Jesus but to proclaim Jesus.
As they stood perplexed he spoke: “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember… “
What were they to remember? “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” and the sign of Jonah: “as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”
In fear and trepidation they left and went and told the disciples all that they had heard. Their words were received as nonsense with the exception of Peter and John who went to investigate. Peter left wondering, John left believing.
Beloved, the tomb is empty, He has risen! Do you remember these words? Will you share them this day?
The high priest of Israel, Caiaphas, had prophesied; “it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” Yet as Caiaphas prophesied these words he had not known that before him, sat at least one who had become a secret believer. Joseph of Arimathea was a good and righteous man waiting for the kingdom of God and had not consented to the plan of the council to condemn Jesus.
We wonder why Joseph did not stand up and then recall the story of the blind man in John 9 who felt the wrath of the Sanhedrin for challenging their stand against Jesus. His sentence was to be cast out of the synagogue. Perhaps, Joseph was witness to that act and out of fear he was silent. But, now after Jesus had breathed his last, he “gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.” This Joseph was joined by Nicodemus, The Teacher of Israel who had come to Jesus at night. Together they lovingly anointed his body with spices, wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid him in the tomb of Joseph.
And where were the disciples who had boldly pronounced their fidelity? They now were the secret believers locked in an upper room. Their false courage was now seen as cowardice.
We all are given opportunities to stand for Jesus. Will we be courageous or silent?
A day like no other, a sin so grievous, and yet “Father, Forgive them, they know not what they do” comes from the lips of our Savior as he experiences the unforgivable . As Jesus hears those whom God has given the precious privilege of leading the people to God shouting “CRUCIFY HIM” we are reminded that the enemies of God “feign obedience” to Him. [Ps 66].
Pilate asks the accusers “Why what evil has he done?” because in his heart he knew that these had handed Jesus over to him out of envy. But, wishing to satisfy the crowd and the religious leaders, he chose to release a notorious criminal and order the crucifixion of the Holy One. They took Jesus to Golgotha and there crucified him and with him two robbers, one on the right and the other on the left.
The rebellious heart of the first is revealed as he challenges Jesus to come down from the cross, saving himself and him. The second rebukes the first with these words: “Do you not fear God since you are under the same condemnation and we indeed justly?” In those few words this one admitted his sin and sought forgiveness: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Jesus died that you might live. What is your choice?
A recent movie reveals the spiritual battle that all believers face, but the original War Room was in Heaven and played out on the screen of the Garden of Gethsemane. The screenplay revealed the tool of temptation, the submission of our Savior and the power of prayer.
Only Luke reveals to us what took place just after the Last Supper on the way to the Garden. The prophecy of Zechariah would be fulfilled but Jesus revealed that a battle for the disciples had already been waged in the heavenlies between Satan and God just as it had been for Job. “Simon, Simon, pay attention! Satan has demanded to have you all, to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”
What was it that Satan wanted? He wanted to prove that Simon’s faith was chaff, not wheat. He would fall for the temptation. That is why Jesus implored the disciples three times: “Stay, Pray, Watch” for the “enemy is prowling about seeking whom he can devour.”[1Pet 5] Satan’s three weapons are; “Steal, Kill, Destroy”—BUT Jesus had prayed. Satan’s weapons are not flesh and blood but spiritual forces of evil. Prayer is our weapon.
The disciples did stay. The disciples slept not prayed. They failed to watch and thus when the accuser, Judas, arrived they were caught off guard. Satan stole their confidence, killed their words, and destroyed their weak faith—-But Jesus prayed.
Jesus is imploring us: “Stay, Pray, Watch.” What are we doing? Are we prepared?
Tumbleweeds are a strange phenomenon.These are plants that seem to have no root and just seem to have lost their anchor. In fact, it is true that once they have matured and dry, they detach from the mother plant and blow away. Throughout the Bible, we are forewarned to stay close to the source of life, God Himself. But, sometimes the tumbleweeds of life, the trials, come tumbling across our path. Which brings us to the question of the day. What kind of theology do you have when the tumbleweeds come floating across your path? Is it the armchair theology where you are comfortable with God as long as you are safely in your recliner letting the world go by? Or do you have an ivory-tower theology where you think of yourself in privileged seclusion from the real world?
A lot depends upon your answer.
The psalmist brings us into real life as he pens the 27th psalm. He seeks to remind us that without God we are like the whirling tumbleweeds, being tossed to and fro much as Paul reminded the Ephesians. Instead, trusting in God is what grounds him and should us. This is what anchors us to life: Our theology says God is the light of our life, God is our salvation and we are safely tethered to Him. Trials or tumbleweeds come that we might recall the words of Isaiah. Don’t be afraid, when you pass through the waters, I am (present tense) with you, nothing will overwhelm you if your focus is on Me.
The psalmist reminds us that God alone is our protector, He alone is our defense. The tumbleweeds are just a nuisance to reveal His glory as we depend upon Him.