Monthly Archives: March 2013

In Christ Alone

He is Risen! Matthew 28

Matthew 28:

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.  And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

11 Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” 15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

Revelation Song

Thanks to “Faith178” for posting “Revelation Song” on youtube.

The Crucifixion of Jesus, Mark 15

Mark 15:

Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate. Pilate questioned Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him, “It is as you say.” The chief priests began to accuse Him harshly. Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, “Do You not answer? See how many charges they bring against You!” But Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed.

Now at the feast he used to release for them any one prisoner whom they requested. The man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection. The crowd went up and began asking him to do as he had been accustomed to do for them. Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Answering again, Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify Him!” 14 But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

16 The soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and they called together the whole Roman cohort. 17 They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; 18 and they began to acclaim Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him. 20 After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.

21 They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.

22 Then they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. 23 They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it. 24 And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them to decide what each man should take. 25 It was the third hour when they crucified Him. 26 The inscription of the charge against Him read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

27 They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 28 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with transgressors.” 29 Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. 32 Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.

33 When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Behold, He is calling for Elijah.” 36 Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. 38 And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

40 There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome. 41 When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him; and there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.

42 When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. 45 And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid.

A Place of Rest

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I was blessed to have spent the last few days on a farm.  No television, no radio, no internet. It was wonderful.  After a delicious breakfast each day, I helped feed horses, goats, chickens, and rabbits.  Even better, I gathered eggs from the many hens, gently reaching under each one to discover warm eggs.  My basket was full.  Evenings were spent reading or  chatting and playing games with other guests.  

This morning, with mixed emotions, we had to leave the farm.  I would love to spend every day caring for the animals and gathering eggs. Yet, like most things, it had to come to an end.  Thus, we returned to our home in another state where I am able to care for our precious cats and hamster. 

The good news is that, although this week’s respite is over, I have an eternal rest in the person of Jesus Christ.  He “came that they [we!] may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)  Where I am–farm, city, or town–is irrelevant for the most significant rest there is.  He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)  All that is needed is to accept the sacrifice of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, as the perfect atonement for your sin.  Three days after the crucifixion, He was raised from the dead.  Easter is our celebration of His victory over death, giving life and hope to all who believe and follow Him.

“Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  Don’t wait for a week off work or school to get a rest.  Come to The Rest.  Now is the time.

Easter Week, Mark 12:1-11

Jesus as Son, Heir, and Cornerstone, Mark 12:1-11

And He [Jesus] began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others. He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture:

‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
11 This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

“All Glory, Laud, and Honor” was written in Latin about 821 AD. Christians have been worshipping their Lord with these words for close to 1200 years. We are blessedly bound with our Christian forebearers as we join in with our Hosannas.

Palm Sunday, Mark 11:1-11a

Jesus Triumphantly Enters Jerusalem, Mark 11:1-11a

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them,“Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it.And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go.And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and He sat on it.And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!  Hosanna in the highest!”

11 And He entered Jerusalem and went into the temple.

Lessons from Jeff

Most everyone struggles with certain roles in their lives.  “How should I handle this?”  “Am I doing it correctly?”  Being unaware or insecure, we sometimes question if we measure up. 

My husband Jeff has been known to wonder if he is fulfilling his God-given role in our marriage.  Ephesians 6:13 says that the husband is “head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”  It’s a tall order for a husband to lead his wife in the same way that Christ leads the church.  Jeff does not take that responsibility lightly.

2 Corinthians 6:14 instructs Christians to “not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” Echoed by a probable unbeliever, French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote that “love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward[ly] together in the same direction.” What a difference it makes when a husband and wife share the same faith!  Jeff loves the Lord.

When we were dating, I discovered that Jeff wouldn’t sweep problems under the rug in an attempt to pacify me.  He wisely knew that even if I were in tears, we should work through any problems until they were resolved. He has held to that model throughout our marriage.  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10 ESV) Jeff has wisdom and insight.

One of the many wonderful character traits of God is that He is merciful.  Hebrews 4:15-16 (NASB) says, speaking of Jesus, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” I do not mean to imply that Jeff is without sin.  Not at all.  He has to go before the Father in repentance, just as I do.  But Jeff is available to me, as is my heavenly Father, when I am struggling with insecurity, sin, or temptation, ready to pray for and with me.  I can go to him at any time. He does not play the role of my judge.  Instead, Jeff is replete with mercy, having received mercy from God through Jesus Christ our Savior. 

So, how is Jeff measuring up?  I’d say he’s doing all right! He models the love of Christ to me daily.

Despite Jeff being a wonderful partner on whom I can rely, he is not my Savior.  The one and only Savior is Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, fully God and fully man.  He alone was perfectly obedient to the Father. In Him is ALL wisdom and abundant mercy. 

As Easter week draws near, come to the Father and His perfect Son, who died and was resurrected for you.  You can place all your trust in Him without having that trust betrayed.  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”  (Matthew 7:7-8 NASB)

 

 

 

A Living Prayer

The words and music of “A Living Prayer” are by talented Christian musician Ron Block, and it is sung by Alison Krauss, the purest voice I know. Thanks to “unmik1422” who posted this video on youtube. The photos are taken in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia.