Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Occupy Til I Come

Today's Thought: "When God was ready to judge the world with a flood, He came to Noah. When He desired to build a nation for Himself, He turned to Abraham. When He heard His children groaning under Egyptian bondage, He appeared in a burning bush to Moses. They were three of the most ordinary of men. But God had work to do, and He knew just who to do it with. God has always given His people assignments that are too big for them to handle alone, so that a watching world can see - not what we can do - but what God can do." - Henry Blackaby

Occupy Til I Come
(A devotional thought by Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church)

Luke 19:12-13 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

Jesus had been to Jerusalem a number of times, beginning when He was a child. But, this time was different. He would be mocked and rejected, then suffer and die for our sins, the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world. Because some of His listeners thought the kingdom of God would soon appear, Jesus spoke this parable to them. The meaning is clear. He would soon be leaving for a "far country" and would one day "return." As He departed, He would disperse His resources to His "servants" with a simple command: "Occupy till I come."

Thank God for the incarnation, sinless life, vicarious death, and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is salvation in none other. Today our Lord is seated in Heaven, but one day He will return. The return of Jesus Christ is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith. Christians in the first century looked for the return of Christ. For two thousand years, believers have anticipated our Lord's return. Paul wrote to Timothy that there was a crown of righteousness laid up for those who "love his appearing" (II Timothy 4:8). Jesus is coming back. All indications show that He could come at any moment. We look forward to our being united with our Lord and loved ones who have gone before. We look forward to being free from this world of sin and our sinful flesh.
In the meantime, what should we be doing? The Lord's Word is clear: we are to occupy until He comes. To occupy means "to be busy, to busy ourselves with the responsibilities given to us." Until the Lord Jesus Christ returns, we are to continue to be busy about the business He entrusted to us. He has given each of us gifts and abilities to use for His work. We all do not have the same gifts or assignments, but all of us are equipped to serve Him. All are to be busy until He comes. There are many who talk, with apparent interest, in matters concerning the return of Christ; and yet they are not busy serving Him. There are others who served Him at one time, but have ceased to do so, for one reason or another. By the grace of God, we are to obey His command and occupy until He comes.

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Don't Say You'll Pray for Me

Lysa TerKeurst
 "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11 (NIV 1984)
I've been convicted about empty statements. These are words I say to make a conversation a little more comfortable in the moment. But do I really mean what I say?
Empty statements can also be little promises that give a needed lift to someone. Yet without a plan to actually keep that promise, do I really intend to keep it?
It's not that these statements are wrong, bad or ill-intentioned. But they are empty at best and potentially hurtful at worst. People in my life deserve better than that.
I want to be a woman who exemplifies God's Word by keeping my word.
The Bible is clear that our words matter; our words carry weight. Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Our words can be gifts.
But if we speak words with no follow-through, they can be hurtful. It's like holding out a gift but refusing to give it.
Here are three empty statements I want to stop saying if I don't have a plan for follow-through:
1. I'm praying for you.
Obviously, I do want to pray for people. And sometimes when I say this, I have great follow-through. But other times I forget.
A great intention doesn't make for a great prayer.
So, I need to pray for that person right then and there, or I need to keep a journal in my purse to write down prayer requests.
2. Let's get together sometime.
Either I need to pull out my calendar and schedule time with someone or be honest about my current time constraints. The people-pleaser in me struggles with this.
When people say this to me without any follow-through, it hurts. While I can't change what others say to me, I can make a heart policy to not do this to others.
3. I'm good, how are you?
Understandably, sometimes this is the right, polite statement to say when I'm quickly greeting someone. But I will also say this to others with whom I really should be more open and honest.
I'm reluctant sometimes to let even close friends know needs bubbling below my "I'm good" statements.
If I will be braver to open up, it will give my friends permission to do the same.
So, there they are. My three empty statements and my convictions to do a better job of saying what I mean and meaning what I say.
Let's commit to being those who keep their word. Right now. Today. Not only will it strengthen our friendships but it will make our relationship with the Lord more authentic as we live out His Word.
Dear Lord, thank You for convicting me about using empty statements. My words can be powerful tools and I want to use them for Your purposes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Have a Blessed Tuesday,

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Grace Place

Lysa TerKeurst
"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
"Does God ever get tired of my issues?"
I've asked myself this question many times throughout my lifelong struggle with emotional eating.
Over the course of my journey, I've whined to God, gotten mad at God and often ignored God. And I've worried I was going to use up all my grace with God.
I felt He would be justified to say, "Enough! Go away. I'm tired of your issues. Figure it out for yourself!" That is, until I read again the "first story" of God's grace with fresh eyes.
We often think of God's grace beginning at the cross. But as I read through the Scripture from the point of view of someone struggling with food issues, I saw a revelation of God's grace right from the start in Genesis.
Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the forbidden tree and ushered sin in to the world. God handed down the consequences of their actions, which included banishment from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). They must have believed they had pushed past the boundaries of God's grace. After all, He was sending them out of the garden.
Whenever I've read that story, I thought they had to leave paradise because God was punishing them. God was disappointed in them. God was giving them what they deserved. But I was wrong. Their relocation was not a place of abandonment — it was a place of grace.
You see, there were two special trees in the Garden of Eden. One was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; this was the one with the forbidden fruit. The other was the tree of life. This was the one that gave Adam and Eve perpetual life — no diseases, no death, no sagging body parts. (Okay I'm not sure about that last benefit, but I'm banking on this reality in heaven.)
Anyhow. When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered in. Sin corrupted everything. And at that point, it was God's absolute love and most tender mercy that ushered Adam and Eve out of the garden. Not His anger or retaliation. They had to leave.
If they'd been allowed to stay, they would have kept eating from the tree of life and lived forever, wallowing in sin. Wallowing in all the brokenness sin brings with it: disease, fear, heartbreak, separation from God.
An unending life of shame and sin would have been their fate.
God couldn't stand that for the people He loved. So, His love made them leave and allowed them to die. So that they could experience the resurrected life His Son would one day provide.
Brokenness to redemption.
God did not run out of grace at the dawn of humankind. And He will not run out of grace for you or for me. He does not want us to ever stay in a perpetual state of sin and despair. We were not created with a food struggle or physical cravings because God is angry at us. It is because He loves us so much that He allows our struggle with food to be a physical indication of a spiritual situation.
God is asking for us to go to a new place as well — and it is a place of grace!
Receive grace and let it wash away all shame and guilt from every unhealthy choice you've ever regretted and fretted over. Yes, there is work to do and progress to be made, but we will walk from here with a clean slate.
This grace and the unfathomable depth of God's love settle me. Breathes hope into my dread. And trust into my doubts.
So when I stumble along on this journey, I know this grace is there for me, and I will come running back. And once again, it will give me a soft place to land.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your grace. Help me to rely on You in the midst of my struggle today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Happy Monday,

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Live so That ...

by Wendy Blight
"He died for us so that we will all live, not for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose from the dead." 2 Corinthians 5:15 (The Voice)
As I stood in the kitchen of our new house, gut-wrenching loneliness swept over me. My heart ached for all that was familiar. Doubts plagued my mind. Had we made a mistake? Did we really hear God? Was this really His plan?
We had just moved from Dallas, Texas to Charlotte, North Carolina, but moving had not been on our original agenda. It meant leaving an amazing circle of friends, a wonderful church family and great jobs. But we both felt God calling us away from Dallas, away from all that was comfortable and familiar. In fact, He orchestrated circumstances in such a way that we could not move to Charlotte. But it was still unclear why He brought us here.
Although Jesus was clear about His mission, I wonder if He experienced similar sensations of loneliness and heartache as He left all that was familiar to follow God's plan.
Jesus willingly consented to His Father's plan and did the incomprehensible. The One who was rich in everything became poor, making Himself nothing. He assumed our debt of sin and paid it with His very life so that you and I could become beloved children of God.
And His sacrifice, when accepted by us, gives us not only new life but also a new role in life!
Our key verse from 2 Corinthians teaches that Jesus died so that we will live ... not for ourselves but for the One who died for us. And when we read a bit further in 2 Corinthians, verse 20 clarifies our role: "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors ..." (NIV).
Ambassadors are connectors. They connect the lives of those they represent with the lives of those in their sphere of influence. And to be effective, the chosen appointees must live so that people are drawn to and find favor with them and those they represent.
Friend, we too are ambassadors. We are ambassadors appointed by Christ, not by a nation or an organization. God intentionally placed us on this earth to live for Him.
What a privilege and honor to be hand-picked by God to live fully engaged lives in this generation, in our communities, in our neighborhoods and in our families so that He can use us to shine His love and light!
It took time, but I came to understand that God had not abandoned me years ago when we moved. He intentionally placed me in that home and neighborhood to be His ambassador. He brought friends into my life who invited me to my first Bible study. He gave me an insatiable hunger for His Word that led to teaching and writing Bible studies. He continues to open doors for me to speak and write for Him.
God had a plan that day in the kitchen that I could not see. And He faithfully equipped me through the years so that I could live out that plan ... so that I could impact my sphere of influence and represent Him well.
Will you join me in being an ambassador? Together let's invite God to help us live a so that life ... a life that truly makes a difference for the Kingdom of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your amazing grace ... a gift that gives me new life. Help me to live a "so that" life, one that pours out Your love and grace. Equip me with all I need to be Your ambassador. Father, I want to represent You well. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Today's Thought

"If God says 'Jump through the wall', it is my job to jump and God's job to provide the hole." - Jim Sylvester

Eternal Investments
(A devotional thought by Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church)
 Matthew 6:19-21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.
 Are we living for this present world or for the world to come? Are we investing in things that are temporal, or in those that are eternal? Jesus tells us that we are either laying up "treasures upon earth" or "treasures in heaven." One day, we all will depart this life. Thank God, through our faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death for our sins, we are promised an eternal home in Heaven. What will be there in Heaven when we arrive? According to the Bible, we can make investments in Heaven while we are living here below. The Scripture encourages believers to live mindful of the world that awaits us. We are not to be like those in the world who live only for the temporal pleasures and rewards of this brief life. The Bible tells us that our lives are like a vapor that appears for a short time and then vanishes away. In fact, everything in this world will one day be destroyed.
 One promise we have concerning eternal investments is the permanence of those treasures, compared to the fleeting life of earthly investments. Another benefit of investing in eternal things is the immediate return in our lives. Although investing in Heaven will bring rewards for eternity, we are also promised that having our treasures in Heaven makes our hearts more heavenly minded. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Most of us can relate to this principle, having found ourselves mindful of things in which we have personally invested our time or treasure. This matter of eternal investments is something that relates directly to our life of faith. We make daily decisions based on our priority of serving the present or future world.
 How is it that we can make investments in Heaven? We do so by giving of our resources, our money and time, for the cause of the Gospel and the salvation of the lost. These investments will last forever. As we invest our treasures in eternal things, we are learning to live for that which will never pass away. In turn, we find our hearts will be there also.

Friday, April 25, 2014

You WILL be OK

                                            by Jennifer Rothschild
"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." Lamentations 3:22 (NIV)

I was stunned. This was not the news I expected.

"You have atypical ductal hyperplasia, or ADH," the doctor said. He explained that ADH is an abnormal growth of cells within the breast ducts.

"You need a bilateral lumpectomy as soon as possible," he concluded.

My first thought was, "Seriously? I'm blind, for heaven's sake! Haven't I already met my quota for suffering?"

Well, that was my first thought, but it was followed by all the "what ifs." You know — What if it's cancer? What if they don't get it all? What if I need radiation? What if this is only the beginning of something far worse?

While my heart was racing, my husband Phil's Ph.D. mind was calculating. He broke the silence and said, "It will be OK."

It didn't feel OK, though. And maybe the reason was that we really didn't know it would be OK. None of us really knows if it will be OK, do we? Life is uncertain.

We want to live out a story that makes sense. We want poems to rhyme and puzzles to be solved. We just want everything to be OK. But the truth is, we really don't know whether or not "it" will be OK.

After the call with the surgeon, Phil and I continued to sit in silence. My soul was churning. When all the pieces hadn't fallen into place, a tidal wave of fear washed over me. But instead of being a wave of emotion that drowned me, it cleared my head and awakened me to a vital truth I needed: It may not be OK, but I will be OK.

I had a deep, inner knowing that within the uncertainty, I could be certain that God cared and was with me.

During the lumpectomy, the doctor removed two golf-ball-sized lumps and I emerged a 34 used-to-be-B! And this may be too much information, but I was only tennis balls to begin with! (Big goofy grin.) A few days after my surgery, Phil and I met with the surgeon for the results of the pathology. All benign!

Thankfully, that chapter of my story had an ending that was genuinely OK. However, during the uncertainty, my emotions vacillated between fear and faith, peace and panic. Yet, my soul remained OK even though it, my situation, wasn't. Why? Well, it wasn't because of my great faith! I did trust God, but I was scared too. It was because of the Lord's great love, I was not consumed; His compassions never failed (Lamentations 3:22).

My friend, because of His great love, you will not be consumed either. Fear, anger or insecurity will not overtake you. His compassions will never fail you. Even in the midst of your heartache, you're still cradled in His compassion. You are as cared for and protected as a baby in a mother's womb.

That's why you will be OK, my friend — no matter what.

When we trust the compassion of God, our problems and fears do not consume us. Because of His love and compassion, we are not overwhelmed.

I was grateful to be among the 70 percent of women who emerge from lumpectomy surgery with a cancer-free result. Many women receive far more difficult news. I couldn't imagine enduring a series of biopsies and surgery just to find myself facing more surgery or radiation, like many women do. Oh, how my heart goes out to them!

You may be one of those women. You may know and love one. Do God's compassions fail if the diagnosis isn't good? Is a bad diagnosis evidence of God's failure to be compassionate?


A surgery may fail, but God's compassions will not.

A treatment may fail, but God's compassions will not.

A relationship may fail, but God's compassions will not.

A dream may fail, but God's compassions will not.

My friend, no matter what you're facing, God cares for you and will carry you. It may not be OK, but, because of the Lord's great love, you will be OK.

Lord, carry me today. Show me Your care for me. If I begin to feel overwhelmed, overwhelm me with Your peace and presence. Reassure me that no matter what, I will be OK. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Daily Thought
As we begin to see the package God is putting together in our lives and discover his purposes for bringing us to our world, it will provide us with the framework we need to make wise choices.  In addition, we will find that a sense of purpose gives hope in the midst of tragedy and difficulty, gives meaning to the mundane aspects of our lives, and helps us to make our lives count for God. R. Ruth Barton

Daily Verse
  By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. Proverbs 16:6 KJV 

Happy and a Blessed Friday,

Thursday, April 24, 2014


 Daily Thought
 May the strength of God pilot us.
May the power of God preserve us.
May the wisdom of God instruct us.
May the hand of God protect us.
May the way of God direct us.
May the shield of God defend us.
May the host of God guard us against the snares of evil and the temptations of the world.
May Christ be with us.
Christ before us.
Christ in us.
Christ over us.
May Thy salvation, O Lord, be always ours this day and forever more.
St. Patrick Breastplate

Daily Verse
  The Earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.  
  Psalm 24:1-2 NIV

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
Prayer is often one of the most selfish areas of a Christian’s life. When you think about it, most of our prayers focus on our own needs. The two main subjects of our intercession are our own spiritual growth and the needs of our families and friends.

Occasionally, we may reach beyond our own narrow concerns and pray for others. Yet usually when we say, “I’ll pray for you,” we don’t do it. Or, we pray once and then quickly forget about their need.

Recently I have been examining my own prayer life in light of the Scriptures and I have been convicted about the narrowness and limitations of my own praying. Like most believers, I spend much of my prayer time seeking the Lord about my walk with Him. I cry out to be made holy, to become like Him, to receive guidance for life, to have His anointing on my ministry. And I enjoy sweet communion with Him, quietly worshiping Him and being refreshed in His presence.

I also intercede daily for my family. I ask the Lord to protect my children from the schemes of the devil—to make my sons like oaks planted by the river of God, to make my daughters polished stones in His palace, and to make all my grandchildren lovers of Jesus. I pray for the concerns of our church body. I also intercede for individuals who are in crisis and for the many missionaries and ministries we support.

You might say, “That’s all commendable, Brother Dave. It’s comforting to know you’re shut in with the Lord, communing with Him and praying for all those needs.”

But according to God’s Word, sweet communion is not enough. Yes, it is the secret to spiritual growth, and we can have no greater experience on earth. But if we go to the throne only for our personal edification and needs, we are being selfish. We simply cannot neglect praying seriously for the dire needs all around us.

“Then saith he unto his disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into His harvest’” (Matthew 9:37-38).

Blessing On You This Glorious Thursday,

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How Much Will This Choice Really Cost Me?

Daily Thought 
A very strange and solemn feeling came over me as I stood there, with no sound but the rustle of the pines, no one near me, and the sun so glorious, as for me alone.  It seemed as if I felt God as I never did before, and I prayed in my heart that I might keep that happy sense of nearness in my life.
Louisa May Alcott

Daily Verse
  But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.  When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him.  For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.  
   Deuteronomy 4:29-31 NIV

How Much Will This Choice Really Cost Me?
Lysa TerKeurst
"... in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)
A few years ago I sat at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with my daughter Ashley while an officer told her the importance of good choices. Ashley was getting her learner's permit and entering the scary world of teenage drivers.
"We've had 320 teens killed this year in fatal car accidents so we want to do everything possible to keep you safe," the officer said sternly as she highlighted for Ashley all the many rules for new drivers. Then she suggested signing a contract with her parents incorporating these rules.
I've never wanted to hug a DMV officer. But, it was all I could do not to reach across the desk and throw my arms around her. For you see, my husband and I had already created a driving contract that we've made each of our teenagers sign.
I'm sure our kids have thought our contract was a bit over the top. After all, none of their friends have had to sign such a document with their parents. So, it was good to hear another adult speak truth into the life of my child.
And what I loved most about the officer's sermonette on safe driving was her emphasis on the cost of wrong choices.
How I wish we could all see the cost of our choices as clearly as a price tag on items in a store. If I know how much something is going to cost me, I make much wiser choices. But we have an enemy who schemes against us to keep the cost of dumb decisions concealed until it's too late.
satan wants to defeat, discourage and destroy our families. His attacks are not just willy-nilly attempts to trip us up or knock us down. He wants to take us out.
That's why, as parents, we've got to boldly fight for our families. We must get intentional with teaching our kids to think through their choices. And we must get intentional about modeling good choices as well.
Do you know why Satan's tactics are called schemes in 2 Corinthians 2:11? A scheme is a plan, design or program of action. satan's schemes are well-crafted plans specifically targeted to do three things:
1. Increase your desire for something outside the will of God.
2. Make you think giving in to a weakness is no big deal.
3. Minimize your ability to think through the consequences of falling to this temptation.
satan is a master of keeping that cost hidden until it's too late.
This is something worth thinking about. And it is something worth talking about with our kids. Consider age-appropriate examples of how costly wrong choices can be. Be real, raw and bold as you walk them through different scenarios of temptations they might face.
That DMV officer was certainly bold in her explanation of the cost when a teen driver gets distracted by their iPod, cell phone or friends acting silly. Hearing her explain to my daughter how costly others' poor choices have been made these "rules" seem more like life-saving gifts.
Think how different life might be if we all paused and asked ourselves this crucial question: How much will this choice really cost me? If we teach ourselves and our kids nothing else this week than to ask this one question, we will have invested wisely. So, so very wisely.
Dear Lord, I am reminded that boldly following You is so much better than any short-term experience that's not pleasing to You. Give me Your eyes so that I can see temptation and its many different faces. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In The Blink Of An Eye

My daughter had been suffering for quite some time with discomfort and pain, and finally, she made an appointment with the doctor to have it checked out. The day arrived when I drove my daughter to the hospital for surgery. An exploratory camera would be inserted into a couple of cuts made in the abdominal area, to search for anything abnormal.

I wondered, What if there is something wrong and the news is not good? I thought about her husband and two children as I sat and waited. It is in a moment, in the blink of an eye, that something can happen on the operating table that could forever change the life of the individual and everyone who is connected.

As I waited, the following verse came to mind:

Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

It is at times such as these that we can ask God to be with the doctors, to direct their hands and minds, and to grant peace to all concerned. All we have to do is ask and trust. God, in His mercy, did hear my prayer and granted me peace.

The surgery went well, and my daughter received some good news. She also went for a second opinion and received better news.

If you are going through a rough time right now, wondering what the future will bring, or if you have just received some bad news about a loved one and you feel as if you've been hit by a truck and can't go on, remember our Lord's promise:

Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. (NASB)

Most of us, at one time or another, have gone through or are at this very moment facing sickness, a loss, or some other hardship. Remember, we have doctors or nurses, our immediate and church families, and friends whom we can lean upon. But above all, we have a Friend who promises to be with us in all things. His name is Jesus.

Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (NASB)

Prayer: Lord, provide caregivers and nurses who are compassionate, doctors who have a heart for healing the people they encounter, and volunteers who are cheerful and friendly. Each one of us is given a talent or special gift to share with the community. Help us to see the way that we should go, and direct us in that way. Amen.

Rosemary Hagedorn

Monday, April 21, 2014

The View from the Cross

(By Dan Case, Copyright 1998 by Dan Case. All rights reserved.)[Minor Editing]  
I remember talking once with a fellow actor about the challenge of performing the part of Jesus in a production. He said that preparing the character the first time changed his life forever. He came to see the world through much different eyes, and grew much deeper in his own relationship with Christ, as he learned to see things as Jesus saw them. I was thinking about that last night. I found myself wondering what it was like for Jesus to hang on a Roman cross and look out on His disciples, His family, and His countrymen. What did Jesus see from His unique vantage point on the cross?

Physically speaking, Jesus had a good view of the crowd that had gathered at Golgotha. They were a strange and unusual mix of people, a diverse crowd that, through Jesus' eyes, wasn't really a crowd at all, but rather a collection of individuals, each with their own background and viewpoint. Roman soldiers were rolling the dice just beneath Him, dividing His clothing among them. A group of women were weeping, mourning the death of the one that they had loved and followed. Jewish elders were hurling insults at Him, challenging Him to prove His claim to be the Christ: "He saved others, but he cannot save himself." Jesus' disciples were there, as was His mother. Just as in today's church, there was also a sea of spectators -- the same fickle crowd that hailed Him as King of the Jews just a week before this dark day of Jesus' death.

The eyes of Jesus' soul saw all these people with a much different perspective. As He looked at His mother Mary, Jesus felt her pain at watching her son dying such a slow, miserable death. He compassionately commissioned the disciple John to care for Mary after the crucifixion, calling him to care for her as his own mother. The mob of bloodthirsty onlookers must have caused an ache in Jesus' tender heart -- they didn't even begin to understand what was unfolding before them. As Jesus looked down at them, rather than anger and bitterness, He felt compassion. He prayed for them, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing." Jesus' disciples -- the men with whom He had traveled and lived with for three years -- had no more insight than the ignorant mob. He looked down at them, seeing the confusion and ache of their hearts, knowing that He was the only one on the hilltop who truly understood what was taking place. He knew that their tears would, in time, be turned into shouts of joy, and that fact wasn't dependent upon their understanding, but upon God's faithfulness.

In the eyes of His Spirit, Jesus' viewpoint was one that He alone could really comprehend. For the first time in all eternity, Jesus experienced the sensation of being isolated from the Father. He saw the demons dancing with delight, celebrating their supposed victory -- but He also could look forward and see the view just three days later, when those same demons would cower in the darkness. He saw an eternal bridge that was about to be commissioned, a bridge that would allow mankind the same sort of intimate, personal relationship with God that Adam and Eve had enjoyed in Eden, before the fall.

As the dying Messiah looked beyond the pain of the moment, He saw 3000 people receiving His salvation on the day of Pentecost, as Peter, who had denied Him three times, boldly preached under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit for the first time. He saw Saul of Tarsus, vicious enemy of the Gospel, accepting the free gift of grace that Jesus' sacrifice would make possible. He saw an Ethiopian eunuch being baptized by Phillip in a pool beside a roadway. He saw countless generations of mankind, for whom His sacrifice would make possible salvation by grace through faith, for those who would only receive that free gift. He saw Al Capone, D.L. Moody, Adolf Hitler, and Billy Graham, each making their own, personal, eternal choices. And, as He hung there on that cross, close to death, He saw YOU, and He knew your name.

And then, although He still had the authority to call a legion of angels to set Him free, He cried out, "Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit." Then, He bowed His head -- and He died.

Because He thought YOU were worth it. 
Thought for Today

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to." - C.S. Lewis in his book "Mere Christianity"  
Have a Blessed Day,

Sunday, April 20, 2014

It Is Finished

The disciples surely thought it was finished, that the world had gone insane. How could the Father allow this to happen? Was Jesus teaching all in vain?
Both Mary's surely thought it was finished, as they witnessed their worst fears, seeing the Man they both loved near death. They could hardly see Him through their tears.
The high priests surely thought it was finished, their voices rising in a victory shout, as they watched their plan grow to fruition, thinking their competition had been wiped out.
Pontius Pilate just wanted it finished. To what crimes can this Man confess? Since I can find no fault with Him, I will simply wash my hands of this mess.
Judas conscience surely knew he was finished, as he regretted his actions too late. He had betrayed the only Son of God, and his name would earn history's hate.
The thief surely thought he was finished, receiving just punishment for his life of sin, until a single plea, Lord, remember me, his new home in paradise to win. The centurion surely thought, we're finished. What is this wicked deed we have done? As the earth beneath his feet trembled, Surely this Man was God's Son.
Jesus cried out, it is finished. Yet it had only just begun.
The Father and Son were reunited. The two deities again became one.
Christ cried out, it is finished. But it was only just beginning.The apostles would continue His mission.
Hearts and souls they would soon be winning.
Satan's power over us, it is finished, since Christ played the Sacrificial Lamb's part. Jesus gave His life for you and me. He's become the focus of the Christian's heart.
Lanette Kissel
Easter Sunday... Have a Blessed Day,

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Judge Not

A doctor entered the hospital in hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery. He answered the call asap, changed his clothes & went directly to the surgery block. He found the boy’s father pacing in the hall waiting for the doctor. 

On seeing him, the dad yelled: “Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have any sense of responsibility?”

The doctor smiled & said: “I am sorry, I wasn’t in the hospital & I came as fast as I could after receiving the call…… And now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work”

“Calm down?! What if your son was in this room right now, would you calm down? If your own son dies now what will you do??” said the father angrily

The doctor smiled again & replied: “I will say what Job said in the Holy Book “From dust we came & to dust we return, blessed be the name of God”. Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go & intercede for your son, we will do our best by God’s grace”

“Giving advises when we’re not concerned is so easy” Murmured the father.

The surgery took some hours after which the doctor went out happy,

“Thank goodness!, your son is saved!” And without waiting for the father’s reply he carried on his way running. “If you have any questions, ask the nurse!!”

“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn’t wait some minutes so that I ask about my son’s state” Commented the father when seeing the nurse minutes after the doctor left.

The nurse answered, tears coming down her face: “His son died yesterday in a road accident, he was at the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s burial.”

Moral: Never judge anyone….. because you never know how their life is & what they’re going through”

Throw Out The Lifeline
Throw out the life line across the dark wave;
There is a brother whom someone should save;
Somebody’s brother! O who then will dare
To throw out the life line, his peril to share?

     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is drifting away;
     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is sinking today.

Throw out the life line with hand quick and strong:
Why do you tarry, why linger so long?
See! he is sinking; oh, hasten today
And out with the life boat! away, then away!

     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is drifting away;
     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is sinking today.

Throw out the life line to danger fraught men,
Sinking in anguish where you’ve never been;
Winds of temptation and billows of woe
Will soon hurl them out where the dark waters flow.

     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is drifting away;
     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is sinking today.

Soon will the season of rescue be o’er,
Soon will they drift to eternity’s shore;
Haste, then, my brother, no time for delay,
But throw out the life line and save them today.


This is the life line, oh, tempest tossed men;
Baffled by waves of temptation and sin;
Wild winds of passion, your strength cannot brave,
But Jesus is mighty, and Jesus can save.

     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is drifting away;
     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is sinking today.

Jesus is able! To you who are driv’n,
Farther and farther from God and from Heav’n;
Helpless and hopeless, o’erwhelmed by the wave;
We throw out the life line, ’tis “Jesus can save.”

     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is drifting away;
     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is sinking today.

This is the life line, oh, grasp it today!
See, you are recklessly drifting away;
Voices in warning, shout over the wave,
O grasp the strong life line, for Jesus can save.

     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is drifting away;
     Throw out the life line! Throw out the life line!
     Someone is sinking today.

Have a Blessed Day,