Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · Jesus · lent · The Bible · True Joy

Death accepted, death defeated- Jesus is RISEN!

All this lent time, all our lives, all of Jesus’ ministry comes down to these words of Paul:

And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So, you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. If the dead will not be raised, what point is there in people being baptized for those who are dead? Why do it unless the dead will someday rise again? And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you.  And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right and stop sinning. For to your shame, I say that some of you don’t know God at all.
1 Corinthians 15:12-25, 27-34 NLT

In movies when death is defeated it means the MC was half killed, as Mad Max from Princess Bride says, ‘he’s only mostly dead.’
That was not the case for Jesus, He was completely dead and buried before that third day when He walked out of the tomb. Death defeated means that Jesus walked up to the devil, took the keys from his hand, and strode out of hell with all our souls in His hands. We still sometimes choose to return to death and hell by not choosing to believe in Jesus, but we no longer belong to the devil, we belong to Heaven and Jesus.
Carmen imagined what today was like for the devil as two fighters in a ring, the final blow was struck and everyone even tje demons were shocked that Jesus had gone down, this is how he says it:
God the Father turned His head
His tears announcing Christ was dead!
The 10 count would proclaim the battle’s end
Then Satan trembled through his sweat in unexpected horror, yet…
As God started to count by saying
“…10…”
“Hey wait a minute, God…” “…9…” “Stop! You’re counting wrong…”
“…8…”
His eyes are moving…
“…7…”
His fingers are twitching…
“…6…”
“Where’s all this Light coming from?”
“…5…”
“He’s alive!”
“…4…”
“Oh – nooooo!”
“…3…”
“And yet,”
“…2…”
“Oh…Yessssss!
“…1…”
He has won!
He has won!
He’s alive forevermore!

He was killed. He is risen. He took the keys of death from the devil and waits, sharpening His sword for the day when He comes back for us, because He is our avenging warrior coming back to destroy the enemy, and there is an enemy, don’t get into the train of thought where you feel that the devil is not moving against you, because he is. But! Jesus is here with us! His spirit is within us, His Holy Spirit guides us! He has won our souls if we give them back to Him. Stop taking your life out of His hands, He cares more about you then you could ever care about yourself. He died for you. Would you suffer even for the sake of your own life? Jesus died, and He rose again. Why is that important? Because if He did not rise again then we have no hope, but He did rise, and we are saved.
Prayer:
Oh Jesus, how saved we are. Beyond this life, beyond us, beyond it all is You and You saved us. Glory to God! Let us sit in your presence forever. Thank you, God, for you alone are our Hope and Safe place! There are no words but thank you, and it is not enough, but it is all we can say, so we say thank you. Amen.

encouragement · free · Jesus · lent

Good Friday, why are you so hard to get right?

Lent devotional 38

Every year Good Friday comes and I fight to know what to say. Violence and suffering seems woven into the seams of earth and we as people have become so sensored to it that Golgatha just slips past as another sad story, but we feel nothing. But Jesus was not just anyone, He was ours. He did this for us, He has a personal connection to us. He loves us. We forget that when we see the man being scourged until his back had no flesh left, the man being dragged up the hillside, the man being laid on the cross and having metal spikes being driven into His feet and hands, the man choking on His own blood as fluid fills His lungs, the man being mocked in death and buried in secret, the God raising again as conqueror over sin and death-He is ours, we love Him, we are Him, by that I mean He took all that siffering so that all our sins and failures and mistakes would be taken onto Him so we wouldn’t have to spend a second in purgatory. Next time you see Jesus on a cross don’t simply pass Him by, stop, see yourself in His scars and thank Him.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · lent · searching

All wet

Lent devotional 38

All wet

Today I was shoveling our steps to our house of the knee deep snowfall we had last night. Suddenly my shovel his something metal and I had a moment of that ‘I found treasure’ rush before fishing it out of the snow and finding it be the cross we have hanging on our door. The wind had blown it down in the storm. I put it aside, finished what I was doing and then took it around to the back of the house where I could leave it in a shelter to dry. I noticed that something was wrong with it as I inspected it for damage and soon realized that the ‘faith’ on the front of it was covered with snow, so I brushed it off and went inside.
Isn’t that so like life? We dig for something of value in this world and find a treasure of faith. Then a big storm hits and our faith gets blown around and beaten until it falls and becomes buried by the crushing weight of our problem. Then we start to clean up from our pain and problems little by litte, knowing that we need help, and there we find our faith waiting for us, just a little wet and a little buried by the snow. we pick it back up, dust it off, and place it back in our lives where it belongs. Storms are supposed to be conquered through faith, they aren’t supposed to win and knock our faith down. They aren’t supposed to, but sometimes they still do. But God is faithful to us and is ready to help us even when we lose our faith, even when we can’t take anymore, even when we fall asleep in the garden. It breaks His heart, but He gets it and doesn’t give up on us.
“Thank you Jesus for getting me even on days when my faith has taken a beating, I know you are always there and that though you may rebuke me, you will never stop loving me.”
Don’t be ashamed to face God and ask for forgiveness for falling asleep on watch, go to Him and reach for Him, He will hold you close and restore you, because even if you fail Him, He never fails you.

Christianity · Devotional · free · Jesus · lent · Love · searching · The Bible

Who is He?

Lent devotional 37

Who is He?

Two people walked past the platform in the street market. Amid the shouting of the vendors and the bartering of the shoppers you could hear a single voice raising. It said As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’
Acts 13:25 NIV
“Who is he?” The one person asked the other.
“One of those followers of John I think.”
“Who is he speaking of?”
A shrug, “who knows, the man is crazy, he lives in the bush and rants about the Messiah.”
“Yes but, what if he is right?”
“And what if he is wrong?”
The two continue on and later find themselves arrested, each had stolen from the vendors as they passed through the streets. Their trial took several days and at last they were executed. While on the cross he had earned through his crime the man wondered again if his Messiah would truly return soon. He hoped ‘soon’ would be within the hour. Then he looked at the man next to him. His face, His eyes, they were not right, they did not belong next to him. His friend gloated and mocked the man in the middle. What was wrong? Why did He seem so out of place? So many mourned this man, so many seemed to hate Him, for what?
The man turned on his old companion and silenced him, deep down he knew that what he had heard was not the ravings of a man in the wilderness, it was the prophesy of one who believed he would see God. The man wanted that, even at this late hour while death stood waiting the man desired to see Heaven, to be free of guilt and shame. He turned to see sad eyes staring at him, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The face smiled, “today we will be together in Paradise.”

We don’t know much about the two men who died with Jesus and though the scriptural parts are true the rest is an idea, an idea of how the man with Jesus whom Luke claims came to know God in his final moments might have felt, had he heard John or one lf his deciples speak of Christ? Had it simply been the presence of Jesus Himself that turned the man’s heart? Maybe he had been at the sermon on the mount? We don’t know. All we know is that Luke says he asked to come into God’s kingdom with Jesus and Jesus said ‘yes’. Was this man significant to the story? Yes. And God would have known that. We needed to see that it is never too late and you are never too far gone for God to save you. It is so important to remember that. He wants you with Him. That was the point of all this. So that you could come to know Jesus and be with Him forever.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · Jesus · lent

Forgive them

Lent devotional 36

Have you ever been so sad that it turned to anger? I have. I’ve seen things that broke my heart so bad I was angry, in fact I was moving to action in my anger, that’s why God gave us moms because they say, ‘don’t be crazy girl, just go eat chocolate and feel better.’
I wish that chocolate could fix the situation, all it can do is soothe my heart. Jesus went to temple to meet His Father, there He saw a Holy place desecrated. It wasn’t the animals that ruined the glory there, it was the dark hearts of the people looking to make extra money, and the people who wanted fast and easy service for buying their sacrifices. No honor. No respect for who God is. Just quick ritual and done, moving on with life. That broke Jesus’ heart, how dare they! Didn’t they know He was about to die for them? Of course they didn’t. How could they? These people never followed Him. In His pain turned anger He drove them out of His Father’s temple. I love this. It reminds us that He was human too. So sad and angry that He reacted to the situation. To think only days later He would die on a cross and say ‘Father forgive them.’ Why could He ask for their pardon after being so angry with them just days before? Because even in His anger He loved them. He saw every one of those lazy and greedy people as He hung on that cross and said ‘Father forgive them.’ He saw the soldiers, Pilot, Caiaphas, His Deciples, the mockers, the mourners, He saw you and me and said ‘Father forgive them.’
His anger is brief, His love is eternal.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · Jesus · lent · Love · The Bible · True Joy

I AM!

Lent devotional 35

I am your guilty scars, as roman soldiers tear my back
I am the crimson stain that washes all the souls faded to black
I am the one who bled in silence and endured it all
I am the word who spoke no word, with a thousand angels waiting for my call

I am your covenant, your hero in these bloodstained pages
I am your guilt, your sin, your debt fulfilled for all the ages
I step into your shoes, your substitute
Your sacrifice
Your raison d’etre
Your second chance
Your breath of life
I am

I am the joy of angels dancing in the streets of heaven
I am the sinner’s prayer for mercy and a past forgiven
I am the lamb upon the altar dying willingly
All hope that was
All hope that is
All hope to be
I am

Credit Theocracy

I am.
Dragged before people who did not deserve to be judge and jury, beaten, ridiculed, knowing He would die, and when asked if He was the man they were looking for Jesus still replied ‘I am.’
Fearless? No. Ready? Probably not. Willing? Yes. Jesus was the willing sacrifice. You open a Bible and you open a world of history, carefully preserved and hidden from hands that would have destroyed it. Blood stains the pages from Jesus to the martyrs and everyone before and after. The blood of the men and women who refused to give in to the pounding of the swords on the shields of the enemy surrounding them. To stand against all odds and say, ‘no! Jesus is king no matter what you say!’ If He isn’t real then why does He scare people so badly? Because they don’t want to change and they know that if what Jesus said was true then that would mean they would be living a dead existance, but surrender scares them. He did nothing wrong, yet He died. He commited no crime, yet He was sentenced. For every dirty thought. For every feeling of contempt that is unworthy of the presence of God Jesus died so we could still stand before the throne of Heaven. I can’t say this as well as Theocracy did, but He is I Am, and that means so much more than two words. He is the sacrifice, the saving seal, the one who holds the keys of sin and death.
The one who was scourged for us. We wet it down and say beaten because the word scourage makes our stomachs crawl. Look up that word and let your mind understand that this was not a beating with rods which would have been plenty, this was so much worse. We don’t want to see because we want to forget just how much He did for us. But forgetting doesn’t peel the glass bits out of His skin or wrap back together the tissue and tendons torn. He is the blood running down to the foot of the cross that washes me clean. No matter how many times I fail, I Am lets me climb my way back to Him, and when I can’t climb, He carries me. Because He has already paid it all, there is nothing more for Him to pay for me, I belong to Him and He loves me.

Devotional · Jesus · lent · Love · The Bible

Little hooves

Lent devotional 34

The steps grow heavy as the hooves near the towering wall. He is afraid. He hears cheering and clicking and crying ahead of him. The smells of the city waft out like air from a grate. A wet drop hits his neck. He turns and sees his companion is crying. His fear grows. Maybe he can run away? Maybe no one will notice? He trudges on. The gates loom over him as he enters the dark opening. A moment of cool shade is followed by blinding light. He squints. The cheers grow louder. He looks around and sees a crowd of people. They wave scary branches at him and drop them for him to step on. If he turn and run now he can get away. Ready? Now. A hand touches his neck and he cringes. The hand pats softly. He looks up. His companion is smiling at him, all tears are gone. He nuzzles the man’s knee. The hand continues to rub gently and the fear melts away. This is okay. It’s all going to be okay. He doesn’t know how or why, just that it is. The man gets off and whispers in his ear, “well done.”

Imagine the fear and sorrow Jesus must have felt entering Jerusulem that day. The menacing wall. The dark gate entrance. The noises beyond and what awaited Him later on. He had determined to go forth, but He must have thought about running away. Maybe not. Maybe that is my human mind talking and saying what I would have felt. Just turn around, no one will notice. But He was doing the work of His father. He would never run from His Father’s wishes. I bet the donkey wanted to. He was a baby. All these sights and smells would have been new to him. The palm branches slippery under foot and the cheering croud deafening. But Jesus’ presence calmed him. Perhaps they led his mother ahead of him to keep him stable, but there is no record of that, no, I believe it was Christ’s presence that calmed the baby’s fears, even though He had fear Himself. What a king. What a savior. What a friend. To go through such horrors for a fading flower like me.

Credit to owner for image

Devotional · encouragement · guidance · Jesus · lent · Love · The Bible · True Joy

Jesus as king

Lent devotional 33


Jesus as king

Jesus wasn’t just a man, He was a king.

Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.
Psalm 24:10 NIV

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, because riding in on a donkey was a symbol of peace and unity with the people under God, but it was also a symbol of kingship. People of Royal birth from David’s line Road on mules or donkeys when riding through the city, far as We Know.
The Cutting and laying of branches shows that the people accepted Jesus as king.


As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Matt. 21:1-9 NIV
I saw on facebook the other day an image of two donkeys speaking with eachother, the one donkey was distressed and complained, “yesterday I carried Jesus into the city. People cheered and layed palm branches on the road for us, now today it’s like they don’t care about me at all.”
The other donkey stated in a tone of depression, ” that’s the way it is, without Jesus you’re nothing.”
Without Jesus we truly are nothing. We have no purpose or drive. Oh sure, we can pick a career and raise a family without God, but it will always lack the wonder and passion of being led by His hand. Like the donkey colt who carried Jesus into Jerusulem, without the guiding hand of the savior the little creature would have gone where it wanted to go and gotten into all sorts of trouble, I know, I’ve worked with colts, both horse and donkey, if you aren’t guiding them they get into trouble easily. Much like us, without the constant hand of God’s guidance we get into trouble easily that we cannot get ourselves out of.

Jesus didn’t cling to being God, he emptied himself. Don’t think too highly of yourself as you are now, allow yourself to be what God wants you to be to do his work. If Jesus was willing to empty himself of all the benefits of being a king so we would not be condemed then shouldn’t we be just as willing to empty ourselves of our own will and be willing to be filled with God’s purpose?

Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Phil. 2:7-8

Kenosis means to make yourself nothing, to empty yourself and that is what Jesus was doing, he was emptying himself so we could be made whole. He confined himself to a human body, Jesus was God but permitted himself to also be man. He is trying to lead us into safety, He became one of us so we would trust Him and follow Him into heaven and away from death. Jesus died on a cross and God is exalted Him and someday we will all bow before Him.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, come into our presents and guide is into drawing into yours, help us to not be stubborn weld would you be willing to follow your lead and guiding in all things. Thank you for emptying yourself all you were so that we would be made whole in you. Amen

Christianity · Devotional · free · Jesus · lent · Love · searching · The Bible

Betrayed love

Lent devotional 32

Betrayed love

His head hung as the smile left his lips. This wasn’t right. Was it?
He took a deep breath and leaned in for the kiss.
This was wrong. Wasn’t it?
He looked into the eyes of the man before him. So filled with pain and sorrow. This is so very wrong. The other man just stared. Then his eyes moved past his betrayer to the soldiers behind.
What have I done?
The betrayer ran away, leaving his friend, no longer his friend. He ran and ran until he couldn’t run anymore as grief and guilt tore his soul.
What have we done?

What have we done?
How many of us have betrayed our Jesus at one time or another? Yet He still loves us. That has never changed.
His heart breaks as we betray Him. His heart loves us still and that is why it breaks.
What a paradox. What a mystery. That the king would leave His royal throne, to save a wretch like me. -Petra
We are all wretches, loved by a loyal king.
Reach out to Him today. He is reaching out to you.

If you have never accepted Jesus. Or feel a need to renew your faith. Please pray with me:

Dear Jesus.
I am a sinner and I know I need salvation. Forgive me for my sins.
Thank you for coming to earth to save me.
I accept you into my life now. Guide me to know you more.
Amen.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · guidance · Jesus · lent

Respect

Lent devotional 31

Respect

The word respect has lost it’s meaning in the world. When I was a kid respect was something show to adults by defult, but was earned on the playground. You didn’t simply walk up to another kid in a strange hat and go ‘I respect you for wearing that hat.’ It’s rediculous. Yet that is what we hear. Someone once posted to someone else that they respected them because they made their dog wear clothes. That’s silly people. You don’t respect someone for that. I can tell you that I respect other people’s pets, whether they be dogs, cats or horses, I have learned from pain that you treat them appropriately because your friend’s german shepherd might not be a hug lover like your poodle mix back home is. That again is a different type of respect. That is a respect of boundries and to caution until you know where you stand. You can see a person in full cosplay in the mall and feel a sense pleasure at the fact that they chose to be themselves and stand out, but you don’t respect them for it. Respect is a feeling toward someone’s achievements not their choices. You can respect a doctor for being good at his job, you don’t respect him for wearing pink flamingo socks, you can smile at that and appreciate it, but it’s not something to respect. In this disillusion of respect we have lost the true ability to respect God. We flash a peace sign and say we respect someone but do we understand the awe behind true respect? Do we understand why we respect our God?
Ask yourself what causes you to respect God?
Is it like respecting the boundries of a wild animal? No because God wants us close to Him.
Is it like respecting a soldier for fighting for their country? That can definiately be an aspect of it. God does fight for us. But let’s go deeper, more personal.
Is it like respecting your father? There we go. We respect God for His strong loving protection, we respect Him for His sacrificial attitude towards us as His people, we respect Him for His goodness, for His wonders, for who He is. We respect Him because He is so much greater then we are, yet He comes down to our level and cares for us. We respect because He is God our Father. Father’s should be men you can look up to and respect, they should be there for us when we need them, they should care for us and provide for us. God does all of that. And He is infinate God, His position warrants Him respect. Ultimately, He is God and He is good and for that I will always respect Him.