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.

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.

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.

encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · lent · Love · Prayer · searching · The Bible · True Joy

Jesus is devine

Lent devotional 20



Jesus is devine

I can feel you all around me, thickening the air I’m breathing, holding on to what I’m feeling – savoring This heart that’s healed.-Flyleaf

The only way He can heal our Brokenness is if He is God. If He had been just a man and had died for the lives of his friends it still would have been amazing; but He died as God, for people who loved him, and for people who hated him. The only reason we are saved is because Jesus is divine. This reminds me of something Sherry Yuki said about the king who was her friend, whom she served in as a herbalist in his castle, ‘I shouldn’t even be permitted around a man of his station, the only reason I am permitted to go anywhere near him is because his authority puts him above reproach.’
The only reason we can go anywhere near God is because he chooses to permit us to be with Him, and because His authority makes it so no one can question Him. But because He lets us come to Him as God and He came to us as man we forget that He is divine, that He is God. When it came to the deity of Jesus no one ever said, ‘look! Jesus is God! Get that through your heads!’ Instead the disciples just naturally spoke of Jesus as God. In Revelation chapter 5, you hear about the Lion of Judah, then you look and see this Lamb who had been slaughtered, this signifies that Jesus- who is coming back- was just as powerful when He was dying on the cross as He is as a returning King. Jesus has the position of the first born, but God did not create Him. All things were created by Him and for Him. Jesus is one with God. Some say Jesus was simply an angel or a prophet but the Bible tells us that angels report to Jesus, nations are dust and will fade away, only Jesus matters. The Living Creatures sing ‘Holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ then the elders fall down before Jesus. The exact same worship that they gave God in chapter 4 of Revelation, they give Jesus in chapter 5. Jesus is consistently reminding us that He is God, because if He isn’t God then we are not forgiven. Oh yes, we would be forgiven by Him as a man, but unless He is God also that forgiveness can’t save us. But He IS God, so we are saved. Jesus Is God, don’t believe anyone who tells you different, and don’t forget that He loves us and welcomes us, but He is still the devine creator, the Author of life, the Alpha and Omega, the Key, the Door, the Blood, the Lion, the Lamb, the Shepherd and the returning King. He is God! Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.


Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · lent · Love · Prayer · searching · The Bible · True Joy

Speak Jesus

Lent devotional 18

I will speak Jesus and the devil will flee because he knows that name and what it means for him.
Darkness is inevitable, there will always be darkness in this world because it is dying. People cling desperately to things that don’t matter, trying to make it feel like they aren’t about to be consumed. But there is a name the darkness knows and flees from. Speak Jesus. The devil will lie to you. He will try to make you feel lost, left behind, confused, worthless. Speak Jesus. He will show you that you are found, accepted, loved, wanted, valued. Jesus is coming back to take us home. The darkness of this world will not haunt us in the presence of Jesus. Where Jesus is there is no fear. He is light. Brilliant light. When this world dies we won’t be with it. Imagine seeing Jesus coming and picking us up in his arms and laughing and smiling, holding us close and saying, ‘come on precious, let’s go home.’
Jesus drives away darkness, present darkness and eternal darkness.

Christianity · Devotional · free · guidance · Jesus · lent · The Bible

Lent devotional 2


What’s that you’re reading?

As I have been reading Brother Andrew, I have noticed a startling consistancy. Whenever he smuggles Bibles into shut door  countries, the people who receive them treat them like they are holding onto Jesus Himself. So much love and tenderness is felt toward this book that we in North America take for granted. A minister in Poland recieved a Bible for the first time and he actually wept. He had borrowed Bibles from the two parishioners who owned a coveted and precious copy of this book, and for the Church survice he would borrow one to read from and then, with a lingering caress along the cover he would return the Bible to the owner. To suddenly have his own caused his hert to burst- true story.
Bibles were selectfully printed under the constraints of the government and then put to a price that the common person could not afford, that is why this pastor sufferd for so long without one. In another case, a pastor in another country who did have a Bible, a worn out copy he had purchased off a street peddler, worked day after day to type out the missing chapters of a Bible he had managed to purchase that had pages torn out which had been sold seperately so the person would make more money. While sitting at an ancient typewritter, the man worked alongside the first Bible he had in his possesssion to restore this “new” one so that he could give it to another pastor in a different region who’s church did not have a whole Bible, but only pages that had been handwritten from various people over the years who had been able to borrow a copy long enough to write out some of it’s contents- true story.
People say, “Ya, but that was then.”
No. This is now. There are still many parts of the world where this is exactally what the Christian lives are like. Some say we should keep our Bibles to ourselves and stop pushing them on other countries, but we aren’t pushing them on other countries, other countries are pleading for them. They are longing for a Bible of their own. Some say to leave these people alone because they are better off without God. Oh really? They don’t seem to think so. They came to Jesus on their own and only God, Himself knows how because it is not an easy task, nor is it even really legal in these countries. But somehow these people found Jesus, or He found them, and now they long for, cry for, yearn after a Bible for their church. One Bible for their whole church! This book that so many disdain and look down on, that sits collecting dust on shelves in people’s homes here in our country is so desired in other countries that people are willing to sacrifice their homes, their jobs, even their freedom, just to have a copy. One man was recorded bringing four Bibles to country churches whose pastors didn’t have a Bible, when asked if he was afraid of punishment if caught he responded, “This. This is nothing. Four Bibles is a small sentace, four months in prison at best.”
That’s a month a book. How many of us would feel the same? He didn’t even register that a four month prison sentence in deplorable conditions was a huge sacrifice in the eyes of us here. Compared to what he had suffered for his faith in the past, it was nothing to him. Oh how we take for granted that book so cherished by others. May we remember our family in Christ who longs for a Bible, and touch ours more tenderly and read it more often, knowing what a blessing and privilege it is.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · Jesus · The Bible

Are we being Deciples of Christ

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:15‭-‬17 NIV
There is so much packed into this verse that you almost have to take it piece by piece to make sure you heed it properally. Lately. And I don’t mean the past month, I mean the past few years. The word ‘Christian’ has lost it’s meaning. Christian used to mean Christ follower, like Christ. It used to mean changed and a better person, yet the word has lost it’s meaning as people have claimed it as an excuse for un-Christlike behaivior and speach. We are under a banner that used to represent the living Church and the living Word of God. Now we are being strangled by a banner that people have crawled under to hide their sins but have not repented or changed from them. To verbally assault people on the internet and then spew a Bible verse is heracy to say the least. To rebel against and speak offensively about our police and military who are trying to do their jobs and protect us is wrong. We are to live in a way that cannot be brought up before a court. We are to be humble and kind yet unrelenting, unrelenting in our belief in God not in our own opinions. We are seen as evil because of false christians who don’t even try to be like Christ. People then claim that they are right because Jesus was a rebel against injustice. That one makes me slap my forehead. Who was Jesus a rebel against again people?
If I randomly choose a raised hand in the crowd the answer will be the same as every hand out there. He was rebel against the Church leaders and the government.
Okay. You mean the leaders who were making it so that they were seen as higher than God and were opressing those who were already suffering? (Quick disclaimer: We have to realize that not all the church leaders of Jesus day were like this and when He chided them He was speaking to the ones who were being sinful and caliming it as God’s will, like what we have been seeing in our own ‘Christian’ people over the past several years)
You mean the government who was beating and slaughtering His people? I see a wave of nodding heads. Okay.
How did Jesus respond? Please don’t mention the table throwing thing, that was a one time event. How did He respond the rest of the time?
With words of rebuke some days, with shows of His might as healed people and spoke the thoughts of those who stood against Him, but mostly He responded with love. He loved them. He loved the begger by the pool of Bethsaida, He loved the guard who was raising a whip against a slave, He loved the phairasee who was praying out of habit but no substance for the million time. Thier siffering, the suffering they caused, and the indeferance broke His heart but He still loved them. All of them. All of us. Jesus wasn’t burning people in the comments section and then claiming to be praying for them, He didn’t hate one people group and love another, if He had He would have only saved the Jews and we as the gentiles would have been left in the cold, He certaininly didn’t cause violence and claim it as His right to stand against opression. He caused healing and generosity and, wait for it, LOVE.
You can be bold and powerful and meek and gentle at the same time. The Holy Spirit fights for us. The devil got into the church and made us become our own worst enemy. Take it back to the Bible. What would Jesus do?