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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.

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Standing in the blaze

The flames will only make me stronger-Zeno

People often call the testing of God, “going through fire.”
Actually bad things in general are often called tests of fire too.
Right now it feels like the whole world is burning, being tested by fire.
One of my absolute favorite novel characters ends up in a burning building. You guessed it. Even though he is not the main hero he ends up having to save everyone from the collapsing, burning building. When the others argue about leaving him behind to be engulfed by fire he responds with: “don’t worry. The flames will only make me stronger.”
For those who are wondering, no, he does not die. Though badly burned, he makes it out alive.
Do we live like that? Do we see our “flames” as something that only makes us stronger?
I know that I don’t. Though the power and beauty of fire is nice at a distance, walking through that fire is not something to be called, “enjoyable”.   But just because you hate it, and just because it hurts doesn’t mean that God isn’t making you stronger through it.
During these difficult times I challenge you to read through the story of the three Hebrew boys, pick the verse that most speaks to you, and put it up someplace in your home to remind you that the flames will make you stronger.
Daniel 3

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Jesus was busy this Saturday

Our feet feel the squish of who knows what? The air is some sort of un- breathable fume and the walls are wet like tar. But we asked to come, so here we are.
Wails trick our ears from every corner and sunshine is a distant memory, but there is hope. The jingle of keys in a strong and determined hand. Several people join our ranks, faces I never thought I would see as each door is opened. Jesus smiles as He sets the last of the captives free.

Imagine being there with Jesus. Walking through hell and setting the captives free. The Bible says that Jesus took the keys from the devil. You didn’t think He kept them as a souvenir did you? He used them to free those imprisoned by death. Death before Jesus would have been terrifying. Death now is a glorious reward, Heaven.
What would it have been like to walk through the devil’s territory and let free those who had been waiting there for Jesus? Imagine the joy. Imagine the disgust and horror the devil must have felt? It would have been glorious.
Thank you Jesus that we can live unto you and no longer have to fear death because you died for us. Amen.