Music Mondays- A Woman/Faithful by Amy Grant and Ellie Holcomb

Imagine watching as the man who delivered you of seven demons, welcomed you into his group of friends, brought healing to your life, and took you from outcast to member of his group, die on the cross. Imagine how you would feel.

Now picture yourself being her at the empty tomb feeling confused and distraught eyes full of tears so you can’t see straight. A man asks you, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

You don’t recognize him because of the tears in your eyes. Then he says your name:

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

When he says your name, you immediately know who it is.

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” 

Then he tells you to go tell the men.

That was the experience of Mary Magdalene the first Easter Sunday morning. Jesus bestowed upon her the honor of being the first to see him after his resurrection.

I love this song which is about the experience of Mary Magdalene that first Easter Sunday.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Resurrection Sunday- Jesus Lives

The first Easter Sunday some of the women who followed Jesus went to Jesus’ tomb. The tomb was empty and two angels were there. They asked the women a question we read in Luke 24:5-7:

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ 

These women had seen Jesus die on the cross. They knew he had died. What a question-“why do you look for the living among the dead?”

Jesus defeated death for us. His resurrection is proof that when he died for our sins, it accomplished the plan of God.

Jesus lives. He is alive on his throne in heaven and one day he will return.

Because he lives, we can face the problems of this life. Because he lives, we can face tomorrow whatever it brings. Because he lives, we have hope in any situation.

Happy Resurrection Sunday to all of my readers.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

700 Years Before Jesus Came-His Burial Predicted

The focus of Easter weekend is Good Friday remembering the death of Jesus and Easter Sunday remembering the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus died before sundown on a Friday and was risen after sunrise on Sunday. There is something about the between time, a small detail, that is faith building. It has to do with where Jesus’ body was between his death and resurrection.

Isaiah was written over 700 years before Jesus came. The are specific prophecies in Isaiah that point to Jesus such as a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and call him Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14.

Isaiah is filled with prophecies about the promised Messiah coming in power. However tucked into Isaiah is a chapter that is about the suffering servant. Isaiah 53 points to details about the suffering and death of Jesus. One aspect is the burial of Jesus in Isaiah 53:9

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,

A crucified criminal would have ben tossed into a mass grave after they died unless someone claimed the body. In Matthew 27:57-58:

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.

Why is this faith building? Consider the fact that over 700 years before Jesus came, a detail such as his burial was prophesied and was fulfilled by Jesus. It points to the validity of the bible.

Now think about the fact that Isaiah also has prophecies yet to be fulfilled such as The New Heavens and New Earth in Isaiah 65:

“See, I will create
    new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.
 But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
    and its people a joy.

One could say the best is yet to come.

Thank you for reading. God bless.

We Can Enter God’s Presence Because of Jesus

Something powerful happened at the moment Jesus died on the cross for us. It was no simple symbolic event. It carried with it immense meaning for us, for all who believe in Jesus. We read in Matthew 27:50-51:

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom

The curtain in the Temple separated the Holy of Holies where the High Priest would offer sacrifices from the rest of the inner temple. Only the selected priest could enter the Holy of Holies which represented the presence of God. It was so holy in fact that a rope was tied around the ankle of the priest who entered the Holy of Holies in case the priest died due to sin or error. That way the body could be pulled out without entering.

The curtain being torn from top to bottom showed that the way to enter the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God, was now open for all who believe in Jesus.

In Hebrews 10 we read:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,

We can enter the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God because of the blood of Jesus. Jesus himself is the curtain. He is the new and living way to enter God’s presence.

We also read in Hebrews 10:

let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

We can come to God not based on our own efforts. We enter because of Jesus. None of us are worthy on our own to enter the presence of God in prayer. But the wonderful news is that because Jesus died on the cross the way to the presence of God has been opened for us.

When we pray, we enter because of Jesus. If thoughts reminding us of our past hinder us, we can proclaim that we come to God because of Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Roman Soldiers at the Crucifixion of Jesus

Roman soldiers were men hardened by combat. They encountered many unfamiliar things to them as they served in the Roman army. One could say they would not have been easily impressed by what they observed.

Only hours before Jesus died, Roman soldiers brutally tortured Jesus taking delight in doing so. While Jesus was on the cross some of the same soldiers cast lots for his Jesus’ clothing. To them he was just another criminal to be executed.

But strange things happened while Jesus was on the cross and when he died. In Matthew 27:45 we read:

 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.

In Matthew 27:51-5 we read:

The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 

So these battle hardened soldiers who had only a short time earlier cast lots for Jesus’ clothing an mocked Jesus saw the strange darkness that covered the land in the early afternoon, felt the earthquake when Jesus died and saw the bodies of dead people in tombs around them come to life.

Their response in Matthew 27:54?

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Imagine yourself being there and seeing the eerie darkness, experiencing the earthquake when Jesus died, and seeing dead people in tombs come to life. What would you have thought?

The Roman soldiers at the cross came to their conclusion- Jesus is the Son of God.

Thank you for reading/ God Bless.

Good things are coming — Embracing life after an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

When we concentrate on the future and believe that good things are coming, we often prevail. Of course, the opposite is also true. If we fixate on our troubles, we lose hope and our faith diminishes making it difficult to move forward keeping us stuck. Some may think I am full of hot air. Well, […]

Good things are coming — Embracing life after an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

Jesus Was No Victim- He Permitted His Arrest

Even while being arrested for a mock trial, Jesus showed he was no victim. He voluntarily went to his torture and death on the cross because of his great love for us.

Imagine you are one of the detachment of soldiers sent to accompany the religious leaders to arrest Jesus. There are over 400 of you armed with swords, spears, and shields. A man comes out and asks, “Who are you looking for?” The religious leaders say, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

The man who asked, “Who are you looking for?” was Jesus himself. His response when the religious leaders said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth was, “I am he.”

BUT

Something happened when he said, “I am he.” Simply by saying those three words, he knocked you and all of your fellow soldiers down on your butts. We see it in John 18:5-6:

I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)  When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Just to make it more dramatic, imagine one of Jesus’s followers cuts off the ear of one of your fellow soldiers. We read about in Luke 22:49-50:

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

And then to amplify the intrigue, you see Jesus heal the soldiers ear. We read that in Luke 22:51:

But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

So you came with over 400 fellow armed soldiers to arrest one man, Jesus. Jesus knocks all of you down on your butts with three words. Then when one of his followers cuts off the ear of a fellow soldier, Jesus heals the man’s ear and then lets you arrest him.

Perhaps you would be thinking, “this is no ordinary man” or “this is freaking me out.”

Dear readers, Jesus was no victim. He could have stopped all of it, but instead he permitted it all to happen because of his love for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.