Tag Archive | Jesus

A strange way

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I asked Sweet William to give me a man’s perspective.  How might Joseph have felt upon learning his wife-to-be was pregnant when he knew without a doubt it was not his child?

Betrayal.  Hurt.  Anger.  Disappointment.  Despair.  Sadness.   What will people think?

Most likely, Joseph wrestled with those human emotions.  The dilemma in which he found himself would have tested his righteous indignation against his honorable concern for his betrothed, Mary.

He found himself in a place no self-respecting, first century groom wanted to be.  Not ever.

But then in a dream an angel appeared to Joseph with words he didn’t expect:

Joseph, son of David.”

How long had it been since he even thought about being in the family line of King David?  Sometimes we just need to be reminded who we are.

We can get beaten down by the negatives coming full force at us.  Failure. Broken. Convicted. Divorced. Victim. Sinner.  And we wear those inscriptions like weights that pull us into deep chasms and it seems impossible we will ever climb out.

Then a hope-message comes with words we’ve only dreamed about.  Called. Chosen. Redeemed. Justified. Sealed. Forgiven.

Like Joseph, there are a lot of “whys?” in my world.  He could not see the greater plan in his small world of Nazareth and wood working and preparing to marry.  He had his own small plans. Suddenly they were all jumbled and confused.  Strange news and even stranger explanations.  Strange dreams and strange instructions from a strange night visitor.  Nothing left to do but forsake the known for the unknown road ahead of him and trust the I AM who has no unknowns.

Joseph, son of David, chosen to be Mary’s husband and the miracle Child’s earthly father and protector.  You are an indispensable piece of God’s mysterious plan.

And strange as it may seem, so am I.  So are you.

Sunday praise

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Today . . .

Praise God for the food on your table and the roof over your head.

Praise Him for the clothes you wear and the shoes on your feet.

Praise Him for the fellowship of believers gathered in a church house or a home.

Praise Him for the beauty you see with your eyes and the songs you hear with your ears.

Praise God for the sunshine . . . or the rain for He sends both.

Praise Him in the good times . . . or the bad times for He is with you always.

Praise God in the sanctuary of your heart where He makes His dwelling through and because of Christ Jesus.

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Praise  God with your every breath for He gives your every breath.

Praise God at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Make His praise glorious . . . today.

Gentle serving

Day 20 of 31 Days of October – Roses Among The Thorns

I worked in customer service for about seven years at the YMCA.  Training and supervising staff to give our members excellent service was a major part of my responsibilities.  I enjoyed serving with the rest of the staff.

It was often a fun job but it was not always easy.  Some members were great and came with smiles and positive attitudes.  Some complimented our facility and our work.  A few complained.  Either way we tried to serve to the best of our ability.

I read that Jesus came as a servant.  He didn’t ask others to serve Him though He had every right to do so.

One of the prophesies confirming Jesus as Messiah was the way He would serve.  Gently.  With humility.

Jesus was a leader among leaders.  His courage was never in question.  He faced his critics with straight answers, never backing down, never pulling punches as He spoke the truth.

Yet He said of Himself, that He was gentle and lowly.  Humility was never a disguise for any weakness in Him.   It was His way of showing us how to live.

I am again in a position of serving.  My Sweet William is in a difficult season, not able to be active the way he used to be, not able to do some things for himself.  So I must help him.  My days are often long and tiring.  I wish I could say I consistently serve like Jesus did.  Sadly, I don’t always.  Sometimes I get frustrated, irritated, and impatient.

Then I read Scripture and am reminded again that this is what I am called to do if I am to become more like Jesus.  He elevated the role of servanthood to the ultimate level.  And He asks me to follow in His steps.

I’ve had plenty of time to practice my serve.  Sometimes it was in the basement of the church with little people, sometimes it was on the platform playing for the choir.

Whatever position it is, I am called to the highest of missions.  Serving the one God has placed in front of me.

If I want to do it well, I need to keep practicing.

For a list of the days of October, go here please.Bill and Peg, dad's 90th

The crash of the cross

Day 37 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Read about Jesus’ crucifixion: Matthew 27:27-66, Mark 15:21-47, Luke 23:26-56, John 19:17-42

the cross

Today I defer to Oswald Chambers whose words about the cross of Christ stagger me.  His depth and wisdom about the event that impacted all of eternity are enough today.

Be amazed at the price God paid for the redemption of your soul.

The Collision of God and Sin

Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.”  1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin.  Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ.  The Cross was s superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken.  There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross.  He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God.  He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The Cross did not happen to Jesus:  He came on purpose for it.  He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross.  Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin.  The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption.  God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization.  The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience.  The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God.  When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.

The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much.  The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened—but the crash is on the heart of God.

— My Utmost for His Highest, April 6th

We have almost completed our 40-day journey.  Stay with us, won’t you?  

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.

40 days to Passover download

Something old, something new

Day 33 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Read about Jesus’ last supper, the Passover, with his disciples: Matthew 26:17-46, Mark 14:12-42, Luke 22:7-46 (Part 1)

Last Supper

Don’t you love getting something new?  A new dress or pair of shoes.  A new car.  A new house.

There is excitement about the latest shiny possession that now hangs in the closet or sits in the garage.  But eventually, it gets old along with everything else.  It looses its uniqueness and settles into the rest of our stuff.  And we go looking for something else brand new.  Something to satisfy the longing within us.

Jesus and His disciples assembled in a borrowed room to eat the yearly Passover meal together.  They had been acting out the ancient ritual all of their lives, this recounting of the Exodus experience over a table of lamb meat, bitter herbs and unleavened bread.  It was a celebratory festival, remembering the wonders of a God who delivered in the most astounding way.

But tonight there was a solemn atmosphere.   Jesus says He has longed for this time to share this meal with these men.  These disciples who had become His friends.  They had traveled together, discussed every topic under the sun, been privy to the secrets of the kingdom, had seen miracle after miracle, and were surrounded by the greatest love ever known to mankind.

In the midst of the celebration, weighty matters are brought to light.  One will betray.  One will deny.  All will forsake.

It must have sent a chill down their spines.  What is He talking about?  They love Him.  They have left all to follow Him.  They would die for Him, or so they say.  While they asked, “Is it I?”, I wonder if they looked at one another and thought, “It must be him” because Luke tells us they were still arguing over who is top dog among the twelve.

It’s the end of the supper.  Jesus takes one more bite of bread in His hand and lifts one more drink from the supper cup, gives thanks for it, and offers His friends something new.  A new arrangement, a new transaction, a new commitment.  It is His promise to them because obviously they were incapable of keeping promises and remaining faithful.  This new covenant did not depend on the disciples.  It was wholly sustained by the Word that became flesh.  And His Word was His bond.  And His bond was love.

“This is my body . .  . this is my blood . . . ”  He had nothing else on earth to give them.  He owned no earthly possession other than the clothes on His back.

But He gave them His very life, His flesh and His blood.  And it would make them new.  And this newness would last a lifetime.

We have almost completed our 40-day journey.  Stay with us, won’t you?  

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.

40 days to Passover download

If you’d like information about the Passover Celebration at Little Flock, visit here.

He is the One

Day 31 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Read about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-13, Mark 11:1-19,  Luke 19:28-48, John 12:1-19

Jesus on donkeyEntering Jerusalem by Harry Anderson (1906-1996)

The story is familiar.  I’ve heard it since I was a tot in Sunday school.  The flannel graph figure of Jesus sitting on a donkey moves along through the streets of Jerusalem while people wave palm branches and lay down their outer cloaks.  They are shouting “Hosanna” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” He accepts their praise, even welcomes it and says the rocks will cry out if the people are silenced.

It is His day.

All four Gospel writers narrow their lenses on the last days of Jesus’ earthly life.  They spend chapters talking about a week of activities.  There is consistency in their view of what occurred yet they each have their own slant at times.  It’s as if they want us to sit up and pay attention.  As if they shout “This is important!”

But why is important, other than the fact that it fulfills yet another prophecy about Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah?.  Zechariah said the king would come riding on a donkey.  He would be righteous, victorious and humble.  Jesus was all of that and more.

There is something else.

Hundreds of years before, Moses had instructed the people to talk a lamb.  On the tenth day of the first month of a new year.  Set it apart.  Examine it for imperfections.  Keep it until the fourteenth day.  Then kill it.  It is the Passover lamb.

Jesus made His grand entrance into Jerusalem on the tenth day of the month.  He was about make all things new.  He would give all those who believe a new beginning.  He was set apart.  Examined for imperfections.  And on the fourteenth day of the month, He was killed.  The.Passover.Lamb.

He is the One we’ve been waiting for.

 

We are over half way through our 40-day journey.  Come on along for the rest of it, won’t you?  

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.

40 days to Passover download

If you’d like information about the Passover Celebration at Little Flock, visit here.

The plan

Day 6 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Find the Lamb of God in Revelations 5 and know God has a plan from beginning to end.

Our one and only son was 10 years old the year The A-Team premiered on TV.  He and Sweet William watched it together.  A group of former military men had a difficult mission each week and did whatever was necessary to complete it for the good and to help the oppressed.  Colonel Hannibal Smith, the leader of the group, quoted the line almost every show.

“I love it when a plan comes together.”

This is the feeling I get when I read the book of Revelation in the Bible.

The first verse of chapter 1 of Revelation gives its theme:

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.”

Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega.  He was in the beginning and He will be in the end.  The one who died but is now alive forevermore. The entire book is exciting and mysterious and sometimes hard to understand.  But what is clear as a bell is a picture, the revelation of Jesus in all of His heavenly glory and magnificence.

In Chapter five, we see Him as the Lion of Judah and the Lamb that was slain.

Two contrasting members of the animal kingdom give witness to the person of Christ, the fierceness and kingship of a lion versus the meekness and gentleness of a lamb.  He is both.

His first coming was like a lamb, lead to the slaughter, not opening His mouth nor resisting the evil deeds of men.  He gave up His life willingly for this was His purpose.

His second coming will be so different.  We will see Him victorious, conquering, the King of kings ready to assume His rightful reign in the earth.  And the heavens erupt in spontaneous worship.  How can they not!  How can I not join their worship of Him who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb!

From Genesis to Revelation God unfolds this beautiful plan to redeem men and women, boys and girls to Himself.  When we were helpless sinners unable to work hard enough, to be good enough, to make ourselves pure enough to stand before a holy God, God the Father sent God the Son to take our rightful punishment and call us righteous.  

“Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God.”

He became like us so that we could become like Him.

The plan is for me to live forever with the Godhead, eternal bliss, forever worship, united with loved ones.  No more tears or death or suffering or pain.  All things will be made new.

I can hardly wait!  The words are faithful and true for the One who said it is faithful and true.  

It’s His plan.  It is His to complete.  He will bring it to pass.

And I love it when a plan comes together.

Enjoy the Crabb family singing about the Lion and the Lamb.

It’s not too late for you to join us on this journey.  Jump right in.

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.  And let us know you are journeying with us.

40 days to Passover download

For me

Day 5 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Read Isaiah 53, the suffering Savior

passion-garden-jesus-7from The Passion of the Christ movie

I had to watch some of The Passion of the Christ last night even though it’s number 28 on the “40 days” list.  It’s the only way I can get even a glimpse into what Jesus endured to become my Savior.  

His suffering is apparent from the very first scene, Him in the garden alone with His Father, agonizing in pray for relief.  One disciple remarks to another, “What’s wrong with him?  He seems afraid.”

These who had walked with Him for three years had never seen Jesus shrink in fear.  He had faced down the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  He spoke with an authority that shocked and amazed people.  He had no fear of wind and storm or the demonic living in graveyards.

How could the Son of God be afraid?

Yet, that is how it appears, at least in the movie.  Already Jesus seems to feel the weight of all sin-soaked humanity, blood-dropping sweat revealing His battles to do the will of God.  Satan appears, offering Him an easier way, a way out of the suffering that Jesus knows is ahead of Him.

The scene changes.  Jesus stands resolute.  His gaze fixed upon the cross that will come.  His crushing blow to the head of the serpent demonstrates a triumphant act of courage and determination.

The Son of God, the Darling of Heaven, the very Word who was and is and is to come becomes a Savior.  Our Savior.  My Savior.

He was beaten.  He was bruised.  He was wounded.  He was mocked.  He was humiliated.  He was forsaken.  He bore my horrible sin.  He did it for me.

ISAIAH 53

The Message

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
    Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
    a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
    nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
    a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
    We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
    our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
    that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
    that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
    Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
    We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
    on him, on him.

He was beaten, he was tortured,
    but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
    and like a sheep being sheared,
    he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
    and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
    beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
    threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
    or said one word that wasn’t true.

Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
    to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
    so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
    And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul,
    he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
    will make many “righteous ones,”
    as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—
    the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
    because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
    he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

It’s not too late for you to join us on this journey.  Jump right in.

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.  And let us know you are journeying with us.

40 days to Passover download

God will provide

Day 4 of 40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

Read Genesis 22:1-19, the story of Abraham’s testing and his prophetic statement that “God would provide for Himself a lamb.”

I like sheep even though I had to round up a few live ones a couple of times when I was a kid.  I especially like little lambs.  They are just so cute, so fluffy, so innocent looking.  I have started a collection of them.  Like I need another collection.  

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When I think of lambs, my thoughts go to the Old Testament.  The Hebrew people were mostly shepherds of sheep.  And their history begins with Abraham.

Abraham’s story is so intriguing.

The Bible tells us about an old man who left most of his family and all that was familiar to wander an unknown land the rest of his life.   Just because God told him to.

Abraham received and believed some of the most amazing promises.  His life became an example of faith.  What does it really mean to trust God when you don’t understand the what or the why but you trust the Who?

Abraham’s story begins in Genesis chapter 12.

God’s promise to Abraham didn’t always come quickly to fulfillment.  Some did not come to pass in his lifetime.  And I wonder how he kept the faith?

Sometime in his early 80’s, Abraham was promised that he would have a son and that all of the world would be blessed because of his seed.   It wasn’t until Abraham was 100 years old that the promised son, Isaac, was born.  A long time to hold a promise close to his heart.

Our “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend” challenge today is reading about God’s extreme command for Abraham to offer God’s promise on the altar of sacrifice.  It connects us to the story of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

It was a hard command Abraham heard.  Even more difficult to act upon.  We know the ending to the story, but Abraham carried his heavy heart up the mountain along with the wood and the fire.  I cannot even imagine.

A most profound and prophetic statement is spoken by Abraham before he knows the end of this story.  Somehow his faith kept him under the darkest of circumstances.  When Isaac asked about the sacrifice, the offering they would give, Abraham’s lips moved as the Holy Spirit filled his mouth and he said: 

 “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”  

The word here for “God” in Hebrew is Elohim, the Creator and Judge.  This is the One who created the plan of salvation from the very beginning; the One who must judge sin because He is righteous and holy; the One who would provide His own sacrificial Lamb because we can never, ever, ever measure up.

This is the God who promised a Savior, a Lamb who would take away the sin of the world.  Hallelujah!

Though the fulfillment of the promise was long in coming, it came!

I have some promises I am holding on to with all my heart.  Yet I may not see all of God’s promises completed and fulfilled in my lifetime.  It is mine to trust the One who made the promise until it comes to be.  And what He says He will do.

 

It’s not too late for you to join us on this journey.  Jump right in.

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.  And let us know you are journeying with us.

40 days to Passover download

40 days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend

the cross

Tomorrow, March 10, 2014, will mark 40 days until Resurrection Sunday, what the world calls Easter.

Like many other Christian-related events, the holiday of Easter has taken on a life of its own.  It has become very commercial and in many ways something far removed from what it was to represent.  On Easter Sunday morning, people will fill the sanctuaries of churches all over the world.  Some of them haven’t been to church since last Easter.  Many will wear new clothes and shoes to represent newness of life.  Children will find an Easter basket filled with chocolate bunnies, eggs, and jelly beans.  Plastic eggs will be hidden in yards and hunted by happy little folk, excited for the adventure.  Families will gather at the table for a festive meal and probably serve ham.

But . . . let’s view the holiday through a different lens.   

Jesus entered Jerusalem one triumphant Sunday and on the following Thursday, he celebrated the Jewish Passover feast with his twelve friends.  In less than 24 hours, he was hanging on a rugged cross gasping for breath and weighed down with the load of guilt, shame and sin from the likes of you and me.  He was the sacrificial Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, to satisfy a holy and righteous God who must and will judge sin.

He died a horribly cruel death and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  His friends, followers, and family were devastated, their hopes dashed to the bloody ground where Jesus’ life poured out.  They didn’t understand.  

Somehow still, neither does the world.

Sunday morning brought a glorious change.  Astonished women and disciples discovered an empty tomb.  Men walking along a road, welcomed a companion and only recognized Him as the living Lord when He broke bread and gave thanks.  A surprise appearance to the disciples and a touching of the nail prints turned despair unto belief and words joyously proclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”

This is the reason we celebrate.  

I invite you on a 40-day journey to the Passover and Resurrection Sunday.  It begins tomorrow, March 10, 2014.

Would you please join me and my sweet sister-friend, Robin Howe, who will be guest posting with me during the next 40 days?

This journey is meant to prepare our hearts, to work out our salvation by drawing near to the heart of God, becoming more like Christ Jesus in our daily living.  May we become more pliable in the Father’s hand so that He can conform us into the image of Jesus, which is our purpose.

We need a reminder once in a while, yes?

You are welcome here.  Journey with us during the next 40 days.

From Mt. Moriah with Abraham and Isaac to the Israelite deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

To the Judgment halls of Caiaphas, Pilate, and Herod.

To the whipping post and the road to Calvary.

To the darkest weekend the world has ever witnessed.

To the garden tomb very early on Sunday morning.

This is our salvation.  This is our freedom.  This is our victory!

If you would like to download a copy of the “40 Days to Passover and Resurrection Weekend, please do so.  And let us know you are journeying with us.  

40 days to Passover 2014