Tag Archives: Cross

Jesus is Risen!

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“He is not here; He has risen, just like He said.”  ~  Matthew 28:6

The resurrection of Jesus was prophesied by the prophets of old, but for those alive at the time of its fulfillment, it seemingly took everyone by surprise.

First of all, Jesus didn’t exactly meet their expectations of how he would enter into humanity’s realm.  Following this pattern, his death certainly did not come as they imagined it might unfold.  But it occurred nonetheless…  On God’s terms and meeting heaven’s demands that the sinless Lamb of God would take on the sin of mankind, taking our place on that cruel Cross so that you and I could spend eternity with Him.  Jesus bridged the gap that sin created and that you and I could never repay.  He paid for our ransom!

I am so grateful that God had a plan of redemption!  What love the Father has for us!

Isn’t it wonderful that God’s plan didn’t end on the Cross of Calvary?!

No, death would not have its final say.  Not this time.  For despite the humanity Jesus bore, residing on the inside of Him was Resurrection Power this world had never known!!

“Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes!  He arose!  Hallelujah, Christ arose!”

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, death was defeated and sin’s curse was broken.  Now, we are free to choose to accept this precious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

“I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father but by me.”  ~ John 14:6

Happy Resurrection Day!  Jesus is alive!

 

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It’s Less About Us & More About Him

The message of the Cross is more about Jesus and less about us (in terms of qualifications or assets we may bring to the table).  The central theme of the Cross is God’s overwhelming and extravagant love for humanity. Hinged on that love, Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice was displayed for all of the world.

The compelling truth regarding the Cross is that you or I do not have to be “good” enough, as if that were even possible, to become sons and daughters of God.  In fact, we know that the Bible says that our righteousness (if there’s anything remotely good about us) is equal to that of filthy rags.  Wow.  Way to deflate the human ego.  But it’s true.  I think most of us already know that, if we are honest with ourselves anyway.

No, the message of the Cross is less about us and all about Jesus.  His character is compassionate, loving, kind, good, thoughtful, patient, longsuffering.

“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.”  ~ Psalm 103:8

If we can just grasp those attributes and dwell on those for a moment…It’s overwhelming to consider that the Great God of the Universe thinks about you and me … and prays for us daily.  The Bible says He daily makes intercession for us!  (Romans 8:34)  That is a humbling thought right there, my friend.  He has time for me?  Well, the reality is that God transcends time and space.  His reality is not the same as the confines we, humans, operate in.  He is All Powerful and His power knows no limits, no boundaries.  That is something that is difficult for our finite minds to process.  We must simply believe.

The truth is that none of us are qualified to become followers of Jesus Christ.  Equally true, God calls the unqualified.  That right there should be a liberating thought, my friend.  Grace beckons to our soul to receive such an unattainable and unearned gift.  And because of this great gift, we are then able to show others such grace.  Not that we would become hoarders of God’s gift, but a sieve for it to then flow through.

There is room at the Cross for you today.  It doesn’t matter what your past is.  God can rewrite your life story and create a brand new future for you.  That’s what I love so much about God and the redemptive power of the Cross — It is transformational!

If you fully accept God’s gift of grace, it is impossible to remain the same.  Once you’ve accepted God’s love and understand the sacrifice of His Son, it makes you want to change!

The message of the Cross is all about the love of our Heavenly Father, poured out through Jesus Christ, to reconcile a lost world back to Him.  His message is still the same today.  He is Jehovah, “I Am”, the One Who is the Self-Existent One.  He never changes.  His promises never fail.  When we are faithless, He is faithful.  (Psalm 102)

Rather than focus on your own shortcomings, set your eyes on the unchanging character of God through His Word.  When we study God’s Word, it causes things to fall into the proper perspective.  It sheds light on our darkness.  It gives us wisdom to know which path to pursue.

No, we are not the message of the Cross.  We are merely the objects of God’s unending affection.  In that regard, it makes us kind of special.  But, it’s all about Him.  We are God’s creation and He is the Creator.  May we never allow pride to confuse the two.

“God saved you by His grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”  ~ Ephesians 2:8-9  NLT

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It’s Nailed to the Cross

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Is there a nagging sin that condemns you every time it flashes in your mind?  We’ve all made decisions we wish we never did.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” ~ Romans 8:1-2

For many years, satan taunted me with a particular personal failure.  And, I fell for the bait, hook, line and sinker…every time!  For decades.  Doesn’t that sound like a complete and utter waste of time?  It was!

The truth is, is that none of us can go back in time and make different choices.  There is no rewind button.  But, sometimes we do need to press the fast forward button and focus on making wise choices today, leaving the past at the foot of the Cross.

We must embrace the grace that Jesus so freely offers and truly grasp its power to cover all our sins.  When we don’t forgive ourselves, we are in essence rejecting the finished work of the Cross.  It is one of the devil’s greatest ploys in the Christian’s life.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

If we are consumed with guilt over past sin that we’ve repented of, we are rendered ineffective in our Christian witness.  God wants us whole in every area of our lives.  His will is not that we merely walk in victory in 50% or 75% of our lives, but that we experience 100% victory over sin!  Receive that today, friend.

 “Oh, what joy for those
    whose disobedience is forgiven,
    whose sins are put out of sight.
  Yes, what joy for those
    whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”  ~ Romans 4:7-8

God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die on a cruel Cross to stand in our place.  Jesus bore the consequences of our past sin and every sin that we will ever commit.  That’s is a liberating thought, isn’t it?

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.  You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.  He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,  that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)  For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” ~ Ephesians 2:1-10

So, the next time the enemy of our souls attempts to bring condemnation and guilt because of past sin, just tell him it was nailed to the Cross more than 2,000 years ago.

 

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Intercessory Prayer

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What is intercessory prayer and why is it important in the Christian’s life?  Intercessory prayer is one that we offer on behalf of another.  It is “standing in the gap”, pounding the gates of heaven in stead for our family, friends, our nation, our leaders, etc.  It is vital for a variety of reasons:

  1. It shifts the focus from your circumstances to another’s.
  2. It allows God to honor the seed (of prayer) that you are sowing to bring a harvest in due time in your own life. (Job 42:10 and James 5:16)
  3. We are to carry each other’s “back packs”. (Romans 15:1)
  4. It is an encouragement to others to know someone else cares enough to pray.

 “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” ~ Ezekiel 22:30

First of all, we all should pray for our country, those in leadership, that righteousness will be restored and that many will turn to Christ during these last days.  The story of God’s conversation with Noah when he sought for sufficient righteous (those in right living) men comes to mind.  (Genesis 18)  He looked for men who had a heart toward Him so he wouldn’t destroy the land.  Noah repeatedly begged God not to destroy man because of his sin, and they had this “tug of war” of sorts going on.  Oh, that we would rise up and be like Noah, standing in the gap for our land!

“And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

In Job 42:10 it says, “When Job prayed for his friends, his captivity was turned.”  I have seen this principle work so many times in my own life.  I know it works without a doubt.  Whenever I need healing, I begin to pray for friends who also need healing.  When we spend time in earnest prayer, asking the Great God of the Universe, Who made us and Who holds all things in His hands to intervene on another’s behalf, I believe it moves the heart of God.  I believe it is at that moment we connect with our Abba Father and He is well pleased with us.  When we offer prayers out of compassion and concern for others, I believe it is God’s good pleasure to pour out blessings in our own lives as well.  This is not the sole reason we pray, of course, but it is a by product of intercessory prayer.

“We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves.” ~ Romans 15:1 AMP

In the above Scripture the strong are compelled to carry the weak.  How do we do this?  It certainly is not in our own fleshly strength.  No, we must carry their needs to the Lord in prayer and place their concerns at the foot of the Cross.  I love the picture I often view in my mind of a rustic altar at the foot of a huge, wooden Cross.  It is there I bow my knee in prayer and offer to God all the burdens of my heart.  It is there I worship God in the majesty of Who He truly is.  It is there I leave the weight this world so easily bears upon my soul.  And it is there I find rest in place of weariness, peace in place of angst, and hope in place of despondency.

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  ~ James 5:16

My favorite parable of all time is the “Widow and the Unjust Judge” found in Luke 18.  Here we find a persistent widow who could not be stopped.  She petitioned this judge continually, and, despite the judge’s neutrality of faith, he finally granted her desire…just to shut her up!  The twist in this story is that you and I are that widow, however, we do not serve a God who is unjust.  No, he is ever fair.  (God keeps accurate records.)  We serve a just God and a high priest,  who “is touched with the feelings of our infirmities”. (Hebrews 4:15)  We know that if He hears our prayers (and we know that He does), He will answer.  (I John 5:14-15)  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no, and, often times, wait a while.  But, rest assured, the answer will come.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

God is searching for one who will stand in the gap.  Will it be you?  No special skills required.  Only faith.  Faith the size of a mustard seed will do.  Will it be you?

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