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Resurrection Day: My Sins or Yours?


 

Its Easter weekend.

Many years ago Charlton Heston opened my eyes to the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the movie, “The Ten Commandments.”  I know, a movie? Yes. Having blogged about it before, it will always be a reminder of how God used an actor and a film to help me understand Him better.

Friday has passed. It’s now Saturday. The day after the crucifixion.outdoorsman_bible_cross

I’ve always wondered what went on from Friday after Jesus spoke those famous words, and Sunday after He had risen.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Gospel of Luke 23:34

 

Where was He? Was He still in pain? What was He doing for those hours between His death and resurrection?

 

I have a confession to make.

I have never watched the Passion of the Christ. A few parts of it, but very little.

I can’t.

It is too painful.

Every year at this time I pray and thank God for all Jesus suffered for me, for everyone. I am thankful God didn’t allow me to be alive and living near Golgotha when the actual event occurred.

I can’t imagine how the Roman soldiers handled throwing people to die on those filthy crosses; much less our Savior.

It’s sheer brutality at its worst.

Had I been around during that time and known what Jesus suffered, I can’t say what I would have done to those who physically nailed him. Thinking about it makes my blood boil.

I guess I should thank God I wasn’t there to murder one of them myself.

The truth is I am no better than they were.

I put Jesus on that cross, nailed his hands and feet just as much as any Roman soldier did. Their sins are no worse than mine.

That’s what makes Resurrection Day the most important day in history.

As I look around flowers are blooming with a beauty all their own.

The trees are bursting forth with green leaves.

The birds sing as they fly to our feeder.

New life is everywhere.

And so is Jesus.

He marched out of a stone cold tomb giving every living thing a fresh start.

He left behind death as a warrant for the enemy.

He brought life to a fallen world so that we, His children could shine.

Resurrection Day is total forgiveness.

How AWESOME is our God.

 

 


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It’s not just any weekend…..


This time of year is like none other. For me personally Easter weekend many years ago played a major part in the basis for my journey.

Reading in My Utmost for His Highest the other day it said,

“It’s not what you do, but who you are.”

Isn’t that at the core of the crucifixion?

Isn’t that the result of the Resurrection?

It is who we are in Christ.

Jesus Christ; after the fact is life.

If you allow yourself to ponder, think and truly recognize all He did for us on the cross, all the other stuff is mute.

 

 


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Are you playing offense?


 

Think about this.

You are dangling from a very high cliff. The ground below is pure rock. Falling would be your demise. Would you be thinking about the idiot who tried to run you off the road the day before?baby

You are lying in the hospital sick as a dog. The pain is so bad you can’t move. Would you be thinking about the hateful words your best friend spoke to you the week before?

Your fun day at the zoo was ruined by a bad fall. Not only did you break your leg, observers laughed at your clumsiness. Would you be thinking about how it hurt your feelings they made fun of you while you are laid up?

The moral here is we take offense at the least little thing these days. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty and life’s hardships, those insulting provocations become trivial. It’s a matter of a wrong perspective along with an attitude of arrogance.feelings

Our society has become a haven for “rights” or “causes.”

Ingrained is a sense of what belongs to “me” and no one else can touch it. Possession is 9/10th’s of the law or so it says but when that possession becomes an obsession, harm prevails and someone is bound to get hurt.

Whatever happened to sharing? Many prefer fighting over ridiculous frivolity to get their picture on youtube or the local newspaper.  The heck with being nice, it doesn’t get you on national TV with your own show….That requires rioting, protesting and killing. Of course the media thrives on shocking the audience all in the name of ratings. And better ratings means more money……

The game of “offensiveness” has become daily rhetoric for the sake of getting attention or filing law suits. Court dockets are full of cases that should be thrown out or never have happened in the first place. Crooked lawyers are making money promoting such court antics.

No matter the reason, society is on the offense; in other words, “how dare anyone say or do anything to hurt me.” Even our leaders are self-centered cowards when it comes to getting their precious feelings hurt.

Well, get over it.

Ask the women and children in Iraq about pain.

Ask those who live without clean water everyday what they are thinking about?

Ask those who have lost loved ones in war what they deal with every day?

Ask Jesus how it felt when he died on the cross for you.

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 Graphic by https://churchgraphics.wordpress.com/


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Are you suffering with Christ?


 

The matter of suffering is questionable at best.

Most of it isn’t fun.equipped

Takes way too long.

Is often quite miserable.

So why does a good God allow us to suffer?

The answer may be more than one but the process of finding out is part of the answer.

No one understands suffering more than God.

Maybe God knew how much more horrible it would be for us to suffer completely had he not come up with the grandest solution.

Jesus suffered everything; all, the entire human race’s sin, vileness, evil.

What we go through is most likely minor, minute in comparison.

Maybe we suffer to carry other’s burdens.

Maybe we have pain in our bodies that is relieving someone else’s pain who is going through much more than we are.

Maybe God wants us to learn the intimacy of suffering with the Savior. Why?

It is our birthright in Christ.  We come into this world sinners only saved by grace and that grace is sufficient for our sorrows and distress. Yet through that grace we become new creatures in Christ. And since we become new creatures we will experience some of all he has experienced.

You might say, “Some things are not to be shared.” While that may be true from our fleshly standpoint, in Christ God wants to share everything with us.

Don’t start yelling that this is an admission of pain. No, it is the focus of walking through the deep waters with Jesus. It is learning the ability to take steps with him as he navigates the deep and dark by hearing, listening and heeding his voice to victory.

It is a closeness to his “Spirit” that strengthens our spirit in the midst of whatever we are going through.

When we reach the plateau of understanding God’s allowing us to suffer is for his purposes, his kingdom and glory, your faith has grown to a new height. This new level produces a “bigger picture” of what God is doing which in many respects may be equating his character with ours.

The eventual result is God perfecting his union with us.

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(Photo Header by John Randy Harrison)

 


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Jesus Christ is not a myth


It was Friday, but now it’s Sunday.

It’s over. The tomb is empty. No one can find his body.

Where is it?  Has it been taken? And if so, why? Who would do such a thing?

Stories are fabricated.  Lies are decreed. One of the greatest deceptions in all
of history has been born out of the greatest truth that will ever exist.

 

Questions of many have been handed down through the centuries.

Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

Do you believe he died and rose again from the dead?

Do you believe his death and resurrection gave those who follow him
forgiveness and eternal life?

Do you believe this act of God’s love defeated Satan and ended his reign of evil?

 

You either believe it all or you don’t.

If you don’t believe it, then none of the Bible is true.

Adam and Eve are a fairy tale. Noah never built a boat. Solomon was ignorant.

The disciples were “just fishermen.” John the Baptist was a joke. And Paul couldn’t be
a missionary because there was nothing to tell.

If you don’t believe it then there is no need for accountability, vision or a reason to live.

Human life would amount to chaos, destruction and death.

The Abyss would eventually become our eternal hell.

 

If you do believe, then every letter, number, word, sentence, paragraph, chapter of God’s word
is 100% true and accurate.

There is no gray area. No contradictions or mistakes. Fence sitting is not an option.
Wishy-washiness is not applicable. Rejection is not accepted.

Every detail and verse was written by human hands: Holy Spirit inspired.

Moses saw the only burning bush that didn’t burn. Daniel survived a lion’s den.
Jonah enjoyed 3 days in a whale’s stomach. Peter’s shadow healed people.
And John wrote the Book of Revelation on the Island of Patmos of the future of God’s plans.

Believing will alter your actions. Change your attitude.
Re-arrange your thinking until you ask yourself,
“Who was that person so many years ago? It wasn’t who I am now.”

There is no turning back because the desire is gone. Lost. A delusion of your past.
Moving forward becomes an obsession because you heart is wrapped around
the truth and love of Jesus.

The Cross of Christ is the ultimate sacrifice.
The Resurrection is the center of all that lives.

It was Friday. But today is Sunday.

And he lives.untitled (2)


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Faithless


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The night before Jesus died he dined with his best friends. His cohorts. His apprentices. 

The table was set; candles were lit. The room’s aroma was that of freshly baked bread.

Wine was the servant’s beverage. After all; this was a special dinner. At least it was to Jesus.

In the past 3 years how often had they feasted together? Indulged a buffet together? “Broken bread together?”

Countless meals. Great conversation. They were buddies, companion’s, allies in the war on Satan.

Little did they know how this meal would go down in history as a deal breaker; a masterpiece wall-painting or the most notable betrayal ever witnessed.

How could they understand? What was the Messiah talking about?

“Take this bread. It is my body given for you.THE BIBLE tv series

“This wine is my blood of the New Covenant offered to you.”

Peter would never deny him. Judas would never sell anyone out for a few pieces of silver?

These were Jesus’ closest associates. His support system. His family.

The mission was over. Their classes had ended. And dinner had ended.

24 hours later they would question it all.

How could this happen? What does it mean?

We gave up everything near and dear to us and lost even more.

And for this? To watch him die?

Not just die; he was beaten, flogged, whipped, spit upon and crucified until he was unrecognizable.

We should have stopped it. Done something; anything to end the Roman’s illegal execution of the King of the Jews.

But…what do we do now? He is gone. Dead. In a tomb.

And with his demise went our faith. Did we dream these last 3 years?

Did he really turn water into wine? Did he heal the paralyzed man? And…

What about the woman caught in adultery? Did Jesus truly have the right to forgive…anyone?

It’s Saturday now. He’s been dead 24 hours.

What are we really supposed to believe?

Either this was the greatest practical joke played on the world or it really happened just as he said it would.

And..if it is true…..


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“Passover” Armor


 

I listened to a 3 minute video yesterday by Rick Warren. No matter what you may think of this man, his family endured the worst year of their life in 2013. Their 27 year old son Matthew who had suffered mental illness most of his life decided it was over. After committing suicide the Warren’s took a 3 month hiatus. The video is a significant tribute of how God held him together. His appearance was remarkably charismatic. He smiled and spoke with confidence and grace. He was a father who misses his son, but a man who knew how and where to go for the help he needed to deal with such a tragedy.

Ephesians 6:11 “Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. (Amplified)

We all need each other at different times in our lives and especially when our hearts are broken.
But no one can give us what God can.

The “Passover” is one of the best examples of God giving a prevention method to his people before the enemy hit. Those who listened and acted were spared the horrors of the “Angel of Death.”

As Pastor Warren spoke he told of how his family had given every possible medical and psychological attention to their son for many years. Supportive prayer was the ultimate therapy. But Matthew chose to wear the armor of someone else instead of his own.

King David was evidently a small guy; Saul the King of Israel was a big man.  Before David took it upon himself to kill the “Giant” Saul offered him his armor.  Sorry, but that would be like my husband giving me his clothes to wear.

1 Samuel 17:38 “Then Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail.” (Amplified)

We are not meant to wear another person’s armor. David knew this because he knew the Holy Spirit was with him long before he faced the Philistine.  He knew he should follow God’s leading, not wear armor that would fall off of him.

As we fast approach Easter, the Passover is like a shield of covering to all of us. The protection God gave in Passover was settled at Easter.

Understanding this awesome gift is only done by going through our own crucifixion based on Jesus’ death and resurrection. Surrendering sin, confessing our hearts desire to be more like Jesus allows the Holy Spirit to take up residence within us. God never meant for him to be a guest.

Once done the Resurrection life of Easter should enter and occupy every area of our lives. Then God will be able to fill us with his holiness.

Does your armor fit?

If it doesn’t then you must have the wrong designer.

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Relatives of Caiaphas


Wisdom is an ultimate goal. So much so God made it infinite.1800193_755457477811609_1300236819_n

A repeated question for generations most likely has been,
“is this all there is?”

Please God, tell me there is more?

When you decide to open the pages of God’s dictionary you will be enlightened to his secrets and mysteries. The few who move into this categorical level of spiritual maturity are raising the bar of their own future. It is shameful how many Christians choose not to venture into his society of judiciousness and advisability. (Wisdom of God, 1 Cor. 1:24)

What you don’t know, God will teach you. (Rabboni: teacher, John 20:16)

What you do know he will change, re-arrange or throw out all -together.

You may experience the unthinkable. Lose friends. Lose family.

You may find yourself getting out of the boat while others call you crazy.

You may find yourself alone for very long periods of time. And while you are alone the devil slips in and kicks you while you are down.caiaphas-the-bible

Expect to be misunderstood, misinterpreted and considered blasphemous.

Expect to be hated, called names and laughed at.

Expect to be seen as Caiaphas’s long lost relative.

While we all want more, the process to finding it is the answer. During this journey we can hear God in our isolation. (Comforter, John 14:26) Being alone drives us closer to Him. Pitching our busyness for quiet tranquility with Jesus builds our character, gives us his strength and opens doors to his world. (Door, John 10:7, Strength, Jeremiah 16:19, Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6)

Falling to our knees in humility and confession God sheds his awesome love over us like the good shepherd that he is. (Chief Shepherd, 1 Peter 5:4, John 10:11)

Isolated conquests can become public triumphs.

Isolated wins can become shared successes.

 

You are back in class without lunch or recess.
You are placed in real-life circumstances as visual aids.
You are led by the Holy Spirit who grades your papers after being tossed to the bullies.
You arrive clothed in ignorance and uncultivated barbarism.
You are stripped of all things “self” only to be “robed” in all things God.
Class never ends. Forget receiving a cap and gown.
God awards “Crowns of Gold” and Eternity fringe benefits.

(Heir of all Things, Hebrews 1:2)

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Basket Case Sufferings


 

Deciphering life’s questions and problems is what we do every day. Most have something better to do or we think we do. Pursuing our own dreams or desires won’t make them disappear.

We build mountains out of molehills and exercise the art of exaggerating our misfortunes. But do we really understand sacrifice? Do we honestly know what it feels like to hurt beyond comprehension?

I doubt it. Don’t think so. How could we?

This time of year brings home to roost with me the Cross of Christ. It wrenches my mind so much I fast something for Lent and I am not Catholic.

Over the years I spent qualifying myself as one who in this category used Analysis Paralysis to understand it all. This is not my normal learning process but for some reason the need to analyze and reason it became a walk-through delivery.Via_Dolorosa-09-

The Via Dolorosa was forever etched in my memory.

The crowd is a perpetual clanging symbol only making noise.

As he stumbles by I cry out, “please! Let me help him!”

“At least let me carry his robe! It would lessen the load!”

No one hears me. Anger and retaliation take over.

Maybe if I drag out my Dirty Harry AK 47 and start shooting at some Roman soldiers and egotistical Pharisees I might get their attention.

151473042.OLddHylXSurely I am not the only one here who wants to stop this “death without a trial” injustice?

How can you crucify an innocent man? Do you have any idea who he is?

My broken heart wants to take the wood-splintered cross and chop it up into little pieces so I can burn it.

Selfishness bends my ear as I thank God he never chose me to be his mother or sister.

He sweat blood. His body became unrecognizable from repeated beatings and whippings. Carrying his cross was so inhumane it sent him into a state of shock. He was a barely-walking dead man waiting for his death.

He was thirsty, exhausted, human flesh.

It is a much too grievous and heinous crime to paint with words not to mention how my soul refuses to send him back by reliving it on a blog post.

Our basket-cased sufferings, whines and complaints have no business spewing forth from our emotionally depressed lives. We have no idea what suffering is.

At the end of the Via Dolorosa I stand observing the sacrifice of one who would never have allowed me to stop him from the worst death ever recorded.

“I must go and do this for you,” he would cry out.

As I slide down a dirty, rock wall on this road that is forever colored with his blood, tears gush as my heart aches because I hung him on that cross as much as those cruel, hate-filled soldiers did.

As the thunder roared, lightning lit up a dark sky, the earth shook; and I heard him whisper to my heart,

This is Friday, but Sunday is coming.”

friday-but-sunday

 

 


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The Finisher


Many years ago Charlton Heston caught my attention in the Ten Commandments.  It helped solidify what the Cross of Christ meant.

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From that movie God revealed to me the death and Resurrection of Jesus was the most important event in history. It was a timeline changer; a weekend of antiquity; a narration that chronicles life for every human being that has or ever will live.

Whether the event is believed or not nothing else has created more controversy. It is the butt of jokes, the question of doubters and skeptics and the twist of nature even atheist can’t stop talking about.

A very large heavy piece of wood cut into a cross has riled nations, caused wars, and fueled debates.

Some have made it into an idol, others trash it. Some burn it and others weep over it. Many wear it around their neck.

While scoffers ridicule it, many search for its true meaning. Those who hurt or grieve look to the cuts on his back, the bruises from beatings and his nail pierced hands as the ultimate in ransom for our hearts.

No matter how you feel about it, the cross cannot be discounted or overlooked.

The cross defines history. Before and after.  

If Jesus never died on the cross, it is the largest con ever performed.

If he did, no other event in history will come close to matching it.

The Cross is one for the record books; a one of a kind heartbreak and blessing all wrapped up in God’s redemption.

Skeptics will argue he can’t possibly be God on earth. And if one really thinks about it, his mission was quite absurd, but it had to be done. No other blood could do what the Holy blood of Christ did.

Beyond its cleansing power over sin, it fooled the devil and ruined his plans. For the time being he is fighting for a kingdom he will never have and making life miserable for as many as he can attack.

Jesus conquered the enemy in the most horrific death anyone has ever experienced. It is unfathomable to the human mind to comprehend it.  (Isaiah 52:14)

Up to his last breath, insults were hurled, jokes were made, and his robe became a gamble.

And Jesus? He looked beyond their sin and his unbearable pain knowing why he hung there.

Love.

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