Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, I am a personal witness for Christ. This astounding statement was made by Christ just before his return to heaven in Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The believers witnessing His ascension were told to go back to Jerusalem and await the coming of this promised power. Acts 2:2-4a “And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” After the arrival of the Holy Spirit the Bible records mighty things done by believers to spread the good news of Jesus throughout the world. This commission to go to the world and witness to the truth of Him was given to all of us by Jesus. All believers are filled with the Holy Spirit when they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and are to be His witnesses in the world in which they live.
How does one come to know about Jesus? The Bible tells us that faith comes from hearing. Romans 10:17 ” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” We have to tell others about Christ. That is why Paul proclaimed in Romans 10:15 “And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Jesus issued the marching orders in Acts 1:8, we are to go and tell others about Him and His great saving love and redemption. You don’t have to go to a far away land (the ends of the earth) you can tell others in your own home, at your job, in your town, state and country. Living a life committed to Jesus brings blessing and good news to those around you. What a privilege this Holy Week to live for Him. Tell someone of Jesus and His love today.
Living with good news for the world,
All 4 of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and work record his entry into Jerusalem on the Sunday before the Jewish Passover. Matthew, Mark and Luke tell the story of how Jesus obtained the donkey upon which He entered Jerusalem, as it was prophesied that Messiah, king, would arrive riding a donkey. Zechariah 9:9 was written hundreds of years before the event “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the fold of a donkey.” John was the only writer to mention the palm branches that were waved by the crowds as Jesus humbly rode into the city. “So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'” John 12:13 The waving of the palm branches was a show of celebration indicating a victory and was a reminder of Jesus’ royalty. The only other place that palm branches are waved is in Revelation 7:9-10. John records the following scene that will take place in heaven. 9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
As you worship today, cry out in praise to Jesus, our mighty King and Savior. He is the Victor King now and forever! Raise your palm fronds high in praise and proclamation that Jesus is our Savior. He is indeed the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!
Today let my praises join those in heaven proclaiming the name of Jesus.
Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Because I believe that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, I am assured that all things work together for good. This powerful promise is given in Romans 8:28. “ And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” There are many powerful truths packed into this verse that we can claim for our life. First, there is no circumstance beyond God’s control. God is sovereign and He can bring good things out of bad situations. In 2 Chronicles 20:6 King Jehoshaphat affirms God’s sovereignty, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!” There is nothing in heaven or earth that is outside of God’s control. Second, God is good and intends only good things for me. Look at these powerful verses about God’s intent. “The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.” Lamentations 3:25 and “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 These verses show God’s heart and intent is good towards us, as believers. Third, God has a purpose to which he has called us. 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us that through Jesus, “ He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” Lastly, God’s ways are not our ways. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8 Many times I do not understand the events, the suffering, the senseless violence and evil that happens in our sin-filled world. Sin taints and destroys indiscriminately. We simply must trust in our good, sovereign God to work everything to good in His time and in His way just as He promised. Trusting God in the face of adversity, trusting God that He is good, trusting God that He loves us and has good things planned for us and trusting God to avenge wrongs and vindicate believers calls for mighty faith.
So what about you? Do you have this kind of faith in our loving, merciful, holy God? Believing in God’s character and trusting that He will do as He has promised will cause you to rest in the assurance that faith in Jesus brings to a world in chaos. Since Lent is a time of reflection and prayer, consider God’s mercy and care for you. Remember how He has guided and comforted you in times of great need. As you put your trust in Him, He will show himself faithful and work all things together for good in your life so that you can accomplish the purpose to which He has called you.
Trusting in Jesus is empowering,
Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. This powerful truth is given in 1 John 5:18. I like the Amplified Bible for this verse as it makes the truths very clear “18 We know [with confidence] that anyone born of God does not habitually sin; but He (Jesus) who was born of God [carefully] keeps and protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” Being born of God means we are believers, born of His Holy Spirit through our faith in Jesus. Jesus spoke of this new birth in John 3:3-5 when He was talking one night with Nicodemus. 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Once we believe in Jesus and are reborn in His Spirit, we are protected from Satan. Evidence of this protection would be our desire to not commit the same sins over and over that were our usual habits before our rebirth. We will sin since we live in a sin-filled world but habitual sin should be left in our former life. Another important aspect of this protection is the safety of our eternal soul. Once we belong to Jesus no one or nothing can take that away. In John 10:28 Jesus gives us this promise, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” This rebirth should have a permanent effect on our lives. Peter describes this new life in Christ in 1 Peter 1:23 “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” Satan is not able to touch our eternal life in Christ as it is protected by God. He can lead us into sin and cause us all kinds of grief in life but he cannot touch our eternal soul. Our life with Christ is protected by God. Remember that you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and that keeps you secure. As we grow in Christ our desire to sin lessens and His power within us increases. Knowing Christ is an amazing insurance plan that will never expire or have a payment come due. His plan is in Jesus capable hands that help us to weather all things through faith in Him.
What about you? Are you born of God and sealed by His Holy Spirit? If not, talk to Jesus about this today. If you ask and earnestly seek Him, He will be found. (Matthew 7:7) Are you feeling secure and protected by God? Take a look at Psalm 91. A brother in Christ told me he considers this his 911 call to God and he used it when he was going on missions during WWII. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” and it continues in verses 14-15 14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him. Seek the Lord today and call on Him for protection.
Feeling secure in God is a good place to be,
Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, I am one of God’s living stones. The concept of believers being living stones, which God is building into a spiritual temple, is found in several places in scripture. 1 Peter 2:4-5 “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Here we are told that Christ is the living stone that was rejected by men. The next verse, 6, refers to Christ as the cornerstone, the solid foundation upon which our faith is built. We are part of a living community of faith built upon Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Paul uses the term temple (a spiritual house) in referring to our bodies. “ Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Since the Holy Spirit lives within us, our body is a house where God dwells- a spiritual house. God desires that we live ‘holy lives’ that are honoring to Him and reflect the love of Jesus. In Romans 12:1 Paul refers to being living sacrifices, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, our lives should be like living sacrifices seeking to please God and reflect His glory to the world. This is a big job that is only possible through His power. God chose to use us so that we can know and experience His grace. We can demonstrate the sufficiency of God’s grace. One of my favorite promises is in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “ But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Only through Christ can we be living stones that reflect His glory in our lives.
What about you? Do you feel like a living stone? Do you consider yourself a temple where His Holy Spirit resides? Since Lent is a time of prayer and reflection, think about your witness to others. If you find yourself lacking, offer it to God and ask for His help. Only through Jesus can we be the pure, living temples that God will find acceptable. Then through His merciful grace and power, He will use us to effect change on the world around us.
Living for Jesus,
Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, I am firmly rooted and built up in Christ. What does it mean to be rooted and built up in Christ? Colossians 2:6-7 uses these terms, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Being rooted in Christ means your faith is firm and will hold you in the storms of life, you are being continually fed by Christ through your faith in Him, and that you desire your roots of faith to grow you into a mighty tree for Christ that is visible to the world. Paul adds to this idea in Ephesians 3:17, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love”. Being rooted in Christ connects and established you in His love and gives you a testimony for the world to hear and see. The second phrase in the Colossians verse talks about being built up in Christ. The Amplified Bible adds this “now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith”. The building up is what we refer to as the process of sanctification– growing more and more like Jesus through His indwelling Holy Spirit. The result of being rooted and built up is a heart that is filled to overflowing with thankfulness.
So does that describe you? Are you rooted and built up in Christ? Does your heart overflow with thankfulness? Since Lent is a time of prayer and reflection, think about your roots. Do you need to seek a Bible study, attend an adult Sunday School class, or link into some podcasts that will help build your faith? Also does your faith in Christ make your life overflow with thankfulness? If not, seek guidance in prayer from the Holy Spirit to refine and re-tune your faith. God wants us to grow more and more like Jesus so we can witness to a lost world and glorify Him in our lives. Take steps to be closer to Jesus today.
Rooted and built up is a good place to be,
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am sealed by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13-14 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. This amazing Biblical truth gives me assurance of my salvation and hope for today and a future with Christ. It also assures me of where and to whom I belong through my faith in Jesus. Paul also spoke of this guaranteeing seal in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 5:5 “ Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” What does a seal do? A seal protects the contents (us) from harmful things getting in and it marks it as authentic. By being sealed with God’s Holy Spirit we are insulated or protected from the power of Satan over us and His Spirit marks us as belonging to Him, we are His- authentic believers in Christ. His seal gives me assurance that I belong to Him for eternity and is evidence that He is working within me. What a wonderful promise to claim in Christ!
What about you? Do you feel His Spirit within you? Do you listen when He speaks and leads you away from wrong choices? Scripture says in Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” God will give you assurance and hope that you belong to Him through His indwelling Holy Spirit. Believe it, embrace it, and cling to it today. As a believer, you belong to God and are sealed by His Holy Spirit and NOTHING can change that! His Holy Spirit gives us an eternal promise with hope for now and into eternity. Thank you Jesus!
Sealed by Jesus,
Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am united with Jesus in Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17 “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” Jesus spoke of His Spirit that was to come in John 15 and told us that His Spirit would comfort, guide and reveal the truth of the Father to us. John 7:38-39 “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” His spirit bears witness to our spirit and is living within us. Romans 8:11 clarifies and defines this spirit we received from Jesus by faith. “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” His Spirit is life giving and eternal. It is faith in Jesus that brings His Spirit to live within us and unites us to Him. Romans 8:9 in the New Living Translation states it plainly, if you know Christ, His Spirit lives in you, if you don’t He doesn’t. “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) This uniting with the Holy Spirit gives us the power to live for Christ and reject our sinful nature, reject temptations and focus on living for Christ.
So what about you? Are you living a Spirit controlled life with serving and glorifying God your main goals? Are you serving and worshiping God but want things your own way and want to tell God what is best? Are you unaware of the Spirit in your life? Lent is a time of self-reflection and prayer. Take a close look at your goals and motives and see where you place God. If He is not at the center, ask Him to reveal to you what you need to do. Pray as we are directed in Matthew 7:7-8 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Being united to Jesus is a joy,
Today I want to direct our thoughts to Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 2: 19-23. Daniel had asked the Lord to reveal the meaning of the mysterious dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. This prayer record Daniel’s praise to God for His revelation and for His great mercy towards Daniel. May the words wash over you today and fill you with praise.
19 That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. 20 He said,
“Praise the name of God forever and ever,
for he has all wisdom and power.
21 He controls the course of world events;
he removes kings and sets up other kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the scholars.
22 He reveals deep and mysterious things
and knows what lies hidden in darkness,
though he is surrounded by light.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors,
for you have given me wisdom and strength.
You have told me what we asked of you
and revealed to us what the king demanded.”
This week we have seen marvelous things from God’s Word. As a believer in Jesus, I can claim that I am: a friend of God (3/12), chosen by God (3/13), chosen by God to bear fruit (3/14, a joint heir with Christ (3/15), holy and I share in God’s heavenly calling (3/16), and I am sustained by Christ (3/17).
Blessings as you worship the magnificent all knowing God like Daniel.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am sustained by Christ. This assurance of faith is one of my favorite promises stated in Philippians 4:19. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” God knows what I need and Jesus reminded us that He will provide for us in even greater measure than the sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” We are valued by God and He will take care of our needs. Jesus said this in Matthew 6:28-30 “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
So it would seem that God will take care of us because he loves and values us. Why do we worry over our needs? Being human it is difficult to set aside worry and replace it with trust in God. God desires to take care of us and He loves us. 1 Peter 5:7 says “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Jesus said in John 16:27 “for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” How will you show your trust in Jesus today? Prayerfully present your needs to God and then leave them with Him. Let Him do the heavy lifting and care for you. Be encouraged today- He will provide!
Learning to trust in Jesus more and more each day,