Are you ready? Jesus calls us to be part of His Plan “A”.

Today’s meeting with Jesus took place on a mountainside in Galilee.  I had always associated this scene with the ascension,  but it is a separate incident.  Jesus did give the ‘Great Commission’ at His ascension but he also gave it here sometime before the ascension.

the_great_commissionMatthew 28:16-20 “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”    

There were 11 disciples because Judas had betrayed Jesus and hanged himself.  However, there were probably others along with them as in verse 10 earlier in the chapter Jesus had said to the women at the tomb garden, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”   Scholars think that the people Matthew is referring to as ‘doubting’ are the other brothers who also accompanied the 11 to the mountainside and does not refer to the disciples.  The heart of Jesus’ message is He wants the message of salvation and redemption to go out to all the world.  It is their job to spread the ‘good news’ to the world.  He promises to go with them (and us) throughout all the ages to come.

the_great_commissionHave you ever considered that you are God’s plan A?  There is no backup plan for spreading the news of redemption to the world- we are it!  God promises that His word will not return empty or without use, Isaiah 55:11 “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty,  but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,  and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”   God also promises that His will cannot be thwarted, Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Jesus did His part- He came to earth, lived, died on the cross to redeem us and rose from the grave conquering sin and death.  We have our part to do now- tell others about marvelous, amazing, redemptive Jesus!   Since you are part of plan A, whom will you tell today?    Remember there are many ways to tell others about Jesus.  Yes, you need to be able to give a full account of the gospel which according to 1 Peter 3:15, “ but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,   However, you can witness each day to the power of the risen Christ in your life by what you say, how you respond, who you help, what you do for others, how you treat them, etc.  Our lives speak for Jesus along with our mouths.  We can give a word of praise to God for little and big things in our lives and others will hear it.  We can mention a verse of scripture and how it applies to our circumstances, we can offer to pray for a colleague or neighbor who is in need or lend a helping hand without being asked.  There are many ways to show you love Jesus and that He is the driving force behind what you say and do.  All of these witness to His power of redemption.  At any point you are asked, you need to be willing and able to give words to your faith as 1 Peter 3:15 tells us- the reason for your hope.

matt 28 16Be encouraged today and mindful of the position and commission Jesus gave to me and you.  Be bold for the gospel and let the gospel drive you thoughts, actions and words today.

Linda

“The Memory of the Righteous is a blessing”… Semper Fi (forever faithful)

IMG_0825
Normandy cemetery, Normandy, France

For this holiday- Memorial Day- the greeting, “Happy Memorial Day” just does not express the appropriate sentiment.  Memorial Day is a day to remember the sacrifice of soldiers who have died in war.  It began after the Civil war and was originally called ‘Decoration Day’.  It was later extended to honor all fallen soldiers in any war.  Jesus told us in John 15:13  “Greater love has no one than his, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Anyone who joins the military knows they might be called to go to war and fight.  Believing in life, freedom and the independent pursuit of happiness is declared in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights and gives motivation and heart to their call to defend our nation.  It is an honorable calling that is worthy of our acknowledgement and remembrance.  Proverbs 10:7The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
 but the name of the wicked will rot.” 
  Who will you remember today that has answered the call and given their life for their friends?  You and I need to consider ourselves their friends and it is our obligation to their sacrifice that we remember them.  Scripture teaches that remembering will be and is a blessing to us.  Remember both the living and the dead, as both made or are making sacrifices on our behalf.

Will you attend a parade, a breakfast, have a time of prayer, watch a war movie?   Any of these things can be a cause to remember those that have fallen and give thanks for their sacrifice for you and for me.  Have a blessed Memorial Day!  I think that would be the proper greeting and I send it to you!

Linda

IMG_0816Prayer:  Thank you Lord, for those brave men and women who have given their all- their lives- so that I can enjoy the freedoms our country provides.  Help me to be honoring to their memory and sacrifice knowing they laid their lives down for me, someone they did not even know.  Give me an attitude of thankfulness for those Veteran’s that are still living and help me to honor them.  Lord, give our leaders wisdom and a sense of unity in working to preserve that for  which so many have died.  Amen.

P.S. This year we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the “D” day landing at Normandy where so many died, June 6, 1944.   Today, remember their great sacrifice for freedom.

Amazing! He was both spirit and flesh.

Jesus was busy on Resurrection Sunday.   He appeared on the Road to Emmaus, to the women in the garden, to Peter and to a gathering of disciples in a closed room. John records this appearance in John 20:19-22.  I like the Amplified translation as it makes Peacewhat happened clearer. 19 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side.”  The fact that Jesus appeared to them without opening the door tells us He was a spirit.   Yet, he showed them His hands and side that had been pierced at the cross which tells us He was physically real.  Only Jesus could be both in His resurrection body.  He begins with the common Hebrew greeting- ‘Peace to you’.  This shows Jesus’ love and sensitivity as perhaps they would have expected a harsh word from Jesus for abandoning Him after His arrest.  They received peace and warmth from their Savior not rebuke or criticism.  When the john 20 19disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you[as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  Their response to Jesus was pure joy!  Then He sent greetings of peace to them and gave them orders to tell others.   He was sending them with power from His Holy Spirit to go and be His representatives, telling others of His death, resurrection, salvation and forgiveness of sins.  Jesus breathed on them power that would sustain them until the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days later at Pentecost.

romans 10 17What is your response to the risen Savior?  I’m sure the disciples had various reactions like joy that He was alive, curiosity about His wounds, questions about their purpose in life now that He is no longer teaching them day to day?  Jesus answered their questions, shared in their joy and gave them purpose.  It is the same purpose Jesus has for us- tell others the good news of the gospel.  He desires that everyone hear how He saves us from eternal punishment for our sins and forgives us, and Paul reminds us in Romans 10:17   “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  Jesus sent them, and us too, into the world tell otherswhere we live to tell others the good news of Christ.  We have to speak out and speak up for Jesus.

Who will you joyfully tell today?

Linda

Road towards Pentecost begins here!

road to EmmasOne of my favorite post-resurrection appearances is the encounter of the two on the Road to Emmaus.  Overcome with grief over Jesus’ death and disbelief over what the women said about seeing Him alive,  these two followers of Christ were walking along the Emmaus Road discussing all these things.  Jesus joined them on their journey without disclosing his identity.  As they walked they were surprised that he did not know about all the events that had just occurred in Jerusalem and told him their hope that Jesus had been the long awaited Messiah.   Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”  Luke 24:25-27

Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there and listened to Jesus explain all about Himself?  A little later in the story when they were sitting down to eat, Jesus gave thanks, broke the bread and began to give it to them.  Right then, their eyes were opened  and they recognized Jesus.  He then disappeared from their presence.  Even though it was late they quickly returned to Jerusalem to tell the disciples about their encounter with the risen Lord Jesus.

Jesus came to these two when they were in grief, despair and confusion, and He cleared up their thinking, encouraged and enlivened them.  Can you remember a time when Jesus came to you in prayer or through the actions or words of another believer to give you hope and encouragement?  Jesus promises that He will be with us wherever we go.  Just like these two, we need to look and recognize His presence with us and the hope that He brings.

Thank you JesusI pray that my Lenten Blogs have brought you hope and encouragement these past 6 weeks.  I have been mightily blessed by being with you and in the scriptures each day.  I am still pondering the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice and all the blessings I HAVE because of Him.  I will continue writing on the post-resurrection appearances leading to Pentecost (40 days after the cross).  Christ appeared many times before His ascension to many individuals and groups.   They are affirming and touching encounters that teach us more about the depth of His love and care for us.

Blessings to you,

Linda

He has Risen, He has risen indeed!

risenBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have faith in resurrection too.  Paul writes on the importance of believing in the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-20.  “12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.”  Paul is making the argument that if we do not believe in resurrection, life after death, then we can’t believe Christ was raised either.  15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.”  He continues that if we don’t believe in the resurrection then all the people who saw Jesus (like 500 plus) were liars but the most horrific consequence of not believing in Jesus’ resurrection is that we are still in our sins, no forgiveness or redemption has occurred.  Jesus has to conquer death and sin to redeem us. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.”  If Christ did not conquer the grave, we are to be pitied and we are lost!  Paul makes his conclusion in verse 20a, “20 But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead.”   Praise God!  Death could not hold him and Jesus rose victorious over death, leaving our sins behind and rising to new life.  We too can hold that hope as Christ has won the victory for all who believe!

easterHave a blessed Resurrection Sunday!   As the early Christians would greet one another to show they believed saying,  “He has Risen.”  With the response being, “He has risen indeed!”

Linda

SALVATION- Thank you Jesus!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have salvation.  This is a wonderful message filled with hope on this Good Friday.  Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf accomplished what nothing else could.  He was the perfect sacrifice that was wholly accepted by God the Father.  Jesus told us that He was the way to salvation.   Here are a few verses to ponder in your heart as you consider your own faith in Jesus.

acts 4 12John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  The way to salvation is clearly through faith in Jesus.

Acts 4:12 “ And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Salvation can only come through Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.”   God’s plan to redeem us from the punishment of sin was through Jesus.

solasTitus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,”   God’s grace, undeserved favor, was fully shown in sending Jesus.  It is His plan for salvation for everyone who believes and He desires that none should perish but all come to repentance.

Jesus is our salvation, our only hope in this sin-filled world.  He alone can SAVE us!

Linda

Suggestion:  This Good Friday spend time in prayer thanking Jesus for His sacrifice on your behalf.

 

Looking for your keys? See Jesus, He found them.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have an eternal home.  Jesus’ work on the cross reconciled us, as sinners,  and brought us into relationship with Holy God.  Jesus knew that future believers would then dwell with Him in heaven.  He reassured the disciples of this joyful fact even though they did not understand it at the time.  It was only later they would grasp more fully the greatness of the price He paid to mansionsredeem all mankind.  John 14:1-2 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;  believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?     Jesus wanted his disciples, and us too, to understand that He was leaving them,  but He was going ahead to prepare a place, a home for them.  He assured them there would be room enough for all.  This scripture is often used at funerals to comfort the grieving.  The idea that we have a prepared place to go, a home in heaven is of great comfort and gives us great hope.

There are other scriptures that would imply that this eternal home is not only a place,  but a new body form.  In our heavenly home, we will have a heavenly body that is eternal, immortal and imperishable.  2 Corinthians 5:1-2 in the Amplified version makes it very clear. “For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our imperishablehouse is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling,”    and   1 Corinthians 15:42 “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The [human] body that is sown is perishable and mortal, it is raised imperishable and immortal.”   

Be encouraged today as the suffering of this life will end and we will someday be with Jesus in a new body in a new home.  Praise God!

christ alone hopeLinda

Suggestion:  Find someone to share your eternal hope and destination with and tell them how that gives you hope for today.  You live with assurance as you know you have a home in heaven and Jesus is waiting for you there.

6th Sunday of Lent, Resplendent with Palms!

IMG_0501Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem the week before Passover and His death on the cross is a wild an joyous event.  I have walked the Palm Sunday Road and it is a very steep hill leading down from the Mt. of Olives that leads to the eastern gate. As I walked that road, I could see this scene in my mind that is included in all four gospels.

Matthew 21:1-11    Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

IMG_0505The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Blessings today as we usher in the final week of Jesus’ life on earth with Palms, Shouts of Hosanna and Praises to Messiah, the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.

Linda

IMG_0513
Jesus entered into the city through the eastern gate that is now closed.  In later times the gate was blocked to keep Messiah from entering,  not realizing that Jesus had already come that Palm Sunday so long ago.

Suggestion:  As you praise God today in worship, choose an attribute of God that you are most thankful for and let God know what it means to you.  Consider- Savior, His Grace and Mercy, Sovereignty, Faithfulness, His Hope, His Assurance of Salvation in Jesus, His granting Freedom from Sin or His Provision for you.  Praise His Holy Name!

Are you sure God is listening?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have access to God in prayer.  The Bible is filled with believers’ prayers to God.  David, Job, Solomon, Daniel and the list goes on and on as they called upon God and were assured that He heard their prayers.  Jesus prayed and was heard by the Father and, he often sought a solitary place to spend time with His Father to gain strength and commune with Him.  Since Jesus died on the cross, believers have an internal connection through the Holy Spirit with Him.  Here are a few scripture for you to meditate upon today as you consider your prayer life and connection to Him.

Ephesians 2:13, 17-18 ”  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”   His Holy Spirit brings us near to Him, thank you Jesus!

ephesains 3 12Ephesian 3:12 “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”  We can seek Him boldly with confidence because of Jesus, thank you Jesus!

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  We can come before Him knowing He will treat us with grace and mercy, thank you Jesus!

Hebrews-7-25Hebrews 7:25 “ Therefore he is able to save completely, those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”  I can know that I am whole in Him and I am humbled by the truth that Jesus prays for me, thank you Jesus!

James 4:8a “Come near to God and he will come near to you. ”  Access to God is made possible by Jesus as His Holy Spirit helps draw us closer to Him, thank you Jesus!

Come-near-to-God-James-4-8-free-printable-thumb-I pray these verses assure you that as a believer you have access to God in prayer, can approach Him with confidence, know that Jesus will intercede for you before the Father and that He desires that we come and draw near to Him.  Pray boldly with confidence, Jesus is with you.

Linda

Suggestion:  pray today with confidence, assurance and hope that God will hear your prayers and draw near to you!  Then, live like you believe it!

 

Property of Jesus, that’s me!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been bought with a price and belong to God.  The concept that we belong to God gives me hope, assurance and confidence for living.  Someone, the greatest someone in the Universe, God, cares about me and loves me.  He loved me enough to sacrifice greatly on my behalf, by sending Jesus to redeem me.  1 Corinthians 6:19,20 ” Or do you not know that your JesusPropertybody is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”   When we accept Jesus as our Savior, His Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us.  Jesus died so that this transformation within us would be possible through faith in Him.  Paul is saying we owe a debt of gratitude for the amazing grace God bestowed upon us.  We need to treat our bodies- mind, soul and spirit with the upmost care as that saved body and spirit came at a high price.  What makes this so amazing is that Jesus did it freely with no obligation on our part.  We cannot earn it nor did we deserve it!  Humility and obedience are the way to honor God with our bodies in return for His grace to us.  He has a purpose and a plan for us that will bring peace, joy and hope to us and honor to Him.

Linda

Suggestion:  take time today to focus on a way to honor God in your mind (in prayer or holding thoughts captive to Christ), in your speech (words you say to others) and in action (with your body as you look to helping others).   Seek to glorify Him today!