Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Day We Place Our Faith and Foundations On

For a believer in Jesus Christ, it is all about Resurrection Sunday, not Easter. Let us not confuse the two separate meanings of how the world celebrates today with Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies and colored eggs, but for a believer in Jesus Christ, today sets us apart from every other religion in the world. Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday, and three days later, He rose again in glory and fulfilled His promise that even death has lost its sting today.

Any other religion from Mohammed to Confucius to any god in history, not one of them fulfilled every single promised written hundreds of years before they came to Earth. Jesus fulfilled every single one. However that is not the foundation for the faith followers of Christ have. Jesus predicted His death down to the smallest detail and every facet of His life up to that point. He claimed to be the Son of God and one would think if He truly was, then even death would have no victory over Him, and it didn't.

Jesus delivers on His promises just like He did that day and even today. Everything He has promised has, is and will come true. He did not stay dead. If He had, then perhaps He would have simply been what everyone said He was, a prophet, a good man, a teacher with sound morals. But it is the one thing that no other gods have is the Resurrection and an empty tomb.

If you don't know Jesus, you might fall in line with all the other claims that He didn't really die, His body was moved, and the greatest cover up in history was played out upon the world. But I would ask you one question, why would so many be willing to die for a lie? Why would the people who followed Jesus Christ be willing to die for the ultimate cover up the world has ever known, being beheaded, burned, stoned, a crucified if it didn't really happen as the Bible said.

The truth is, they wouldn't. Not after all these thousands of years. The promises that Jesus makes to His believers is remarkable and life changing. Death no longer has a hold on us. When we breathe our last breath here, we take the first one in heaven. Death is no longer something we have to fear. We will live an eternity with Jesus Christ along with every single one who has confessed a belief in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. No more will we have to face illness, sadness, fear or death because the Bible promises that once our body gives out here, that's it. It is finished!

I can only imagine what hope, happiness and unparalleled joy was felt today by those that thought Jesus was dead. When Mary found her Savior alive when she went to the tomb expecting sadness but finding happiness beyond measure. She couldn't wait to go and tell the others. Imagine Mary, Jesus' mother who was grieving for the loss of her son, only to learn He was alive again. If you have ever lost anyone to death, I could only imagine how joyous they would feel to learn that He had risen!

What profound love the Father offered to those of us without hope, to give unconditionally His only Son to pay the ultimate in sacrifices to us all. A gift of eternal life and a changed life. Redemption, salvation, hope, forgiveness and promises that will always come true if we place our faith in Jesus Christ.

If you don't have those things but would love to become a follower of Jesus, please pray this prayer today and change forever how the rest of your life will be lived.

Dearest Jesus,

I come to you humbly and ask for your forgiveness of my sins. I know without You, there is no hope for a better future in this life or the next. I want You to come into my life and change me. Fill me with Your presence and help me to become a follower of Yours. I turn from my sins and instead walk in Your ways.

Thank you for the sacrifice you made when you took my sins upon the cross and died for me. Thank you that you fulfilled Your promise and rose again on the third day taking control over death as You promised. Thank you for the payment of my sins, past, present and future and for coming to live in my life. Today I celebrate Your resurrection and Your life.

In Jesus Name ~ Amen

If you have prayed that prayer in sincerity and from your heart, today you have a new home! Welcome Home to a new life in Jesus Christ. Happy Resurrection Son-day!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Darkest Day in All of History

I sometimes wonder just what that Saturday felt like following the crucifixion felt like to those that witnessed it first hand.

I can only imagine the grief that Jesus' mother endured not only having to bring this wonderful child into the world but to stand at the foot of the cross and watch all this happening to a son she knew perfectly well was not guilty. I would have to say she spent the night with close family members and friends.

The disciples must have gathered together after having been spread about the city because the Bible states in all the gospel accounts that none were there but then how did gospels capture the story. Did they flee the city hoping to avoid capture after the garden? I feel that they did. They reunited some how and endured this day remembering those times that they walked with Him and the lessons they learned, miracles they saw Him perform. I even expect an occasional laugh came through too about some funny thing that remembered Jesus doing.

I wonder how Peter felt the day after his denial of Jesus. I wonder just how many "what if's" he played out in his mind. I personally feel that Peter felt the worst. He was now living the life of regrets. A life he probably felt he could take back and wished he could. I see Peter sitting among the rest of the disciplines in the Upper Room but isolated from the others in tears.

So they all united together with one another grieving over the loss of what they must have questioned was the true Messiah. I guess He wasn't really the one we had hoped for? It can't have ended this way? Surely we have missed something? What will happen now?

These are all questions I am sure ran through the mind of the believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

Yet this particular day was still a day of lost hope. I can't imagine anyone somewhere thinking, Hey wait remember what Jesus said, He always spoke in parables, didn't He say something about rebuilding the temple in 3 days, do you think it means Him? If so, won't He be coming back again?

I seriously doubt it because the Bible does not record this day. I can only imagine it was the longest day any of them had ever experienced in their life. Life without hope can do that to you. Rob you of time, of joy, of life even if you let it.

Heaven must have fallen silent at that very moment Christ died as well. I can only imagine the grief that God experienced after having to punish his son, who did no wrong with all the sins of man, past, present and future as those He personally had committed them all. God grief must have been greater than we would ever know. I am sure the angels were weeping. Heaven for a brief moment must have fallen silent.

In the world I am sure that Satan and his enemies were having a great old laugh at God's expense too! Fists being thrown in the air at God, mocking him that even his only perfect son, could not bear the power of death. That they had won!

Yet as we know not even the power of death could hold back our Savior. For at that moment he was in the pit of hell taking back the keys of death from Satan and his minions because in a few short hours, the world would know for certain that Christ will rise from the dead. We all know that Jesus was still on the throne, still in power and still working in the details. Wait til tomorrow!

Little however did the disciples now the majesty of what would await them in the morning. But for now, I am choosing to reflect and remember just what Jesus has done in my life today and how if it weren't for Him, I would be hopeless and lost.

If you are feeling like the bottom has fallen out of your world, if you have lost hope, the will to move forward past today, if you feel completely all alone in whatever your facing and you don't know Jesus, I would encourage you today to seek Him. He will completely rewrite your book, the challenges you face you won't face alone. He is the ultimate in redemption, forgiveness and hope. If you'd like to give Jesus a try just simply pray this prayer:

Lord Jesus,

I know that everything I've tried in my life has left me feeling alone and empty. That nothing this world has to offer can fill the place in my life that only You were meant to. I realize now, I can do nothing without You, and I don't want to any longer. I realize I am a sinner and I don't want that life anymore. I turn from the things of this world, and ask You to come into my life. Forgive me Jesus for all the things in my life that are wrong and messed up. Fill me with Your Spirit.

I know You are the Son of God, that you came down here to Earth to sacrifice Yourself unconditionally for the payment of my sins, past, present and future. I know it was through your sacrifice on the cross that you paid the payment once and for all through You blood that was shed. That You died but on the third day, You rose again victorious over the power of death. That simply believing in You and asking You to come into my life, I am forgiven, I am restored, I am saved and when this life is over, I will have a forever home in Heaven with you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

I would encourage you if you have prayed that prayer and meant it with your whole heart, you have just increased the population in heaven by one and there is a celebration going on in the heavens just for you. Now it's time to make your life count. Pick up a Bible and begin reading the book of John to learn more about Jesus. Welcome home!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Day We Lost More Than Just Hope

Some 2ooo years ago today, the heavens and the earth fell silent as they mourned for the prince who would no longer exist in human form.

I wonder what the evening felt like when Jesus breathed His last and claimed, "It is finished!"

What were the feelings beyond utter grief and sadness for those that knew Him and now were without hope? Did any remember his words that He'd be back in three days or did they forget the power He possessed over death?

The Bible declares that when Jesus was on the cross it was about noon and the whole land became dark until 3pm because the sun did not shine and curtain in the Temple was torn in two.

Then Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, I give You My life." After Jesus said this, He died.

Joseph from Arimathea came and took Jesus' body down and laid in the tomb before sundown on Passover.

Yet two betrayed Jesus that day. Judas did it with a kiss, Peter with an oath in the courtyard. Both of them had heard Jesus predict their disobedience, and both were crushed at their own sins.

Judas unwilling to face his guilt, commits suicide.

Peter, shattered by his sin, broke down and wept like a child. Peter opened himself to confession, forgiveness, and resolve.

In the years that followed, Judas became an embarrassing memory.

Peter changed the world.

Remorse and repentance.

Two similar words, with incredibly potent differences.

When caught in sin, its very tempting to throw ourselves to the ground, groveling in remorse. But the message of these two unforgettable disciples is that while remorse ends a life, true repentance starts one all over again.

Jesus Christ has already died for your sin.

He paid the full price for it on the cross.

Recognize your failure, receive your pardon, and go forward in victory.

Don't let it be the end of your life - let it be a new beginning.

Let us not forget the price that He ultimately paid today!

Come quickly Lord Jesus, we await your return as promised!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Warning Signs!

Monday marked 102 years since the day the Titantic sank into the Atlantic and claimed the lives of 1512 souls onboard. It is sad to consider all the signs that pointed to the prevention of those deaths and how each of them were overlooked in light of other things. Or was the Titanic simply fated to sink based on the pride of man to build a ship that was unsinkable?

If you have read enough books on the subject of the Titanic and not simply viewed Hollywood's version of the movie on the big screen, and separated the facts from simply a great unforgettable movie, than you know there were several things I believe that contributed to the sinking of the great ocean liner and could have prevented such a great loss of life.

First, the ship was not carrying enough life boats due to the cosmetic way that they appeared to take away from the look of a beautiful ocean liner that was touted as being unsinkable. Not only that but when the ship struck the iceberg on the early morning of April 14, 1912, those very lifeboats were not filled to the capacity of which they were designed, leaving many with no choice of what to do next. Either remain on the ship and hope for rescue, or let fate decide and risk the bitterly cold ocean waters of 28 degrees.

Second, Captain Smith was set to retire when the ship docked in New York, and since Bruce Ismay was all about making headlines, he was able to persuade Captain Smith to run the engines full steam ahead to make it to New York ahead of schedule and thus giving Captain Smith a royal way to retire. Yet despite all his years of knowledge of the sea, and the repeated ice berg warnings, Captain Smith made a fateful decision to go against his better judgement and do what Bruce Ismay wanted. They got their headlines alright!

Third, the iceberg warnings that were received were simply ignored by those that had the ability to make executive decisions. Knowing the crew that was on duty to search for icebergs in the crows nest had misplaced the binoculars that night and instead relied on what they could see and hope the ship would be able to turn in time. We know that would not be the case. Later we would learn that the Titanic simply ignored several reports of icebergs in the area they would later encounter.

The weather that night caused the seas to appear glassy and with no moon to shine upon the seas, it provided little light to see danger until they were literally on top of it. The calm seas prevented the sound of splashing waves on the iceberg to not be heard or even seen. We know the size of the propellers and the speed at which Titanic was moving along prevented them from being able to take appropriate action in enough time to prevent the ship from hitting the iceberg. Later studies would show that the ship might have survived the impact if they had not turned and instead hit the iceberg head on.

Yet despite all the warning signs, it sank. Lives were lost. In hindsight many wondered why so many things were ignored and the loss of life was so great when it could have been prevented or even reduced how many lives were taken that night.

However even today, we often ignore those same warning signs in our own life. We choose to think we have things in control and will ignore the signs of something coming that God doesn't want us to ignore. Perhaps it's signs of a pending job loss, but you think after all the time you have invested in the company or how valuable you think you are, you will never be let go, and then you are. You ignore those aches, pains, lumps and medical issues believing as long as you aren't told, you will be fine. Until you get the results of your medical tests back and realize that what could have been taken care of is now untreatable. How those signs in marriages where we know things aren't going right, however we choose to look the other way believing it can't happen to us, and it does when that faithful spouse of so many years simply walks out the front door.

God did not design us to simply choose to procrastinate and ignore the signs. He has provides us with the wisdom and foresight to see these signs and act before they are irreversible. Just like trying to find happiness and contentment in the world, through everything the world offers, hoping to find joy and instead wind up feeling empty inside. No amount of drugs or alcohol or whatever the world wants to offer will ever fill the hole in your life. Only Jesus can. Isn't it about time, you looked at the signs He has been sending your way and accept what He has to offer instead of the world's promises?

If you think you can put it off one more day, you are in fact tempting that same fate the Titanic did. We don't know when our lives will end or how. God could be at the threshold of your life right now ready to take your life at the end of the day. No one is guaranteed anything. We have a standing appointment of when we are born and when we did, but it's up to us what we do with that dash in between. If you reject Jesus today, you don't say yes, you are in fact saying No instead. It is simply that easy to accept what Jesus is offering today. Redemption, forgiveness, hope and unconditional love! Most of all, an eternal home with Him in Heaven along with every single believer in Jesus who has already died.

For believers when we die, there is no goodbye for our loved ones. Only see you when you get there! Don't you want that hope today? If you do, pray this prayer out loud and change your future today!! It will be the best thing you can do for the rest of your life and for your eternal one as well.

Dear Jesus,

Lord, I know I am a sinner. I've been trying to find my way in the world and have come up empty. I am ready to try having You take over my life instead and live in my heart. I know You came into this world to save me, to die for me, on the cross as payment for what I have done. I believe You are the Son of God and through Your sacrifice on the cross, Your resurrection after three days in which you rose from the dead, Your payment of blood that was shed for my sins, is the reason for hope in this world. That death will not be the end for me. That only through believing in Your Jesus, I will be saved!

I turn from my sin Lord and choose instead to follow You the rest of the days of my life I accept your gift of grace and know that NOTHING I can do will ever be enough to get me to heaven. Thank You Lord for this gift of salvation and I welcome you to dwell in my life and to change me. Thank You for loving me that much to die for me.

In Jesus precious name, AMEN!!

If you have prayed this prayer, the angels in Heaven are rejoicing!!! There will be significant changes about to take place in your life. Some of them won't be easy because the Bible says that we will face persecution for following Jesus, but the eternal rewards will be worth it. The enemy is not happy with the choice you made and will now launch a battle against you, but YOU are deemed and NOW have at YOUR disposal God's power of prayer. Use it daily and it will encourage you on those days when life gets you down. We don't have to stay down, we can look up and be filled with His Spirit. It will be worth it in the end, and I look forward to chatting with you soon. If you want to talk about anything, please reach out to me at I'd love to help encourage you and pray for you in your personal walk!