May 2, 2022

The Body

When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. Matthew 27:59-60

As I read through this passage, it occurred to me that when Joseph of Arimathea asked for and took the body of Jesus to be buried, it is clear that it was only His body.  The scripture says he took the body and wrapped it and laid it in the tomb.  It does say that he took Jesus and wrapped Him and laid Him in the tomb.  Of course, we know the reason is because Jesus wasn’t in His body anymore.  It was simply what Jesus needed to operate in this physical world.  It was a temporary dwelling place for Him while He was here.  When He died on the cross, He (the real Jesus) left that body/earth suit. 

There are many thoughts about where Jesus was during those three days when His body was in the tomb.  However, my point is that we all have these physical bodies, but they are not who we really are.  The real “you” is what makes your body move.  Your physical body is a vehicle that takes you where you want to go and does the things you command it to do.  Your spirit person is the one that is actually in charge and when you are done with your body, the real you will leave it and it will be left to be buried just as Jesus’ was.

Now we know Jesus came back for His body.  When He moved back in, His body changed into a glorious state.  His body became incorruptible and immortal.  It means it could no longer die or deteriorate.  If you have received God’s gift of salvation through Jesus’ blood and sacrifice, then one day you will have an incorruptible body too.  You will walk in a glorified body for all eternity, always to be with your Lord Jesus in your resurrected glorious home.

Today I want to encourage you to know that you are not what you look like on the outside.  That is simply a home that the real you lives inside of.  Don’t let your outside appearance be the only beauty that is seen.  Let the true beauty of your love for others shine through in your smile and kindness.  Recognize that the looks you have today are only temporary and are fading away.  Don’t get caught up on trying to be the most attractive body in the room.  Instead, be the one with the kindest and most generous heart.  Let the outside world see that you are more than what the human eye can see.  There is an awesome person inside that can be the most beautiful person in the room, everywhere you go.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 27:57-66

57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 

58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 

59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 

60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 

61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 

63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 

64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 

66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

April 30, 2022

Raised up with Christ 

“and the graves were opened; and the bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”    Matthew 27:52-53

This passage is often overlooked when reading about Jesus’ crucified.  However, the LORD showed me something personal in this scripture that I believe belongs to all of us who are in Christ Jesus!   This passage actually says when Jesus took His last breath on the cross, the Old Testament saints were raised up from the dead and came out of their tombs.  This is amazing to me and yet I have simply read over it every time.   Randomly, the LORD reminded me about this event last week. The moment Jesus died on the cross, all the Old Testament saints were resurrected.  Then He showed me that this is an important detail that often gets overlooked.

After considering it further, I remembered Ephesians 2:5-6  that says, “even when we were dead in trespasses, He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  Now, this is the picture that the LORD showed me . . . Jesus taking my hand and walking out of that tomb together.  Just like the Old Testament saints came out of their graves, I came out also.  Even though I wasn’t even on the earth yet, when I received Jesus, I ran out of dead sinful state, raised into new life with my LORD Jesus!!  Hallelujah!!  Jesus’ work covered the past, present, and future!  The past was the Old Testament saints, the present time covered the disciples and the saints of Jesus’ day, and the future is for us, those who receive and walk in His salvation today!  Hebrews 10:10 says, “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (people, sin and time).”  

So now, when I hear that I have been raised up with Christ Jesus, I remember this picture of walking out of the tomb with Jesus, forgiven and free from the bondage of sin. I am washed clean by the blood of the Lamb and walking daily in His power and victory! Glory to God!!

Today I want to encourage you to see yourself raised up with Christ Jesus and walking out of the grave of your dead past life and into the power of God’s grace that raise Jesus.  Get ahold of your position in Christ Jesus and the strength and authority He gave you to walk through this life in Victory!  Then begin to thank God our Father for His supernatural provision through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus.  This revelation brings fullness of joy!

Today’s scripture reading:  Matthew 27:45-56

45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 

48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.

49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”

50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 

52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 

53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

55 And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, 

56 among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

April 29, 2022

What will you do?

And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. Matthew:27:31

All of the people in Israel knew who Jesus was when He walked in this world.  Everyone knew He did miracles and was a teacher with a good message.  Of course, there were many who were jealous of Him.  Namely the religious leaders of the day.  They were afraid that Jesus would become more popular and also that He would turn the Hebrew people away from the synagogue.  They didn’t want to lose their fame or funding.  They all knew who Jesus was and some of them even spent time in His presence, but only to look for excuses to shut Him down.

In today’s reading, Jesus was handed over to the entire unit of Roman soldiers to be beaten and mocked.  Here was a group of people who again knew who Jesus was but did not know Him personally.  Some of them may have seen Him before that time and surly some of them were there when He was arrested.  However, none of them knew Him personally or spend time getting to know His heart of love for people especially those who were hurting.

The point is, this is still happening today.  Most people in our country have heard the name of Jesus and maybe even know that He was a person in history that was crucified.  Most know that He is worshiped by Christians and even that He is the Savior of the world.  Yet, many still mock Him and don’t see any need for Him in their lives personally. 

Then there are those who love Him deeply.  Those who spend time not only learning about Him, but also getting to know Him better each day personally by spending time talking with Him.  Those who have turned to Him for help when they were going through a crisis and then begin to walk with Him daily to point their life away from destruction.  Those who worship and honor Him because He is the One who paid the penalty for their sin and bridged the gap that was keeping them from the Father in heaven, and those who press into Him for strength and wisdom to help others who are going through struggles. To lead them to the truth of God’s love.

What about you?  What are you doing with Jesus?  Are you a mocker like those in Jesus’ day who saw His good works, but ridiculed His ways?  Are you among those who believe they have no need for Jesus to be in their life? Maybe you just haven’t considered that He can see the whole picture and wants to lead you in the path of fulfillment and peace? If you are, it is time to change your direction and turn toward Him.

Today I want to encourage you to consider what type of relationship you have with Him.  Is He Lord and Savior over your life?  Is He your best Friend that goes with you everywhere every day? Or is He someone you have heard of but never stepped into that intimate relationship of love that He want to walk in with you?  Decide today to accept Jesus into your life as the One who rescues you from the darkness of the world.  Walk in the light of His love and His wisdom.  Step away from the mockers of the world and make the decision to step into His arms of love.  Start the conversation today by praying this short prayer and keep that conversation going until you finish your course in this life.

Pray: God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior.  I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me.  Please forgive my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new.  I know Your Son, Jesus died for me.  I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead.  At this very moment, I accept, confess, and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward.  I now have a right relationship with God my Father through this salvation in Jesus. I thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me and to empower me to do the things that You have planned for my life in Jesus’ name, Amen

Today’s scripture reading; Matthew 27:27-44

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. 

28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 

29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 

30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 

31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.

32 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. 

33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, 

34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.

35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”

36 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. 

37 And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.

39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 

40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 

42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 

43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”

44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

April 26, 2022

I am Barabbas

Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. Matthew 26:26

This scripture is one of the clearest pictures of what Jesus came to do.  He came to the world to save sinners and He did that by trading places with them.  On the day Jesus was crucified, the people were offered a choice.  They could let Jesus go or they could free the well-known criminal, Barabbas.  Barabbas was a sinner for sure.  He deserved the punishment he was scheduled to get, but Jesus stepped in and took his place.  It doesn’t look like Jesus had a choice, but He most certainly did.  He could have prayed to His Father and God would have given Him more than twelve legions of angels to protect and rescue Him. (See Matthew 25:53) Jesus chose to pay Barabbas penalty for his crimes the same way He chose to pay the penalty for my crimes.

He did it for you too.  I like to call it the great exchange.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says that He became sin so I could become His righteousness.  Jesus took my sin, your sin and the sin of the whole world and in exchange, He gave us a right relationship with God.  He opened the door for all people to enter into the presence of the Father in heaven so that all could walk in, spend time with Him each day and walk out a life in His wisdom.  Jesus died to set me free from the bondage of sin and the prison of a sinful lifestyle. I am so thankful!

Barabbas was free to go back to his life before prison the day Jesus took his place.  It’s the same for you.  The day Jesus died was the day He made provision for your life of freedom, you only need to invite Him into your life and enter the door He opened to have a right relationship with the God and Father that created and loves you!

Today I want to encourage you to consider the choice Jesus made to free you from the grip of sin.  Recognize that He traded places with you and paid your penalty for being a person far from God.  Thank Him for bridging that gap and opening the door for you to enter into salvation and press into your Father in heaven to walk out the blessed life He planned for you before the foundation of the world, before the would fell under the curse of sin.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 26:11-26

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” 

12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.

13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” 

14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. 

16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 

17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 

18 For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.

19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 

21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”

23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”

24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.

25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.”

26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

April 25, 2022

Thirty Pieces of Silver

Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. Matthew 27:5

What are you striving after today?  What is the pursuit of your heart?  What “great” goal or dream are you chasing?  Is it fame or fortune?  Is it fulfillment in relationships?  Maybe you are hungry for a place in the world for rest and peacefulness or maybe your just want to fill your life up with so much activity you don’t have to think about what is really important.

Judas was struggling with discontentment in his life.  So much so that he thought his greatest gain would be by turning on his close friend.  Certainly, he and Jesus were close friends.  We know this because Jesus entrusted him with the funds of His ministry.  He had an issue with money and found himself in a tight spot.  In the gospel of John, we are told that Judas was a thief and took ministry funds for his own use.

It’s easy to criticize and condemn Judas for his actions, but how many of us are in the same place.  Oh, we may not steal money from ministries, but what about stealing time that God has purposed for His ministry?  What about resources that we consume on our own desires instead of the purpose God gave them to us for?  It’s easy now to look back at Judas’ example and see the blatantness of his sin, but not so easy to take a look in your own heart and expose any dark places that may be hiding there.

Recently, I found something in my own heart, and I am asking the Holy Spirit to empower me to purge it out.  It is the sin of complaining.  I know that this may seem mild compared to what Judas did but complaining is a poison that if left unchecked can grow a root of bitterness so deep that it produces a whole crop of discontentment and un-thankfulness (aka misery).  Above all else, it puts me on the opposing side of God, my loving Father, a place I never want to be.

Today I want to encourage you to examine your own heart and life. Where are you struggling and what are you pursuing?  Is it a fulfilling relationship with your heavenly Father and the path of the purpose you were born into this world to accomplish?  Or is it the pursuit of survival, just trying to keep your head above water?  What ever you discover, turn it over to you Savior today.  You will find peace, you will find rest and most of all you will find fulfillment!  Ask the Holy Spirit today to reveal those hidden thieves that want to rob you of all joy in life and then draw the strength you need from Him to purge them out!

Today’s scripture Reading: Matthew 27:1-10

1 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 

2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 

4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!

5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 

7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 

8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 

10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

April 24, 2022

Forgive           

But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.  Matthew 26:50

Jesus died on the cross to forgive the sin of the world.  He bled and suffered to pay the price of sin . . . all sin for all time.  You and I are forgiven today because of that payment.  If fact, all people are forgiven, but not all walk in that forgiveness.  It must be personally received in order for the payment of forgiveness to be activated in someone’s life.

Jesus forgave sin, long before He died to pay the penalty.  We see in today’s reading that when Judas came to betray Him, Jesus called Him friend to show that He still loved Him despite what he was doing to turn Jesus over to be crucified.  Throughout His entire ministry, Jesus spent time with sinners.  Those that wanted to be forgiven at brought to a place of redemption.  Forgiveness was always in His heart, and He gave it freely everywhere He went.  Even when He was suffering on the cross, He prayed: “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”  He was praying for those who were executing the order to kill Him because He had a heart to forgive, not to be grudging.  It was because He is love and there was no holding on to offense in Him.

Your and I have the power to forgive, also.  Our heart is always prepared to either forgive or hold on to hurts and resentments.  It is up to each individual to decide ahead of time the heart they want to have.  Thankfully, we will never have to pay the penalty for sin because Jesus already did that, but we do have to make the choice to release anything we are holding on to that keeps us in unforgiveness.

Today I want to encourage you to choose forgiveness. Choose to receive the forgiveness that God gives you through the blood of Jesus and choose to forgive others that have hurt and offended you.  You have a choice, but you have to determine ahead of time that you are going to do it.   God put the power of forgiveness in your heart when He put His love on the inside of you.  Use that power to set yourself free from the bondage and bitterness of retaliation.  Instead, release those who have sinned against you and walk in the freedom of God’s love and forgiveness from now on.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 26:47-75

47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.

48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 

49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 

51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 

53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 

54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 

56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

57 And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 

58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.

59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, 

60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward 

61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”

62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 

63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! 66What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.”

67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, 

68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”

69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”

70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”

71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”

73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”

74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 

75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

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April 23, 2022

“Sweet Hour of Prayer”

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:40-41

This is a hard one.  I’m not sure, but I think I probably would have done the same thing as the disciples did here.  They just came off the last supper, they listened to Jesus teach about communion.  Now they are in a place where they have previously spent many nights sleeping.  The logical thing seems like its time to sleep.  But Jesus asked them to do something different this night.  He took Peter, James and John deeper into the garden and confided in them that He was extremely stressed, so badly that He wished He were dead. He asked them to stay at that point and keep watch while He went on to pray.  I’m sure they didn’t know what they were watching for, but Jesus knew that Judas was coming with the guards.  That is why He was so anxious.  It was the beginning of the end of His time here.

Well, Peter James and John didn’t do so good with this assignment.  They fell asleep.  I’m sure they heard Jesus say that He was struggling, and it was probably obvious by the way He was behaving.  They may have even started praying when Jesus went to be by Himself, but they didn’t last long.

This is where I can relate to what was happening.  I sometimes I struggle now to pray more than just a few minutes at a time. Especially under pressure. Don’t get me wrong, I like to talk to God every chance I get, but when it comes time to press in and shut the rest of the world out, it doesn’t always last so long.  There used to be an old song that was popular called “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”  I tried it before, and it is true.  In fact, I made it a discipline at one point to pray in the spirit one hour each day.  What a blessing it was, and it was clear to me why the song was written.  About 45 minutes in, every time, there would seem to be a breakthrough and all of a sudden, things were known, peace was received, and answers and direction were apparent.  I can’t explain it, but it was there every time.  The only problem was getting there.  I knew the place to be, I just couldn’t always keep myself pressing in for that long. 

I believe this is why Jesus asked the disciples “Couldn’t you stay with me in prayer for one hour?”  Then He went on to tell them the reason that “sweet” hour of prayer is so important.  It is because the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  Staying in prayer for that length of time pushes through the weakness of the flesh and brings the strength of the spirit to the front of your life. What a blessing!

Now instead of seeing this as a discipline, I see it as a privilege.  It is a privilege to be in the presents of my heavenly Father for long lengths of time.  It is an honor to hang out with the trinity and put my flesh in its proper place.  It is a great advantage to my life if I can make it to that “sweet hour of prayer.”

Today I want to encourage you to take advantage of the privilege of prayer.  Step into the great honor we have as God’s children to spend time with our Father in heaven.  Maybe it will start out as a little, but gradually build up that time to linger in His presence.  Set a goal to spend an hour with Him at least one day per week and make it a practice to bask in His glory every opportunity you have.  It is a game changer for sure.  Your life will shift into a whole new dimension.  It makes sense if you think about it.  When you spend time in the presence of God, His glory is sure to rub off on you!

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 26:31-46

31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”

33 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”

34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 

37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 

38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 

41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 

43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.

44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 

45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 

46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

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April 22, 2022

Blood of the new covenant

For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  Matthew 26:28

This was a radical statement for Jesus to make.  Every one of the disciples and every Hebrew person for that matter, knew what a blood covenant meant.  It is not so common to us today, though.  A blood covenant was cut between to people or cities as a pact or agreement that each of the participating parties would bring their best into the accord.  For example, if there was a city that was rich in produce, they would share their best crops with another city that was rich in natural resources (i.e. water, soil, elements) that they would share in return.  This was a covenant in the natural.  Many cities that were weak would seek out a covenant with a stronger fortified city as a place of refuge in time of danger/war.

The disciples were familiar with the God covenants.  God had made agreements with: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and David.  All the nation of Israel knew about these covenants and celebrated them.  They also knew that they were cut in blood.  Blood shed is a requirement for a covenant with God.  So, when Jesus said His blood was a new covenant, they must have perked up to listen to what He was talking about.  He briefly explains the new covenant as the remission of sins. It actually means cancelling a debt owed, in this case, the debt of sin.

I’m sure the disciples didn’t get it that day, and even after Jesus came back from dying on the cross, they were still focused on Him overturning the Roman government of their day.  It wasn’t until the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell on them that they realized Jesus died to free them from the bondage of sin not Rome.  The greatest gift ever given and the greatest covenant.  This is why in the new covenant the commandment is to love one another because you are no longer required to pay the debt of your sin.  Jesus brought His best, His life into the covenant in exchange for our best, our love for Him and others.

Today I want to encourage you to consider the new covenant.  The covenant with God through the pure and sinless blood of Jesus.  His strength in the agreement is His salvation from an eternity of paying the debt of our sin and being separated from the God Who loves us.  Ours is loving and honoring our heavenly Father and all people.  If you have never entered into this covenant with God through His Son’s blood, do that today and as soon as possible.  Pray this prayer and Jesus will come into your life and save you and your life will make a radical change in a new and blessed direction that you never imagined possible.

Pray: God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior.  I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me.  Please forgive my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new.  I know Your Son, Jesus died for me.  I believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead.  At this very moment, I accept, confess, and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward.  I now have a right relationship with God my Father through this salvation in Jesus. I thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to guide me and to empower me to do the things that You have planned for my life in Jesus’ name, Amen

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 26:26-30

26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 

28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 

29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

April 21, 2022

He knows

Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.” Matthew 26:25

Whatever you are going through in life, He knows.  He is there and He will help you.  It is up to you to first surrender and ask.  He is always ready to jump in, but He always waits for the invitation.  He doesn’t force or push, He moves when He is invited.  Maybe you call out to Him or maybe someone is calling to Him in your behalf, but make no mistake, He knows all about what you are going through.  It’s not that He doesn’t care.  On the contrary, He cares very much but He puts the choice in your hands of how much involvement He has in your life.  You can include Him a little when things are really rough, or you can include Him a lot, on a daily even continual basis.  The Lord Jesus is involved in your life to the degree that you want Him involved and that is good news.

It’s good news because He put you in charge of your relationship with Him.  You are the one who decides what you get out of the relationship. If you ignore Him and only call on Him when you need something, that is what you will get out of it.  If you spend time talking with Him and include Him in every area of your life, you will be able to walk in divine wisdom, divine protection and divine health.  It’s true, and in today’s word, we see just how loving He is and His willingness to be ready to jump in when asked.

The reading starts out with Judas, after being offended at the rebuke Jesus gave over the women with the alabaster flask, going to the high priest and asking for payment to turn Jesus over to them.  He could have been thinking that Jesus couldn’t be detained because He had never allowed it in the past.  Maybe he wasn’t even thinking past the money, but that fact is he turned his loyalty over to the priest the minute he conspired with them. 

Here’s the kicker!  Jesus gives Judas an out.  He confronts him face to face.  He tells everyone at the Passover supper that one of them there was going to betray Him.  None of them deny it, they actually believe what Jesus is saying.  They ask who it is and when Judas asked, He plainly told him that he was the one.  Judas then has a decision to make.  Should he confess and ask forgiveness?  Certainly, Jesus would have helped him out of the mess.  Instead, Judas leaves and keeps his agreement with the priest.  It is such a sad story, but notice Jesus doesn’t beg and plead with him not to do it.  He made it clear that he had a choice when he said “ the Son of Man goes just as it is written of Him but woe to that one by who the Son of Man is betrayed.”  Jesus had to go to the cross and He knew it, but He didn’t have to be betrayed by Judas.  Even though there was a prophecy about it, I know He would have forgiven Him if he had surrendered.  That is what He does.  Love and forgives.

So what about you?  What are you going through?  Are you having a financial struggle like Judas was?  Are you hurting in your family or marriage?  Does it feel like your world is crashing down on you?  You can run to Jesus today.  Surrender it all to Him and He will help you through.  I know it is true, because He has bailed me out many times.  I call on Him, He answers me and I’m so glad that He does.  Without Him, I would be in a terrible place in my life.  Instead, I am beyond blessed and its because I let Him invade and lead in every part of my life.  He will do the same for you!  Trust Him today and turn over the problems you are going through and then commit to handling things His way.  He will lead you out of that deep pit you are in and bring you to the victory that He died to get for you.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 26:14-25

14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 

15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. 

16 So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

17 Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”

18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.” ’ ”

19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.

20 When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. 

21 Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

22 And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?”

23 He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. 

24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.”

April 20, 2022

A Memorial

But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. Matthew 26:10

A good work.  That is what Jesus said about the women who poured out the costly oil on Him.  As I read this scripture, I was instantly reminded of many other scriptures about “good works.”  We know that good works do not save us or bring us into the presence of God, only the blood of Jesus can do that.  However, this passage says that this woman’s good work will be told as a memorial to her.  I wonder how many good works will be told as a memorial to me and you? 

Below is a short list of “good work” scriptures to consider just how important good works are to our heavenly Father.  Certainly good works bless Him.

2 Corinthians 5:10 says that we will all be judged one day whether our works were good or bad.

James 2:26 says faith without (good) works is dead.

Titus 2:7 tells us that we should live by a pattern of good works

Titus 3:1 says we are to be ready for every good work

James 3:13 says wisdom and understanding is show by doing good works with meekness.

Ephesians 2:10 states that we were created for the purpose of good works.

Today I want to encourage you to watch for those good works that God planned for your life.  He has set up opportunities for you to be a blessing to others.  Begin to recognize when those moments are in front of you and don’t pass them by.  Take the time to be a blessing to others and you will be a blessing to your Father in heaven.  Let your works be a memorial to you for good and they will be an eternal reward when you are finished in this world.

Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 26:6-13

6 And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, 

7 a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. 

8 But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 

9 For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”

10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 

11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 

12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 

13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”