Ezekiel 18:24-28 and Matthew 21:28-32; What do they say to us?

But if a upright man renounces his integrity,commits sin, copies the wicked man and practices every kind of filth,is he to live? All the integrity he has practices shall be forgotten from then on; but this is because he himself has broken faith and committed sin, and for this he shall die. But you object, “What the Lord does is unjust”. Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of it, he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed. When the sinner renounces sin and becomes law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die. 8 Jerusalem Bible

‘But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, “son out and work in the vineyard today.” The son answered, “No,I won’t go,” but later he changed his mind and went anyway. The the father told the other son,”You go,”and he said,”Yes, sir, I will.” But he didn’t go.
Which of the two sons obeyed his father?’
They replied, ‘The first.’
Then Jesus explained his meaning: ‘I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you did not believe him while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.’
New Living Translation

With the example of the two sons, Jesus explains Ezekiel in a way that we should grasp clearly, If we turn from sin, and repent, not to return to sin then we are saved, we are to see the Kingdom of God. But if we say,”Yes Lord,” but do not repent but continue to sin, we will not see the Kingdom of God but will indeed die in our sins. Do not cry that the Lord is unjust, for he is true Justice, merciful as He is, His justice is Divine. Refusing to believe and repent, to renounce our sins and to live upright, (holy) lives is to not work the vineyards. For how can we work the vineyards of Faithfulness if we reject His Word by continuing to live with sin as our companion. Why mock those who continually repent of sins and say, “We are saved, we do not need to repent.” when you have not repented at all and continue to sin? It is better to confess,repent and seek reconciliation daily than to mock the Lord with you continued sin. For surely you shall die with your sins binding you. John the Baptist had one message; “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Yet the priest and leaders of the “church’did not repent,only the tax collectors (such as Matthew) and the Prostitutes ( as with Mary Magdalene) became the beloved of God and followers of upright living.

Who then shall be saved? the repentant,those who after having said no to the Lord, return to the vineyard and work,having repented. For the vineyard is ripe and ready but the workers are few, many have said yes to the Lord but do not work. Which son are you? In your heart, do you trully repent and go into the vineyard? Or you the proud son who says yes an does noting? Are you the one who cries,”Unfair!” or are you the one who cries, “Have mercy on me.” Do you eat of the fruit of the Spirit or do you stand by and starve from the Grace of the Holy Spirit? Salvation come to those who serve the Lord and obey His every commandment. But to say, “I do not need to obey, for the Lord is merciful and forgives me even as I sin,” makes mockery of His Love. Is your life one of repentance? Or is it one of pride and vanity? Are you a reconciled tax collector or a unrepentant “priest” who thinks himself holier than thou? Do you see the glory of God in those who have repented or are you blind to your own self righteousness? Examine yourselves carefully,and seek after God, Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand, He is here among us.


Listen

24 But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. (ESV)


Listen

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. 30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. (ESV)

Naomi and Depression

Since the recent death of Robin Williams many are asking how could a wonderful, funny man like Mr. Williams commit suicide? He was so full of life, he believed in Jesus, he did so many wonderful things. Well it is not uncommon for those who have great love to suffer from depression. It is not strange that those who do the most good for others, see no good in themselves. If you read the book on Mother Theresa, “Come Be My Light” you will find that she suffered from a great “Darkness” that hid God from her. I what to share with you that having depression is not a sin, it is a condition that renders one incapable of finding or controlling peace.

While we tend to think of depression as a phenomenon of the modern society it is documented by scriptures. Naomi is one of these marvelous people who suffered and survived. We have to look at her nature, her circumstances and her recovery and coping. Because she can teach us much.

I am making an assumption that you know who she is. You find her in the Book of Ruth. Ruth is pivotal in the story of Naomi. When things are at the worst, Ruth is the one whose love allows recovery. Chapter one of Ruth tells of Naomi’s tragic life. How she was uprooted from Bethlehem, moved to a foreign pagan land, ripped from her core religious foundations, raises and loses her two sons and her husband and is victimized by the very things that drove her husband to leave their home in the first place. The very names of her sons indicate that she had little hope for them. Mahlon and Kilion translate to “Sickly” and “Whining”, not comforting names for strong youth. And then they marry daughters of the old enemies of Israel, pagans who do not know God Yahweh.

As we read her conversation with the two pagan daughter-in-laws, even though she loves them as true daughters, she tell them, “Go back to your mothers’ houses. And may the LORD reward you for your kindness.” . (NLT) She has lost her entire family, her country, her God. As we see in her continued argument, “Why should you want to go with me? Can I give birth to other sons who can grow up to be you husbands?” () And also the crowning statement of depression, “Things are far more bitter for me than for you because the LORD Himself has raised His fist against me.” (b)

This is were we see her depression at its peak. She is not only bitter, she is determined to believe that God is punishing her. And this is the issue I want to address. No matter how logic defies guilt, rejection or remorse over things we have no control over, those suffering from depression are not convinced that it is not their fault. Naomi believes that God hates her. She see herself the cause of her own grief for making God angry with her. And when she returns with Ruth (who refuses to leave her alone), she rebukes those who are happy that she returned to her home land, “Don’t call me Naomi! Instead, call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?” ( NLT)

I will come to Ruth’s role in this a bit later, but for now, let us examine how Naomi’s depression is classic in today’s time. The classic victim of depression sees himself/herself as guilty of what they deserve, they are being punished for living. They see life as a dark place, full of toil, turmoil and grief. And it is of their own making, they have earned the “right” to be placed where they are in life. I am speaking in generalities, for every case is unique, but for the variations still center on this theme. As Naomi see herself somehow wicked for what ever reason, she rejects the welcome of her old friends, she rejects their happiness. That is because she can not see any happiness for herself.

When people try to “make” a person in depression “happy” it has the opposite effect. The depression rejects happiness as a “false reality” and is repulsed by it. And being repulsed by happiness or hope, the person draws deeper into depression, a downward cycle. Naomi’s depression is so great she won’t even go and gather the remnants of grain left for the poor by the Law. She sends Ruth out by herself to get grain. But Ruth’s nature is the very thing that she needs to be drawn out. We see in the rest of the story how Ruth uses her need of Naomi to bring her Mother-in-law back to hear and respond to God. The Book of Ruth is one of the most important Books of the Old Testament because it has so many illustrations in it to show faith and faithfulness; trust and obedience; and servitude to God in every circumstance. For such a short story it is overflowing with lesson on being a Christian. You could spend a year studying it and still not know enough of it.

But here I need to show how the relationship of Ruth to Naomi is what draws Naomi back from depression. Ruth is optimistic, filled with hope and with love. When Naomi is bitter and downcast with God, ready to believe that God rejected her, Ruth says, “DON’T ASK ME TO LEAVE and turn back!” I believe she shouted it, I don’t think she whispered it softly, because her forcefulness is in the entire passage, “Where ever you go, I will go; where ever you live, I will live; Your people will be my people, your God will be my God.” While Naomi has given up, Ruth is just the opposite, Ruth’s Hope is contagious. She has so much love that she takes over Naomi’s depression and forces Naomi to go forward, even if only for a little while. The Depression returns to Naomi as soon as she enters Bethlehem. Ruth uses another tactic, now she is the submissive one, dependent on her mother-in-law’s knowledge, forcing Naomi to make choices, and later, to make God choices.

This is how we receive treatment from professionals, those of us who are crippled by Depression. We are forced to move forward, then we are given options and finally we are forced to trust in our own choices. And this is how you can help someone in depression. In my own past, those who loved me, showed me Hope. Hope that I could not accept for myself, I accepted for them and I followed along. Ruth showed great love, great Faith and Great Hope. Naomi was helpless to resist. Then Ruth showed a need for Naomi, a willingness to serve her needs and to stay close, asking permission rather than simply telling her she was going to gather food. Making Naomi respond to the request, to start rationalizing. We can do this, simple things. Making them decide what to have for dinner, what movie to watch, things like that. As the progress is made, the decision making becomes easier. Confidence is built. But the absolute tool that is needed is unconditional love. And that is a godly gift.

We need to open our minds to help those who cannot see any light in the darkness they live in. People suffering from depression see life and light in shadows. Light blinds them. It is like stepping out of a closet into a brightly lit room or from a cave into the mid-day sun. They need guidance, a helping hand from those who are accustomed to the light, they need to be shielded from the brightness until they can adjust. And it is best if the one helping has at least seen how dark the cave is that depression creates. Naomi lived in a dark place, Ruth lived with her but did not hide in the darkness but keep finding light places, a future, a dream, a hope in love. And because of that, she gave hope, and love to Naomi.

What we learn from Naomi and Ruth is depression can be conquered by Love, Faith and Hope. And that determination overcomes fear, despair and the sense of rejection. Grace, peace and confidence in God plays a mighty role in recovery. Naomi found purpose in Ruth, we need to show our friends and family who suffer from depression that they also have purpose in our lives. We have to let them see that they have meaning and a vital role in who we are. For without them, we become less that we should be. As Ruth showed Naomi that she needed her wisdom and knowledge of God to know what to do, we need to show the victim of depression, they are purposeful.

In Closing, I simply what to say, that each case is unique, each person is not treated the same way. While this is not a “cure-all” type of paper, it is advice on how to react to those who suffer from Depression. I also what to advise you that most who have depression issues, have mastered the art of concealing it from you. So you may never know, as with the friends of Robin Williams, that there is a problem, that they are suffering. There are signs that you can watch for if you suspect depression. Withdrawing from normal activities that you know the have enjoyed before. Stopping going out of the home, even to shop for food, not answering the phone or returning calls. And now there is a new one that has become noticeable recently, weird postings on Face Book or Twitter. Stopping eating regularly, or eating excessively. Increased alcohol consumption or if a light drinker, the sudden distaste for alcohol. Mood swings, or a sudden dislike of gatherings, over talkativeness or the total lack of joining in conversations.

You would think that the people who are closest would notice more, but they are the ones most unlikely to see changes because they are gradual rather than abrupt. My own wife failed to see that I was in danger until it was almost to late. Infrequent friends are more likely to see changes and take notice. With me, I had few friends partially because my depression was long term. But my co-workers noticed how I was becoming more isolated. Unfortunately, they had little or no contact with my family. Even my fellow worshipers at church, did not notice. They thought I had another problem and made false accusations against me, AFTER I was on the road to recovery and control. Needless to say, I stopped going to that church.

I share these things with you because you may be in the right place when God call to help someone you know learn to live, to be free, and to accept Love enough to fight depression and defeat it. But even if you can’t do that, I beseech you to pray, pray, PRAY! Prayer is a great tool. Prayer healed my mother from withdrawal because of a mountain of medications that only made her worse. Prayer healed her spirit and cleans her memory of things that triggered depression episodes. Prayer gives encouragement and hope from God. Prayer allowed me to never return to the defeat of depression. I still have episodes, but they are short lived, conquered by prayer and will.

God Bless you and keep you in His Eternal Grace.


Listen

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. (ESV)


Listen

11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? (ESV)


Listen

13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” (ESV)


Listen)

20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; [1] call me Mara, [2] for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.

Ruth 1:21 (Listen

20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; [1] call me Mara, [2] for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.

Ruth 1:21 (Listen)

21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 1:20 Naomi means pleasant
[2] 1:20 Mara means bitter

Christianity and Boundries

DID JESUS SET LIMITS ON OUR LOVE?

I find it strange that those who take the Bible literally, find it so hard to accept those who are “different” from themselves. In the Prophets we are told to be kind to the strangers living in our mists, Jesus told us to love one another as He loves us, Paul speaks of being one body under Christ. This to me implies that we are a people with out borders, without conflicts and most assuredly, without boundaries or limitations in the capacity of Brotherly love.

I was reading ; “Then I will draw near to you for judgement. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, the adulterers, against those who swear falsely,against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages,the widow and the fatherless,against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear Me, says the LORD [Yahweh] of Hosts.”

To me this is a clear mandate for us to treat everyone with fairness and brotherly love. There is no limitations to the ability to love the homeless,the immigrant, the children fleeing from violence and parentlessness. Especially those who are refuges from wars, civil wars,and criminal oppression. Yet to many of those who say “I know Jesus” have not expressed any desire to reach out in love support fair wages for migrant workers, for single parents for just about anyone in need. Jesus also said, “as you do for the least of mine,you do for Me.” Yet is is to easy to walk by the very people we should be reaching out to.

There should be NO boundaries in our desire to love,to justly help, to even pray for every one who is suffering from any form of oppression. The LORD goes on to say in Malachi, “Your words have been hard against me….You have said it is vain to serve God….Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.” And, “Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked,between one who serves God and the one who does not serve Him.” ()

We cannot just sit back and wait for God to tell us to do Right and to seek Justice. We are to be the forerunners of His grace by reaching out every time,in every way possible to NOT put God to the test. Test instead the spirit that says, “Send the refuges back,cheat the workers, cut the health benefits for the veterans,the elderly, the children.” Test them ans see that they are not of God, for God said Love one another as I have loved you. is the cornerstone of the love we should have for everyone. “In this the love of God was made manifest among us,that God sent His only Son into the world, so we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He has loved us and sent his only Son to be the propitiation [to be rendered atonement] for our sins. Behold,if God so loved us,we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.”

It goes to say then, in my mind, if you do not love one another, the maybe God doesn’t abide in you. “If anyone says ‘I love God.’ and hates his brother,he is a liar; for he who hates his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” So then who is my brother? Every man woman and child created by God. Who then are the kinsmen of Christ? All who have called upon Him and repented. Does this include immigrants, refugees, single mothers, elderly who are non-believer? Yes! It include all who have not yet know Christ because through us they may be shown Christ. But most importantly, it includes those who are of Christ,because failing to see to them in love is to fail to love God.

Blessed are those who are peacemakers, who see tot he needs of others before themselves, who give unselfishly to the causes that restore others. Blessed are those who show their love of God with works of kindness. Are you to counted among them? So to the Question if there should be boundaries, the answer is absolutely not! Let there be no limit to the love we have for everyone, let no spirit blind or bind you into rejecting love for or from anyone.

The Cross and the Atonement: Confession, Contrition and Repentance.

WHAT SCIENCE HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT THE DEATH OF JESUS AND OUR ATONEMENT

One thing I learned from science is that before the creation of the Universe there was a void. A vacuum that contained no matter, no time and no space as we understand time space and matter. In Theology we call this Heaven. Taking that concept and applying it to the Cross When Jesus as wholly man died and Jesus Wholly God took our sins out of this world, we see that the Atonement is also out of Time,Space and Matter.

We have to accept this premise to understand about the wonder of the Atonement. and why Confession, Contrition and Repentance are all linked to it. The first thing to accept is that we are not the atonement, Jesus is. There is nothing we can do that will completely atone for our sins. I want to add one more thing that I left out of the title; Absolution. The Atonement offers total Absolution, the removal of guilt and shame. What God means when He said I shall remember their iniquities no more. Only Jesus could do that, as the perfect man, He was able to take the burden of our sins, without shame, without guilt. When Jesus said. “it is finished.” He had taken the whole burden of sin upon himself and in the flesh died. He took the guilt and the shame out of this realm into the next. he took them into a realm without time or matter.

That brings me to the point of our confession, repentance and contrition. The Atonement is not in the here and now, it is outside of time. So when we confess our sinfulness, repent of it, and strive to be contrite (turn around and away from sin), we are giving it over to the Cross, the Day of Atonement. Our sins are atoned for on the cross as if we were there. Jesus died and took our sins he took all of them that are confessed, all sins repented, all held in contrition. The Absolution comes from the Cross, as a grace. In the Catholic Church, it is taught that this absolution come from Christ under the authority He gave the Disciples after His Resurrection. It is not the priest that absolves our sins, it is Christ Himself. This is the teaching. And the absolution is taking place on the Cross, not in the present. Just as the sin is forgiven, the repentance accepted and the contrition validated not in the present but in the place without time, heaven.

The Atonement is complete, it is”finished” and a New life has begun. But still confession of our sinful nature is essential to the Absolution, Repentance is vital, for God can not, will not forgive what is not repented. And the desire of contrition is a grace of the Holy Spirit. What many have failed to grasp is that confession, repentance and contrition are all gifts of the Holy Spirit,for we can not be trully repentant and, desire to confess and to be contrite unless motivated and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. We can confess what we are not contrite about but then it is not true confession. And like wise we can be contrite for a moment, but without the Holy Spirit, that contrition is incomplete, for it is through the Holy spirit we are able to “turn away from sin” as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation but [turn] away from evil.” For it is not us but God who is “The Power and the Glory now and forever.”

But as it is not in the present nor in that past that our sins where taken by the Perfect Atonement, it is neither a then nor a now but in the Eternal Moment of the Eternal Grace that all sin is removed, all guilt and shame is forgotten and contrition can come. Praise be to God in the Highest! In that Eternal Moment, God accepted the Perfect atonement and it is everlasting, never having a beginning nor an end. A moment that remains outside of time and Matter, a moment that is not relived by our confession but is the same moment for all, those who confessed to Peter and Paul, those who confessed to a priest, for all confessed to Christ and by Christ were made One with Him. What we confess today is forgiven in eternity, forgotten, never to be remembered. For many this will be hard to accept, not only those who reject the Priestly confession, but those who can not comprehend a place without time or matter. But as Paul said that when he would receive his Crown, the others would also receive their crowns, and all will judged at once, so it applies to the concept that there is not Yesterday, today or tomorrow in the everlasting heaven. There is no morning nor evening, time does not exist. so Christ’s Death can offer Absolution and Atonement to all who seek it once even though they are not asking at the same time, even though some asked for on Pentecost another yesterday, and some will not ask for until some future date, some on their deathbed. The Atonement happened on the Cross and it is somehow still Eternal,everlasting and in the Moment asked for.
God Bless us all, thank you dear Jesus for being the eternal Atonement, Amen!

Resurrection Sunday 2014

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,’Peace be with you.’ When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when He said this He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy spirit. If you forgive sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.'”

In the Resurrection come great Glory and Power of God. Jesus is giving to the disciples, His power, His grace and His forgiveness. And in that we come to the fullness that what God has forgiven, we are instructed to forgive. He has breathed His Holy Spirit into us that we are enabled to use the gifts as Jesus used them. Nothing is held back.

As This time, the passion of Christ is to commemorate the forgiveness of sin, let us also forgive. As it is the time we remember the gift of the sacrifice of Love, let us love. Not for a day, but for eternity. As He has shown His glory to us, let us show His glory to others. As Jesus was sent by the Father, let us go out and be a blessing to all.

Prayer for this Day: Glory to God, Christ has risen! Glory to the Heavens above, let us rise up and greet Him who comes in the Name of the Father and by His spirit, heals and forgives. Amen and amen!


Listen

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (ESV)

Lenten Devotion 2014: Holy Saturday

“Like a sapling he grew up in front of us. like a root in arid ground.
Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him), no looks to attract our eyes;
a thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering,
a man to make people screen their faces; he was despised and we took no account of him.

And yet ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried.
But we, we thought of him as someone punished. struck by God, and brought low.
Yet he was pierced though for our faults, crushed for our sins.
On him lies the punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.”

He laid in the tomb, He walked into the Pit of Hell and He rescued us from death and all the saints before Him. And yet they did not know Him. Do we really know Jesus? Are we not seeing Him for the greatness He has done? Let us learn to hear and to see what others did not. Let us see God in Christ Jesus. Let us see Christ in each other.

Prayer for today: Grant us eternal Peace, and Mercy for what our sins have done. Amen


Listen

For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected [1] by men;
a man of sorrows, [2] and acquainted with [3] grief; [4]
and as one from whom men hide their faces [5]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 53:3 Or forsaken
[2] 53:3 Or pains; also verse 4
[3] 53:3 Or and knowing
[4] 53:3 Or sickness; also verse 4
[5] 53:3 Or as one who hides his face from us

Lenten Devotion 2014: Good Friday

“It was now about the sixth hour and, with the sun eclipsed, a darkness came over the land until the ninth hour. The veil of the Temple was torn right down the middle, and when Jesus cried in a loud voice, He said,’Father into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ with these words he breathed His last.” : 44-46

This is what we celebrate, the final sacrifice. In Jesus, all sacrifices are complete. As a man He took all sin, all transgressions and bore them into death. And even onto the very last breath, He committed all this to the Father. He took presented them to God and took the death that was due mankind and died for our sake.

I have believed at the moment of this death, Jesus was separated from the Father because God can not contain sin, so it was Jesus, wholly man who bore our sins. And as man, Jesus turned His spirit over to the Father to take all punishment for our sins. In doing this we are free from condemnation. While we were still sinners, He took our sins, suffered our fate and defeated Satan at his own game. That is why this day is such an important day to remember.

Prayer for Today: Lord Jesus, you gave everything that we may obtain grace and purity. You became nothing so we could have everything holy and pure. Blessed is the Name of Jesus! Blessed are You who are our rescuer and salvation! Amen!


Listen

23:1 Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore punish and release him.” [1]

18 But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”— 19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. 20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, 21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” [2] And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, [3] “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, [4] saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

44 It was now about the sixth hour, [5] and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, [6] 45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. [7] 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 23:16 Here, or after verse 19, some manuscripts add verse 17: Now he was obliged to release one man to them at the festival
[2] 23:34 Some manuscripts omit the sentence And Jesus . . . what they do
[3] 23:38 Some manuscripts add in letters of Greek and Latin and Hebrew
[4] 23:39 Or blasphemed him
[5] 23:44 That is, noon
[6] 23:44 That is, 3 p.m.
[7] 23:54 Greek was dawning

Lenten Devotion 2014: Maudy Thursday

“I say to you as a sensible people: judge for yourselves what I am saying. The blessing cup that we bless is a communion with the blood of Christ, and the bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. the fact that there is only one loaf means that, though there are many of us, we form a single body because we share in this single loaf.”

“Now taking as they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and when he has said the blessing, he broke it and gave it to His disciples, ‘Take and eat,’ He said, ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he has returned thanks he gave it to them, ‘Drink all of you from this,’ he said, ‘for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin.”

In the words of Thomas a’Kepus, “For it is Your [Christ’s] work, not the power of man, Your sacred instructions, not his invention. No man is able of himself to comprehend and understand these things which surpass even the keen vision of angels. How, then, shall I, an unworthy sinner who am but dust and ashes, be able to fathom and understand so great a mystery?”

I AM NOT ABLE TO UNDERSTAND but I still believe, I believe in the fullness of Christ as it was presented to the disciples. And that when we partake of the sacrament, we are joined in Christ, with Christ and for Christ. That we are held up to God the Father in Union with Christ as a single body,one Faith one People of God. It is no coincidence that Jesus used the Passover to introduce this sacrament to us, He is presenting Himself as the lamb of Israel and by His blood on our Doorpost to our souls, we are spared eternal death but are guarded by the Holy spirit, in that we are receivers of the Promise of God for eternity.

Prayer for Today: Let the celebration begin! Christ has given Himself for us. In His blood we are sealed in the New Covenant! Rejoice, oh my people, rejoice and Praise to the Father who grants us eternal Peace! Amen


Listen

15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. (ESV)


Listen

26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the [1] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 26:28 Some manuscripts insert new

Lenten Devotion 2014: April 16

“Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that Gods wants, as you learnt from us, and you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.”

Now that you have left the wilderness, the wilds of the world and its sinful desires, and you are being taught the ways of the Lord, though your church, pastors and teachers; you are being lead onto the Word and the Way. You are being guided on the path of Right living, godly living. Do not let the false wisdom of the world and the flesh.

Let sound teaching reach your hearts and test every thing as to it source. Is it of men or of the Son of Man, Jesus? Continue to live as Jesus lived and walk the path of His Light.

Prayer for Today: Dear Lord, Let me make true progress on Your Light, more and more purity in loving in your Word. Do mot let me walk away from Your instructions. Amen


Listen)

4:1 Finally, then, brothers, [1] we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.

1 Thessalonians 4:2 (Listen

4:1 Finally, then, brothers, [1] we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.

1 Thessalonians 4:2 (Listen)

For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 4:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 10, 13

Lenten Devotion 2014: April15

“Whoever believes in me, believes not n me but in the one who sent me, and who ever sees me sees the one the one who sent me. I, the light, have come into the world so that whoever believes in me need not stay in the dark anymore. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfullyit is not I who will condemn him, since I did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world; he who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: The word itself I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.”

The Gospel of John is loaded! It is not meant for the Sunday Morning Christian. It is meant for the Everyday Christian. These verses speak directly to the point. Keep His Word faithfully! Failure to do so will be your judgment. The key words, the word itself will be the judge. How you lived according to the word. So in the new Path of God, are you going to continue to pass your gaze at the world or are you going to keep your eyes straight on the Word?

If you believe with all your heart, your focus will be only on Jesus and His choices. You will see with His eyes, hear with His ears. Bless as He blessed and remember that He only forgave, never condemned.

Prayer for Today: I believe, Lord, I believe. Show me open my eyes, my ears to see and hear every word in my heart. Amen


Listen

44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. (ESV)

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