Friday, October 6, 2017

God is Good, God is love!

Day 5: Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:
God is good, God is love and because I am His goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

   I have children and grandchildren that I absolutely love to be with. I have friends and a marvelous church that I enjoy being with. Hands down, my favorite place to be is in God’s presence. I realize the 23rd Psalm is one that is recited and read a lot. Sometimes when verses and passages of scripture get read a lot people don’t stop and really look at what it says. The Lord’s Prayer and so many other verses become common. That is just so sad when it happens. I guess if the enemy can’t steal it altogether from someone he will opt to try to make them indifferent. I am sorry to report, it has been successful. There is so much in God’s Word! It is full of life and well worth slowing down and meditating on. Tip: that is a tool for success- that is how much life there is in God’s Word.

   Today I have been thinking about how God loves us so much, and so unconditionally. He only wants good for us, and He delights in our prosperity.
“Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
“Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” Psalm 35:27

   I have heard people say God led them, or allowed them to be sick, broke, stressed, depressed and a number of other horrible things. That. Is. Just. NOT. True! 
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11

   I am not going to do an expository teaching on Psalm 23, but I have been thinking about it today and do want to highlight a few things. The Lord is our Shepherd, and as we see above in John 10:11, He is a good shepherd. Sheep require much higher maintenance than other livestock. They are timid and fearful, stubborn and with habits that would question their IQ. Sheep need to be fed, tended to, protected, guided and brought back from wherever they wander off to, and they must be tended to constantly. Human behavior and sheep behavior have some very interesting parallels. A good shepherd constantly, vigilantly and meticulously cares for his sheep. That is what our Good Shepherd does. Here are a some things the Psalmist mentions just in the 23rd Psalm.
  • We do not want for anything (provision).
  • Jesus makes us lie down in green pastures (rest).
  • He leads us beside still water (peace).
  • He restores our soul (renews and refreshes my inner person) .
  • He leads us onto paths of righteousness (right standing with Himself).
  • We do not need to fear.
  • He is always with us.
  • He protects (His rod) and guides (His staff) me.
  • He comforts us.
  • He welcomes us (His table).
  • He favors us (anointing oil).
  • He fills us with good things.
  • His goodness (welfare and prosperity) follows us all the days of our life.
  • His mercy (lovingkindness, favor, grace) follows us all the days of our life.
  • We will live and remain with Him forever.  

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever. Psalm 23

Psalm 23 alone can keep us meditating on the goodness and love of God for many hours, days even.

“...God is love. 1 John 4:8

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him”. 1 John 4:16

   Honestly, when you are reading your Bible and you come across the words God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, you could just insert the word Love and it would be spot on accurate. I encourage you to do that. For instance:

Now thanks be to God [Love] who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14

 Therefore submit to God [Love]. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

For God [Love] so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God [Love] did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17

Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:

I am cared for by a very loving and Good Shepherd! My needs are met, I am protected and provided for, my very soul is restored, I am highly favored and loved and I always will be- forever, because God [Love] will never leave me. I will live with Him forever! 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The beauty of Communion!

Day 4: Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:

I love that God set up such a beautiful time of Communion we can share with Him over the bread and wine.

   From a young age I have loved the Word of God. I really have. I liked Sunday School and the Bible stories I would hear. As I got older I began to see how the Word of God was practical for my daily living, it became a blueprint for my life. When my daughters got to the age of junior and senior high school I thought it might be nice to take Communion at home. I was targeting Thanksgiving dinner. Because I honored God’s Word I thought I would ask my pastor about doing a family Communion table at home. He was very succinct in telling me that should be done in church, and there would, or could, be serious repercussion taking Communion in an unworthy manner. He was referring to this passage of scripture.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.  
1 Corinthians 11:27-32

   I am sure I do not want to know how many twisted takes have been preached out of those verses. When this is taught, there is strong consensus that these verses mean that we must judge our walk with God, and therefore our worthiness before partaking of the body and the blood of Jesus. That is not what those verses say. The only prerequisite for partaking of the Lord’s supper is to have made Jesus your Savior. To commune with God we must do so through Jesus, and only Jesus. That is what Communion is about. Anyone that has given themselves to Jesus Christ is allowed, and instructed to come to the table in remembrance of all Jesus did for mankind. God is no longer judging mankind, He put all of the weight of all of man’s sin for all time on Jesus. Jesus paid for us and took our judgement of death on the cross in our place. So what is it we are to judge then?

   The real problem here at the church of Corinth that Paul was addressing was the indifference- taking Communion as a meaningless religious ritual that had to be done. Communion was to represent all that Jesus was about to do for mankind the day after the Lord’s Supper. In that upper room, while sharing the bread and wine, Jesus said about those elements these things.

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”  Luke 22:19-20

We need to look in Isaiah to see the points of this New Covenant, and what Jesus was being given to us for.

Isaiah 53:4-6
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Transgressions:   rebellion, sin, transgression, trespass.

Iniquity:  perversity, depravity, iniquity,  (moral) evil, guilt or punishment of iniquity, consequence of or punishment for iniquity.

Peace:   safe, i.e. (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also (abstractly) welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, peace:—do, familiar, fare, favour, friend, great, (good) health, (perfect, such as be at) peace(-able, -ably), prosper(-ity, -ous), rest, safe(-ty), salute, welfare, (all is, be) well, wholly.

Healed:   רָפָא râphâʼ, raw-faw'; or רָפָה râphâh; a primitive root; properly, to mend (by stitching), i.e. (figuratively) to cure:—cure, (cause to) heal, physician, repair, thoroughly, make whole. 
   I inserted the Hebrew word used by Isaiah in verse 5 here to clarify that this is not spiritual healing, that is what Jesus’ wounds (blood) and bruises were for. Also, take a look in Exodus 15:26b  
“...I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
when God says He is the Lord that heals us, in Hebrew He was saying He was Jehovah-Rapha.  That is exact same word in Isaiah 53:5.

   When Jesus took our judgement for our sin, he restored us entirely. He paid for our wholeness, spirit, soul, and body. Our spirit was made alive. We were reborn, becoming a new creature because the transgressions and the consequence of the iniquity in us was paid for and forgiven by the blood that restored us back to God. Our soul was restored because Jesus took on the mocking and chastisement for us and that restored our peace. The stripes on His flesh, the broken places on His body, were the payment for our physical health.  

   Taking the bread and wine worthily simply means being in remembrance of ALL that  Jesus did on the cross. The cross is when the New Covenant was established, and the resurrection was God’s acceptance of the payment for us on that cross. Taking the bread and wine in the cavalier manner the church at Corinth was is the unworthiness spoken of by Paul, in 1 Corinthians 11.

   So what does remembering what Jesus did for us mean, and what does it look like?  Taking Communion in a worthy manner means we have come to the table ready to partake of everything Jesus’ death and resurrection provided for us- forgiveness, salvation, peace of mind, physical healing, deliverance from all evil, and total prosperity in every area of our life. This is done by judging ourselves by how much of those provisions we are willing to receive. The church has primarily focused on the blood of forgiveness and slid right over the bread for our healing, simply saying it was broken for us. We need to approach Communion in faith for all of those things, and accept all Jesus provided for us. The body and blood of Jesus has covered everything we need for living victoriously. 

   When you go to take Communion you can pray in faith that you receive all Jesus provided for you in the New Covenant. You can judge your heart according to the Word of God and where you have lacked anything and not walked according to the Word (strife, unforgiveness, addiction, fear, unbelief, jealousy) confess you have not been faithful, repent and ask for forgiveness. Thank God for being faithful to forgive you, and that He cleanses you from all unrighteousness. As you then take Communion confess that since Jesus’ body was broken for you and His blood was shed for you and that you recognize you are now forgiven and redeemed, that you see that Jesus bore all sickness, disease, fear, strife, sorrow and lack for you and that as you are now God’s righteousness you receive everything Jesus provided. Also, just as Jesus did- give God thanks!

   Communion is very powerful and does not have to be in a church, or with others. If you have something you need to get right with God, or you have a need, take some time with just Him and remember what Jesus did. Spend some time in prayer and conversation with God, and then stake your claim on His New Covenant promises, and receive all you need as you receive the body and blood.

Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:

I am so thankful to have access to God through Communion.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Jesus glorified His Father!

Day 3: Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:

   Jesus came to earth with the purpose of glorifying His Father by restoring man back to Him. He was completely in tune with and obedient to His Father, God.

   Jesus came to earth in humble a humble manner. His father, Joseph, was a carpenter. His mother and father were married while she was pregnant, and only after an angel had appeared to Joseph and explained to him the baby she was carrying was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that the child that would be Savior would be born of a virgin, and that baby was the Savior the Jewish nation longed and waited for. Joseph being of the lineage of King David, he and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem to be registered in the census. The Bible does not mention a donkey, but there are writings that indicate Joseph borrowed one for Mary. Jesus was born in a field of sheep, and laid in a manger. This was in complete contrast to the way the Jewish people expected Him, their Messiah to come. They were expecting a mighty warrior, a king in battle that could and would deliver them. Even though Jesus fulfilled so many prophecies just where and how He was born, they did not receive Him. He was too lowly.

   There are a number of incidents in Jesus’ ministry where He denied the violence others thought was called for. For instance, when Jesus was on His final journey to Jerusalem He was rejected by a village of Samaritans. James and John had experienced power and authority being Jesus’ disciples and wanted to use that power to call fire down from Heaven to destroy those Samaritans just as Elijah had done in God’s judgement of Ahaziah and his men. Jesus responded by rebuking James and John by saying, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”

   On the night Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane Peter drew his sword and cut the ear of one of the arresting high priests servants off. Jesus responded by saying, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” In other words, Jesus was asking Peter if he honestly thought for one minute that Jesus did not know He had been betrayed and would be arrested here... and if there was any question that Jesus would not submit Himself to this arrest that would end in His death. Jesus had been preparing them for this minute and there was to be no violence, just love that would glorify the Father, and save men. Just before this incident Jesus had prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.” He had also said, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”   

   Remember the woman caught in adultery that the scribes and Pharisees took to Jesus? They gave a report to Jesus about how the woman had been caught in the act of adultery, and then reminded Him of the law Moses had commanded that such should be stoned. They were busy those days trying to trip Jesus up and get Him to say something they could accuse Him of, have Him arrested and be done with Him. Sounds like big time pressure to me, but Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground as if not to hear them. We do not know what He was writing, but I can tell you what I believe He was doing. He was asking His Father what to say, and what He would have Jesus to do. The passage indicates it was if Jesus did not even hear them. I think it was His Father, God, that He was listening to. When He stood up Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19

Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. John 8:28

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:30

In Hebrews we read: 

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;  who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high...”

Of course Jesus was the  brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His Father God, He only did what the Father said and did only what the Father said to do! 

The same meekness, the same humility that He was born in is how Jesus lived. His entire birth was just the way God had it planned. His death was also just as God had it planned. That humility is true power and authority. Jesus operated in that way as He only did what the Father said to do, and He only said what the Father said to say.

Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:

Jesus came to earth with the purpose of glorifying His Father by restoring man back to Him. He was completely in tune with and obedient to His Father, God. I want to be that person, the person that is humbled before God, listening only to Him, and doing only what He says to do and to say. I want to glorify God with my life. When my days this side of glory are over I want this to be true of my life:

“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” 
John 17:4

Monday, October 2, 2017

My needs are met!

Day 2: Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:

   From the beginning of time, and even before, God has provided all I need before I ever need it.

   God created everything in six days. The order of creation was:
  • Day 1:  Heavens, Earth and Light  (heavens being outer space, all that was out and apart from earth, and earth had no formation)
  • Day 2:  Firmament which is the sky. This is the arch around the earth between the water on the surface of earth and the moisture in the air, the clouds. Now the earth has an atmosphere.
  • Day 3:  Dry land separated by bodies of water, and all plant life (food).   
  • Day 4:  Lights in the firmament; the sun, moon and stars. The sun creates light for daytime, the moon reflects the sun’s light for night time and they can be used to measure time.
  • Day 5:  All creatures that live in water. All birds of the air.
  • Day 6:  All creatures that live on land, livestock, reptiles and insects. AND MAN!!! Here is a great example of saving the best for last.
  • Day 7: God rested.
The first thing God did when man was created was to bless them and give them the gift of the earth and all in it. He gave man dominion over all the earth and its contents. God made the earth and its contents just for man, giving it to man he gave him dominion over the whole of it. God prepared the entire earth and everything in it for man before man even existed.

   When we heard the gospel, the true gospel of Jesus, and we knew in our heart we needed a Savior and that Jesus was the Messiah- the Savior for mankind, the faith we had to make that decision and ask Jesus to come into lives as Lord came from God. The grace we were saved by and the faith we were saved through were from God. We had nothing in us that would be able to produce that kind of faith. However, when we heard God’s Word and had the ears to really hear it, God gave us the gift of faith so we could act on His Word.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:8

Before we were saved God made the provision of Jesus to redeem us back to Himself. When the time came He was ready to give us the faith needed to act on our heart’s decision. God supplies before the need. Everything we need has been provided for. 

Holy Spirit:
   At the end John’s gospel in Chapter 13, we see where Jesus is telling His disciples that He is leaving them.  Peter’s response was “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus said to him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.” Peter immediately said, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.”  By the time we get to the beginning of Chapter 14 we see Jesus telling the disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."  The disciples were upset at the thought of Jesus not being there with them. There were a number of reasons for that, they were in fear of the Roman and Judaic government because of their affiliation with Jesus, and their deep love for Him alone was enough for them to not want Him to leave. So Jesus was assuring them that would be together again. Jesus proceeded to teach them some more things He wanted them to know before He went to Heaven. When we get down to the middle of Chapter 14 Jesus tells them He will be sending another “Helper”. The word “another” means of the exact same kind. He was assuring them there would be someone just like Him to be there with them. He assures them, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” Later in Chapter 15 of the Holy Spirit He tells them, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”  Jesus goes to some length in Chapter 16 to tell them that this Helper, the Holy Spirit will not come if Jesus does not leave, but that when He does come after Jesus leaves the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin. He will also guide them into all truth and glorify Jesus. Before Jesus left the earth for Heaven, having the Holy Spirit come to help the disciples and all the followers of Jesus was already in place.
   God is Love. Love is a verb and needs a person to give that love to. God in His desire to have fellowship with us, created us. Before He did so He made provision for all our needs. After mankind fell into sin and lost dominion and provisions, God immediately put into action a plan to provide redemption for us to restore that relationship. His name is Jesus. God, through Jesus provided all of that before we even needed it. Once we received that redemption and were saved, and back into a right relationship with God, before Jesus left earth to be at God’s right hand in Heaven- God was ready to send the Holy Spirit to us to guide and empower us in this life. He created us, redeemed us and empowered us- all before we needed it.

   I have a dear friend, a sister in Christ, that I truly cherish. I have watched her live by the grace of God for over 4 years now. She is remarkably able to trust God for everything she needs, and she is quite active in ministry. She understands and lives out the provision and grace of God. She is quite good at resting in Him for everything. I am at a place in my life that I am having to put my life in the complete care of my Father’s hands. I know in my head and heart how amazing God is and that from the first moment man was created all God has desired is to bless and prosper mankind. I am now learning to make that a reality in my life. I am getting better at it almost by the hour it seems. You see, God knew I needed an example like my dear friend. So, for years I have had the privilege of watching her, and marveling at her- unbeknownst to me that it would be a tremendous example I would be able to draw on. God provided that for me before I needed it. As I am learning to follow God’s example on the 7th day of Creation Week, to rest in Him, He is showing me His awesome love and provision!

Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:

I am loved so very much by God that has spent time before time existed providing everything for me I would ever need.... before I even needed it!

Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.      

Matthew 6:33

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Jesus Paid it All!

Day 1: Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:

   Jesus paid for all sin, for all man, for all time and in that purchase, redemption, He bought back everything we lost in the Garden of Eden giving us God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, goodness and love. In this love God chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame. He delivered us from sin, disease, sickness, stress, fear, torment, unforgiveness, strife, addiction, lack and total deliverance from all of the works of, Satan. We are redeemed and free- spirit, soul and body!   He made us His righteousness through the self-sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. We are complete and raised up together with Jesus in heavenly places. 

   Jesus’ love has provided us with everything we need. We inherited everything good there is because of His amazing gift on the cross. The cross that was ours, He gladly hung on and viewed us as His joy to redeem back into a right relationship with God.

Revelation 19:13-14
13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

   Those verses in Revelation 19 are in the middle of a power packed passage! I want to comment on those two verses only here. There is going to be a final war in which Jesus again is finally and totally victorious. However, that war has not taken place as yet in that passage. The armies in Heaven that have no blood on their garments are the glorified saints already in Heaven. The church, those on earth when Jesus returns on the white horse He is on in verse 13, will immediately meet Jesus and those returning saints in triumph! That robe dipped in blood is not from war... it is from the cross! Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection out of the tomb were when the battle for us was one! From that moment on, those believing Jesus is Savior and confessing that for their life are totally restored, forgiven, whole, and accepted into a right relationship with God. The thing I marvel at is that even in the end... Jesus paid for me, entirely, and I am now free and have all the inheritance of God’s blessing!

Amazing fact about God I am pondering today:

Jesus. Paid. It. ALL! out of love for me, and for you. I did nothing to deserve this love, or gift and blessing of that love, and I can do nothing to lose it. Jesus. Paid. It ALL!

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Day of Victory!

     Today is Sunday, and it is the very first Easter!  It is the day after Sabbath.  That means the women that loved Jesus, could take the spices and perfumed oil and put them on His body.  Early in the morning, while it was still dark, three of the women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the disciple James, and Salome, went to the tomb. They talked among themselves about how they were going to get that huge, heavy stone rolled away from Jesus’ tomb so they could anoint His body.  Can you guess what they saw?  They saw the Roman guards.  Then, they saw a bright and beautiful angel, whose face was brilliant like lightening and whose clothes were as white as snow, coming down from, Heaven. As the angel was coming down, the ground began shake and the huge, heavy rock rolled away from the tomb.  The tomb opened up and the angel landed right on the large stone.  He sat on top it.  The guards shook with fear, and then they fainted!  The angel looked at the women and said, “Don’t be afraid!  I know you are looking for Jesus, Who was crucified.  He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead just as He said would happen.  Come, see where His body was laid.  And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead and He is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You will see Him there.  Remember what I have told you.”  Wow!  Can you imagine how surprised the women were? 

     They were so delighted to hear that Jesus was alive.  They left right away and went to the disciples.  Peter and John went with them back to the tomb.  They did not believe what the women were saying.  When they got to the tomb, Peter went in first and John followed.  When they went in, they saw the linen wrappings lying there.  The cloth that had covered Jesus head was folded up.  They understood right then that Jesus was ALIVE!!  They understood that He really was Jesus, the Messiah.  They believed.  They were still a little afraid of the religious leaders and Roman soldiers, so they went home.  Mary Magdalene and the other women stayed.

     Mary Magdalene stood outside of the tomb crying.  She was so upset that Jesus was not there.  She loved Him so much.  She went into the tomb to be close to where Jesus had been.  Now, guess what she saw!  Two angels!  One was sitting at the head, and the other at the foot where Jesus’ body had been lying.  “Dear woman, why are you crying?”, the angels asked her.  She told the angels it was because someone had taken her Lord away, and she did not know where they had put Him.  
     Mary Magdalene turned to leave.  She saw someone standing there but she was so upset about not knowing where Jesus was, that she did not recognize Him.  The man asked her, “Dear woman, why are you crying?  Who are you looking for?”  She thought it might be the gardener.  Remember, this tomb is in a beautiful garden.  She said to the man, “Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will go and get Him.”  

     Then the most WONDERFUL, AMAZING, AWESOME, BEAUTIFUL thing happened.  The man simply said, “Mary!”  Mary Magdalene’s heart began to beat quickly, it even jumped around inside her chest.  She could hardly catch her breath and nearly fainted herself.  She was so happy and began to run over to the Man.  When the Man said her name, there was such a sweetness about the way it sounded.  There was such love in His voice.  She recognized this voice.  IT WAS JESUS!  When He said her name, it healed her broken heart. 

     Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus after he rose from the dead.     The disciples were still hiding in a room because they were afraid of the religious leaders and Roman soldiers. Mary went to tell the disciples that she had seen Jesus.  Later that evening,  Jesus saw the disciples.  He knew they were shook up by all of this, and He knew they were afraid.  He said to them, “Peace be with you.”  One of the disciples, Thomas, doubted that this was really Jesus risen from the dead.  He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands.  Put your hand into the wound in my side.  Don’t be faithless any longer.  Believe!”  Thomas said with so much love, “My Lord and my God!”  He believed.  Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

     Jesus was talking about us.  All of us!  If we will just believe in Jesus and follow Him, we will have the power to live winning lives.  We can have victory in everything.  Jesus overcame the biggest enemy, death.  And, He leaves us this power to live lives of victory.  We just have to choose, Jesus.
     Christmas, our biggest gift is that Jesus left Heaven to live here with us.  Easter, our biggest gift is that He died and overcame everything evil for us so we can live lives full of blessing, power and victory here, and forever with Him, in Heaven.  Thank You, Jesus!

   Today is a day about victory and love.  

   All praise and glory and honor to You, Jesus. Thank you for your grace and mercy and love. Thank You that I can live a victorious life here on this side of Glory, and then an eternal life with you when I get to Glory. I do not have words that can express how much I love and adore You. But I give you my life, every area of it. I will serve you all of my days and be with you in Heaven all of eternity! Happy dancing here!!!! Happy Easter, Jesus! Happy Easter, God! And while we are at it, thank You Holy Spirit for coming at Pentecost and staying with us here until we do go to our home in Heaven. Thank you for teaching, directing, guiding and staying with me to help me truly walk in love and make my Heavenly Father known. Happy Easter Holy Ghost!  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Day of Freedom

     So much happened yesterday all those years ago.  Some very sad things.  It is so hard to believe what those people did to Jesus.  How wonderful Jesus did that for us.  The religious leaders never tricked Him.  At any moment,  Jesus could have called on thousands of angels and they would have gotten Him out of all of what He went through.  He did what He did, because He obeyed His Father, God.  He knew He was the Messiah, and only He could make everything the Old Testament Scriptures said come true.  He did what He did because He loves us.  And what Jesus does today and tomorrow is very, VERY good news for us.  The religious leaders thought it was over and that they had won.  WRONG!!!!!!!!!

     They remembered that Jesus said He would come back to life in three days.  And, they were afraid that the disciples would steal His body out of the tomb.  So, the priests and Pharisees went back to Pilate to try to get Him to do one more thing.  They asked Governor Pilate to seal the tomb so that the disciples could not steal the body and then tell everyone Jesus had raised up out of His grave.  Pilate agreed to do this.  The guards, priests, and Pharisees went into the tomb to make sure Jesus was there.  His body was still lying there.  They then put a large stone in front of the tomb and sealed it very tight.  Pilate also put Roman guards there to guard the tomb for at least three days.

     Boy did these people miss it!!  Jesus’ body was there, but HE was not.  His Spirit had gone to the center of the earth.  He went down to Hades, or what we call, Hell.  He looked straight at the devil, who was the one behind all of the evil that happened this week, and took the keys of death and Hell away from Him!  Hallelujah!!!  The devil had been running over people and hurting them, stealing things from them, and killing them since he got Adam and Eve to sin against God in the, Garden of Eden.  God never wanted people to live in such a sad and hopeless way.  And now,  Jesus was putting everything back in order.  With His blood,  Jesus bought us back so we could be reconciled with God.   Jesus was beating the devil at his own game.  The devil always seeks to steal, destroy and kill anything or anyone he can. He will lie and do anything he can to pull people away from God and render them hopeless and  powerless.  Jesus just fixed all of that for us!  How wonderful!!   Jesus was out of His body and in Hell taking ALL power away from the devil.   Jesus was now the winner and the King over all, once and for all.   Just wait until you see what happens tomorrow!  

     Today Jesus delivers us once and for all.  He takes the keys back from the devil that have locked people up for  4,000 years.

     Thank You Jesus for taking on my griefs, my sicknesses, weaknesses and distresses and the pain of my punishment. Thank You for being pierced and bleeding for my transgressions, sin and rebellion, and bruised for my guilt from that sin. Thank You for the torment of my chastisement that You took on in my place so I could have the peace that goes beyond understanding. Thank You Jesus for taking that horrible whipping that broke Your flesh so that my flesh could be whole; because by your stripes I was be healed. And then after that, You go to Hell to take the keys of dominion and blessing God gave us in the beginning away from Satan that he has held since the day Adam and Eve handed them over in exchange for a bite of fruit. I am having a hard time here not breaking out in full praise, but tomorrow ..... oh Jesus tomorrow!!!!!!!!! Thank you!  \o/

Friday, April 14, 2017

Day of Sacrificial Love

     Early this morning, the religious leader met to plan how they would get Jesus put to death.  Judas came in and interrupted their meeting.  He felt convicted about what he had done to  Jesus.  He told the leaders that he knew he had sinned because he had betrayed an innocent man.  The leaders asked him, “What do we care?  That is your problem.”  Judas threw the 30 pieces of silver down on the floor of the temple and went out and hung himself.  Remember how Jesus warned that it would have been better for that person to never to have even been born? 
     The religious leaders bought a cemetery for people from other countries with the silver pieces.  This was just what the prophet Jeremiah said would happen in the Old Testament Scriptures.  
     The religious leaders had no real power to have someone put to death for a crime, or any other reason, but the Romans did.  They took Jesus to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate.  When Jesus stood before Governor Pilate,  he asked Jesus, “Are You King of the Jews?”  Jesus told Him He was.  Immediately, the religious leaders that had bullied Him all week began shouting accusations at  Jesus. Jesus did not respond to them at all.  
     Every year at Passover time, the Roman Governor would free one prisoner.  The crowds were gathering in front of Governor Pilates' house, the Praetorium, to see who the prisoner to released was.  Pilate asked them who it was they wanted to be let go, Barabbas or Jesus Who is called, the Messiah?  Pilate sat down as the crowd talked it over.  He sat down next to his wife.  She told him that she had a nightmare the night before and that it was really awful.  She told Pilate that he should leave Jesus alone because He was innocent of any crime.
     In the meantime, the religious leaders walked among the crowd and talked them into having Barabbas let go, and having  Jesus put to death.  Governor Pilate was sure the people would say to let Jesus go.  He remembered how just five days before on Sunday,  Jesus rode in and they treated Him like a King. Again Pilate asked the crowd which prisoner would go free.  The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”  “Then what should I do with Jesus, who is called, the Messiah?”, Pilate asked.  The crowd shouted back, “Crucify Him!”  Pilate asked them, “Why, what crime has He committed?”  The mob roared louder, “Crucify Him!”  Pilate was hoping the crowd would change their minds because he felt in his heart that his wife was right.  But, he knew he was getting nowhere with this crowd because they were starting to riot.  Governor Pilate had a servant bring him a bowl of water.  He washed his hands in front of everyone and told the crowd, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.  The responsibility is yours!”  Pilate was nervous about what was happening so he washed his hands of the whole mess.  The crowd yelled back that they would take responsibility for Jesus’ death, they and their children.
     Barabbas was involved in trying to overthrow the government, and he was murderer.  Jesus was innocent.  The whole of His life He did no wrong.  He was good to everyone.  But, Pilate let Barabbas go to the people and He ordered that Jesus be flogged and turned over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.  They flogged Jesus with a whip. The whips were made of long skinny leather.  Each leather piece had pieces of metal and of bone sewn to it to cut the skin.  The end of each piece was weighed down with lead.  They tied Jesus to a post and whipped Him over and over with these leather whips.  His skin was all torn and blood flowed out of Him.  Most people never lived through this horrible beating.  After this,  Jesus was turned over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
     Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and then they called out the whole regiment of soldiers and government leaders.  In front of everyone they stripped the clothes off of His cut up body and put a bright red robe on Him.  They took branches with thorns and made a crown.  They shoved the crown on Jesus’ head.  The thorns tore the skin on His head.  Then they put a stick in His hand.  They mocked Jesus.  They said things like, “Hail! King of the Jews!”  They spit on him and grabbed the stick out of His hand using it to hit Him in the head with it.  When tired of mocking Him, they removed the red robe and put His own clothes back on Him.  Then, they took Him to be crucified.

    The soldiers made Jesus walk down a long road.  They made Him carry a very heavy cross made out of a tree down this road, 
The Via Dolorosa.  This was the cross they were going to crucify Him on.  He was bloody and beaten, almost to death.  He was not able to carry the cross the whole way.  The soldiers grabbed a man along the road and made him carry  Jesus’ cross and walk with it behind Him.  They would not help Him themselves.  They were as vile to Jesus as they could be.  They took Him out to a place called, “Golgotha” which means, “Place of the Skull”.  When the Romans executed someone they hung them on a cross. With rope they tied the criminal to the cross.  Not Jesus.  They laid the cross down on the ground and then put Jesus on top of the cross.  They took long nails and nailed His hands and feet to the cross.  They raised the cross up and put it in the ground.  Everyone could see Jesus nailed to the cross.    They could see that His skin was broken open, they could see His bruises, and they could see His blood running down.  It was then that Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”   Jesus loved people, all people.  He loves us today.  No matter what they did to Him, or how badly we behave today,  Jesus loves us, and will forgive us.  Since He forgave these people for what they were doing, and He was in so much pain, nearly dead, He will certainly forgive us if we ask Him to.  He loves us that much!
    Even still, the crowd kept on mocking Him and insulting Him.  They said things like, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”  They put a sign on the top of the cross as He was dying that said, “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS”.  The religious leaders mocked Him, too.  They yelled and said if He would save Himself they would believe He was the Son of God.
     Jesus saw his mother, His mother’s sister and his dear friend, Mary Magdalene, standing near the cross.  Jesus was dying.  He knew He would not be on the earth anymore to watch over his mother in her old age.  He talked to his mother and said, “Dear woman, here is your son.”  He was talking about His disciple,  John.  He said to John, “Here is your mother.”  From that day on,  Jesus’ mother stayed with the disciple  John.   Jesus took care of His mother even though He was on a cross and dying.  
     There were two criminals hanging on crosses with Jesus, one on each side.  They were tied and not nailed to their crosses.  They had not been treated like Jesus.  One of them mocked Jesus while he was on his cross.  He said to Jesus, “ If You are the Messiah, prove it by saving Yourself and us, too, while You are at it!”   The other criminal stopped him and said, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?  We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”  Then he looked at Jesus and said, “Jesus , remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”   Jesus said to him,  “I assure you, today you will be with me in, Paradise.”  You see, that man believed Jesus was the Christ.  He knew Jesus was the Savior and though his life must not have reflected it, he desired righteousness.  He would go to Heaven because he was sorry and asked Jesus for His hand.   Jesus always takes someone for His own when they want Him to.
     By this time it was noon.  For three hours, from noon until three o’clock in the afternoon, the whole land was dark.  The light from the sun was totally gone.  At three o’clock that Friday afternoon,  Jesus cried out and said, “It is finished!”   To God He then cried out, “Into Your hands I commit my Spirit.”  Jesus’ body died on the cross that afternoon at three o’clock.  At that moment miracles began occurring.  There was a place in the temple called, “The Holy of Holies”.  Common people were not allowed to go in there.  Only special priests could go in.  No one but these special priests even saw the inside of this sanctuary.  The moment Jesus gave up His Spirit and died, the big curtain in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies sanctuary ripped right down the middle!  It was as high as the ceiling and went all of the way to the floor, and was very heavy.  No man did this, God did it.  There was a huge and scary earthquake.  Many rocks split in half and tombs came open.  Can you imagine the noise and the shaking of the whole earth?  The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the cross were terrified and said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
     Remember that at the Last Supper in the upper room the night before, Jesus talked about His body being broken for the disciples?  Remember Jesus saying that the wine in the cup was His blood shed for them?  Remember these were new things the disciples had never heard before?  The bread and wine was to remind them of something wonderful God did for His people years before.  This would now be the event that God’s people would remember when they break bread and have the cup.  This was going to be the new and better covenant God made with His people,  with anyone that loves Jesus.  This is the new wonderful thing God did for His people. Jesus paid the price for man’s sin, He did freely and all we have to do is believe He is the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts and confess so with our mouth and we will be in right standing with God. 
     There was a man named Joseph from,  Arimathea.  He was a priest on the council of religious leaders, but he disagreed with what they had done to Jesus.  He loved Jesus and knew He was the Messiah.  He had been a secret follower of Jesus.  He feared the religious leaders and so He went to get permission from Governor Pilate to take Jesus’ body off of the cross and bury it.  Pilate granted Joseph permission to do this.
     Joseph was a wealthy man.  He was an old man as well.  He had men carve out a rock in the side of a hill to make himself a tomb for when he died.  But, he gave his tomb to Jesus.  Oh, but what Joseph did not know was that Jesus was only going to need it for three days!  
     Joseph and another secret follower of Jesus, Nicodemus, went to the cross and took Jesus down.  They washed his body with perfumed oil and wrapped Jesus with spices and a long sheet of linen cloth, for this was the custom.  The tomb Joseph was giving Jesus was in a beautiful garden, near where the crucifixion took place.  Joseph and Nicodemus took Jesus body to the new tomb and laid Him there.  The women that loved Jesus so much had followed Joseph and Nicodemus.  Once they had laid Jesus to rest they went home and bought spices and perfumed oil to anoint His body.  They would not be able to anoint His body with the spices and oils tomorrow as it was the Jewish sabbath, and it was not allowed.  But, day after tomorrow, Sunday, they will go tend to His body.

   Today was completely about sacrifice that came from Jesus’ deep love for us. Oh Father, take my life and make count for You, never letting this grace you have given me prove vain.

   Thank You Jesus for such amazing and unconditional love,

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Day of the New Covenant

    Today is a wonderful and amazingly special day.  Today is the day, that God’s people will celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Many years ago, back in Old Testament Scriptures, we can read about how God saved His people from a very hateful and mean people called Egyptian's, who kept God’s people for slaves.  God delivered His people from being the Egyptian's slaves.  On the day that God’s people were able to leave Egypt , they had to leave swiftly.  God told them to make their bread without yeast.  Yeast is the leaven in bread that causes it to rise, but yeast takes time to work.  So, the women made their bread without yeast.  Once they were free, God told them to remember Him and how He saved them by making their bread without yeast the same time every year.  He told them to have a big celebration every year and to call it the, “Feast of Unleavened Bread”.  This Feast lasted seven days, and always started the day before Passover.  That is why God’s people celebrated the two together like a big festival.  It was a happy time for God’s people.  No matter what was going on at that time, when it was the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover, they remembered how much God loved them and took care of them.  This is why all of God’s people came to Jerusalem this week.  Since tomorrow will be the Passover, today is the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

     Jesus’ disciples went to prepare the Feast just as He had told them to.  Once all of the disciples and Jesus were together in the upper room above a certain man’s house,  Jesus said something that shook the disciples up.  He told them that one of them was going to betray Him.  One His own disciples would betray Him.  He told them that one of them that had just dipped their bread in the bowl with Him, would be the one to betray Him.  In that day, only friends and family that trusted each other would dip their bread in the same bowl of wine or honey.  Jesus is saying here that the one who would betray Him, was one who had shared the bowl with Him.  Someone Jesus should have been able to trust would betray Him, and Jesus knew it.  The disciples began to ask Jesus one by one if it would be them that hurt Him.  Jesus told them that it would really be terrible for the one that was betraying Him, and that it would have been better for that person to never to have even been born.  Jesus told them that He knew it must be this way because the Scriptures from the Old Testament said it would happen like this.  Even though one disciple would betray Him, it would not happen if God did not have it that way. But God’s plan was that this year, Jesus would be the once and for all,  Passover Lamb.

     Then finally,  Judas asked if he was the one.  Judas knew he was.  He had already been paid to hand Jesus over to the religious leaders.  He was just seeing if Jesus knew it was him that would be the betrayer.   Jesus told him that it was indeed him,  Judas Iscariot, that was the betrayer.

     After this, Jesus did a very amazing thing.  The unleavened bread and wine they were having was because of their celebration.  But,  Jesus was about to change all of those years of tradition.  He took the bread, blessed it, broke it into pieces and gave a piece to each of His disciples.  He then told them, “Take this and eat it, for this is My body. Do this to remember Me.”  They had never heard such a thing.  Then Jesus took the cup and gave thanks to God for it.  He gave the disciples the cup and said, “Each of you drink from it, for his is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and His people.  It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.”  This was something new for Jesus to say.  The wine in the cup always reminded the people of the blood over the door posts.  The bread reminded them of how God quickly freed them from slavery.  This was a new teaching  Jesus gave them.  Jesus was teaching the disciples about the new and better covenant they would have.  From here on this would not be called the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover.  This time of remembering God’s goodness would be called, “The Lord’s Supper”.  This is very important but they did not understand.... yet.  They all sang a hymn and went out and back to the, Mount of Olives.  They probably sang Psalm 116-118.

     On the way to the Mount of Olives, Jesus told the disciples that tonight each one of them would desert Him, the Old Testament Scriptures said that it would happen that way.  But He told them that after He was raised from the dead that He would go ahead of them and meet them in Galilee.  Jesus’ disciple Peter said he would never desert Jesus.  Jesus told Peter that this very night before the rooster crows in the morning he would deny Him three time and tell people he never even knew Me.  Peter insisted that he would die with Jesus before he would deny Him.  The other disciples said the same thing.

     When they got to the Mount of Olives, they went to an olive grove called, Gethsemane.  Jesus asked His disciples to sit while He went to pray.  He took Peter, James and John with Him.  Jesus told the three of them He was very sad because of the sins in the world.  He asked these disciples to stay watch for Him while He prayed.  Jesus walked a little way from them and bowed down, His face to the ground, and prayed to God.  He asked His Father in Heaven if it was possible for Him to not face this awful death tomorrow.  He told His Heavenly Father whatever He wanted,  Jesus would do.  Jesus went back to Peter, James and John.  They were sleeping.  Jesus woke them up and asked them again to please stay awake and watch out for Him as He prayed.  Jesus went back to prayer.  God had answered Jesus about the awful death tomorrow.  Jesus told His Father that He understood that the cup of death could not be removed from Him.  He told God He would be obedient and see to it that His Father’s will was done.  Jesus went back to His disciples.  They were sleeping again.  He said nothing to them and went back to keep praying.  When He was done praying the third time, Jesus woke the three disciples up.  He told them He had been betrayed into the hands of evil men and to get up and get going back to the other disciples because His betrayer had come back and was now among them.
     At some point, Judas had left the group of disciples because he was the one Jesus was talking about coming back, and was now with the evil men that had come to harm Him.  Judas was walking with a group of men toward the other disciples and Jesus.  The men with Judas were carrying swords and clubs.  The religious leaders sent them to arrest Jesus.  It was night time and there was no one around except these men, the disciples, and Jesus.  These men had come to take Jesus like thieves under the cover of night, this way they did not have to worry about what the people would think or do.  Since it was dark and some of these evil men may not have been sure who Jesus was,  Judas had given them a signal to know which One was Jesus.  He would kiss Jesus on the cheek as a sign for them to arrest Him.   Judas greeted Jesus, and then gave him the kiss.   Jesus knew what this meant and told Judas to go ahead and do what he had come to do.  The men with clubs and swords grabbed Jesus and arrested Him.  Peter grabbed the arresting man’s sword to get him to let Jesus go.  Jesus instructed him to put the sword away.  He asked Peter if he did not understand that He could call on His Father in Heaven for help and that God would send thousands of angels to protect all of them instantly?  He told the disciples that He could do that, but then how would the prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures be fulfilled as they were meant to be?   Jesus told everyone there He could have been arrested in the temple since He was there everyday; but that this was happening the way it was to fulfill the Scriptures.

     The arresting men took Jesus to the high priest Caiaphas’ house where all of the religious leaders were waiting for Him.  Peter followed some distance behind.  All of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, Elders and teachers put together in a council of men were called, the Sanhedrin.  They were all there.  The laws of that day said that there was to never be a trial at night, but the Sanhedrin held a trial right then and there at night.  They broke their own laws because they were so desperate to kill  Jesus.  They tried again to trick Him and they tried to get people to lie about Him.  Finally, they asked Jesus if He was the Messiah, the Son of God.  Jesus told them He was.  Caiaphas declared that Jesus was speaking disrespectfully about God and asked the Sanhedrin for a vote.  They said He was guilty and should die. These religious leaders began to beat Jesus, they even spit in His face.

     Peter had secretly watched all of this.  He knew they were going to kill Jesus and he was afraid for his own life.  While sitting outside of a house in a courtyard a servant girl said to Peter that  he was one of the men with that Jesus from, Galilee.  Peter said, No! and that he did not know what she was talking about.  A little later out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to the people standing around, “This man was was with Jesus of Nazareth.”  Again Peter denied knowing Jesus and he swore to it.  A little later some of the the people standing around came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”   Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying-I don’t know the man!”  Immediately, the rooster crowed.  Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter's mind:  “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”  Peter left the courtyard crying very hard... he completely undone.  Now, the sun is starting to come up.  And, it will be Friday, the day Jesus has been talking about all week.

   Today was a day of fellowship in the upper room and of announcing a new and better covenant.

   Oh Father I pray Your church embrace all the Jesus did this night those 2,000 years ago!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wondering Wednesday

   For  six months, Jesus had been telling His disciples that he would be dying soon.  On this Wednesday, He tells them it will happen in two days.  Jesus knew that this Passover celebration, He would be the Lamb whose blood would be shed to save the people.  Remember how God’s people put the blood of a lamb over their door posts to save them from dying?  Well, after this Passover the only blood that would count would be the blood Jesus shed.  From then on, anyone that believed in Jesus, and accepted Him would be able to live with Him in Heaven.  Although Jesus had been telling them about all of this, He never really said when it would happen.  Now, He tells them it would be in two days, on the Passover.  Jesus would be the once and for all, Passover Lamb.

   The chief priest's, scribes and religious leaders realized they would never be able to trick, Jesus.  So, they all got together at the high priest's house to plan and plot how to capture Jesus secretly, and just kill Him.  The high priest's name was, Caiaphas.  By this time many thousands of people were going into Jerusalem.  That was a problem for these evil men that plotted to kill, Jesus.  Earlier in the week, they were concerned about the people being upset with them for arresting Jesus and killing Him.  But now, there were thousands of people they were worried about upsetting, especially since it was their Passover celebration.  They knew Jesus was not going to be giving them a reason to arrest Him.  If the people got very upset, the Roman government would stop these religious leaders from arresting and killing Jesus.  But, these evil men were determined to see Jesus destroyed.

   We can not be sure of just what Jesus did on this Wednesday before the Passover, because the Bible does not say.  Jesus most likely went to the temple again to teach and heal.  He probably spent time in prayer.  He may have taken a walk with Mary and Martha and reassured them that no matter what happened He would always be with them.  He may have spent some time with His very dear friend, Mary Magdalene, assuring her that no matter what happened, she would see Him again.  He probably talked with His disciples about those things He wanted to be sure they heard.  Maybe He tried to tell them in words what only the cross was going to show them for sure... just how much He loved them.  Maybe He told them just how precious they were to Him.  Maybe He talked privately with Peter and reassured Him that no matter what happened He would would always love and forgive him.  Maybe He told Peter he was much stronger than he thought and to never be afraid.  Maybe He walked to where the dead Fig tree was and prayed to God about the people that would be destroyed if they would not say they were sorry for their sins and accept Jesus as their Savior.  Maybe He talked to the people about forgiveness and love, and how important those things are to God’s Kingdom.  But, whatever Jesus did do during that day, He was doing what God wanted Him to do because He always did the work of His Heavenly Father.

   But, we do know what Jesus did that evening.  That evening,  Jesus was back in Bethany, having dinner at a man named Simon’s house.  The people back then ate at table that was low to the floor. They sat on the floor and often reclined back a little.  Meals were a time of getting together with family and friends that they loved and trusted. Although meals were a time to eat, they were really more about a time to meet, fellowship.  Jesus was reclined back and enjoying His disciples at this dinner meal at Simon’s house.  While having His dinner, a woman came in with an alabaster jar filled with perfumed oil.  She broke the long neck of the alabaster jar and  slowly poured it on Jesus’ head.  Back in the Old Testament it was a sacred thing to pour expensive oil like this on a man's head.  It meant he was being set aside from all of the other people to be holy and to be the priest.  This woman was showing that Jesus was holy, and that He was their Priest.  She also did this because she understood what Jesus was talking about when He said He would be dying in two days.  Back in this day, they put oil and spices on a persons body to bury them.  This woman loved Jesus.  She did for Him what she could, and what she knew God wanted her to do.  She was brave to do this.  Her love for Jesus caused her to be brave and obedient.  This time, many of the disciples were upset at such extravagance.  They were upset about how expensive the perfumed oil was and that it was wasted.  They said it could have been sold for a lot of money and the money could have been given to the poor.  Jesus asked His disciples why they were giving this woman such a hard time.  He told them that the poor would always be with them, but that He would be leaving in two days.  Jesus told them that she did a good thing, that she prepared his body for His soon to be burial.  He told them that anytime the Good News would be preached about Jesus throughout the whole world, this woman's good deed would be remembered and talked about.

   Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus disciples and their treasurer,  was angry about this the Saturday night before, and now it happened again.  He was furious.  He wanted the money from the perfume for himself.   Judas knew the religious leaders were at the high priest Caiaphas’ house trying to figure out a way to kill Jesus.   Judas left the dinner and went straight to Caiaphas’ house.  He also knew they would like to be able to capture Jesus secretly to have Him killed.  But, where Jesus was there were always so many people and they would not get a chance to snatch Him.  But,  Judas also knew Jesus’ plans for the next two days and he knew how  and when the religious leaders could sneak up and capture Him when He would be alone with just His disciples.  When Judas got to Caiaphas’ house, he asked the religious leaders how much money they would give him if He double crossed Jesus and told them when they could capture Him.  They paid Judas 30 pieces of silver.  This is the amount slaves were bought and sold for.  For 30 lousy pieces of silver, Judas sold Jesus to the men that wanted to kill Him.

   Today we can wonder,  just what Jesus did do?  What we do know is that Jesus was betrayed by one of His own disciples, sold to those trying to kill him for a fist full of silver.

   Thank You Jesus that Your life is hidden in the Father's and that because of Your great love for us, we are hidden "in" Him as well!