Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Eph 2:19)~ All mankind, being naturally children of disobedience, children of wrath; slaves to Satan, the author of that proud, carnal disposition that keeps us dead in trespasses with no desire for spiritual pleasures; finds itself in a state of sin and conformity to this world. In this state we are without Christ, being aliens from the inheritances of His kingdom, and strangers from the covenants of His promise, having no hope, and without God in the world! A sad and terrible description is here; but who is able to remove himself out of it? Who can, without trembling, reflect upon the misery of a person, separated forever from the people of God, cut off from the body of Christ, fallen from the covenant of promise, having no hope, no Savior, and without any God but a God of vengeance, to all eternity? To have no part in Christ! What true Christian can hear this without horror? Salvation is far from the wicked. But God is a help at hand to His people; and this is by the sufferings and death of Christ. Yes it is FINISHED!! Through the person, sacrifice, and mediation of Christ, we are now allowed to draw near to God as our FATHER, and are brought with acceptance into His presence. We are a part of Him and His family and are heirs to the inheritance of His kingdom, His promises and His eternal blessing! God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus…everlasting peace has been made by the cross! Christ, our Champion; purchased the way for us to come to God; and the Holy Spirit gives us a heart to come, and strength to come, and then grace to serve God acceptably. To God be the Glory!!
And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: (Luke 24:5-6)~ Jesus said that he came that we may have LIFE and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). He is the ONLY “GOD” that IS RISEN from the dead. EVERY other ‘representation’ man has come up with for a ‘god’ is dead. Where are these ‘gods’ of the elements and power and strength; these ‘gods’ of various religions and sects and cults? What LIFE can they give us? What LIFE do they HAVE? How can we look for eternal salvation, divine protection and guidance or quality of life from a ‘god’ that is dead? How can we worship a ‘god’ that is created but created nothing? Every other ‘god’ that there ever was – died and worshipping them is to worship the dead. To worship Jesus is to worship THE living God! See, it is with divine and eternal purpose that Jesus died…But He is RISEN; YES! HE GOT UP!!! All power in Heaven and Earth is His and all things are created by Him, for Him, in Him and through Him – without Him there is not one thing that ‘was’. In Him we live, we move and have our being! It is Him that we must seek…among the living…that is, we will not find the answers to life by seeking it in the world of dead ‘gods’ but in Christ, the ONLY true and LIVING God! I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the LIVING (Ps 27:13). Happy and Blessed Easter Sunday to you and your family!
And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not (Luke 24:8-11)~~ Jesus’ followers were convinced that He was the coming King; the Messiah, who would rule the nations with a rod of iron. All His disciples were severely disappointed when the unthinkable happened: Jesus was crucified. The coming, conquering King had come and didn’t seem to have conquered. Maybe Jesus wasn’t the Messiah? If He wasn’t, then… now what? With Jesus dead, His followers were distraught. They were on their journey, talking about everything that had just happened, trying to sort through it all—still unaware that Jesus had been raised. Jesus met them on this road, but He kept them from recognizing Him (Luke 24:17). To them He was a stranger passing on the road. They told this ‘stranger’ that they thought Jesus was the one who was going to redeem Israel. They said that some of their friends were telling what they thought were fairytales about Him rising from the dead. When we commit our faith to Christ and things in our life seemingly fall apart before our eyes and trials happen and the outcomes of things we believed Him for occur differently than we expected, it’s typical of us to waiver in our belief, become distraught and even start to believe the naysayers’ haunting quips about our so-called foolishness. We remember with specific detail those things we believed and we feel as if we are in a ‘limbo’ wondering what is to become of us next. The true test of our faith comes between that period of the apparent ‘death’ to the foundation of our faiths and the revelation of God’s blessing! It is now, more than ever that we must know the God of the faith we carry. Despair not believer… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning!!!
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. (1 Cor 9:24)~ The finish line is in our minds when we run a race, but God intends us to run the race to win. Sometimes in life you’re running through rough terrain, and you fall down, but you don’t stay down, you get back up! You keep after it. God expects us to run our race with all we’ve got, every day. To run successfully, you have to give your complete attention, give full effort, be consistent. Sometimes blessings require hard work. They require you to show up; they require you to take action; they require you to persevere; they require you to be faithful, even in the valleys of our journey! We seem to have no trouble acting faithful on the mountain top, but it’s the valleys you’ll be blessed in. The enemy will have you thinking you can’t win…the enemy will have you believing that unless you win, you’re just like the majority.. one of those who doesn’t win. And since he’s got you thinking you can’t win, he’s making you think you’re just average… and also a loser! Then the enemy will have you settling with just being average, never striving to be better, never desiring anything but being comfortable where you are! If you can just get through it.. if you can just make it.. the bare minimums are okay with you! Why would you settle to just be average? Why would you settle for just making it? Why not give it your all? You might say ‘well, average isn’t so bad…I’d take that over being on the bottom.’ Well guess what my friend, that’s exactly what you are doing when you settle for average… you’re accepting being on the top of the bottom! You’re okay with being less than God designed you to be. You focus on being a ‘finisher’ who just wants to get through. God designed you as a winner, an achiever, an overcomer, a conqueror! Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom 8:37)! Devil you picked on the wrong people. Putting our lives together is just the beginning! Were not just going to put our lives back together, we’re going to kick your tail before it’s done. God didn’t just save us from ‘hell’, He gives us an ‘abundant’ life (John 10:10) – He didn’t just make another spiritual being, He created us in HIS image and likeness (Gen 1:26). He gave us His SON as the propitiation for sins rather than make us pay the price. Rather than just do it, God does it with greatness. In His image, we should perform to greatness as well. Don’t just run the race to finish it, run it to win! Run the race like everything depends on it. You may not always finish the race first, but be assured, Victory will always be yours!
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (Matt 7:5)~ Conflicts between us always cause us to look at the behavior of the other person. We focus on the things THEY do and expect THEM to change in order for things to get better. We always want the other person to take the first step, but the first step…for BOTH parties has to begin with “the mirror”. Many conflicts between people in a relationship whether it be friends, co-workers or even more intimate can be resolved much easier when we stop and look at ourselves rather than point blame at the other person. We can’t change the behavior of another person, especially when our own is out of check and likely causing some of the behavior in them. The very thought that the way a person is toward you is always fully their fault is a reason for you to look in the mirror. We can’t be so self-righteous and at the same time so naive as to think and claim that we cannot be part of the problem. There are two sides to every story…to every coin…and to every conflict. There will be those that you just won’t get along with; those that make it their life’s mission to keep negativity going and those that have no desire to be decent with you. Let them go on about their business and enjoy their misery; don’t become their company! But when there are those that you have traditionally had a relationship with, sometimes the change in YOU may be the catalyst for the change in the relationship. Don’t be so blinded by the ‘beam’ of overconfidence in your ‘set-in’ ways that you can’t see the impact you have on what’s happening. Ask yourself in a very serious manner “What can “I” do to make things right here?” When we consider what WE can do to move things in a positive direction rather than force responsibility on the other person, we become better for it and we will see that things actually begin to change FOR US…even if the other person remains stubborn! While the best scenario is that things get better for both of you, this change only happens when each person makes the effort first in themselves! Change First Happens in the First Person…Change first happens with YOU!
And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him (1 John 5:14-15)~~ There are people who believe the Bible teaches that whatever we ask we can have-.-.- “name it and claim it” – - – with no strings attached. We can name verses verbatim that support and drive our beliefs and we even walk in expectation that whatever it is we ask for, we shall receive. But what happens to our faith, our drive, our motivation when God doesn’t answer? When He says “No”? How many times have you prayed for something specific and it didn’t come as you asked? There is one very key point that we must stay in our minds as we consider our petitions: that if we ask any thing ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He heareth us. We can’t ask outside the will of God and expect our desired answer. But when our request lines up with His will, we have the guarantee that He will not only hear us, but that our answer is on the way. Asking and praying in His Name means to ask and pray IN HIS WILL, with HIS authority so that all HE desires will be done in our lives. Your hope and expectation will never rise above your level of confession. You will reap tomorrow the harvest of the words you sow today. Release your confession from a heart full of faith and belief in the God of the Word and the Word of God, and rest in confidence that He will hear and respond.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isa 26:3)~ in perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be for ever. Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in Him, but shall receive from Him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is for ever. Let us then acknowledge Him in all our ways, and rely on Him in all trials.