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Reflect on…Anything but an Ordinary Day

Filed under: Blog — Pastor David Apr 23, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

As another tool for you to evaluate yourself in light of the Easter Sunday message, I want to refer you to another blog entry I posted a short while back.

Consider the lives of Mary Magdalene, Thomas, and Peter then reflect about yourself with these names as the backdrop.  Hopefully you’ll realize some important insights that will help you navigate through difficult emotions.

The series “Up Close and Personal” was intended to help you discover ways to not only cope, but to find victory in the midst of various trials.

I’d love to know your thoughts — leave a comment below– as you see your results of the 3 different tools.

Click here to get started…

Enjoy! pd

Friday

Filed under: Passion Week — Pastor David Apr 21, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

Read Matthew 27

Good Friday was Anything but an Ordinary Day, see Matt 27:50-54.

What happened the day Jesus died?

He shouted and shook the mountain…what did the earthquake mean?

Roman and Jewish historians both reported about the earthquakes that happened in Jerusalem on this weekend. The earthquake makes the day remembered as no other day. Who forgets an earthquake?

This earthquake happened at the same time the veil ripped in two. According to the Rabbis this was a handbreadth in thickness, and woven of seventy-two twisted plaits, each plait consisting of twenty-four threads. It was sixty feet long and thirty wide. Two of them were made every year, and according to the exaggerated language of the time it needed three hundred priests to manipulate it. This veil was the one which covered the entrance to the holy of holies. The holy of holies contained only a large stone, on which the high-priest sprinkled the blood on the day of atonement, occupying the place where the ark with the mercy-seat had stood.

The Talmud Socinus testified, “Forty years before the temple was destroyed the veil in the temple opened by themselves…” A priest would have been standing there at the very moment offering incense. Who could forget that? The Bible said the veil was torn in two from top to bottom as Jesus died and then an earthquake happened, or it happened at the same time, the rocks were spilt in two, etc. what does all this mean?

God wants intimacy with us and so has removed the barrier. What was the barrier? The veil? Not really. Our sin. Isa 59:1-2, Rom. 3:10-12, 1 John 3:4, what is sin? It is selfishness, it is lawlessness, it is unbelief Rom 14:23, and whatever is in us contrary to God, to loving Him, serving Him, worshipping Him, or honoring Him as God. As God He deserves our attention, our gratitude, or trust, and our acknowledgment. Something mysterious is in us revolting and demanding our own space, our own will and decisions. Something in us says leave me alone, and I want to do it my way not your way, or even denies God exists or that we need him at all.

  • The presence of sin is in us. We are incurably infected with sin’s disease.
  • The power of sin is controlling us and is seen in its clinging to our whole being…our sin in the desires, so that the hearts lusts after evil things;-sin in the judgment, so that it often makes most serious mistakes, and honestly puts bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter-sin in the desires, so that though we try to curb them, they wander all over the place, whether we would or not;-sin in the will, so that the best intentioned person proves that he is still very proud, and wants to have his own way,-and is not willing to bow submissively to the will of God;-sin in the memory, so that the most godly people can still remember the sound and woo of the old song of temptation which they used to hear or to sing, far more readily than they can remember a text of Scripture; which they wish to treasure up in their memories, for memory has become unhinged, like all the rest of our faculties, and is quick to retain evil, and slow to retain that which is good. Friends in Christ, in what part of our body does sin not dwell? Is there any single faculty, or power, or propensity that we have which will not lead us astray if we will let it do so? Sin is contagious but holiness is not. Sin spreads quickly while doing right is very painful, deliberate, and conscious. Never a day passes that we do not have to forcefully deal with sin.
  • The proof of sin is in the Law: these ten commands reveal what is already there. The cracks in our nature are revealed as we become aware of these ten statements. God is kindly revealing what sin deceives us is not really there, that we are ok and as good as anyone else, and we need not fear the wrath of God. In tricks us that we do not deserve this wrath, for we are good natured and good spirited after all. The Law or Ten commandments define this sin for us…if we are not guilty of violating these laws we have no sin.
  • Placing God at the top of all I say, do, plan, think, and value. He is the final authority.
  • Manufacturing substitutes that I give my first class effort to, my first class devotion to, and my first class attention to…but they are not God.
  • Demeaning or diminishing the Names of God. Savior, Judge, Teacher, Guide, Leader, etc.
  • Using my resources or time, skills, opportunities, relationships, an wealth to honor God, to stop what I am doing to pause and reflect on a regular basis to say thank you, to worship Him.
  • honoring my parents, obeying them when under their authority
  • love all people, not hate anyone or despise them, but forgive them
  • sexual purity and faithfulness in marriage
  • never taking someone else’s stuff without permission
  • honest conversations and when repeating stories
  • not needing or desiring what others have to make me happy, wanting and being content with what God gives me.

If you have always lived in obedience to these Ten Commandments you have no sin. You do not need Jesus. He can be just another alternative one you do not have to listen to.

The penalty for sin is death. Rom. 6:23

But if you have broken any of the Ten Commandments you are deserving of God’s judgment for you have the sin disease in you. That sin disease is contagious, you give it to your kids, it is incurable, you cannot fix it yourself, it is deceptive, it causes you to think you are ok when you are not, and it is deadly. You will be forced to deal with this reality now or when you meet God after you die. God in His mercy, His desire to spare you and have a personal relationship with you, is allowing you to face this now. Once you realize this now you can respond for a solution. Most people when they hear this news, they minimize it or procrastinate or deny it is even important. If there is no God they are right, if there is no Bible they are right, if there is no Ten Commandments, they are right. But there is a God who has faithfully preserved His Word in the face of the most serious rejection and hatred, and there is a moral code that all cultures admit exists. The truth stands in spite of every attempt to remove it from the hearts and lives of people today.

The only cure for sin is Christ’s death as our sacrifice/ substitute for sin. This same God sent His son and we (because of indwelling sin) murdered Him, rejected Him, and pushed Him aside. But in that death He removed the barrier that stops us from being close to God. An earthquake ripped the veil in half, the earthquake of the cross. That earthquake shook the ground and split rocks in two. The men who stood near the cross could not break their hearts in repentance but Christ breaks the hardest rocks, the hardest hearts who will look to Him for a cure.

Now the holy veil is ripped in half from top to bottom. This thick barrier took 300 men to move when they repaired a piece in it. It was 60 feet tall and 30 feet wide. It was suspended by a rock beam across the width of the temple. God removed it in an instant. The sacrifice of Jesus settled God’s problem with us and sin has been solved. Access has been granted. We are welcomed to come boldly to the throne of grace anytime we wish, with anything we wish, and in whatever condition we are in. We may come to Him in fear, sorrow, with sin, and angry, or joyful, full of faith, confidence, or love. We are welcomed with opened arms. Amazing? That’s why we sing “Amazing grace”!

The earthquake opened the graves of OT saints. His death is the path to new life, resurrection life. His death and that divine earthquake opened up sealed graves and shook the entire mountain where the temple was. This new life is found in His death.

The earthquake caused the centurion to say, “Truly this is God’s Son.” The clear marking of His deity is in that earthquake. What do you say? Who is Jesus? Is He the cure for sin? Is He God’s only way to intimacy with God?

He has opened up a way to have a personal relationship with God Himself. No mediator between the two except for Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus links us to the Creator, the Judge, the Teacher of truth, the revealer of mysteries, and the One true God.

The way is opened…will you stay outside or will you come inside the veil and join yourself to God, surrender to Him and give Him the worship He deserves?

Father, You have initiated and made a way for us to have intimacy. I can hardly take it in. I will be with You, and You will be with me. I come today with the deepest gratitude, with the respect and love of one who has been united with You for all eternity. Cleanse me, teach me, strengthen me, guide me, and love me as You do Your very Son. I embrace what you offer me as undeserving as I am.

United and grateful,

pd

Thursday

Filed under: Passion Week — Pastor David Apr 20, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

Read Matthew 26

Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples. This meal has become the most famous meal in history. Why? This historic feast would take a new twist for Jesus changed its meaning and application. Jesus transforms the Passover into our “Communion” feast. How? Jesus took the cup, the third cup of the Passover meal (called the Seder). The first cup announced God’s blessing, the second cup, the ten plagues, but the third cup was the cup of salvation. This cup is the one that Jesus took and changed the meaning for all time. His coming was the fulfillment of the Passover meal, but especially the cup of salvation. He came to save us, rescue us, and cure us of what sin has done to us. How could a single cup do all that?

He said, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” Every word is filled with power, blessing, and hope. One cup brings to a sin filled and sin stained world a new day. The cup is the container, the body of Jesus which will be emptied of its contents, His blood. His blood is His life. That blood was perfect, sinless blood, which began a new covenant between God and man.

Why do we need a NEW covenant? The former covenant was in His Law given to Moses. It is called the Old Covenant, or Old Testament. In that arrangement between God and man was the need for man to do the Ten Commandments, and practice all the laws of the tabernacle before coming near to God. The key word for the Old Covenant was “do”. Man was required to do all the Law. The result of that arrangement was the clear failure of every man. No one kept the Law, therefore all were sentenced by that Law to die. God’s word was the messenger of death. But in that Old Covenant were the pictures and promises of a New Covenant that Jesus would fulfill and announce to the world.

Jesus announced the New Covenant was to be found in His blood. His blood was the perfect substance of His life. He said it must be poured out to begin this New Covenant. How will it be poured out? By force? Or willingly given? He willingly offered His blood when He was crucified for us. Why? To give us the New Covenant. Because of that generous and selfless gift God has a new arrangement with sin ruined humanity. Sin has been paid for, neutralized, and rendered powerless to keep us from God. That blood has opened a new way to God. We can even approach God boldly without fear. What must we do for all this to be ours? Nothing. It has been done “for us”. So the new word is “done” and replaces the old word “do”. He has done it all for us, what we could never do, He has done.

His word to them was, “Take it and drink it, all of you in remembrance of Me.” So all that is left is to receive what He offers. Drink it, make it yours, and take it in. To drink demands trust. What if what you drink makes you sick, or worse poisons you? What will happen when you decide to drink what Jesus offers? It restores you, renews you, revives you, and transforms you. His cup will remove the power, the penalty and presence of sin. It happens once for all and over and over again. There is a miracle in that cup, one of blessing. No matter how many times we have drank this cup before or will drink again in the future, we always drink in remembrance of Him.

Father, I am so undeserving and yet needy of this cup each and every day. You have once for all defeated sin’s power to keep me from You. You have washed away the filth and stain as well. But I find my sins still coming back to hurt me and defile me. But I remember that You gave Your Son’s blood for me. Because of that I am allowed to come to You at all times. I boldly draw near to You, confide in You, and ask for Your warm loving arms to surround me. Thank you for this acceptance, this love, and this privileged place in Your presence. Here all is well as I rest in what you have DONE for me, In Jesus’ Name.

Underserved but loved

PD

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