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  1. 04_Apr_After Three Days 1

    “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things,
    and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed,
    and after three days rise again."
    Mark 8: 31

    The body of the Lord Jesus was taken down from the cross by loving hands, namely those of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea. There may have been others but the Bible doesn’t tell us about them.

    When all of the rest of the world was afraid, these two men boldly came out from the shadows and identified with the risen Christ. This wasn’t a spontaneous action but something they were both prepared for and waited for quietly until the right moment. A tomb had been prepared for the sacred body of the Lord Jesus by Joseph, and herbs and spices were prepared by Nicodemus. Jesus Christ had a burial fit for a king; so that Scripture might be fulfilled:

    “And he made his grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death ...”
    Isaiah 53: 9.

    Both Joseph and Nicodemus were Pharisees, so they would have been familiar with this particular verse of Scripture as well as many others that spoke clearly of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Both of these men had an important role to play and they were about to embark on an act that would separate them once and for all from their former life. By handling the body of this Man who had been rejected by the world they were identifying themselves with Him and therefore -

    Life for them would never be the same again - and they knew it.

    Because of their noble action they would immediately be expelled from the Sanhedrin; which was the ruling council of that day and probably ostracised by all if not most people who were part of their lives, but they didn’t mind; for they had what they wanted and were doing what they knew God wanted them to do.

    As they carefully carried the body to the tomb and laid it to rest, there were some women who watched from distance so they could come back at the first available opportunity to do their part later on. There was nothing else for the men to do after the anointing oil and swaddling bands had been applied, their work was finished, so reluctantly they left and a stone was rolled across the entrance of the tomb and sealed shut. Roman guards were posted there to make sure no one could tamper with the tomb’s contents. The sun later set on the scene ....

    What heaviness and what emptiness must have filled the hearts of those who had previously followed Him. What bitter regrets must have been there in the heart of those who knew they should have been with Him in His darkest hour but forsook Him and fled. What inconsolable sorrow must have been Peter’s lot after having denied his Lord with oaths and swearing. Their Lord was dead, and the brutal way that He had been taken away from them only added to their sorrow.

    When He was alive He brought so much promise to everyone He met. The change He brought people’s lives was phenomenal. Who else had the ability to do what He could do and more importantly, who else spoke like this Man did? Earlier on officers had been sent to arrest Him and take Him away but they returned empty handed – their reply to those who sent them was:

    “Never man spake like this man"
    John 7: 46.

    Peter said on one occasion:
    “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
    John 6: 68.

    Somehow when He was with them their lives were complete but now all everything was so dark and empty!

    That was until the third day had arrived ... Everything changed on that day!

    The sorrow and bewilderment of the women who came to anoint His body only to find that it wasn’t there anymore was soon to be replaced with comfort and joy. The sorrow of a woman called Mary who remained at the tomb was soon to be replaced with unspeakable joy when she encountered the risen Lord. Peter’s inconsolable sorrow and regret dissolved when he had the privilege of being the first of the disciples to have an audience with his Lord.

    The rest of them who were locked behind closed doors for fear of the Jews were emboldened by the risen Lord Jesus who appeared before them. And so on and on it went, one incident after another of once shattered lives on account of the horrifying death of the One they loved so much were restored, comforted and emboldened at the sight of the living Lord Jesus.

    What a difference this living One makes in the lives of all who trust in Him.

    As important as His death is to those who believe on Him and trust Him fully, it would be without significance were it not for the fact that the One in whom we believe is alive! For the Bible tells us:

    “... If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
    If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
    we are of all men most miserable.”
    1 Corinthians 17: 17,19

    Because of what happened on the third day after He was crucified we also can know the joy and comfort of His presence with us. He promised He would never leave those who have trusted Him fully. And because He is alive we can face the problems that life brings before us, no matter how great or how small those problems may be. The knowledge of the fact that Jesus is a real Man alive in heaven today makes all the difference in the world.  One thing is almost certain – if Joseph and Nicodemus didn’t have the quiet assurance that their Lord was going to raise again from among the dead they probably would not or could not have faced the outcome of their actions.

    So, the question must be asked just one more time - what does this all mean to you?

    04_Apr_After Three Days 2

     Here's a little bit of Easter joy for you at Youtube.

     

    ~~~~~

    >> Do you have any questions or comments about the wonderful news that Jesus is alive?  I would love to hear from you -
          why not say hello down below!

     

  2. 04_Apr_At The Place Called Calvary 1

    "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary,
    there they crucified him, and the malefactors,
    one on the right hand, and the other on the left"
    Luke 23: 33

    Outside the city walls of Jerusalem is a place called Calvary. This spot on the map is designated as probably the most important place on earth! Not because of any noticeable beauty because it doesn’t really have any; in fact it was known in ancient days as “Golgotha” (the place of a skull) because its geographical setting rather resembles the appearance of a human skull. Calvary became the place of great significance because of an event that took place there 2000 years ago.

    This was the place where common criminals were put to death for their crimes by means of crucifixion. This had to have been the very worst, most torturous way to die. Devised by the cruel Roman Empire and those who were impaled to crosses were lifted up and left to die. It took many hours for the victim to die, and for some it even took days before the inevitable came upon them. They were lifted up high for all passersby to see.

    This was the place that had seen an end of many people before and this was just another day for some like the Centurion who presided over the affairs of such a barbaric occasion. However as the events of this day unfolded it soon became evident that this was going to be a day like none other before.

    Three crosses were ready to receive their next victims and routinely each man was impaled and raised up to die – but, there was something different about the Man occupying the centre cross! There, suspended on that cross, as if the very worst of the three was the only Man to ever walk this earth without sin. But why was He there? What had He done to deserve such a cruel death? After all, His cross was originally for a man called Barabbas but he was spared from his fate ...

    Because this Man was going to die in his place.

    Jesus Christ, the Son of God came into this sad old world just 33 years before specifically for the purpose of coming to this place to accomplish a work that no other was able to do. It was there at this place that a mighty exchange took place when:

    “(He) once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust,
    that he might bring us to God ...”
    I Peter 3: 18

    This is when
    “(God) ... made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
    that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”
    2 Corinthians 5: 21

    It was then that God made to meet upon Him all of the sin accumulated from the past and all sin anticipated from that moment on, and He bore the mighty wrath of God against the sin of Mankind (our sin included,) until His wrath was expended. (See Isaiah 53: 6)

    What sort of a mind could have devised such a rescue plan like this other than the mind of God? What could have motivated Him to do such an extraordinary thing other than love beyond measure to those who He has gone to such great lengths to redeem?

    It may appear to some that the precious Son of God died as a result of man’s hatred and brutality, but the truth is that nobody took His life from Him that day ... He gave it freely as an offering for sin once for all! And if this is so, and we know it surely is, then why the cross? Why couldn't He have given His life some other way? Why did He allow Himself to suffer at the hands of man in this manner? May it be suggested that it possibly was to demonstrate to us how exceedingly sinful sin really is?

    When the Lord Jesus was just a tiny infant of no more than a few days, He was taken by His parents to the Temple to be circumcised as was the manner of the Jews. It had earlier been revealed by the Holy Spirit to a faithful man of God called Simeon that this child was the means by which Salvation from God to man would come. With great reverence and respect he moved forward, gently took up the baby in his arms and gazed into the face of this precious child and declared to God his utter and complete trust in This One who in His very Person is the very Salvation of God.

    Moved by the Spirit he then spoke to Mary His mother of the impact upon the world that this child’s future would have and then old her solemnly: Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed,” (Luke 2: 35) alluding to His future suffering on the cross. It is that statement “that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” that is of particular interest; for if we read carefully we find that there was somebody from every known nation represented there at Calvary, someone from every walk of life there also, and most importantly there was someone representing every possible frame of mind there at the place where our Lord was crucified!

    We can all very well identify with somebody who beheld that scene that day.

    The cross revealed what man was really like – some were cruel and sadistic, others were mockers. Some were cold and indifferent while others were afraid! Very few were prepared to come close to the cross and be identified with Him, but thankfully there were a few!

    And somebody there at that place called Calvary was somebody just like you!

    For the unsuspecting Roman Centurion mentioned earlier a great change took place in his heart that day; for after watching this Precious One suffer, bleed and die and after witnessing the events to follow He was heard to declare from the depths of his heart:

    "Truly, this was the Son of God."
    Matthew 27: 54.

    The question is, what does this all mean to you?

    04_Apr_At The Place Called Calvary 2

    ~~~~~

    >> Do you have any questions or comments about what Calvary means to you? I would love to hear from you -
          why not say hello down below!

     

  3. 04_Apr_A Thousand Years

    "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing,
    that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years,
    and a thousand years as one day."
    2 Peter 3: 8

    When we think of God in all His greatness and Majesty, it is not too difficult for us to imagine what it is for Him to look at a thousand years as a single day according to His perspective. After all He had the ability to create the heaven and the earth and everything in them with just a spoken word in only a small amount of time. In fact He could have probably created it all in a moment if He so desired, but the Bible tells us that He did it in only six days! :)

    It also tells that: "... Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ... Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (Hebrews 11: 1,3.) So God didn't need something with which to work with and we do not need evidence!

     His spoken Word is sufficient and our faith is all that's needed!

    And so the Sovereign was able to heal the sick, with a touch or spoken word, He was able to control the weather, and even raise the dead - what immeasurable power and greatness!

    But then on the cross while atoning for our sin, even the sin of the world, it was a hands on task!  Suspended between heaven and earth on a cruel Roman cross, nailed there by His hands and feet He suffered, bled, and died as a Substitute for poor lost sinners.  This actually happened as recorded as a fact in history, and was the ultimate demonstration of a holy but loving God to the likes of you and me.  What love!

    "God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
    while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
    Romans 5: 8

    But here we are locked into a domain we have absolutely no control over.  We live in a dimension that is governed by a thing called time!  It affects everything we do, and we only have a small opportunity to make an impact before we have to leave.  Is there anything worthwhile we can do in such a small allotment of this valuable thing called time?

    Some who are reading this may be looking back on a wasted lifetime.  So many years have passed and cannot be recalled.  You cannot turn back the clock and do it again!  But ... you can do something with the time you have left, from this very moment onwards.

    If you are already a child of God and on your way to heaven you are in the right condition to do something with your allotment of time.  If not, today is the day, and now is the moment in which to turn yourself over to the living God and trust in His beloved Son.  He will set your feet on a pathway investing in the eternal future, and this is all that really matters and all that is realy going to count. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What you do with it now will matter forever!

    I have a word to encourage you today that will give to you the hope you need to look forward to the future, knowing that the moments you live right from this day will have eternal value.

    The eternal God is not only able to look at a thousand years as one single day but able to perceive time the other way around also.

    One single day of our lives well lived is as a thousand years in His sight!
    Imagine that!

    This means that to God every little kind act performed because you are a Christian, every moment of prayer, every little appreciation of Him is multiplied a thousand or more times!

    Perhaps you are a young Mum surrounded with little ones and are feeling a little suffocated, investing in your little ones will never be a waste of time. But you may be thinking that you only get a few moments to read your Bible or a few moments to pray, what significance is this to the eternal God?  Well, our Father in Heaven measures the value of those tiny moments you give to Him as something of essence value.

    May be the best years of your life have now passed.  You look back with a heavy heart knowing those years have gone, and you simply cannot to what you did back then.  The Lord has a high estimation of all those little things you feel are not worth as much as what you once gave.

    Perhaps you are looking back on a wasted life and you wonder if it's worth trying now!  The Bible tells us that 'the Lord is able to restore what the locusts have eaten!'  (Joel 2: 25.)

    God has the ability of making up for time that has been lost and multiplying what you have left.

    So it's up to each one of us to use what we have left wisely, because even though the living God lives outside of the time domain He created, He still values every minute and every second of it ... And so must we!

    04_Apr_A Thousand Years 2

    ~~~~~

    >> Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below!

     

  4. 03_Mr_An Unexpected Surprise

    It was a morning off work and there were a number of things I would have liked to do but an unexpected turn of events curtailed my plans .... in a very nice way.

    I had to break away from what I was doing for a while to take my car to the garage to collect a new key and get it coded. For some silly reason I had a mental block and headed off in the wrong direction to where I needed to go and had to re-route my journey, which took me on a small detour and over a hill which overlooked one of our beautiful bays.  There is was in all its glory, bathed in beautiful sunshine, and it looked so very appealing.

    I thought for a moment of time how much I would love to be there ...
    'right now!'

    I couldn't stop or slow down to enjoy the view because there were cars behind me, so I just caught a glimpse of it on the bend as I descended the hill down to the road where the garage was situated.

    I thought the process of coding my key would take about twenty minutes or so, but I was wrong.  It was possibly going to take up to an hour!  So, I was invited to wait in the car showroom on a comfy seat in a cosy corner.  While sitting there and sipping on a small glass of water someone had kindly provided, I was wondering what I would do with all this waiting time.  I looked out of the window into the sunny street and thought: "The bay is just a few minutes' walk away from here! .... I know what I want to do while I'm waiting."

    I quickly drank up my water and went to the reception and suggested that I would go for a walk and be back within the hour instead of waiting inside.  I left my mobile number just in case they were finished before my return and off I went.

    In only a few minutes I was 'there'!  The very place where I had that momentary longing for, no longer than twenty minutes prior to actually being there in that beautiful bay for a stroll on the beach.  Oh, it was wonderful indeed!  The sky was blue, the sea was pleasant, the waves curling in and breaking softly on the pebbles that had earlier been washed up by stormy weather.  The smells and the sounds excited my senses.  And even better still was the fact that this most pleasant outing was an unexpected surprise!

    Any other February morning would have been cold and extremely unpleasant but we have been enjoying unusually warm weather for the time of the year and there was nothing more than a slightly cool breeze to remind us that this IS actually February and not April or May!

    I walked and walked, breathing in the beautiful fresh air and enjoying the sound of the waves and gulls calling to each other.  The only other people I saw down there was the occasional  person walking their dog.  It was absolutely wonderful!

    When I finally turned around and walk back I stopped for a few moments to do a reality check.  Was I really here or was I imagining all of this? And then something rather wonderful occupied my thoughts.

    I saw this place afar off, I longed to be there - 'right now',
    and suddenly I WAS there all within a very short space of time.

    How many times have we longed to be at home in heaven with the Lord Jesus and with those who we know have arrived there before us?  Occasionally we've had a glimpse of our eternal home afar off during our alone time with the Lord, or while enjoying the lyrics of a lovely hymn.  Sometimes we might be listening to some stirring music and our soul has been carried away with thoughts and imaginations of this beautiful place. Or we might have been listening to a gifted preacher expounding to us the Scriptures which gendered our longing to be there.

    I have great joy in telling you that one soon day, quite unexpected maybe, those of us who are God's people  WILL be there, perhaps sooner than we thought.  The Lord Jesus promised that He is going to come again one soon day and call all of His people out of this sad old world up and away to join Him in His.

    "Let not your heart be troubled: ye 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.
    And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
    that where I am, there ye may be also."
    John 14: 1-3

    And if it took God six days to create the earth upon which we live in all its beauty, how much more wonderful is the place He has spent over two thousand years preparing?  For me, my unexpected stroll on the beach in the sunshine was wonderful enough,  but how much more so will it be to be taken by surprise and find ourselves in His fair land and in His presence?

    I don't know about you but I can't wait to get there!

    But there is one more important thing.  Although I didn't know that I would be walking on the beach that day, I was prepared!  I was suitably dressed for the environment in which I unexpectedly found myself, which serves as a gentle warning to all who are reading this right now ... to be prepared!

    If you are one of God's people you need to allow the possibility of the Lord's imminent return to fill and thrill your soul, because soon all the suffering and trials we know will be over.  His coming is something that ought to be paramount in our thinking, and that which we are talking among ourselves about because the Bible tells us to: "Comfort one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4: 18.

    But you may be reading this and you are not prepared for this event.  You need to know and understand that God will not allow anyone into His heaven unsuitably dressed!  You are loved more than words could ever fully tell by God Himself.  The Bible tells us this is the way He demonstrated His love: "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." 1 Timothy 1: 15.

    God has done everything it takes in order that you might have the assurance of a home in His heaven for you to look forward to.  It takes a humble heart willing to trust in Him fully and believe that when Jesus died on the cross, He died as your Substitute. Trusting in Him with all your heart will make room for God to change your destiny and your 'apparel'.  The Bible tells us that God clothes those who He has saved with "garments of salvation", and "a robe of righteousness." Isaiah 61: 10.

    It won't be long to wait before God's people find themselves in that wonderful place called heaven.  We have seen it afar off, and we long to be there 'right now'!  And one soon day, may be sooner than we thought 'right now' will have come suddenly.

    Be prepared dear ones, this wonderful event may be ....

    Perhaps Today

    ~~~~~

    >> Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below!

     

  5. "The ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
    And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
    And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying,
    It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

    But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
    And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
    And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship,
    he walked on the water, to go to Jesus."

    Matthew 14: 24-29

    Peter, the disciple of Jesus is a rather interesting character, and if we take a closer look at him we will find that there are times when we can personally identify with him.

    He is remembered for denying the Lord Jesus when put under surveillance. He is also known for his daring step of faith which gave to him the ability to do something that is completely unnatural, and that is ... to walk on the water. Unfortunately he is often criticised for sinking into the waves when he realised where he was, which deflates the importance of what was actually happening there on the storm-tossed lake in the darkness of the night! After all, when was the last time YOU walked on the water?

    Let's take a closer look at the circumstances in which this miraculous event took place and apply a wonderful truth contained therein, and perhaps you will be comforted in your soul that this account was recorded in the Bible, possibly for your benefit.

    Prior to this event Peter had just witnessed the Lord Jesus miraculously feed and fill over 5,000 hungry people with a small meal of five fishes and two loaves of bread! I wonder if this bolstered up his faith and boosted his confidence a little! Well, it must have made a mighty impact because he was about to defy the laws of nature and do what would normally be considered impossible!

    Please allow me to set the scene here. Having dismissed the multitude after they had been fed the Lord sent His disciples ahead of Him in a boat to the other side of the lake while He went up into the mountain to spend time alone with His Father in prayer.

    While He was there, the boat was starting to get tossed around by a storm which arose unexpectedly. I don't know how long their vessel was under duress, but in the middle of the night a familiar figure came to them walking on the water! At first they thought that it might be a spirit and were terrified but straight away with just a few words the Lord reassured them that it was Him.

    Upon hearing the reassuring words of his Master, Peter called out to the Lord to bid him to meet Him on the water, so the Lord invited Peter in and ... he walked on the water to go to Jesus!

    Now let's just stop there for a moment! During their time with the Lord Jesus the disciples have known some good times and some bad ones. Now was one of those times when they were having to endure some turbulent weather. Their little vessel was being tossed about on the sea which had been whipped up by the wind. And to make matters worse it looked like they were being intercepted by a spirit! But they were mistaken!

    They misunderstood the situation as being out of control, but they were wrong. They thought they had seen a ghost, they were wrong again.

    What they thought was chaos was brought to order,
    what they thought was a ghost was the Lord Himself.

    Have you ever been in a situation like this when the circumstance you find yourself in feel like it is going to consume you, and the thing you are afraid of turns out to be the Lord Himself? He's right there and just a heart cry away but sometimes we just don't recognise Him.

    Now, let's turn our attention to Peter and what he just did. Out on the waves was His hero, for the want of a better word. It was his Master bidding him to come out of the boat and go to Jesus. How could he resist? When Jesus filled his gaze he was able to do something that would otherwise be considered impossible.

    Someone may be reading this may be going through a trial right now. A tragedy came suddenly, bad or sad news whipped up a storm in your life. And it feels like the enemy is close and coming closer. But wait, look again, and focus on the Man who can walk on the water. He is the One with words of comfort and reassurance.

    Life is not always green grass and blue skies. Sometimes the way is hard, sometimes stormy, but when all you can see is the storm it is easy to be overcome and sink to a place where we need rescuing.  Thankfully our beloved Lord and Master is just a call away.

    However, one of those wonderful things about having a relationship with the living Lord Jesus is that it is possible for the likes of you and me to, 'walk on water' also. By that I mean it is possible to rise above the circumstances that would otherwise engulf you. Whatever trial you are called upon to go through focusing on the beloved Lord Jesus will enable you to rise above its power to pull you down.

    You will be surprised what is achievable when we are focused on Him, and on Him alone. This is what happened to the fearful disciples who locked themselves away in an upper room because they were afraid of the Jews who crucified their Lord only a short while ago.

    The Bible tells us: "Then were the disciples glad, WHEN they saw the Lord" John 20: 20. One look at Him turned their fear to gladness.

    Remember dear friend that: "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1: 7. And you can claim the following words as I have done and make them your own: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4: 13.

    Well, if we were to continue to follow on with the account we would have read that Peter became aware of the waves he was walking on and immediately began to sink. Yes, he lost his focus and the Lord came to his immediate rescue. But he walked on the water when no one else did! And you can do the same when you're focused on Him as well!  :)

     02_Feb_When All You Can See Is The Storm
     
     Related Link - When Jesus Came - (Blog Post from December 2017)
     

    And In Keeping With The Above Subject ...


    Might as well have a listen to this one if you havent already :)
    This song was written for Christmas 2017
    but the lyrics compliment the thoughts shared in the blog above.

    ~~~~~

    >> Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below!