Category Archives: Jesus

He is Risen Indeed! [Repost]

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

This is what I posted last year on Easter.

psalm16_8

Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

—Psalm 16

This might seem like a strange way to say Halleluiah! on this Easter Sunday. I could have written about how Jesus’ resurrection from the grave paved the way for us to join Him in heaven when we die. Or maybe I should have spoken of the fact that Jesus completely obeyed his Father by taking on the penalty for our sins—not His sins, because He was born sinless and lived a sinless life. Perhaps I should concentrate on how trusting in Jesus for our salvation is the only way to heaven.

Hmm… I guess I just did all of the above!

Do you ever, like I often do, wonder what life will be like in heaven? I doubt that we’ll be forever lounging on clouds and eating bagels with cream cheese [like that old TV commercial], but my mind does conjure images of a place where there are no worries or anxieties, no sickness nor pain…and no death.

Everything and everyone will be focused on worshiping Jesus Christ, our Savior and LORD. We will not want for anything because we will have all we want and need in the LORD.

Wow!

Thoughts of the pleasures we’ll experience in our eternal home should help us see our difficulties in a different way. God completely understands our frustrations and sadness about things in our lives that seem beyond comprehension. The list is long and getting longer every day we live on this earth.

But… rest assured that our God understands all of it and simply asks us to trust Him enough [there's my word again!] to get us through it. In fact, it is only through Him that we can bear up under any of it.

Psalm 16 above is one of those defined as a Messianic psalm because it is quoted in the New Testament as predicting the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just as God promised through David’s words that Jesus would be resurrected and not “see decay,” so we can be assured that He is by our side, guiding us in our “path of life.”

Beloved, as we struggle with our everyday burdens, let’s not forget that Jesus Christ suffered so much for so many. He shed His own blood to give us the opportunity to live with Him forever, free from the burdensome realities of life here on earth. When we seem to be at the end of our rope, let’s choose to rejoice with Him, that He has made a way for us to live with Him forever.

HeHasRisen

The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon! —Luke 24:34, ESV

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The Living Christ [Billy Graham devotional]

This is another great devotional from Billy Graham’s wonderful devotional book, Hope for Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith. 

Gal2-20

From Hope for Each Day by Billy Graham

The Living Christ

It is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me.
—Galatians 2:20

Jesus Christ was crucified between two thieves on a rugged cross on Calvary, just outside Jerusalem. Think of it: The very Son of God came down from Heaven and “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

Jesus gave His head to the crown of thorns for us. He gave His face to the human spittle for me. He gave His cheeks and His beard to be plucked out for us. He gave His back to the lash for us. He gave His side to the spear for us. He gave His hands and feet to the spikes for us. He gave His blood for us. Jesus Christ, dying in our place, taking our sins on that cross, is God’s love in action.

But that’s not the end of the story. He rose again, and He is the living Christ. If Christ is not alive, there is no hope for any of us. But He is alive! And because He is, “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25, NIV).

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Hallelujah!

Go here to order your own copy of Hope for Each Day by Billy Graham.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

ChristBeforeMe--StPatrick

—Saint Patrick

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Certainly This Man Was Innocent

Calvary

It was now about the sixth hour,
and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 

because the sun was obscured;
and the veil of the temple was torn in two.
And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
Having said this, He breathed His last.
Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying,
“Certainly this man was innocent.”
And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle,
when they observed what had happened,
began to return,beating their breasts.
And all His acquaintances and the women
who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.
—Luke 23:44-49

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On this first day of Lent I am contemplating all that Jesus went through so that we would be able to live with Him forever in heaven. I will continue to write more about this as we approach Easter, the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Beloved, no matter what terrible things are going on in your life, hold on to your Hope! There is more to life than what we have here on earth!

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AnnaSmile

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The Great I AM

I-AM-Ex3-14

God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
    the name you shall call me
    from generation to generation. 

—Exodus 3:12-15

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I love to write about God as the great I AM. Today I read this article and know you will enjoy it as much as I did. 

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What did Jesus mean when He said ‘I AM’?

Jesus, in response to the Pharisees’ question “Who do you think you are?” said “‘Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ the Jews said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!’ ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’

Read morehttp://www.gotquestions.org/I-AM.html

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See also:

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AnnaSmile

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A Splinter Tells All

Today’s post is by my friend, Patricia Knight. I’m so thankful that Pat shares these devotionals with me so that I can share them with you when I am not physically up to working much on my blog. Enjoy!

splinter

 A Splinter Tells All

By Patricia Knight

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another and everyone else” (Colossians 3:12-13).

It was only a small splinter in the thumb, but so irritating, like a myriad other things in life that get under one’s skin.  Whenever the thumb brushed against something, the area was painful.  Such is the way of annoyances, disappointments, and consequences in our lives.  We carry them around like prized possessions, allowing their barbs to constantly poke at our weaknesses.

It seems as we progress in life that we would be able to overlook a small infraction or offense toward us because we have far greater issues to confront.   However, our emotions are alive and well, ready to exhibit arrogance and indignity.  Perhaps we cannot dictate our physical aches and pains but we most certainly want to maintain the ability to minimize the emotional and spiritual trauma we experience.

God commands us to love our enemies and to do good to those who hurt us.  He teaches kindness and understanding.  God promotes humility and forgiveness.  We are told to follow His example, mimicking Jesus.

During the years Jesus ministered on earth, He was doubted, ignored, tricked, tempted, and maligned in every possible way.  Not only people’s words, but also the negative motives Jesus could see in their hearts were hurtful to Him.

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Let us minimize the suffering we do by reaching out to others in love even when we don’t think they deserve it.  We have never deserved the love God lavishes upon us.  God’s grace gives us what we do not deserve.  God’s mercy does not give us what we do deserve.  Let us extend similar grace and mercy to others.  If we learn to duplicate but a portion of compassion and forgiveness God extends to us, we may be relieved of emotional anxiety and baggage.  At the same time we could improve our personal relationships, learn the value of peace of mind, and obey our God, who commands us to love others as we do ourselves.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to relieve our emotions of all the splintered relationships we have been nurturing?  The loss would be our gain.

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Hope-Joy-Peace!

Romans15-13…..

Beloved, this is my prayer for all of us in 2014. May we look to Jesus always as our God of hope, joy and peace!

AnnaSmile…..

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Mary’s Treasure

It has been far too long since I’ve posted a devotional by my friend Pat. She wrote this gorgeous piece as their family’s Christmas newsletter and has graciously allowed me to share it with you.

Luke2-19

“Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Mary was an ordinary person who accomplished the extraordinary.  As a young teenager, a mere twelve to fourteen years of age, Mary possessed a quiet faith, one that conveyed submission, humility, and inner strength of character.  The angel assured her, “Do not be afraid.  You have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 2: 32).

Mary was initially overwhelmed and perplexed by the announcement, but she asked only one question of the angel, Gabriel: “How will this be since I am a virgin?”  (Luke 2:34).  Once Gabriel responded that the Holy Spirit would overcome her to create her pregnancy, Mary replied, I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).  Her next response was to compose and sing a song of praise and glory to God, rejoicing in His mercy lavished upon her.  Mary’s song ends with conviction that God will be true to all of His promises.  She felt honored that she had been chosen to participate in a miracle that would fulfill God’s promise made centuries ago to bring the prophesied Savior to the world.

Mary didn’t attempt to live in the future, avoiding futile “what if” questions.  She relied upon her Lord to meet all of her needs on a daily basis. Whenever she was reminded of a new aspect of Jesus’ future predicted by a prophet or an angel, “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).  God recognized Mary’s superlative heart value. He chose her as the mother of Jesus by examining her heart and found it overflowing with goodness.  To hold the Son of God in her arms, to cuddle Him, to nurture and instruct Him, must have been a tremendous privilege and responsibility, not so different from the devotion and love all mothers feel toward their children.  However, a sense of wonder must have constantly permeated Mary’s emotions.

Luke2-52-a

As Jesus matured, He gradually developed an awareness of His unique relationship to God.  He was also perfectly obedient to His earthly parents.  Mary and Joseph must have yearned for their firstborn to experience every aspect of life, but Jesus was unable to fall in love, have a family, or experience any permanent status on earth.  Jesus the Christ, was God in the flesh.  He was focused on the work with eternal consequences He must perform during his brief time on earth.

Jesus’ parents had no forewarning that their adult son would walk on water, cure the blind, or heal the lame.  But they believed unreservedly in His mission.  At a wedding where the wine supply was exhausted much too early in the celebrations, Mary asked Jesus to help in some way to prevent embarrassment to the bridegroom. 

Jesus-turns-water-to-wine

Then she instructed the servants, Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).  Though Jesus had never performed a miracle up to that point, Mary trusted His abilities and judgment explicitly.  She was likely as surprised as the servants that Jesus converted gallons of plain water into elegant wine.

Jesus was born on earth not to constantly perform fantastic miracles, as needed as they were, but to bring redemption of sin to the multitudes.  Soon the prediction the prophet Simeon uttered when Jesus was an infant, was proving true; that Mary as well as Jesus would suffer deep anguish in the future. When Jesus claimed to be the son of God, storm clouds of opposition and rejection gathered over His life.  Mary must have felt personally attacked when she viewed mob hatred escalating toward her son.  Jesus was the subject of intolerance and shame, scorn and disbelief.  Mary paid a tremendous price to bring the Savior into the world; she paid an exorbitant price to stand beneath the cross, witnessing the torment of Jesus’ during his heinous crucifixion.  Mary’s heart must have completely shattered, spilling forth all the treasures she’d pondered over the past thirty-three years of her son’s life.

As He hung from the cross, Jesus assigned His beloved disciple, John, to care for His mother for the rest of her life.  Then Mary retreated into seclusion with Jesus’ committed followers, where they hid from the Roman authorities, praying for protection and guidance.  Three days later, news arrived that Jesus had risen from the dead.  How Mary rejoiced!  Her son, the Son of God, was alive!  Thanksgiving filled the air.

Are we willing to cling to our beliefs as Mary did, even when the rising tide of public opposition threatens to chip away at our spiritual commitment like granite eroding from the constant battering of surging tides?  Just as the plans for the incarnation of our Savior were flawlessly choreographed in heaven, God loves us so much that His purposes for each of our lives are also perfect.  As we celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas season, let us follow Mary’s example, learning to treasure all the Words of God and ponder them in our hearts.

mary_baby_jesus…..

Thank you, Pat, for allowing me to share these precious insights with my readers!

AnnaSmile…..

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Jesus…

God-Rock-Savior--TREE--BibleStudyTools.com

There are only two words I can add to this:

AMEN!

HALLELJUAH!

..AnnaSmile

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A Child is Born

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. —Isaiah 9:6

I’m sure most of us have been the recipients of birth announcements from friends and family. We get excited when we read the good news, but have any of those been as exciting or answered such a deep need as this one from Isaiah?

We announce the birth of our sweet, cuddly and cute newborns with clever sayings amid pastel colors and pictures of
bunnies, kittens, teddy bears, and the like. But just look at how Jesus’ birth is described by the prophet Isaiah:

WonderfulCounselor

Wonderful Counselor … Mighty God … Everlasting Father … Prince of Peace

Beloved, this is not a mere birth announcement. It is a heavenly proclamation!

I cannot think of any other gift that means more to us than God’s special gift to mankind: His Son, Jesus Christ. All over
the world, people exchange presents in commemoration of this ultimate gift, which is the only means of rescue from our sins.

Before we realize the need for Jesus in our lives, we are in a deep darkness of doubt and anxiety. After we ask Jesus to come into our hearts as our Savior, we leap from that lonely, dark void into a glorious and joyful anticipation of eternal life with Him at our side.

Just as Jesus’ death on the cross changes our darkness into the radiant light of eternal joy, a close relationship with Him is
the only thing that can help us find joy and thankfulness amidst our daily struggles and pain. Jesus understands what we’re going through and wants us to lean on Him for comfort, support and spiritual nourishment. His birth fulfilled Isaiah’s prophetic message of hope and in the same way, we can look forward to this realization:

our ultimate hope is a perfect heaven in which there will be no pain or suffering

HopeWasBorn…..

Beloved, I’m thinking that after going through this earthly time of pain and anguish, we will be dancing with joy and delight as we step into that glorious heavenly light! This is what we should be celebrating as Christmas approaches!

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AnnaSmile…..

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