Friday, March 25 2016
Day FIVE Devotional: The CROSS!
They nailed JESUS to the cross. It was brutal. When He was on the cross some incredible things were happening. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record a period of DARKNESS.
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour (noon- 3 pm) there was darkness over all the land” (Matthew 27:45 NKJV).
“Suddenly and unexpectedly, the clouds started rolling over the land, becoming darker and darker until finally an ominous, dark gloom filled the entire sky and loomed over the landscape” (Rick Renner – Sparkling Gems from the Greek 273).
Some people have tried to explain the darkness away as an eclipse. That is not possible since the Passover occurred at the TIME OF A FULL MOON. This darkness happened when the Father turned His back on the Son!
This darkening occurred at the sixth hour, or noon time. This is very significant for that was the very moment that “the high priest Caiaphas, arrayed in his full priestly garments, began the procession in which he would enter the temple to slaughter a pure, spotless Passover lamb” (Rick Renner – Sparkling Gems from the Greek 273).
The darkness lasted until the ninth hour (3 pm). This was “…the exact moment the high priest would be making his entrance into the Holy of Holies to offer the blood of the Passover lamb to cover the sins of the nation” (Rick Renner – Sparkling Gems from the Greek 273).
Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, 'into Your hands I commit (or release) My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.” (Luke 23:45-46 NKJV).
“Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…” (Matthew 27:50, 51 NKJV).
So it was at this very moment, as the High Priest began to enter the Holy of Holies, through the veil, that Jesus cried “It is finished.”
This VEIL was “…sixty feet high, thirty feet wide, and an entire handbreadth in thickness! One early Jewish writing states that the veil was so heavy; it took three hundred priests to move or manipulate it…At the very instant Caiaphas stepped up to pass through that veil Jesus declared, ‘It is finished’ the veil was torn in two and a great earthquake took place” (Rick Renner – Sparkling Gems from the Greek 273).
What victory, His assignment was finished, and the VEIL was RIPPED in two. Now the ENTRANCE into the Holy of Holies was made available through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Oral Roberts said: “Something GOOD is going to happen to you TODAY!” GOOD Friday is called GOOD because of the GOD OUTCOME!
Thursday, March 24 2016
Day FOUR Devotional: the TRIAL!
“And those who had LAID HOLD of Jesus LED HIM away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled” (Matthew 26:57 NKJV).
Notice the words “laid hold” & “led”. This indicates that the soldiers SEIZED JESUS & made “a FORCEFUL ARREST” (Rick Renner – Sparkling Gems from the Greek).
Not only did they arrest Jesus but they “led” him away with a ROPE tied around His neck.
This phrase ‘led him away’ “…comes from the Greek word apago—the same word used to picture a shepherd who ties a rope about the neck of his sheep and then leads it down the path to where it needs to go” (Rick Renner – Sparkling Gems from the Greek).
This fulfilled a prophecy, given hundreds of years earlier, that says “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7 NKJV).
But someone else was present at His trial, PETER!
“But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest's courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end” (Matthew 26:58 NKJV).
He heard many who testified against Jesus and finally “blasphemy” was considered the judgment to have Him crucified.
“Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?’”
(Matthew 26:67, 68 NKJV).
But Jesus remained silent but Peter was about to speak…or was He? Three times he was about to speak. When accused by several servant girls Peter DENIED that he even knew Jesus. Then the rooster crowed &
“And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75 NKJV).
What would your response be to denying Jesus @ His trial??? Think about it!
Wednesday, March 23 2016
Day THREE Devotional: the ARREST!
Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, praying, when: “Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees” (John 18:3 NKJV).
A detachment was from 300-600 soldiers. But they came with “LATERNS, TORCHES, and WEAPONS” (John 18:3 NKJV). These soldiers were heavily armed, the S.W.A.T. team of the time. They were ready for insurrection.
Jesus then went forward to them and said: “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them” (John 18:4, 5 NKJV).
Even though He knew He would face the cross Jesus WENT FORWARD! However Something SUPERNATURAL was about to happen that would STUN everyone! “Now when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground” (John 18:6 NKJV).
When Jesus spoke “I AM”, the Covenant name of God. Notice the word “He” is in italics indicting it was added by the translators but not in the original. Look at their RESPONSE to the I AM statement of Jesus, they literally were “staggering and stumbling backward, as if some force hit them and pushed them backward” (Rick Renner – Sparkling Gems from the Greek p. 220).
So the picture here is the soldiers were “hit” with something so hard they it forced them to the ground as if they had dropped dead. It must have been startling. This proves that Jesus was not taken by FORCE. He surrendered of His own will. He settled that in the garden, this was all part of God’s plan for man’s redemption.
Jesus WILLINGLY laid down His life for YOU & for Me! Think about it!
Tuesday, March 22 2016
Day TWO Devotional: the GARDEN!
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to a favorite place to pray, the garden of Gethsemane.
He then told His disciples “Pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:40 NKJV).
What He means was that you not be overcome by or fall into temptation. For many of us, at that time of night, it might be to FALL ASLEEP!
Then Jesus PRAYED an amazing prayer: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup (of suffering-NLT) away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42 NKJV).
Jesus knew He was about to face the cross, the battle was won, here in prayer, before it began in the natural realm. But look @ what happens next:
“Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.” (Luke 22:43).
The Greek word enischuous means: “to impart strength, to empower someone, to give a renewed vitality…a sudden blast of energy, instantly recharged” (Rick Renner – Sparkling Gems from the Greek).
An angel is a messenger, envoy, or one who is sent. An angel is one sent on a mission from God. Not only do angels minister “FOR those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14 NKJV) but they also bring protection, relief and support (Psalms 91:11 NKJV).
“Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who DO HIS WORD, HEEDING the VOICE of His word” (Psalm 103:20 NKJV Emphasis Mine).
Angels were created, with the primary mission, to DO God’s Word. What word are we talking about? Angels OBEY or heed the VOICE of the SPOKEN word of God.
Angels are waiting for someone to SPEAK THE WORD and that gives them authority to act in this natural realm. Part of their ministry is to RECHARGE the believer. That same angelic ministry for Christ is available today. We can be given a jump start, like a battery, in times of great crisis and need. How awesome is that.
Monday, March 21 2016
Day ONE Devotional: the TEMPLE!
This is the FIRST of FIVE devotions for EASTER WEEK!
What was the FIRST thing Jesus did after the TRIUMPHANT Entry into Jerusalem?
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. (Matthew 21:12 NKJV)
First: Jesus CLEANSED the TEMPLE. He drove out the money changers. This may seem unusual that the peaceful and humble Jesus would, as one verse says:
“When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple…” (John 2:15 NKJV)
When it came to the HOUSE of God, the TEMPLE, Jesus was SERIOUS!
And He said to them, ‘It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.' Matthew 21:13 NKJV
Second: Jesus DECLARED the house of PRAYER. Prayer is to be a vital part of our lives of faith! Prayer should be the first thing we do to begin the day & the last thing we do at night.
Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. Matthew 21:14 NKJV
Third: Jesus HEALED the sick. Healing must be a normal part of the Christian’s life! It shouldn’t be UNUSUAL. Healing & praying for healing should be NATURAL, or shall we say SUPERNATURAL!
So keep your TEMPLE CLEAN.
Maintain a life of PRAYER.
HEALING must be a natural part of the believer’s life!
Sunday, March 20 2016
They call it “March MADNESS!” It’s that time of the year that college basketball playoffs are at the forefront of American sports. This weekend more games will be played than at any other time of the year.
Have you ever wondered why they call it “March MADNESS”? I guess part of the “madness” is for many of the colleges waiting to see if they “get picked” to participate in this “elite” tournament.
Boy that brings some memories flooding from the past. Have you ever been the “last one” picked for a game? That can be so traumatic for some kids that they will avoid that position at all costs. It can be humiliating to be last. This is an unfortunate byproduct of “competition” in our society.
When you’re the last one picked you feel like a loser. If its football that is being played then you probably won’t “touch” the ball. If it’s basketball you might get a rebound or simply be ignored, even by your own team. That is an uncomfortable place to be in.
However God has an answer He’s good at turning “losers” into winners. When He picks you, and He has, and you pick Him, and you can do that right now, then you become God’s “winner!”
There’s a fascinating story in the Bible that demonstrates this idea of losers becoming winners. The Angel of the LORD came and sat under a tree and watched while “…Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, ‘The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!’” Judges 6:11-12 NKJV
Gideon was hiding from the enemy in a “wine press” and was trying to “thresh” or clean the wheat. If he did it in the open the enemy would come and take the wheat from him that’s why he was doing it in secret. I’m sure he was startled by the Angel’s statement! Can you imagine?
From a purely human perspective we would think that Gideon was the “least likely” to win or succeed. God’s formula doesn’t work that way. The least likely plus God equals victory. That is true every time all the time.
The madness is that only “one” can win rather than “all” can win! Over the next several weeks you will see the NCAA Tournament season begin with sixty-four teams. Soon thereafter it will drop to sixteen teams. It’s the beginning of “March MADNESS!”
Sunday, March 13 2016
We are Anointed to BE JOYFUL!
There is a fascinating verse in Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NKJV).
It says: In the day of PROSPERITY be JOYFUL, but in the day of ADVERSITY CONSIDER: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
(NLT) Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.
(MSG) On a good day, ENJOY yourself; on a bad day, EXAMINE your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.
Someone has said: In the day of PROSPERITY our friends know us; in the day of ADVERSITY we know our friends.
In the day when everything is going well, REJOICE. But when hard times come, THINK & consider. We all face them both. But we can face them more successfully with GOOD friends! Don't let anything steal your joy. So WHAT must we DO???
REJOICE IN the LORD!
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV) 17 Though the FIG TREE may not blossom, Nor FRUIT be on the vines; Though the labor of the OLIVE may fail, And the FIELDS yield no food; Though the FLOCK may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls…
(no figs, no fruit, no anointing, no food, no flock, no herd: that’s some tough circumstances)
18 Yet I will REJOICE IN the LORD, IN the (victorious-AMP) God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength (my personal bravery, and my invincible army-AMP); He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills
(and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] PROGRESS upon my high places [of trouble, suffering or responsibility]-AMP)...
What happens to you doesn’t define the joy that you walk in. The act of your will is what determines the joy, and ultimately the outcome in your life!
Decide: I will be joyful:
No matter what comes – though the fig tree may not blossom…
No matter what happens – though anointing seems to fail…
No matter who is not joyful – in and around my life!
Yet I WILL REJOICE in the Lord, the VICTORIOUS God!
Sunday, March 06 2016
14 But you must CONTINUE in the things which you have LEARNED and been assured of (remain faithful to the things you have been taught- NLT; learned & become convinced in- NIV), knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have KNOWN the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you WISE for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 (NKJV)
(AMP) But as for you, CONTINUE to hold to the things that you have learned and of which you ARE CONVINCED, knowing from whom you learned [them],
Continue – meno: to stay, abide, remain- NASC;
Not only must you START but you must CONTINUE in what you have learned & known. Keep the FAITH! Remain FAITHFUL to what you have learned & become CONVINCED about!
Remember what the word says about Abraham being convinced? Romans 4:20-21 (NKJV) 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being FULLY CONVINCED that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
There is power in CONSISTENCY; there is power that is released when you CONTINUE in the Word. But you must be CONVINCED of its reality, its vitality for you today. You must constantly keep the Word before your eyes and coming out of your mouth. Then faith appears and the power of consistency, the power of declaring the Word is released on your behalf.
Be FAITHFUL, be FULL of faith!!!
Always, Always, Always BE HOPEFUL!
Always, Always, Always BE HOPEFUL!
Faith gives SUBSTANCE to the things we hope for (Hebrews 11:1). That is BASED on the Word of God.
Proverbs 13:12 tell us that: Hope that is deferred, that is prolonged or delayed, makes the HEART sick. But when the dream is fulfilled it becomes a TREE of LIFE!
Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV) Let us hold fast the CONFESSION of our hope without wavering (seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it -AMP; hold tightly to the hope -CEV; We must continue to hold firmly to our declaration of faith -GW; hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm -NLT), for He who promised is faithful.
(MSG) Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.
Keep CONFESSING the WORD, hold tightly the CONFESSION of your HOPE!