Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Man of Sorrows—The Passion of Christ

    The Last Supper, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday have arrived once again this year. But what does it all mean? What was it all for? And why does it matter to me? Hundreds of years beforehand, the prophet Isaiah foretold of this ominous, yet glorious day for all humanity.
Isaiah 53:2–6 The Amplified Bible
2 For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He has no form or comeliness [royal, kingly pomp], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. [Matt. 8:17.]
Matthew 8:16-17  When evening came, they brought to Him many who were under the power of demons, and He drove out the spirits with a word and restored to health all who were sick. And thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, He Himself took [in order to carry away] our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases. [Isa. 53:4.]
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all. [I Pet. 2:24, 25.]
1 Peter 2:24–25  He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian (the Bishop) of your souls. [Isa. 53:5, 6.]
     That’s what Easter is all about—the Passion of Christ—His love for you. His body broken; so that you could be healthy and whole. His blood shed; so your sins forgiven, would now bring you home. Wellness and wholeness await you here, and Paradise with Jesus is your forever home. Gaze upon His Cross and believe.  

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Man of Sorrows

"It is finished. Now you can join Me in Paradise."
I'm praying that this One's in your eternal photo album. | #crownofthorns  #isaiah53

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Power Perfect in Weakness

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7b–10 NIV
     The Bible is replete with examples of personal perseverance and overcoming adversity against all odds and becoming individuals of power, authority, and greatness by the hand of God. Moses overcame his stammering speech to become a powerful leader of a new nation; Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers, became a powerful administrative official over all of Egypt; Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) survived the blazing fiery furnace to bring glory unto their God; and Daniel survived the lion’s den when God closed shut the lion’s mouths. And on the stories go.
     Oh! And there was that certain New Testament individual named Paul who overcame just a little to bring forth the Gospel to the Gentile world:
“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.” 2 Corinthians 11:23d–27 NIV
     We all have trials, tribulations, and trauma in our lives to overcome, but take heart and know that it does not escape the watchful eye of God and that He has greater things prepared for you. Persevere. We are ordinary people being prepared for an extraordinary destiny.
“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
2 Corinthians 6:4–10 NIV

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Your Extraordinary Destiny Awaits

Embrace your trials and tribulations as preparation for the awesome power of God to manifest through you. Persevere. I'm praying for you. 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10; 2 Corinthians 11:23d-27; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 | #paulsthorn #powerperfectinweakness

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Deaf, Dumb, Blind, and Dead

“For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ ” Matthew 13:15 NIV   
     If your heart has become hardened and calloused by the world and your life’s circumstances, then there is a high probability that you have boxed God and all spiritual awareness and understanding completely out of your life. We are all by nature a stiff-necked and belligerent generation. If left to ourselves, we will certainly be our own undoing.
     Jesus tells us in the Scripture above that the key to healing, wholeness, and understanding is to turn. Turn from the wiles and ways of the world, turn from your past and past mistakes, and most importantly, to turn from yourself and turn to God. To truly be well in every way is to embrace the first and greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ ” (Mark 12:30 NIV).
     Shift your focus off yourself and the world and instead onto Jesus and your blindness will be cured, your eyes will be opened, and you will spiritually see and perceive even into the invisible. Shift your attention from your past and clearly hear the words of Jesus resonating into the deepest chambers of your being, beckoning you onward. And as you now see and hear clearly, you must embrace the Lord your God with your heart and receive His full understanding.
     Turn. And let your healing and well-being begin.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

True Love at First Sight?

Only if you're looking at Jesus. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Matthew 5:8). See God today. He's everywhere. I'm praying for you. | #pureinheartseegod

Monday, March 12, 2018

Think About Such Things

“The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault. The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case. The optimists believe defeat is not their fault: Circumstances, bad luck, or other people brought it about. Such people are unfazed by defeat. Confronted by a bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge and try harder.”
“One of the most significant findings in psychology in the past twenty years is that individuals can choose the way they think.”
            —Martin E. P. Seligman, Learned Optimism
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8–9 NIV
     To a large degree, you can train your mind and patterns of thinking, just as you can train your body with proper diet and exercise. Truly, the battlefield of this world is the war waged and won in your own mind. Whereas being always positive is probably impossible, overcoming negative thoughts is not. Put everything into its proper perspective. Do not dwell on negative thoughts for any length of time, and do not let them overtake you. Take control of them by shifting focus on what’s been learned, how that can be positively applied, the better possibilities that certainly exist, and take steps to move forward to the next better thing.
     Philippians 4:8–9 has the formula for us: think about such things, put it into practice, and the God of peace will be with you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Open the Eyes of Your Heart

See your hope, your riches, your glorious inheritance; and experience Christ's incomparably great power in your life! Just believe. I'm praying for you. | #eyesofyourheart #believeinchrist

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Eyes of Your Heart

     The popular praise and worship song, Open the Eyes of My Heart, written by Paul Baloche, is all about seeing, spiritually perceiving, and fully experiencing the holiness of the Lord in all His glory. Though our mind is the true center of our emotions, character, personality, and data bank of experiences, it is our heart and precious blood that keeps us alive and vibrant.  Hence, in ancient times and even into today, we equate our heart with the center of life itself and the wellspring of our soul.

     To see is to perceive and to understand and fully know. And our life-center must be spiritually connected to our Life-Giver. Ephesians 1:18–19a (NIV) says, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

     Open the eyes of your heart that you may be enlightened and fully understand and live in the hope and the incomparable power that Christ has already given you as an inheritance. See. Perceive. Understand and believe. Live in His hope and His power.