Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Talk Tuesday-Out of Bondage

When God takes us out of bondage, He never leaves us half way there, but takes us to a place of complete deliverance and restoration. When the Israelites fled Egypt, "By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people," Exodus 13:21-22. At the beginning of their journey to the Promised Land, they faced their familiar enemy-the enemy of their past. Pharaoh was gaining ground on them, and in their anxiety and fear they turned to Moses accusingly and said, "What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!'" Exodus 14:11-12.

Haven't we felt like that at times, after having come to accept Jesus Christ as our personal LORD and Saviour, only to have a huge trial fall upon us? For many, living for Jesus has meant being ostracized from family members, ridiculed by friends, excluded from social activities or outwardly persecuted for their faith. Sometimes we stumble on our way to the Promised Land when we hear the roar of that familiar enemy behind us.

Moses said to the Egyptians, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fright for you; you need only to be still" Exodus 14:13-14. Let us fix our eyes on Him who is able to deliver us. If you are feeling discouraged, disillusioned or like giving up today, don't turn back to the familiar place of bondage for comfort. Put your trust in the LORD, He will never disappoint you. God was preparing the Israelites to witness one of the greatest acts of His might and power they had ever known-the parting of the Red Sea. "And when the Israelites saw the great power of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant," Exodus 14:30-31.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Talk Tuesday-When Love's Cry is Obedience

This morning I sat down to meditate on Mark 15- the account of Jesus' crucifixion. It begins with the following observation, "And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate." Mark 14:1

Pilate asks him if he is the King of the Jews, to which Jesus simply replies, "Thou sayest it." Mark 15:2

The Bible goes on to explain that although the chief priests accused Jesus of many things, he did not answer them. I paused and began to think. What were they accusing him of? Deception? Misleading the people? Insurrection? Of being who he said he was? I felt indignation rise up in my heart.

"And Pilate asked him again, saying, 'Answerest thou nothing? Behold how many things they witness against thee.' But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled." Mark 15:4-5

I began to marvel as well. What was going on in the heart of Jesus at that very moment? He is fully God, yet fully man. He felt pain, humiliation, indignation, yet stood silently as a lamb about to be slaughtered. As is customary, Pilate offered them to release one prisoner and in Pilate's economy of thinking, Jesus was the obvious choice. He asked the crowd, "'Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?' For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy." Mark 15:9-10

Envy. I paused and considered that. Pilate, an outsider, knew that it was envy that motivated the chief priests. Jesus knew all that was in their hearts at that moment, yet he said and did nothing. As I continued reading, I tried to understand why the Roman soldiers who took him to the Praetorium, mocked him, beat him, spat on him and abused him. Why? What is in the heart of man to cause them to mistreat an innocent, harmless man. If he was to be flogged according to Roman law, then why the following?

"And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head. And began to salute him, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees  worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him." Mark 15:17-20

Why? I still do not understand the motive of the Roman soldiers. The chief priests were gripped by envy, but what was the reason for the Roman soldiers to behave that way? And why did the people even want to crucify him? What had Jesus really done to deserve the basest treatment we could offer? The rest of the crucifixion is rife with ridicule, abuse, condemnation, and mockery. They cast lots for his clothes? They taunted him to display his power and come down from the cross?

Then it happened. He cried out, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is, being interpreted, 'My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?'" Mark 15:34 

"And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the vail of the temple was rent in twain from top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, 'Truly this was the Son of God.'" Mark 15:37-39

As I pondered all of this, I asked myself WHY? Why did he have to be treated so basely? Why did he allow himself to be treated that way? And what was in his heart as all this was transpiring? My only answer was that LOVE'S CRY LED TO OBEDIENCE, EVEN TO DEATH ON A CROSS. Jesus knew what was in the heart of man, what was broken, ugly, hurting, twisted and ignoble. He knew what needed fixing, so he humbled himself and paid the price for our redemption.

I still do not understand. I never will. Oh, but how I love the One who loved me while I was yet a lost sinner!

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

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Prayer Wall - April

Post your prayer request and we will pray for you.

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With the power of Google + we are now able to have up to 10 people join us in an online prayer meeting.    If you are on Google + add me to your circle and when we decide on the best date we will contact you.   If you are interested in doing this  Google Hangout Prayer Meeting leave us a comment below with your ideas or the best day and time for you.