Listen!

‘Listen!’

Dr. Charles Stanley voices the command repeatedly.

Was the crowd listening to Apostle Peter that day?

Did they hear the truth?

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know. Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it (Acts 2:22-24 HCSB).”

Death had no hold on Him. King David had prophesied…

“Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah:

He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay.

“God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear (Acts 2:31-33 HCSB).”

Did they hear; were they alert and listening?

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36 HCSB)!”

 

 

 

Women, They Were First

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Resurrection morning is not scripted by any of the disciples…  
 
Before full daylight, faithful women begin a mission of love. Laden with spices to anoint His body, they approach the Master’s tomb contemplating how to remove the large stone barrier.  

Finding it open puzzles them. The stone lay off to the side, affording them access to the burial place. Consider the women’s frame of mind as they discover Jesus is not inside His place of burial. Where is He? 
 
Suddenly, they encounter two men dressed in radiant clothing. Fright grips them as they fall to the ground. The men ask a pertinent question.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead (Luke 24:5b NKJV)?” 

A messenger continues. “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again (Luke 24:6-7 NKJV).” 

But… They saw Jesus die. Three days have passed since His lifeless body had been placed inside the sealed tomb. Yet, hope and joy rise in their hearts as the rays of the morning sun.  

“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word (Matthew 28:8 NKJV).” 

On their way with their witness, they meet the risen Christ who calms their fears.  

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me (Matthew 28:10 NKJV).” 

The message is true; Jesus is alive! 

In the current culture, prejudice against women prevails as they share their experience with the disciples. 

“And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them (Luke 24:11 NKJV).” 

The disciples receive their own affirmation of Jesus’ resurrection in the remainder of the 11th chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is indeed alive and the women’s message is verified. 
 
Don’t lose track of the women’s prized privileges. They are the first to see the open tomb, first to hear an announcement of His resurrection, first to behold the risen Savior. They are first appointed messengers to carry the gospel, the good news of Jesus conquering death.

Let’s Make a Deal!

Do you haggle over prices or financial debt? Look for compromise in relationship conflicts? 

Let’s make a deal!  

“Now He was also saying to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.  And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’  The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He *said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light (Luke 16:1-8 NASB).” 

Trickle, Trickle…

Trickle, trickle

I bet Tickle, tickle or ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ popped into your head. Right?

How about Trickle-down economics?

Surely you’ve had water trickle down your neck in the shower.

Old Testament priests had holy oil trickle down their bodies.

Trickle, trickle!

“How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!

It is like fine oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down Aaron’s beard
onto his robes (Psalm 132:1-2 HCSB).”

Consider the power and impact of Trickle down truth. God’s word trickled down from Ezra, to the Levites and to the people. Open your Bible…

“Ezra opened the book in full view of all the people, since he was elevated above everyone. As he opened it, all the people stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God, and with their hands uplifted all the people said, ‘Amen, Amen!’ Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, who were Levites, explained the law to the people as they stood in their places. They read out of the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read (Nehemiah 8:5-8 HCSB).”

A Sorrowful Word

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Separation is a sorrowful word.

Many years ago, I called my mother because I wanted to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. She shared the unbelievable; she and Dad had filed for a legal separation. In God’s mercy and grace, their separation was shortened. Mom and Dad mended their broken relationship and repeated their marriage vows before a congregation of family & friends.

When death causes separation of loved ones…

“And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.

And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.

And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.

And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,

My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.

And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.

And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,

And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.

And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.

 And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days.

And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.

 And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them:

 For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.

And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father (Genesis 49:33-50:14 KJV).

In Moses Shoes

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It’s beyond comprehension. Such actions are despicable.

 

 

A spouse of 45 years has an affair.

To secure money for drugs, a teenage son or daughter steals from your purse.

The bank president embezzles ½ a million dollars and flees the country.

Deacons discover their pastor is involved in pornography.

‘How could you?’

“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’

And Aaron said to them, ‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.

Then they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’

So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.’ Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play (Exodus 32:1-6 NKJV).”

‘Aaron, how could you?’

Put yourself in Moses’ shoes…

He had to confront his own brother, Aaron.

“And Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them (Exodus 32:21 NKJV)?”

Moses sought mercy.

“Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written (Exodus 32:31-32 NKJV).”

 

A Call to Prayer

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You feel a sense of grief, a heavy heart; yet, you are not suffering the loss of a loved one.

It is a persistent burden over a personal problem or a sense of real need in the life of someone else. Maybe you have the condition of your church, city, state, nation or world grieving you.

You might have a strong impression of someone come to mind during the day or even awake you from a sound sleep.

It is a call to prayer.

Walk with me through scriptures.

Meet Abraham…

He cried out for Sodom.

“Then the Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to Me. If not, I will find out.’

The men turned from there and went toward Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Abraham stepped forward and said, ‘Will You really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are 50 righteous people in the city? Will You really sweep it away instead of sparing the place for the sake of the 50 righteous people who are in it? You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won’t the Judge of all the earth do what is just?’

The Lord said, ‘If I find 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’

Then Abraham answered, ‘Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord—even though I am dust and ashes— suppose the 50 righteous lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?’

He replied, ‘I will not destroy it if I find 45 there.’

Then he spoke to Him again, ‘Suppose 40 are found there?’

He answered, ‘I will not do it on account of 40.’

Then he said, ‘Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak further. Suppose 30 are found there?’

He answered, ‘I will not do it if I find 30 there.’

Then he said, ‘Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord, suppose 20 are found there?’

He replied, ‘I will not destroy it on account of 20.’

Then he said, ‘Let the Lord not be angry, and I will speak one more time. Suppose 10 are found there?’

He answered, ‘I will not destroy it on account of 10.’ When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, He departed, and Abraham returned to his place (Genesis 18:20-33 HCSB).”

The LORD finished the time of communing with Abraham.

Abraham witnessed God’s intervention.

“Early in the morning Abraham went to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of the plain, and he saw that smoke was going up from the land like the smoke of a furnace. So it was, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, He remembered Abraham and brought Lot out of the middle of the upheaval when He demolished the cities where Lot had lived (Genesis 19:27-29 HCSB).”  

Concerned about the spiritual welfare of those you know? The LORD compels us to pray.

 “As for me, I vow that I will not sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way (1 Samuel 12:23 HCSB).”

Christ followers have a responsibility and privilege to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18 HCSB).”

Christ set the example. He interceded for us. (John Chapter 17)

He intercedes now.

“Who is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus is the One who died,
but even more, has been raised;
He also is at the right hand of God
and intercedes for us (Romans 8:34 HCSB).”