Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Crucifixion, Resurrection

Christ Jesus is Risen; He is Risen Indeed!

photo credit: abcdz2000 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/15543596@N05/3392295014″>Empty Tomb</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

“And as they were saying these things, He Himself stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace to you!’ But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. ‘Why are you troubled?’ He asked them. ‘And why do doubts arise in your hearts?  Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ Having said this, He showed them His hands and feet.  But while they still were amazed and unbelieving because of their joy, He asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’  So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and He took it and ate in their presence.

Then He told them, ‘These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He also said to them, ‘This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things. And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high (Luke 24:36-49 HCSB).”

Advertisements
Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals, Missions, Salvation, Women

Women on Mission

easter-25821_1280
The Lord God frequently does what we least expect. If we try to put His activity in a box He is sure to escape its confines. Resurrection morning was not scripted by any of the disciples.

Before daylight, a close knit group of faithful women began a mission of love for their departed Lord and friend. Laden with spices to anoint His body, they reverently approached His tomb. They likely discussed the problem of getting inside to perform their task. The large stone sealing His tomb created a barrier they needed to overcome.

The sight of His open tomb caught them by surprise. The stone lay off to the side, giving complete access to the burial place (that had been given by a wealthy Council member). The kindness of Christ follower Joseph of Arimathea did not go unnoticed.

The women humbly entered the tomb and discovered the tomb was empty; Jesus no longer occupied the grave!

Suddenly, they encountered two men in radiant clothing. The natural reaction of fright gripped the women; in awe, they fell to the ground.

The men asked a penetrating question, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead (Luke 24:5b NAS)?”

The messenger continued, “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that 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 NAS).”

Yes, they remembered Jesus telling them of his death and resurrection. To rise again? That had not seemed possible. Alive? They saw Him die! Three days had passed since His lifeless body had been sealed inside the tomb…

The morning skies brightened. Hearts cold with grief now pulsed with hope and joy.

Culture, tradition and prejudice prevailed. Women held few places of influence. Against all odds, women were the recipients of the angel’s resurrection announcement. Matthew said, “And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to his disciples (Matthew 28:8 NAS).”

Catch sight of frail women lifting their skirts and breathlessly running to tell Jesus’ disciples.

Before carrying out their mission, they came face-to-face with Christ. He encouraged the women and gave them His personal message. “Do not be afraid; go and take word to my brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they shall see me (Matthew 28: 10 NAS)”

Women…

*Women were first to see the open tomb.

*Women were first to hear of His resurrection.

*Women were first to see the risen Redeemer.

*Women were first to carry the Gospel message. Jesus lives; He conquered death.

The disciples rejected their message.

“And these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them (Luke 24: 11 NAS).”

Jesus later appeared to His disciples in His resurrected body.

Proof cancelled out rejection.

He lives and He is coming again!

Christian Growth, Devotionals

STRIP SEARCH

A strip-search inside an airport is humiliating. Today, we hear shocking stories of security agents forcing little old ladies to bare all. Fearing terrorist attacks, national governments have implemented precautionary measures at airports globally. I can only imagine how embarrassing such invasions of privacy could be to those who are innocent of all infractions.                                          SEPTEMBER 2014 002

Jesus was guilty of no crime.

“Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe (Matthew 27:26-28 KJV).”

Mockingly, soldiers stripped the Savior.

Mercifully, he strips away sinful pride and searches hearts.

Christian Growth, Devotionals

Delta Dawn

 

My husband Norm and I host a lighthearted daily cable television program titled “Delta Dawn.” As the celebration of Easter Sunday draws near, I anticipate Son-rise service with our Bethlehem Baptist church family. Members will gather for a Delta Dawn!

We live in the agriculturally fertile lands of the Louisiana Delta and the term Delta tags everything from a geographic area to newspapers. I am in awe of God’s victorious triumph over death this morning as I ponder our coming Easter’s Delta Dawn…

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb (Luke 24:1-2 NAS).” They had a dawn encounter with God! “He is not here, but He has risen (Luke 24:6a).”

Bible Studies, Devotionals, Women

Why Women?

Pam Ford Davis

The Lord God frequently does what we least expect! If we try to put His activity in a box He is sure to burst it open! Resurrection morning would not be scripted by any of the disciples.

Before complete daylight a close knit group of faithful women began a mission of love, for their departed Lord and friend. They reverently approached His tomb, laden with spices to anoint His body. They likely discussed the problem of getting in to perform their task. The large stone sealing His tomb created a barrier they needed to overcome.

The sight of His open tomb caught them by surprise. This development never crossed their minds, still numb with grief. The stone lay off to the side, giving complete access to the burial place given by a wealthy Council member, yet a follower of Jesus. The kindness of Joseph of Arimathea did not go un-noticed.

The women humbly entered the opening and nearly fainted in the discovery that Jesus no longer occupied the grave! Where is He?

Suddenly in their midst they encountered two men in clothing radiant as a bolt of lightning! The natural reaction of fright gripped the women and they fell to the ground in awe. Maybe this was all a dream! The men then spoke to the women with a penetrating question, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead (Luke 24:5b NAS)?” Before they had time to answer, the message continued, “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that 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 NAS).”

Yes, now they remembered Jesus telling them! It just did not seem possible; they saw Him die! Three days passed by and His lifeless body was sealed inside the tomb!

This was amazing! The morning skies now showed the glow of dawn and their hearts once cold moments before, now pulsed with reborn hope and joy!

Next we come face to face with culture, tradition and prejudice prevalent in the days of Jesus life and ministry. Women did not normally hold a place of authority or great influence. They lived in the shadows and did not expect many changes in their acceptance. In spite of the odds they were given the announcement of Jesus resurrection! Matthew said, “And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to his disciples (Matthew 28:8 NAS).”

Do you read between the lines of scripture? If you do, side step briefly and catch sight of these frail women, lifting their skirts, and breathlessly running to tell the men, found cowering in fear!

That is not all; next they see Jesus face to face! It is true, ladies He is alive! Now, dropping to the ground and grasping His ankles revealed pure love, worship, and a desire to never be out of His sight again! In tender compassion The Son of Man, born of woman, talked to the select group, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to my brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they shall see me (Matthew 28: 10 NAS)”

Don’t lose track of the women’s prized privileges. They were the first to see the open tomb, first to hear an announcement of His resurrection, first to behold Jesus alive, and now first appointed messengers to carry the gospel, the good news of Jesus conquering death!

Did the disciples wrap them in arms of love and share their joy? “And these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them (Luke 24: 11 NAS).” The men soon saw Him themselves through eyes of faith and rejoicing!

Jesus birth announcement came by a heavenly angelic assembly to simple shepherds, outcasts in society. The Easter story targeted women, in their lowly state. Jesus return will need no go betweens. Trumpets will sound and He will appear in the heavens! Every day is Easter! HE’S ALIVE!

Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals

The Lamb

Pam Ford Davis

The household pet quickly becomes a central part of the family in many homes, bringing pleasure to young and old. A faithful dog or cat is at your side giving unconditional love. Watching them romp and play brings laughter and joy. Those with a dash of mischief create problems mixed with interest.

Our son, Lee once owned a loyal dog named Kenwood. His Husky and German shepherd mix blended the strengths of both breeds. He was a “one man dog!” In a couple of occasions the housing arrangements made it difficult for having pets. So, we became guardians of Kenwood; but he roamed often, discovering the location of his master. He may not have been a blood hound; but he had the nose of a tracker! Kenwood loved yard sales. Well, his version was more of the variety we see in gardening season, signs posted reading, “Pick Yourself.” He went in yards and picked up anything our son might want, dragging home tools of assorted shapes and sizes, to surprise his master. Lee shares a story about once hearing a strange sound in the distance; getting closer he observed Kenwood dragging a shovel on the pavement! I guess he was a “kleptodogiac!” Another characteristic he displayed to Lee revealed his loving heart. If Lee experienced stress, Kenwood laid his head across Lee’s legs and showed he cared.

Did you know the lamb sacrificed each year at Passover, by the Israelites, often lived as the family pet? (Exodus 12:1-6). The busy family saw him grow, standing firmly on once wobbly legs. They witnessed his growing appetite and stubborn independence. The lamb depended on them for everything; his care and protection rested in their hands. When the Passover observance approached each member of the family eyed the lamb feverishly. They knew he must die; imagine their sorrow!

How could God ask for such a sacrifice? We must remember the reason for the Passover feast and worship. When God’s people were slaves in Egypt He said to Pharaoh, “Let My people go!” He refused God’s demands; and plague after plague fell upon the nation in God’s judgment. The final curse came in the form of the death of the first born in every Egyptian family, and even the first born to animals of the land. The cries of sorrow rang out across the country. God’s people were instructed to kill their lambs, taking blood from the dead carcass and to apply it to the doorframes of their homes, where the roasted lamb sacrifices would be eaten. (Exodus 12:6-9).

Why were they commanded to smear blood on their homes? “And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt,
(Exodus12:13 NAS).”

Their sacrificed lambs took the place of their firstborn. God provided a way for their deliverance. He provides for our salvation. He sent His firstborn Son, His only begotten Son, to become the Lamb of God, (John 1:36). He laid down His life on the altar of Calvary to become God’s perfect sacrifice, “but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:19 NAS).”

What does God ask in return? He desires us to live for Him, becoming living sacrifices (Romans12: 1-2). It is our reasonable response to His sacrificial love!

Christian Growth, Devotionals

Easter Egg Happening”

Easter egg decorating is fun for toddlers and a challenge for moms.  Easter egg dye can be pretty messy and getting it on the eggs instead of the children, is a balancing act. Easter eggs are not only for children. Artists create masterpieces on fragile empty shells after carefully blowing out the contents of the egg through a pin point hole. Beautiful pastel colors and intricate designs are breath taking. An Easter tree makes a beautiful center-piece and brings sunshine to a dreary home, following a long winter.  

Do you want to be a designer Easter egg? You can, you know. Pretend you are an egg, grouped with eleven other eggs in a box, all in neat little rows. The box represents your closest relationships, including both family and friends. Easter time comes and every egg desires to change from a sunny side up breakfast to an Easter egg. You are chosen for boiling by the cook. Wow, this water will scald me! I don’t know how much more I can take! You are relieved when that is over. Wait a minute, now I am in cold running water! Talk about extremes, this is ridiculous!  What is that terrible smell? Oh, I see; that is the coloring dye I have heard about.  I am getting sea sick, twirling around and around in this solution! Stop the world; I want to get off! I wish I could find a mirror; I wonder what I look like…Good, I see my reflection in that toaster on the counter. I am beautiful! I have been transformed!

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention please? If you trust Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord you can be His very special Easter egg, every day of the year. The boiling process involves the trials you are faced to endure. They are painful; but they are temporary, resulting in a surface with great strength. Your life even has more weight- God’s glory. Why the cold water? Life is filled with extremes; one moment you have mountain top faith and the next you are hurled into the valley of despair. Don’t try to escape; there are others who need your strength and comfort. God will lift you out soon; “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10 NAS).”           

The dye may be compared to the circumstances we individually go through, each unique and varied, to suit us best. These are not crisis times, just daily routines and relationships that at times keep us stressed, feeling tossed around like a ship at sea. They help to shape our lives, giving us the personality we are gifted with. The final result is a transformed life, a beautiful creation made by the Masters hands. He will not use you as a centerpiece; He will put you back in the box, to influence the eggs around you. You can prepare them for the time God will reach in, take them out, and create another very special Easter egg.