PARABLES OF PASSION WEEK

HOLY WEEK 2020 DEVOTION SERIES

Holy Week Light in the Darkness of COVID-19

A pandemic is the perfect backdrop for Holy Week. The first Holy Week followed a series of horrific plagues and began with God’s people fleeing in haste. On this Holy Week of 2020, let’s join Jesus at some of the pivotal moments of His week.  Often in those passages, we see the burden on Jesus’ heart: He was troubled, anxious in heart. Emotions are part of the human experience. So, as we enter into this holy time with hearts made vulnerable by COVID-19, let us share in the ‘sufferings of Christ’ and yet rejoice knowing our passage to the Promised Land is paid!

Triumphal Entry

Cleansing the Temple – Then & Now

PARABLES OF THE PASSION WEEK

What an incredible Revival Week, Jesus’ Passion Week Parables provides. The depths of Christ’s teaching in this week are a feast this brief devotional only scans. Bless your spirit and take time to delve deep into these!

Jesus understood these were His last teachings on earth. As always, every word He spoke came from the Father. In each teaching, He pleads for a right view of the Kingdom. The day (or perhaps days of teaching) began with the Fig Tree we mentioned yesterday. The power of believing prayer casts mountains into the sea! Jesus said, ‘All things are possible to those who believe!’ His passion this week was to sow seeds of belief…to reveal wrong ways and wrong thinking.

The reason for parables involves timing and readiness of heart. The Song of Solomon oft repeats the phrase, ‘Awaken not love before its time.’ Jesus gave truth in parables that only those whose hearts were ready would receive it. Parables offer a protective power to those not ready for truth.

In the Passion Week, Jesus started with the story of two sons whose actions revealed their intentions. You can hear His heart pleading for us to go deeper than words. Jesus then shared the parable of the tenants who rejected and disrespected those the Master sent. Finally, He spoke of the wedding feast most invitees were uninterested (and even scornful) of attending. The message was consistent and clear in all three. It bounced off the hard hearts of the Pharisees who simply conjured up challenges to fend off the painful truth Jesus delivered.

Jesus directly said, “You’ve gone astray. You don’t understand the Scriptures of the power of God.” And He began to detail the ways…the woes…hard hearts create. Jesus unveiled the coming end times still pleading in parables for true believers to be watchful (fig tree), prepared (ten virgins), invested (talents) and looking toward the final judgment (sheep & goats).

The Savior’s messages to the Pharisees are to us as well. Let your heart hear His plea and refuse to respond as a Pharisee.  Allow the wound to make room for the Truth…for Jesus.

As you walk through Holy Week today, consider:

  • Pick one (or more) of the parables and listen deeply. Put yourself in the parable…imagine the feelings of the son who refused to work…then imagine yourself as the son who said you would work but did not. Then consider the love of the Father who pleads for you to come talk to Him…in every situation.
  • When have you lost sight of Jesus…even if outwardly you still read your Bible, went to church?
  • How has COVID-19 sharpened your eyesight to Jesus so you can say more whole-heartedly, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’

 

Cleansing the Temple – Then & Now

Holy Week Light in the Darkness of COVID-19

A pandemic is the perfect backdrop for Holy Week. The first Holy Week followed a series of horrific plagues and began with God’s people fleeing in haste. On this Holy Week of 2020, let’s join Jesus at some of the pivotal moments of His week.  Often in those passages, we see the burden on Jesus’ heart: He was troubled, anxious in heart. Emotions are part of the human experience. So, as we enter into this holy time with hearts made vulnerable by COVID-19, let us share in the ‘sufferings of Christ’ and yet rejoice knowing our passage to the Promised Land is paid!

If you missed the previous post in this series, visit:  Triumphal Entry

 

Cleansing the Temple

Jesus had cleared out the temple once before. At the start of His ministry three years before, His zeal for His father’s house exploded on the scene. After the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, Jesus went straight to the Temple. He was – and is – always about the Father’s business.

In the first cleansing, the Jews challenged Jesus to present a sign to justify his actions. He spoke of ‘destroying the temple and rebuilding it in three days.’ To which, the leaders simply scoffed. In the following three years, Jesus’ ministry demonstrated signs consistently. There was no need to request a sign in the latter cleansing…in fact, there was no immediate response. The following morning as Jesus and the disciples entered Jerusalem, a fig tree served to teach the disciples about the power of pure faith.

In contrast, at the temple, the Jews grappled to retain control of their comfortable religion. Responding to the conviction of the cleansing on the previous day, they chose to challenge to Jesus’ authority. He replied with a question of his own. ‘Where did John the Baptist’s authority come from?’ The Pharisees hedging response revealed that Truth was not their aim…maintaining the status quo mattered more to them. So, Jesus, said, ‘Neither will I tell you.’ He never casts ‘pearls’ before swine. Challenges and excuses reveal a heart unwilling to submit to the Lord.

But the treasures, the secrets of God, are open to sincere seekers. It often takes dark times to inspire us to seek the Light of the World.  The pandemic of 2020 is just such a time. As the world shakes with uncertainty, Truth that will stand the test of time becomes more treasured. Dark times initiate heart cleansing – which is the temple of this age. Repentance – turning from our pride and preferences – restores our heart to the temple God intends it to be: a place to meet with the King!

In this Holy Week, consider:

  • When have you chosen the comfort of religion over the challenge of faith? How is COVID-19 challenging your faith?
  • Recall a dark time in your life that led you to deeper Truths of Jesus.
  • Had there been hints of that Truth in the past that you missed?
  • What Truths of God are holding you fast in this time of uncertainty?

 

 

Holy Week Light in the Darkness of COVID-19

HOLY WEEK 2020

A pandemic is the perfect backdrop for Holy Week. The first Holy Week followed a series of horrific plagues and began with God’s people fleeing in haste. On this Holy Week of 2020, let’s join Jesus at some of the pivotal moments of His week.  Often in those passages, we see the burden on Jesus’ heart: He was troubled, anxious in heart. Emotions are part of the human experience. So, as we enter into this holy time with hearts made vulnerable by COVID-19, let us share in the ‘sufferings of Christ’ and yet rejoice knowing our passage to the Promised Land is paid! 

TRIUMPHAL ENTRY 

Jesus’ friends at Bethany were an integral part of His Holy Week.  There, he spent time with those who knew Him best: His disciples and Martha, Mary and Lazarus. In an act of love and deep understanding of Jesus’ assignment, Mary ‘prepared His body for burial.’ Her anointing of Jesus revealed a depth of understanding most missed. The miracle resurrection of her brother led Mary to a deep awareness of Jesus as the resurrection and the life. She understood that believing in Him was life itself. Her belief ‘filled the house’ with a sweet aroma.

In contrast to Mary’s understanding, the hardness of the Pharisees led them to another conclusion: ‘It is better one man die for the nation.’ Just as greed drove Judas, power and control dictated the hearts of the religious. The aroma of death emanates from hard hearts in the same circumstances where an aroma of life exudes from a faith-filled heart.

Mary’s understanding must have been a precious balm to Jesus. Receiving her loving sacrifice even as Judas’ greedy condemnation of Mary’s act pierced his ears: ‘What a waste!” Although, Jesus put no trust in humanity, He felt the warmth of shared love and the pain of betrayal. 

As he descended the Mount of Olives on the way to Jerusalem, he paused and wept over the city below. He wept for the blindness that prevented true peace for the precious people below. He wept for the very people who, in just five short days, would be screaming, “Crucify Him!” On this day, though, Jesus came into a city singing His praises. A city hailing Him as King and welcoming Him. 

They missed the significance of the donkey He chose to ride upon. Jesus announced Himself as a King who comes in peace. They saw in Jesus what they really wanted: a deliverer from Roman rule.  An earthly focus blinded them to eternal victory. It is the danger we all face when looking at Jesus.

As this Holy Week begins, consider:

  • Are you enjoying those closest to you on your journey through life? How has COVID-19 helped you appreciate loved ones more?
  • When have you worshiped Jesus as something you wanted…and not necessarily for Who He is? How did Jesus heal your blindness in that time?
  • Do you weep over the lost in your community? Do you weep over those who reject you?

Why note choose one of Bible passages to read aloud as a family?

Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19

Will Covid-19 Change the Church?

Like many, in this time of ‘social distancing,’ my heart longs for connection. It isn’t really a new longing. Feeling like a mis-fit is common for me. But COVID-19 has given me a new appreciation for connectedness. It’s truly helped me understand the beauty of Church in a much deeper way.

‘The church is not empty, it is deployed’ sentiments abounding on social media are nice but incomplete.

COVID-19 did not deploy the church.

The Church has been on mission since its inception. It is sometimes misunderstood – and even misused – as a social gathering, a source of comfort, or a place to express oneself or recharge after a rough week. But that’s not the Church of the Bible.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

The Church is NOT the building – that is truth. The Church is the living stones of people being built TOGETHER as a habitation for the Spirit of God.

BUT I am not the Church.

You are not the Church.

Only together does the Church exist: WE are the Church. The Church is to function in unity, not just in isolation.

My prayer is that COVID-19 will redefine the church—a definition that encompasses personal responsibility and corporate unity. Such was the cry of Jesus’ heart in John 17. In fact, He said, the world will know Him by unified loving of one another.

The Church is deployed by coming together and going into the world.

Yet in all of the positives that are coming out as responses to COVID-19, a hidden danger rises up to menace me:  when social isolation passes, will people prefer an easier, individualistic idea of church? Will church become something to do on your own, in your own way, at your own time? The actions of individuals must never be mistaken as a complete definition of Church. It has a much higher, holier purpose.

The functions of Church – evangelism, education, worship, social connection – are to be the daily activities of individuals…whether there is a pandemic happening or not.

  • Christians SHOULD share the verses that encourage them to hold fast to Christ.
  • Christians SHOULD share the Gospel.
  • Christians SHOULD worship in song.
  • Christians SHOULD be Jesus to everyone they encounter.

It is wonderful that COVID-19 is inspiring more individuals to accept personal responsibility! But let’s not think that such actions replace ‘the Church.’ The Church, praise God, is much more than SHOULDS and DOINGS.

Church is both the gathering of those called by Christ’s name

…AND the sending out of those called by Christ’s name.

The Church is corporate unity in heart and action, AND it is individual expression of the shared passion. The Church must gather together with all the challenges and sacrifices that unity requires – and not be content with individualized action alone. Our identity is as the body of Christ. Checking on the elderly folks you know is a good thing to do…but gathering together with other believers is being the Church too.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

“Social Distancing” has brought my heart a clearer understanding of the beauty of corporate ‘Church.’ I celebrate the creative ways many are gathering to support each other:  Zoom Prayer Meetings, car convoys to declare love, neighborhood projects.  The Network offers some more fantastic suggestions. Coordinated, corporate activities have a beauty and a benefit far beyond the ‘activity.’

What COVID-19 response from your Church has blessed you the most?

Have you launched a creative way of ‘gathering together in the midst of isolation that others might try?

Dove Notes – Wounded by the Enemy

Do you have any wounds from the battle of life…maybe a battle scar or two?  Life is hard and hurts unavoidable.  Today, my doves offer us some new insights on wounds.

A couple weeks ago, I came home to three wounded doves.  There were slashes on their necks and at the top of their wings.  I was puzzled…in three years, there had been no coop conflicts. I pulled out the oldest male and put him in a separate cage to let him recover—and hopefully restore order.

I thought about my husband, Craig’s recent warning that a hawk had been eyeing the dove cage.  My reply at the time still made sense to me. ‘That’s no problem.  The cage is predator proof; he can’t hurt them.”  But I wondered if the hawk had increased the tension in some way. There was nothing to do but see if ‘normal’ would return.

My doves were about to fulfill the purpose I bought them for:  teaching me spiritual truths.

The next day, Craig came home to find the hawk attacking the cage–talons extended through the wire. Even then, the hawk would have been as harmless as the doves, except…the elder doves came to the front of the cage to fight him off.  The cause of the slashes was clearly exposed.

I found the whole situation mind boggling–from both the dove and the hawk vantage point.  The doves could easily have stayed outside the reach of their enemy.  The hawk could easily have found an easier meal.

The parallels to Christian life leaped out to me.

  • Like my doves, I am safe in the fortress of Christ.
  • Like the hawk, Satan seeks to destroy me.
  • Like my doves, I often engage with the enemy un-necessarily.  There are times I should simply ‘be still and know He is God’ instead of stepping up to take on the enemy.
  • Like the hawk, Satan cannot have me – even if he takes my life.

But there were more dove lessons for me to learn.

The next day, I draped a curtain over the front of the dove cage hoping that ‘out of sight’ would mean ‘ought of mind’ for Sir Hawk.  It did not. Craig returned home to find the hawk perched on top of the dove cage claiming it as his own.  More wounds were visible on the older doves. Puffing his wings out, the hawk warned Craig to stay away from his impossible dream feast.

Mr. Hawk failed to understand he had taken on more than a cage of doves. He met his end that day.  It took several days before the doves returned to their conversational selves.  Their wounds are healing.

Spiritually, I see a new beauty in my dove’s ‘foolish’ engagement of the enemy.  Had those older doves not entered into battle with the enemy, his threat would have remained.  We would not have acted to eliminate him. Their wounds produced a deeper, more real peace.

That encouraged me…and I hope you too!  Like that foolish hawk, Satan does attack Christians.  He acts like he owns us…but he is mistaken.  We have a Protector who will act on our behalf.

Sometimes the safety at the back of the cage is where we will be.  Sometimes we’ll be on the front-line and our battles will become a cry to the Father. Then, He will take the enemy out.

We may not always know where we should be, but we will be okay. We can celebrate the wounds of life that we entrust to our Protector. They offer protection, hope and healing to those not ready for battle.

We are safe and on the winning team!  Sing your Heartsong!

Do you have evidence?

Faith is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11).  Did you see that?! Faith is EVIDENCE!  That is an incredibly powerful truth.  Faith is not a wishy, washy hope; it is evidence. Faith is a foundation to build your life on. Faith is also a powerful motivator and fuel. Acting on what we believe is the substance of our lives. It is why James said, “I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:18)

We must learn to examine the fruit of our lives for evidence of our faith!Sometimes we say we believe things that never show up in our lives. If there is no evidence that we believe something, the fact is this: we really don’t believe it.  We may know it, but we don’t believe it. When we claim faith in Christ but have anxiety or shame or anger or depression — the evidence of our lives indicates our claim of faith is faulty.

That is not a statement of judgment, it is a statement of hope!  Until we know we have a need, we can’t receive the answer to that need.  Don’t despair when fault lines are revealed. Simply find the truth in the Word of God that provides evidence you need — and step out in faith!

So, what does all this have to do with “Advent” and the anticipation of Christmas? Perhaps more than we would like to admit.

Odds are that you are making tangible preparations for ‘Christmas.’ You have your calendar jam-packed, a to-do list that steals sleep, gifts bought, and decorations in place. You feel the ‘spirit’ of the season, smiling at strangers and giving cards and gifts to those in your life.  You have much evidence to show you know December 25 is approaching fast. But does that evidence point to faith in Jesus?

Christmas is a season of miracles, and as Christians, it offers great missional opportunity.  But our faith must be evidenced in this season if there is to be any fruit.  Christmas is the one time of the year that the majority of people celebrate — whether they acknowledge it or not — God’s glorious plan of redemption! If we say we believe that Jesus is the greatest gift of all time — but none of our Christmas activities reflect that belief, the evidence of our faith is negligible.

When God created this world…when He first proclaimed, ‘let there be Light,’ He followed His words with action. If we proclaim we have faith in Christ but proceed to live as if we have faith in ourselves…or faith in kind actions…or faith in the government…or faith in whatever idol we serve…our lives will proclaim where our faith actually lies. Words alone do not produce substance; they must be followed up with action.

Let’s use this Season of Advent as a time to focus our eyes on all God has done on our behalf.  That focus will nourish our faith and result in overflowing joy and action! It will produce a light from our lives that guides others to the Source of our joy.

Let’s be sure we make preparations for the Christ of Christmas in the coming days. Schedule time for Jesus on your calendar. Consider what gift He would love to receive from you. What gift would He like to have you give in His name. Ask yourself this question, “Does my life show His presence to a watching world?”

The promises of God include peace, patience, joy and self-control (Galatians 5). As believers those fruits are evidence of our faith…if they are missing, a fault-line is exposed. Find the Truth you need to repair those exposed fault lines and receive the Truth because that’s the real gift of Christmas…that’s the reality of receiving Jesus. When Jesus is received, the Light of the world bursts forth from us. We must not miss receiving and giving the greatest gift of all!

The birth of Christ brought us a priceless treasure; the very glory of God will radiate from our lives as we quiet our hearts and meditate on the Gift we have received. Spend time this week contemplating the Light of the World and let His radiance pour forth from your life!

Worship-filled Waiting

Waiting is a common – and usually unwelcome – experience.  We certainly dislike waiting for the results of lab tests or phone calls, but even waiting for good things frustrates us.  Our minds fix on what we do not have yet, making us unable to enjoy what we do have.  Doing that is a waste of the precious, limited commodity of time.  We fuss over unknowns, allowing our perceived lack to consume our minds.  While we wait, precious moments of time pass unnoticed.

That is not true for God; He is both timeless and yet, wholly present.  For we earth-bound creatures, time is often a burden and pain.  We complain of not having enough time and complain when time passes too slowly in periods of waiting.  From God’s perspective, though, each moment we call time is but a thread in His eternal plan.  Today is simply a vibrant piece of His story.  Like a page in a classic novel, the richness of today has no empty spaces but builds to the perfect conclusion.  The victory of Christ concludes our stories. So, how do we learn to resist letting time slip away while we ‘wait’ in faith?

The season of Advent helps us grasp the concept! Choosing to use the days before Christmas to focus our hearts and minds on the loving plan of God revealed at Christmas is the key to ‘waiting’ well.  It applies to much more than Christmas! Waiting is not wasted when the coming of the King is our confident hope.

Waiting becomes worship when we have the right perspective.  Remembering that before God spoke the first word of Creation, He knew the joy of Bethlehem, the suffering of Calvary and the glory of the resurrection boggles our minds.   The Masterpiece designed from and for eternity is complete in Him; today is one vibrant scene in the weaving–we must not miss it!

Looking at the Artist, seeing His perfection assures us of the outcome.  A sweet hymn sings what our hearts cry, “What a strange way to save the world.”  Yet we rejoice that His ways are not ours for His ways are perfect.  His timing is not ours, and again, we trust His perfection.  With our eyes focused on His presence, the tyranny of time cannot disrupt us.

Christmas centers our hearts on the love of God and the promise of His presence.  But Christmas must not be confined to December 25th.  In reality, the focused anticipation of Christmas is applicable every day of the year. His ways are always perfect.  His purposes assured. Wait with worship and enjoy His presence every day!

 

Forgetting Doesn’t Nullify

This piece is actually an entry in the Faithwriters Writing Challenge.  I highly recommend gathering with other writers to learn and grow.  The monthly group that meets in Chester is open to any who are interested.  Faithwriters is a lovely site and numerous on-line writing groups exist.  Together, we learn to share the insights and burdens God gives us with others.  The word is powerful.  Handle it with diligence, nurture and humility!

ENTRY 10/23/2019 – TOPIC: FORGET

The conversations are weird…often repetitive, piercingly painful. “I’m Kelly, your daughter. Remember, Mom?” But Mom forgets.
“Who is that?” she asks pointing to a photograph. “That’s your mom. You used to tell me about baking bread with her. Remember, Mom?” But Mom forgets.

Actually, there’s not much Mom remembers anymore. She has forgotten herself, her life and a treasury of cherished happenings. She can’t recall her wedding or her husband’s death. Somedays she remembers her children…somedays she forgets them. She forgets to change her clothes—and even that she has clothes. She forgets to eat, forgets where she left her teeth, and her Bible. She loses track of the location of her room. She forgets modesty, manners and restraint. Mom has dementia…mom forgets.
In her forgetting, I’ve learned the necessity of remembering Truth.

In some ways, we need to realize we all share ‘mom’s reality:’ We don’t remember what we forgot, and we don’t know what we don’t know. But our not knowing and not remembering doesn’t change reality. What was, is and always will be…just like Jesus. Lasting Truth becomes most precious when dementia enters your world.

When dementia strikes, it steals the knowledge of reality for its victim and plunges others into a parallel fake reality. One must learn to hold fast to what is real…to what remains. In dementia:

• Parents forget their children. The parent-child reality remains.
• Spouses forget their vows. The marriage reality remains.
• Treasured times are forgotten. The real-word happening remains.
• The soul forgets the values underlying its choices. The life lived remains.

Forgetting does not dictate reality, nor does it determine intrinsic value. Something much deeper than memories and happenings provide the substance of reality. Oswald Chambers says, ‘Redemption is the only reality.’ Dementia requires living on the solid foundation of redemption.

The truth of Jesus, His Crucifixion and Resurrection rests not on our remembering. Truth does not change when I forget. Just as mom is mom even if she forgets…her marriage, her joys and the values she built her life on also remain. Mom’s life is truth built from choices acted upon even though she now forgets the choices and the actions.

Reality is lived out truth…reality is what was, is and remains. Earthly reality is life LIVED. As the child of a dementia victim, you are evidence of that reality. You become the matrix for eternal life. At the end of Christ’s life, He spoke to His Father, saying, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Real life is ‘knowing God.’ To forget something does not negate it. Forgetting opens a gateway for another to remember the Truth that gives life and bring it into being through loving action.

Eternal truth overpowers dementia’s fake reality as you live out forgotten truths. Live out your earthly relationship (e.g. daughter, spouse) and allow God to work in that. When God revealed Himself to Moses, He used the phrase, “I am.” God is the God of NOW, the God of the present and He loves regardless of the fact that we forget Him, His love and His work on our behalf. Just as God calls us to remember His presence and His Truth as we walk through the valley of death, we emulate Him as we lovingly walk our loved ones through the valley of dementia.

Dementia is nothing but a lying thief posing as reality. It is the embodiment of the devil, who came to steal, kill and destroy. Dementia robs people of their awareness of their memories, identities and purpose…but it cannot change True Reality. The stolen memories—what another forgets–becomes your matrix for imparting real life.

Love remembers what the mind forgets. Love repeats those treasured memories. Love affirms the identity. Love confirms another’s purpose for being. Love restores relationships, recalls memories and rebuilds upon the foundation of values already in place. Love takes what was and brings it into the present as a foundation for the future.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8

Christ in me – Living My Purpose

In wondering about our purpose, we explored the great mystery described in Colossians – Christ in me, the Hope of Glory.  This picks up where that left off.  If you’d like to read it before this one, click here and it will open in a new window.    Jesus announced His ministry by quoting the Prophet Isaiah.  Exploring His announcement focuses us on the purposes that emanate from His life within us.  Isaiah 61:1-5 are our base text.

The Father sent Jesus to those who were crushed to their core—the broken-hearted. Jesus was to wrap them up, heal them and govern these broken ones.  These are the ones who can hear. These are the ones Jesus sought.

Do I seek to find and share Christ in me with the broken?

Jesus then said He was sent to proclaim truths—proclaiming means calling out truth, accosting ‘hearers’ with reality!  The first truth involved freedom for those harnessed to lies.  Jesus came to call out those who could hear to come out of the lies that hold God’s

children captive.  Then Jesus promised light in the darkness the lies created so that  prisoners could leave. Hearing a truth without light to find the way out would be cruel.  Jesus proclaims to those bound to lies, to those imprisoned, that He gives light!  The hearers must seek the Light to find their way.

Is Christ in me confronting the lies of world and showing captives the way to freedom?

Often, those who hear the first messages:  you don’t have to be harnessed to the lies, there is a way out, falter in fear.  Jesus said it was (it is) His purpose to proclaim that MercyNOW is the age of God’s favor.  Fear does not need to keep anyone in darkness…but Jesus also said His purpose involves declaring a day of vengeance.

It is never the purpose of Jesus to deny the reality of God’s anger with sin. In the ‘acceptable year’ in the ‘age of favor,’ is a day of vengeance.  Christ in me proclaims that as clearly as He proclaims the ‘year of favor.’

Am I faithful to the fullness of Jesus Christ’s purposes?

 

Proclaiming the day of vengeance is necessary and beautiful.  Those whose hearts really seek and see God will mourn the devastation of sin just as God does.  Christ’s purpose is to comfort those who mourn—not comfort those who are in distress because of sin.  And Christ’s comfort is what transforms hearts.  The comfort of Christ:

  • provides mourners gleaming crowns of beauty in exchange for the ashes of repentance, for the grief of rejecting God!
  • provides a richness of life to those who mourn the cost of living without God.
  • wraps those who feel obscure and frail with praise for the glory of God.

Does Christ in me have opportunity to give to those who grieve over sin?

All that Jesus does is for an even more beautiful purpose.  Jesus accepted the assignment of Savior so that those who received Him could be known as ‘trees of righteousness planted by God.’  He didn’t do it for His reputation…or to gather glory for Himself.  Jesus never has and never will do things for that purpose.

Jesus’ driving passion—His purpose–is ensuring that God, the Father, receives the glory due Him.  Christ in me seeks the same:  to give and generate glory for God!  Isaiah went on to say that all Christ did was so that we (those who receive Him) will be called ‘trees of righteousness planted by God.’

Jesus purposes for his followers to be strong, magnificent givers of glory to God.  He lives in us for that purpose…to strengthen us and to bear fruit through us.  My purpose—your purpose as a follower of Christ—is to allow Christ in me to fulfill His purpose.  So that more will become ‘trees of righteousness!  Together, we will give glory to God as through us He rebuilds the dried up, wasted and decayed places sin has created.

 

Are you ready to live Christ’s purpose?

It is the purpose you seek!

What is my purpose?

It’s a question many ask…an answer many pursue…and some give up seeking.  The Bible is the guide book that helps us find the answer and live on purpose!

The New Testament tells us that God created good works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  The Prophet Jeremiah tells us that God intends good for us in His plans (Jeremiah 29:11). Colossians 1:27 helps us tie those together as we read of a grand mystery described as:

” …Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Jesus Christ in me is the key to knowing my purpose and living in the light of glory.  It is His life in me that can walk in those good works the Father created for me to do.  It is His life in me that produces the good plans of God spoken of by Jeremiah.  My purpose about the life of Jesus that now pulses in me—and we’ll see that life is about others and the Father!

Jesus knew and lived His purpose.  He came to do the will of the Father.  He came to destroy the work of the enemy that separated the ‘very good creation of humanity’ from the Father.  He came because the Father loved the rebellious creation He made…He loved the ones who rejected Him and found themselves lost.

Announcing his ministry, Jesus quoted the Prophet Isaiah:

 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.   Isaiah 61:1-3.

There are powerful truths fortifying Christ’s announcement of His ministry…powerful truths that remain truth for the life of Christ within me.

The LORD, Jehovah, the Great I am, consecrated Jesus as a messenger of good—fresh, full—tidings to those with a heart ready to receive it.  Christ’s purpose was specific in action and in audience.

Christ’s messages were for those:

  • able to hear – those with a poverty of spirit that comes from broken-ness;
  • those drawn away from the Father;
  • those mourning the loss of that connection.

While salvation is available to ‘whosoever will, not everyone is ready to receive the Word.  Jesus never wasted time forcing His message on those not ready to hear. In announcing His ministry, Jesus explained the Father sent Him out…the word choices imply the Father sowed Him like a seed.  Jesus saw His purpose as being the vessel the Father used to reach out to a lost and dying world.

Christ in me is still on mission.

Are His purposes being realized in your life?

Knowing Christ’s purpose is the key to knowing and living your purpose!

 

Want to know more about those purposes? Check out:  Christ in Me – Living my Purpose.

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