Tag Archives: trust

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday or the Quiet Mournful Day

  Imagine that day. As the disciples and the others sat shut up in there homes saddened by the lose of Jesus and unsure of what the future might hold. Would the authorities come and collect them? Would they be able to go back to the life they had before He selected them to follow Him? I imagine that they still felt the pain of watching Him suffer. that there minds were still filled with the images of yesterdays crucifixion. I imagine they felt powerless as they watch Him die and were overwhelmed with grief even as they took Him down from the cross and laid him in the tomb.

   But what next? What shall they do now? Now that He is gone where shall they go? So many questions and so few answers.

   They were in  dark place emotionally. Hopelessness and despair surrounded them. They undoubtedly went threw the motions of the days routine in a sad and withdrawn way.

   Have you ever been in that place? Has the sin and pain of this world and your own poor choices brought you to a place of hopelessness and despair?

  This world can do that. The weight of sin in this world can do that. The devil and his demons can try to destroy us. Sometimes our own self-destructive behavior drives us into a corner. Into a dark place. Into our own tomb – so to speak.

   Just like those who mourned the lose of the Savior way back then we may have found ourselves in a similar situation. But we know that the story did not end on Saturday. We know that the sorrow of Saturday was turned to joy on that Sunday morning.

   I want to encourage anyone out there who is in a dark place of despair and hopelessness to look for the joy of the new day that awaits you if you turn to the Son Who died and lives again. The Resurrection Sunday story is a story of hope when all seems lost. A renewal of life where death seemed victorious.

Jesus is alive.

HE IS ALIVE.

HE IS ALIVE AND DEATH HAS BEEN DEFEATED.

With the defeat of death comes

Victory over the darkness and despair that comes with it

Depositphotos_5208225_original

   Embrace the Cross of Calvary because it is here that Our Lord Jesus won the Victory for you and for me. Let the light of the new day shine on you and wash you clean as you walk with the Resurrected Savior into a new life. He die so you might live. He’s alive to love you and lead you into a new life. Won’t you let Him?

   Saturday seemed too dark to endure but the Light and Love of the Son will shine – tomorrow. Trust in Him Who promised –

I will never leave you or forsake you

Warning! Unstable conditions ahead!

Scared to Death on the Bridge

How do we react to instability in our lives? Do we frightfully hang on for dear life, as I did while crossing this rope bridge in Ireland, or do we rest easy knowing we are in the Fathers arms?

I never have been much for heights. Although I have been to the top of the Empire State building without a care and if needed I can walk most roofs but  you couldn’t get me on a roller coaster until recently.  I think the reason behind my fear of certain heights was control. If I felt like I was in control of the situation I wasn’t afraid no matter how high I was.

But we aren’t always in control of our environment or the conditions of the road ahead of us. What then? Fearfully clinging? Or resting easy? What would the Word of God encourage us to do? How would Jesus hope to see us react? I am reminded of a circumstance that Peter found himself in. Matthew records the event here.

While in a storm swept boat with the disciples Peter calls out to Jesus Who is walking on the water towards them. Peter asks Jesus to let him come to Jesus on the water and Jesus calls for him to come. Peter steps out of the boat and walks on the water to Jesus – UNTIL he takes his eyes off of Jesus and looks at the storm – THEN HE SINKS LIKE A ROCK! The disciples were fighting that storm for hours. Truly an unstable environment. Yet when Peter saw Jesus and kept his eyes on Him he overcame the circumstances around him and did the impossible – he walked on water. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink (vs. 30 TLB). But, remember, the high waves and rough seas were there before he stepped out onto the sea, they just weren’t the focus of his attention.

So, clearly we all need to remember that when the waves and storms and instabilities of life arise, we can rise above them if we focus on Jesus and not the circumstance. The following is a short list of encouraging words found in Gods Word for us all to hide in our hearts for a rainy day.

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. Mark 11:22

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:1 and 27 NIV

  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love 1 John 4:18 NKJV

 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,that He may exalt you in due time, 

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6

 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Eph 3:17-21 KJV

 

My Friends please hold His words close to your hearts because the Word tells us that there will be a time of unprecedented instability in the future (maybe our future, maybe in some distant time) but we can stand the times of emotional, economic or social instability if we stand in HIM Whom first placed our feet on solid ground.

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ Philippians 1:6 KJV

Rope bridgeCarrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 20 meters (66 ft) and is 30 meters (98 ft) above the rocks below. The bridge is mainly a tourist attraction and is owned and maintained by the National Trust. In 2009 it had 247,000 visitors. The bridge is open all year round (subject to weather) and people may cross it for a fee.

But Does It Really Say That?

The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.
Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard
Soren Kierkegaard was a 19th century philosopher and theologian who died young (42) but left a legacy of thought provoking writings on faith and what it means to believe. Unfortunately, within Christendom there are almost as many denominations as there are view points of Scripture. Without pointing fingers or casting stones I think we all must one day ask ourselves –
What Do We Believe anyway?!?!?
Is the Bible truth? Do you believe in the entire Bible? Is some of it just fables that are meant to teach us something practical? Did Adam and Eve really live in the Garden of Eden? What about Noah and the Arc? Are the stories written in the Old Testament fact or fiction? What about Jesus? Was Mary a virgin? Did Christ perform miracles? Did He rise from the dead?
What Do We Believe anyway?!?!?
I may have shared this in a previous blog, but just to personalize this all important question I will repeat myself here. Years ago, when Betty and I first met we would often times engage in theological discussions. My belief being a more conservative/fundamental one then hers would always bring us to an impasse. It is because of this impasse that I took a radical approach – The Big Red Marker!
What Do We Believe anyway?!?!?
   “Ok, Betty, I respect your opinion of scripture. How you think some of it is true and other parts just stories to teach us life lessons. Here is a Bible and a big red marker. Please strike a line threw the parts that aren’t true and leave the parts that are real untouched! “

    Betty cringed at the idea of “x-ing” out any part of scripture and reconsidered her own view point regarding the truth of Gods Word. But, don’t we all use a big red marker to some unconsciousness degree or another? Don’t we tell ourselves that “It can’t possibly mean that!” or “That doesn’t pertain to us now.”? After all, as Kierkegaard said –We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. So, it (the Bible) can’t possibly say or mean that!?!? Right?

As I mentioned, I am a fundamentalist, that is I take God at His Word. After all if, the Word of God is not true than what can I believe in? Paul said that if Christ was not raised then or preaching is foolishness. If Jesus did not pay the price for my sins then how can I? Without the Hope that the Bible and Jesus brings the world is a dark scary place.
Open Book NYPL B&WEvery Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), 2 Timothy 3:16 AMP
In the end it doesn’t come down to just what we believe but rather whether or not we are willing to live like we believe it!
Be Blessed, Al

What in the World is going on?

Political unrest and wars in multiple parts of the world. Sickness and diseases like the Ebola outbreak and the MERS virus are killing people in large numbers and causing concerns worldwide. Earthquakes, floods, fires, tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes and huge swings in weather patterns producing violent rains, stifling heat with droughts as well record breaking blankets of snow with freezing temps.

In just the past few years the globe has seen all of these and more. Some site Global warming for climate change and the weather related problems.

With respect to the political upheavals some say its time for a change of the old regimes to the new. The Arab Spring saw protests and changes in nearly 20 countries across the north of Africa and the middle east. In Iraq a civil war rages long after America pulled its troops out. Russia is in the Ukraine and fierce fighting going on in Israel and Palestine. Isis is growing and fears are raised in the west.

All of this can cause one to wonder – “What in the World is going on?” But who can know what is going on? Is there anywhere to turn to find answers?

Obviously, the answer is Yes. There is somewhere you can go to get answers to the question of what in the world is going on –

Gods’ Word

– The Bible tells us about all these things and those things which are still to come.

It is God who controls the countries of the earth. He causes one to rise and another to fall. History shows us how Alexander the Great rose to power and how he built institutions of learning all around the known world. He caused everyone to learn the Greek language and when the time was right his empire fell. Later the Roman empire rose to control the known world and built highways and connected the various pieces of the empire with better trade routes. Soon after that we see our Lord ( and His followers) using these roads and the common language to Preach the Gospel. So we see that God orchestrated the rise and fall of these nations to His glory by setting the stage for the Ministry of Jesus Christ as well as the spreading of the Gospel by His followers.

Likewise, Jesus told us  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8KJV

So, these things are not a series of unrelated hysterical happens but simply a part of the plan. Yet with all that is and will be coming let us be encouraged –

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,  whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire.

Heb 12:25-29 KJV

 

He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. Job 12:23 KJV

 

Tribulatios Escape

Finally, let all of us be encouraging and loving towards each other and reach out to those who have not yet found the love and grace of Jesus especially as we see these things come to pass.

Be blessed today by His Love for you!

 

Summers End

Empty Boardwalk Long Beach, NYHello friends.

Its been a busy fast moving Summer and I really wish the days didn’t go by so quickly. I hope that everyone had a wonderful vacation season and that you are all settling back into the routine of back to school or back to work.

In the near future I hope to inspire and challenge us all to discuss our faith and trust in the Lord.

Until then let me simply say that no matter where you are or what you are going threw –

JESUS IS THE ANSWER

Caps and Gowns

Commencement Ceremony?!?!

 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,  Zec 4:10 NLT

The first time I heard the term commencement exercise I thought it odd. After all it’s a graduation ceremony. The end of High School, or College, so why call it a beginning? Obviously, I was young and naive.

When Zerubbabel was encouraged to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem he was told to not despise the undertaking of such a monumental task.

That word of encouragement resonates threw time and can be applied to every young believer  setting out on their journey into the world today.

Do not let fear or economic circumstances distract you. Do not be concerned with what others around you may be facing. If God is for you who can be against you? Let Psalm 91 be your compass into the uncharted waters that lie ahead.

Eternity

Its a beginning and not and ending! A beginning that is full of hope, excitement and promise when you begin it with God on your side. Be encouraged even as Zerubbabel was to get started no matter how small the start or how daunting the task

Sports Metaphors Abound

So many sports activities have a similar first rule – look closely at the object of the sport. Whether it’s the basket you are shooting for or the baseball you are swinging at or the pins at the end of the bowling alley. If you are looking at something other then the intended target you shouldn’t expect to hit the target.

Our spiritual walk is not dissimilar in this one rule. Case in point – Matthew 14:22-31

Then Peter called to him: “Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.” “All right,” the Lord said, “come along!”So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Peter knew that there was a storm in progress. He had been in the boat with the others for hours fighting the weather but when he saw (look at intently) Jesus, Peter was eager to join Him on the lake. Peter even stepped over the rail and walked on the water UNTIL he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the circumstances around him. That’s when he fell victim to those circumstances.

What a powerful example for us to learn from. No matter what storms we may be in we should keep our eyes on Jesus. In fact the Scriptures say exactly that – Heb 12:1-3

Darkness 1

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,

Heb 12:2a NKJV

The Living Bible says – Keep your eyes on Jesus! Good advise in any language. So, no matter if the sun is shining on you today or if the storms are raging all around, remember how Peter and the disciples found Jesus in the midst of their storm and know that He is there with you. He is ready to reach out His hand and save you just as He did Peter.

Be encouraged and be blessed.