Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lord of Life

   Easter isn't about the death of a good man, or the passing of a well known figure. It's not about the honouring of a martyr or a ceremony celebrating someone who once ruled. Rather, Easter is all about the celebration of Life! Life in the Spirit of the Lord, life in fellowship with the Father - that abundant life that Jesus purchased - life in the Saviour Who is alive and living today! 

   He is risen from the grave, and you won't find His body there. For He has conquered death and won true life for all the children of God.

"He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." (Matthew 28:6)

   The power of the Life-Spirit of God in Jesus Christ could not be subdued to the grave. The chains of our sinfulness had no clutch on His glory and divinity.

   "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures," (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

   He was buried behind that stone. He is risen and forever at the right hand of God and possessing all power, glory, and dominion over everything.

   We were buried in our trespasses and iniquities. We were dead to our human nature of sinfulness and unrighteousness, but now we are made alive in Christ! We are free to come to the Father, because when Jesus endured the punishment of our sins and shame, the veil was torn.

"Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." (Mark 15:38)

   Separation from God is the penalty of sin. This was where we were headed before Jesus came and rescued us with His wondrous saving grace. A life apart from the Lord, this is the worst that could ever happen to us. And Jesus bore that horrendous misery for us on that cross.

   Death is simply that: separation from God. Because our souls are restored to life in Jesus, our inner-being will live throughout eternity in the precious Presence of our Lord. This is the promise we have to hold onto because of this Resurrection Celebration.

   Celebration is due for this day of life! Easter is about Salvation in Christ our Lord. It's a time of ultimate amazement towards the sacrificial and selfless price Jesus paid. The real true joy is this: everyday is a day to celebrate!

   You don't have to only rejoice and celebrate just one Sunday a year. Instead, because of our everlasting freedom, we have the gift of being able to proclaim the goodness of His never ending grace daily!

   Every moment is a moment to spend in awe-filled wonder of His glory. Every breath we breathe is a testament of His miraculous works. Every step we take is a trample upon our adversary, because he knows and we know - with astounding joy and thanksgiving - that we're headed into God's glory. Eternity awaits, and it's all thanks to the Saviour!

   "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

All honour and glory to You, my Lord Jesus Christ! You are the saving grace for which our flesh so desperately cried out. You are the redemption to our unrighteousness. You are our forgiveness and our forever-hope. We sing songs of praise to You for all our lives and then forevermore! Hallelujah!

   -The Introverted Evangelist

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Silent Saturday

   Imagine the agony felt by those who woke on that dark and dull Saturday after the Crucifixion. I cannot even begin to comprehend the heartache of feeling so hopeless. Life without the joy of Jesus? Well that really isn't even life at all. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life." (John 14:6)

   Empty and abandoned. This Saturday must've honestly been the worst, most lonesome day of all time. What we are certain of today is that Jesus is indeed fully alive and glorified, however, the people in Jesus's day did not know the glorious reality of our victorious King.

   We all are aware that without Good Friday there would be no Resurrection Sunday, and it's clear now that without the Sorrowful Silent Saturday there would not be a Salvation Sunday. By His stripes we are healed. By the agonising absence His divine Presence is all the more sweet.

   Sometimes it takes wounding to experience the wholeness of holy healing, silence to hear God's gentle whispers, and loss to realise that all we need is found in Christ. He is Healer, Comforter, and Provider.

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)
The Lord HEALS

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"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2)
"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you... Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us." (Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 26:12)
The Lord our Peace

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"And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, 'In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.'" (Genesis 22:14)
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
The Lord will Provide

   Can you feel the warmth of His embrace? He is flooding our souls daily with mercy, peace, and grace. The continual Presence of the Holy Spirit is upon us - those who have received Jesus as Lord. But on that Saturday filled with slicing silence of separation and solitude? Emptiness, loneliness, and pain.

   The horrendous pain of separation between Jesus, man, and God it's simply too much to even comprehend. Our sins are what separated, our lawlessness is what created loneliness, and the utter hatred of man is what pierced His side. And from the view of Saturday, this seemed to be our doomed destiny. Sin. Sin inherently invading each heart. The dreaded death appeared to be the victor. That is, to the limited eyes of humanity.

   What went on in the spiritual realm is still a mystery, but one thing is certain: Jesus conquered those chains of chastisement toward our filth, ours, for Jesus was pure. The Lamb who was slain upon that cross never sinned, not even once.

   Spotless atonement sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lord who saves has prevailed! These words rang throughout the hallways of hell that silent Saturday. The day that seemed to be so infested with isolation and quietness was far from low key in the spiritual realm, that's for sure.

   "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:13-15)

   The silence was God dealing with legal matters. God accepted Jesus's perfect sacrifice, therefore completely canceling our debt! The pressing charges necessary for our mistakes and awful deeds were all placed on Jesus. Jesus nailed those charges to the cross, so now we are freed from the punishment! All the legal matters have been dealt with and the outcome is this: we are not guilty! Christ Jesus took the guilt, shame, and punishment for us!

   While it was silent for us, Jesus and all angelic beings were parading through the streets of satan's town laughing and making a mockery of him and his evil demons. They were declaring it out loud, "The Lamb of God has defeated the grave! Shame is shattered, sin has been justly punished, and the children of God will live to proclaim their Saviour's grace! Rescued, delivered, and resurrected!"

Rescued, delivered, and set free. Our souls have been resurrected into the life of Jesus Christ. No longer are we bound by chains. No longer are we slaves to sin. No longer can death defeat, for death itself has been defeated. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. Worthy of honour and praise, glory and adoration. Sing to your Saviour all you freed souls, sing!

   -The Introverted Evangelist

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Soul Soil and God's Seed

   The good ground is a good heart. The key to absorbing the Word of God and manifesting the goodness and bearing the fruit of the Spirit is keeping your heart's soil good ground.

   The seed is the Word of God and the ground on which it is planted is your heart. The condition of your heart determines the success of the seed's sprouting up and flourishing in you.

   "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God." (Ezekiel 36:26-28)

   That's how to become God centred! Humble yourself, then God prepares your heart to receive His Word.

   "Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear," (Psalms 10:17)

   When we come to God and lower ourselves humbly, then God will prepare our hearts to truly soak up His Word.

   God tills the soul soil to plant His Seed in our heart garden. When He works in our humbled hearts, He is opening our spiritual eyes so we can see the truth and wonder in His Word. He opens up our spiritual ears so that we can hear His Spirit speaking to us. Now we can listen for His leading and walk in His glorious ways, and that is a God centred life!

   It's all about the Heart. The thoughts that fire in and out about your mind have the capability to get lodged in there. When bitter thoughts fiddle around for too long they become attached to your heart. When bitter thoughts reach the heart they develop big and hurtful roots that strike deep into the heart's soil.

   Thoughts can come into your mind, but it's how you deal with them once they've entered that determines the victory or consequential bitter-roots. If it's bad, kick it out and flood your mind and soul with God's lovely truths. When impure thoughts dwell in your mind, they bring issues into the heart, and they contaminate or defile the heart making an impure heart.

   "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Matthew 15:18-19)

   An impure heart cannot grow the beauty of the fruits of the Spirit of God. Keep your heart holy by dwelling on things of the Lord.

   Meditate on eternal things. The Word produces the fruit of goodness. All I have to do is keep my heart pure by continually crowding out the icky thoughts with the grace and beauty of God's grace and glory.

   Focus your heart on God and His promises and the wonderful future we have to spend with Him! Have heaven-filled heart thoughts. Dwell on Jesus and all His splendour!

   "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

   Guard your heart. Don't allow the bondage of bitterness to dwell on your mind and fester into a heart problem. Uproot that! Free yourself from the chains of holding onto grudges and anger. Free yourself to freely forgive!

   "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)

   Happy heart gardening! This passage is inspired by Pastor Robert Morris's most recent sermon "Lordship". You can watch the original sermon hereI pray it blesses you richly. It definitely blessed me.

   -The Introverted Evangelist