But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield. Psalms 5:11-12 [ESV]
Since my last post on the 17th of this month, I have taken little break from any distractions that could take me away from time with the family. This time of year is definitely busy as it is likely for most; however, it is one of my most prized times as it is full of gratitude and rejoicing at the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Who has brought the most important gift to all of us. I will be back into a better swing of consistency with these posts starting in the New Year but for now I will leave you with my memory verses for this week. I hope they bless you as much as they have me.
Then he said to 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 and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:44-49 [AMP]
Tomorrow I will finish my deep reading of the book of Luke (I started this reading on 01 MAR 2023). Today I am marveling at the situation of Jesus appearing before the people gathered in the house for dinner, and the things that He said. This happens just before He leads them out to Bethany and ascends into Heaven (more on that tomorrow).
First Jesus tells them to see that He is flesh and bones and not a spirit. Even though they were joyous and marveling, they still were in unbelief that He was standing before them in the flesh. So, He asked them to give Him something to eat; they gave Him some broiled fish and He ate it. The verse I start out with above is the conclusion of that time with them. Here are the primary takeaways from what He said:
[Prophesy Complete] Everything that had been written about Him in the Law of Moses, Prophets, and Psalms would be fulfilled.
[The Believers Receive the Living Word] Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures.
[The work of Salvation for those who would believe, has been Completed] His Passion had been completed in His suffering and rising from the dead.
[The call to missions in the proclamation of the Gospel to all] The message of the Gospel should be proclaimed to all the nations beginning with Jerusalem.
[A record by humans that these prophesies had indeed happened] That those in the room were witnesses to these things.
[The Holy Spirit would soon be upon them] That Jesus was sending the promise of the Father upon them.
[For the witnesses specifically, special clothing of Power would come upon them] They were to stay in Jerusalem until they were clothed with the power from on high.
In this little passage in the Gospels, Jesus lays out the TRUTH for all to hear and remember. The biggest aspect for me in this passage is that Jesus is alive -> living in Heaven at the right hand of the Father.
My salvation, my faith, the call on my life, and strength available to me is recorded by the words of Jesus right here before He ascended. There is nothing I lack in my Christian walk to ‘Follow Him’. However, it is a daily choice to abide by what is written here. Listening to Pastor Steve’s message today I am reminded that peace and comfort that the Lord can provide is for those who ‘abide’ IN Jesus. Aspiring to be like Him every day, in my life, to my family, at work, and in my ministry service to Him alone. This weekend we are on a little getaway to our cabin on Herron Island and it has been so peaceful and restful after such a busy season of life. It has provided a needed time of reflection, and these passages could not have come at a better time.
They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32 [AMP]
Today I was reading about the appearing of the Lord Jesus to the men on the road to Emmaus. How Jesus came along two of the ones that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James had told of the empty tomb and the angels that spoke to them. These 2 men were talking to each other on their way and Jesus came up alongside them, but their eyes were not permitted to see that it was Him. Jesus “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” Luke 24:27. They invited this stranger to dinner and when He broke bread, blessed it, and handed it to them, all at once it was revealed who He was and immediately He vanished. The verse I started with above is what they said to each other when they realized it was Him.
It dawns on me that this is the first time the ‘Living Word’ was spoken to them and ‘their hearts burned within them’. This is what happens to me when I read God’s Word and He reveals a TRUTH and application to my life I had not seen before. This is a true gift to us as believers and not something that can be explained but must be experienced. When this happens to you, listen! God is speaking to you! Internalize it and apply it to your life. It is God’s provision and His gift to us on this earth to hear directly from Him through His Holy Spirit speaking into our lives.
I have such gratefulness in my heart for this gift and never let it go to waste. God’s direction in my life is a building of faith that no other religion on this planet can provide. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the gift of your ‘Helper’ while I wait for your return!
And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Luke 24:5-9 [AMP]
This is what we live for as ‘born again’ Christians…a living God who has conquered death. Because of Jesus, we do not have to fear death; for what comes after eclipses, beyond imagination, anything we can achieve here on earth.
What our role is here in this world and lifetime, is to honor the Gift that has been given to us by living according to the teachings of our Savior. Living to a standard that glorifies only one person, the Person of Jesus Christ.
This Christmas season is an opportunity to show our families and kids what it means to be servant hearted and generous in our giving of time and gifts celebrating how Jesus entered the world to fulfil His redemption plan. I know I have quoted this verse a lot but in light of today’s reading, it once again presents itself as meaningful:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. Luke 23:54-56 [AMP]
One thing that never dawned on me was that Jesus spent His time absent from the Father on the Sabbath. I am probably the last Christian on earth that been has been struck in this way and I feel somewhat embarrassed by it. This gives a whole new meaning to the Sabbath and spending time (not working) but dwelling on the price that was paid for my sins. Although the type death Jesus died was horrific, the real price was the separation from God the Father in death. I am sure that this is what He was dreading most when He prayed for the ‘cup to pass from Him’.
When we spend out 1 day of the week praying and communing with the risen Christ on our mind, it should always include the gratefulness in acknowledgement of what He did on that day for us. Because of this, we don’t have to have that separation, we are redeemed to live with God for eternity; never having to reap what deserve. What an amazing mindset to rest in each week -> our Lord and Savior enduring separation so that we never have to. So grateful for the perfect plan God has had in His redemption story.
Deuteronomy 13:4 [ESV]
You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.
Tomorrow, I have the honor of taking our church body through the 2023 year in review and budget for 2024. In my practicing of the delivery of this presentation I have not been able to make it through it without losing it…(crying in gratitude and awe of what the Lord has done)… I am nervous, so if you find yourself reading this before I go up at 8AM PST Sunday, I covet your prayers.
The verse above is in my opening slide and sets the tone for how we as elders and pastors of Canyon Hills approach the stewardship of what the Lord does through His people to support the ministries of the church. I am left with a heart full of faith and gratitude for God’s faithfulness and timing. To Him be ALL glory and praise.
Luke 22:66-69 [AMP] As soon as it was day, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes; and they led Him into their council (the Sanhedrin), and they said, If You are the Christ (the Messiah), tell us. But He said to them, If I tell you, you will not believe (trust in, cleave to, and rely on what I say), And if I question you, you will not answer. But hereafter (from this time on), the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.
This passage resonates with me regarding the naysayers of today. The culture and society we live in refuses to believe just as the Sanhedrin did. The Truth of Gods Word shouts Who God is yet people want to be their own god. The worth of a persons own view of themselves has eclipsed the reality of Gods design. The freedom the believer receives in their salvation and righteousness we acquire through faith and surrender to the One True God is a peace and rest in Who the person Jesus is and our inheritance with Him.
I can confidently walk forward in this life knowing my security is in the One I trust. I am so thankful for the Bible which provides everything I need to live the upright life I have been called to, yet have the ever coming grace God provides when I fall.
It’s been a crazy week and a half working 12–16 hour days. My family has been so supportive and I and so grateful to the Lord for them. Tonight my work team gave me the night off to attend Sophie’s Christmas Choir Concert and again, I am grateful. On Friday Prim fell at the roller skating rink and got a hairline fracture in her right elbow and her delayed Birthday Party was Sunday. Just a comedy of situations that all add up to “life”. Something again, I am eternally grateful to my Father in Heaven for.
Luke 22:61 [AMP] And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter recalled the Lord’s words, how He had told him, Before the cock crows today, you will deny Me thrice.
This whole scene has always haunted me. After the third time Peter denied Jesus and the rooster crowed, being led to trial, Jesus turns to see Peter and Peter is reminded of what the Lord would tell him he would do…and he ran off bitterly weeping in his self loathing and grief.
I want to live in a way that when Jesus returns in the sky, that He catches my eye and mine is not one of self-loathing for the situation I am ( a corrupt state of heart) but one of absolute joy and gratefulness that even while I was in my sin, He died for me because the joy that He saw before Him (with me in Heaven), He bore the cross and separation from the Father so that I would never have to.