Praise Precedes the Battle!

5 Jul

 

Praise God for His faithfulness.

Praise Him for His invitation to take Him at His Word.

Praise the I AM that HE IS unfailing Love.

That is my call to arms this morning as I stand tall under the Banner of His Name preparing to march into another day. I did not begin my day with my head held high in His victory. brett coffeeNo Girlfriend, this morning, my feet hit the floor with an attitude – a bad attitude. I didn’t look any different from the outside but on the inside – it was ugly. Worse than bedhead by a long shot. It wasn’t just my hair that was a tangled mess . . .my mind was too. And my eyes weren’t the only things fighting the light of a new day . . .that perfectly described my heart as well.

It’s taking me a while to get my feet back under me since Brett’s hospitalization this time. Things don’t seem to be falling back into any kind of routine the way they normally do and it has me feeling off. “Feeling off” is really a very pretty term for what has not been a very pretty process. The truest words I “spoke” last week were in a text to a friend . . .

“I need Jesus so much.”

And I know she prayed that I would find Him because I’ve found myself in the one place that He is most tangible to me – His Word. Specifically, the New Testament and that’s not my usual way—the New Testament I mean. I most often like to start in the Old Testament and let it lead me to the feet of Christ in the New, then let my mind wonder what the ultimate fulfillment will look like in Glory when faith becomes sight.

But this week I started with the Christ in me. . . . Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I asked Him to fill me with the power of understanding . . .Ephesians 3:16-19

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

To bless me with a mind and a heart guarded by Him . . .Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And to set my heart on things above . . .Colossians 3:1

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (The NLT saysset my sights on the spiritual realities – I love that)

I went to the source of Life Powered by the Spirit – the General Electric Power Company*

– Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians—

It’s the manual for a life filled with His energy, fueled by His strength, and empowered by His Love.

And He did not disappoint me. His truth was there and it brought me much comfort and quieted my heart – but my spirit wouldn’t stay settled. It kept returning to the emotional turmoil in my mind and I kept surrendering to me instead of to the Spirit. I kept mulling things over until everything had become something. Every perceived or real hurt. Every circumstance beyond my control. Every anything that I could make something of, I did. And no matter what emotion it started out as it ended up at angry.

There’s a reason that the Psalmist says

“in your anger do not sin; when you are on your bed, search your hearts and be silent.”  Psalm 4:4

When I lay down at night, I’m more apt to be looking over somebody else’s heart and thinking of all the things they ought to be discovering in their search! My mind is anything but silent and if you let that go unchecked it will take you down some bad roads that dead end at bitterness, unforgiveness, and an unmerciful, judgmental heart.

I think it’s the same warning Paul gives us in Ephesians . . .

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27

The ESV and the NASB both warn against giving the devil an opportunity. If I wallow around in all of that the enemy will certainly use my choice not to immerse my mind in Christ against me. I’m certain of it. And my own flesh will jump right on that train too and help me remember every infraction that has ever pierced my heart. I have to be active in fighting that off or the devil won’t get just one opportunity – he’ll get an avalanche of opportunities. See I don’t just mull in bed at night. I mull in the shower. I mull when I’m driving. I mull and I mull and I mull. . . .if I let myself.

I’m praising God that in this instance I did not indulge myself as long as I have on past occasions. Not this time. This time I picked up my Bible, turned to the Power Manual and I dressed for combat . . .Ephesians 6:10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

And Sister, I felt every-inch-of-me protected but I did not feel powerful, like I could pick up the Sword, the holy utterance of God, and really wield the thing. Something was missing. I flipped the pages backward in my Bible and prayed the Ephesians 1:17-19 prayer in Bunny paraphrase. . .

Lord, I’m asking that you would bless me with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I may know you better. Up-close and personal Lord. First hand experiential knowledge Father. Please, open the eyes of my heart. Enlighten me so that I may know the hope to which you have called me and your incomparably great power for all who believe. Show me you Lord.

And I waited. There were no lightning bolts. Nothing to fill in that uneasy, “something is missing” empty spot. I read to the end of Ephesians again. Flipped through some Psalms and read a little in Isaiah with an expectant heart. All good passages, but that surge of the Spirit didn’t fall on any of them.

So I closed my Bible and went to choose a graphic to post as encouragement on the Glimpsed Glory facebook page for the day. This is the image I am absolutely certain God placed in my path:

Worship-is-an-Act-of-War-by-Holley-Gerth-400x400
The statement itself was powerful to me but not as powerful as what happened next. My eyes landed on the Scripture reference in the corner – 2 Chronicles 20. I opened up my Bible and I began to read. . .
The enemies of God have united to form a vast army and they are advancing toward His people. The king brings all of Judah together to seek help from the Lord and petition Him for His protection. And the Lord answers them . . . 2 Chronicles 20:15

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

And He tells them what their part will be . . . 2 Chronicles 20:17

Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

So what did the people of Judah do next? Did they question Him? How is this going to happen? What are you going to do? Did they ask for a battle plan? No. They believed God and they bowed with their faces to the ground and fell down in worship . . . 2 Chronicles 20:19

Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

In a very loud voice. Not a teeth-clenched-jaw-locked “I praise you Lord in my circumstance” . . .oh no – a shout. I’m going to be so bold as to call it a battle cry. And the battle cry continued to ring out early the next morning when the king appointed men, not to wield the bow or spear– to wield the weapon of praise! . . . 2 Chronicles 20:21

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.”

The praise was at the head–leading the way! Not in the middle as it looked like the battle might go their way. Not at the end when they had secured a victory and seen the hand of God defeat their enemies. The praise preceded the battle! Read that again –

PRAISE PRECEDED THE BATTLE!

And as they began to sing and praise, the Lord wiped the enemy out. He gave His people so much plunder in the victory that it took three days for them to carry it all away.

There was my missing piece and my answer to the Ephesians 1:17 prayer for wisdom.

creation swap sun praise kevin carden17054_22559_5 RIBBET2The wise know that they must seek the Lord for help, take up their positions and stand firm. The wise believe the promise of God to deliver them from every enemy . The wise trust God and they are not afraid or discouraged. The wise bow with their faces to the ground and then rise up to shout the praise of the One and Only in a very loud voice. The wise stand protected in the armor of God and give thanks that His love endures forever–even as the enemy advances. The wise shout the battle cry of PRAISE!

And the enemy of their hearts is defeated by the Lover of their souls.

Girlfriend, I will have – you will have—the power-filled life when we have the praise-filled life. One can’t exist without the other. That’s the spiritual reality we live in today—the General Electric Power Company uses the words “praise” and “thanks” over 20 times to confirm it. So raise your voice loud today Sweet Sister, hoist His banner high and proclaim that greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world. Let us take up our position in prayer, stand firm in His Love and let our praise precede our battle!

“Give thanks to the LORD,for his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(*Thanks for teaching me that acronym so many years ago Frannie. It’s stuck with me since those early days of faith and I’ve used it in almost every Bible study I’ve lead and every conference I’ve spoken at. Love to you Dear Friend.)

He Staggered Not!

29 Jun

Life on Biddinger Boulevard has taught me much. One of the life lessons I know to be true is that for every situation, for every circumstance, a time will come when I will be given the opportunity to let my talk and my walk come together. A favorite Bible teacher of mine describes this as “my theology becoming my reality.” I call these my “Kairos Moments.”

Karios

These moments in time are different from our chronos moments – the time that passes every day without much notice. Kairos moments from the Greek definitions above seem to me to be times that are appointed by God for things to come to a head in my life so I can take full advantage of all He has done — I can see the fruit of His labor manifested in my heart at this fixed, definite, right moment.

Henry Blackaby calls this a “crisis in belief.” Kay Arthur calls it a “crossroads moment.” No matter what title you and I choose to slap on the thing, no matter how differently we may describe them, the fact is every believer has them. Those moments when you come face-to-face with life and you choose:

Will you believe God to be God?

To be all that He has declared Himself to be –the One Who Does Not Change. The One who is always holy, always love, always compassionate, always trustworthy, always just, and always faithful. 

Will we believe Him to be Him every single moment of every single day?

Even the hard moments? The “crisis in belief” moments? The “crossroad” moments?  

Will we believe that He is there, unflinchingly involved in every circumstance, when our hearts won’t recognize it and our eyes cannot see it?

Don’t misunderstand. It’s my belief that for the one who has accepted Christ in their heart and confessed with their mouth that He is Savior and Lord of their life that there is a certain part of every moment that is a “Kairos Moment.” But if God took the time to describe certain points on our personal timeline and even the world timeline differently, then I’m going to follow suit.

Time in God's HandsFor myself, I think of chronos time as the time I am given to prepare for the Kairos Moments. How I invest my chronos will certainly influence the choice I make when “the opportune time, the favorable moment, the time when things are brought to crisis”—the Kiaros Moment—occurs but there is a definite difference between the training ground and the battlefield.

Another thing I want to be certain you hear in these words is that I am well aware that Kairos Moments are in no way limited to 60-second lifebursts. Kairos Moments for some, especially those who have been entrusted with suffering, seem to last for days, weeks, even months. It seems to me that those who live with the Kindgdom assignment to stand firm in a life that demands perseverance of choice – the choice to believe God is there, involved, and working all things for the good of those who love Him—those given that assignment . . . well from my perspective, they come close to living an endless string of Kairos Moments—uniquely poised, standing at the crossroads every day, several times a day . . . choosing.

I live with a Man who has been entrusted with that life and full confession is that I’m certain I would not live it as well as he does. He does not withdraw from God in His choice. Does he question? I’m sure he does. Does he wonder? He must. But he does not withdraw. He continues to stand at the crossroads and he continues to choose God every time.

The words “withdraw from” are translated “staggered” in Romans 4:20 (KJV) to describe Abraham standing firm and believing God at every turn. Abraham asked God questions but he did not withdraw from Him. He stood firm believing God would do all He announced He would do –

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:20-21 KJV

That’s the way Brett lives life . . .He staggers not through unbelief but is strong in his faith, giving glory to God and he is fully persuaded that God will not be dissuaded from being God.

brettcoffee

That’s a powerful life to be on the perimeter of. To see first-hand the warrior spirit God will develop in a willing heart. The Lord is a Warrior and He’s raising His boy up to look just like Him. I know there are times Brett finds himself weary from the fight and aches for rest—I’ve seen the weariness roll down his cheeks. I know there are days when he wants his time on the battlefield to be done because he whispers to me at the end of it “one day closer.”   But he perseveres and he chooses.

He’s just come through such a time – again.

Six days in ICU with a body that would not cooperate. Six days with painful tubes, iv’s, blood draws. Six days with no food and little rest. Six days spent in the war zone fighting the good fight. Six days spent startling the enemy every time he stood at the crossroad and staggered not. Six days . . . . one kairos moment after another. Six days standing firm . . .convinced that God had not and would not abandon him. Fully persuaded that God is able.

And . . . I watched. As the chronos moments ticked by, I watched the kairos moments, one after the other, be lived out in vivid color right before me. And I faced my own choices. I came to my own crossroads. And I chose. Did my mind shout to God to come quickly and heal? Did I wonder why the delay? Did I remind Him that His Word says that He is moved by prayer and hears the plea of His people? Absolutely. And He held me there, in the throne room, and did not let me withdraw. He allowed me to question, to remind in humility and to petition for a different path– but He never let the doubt of His goodness or of His Kingdom purpose find its way into my heart or my mind.

In fact God did the opposite. He showed me the strength He has developed in Brett, in me, and in us. He called us into battle together and we came out stronger than ever. Jars of clay filled with Light convinced of His goodness and His love. Unwavering, staggering not, in the belief that what the evil one meant to harm us God has used to accomplish the good thing. We may be hard pressed on every side but we are not crushed. We may be perplexed but we do not despair for we are not abandoned and we are not struck down.

The very thing the enemy tried to use for our downfall – the unfairness of the situation, the enough-is-enough mentality, the isolation and exhaustion of it all – was beaten back by the very Hand of God and we emerged with the plunder of increased faith and a heightened awareness of His Love. He is today Who He has always been . . . The Able One . . .The God of More.

I wanted to escape this trial with Brett’s physical life. God wanted more for Brett and more for me than simply making it through to the other side. He wanted hearts refined and faith proved genuine in the kairos moment. He wanted us to come from the battlefield knowing that in every situation we are more than overcomers because greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world . He wanted us to know that He has been preparing and pruning us in all the chronos moments of life to emerge as the victors in this “most favorable, most suitable, most opportune” kairos moment.

He sent us into the war zone protected by His full armor, dressed in Jesus head-to-toe . . belt of truth around our waists, breastplate of righteousness firmly in place, feet fitted with the unchanging good news of the gospel, shields of faith in His faithfulness to Himself lifted high extinguishing every flaming arrow no matter how hot, head protected by the saving grace of the full redemption work of Jesus Christ, and the Sword of the Spirit in our hands. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

And at our backs . . .a battalion of soldiers—some close friends we know, others complete strangers from churches we’ve never visited, but each one was storming the heavenlies on our behalf. The saints of God, praying us through and beating on the doors of heaven, moving the very heart of God. And I have to wonder if this sweet picture that I am conjuring of God’s saints gathered together declaring that no weapon forged against us will prevail might be a small piece of what God meant when He told us that His glory would be our rear guard?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.  Isaiah 58:8 (NIV, 1984)

I can’t help but think it is. They are beautiful! The tears fill my eyes when I think of them—

As the for the saints who live in the land, they ARE THE GLORIOUS ONES in whom is all my delight. Psalm 16:3 (NIV, 1984).

Someone jokingly said this past week that we had to be descended from the line of Job and we’ve made the joke ourselves on more than one occasion. But as I contemplate that statement, I’ll take that ancestry and that heritage any day. Because just like Job, who questioned but did not withdraw, we’ve seen God more clearly than we ever would have and we’re closer to being able to say in a holy hush . . .

“Oh Lord, my ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5

That’s what the Kairos moments do for me. They open my heart so I can see God. They expose my faith and lay it bare. They strengthen my spirit and heighten my love for Him.

Girlfriend, if you’re living your faith out, the Kairos moments will come—the “favorable moment, the appointed time, when it all comes to a head” and “things are brought to crisis.” Do not shrink back. Do not withdraw – be fully persuaded that God will be God.  

Stand firm, sword in hand, battalion at your back declaring for all the heavenlies to hear that your God is able and then Sweet One, you rise up for battle in the Name of Jesus, you believe your God to be Who He has declared Himself to be, and you STAGGER NOT.

Romans 4:20-21

 

Enjoy Life — till it Overflows!

24 May

I spent last weekend with some beautiful women.  Each one dressed in Jesus Christ from the inside out and doing their best to wear Him well.  The conversations shared around tables, over coffee, and in tucked away corners ran the gamut – raucous laughter and poking fun at ourselves to tears shed and hearts laid bare.

My Cup Overflows

My Cup Overflows

To me, that’s true beauty, uncontainable radiance in action.  Sisters doing life together, bonded by heart and bound by soul to other daughters of the King.  Some meeting one another for the first time—not a thing in common but their love for their Jesus.

  • All denominations.
  • All age groups.
  • All manner of occupations.

Each one stretching outside of themselves to connect with His people.  The blessed sisterhood hand-picked for them by the lover of their souls.

This particular conference was called a “Women’s Refresher” rather than a retreat and my mind really enjoyed that change of title.  It gave my heart a sense of expectation and hope.  Hope that we all might walk away with souls renewed, spirits refreshed, and hearts at rest.  With a rejuvenated resolve to stand firm in the face of whatever might lay on the other side of the weekend.  See, I think that

“rest of the soul — refreshed heart” living is the mental expression of our spiritual reality.

Christ came so that we could have life and have it the full.  Not do just a little bit of living, but really go after the thing with all He has created us to be.  The Amplified Bible translates John 10:10 in such a way that I can’t keep the smile from creeping across my face and my heart simultaneously . . .

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have and enjoy life,

and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). 

John 10:10 AMP

Isn’t that wonderful – enjoyment of life with the Life Giver.  Abundance that does not change with the ebb and flow of our circumstances.  Life to overflowing that isn’t subject to our limited human vision.

He is the Door to Life.Oh that’s some good news to me.  It means that regardless of how hot the flaming arrow the enemy sends my way may be or what kind of a mess I may walk myself into, God will not change His mind concerning the life His Son purchased for me.  The same is true for you Sweet One and here’s more good news –no matter how many translations I looked at I couldn’t find a single one that said “ I came that they may dig in with their fingernails, grit their teeth, and worry their way into glory.”  Nor could find a translation of John 10:10 with an asterisk indicating that there were exceptions to this verse so you cannot possibly be the one person in all the ages that this passage does not apply to.  See,

we cannot mess it up so badly that God changes His mind about His love for us or about the way He wants to raise us up for Kingdom purposes.

The same God who brought you through fire and water – a wall of despair on the right and a wall of destruction on the left – kept your feet from slipping and delivered you to a place of abundance is alive and well within you this very moment.  And the Spirit of God has not come so you might simply survive—He has come so that you may thrive.

He has crushed the head of your enemy with the heel of Jesus Christ so not one obstacle stands between you and the Father.  Jesus Christ has overcome them all so that you and I, those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord, can not only approach the throne of grace with confidence – we are welcome to live there!

Do we get that?  I’m not certain I do.  I hope you’re further along in the process than I am because too often I find myself unaware of being in the Presence of God.  I too often confine Him to my “quiet time” or to Sunday mornings and leave behind the all-encompassing knowledge that He is always with me.  And that’s when it begins – hanging on by my fingernails, gritting my teeth, fretting and stewing about life from one day into the next.  I forget God and I remember me and when I’m at the center of me – well, suffice to say nothing goes well.

I put my own slant on life and quickly become consumed by myself—beleaguered by insecurity, embittered by rejection, and eaten alive by someone else’s blessings.  But even then, God does not change His mind concerning me and the Blood of Jesus still flows for me.

Isn’t that something?  Standing before Him, in all my “me”, and He doesn’t change His mind.

Maybe you have those less-than moments too, when you stand before Him in all that is “you” and He doesn’t change His mind.

And we’re left in awe and wondering over and over again, “Oh Lord, why do you love me so?”

When I was beleaguered and bitter,     

totally consumed by envy,

I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox     

in your very presence.

I’m still in your presence,     

but you’ve taken my hand.

You wisely and tenderly lead me,     

and then you bless me.

You’re all I want in heaven!     

You’re all I want on earth!

When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,     

God is rock-firm and faithful.

Look! Those who left you are falling apart!     

Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.

But I’m in the very presence of God—     

oh, how refreshing it is!

I’ve made Lord God my home.     

Psalm 73:23-28 MSG

I want off the merry-go-round that constantly spins me back to the place where I begin and God is forgotten.  I want the life my Pastor calls “present-time-Christ-conscious living.”  Centered on my God, revolving around my Jesus, and led by the Spirit.  Not hit-and-miss, but all day every day—standing so close that the shadow of refreshment falls over me day-by-day, moment-by-moment.

Girlfriend, that’s what we were made for, life in His Presence—His overflowing, to the full, abundant Presence.  So you leave yourself behind, tuck yourself inside the refuge of His wing and make your home there.  Don’t forget where you live for one single moment.  The place of heart refreshment, soul renewal, and spirit rest will not be found apart from Him.  Move through this life so closely connected to Him that His shadow covers you from head-to-toe and in that shade Sister, I promise, based on the authority of His Word, you will find what your heart is longing for.

He who dwells in the shelter

of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of

the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1Picture of Refreshment

This post is part of the #mywritingprocess blog tour. I was invited to participate by the most encouraging young woman I have the privilege of doing cyber life with. You can find her, Spirit-filled and heart full of Jesus, at http://igivegodalltheglory.wordpress.com/. I cannot tell you how amazed I am that God has seen fit to take Glimpsed Glory around the world to more than 70 countries at this point. Oh, how I pray it is encouraging every Sister that visits to stand strong in the faith and to live well in His Name. I’d love it if you would join the journey by following the blog and having new post notifications sent straight to your email. You can also find Glimpsed Glory on facebook with daily encouragement and @glimpsedglory at twitter. Thanks for stopping by and thanks to I give God all the Glory for the opportunity – Keep shouting His praise from the mountaintops Miss Jennifer!

Blessed is She . . . Really?

7 May

Do you notice that the times “Why God?” forms in our hearts and dances in our brains are most often the times when we are not thrilled with the path life might be taking at the moment?  If you and I were to glance back over our shoulders at the last blessing we noticed, would we find the “Why God?” poised in our souls or on the tip of our tongues?

I chose the word “noticed” in conjunction with blessing because I truly believe that His good works are our constant companions.  And I take Him at His Word when He says that He came to give us life, not a less-than, grit your teeth, hang on by your fingernail kind of life, no Sweet One our Savior blesses with life to the FULL . . .

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

Whether we have eyes that desire to see the good gifts or hearts that ache to acknowledge the blessing, is a different question all together.

So, when might be the last time you, when might be the last time I, had eyes to see the blessings, the good gifts of God, and said

“Why God? . . . Why have you blessed me so?”

The Wonder of Blessing

When was the last occasion we just shook our heads in wonder that the God of the universe would stoop down from heaven specifically for us?  To show such kindness toward us?  To dote on us the way He does?  To flat out declare His heart for us in real and tangible ways?

The last post I wrote about the idea of being “forgiven much” and I asked you to consider that the concept of being forgiven much or being forgiven little—originates in the mind of man – not in the mind of God.  It’s a human perspective based on the human penchant to size things up according to our own standards.  We crawl up on the throne of our lives, look around us, measure life, and then we decide – we make ourselves the judges.

And it seems to me, that this inclination to view life from a temporal, human vantage point invades all of our thinking – including our perception of blessings.  There are songs written about the “blessings in disguise” and “the picture we can’t see” that really bring home the notion, and dare I say the truth, that blessings often don’t look the way our human minds think they should and they certainly do not feel to our hearts the way we expect them to.

Who would think that a blessing would be painful?  Who would think that good gifts would make our hearts ache?  Who would think that blessing is present when God says “No” to our prayers?  We want Him to bless a certain way, to choose only those good gifts for us that feel a certain way—

  • We want our blessings to behave!  And might it be, we want our God to behave as well?

This particular thing is a blessing because it turned out how I wanted it to turn out.  That particular thing has a beautiful red bow on it—it looks exactly like I think a blessing should look.  Everything unfolded just the way I wanted it to and it feels sweet to my soul –what a blessing!  I look.  I measure.  I judge.  Either forgetting or ignoring that my God has a view from outside space and time that I couldn’t comprehend even if I could see it.  Either forgetting or ignoring that my God, in His Sovereignty, thinks with a heart and mind that I can’t fathom.   I forget and I ignore that my God cannot be unfaithful to His nature and I fail to remember that His nature is LOVE.  And I look, I measure, I judge.

It’s been a week on Biddinger Boulevard.  Brett’s wound, the one he has been struggling with since November 2012 – yes, 2012 – has taken another step backward.  I was at the hospital this week for x-rays on the lung that collapsed because of pain and breathing issues.  Britt is still enduring the side effects of the six month course of treatment for the endometriosis and I think wondering if the cure is worse than the disease.  We watched good friends go through the agony of saying goodbye to a loved one.  We sat with folks who cried over the choices of their children.  Our souls were rocked when a family member rejected the truth of the Savior.

I bet your week was similar.  Life – messy life – was active all around you.  It pressed in on every side and maybe it just didn’t wear the face of blessing you or I expected it to wear.    Maybe the Apostle Paul was experiencing those same kind of feelings and trying to focus his eyes and his heart with some godly vision when he wrote 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 . . .

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

  • He knew what the situation looked like to his human eyes but more importantly . . . .HE KNEW HIS GOD.

He chose not to look, measure, and judge from his finite human mind.  He surrendered his heart and his vision to the Heart and the Vision of the One He knew to be LOVE.

And a few verses later that same pen, full of the Holy Spirit, –living life to the full — with the breath of God in every stroke wrote . . . 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 

Therefore we do not lose heart.

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

  • The blessing did not wear the face he expected it to, but he looked past the face and into the Heart of the Great I AM.

See the adjustment of his vision.  See the surrender of his own limited heart.  See him grab a hold of what he knows to be true, fall to his knees and declare that he trusts the One who holds eternity in His hand. And Girlfriend, the Heart of the Great I AM beats to bless you today. Lives to bless you today. Loves to bless you today.

Sweet One, the I AM IS!

The I AM IS  

2 Samuel 22:17-18 . . . . 

  • He is the One who reaches into the deep waters and rescues you.                    

Psalm 66:12 . . . .

  • He is One who brings you through fire and water to the place of abundance.

Psalm 116:7 . . . .

  • He is the One who has been good to your soul.

Hebrew 6:19 . . . .

  • He is the One who anchors you firm and secure in any storm.

1 Peter 5:7 . . . .

  • He is the One who wants your troubles because He cares for you.

Romans 8:28 . . . .

  • He is the One who works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

Oh Beloved, the I AM is just IT!

And blessed is she who believes that what the Lord has said to her – read that list again, verses from the Old and verses from the New—will be accomplished.

Romans 8:28

 

Sweet One, it is done. You believe and you cling to every true and accurate word of God.  The blessing has been given to you and He has come to make His home with you.  Resist the temptation to look, measure and judge with your own eyes.  Look past the face of your circumstance and trust the Heart that beats to bless you.  Fix your eyes on Glory, lift your heart toward heaven and KNOW the Heart of the One who knows you.

Clean Hands Not Required

26 Apr

Resurrection Sunday has come and gone. The tomb is still empty and Jesus still lives, but I wonder if it might be that some of our heightened awareness of Him may have come and gone with the date on the calendar. I pray that’s not the case – not for me and not for you. I’m praying that our worship is still filled with intense adoration and our praise for Him is fresh every day. And Sister, if we truly recognize the depth of our debt to Him, how can we live any other way?

It’s easy to slide into the “take God for granted” lifestyle, but why would we want to? What keeps us from fighting to stay in a place of God conscious living? Oh the busyness of life drowns Him out too quickly. Hectic schedules vie for our attention and our time slips away. Responsibilities mount and the moments are gone.  Chaotic careers turn our heads – especially if we work in a place where hurt and brokenness are all around us—and the fight slowly slips away. Life simply screams more loudly than that still Small Voice. But when we fail to listen, when we choose not keep our heads turned toward Him – we are the ones who suffer and become empty—empty of Life and empty of Love.

Acts 17:28So what say for this year, you and I link arms and we live, move, and exist in Him just as purposefully and as intentionally after the Easter Season as we did during? What if this year we lingered longer, fought to fuel the fire and kindled afresh the flame at every turn? What if we lived with the same mindful, responsive love the woman who anointed the feet of Christ at Bethany did?

Now one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil.  As she stood behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfumed oil.

Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” So Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” He replied, “Say it, Teacher.”

 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then, turning toward the woman, he said to Simon,Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss of greeting, but from the time I entered she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with perfumed oil.

Therefore I tell you, her sins,

which were many, are forgiven,

thus she loved much;

but the one who is forgiven little loves little.”

 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Luke 7:36-48 (NET)

She knew the depth of her need for Him. She knew the condition she longed to be free of and the wounds her heart ached to be healed from.

And she knew . . . that He knew.

And yet, He did not simply choose to allow “the sinner” to touch Him, He welcomed her in His presence. Unheard of in that dispensation of time. Unfathomable that the righteous, the clean would be tainted by the unclean. But . . .

our Jesus does not require clean hands to reach for Him.

Clean hands Not Required to Reach for Jesus.

 He welcomes the outstretched heart of the repentant who recognize their need and desperately grab hold.

I would be so bold as to say that is impossible for those who believe they have clean hands to reach for the Savior. And I think if you’ll back at the passage, that’s exactly what Jesus is saying. When He tells Simon that the one who is forgiven little loves little, He isn’t saying that Simon has little to be forgiven for. Oh no Sweet One. He’s saying that Simon hasn’t realized the enormity of his own sin yet. Unacknowledged sin, excused sin, beats within an unrepentant heart.

Simon shed no tears on the feet of Christ because he felt no godly sorrow. The woman’s sins may have looked different than the sin of self-righteousness and ritualism but both the actions of the woman and the actions of Simon required payment far beyond what either could pay. Only the priceless blood of Christ would ransom either of them.

And Beloved, I think we need to be diligent in fighting the urge to look down on Simon the Pharisee because it might be that there have been times in life when we’ve looked at another and found our hands to be quite clean in comparison. It might be that we’ve had that same haughty heart toward someone who wore their sin on their sleeve a little more plainly.

To be forgiven much or to be forgiven little

is a human perspective on sin – not a godly one.

The debt owed is more than we can comprehend. The magnitude of it is just too much for us to wrap our minds around. And when we begin to get that—to understand that we can’t comprehend the cost let alone hope to pay it on our own—then, I think,

we begin to love.

We begin to love like someone who knows what it is like to be unlovable for we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our love comes closer to mimicking the love of the One that rescued us because we know He saved us from condemnation. And we remember when we let our tears fall on the feet of Jesus, gave voice to our need and reached out with an unclean hand to our Savior and then, we begin

to love as He loved us.

Sister, let’s be purposeful and intentional in our awareness of Him and what He has done. Let’s not let the changing season turn our gaze away from Him. Let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on the One whose heart is firmly fixed on us.

Yes, Sweet Believer . . .

Let she who has been forgiven much love much.

Let she who knows the touch of Jesus reach for unclean hands.

And let she who is loved—love in His Name.

 Love one another  John 13:34-35

 

“I give you a new commandment—to love one another.

Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—

if you have love for one another.”

John 13:34-35 (NET)

Passion Week . . . The Resurrection!

20 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 28;

Mark 16 [Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20.];

Luke 24; John 20-21

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb with the spices they had prepared so that they might go and anoint him. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. But when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 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. Go quickly and tell his disciples and Peter that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” And they remembered his words,  and returning from the tomb with fear and great joy they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

While the women were going back, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.

Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 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?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

On the evening of that day as they were talking about these things with the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

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 and 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.”

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin,was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yardsoff.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John,

do you love me more than these?”

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John,

do you love me?”

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John,

do you love me?”

Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

 

The Purpose of This Book

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;

but these are written

so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,

and that

by believing you may have life in his name.

John 20:30

 AMEN

 

 

 

 

Passion Week . . .Saturday (The High Sabbath)

19 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 27:62-66; Luke 23:56

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive,

‘After three days I will rise.’

Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

None of the disciples nor the women with spices returned to the tomb for it was the Sabbath and on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

AMEN

Passion Week . . . Good Friday

18 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 18:28-19:42

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”  And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted so after he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover.” And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” Do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.

Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” Now the chief priests and the elders stirred up the crowd and persuaded them to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”  Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ? The man you call the King of the Jews?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.”” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” And they cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” And they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.

Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers.Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”  When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.”

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha.  Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour.He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood;see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him over to their will to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus away inside the palace into the governor’s headquarters,and they gathered the whole battalion before him and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they began to salute him, they mocked him,. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.  (The Gospel of John has a similar prior to Pilate turning Christ over to be crucified. I chose to include both.)

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross and as they went out, they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. There they crucified him and Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

When they had crucified him, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says

 “They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross over his head. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

So they did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying,Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel; come down now from the cross that we may see and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour while the sun’s light failed. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying,

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

.And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so one of them put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.  But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice,

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,”

and having said this he yielded up his spirit and breathed his last. 

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said,

“Truly this was the Son of God!”

And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

When it was evening, there came a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council and a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, who had not consented to their decision and action and was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead.  And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.

And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and Nicodemus, who earlier had come to Jesusby night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were there, sitting opposite the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

The next day, . . . . .

AMEN

 

 

  

Passion Week . . . Maundy Thursday (Commandment Thursday: John 13:34-35)

17 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 13:1-38,18:1-28

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent Peter and John and said to them, “Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples? I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready;  prepare it there.” And the disciples set out and went to the city as Jesus had directed and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, Take this, and divide it among yourselves. Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me one who is eating with me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”

And a dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.  And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.  When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’

A new commandment I give to you,

that you love one another:

just as I have loved you,

you also are to love one another.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples,

if you have love for one another.”

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Even though they all fall away because of you, I will not. I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”  Jesus said, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny that you know me three times.” But Peter said to him emphatically, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”   (See John 14-17)

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and James and John, he began to be greatly distressed and sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying,

“Abba, Father,

all things are possible for you.

Remove this cup from me. Y

et not what I will, but what you will.”

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, Simon, are you asleep? So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, he went away for the second time and prayed,

“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy and they did not know what to answer him.. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and said to them, Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of the people. Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” When Jesussaid to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” Now Judas, who betrayed him had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away under guard.”  And he drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Then he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”

Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And behold, Simon Peter stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Then Jesus said to him, No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. “Put your sword back into its place; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness. Alll this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. ” Then all the disciples left him and fled. And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews[arrested Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. Peter was following at a distance and so did another disciple.  Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in to the courtyard of the high priest. Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.   And as Peter was below in the courtyard one of the servant girls of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, came,and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus. You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean. Woman, I do not know him.” And he went out into the gatewayand the rooster crowed.

And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter again denied it with an oath and said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, your accent betrays you. He too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

The high priest {Annas} then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where all the chief priests and the scribes and the elders had gathered. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many bore false witness against him, their testimony did not agree. At last two came forward and said, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.”  Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent and made no answer. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God. Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said to him, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “What further witnesses do we need? He has uttered blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And the guards received him with blows, some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters.It was early morning.

AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

Passion Week. . . Wednesday Evening and the Decision to Betray

16 Apr

The blog entries this week will be much different. This paragraph will be atop each one in explanation of what follows, but as always my prayers will be with you as you read.  However, other than that I will be silent and let the Scripture speak to you without any commentary to disturb your thoughts. Just you and the Holy Spirit without any distractions.  So if I’m not planning to do any chatting, what will I be doing?  Well, I hope I will be helping you drink in all of Passion Week as I help myself do the same.  Quite often with the parables, I take the accounts offered in each of the Gospels and bring all the details together so I can see the whole thing unfold a little more clearly.  I love doing it and it has taught me much.  This week, beginning with the Anointing at Bethany and finishing up with Easter Day, I’m going to try and do the same for Holy Week using the ESV.  

I’ll use different color texts to denote different Books and I’ll post a color key to go with it. In addition, I’ll provide links to BibleGateway.com so you can go and read not only each Scripture for yourself, but also take a look at the “Holy Week Timeline” available on the site. Bringing these passages together is an intentional step toward immersing myself in Christ through this Easter season and I ‘m certain I will learn much and it will bring me much joy. I hope, as we roll away the stone together on Easter Day, you will find the same is true for you. Be blessed Sister.

BOOK OF MATTHEW = GREEN

BOOK OF MARK = BLUE

BOOK OF LUKE = ORANGE

BOOK OF JOHN = PURPLE

*Black will indicate transition words inserted for ease of reading.

Matthew 25-26; Mark 14; Luke 22

creation swap background Pierce Brantley 5001 pweek

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lampsand went to meet the bridegroom.Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents,to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.  He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread and when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the scribes and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment of pure nard, and she broke the flask and she poured it on his head. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for  more than three hundred denarii, a large sum, and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, Leave her alone. Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them, but you will not always have me.  In pouring this ointment on my body, she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, one of the twelve and he went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him in the absence of a crowd.

AMEN

 

 

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