Dying to Live

By Jessica Hardin

Guidance and Direction

I have not put out a post in a while and its not because I have not wanted to, its because I have been too busy doing life. I have still made time for God but, while making plans of my own. I got so caught up in setting myself to figuring out things and wondering what to write about when I have already started two other drafts on different subjects that I didn’t see the trees for the forest as the saying goes. I last left off trying to examine the different parts of Jesus last week on earth and I wanted to stay with that then… Corvid happened and I got lost in the madness like everyone else. I started asking the same questions everyone else in the world already was ” what do I do?”

With everything going on in these unprecedented times right now I became distracted. I was asking the right questions but not the right person. I got trapped in what we call works of the flesh where I thought I had to figure everything out instead of relying on God and trusting him. Its crazy but as I find myself at the keyboard again I realize that in a way I am still following the subject of Jesus last week on earth and not just his last week on earth but really his entire life. What God has put on my heart for this post is to stress to you the importance of keeping him at the center of all our decisions. When we choose to be a disciple of Christ and live for him part of that broad spectrum is learning not to do everything in our own strength according to how we think, feel, or imagine things should be done but according to his will.

This can only be done when we know his will and not everything is black and white in the bible. The one exception being the contrast between good and evil. With that said scripture is necessary and helpful for knowing and understanding Gods will. We have a pretty solid idea from the scriptures what we should and should not do, what God expects of us, what’s right and what’s wrong if you will. We know the commandments and have the words of Jesus to live life by but there are those little gray areas now and then for example… We know we should work but what about when several opportunities show up and we don’t know which one to choose or we get into a good school but halfway through we think we might like to change our major. What about when we make any decision at all?

Devotional

Stay Connected to the Vine

(John 151-4,NIV) reads ” I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” The concept here is simple stay connected to God. Stay in his word, stay in his presence, keep him your first priority and draw near to him daily and be ready for some pruning.

What is pruning ?

Pruning is the process by which dead things or things that have stopped growing are trimmed away to make room for new growth. Think of roses, roses are gorgeous but if a blossom dies it has to be pruned in order to made ready the new rose bud. This is a continual process and if we don’t do it the whole rose bush dies. Its the same in our lives, we have to stay connected to our source to receive our life giving ability and as we do he will trim away certain habits, mindsets, routines and even relationships from our life in order to rid us of those things that just produce death or are not any good for us. Just like the rose bush needs sun and water, we need the Son and the rivers of living water pouring out of us from the Holy Spirit. This can be a tough process but God is creating his masterpiece as he prunes us to be the person he created us to be. In short God is the good soil, Jesus is the root and we are the rose bush we have to stay connected to the stems of the rose bush in order to stay rooted in the good soil. Once we are connected everything that flows through that plant will flow through us as well just as Jesus said “remain in me, I’ll remain in you.

How do we stay connected to the vine?

Here are four main ways to stay connected to our vine

Read the bible and listen to the word

You cant know Gods will if you don’t know his word, if you have never read it or heard it. If we want to know Gods will we have to have a knowledge of what he has already told us in the bible. How else are we going to be able to have a godly fear of the Lord and live a life of obedience to him in the areas of our life that are not specified in the bible if we don’t even know what is expected of us in the areas that are specified in the bible?

We need to know what God word says so that we one, come closer to God and understand his character through relationship with him as he reveals himself to us in his word and secondly, so we don’t compromise what the bible says. If it is Gods will it will line up with scripture; God does not compromise his word.

Pray

Prayer is our direct line to heaven, we can talk to God out loud, silently, in tongues or in agreement with others but prayer prepares our hearts to be sensitive to Gods Holy Spirit. It helps us not only talk to God but listen to him as well. Prayer is a two way conversation and if we are going to make any decision at all we should always come to God first and ask him through prayer, praise and thanksgiving what we should do. Since listening to God is just as important as talking to him we need to be able to recognize his voice above any other. This takes time and effort through study of his word and revelation through his Holy Spirit. If we cant recognize his voice rather through a wisper, an earthquake shaking boom from heaven or some one ministering to us we wont be able to hear him no matter how much he talks to us its as if our ears are turned off.

Don’t get distracted

The enemy will try to distract us in general he will light little fires everywhere for us to put out if we don’t pray against his works, he will try to keep us busy ect.. he has a way of taking our focus off of God and on life. This is the place where we can get caught up in works of the flesh. We begin worrying about what we can do and make plans without consulting God. Often these decisions are made in haste and based on impulse. Proverbs warns against this very thing many times because decisions made in haste are not God led but self led, it does not give us time to pray and in turn does not give God time to answer

Seek Wise Council

” Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of councelors there is safety.” ( Proverbs 11:14,ESV)

We should always run to the throne first but if we are directed to seek out council or just feel that we must we should make Shure that they are reputable, Godly, sound advisers not just any opinion matters but those who are also connected to God who can pray with you and for you, who has their own relationship with God and can recognize Gods voice. 1 Kings 12:8 tells of a young king who was given an choice on how he should deal with another people living in the land that had served his father. Rather than choosing the advice of his councilors, he chose the council of those he had grown up with and lived to deal with the consequences. There is wisdom in seeking wise council. Many times God uses those close to us to minister to us but he can use anyone or anything to get his message through. In one part of the bible he even used a donkey to rebuke a person. The story is of a man named Balaam and can be found in Numbers 22. Balaam kept kicking his donkey because he kept stopping but he did not realize he kept stopping because there was an angel with a sword before them; at least, he didn’t realize it till God opened the donkeys mouth and audibly used the donkey to talk to him.

When all else fails Let Peace be your Umpire

This scripture says it all. Sometimes it takes waiting, sometimes it takes a step of faith but, if you don’t have peace, if your confused and its only getting worse trying to figure it out, you have gone too far turn around wait for peace. Even if its only a question in your mind if you don’t have peace don’t do it.

Last Thoughts

Jesus did not have a choice when it came to making decisions that is why those words echo still ” not my will but your will be done” For him God was the leader and there was no in-between. His father was in charge and he could only do what the father did. All his direction all his guidance from choosing his disciples to saving our souls was God led. Now we know that in his suffering he did not have peace but he still knew what he had to do and I guarantee he did get that peace after he obeyed and received his reward. I cant even fathom where we would be without him.

Dying to Live

By: Jessica Hardin

Who is the Father?

I started out this week with discussing the issue of salvation and how Jesus is the only one who can save us. No matter how hard we try we can not be our own savior. Dying to live is about both those things dying and living, but it shows how the one relates to the other. The dying part is us denying our selves in some fashion as to where the living part is us submitting to living a holy consecrated life according to Gods word and his Holy Spirit. In looking at salvation we didn’t expand a lot on this concept because I wanted to focus more of the point that Jesus Christ is our only way to be saved and redeemed. By looking at him instead of us we can see more of how he died to live for us. Todays focal point is faith which, we learned in the last post you have to have in order for salvation. Ofcourse, I am not talking about just any faith, and I don’t mean to sound too repetitive here but I am referring to faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. You can not just have faith in faith it does not work that way. Here is where our dying to live aspect comes in; Jesus already did it for us so our part is to dye to anything that says otherwise or contradicts that truth. As for living we are to live unto him allowing him to change us to his image through the power of his Holy Spirit. So we say no to religion and yes to relationship. We say no to the world and yes to the bible. We say no to our doubts and our questions and yes to trust in God and bring our questions to him in prayer. We don’t compromise, believe half a scripture or some truths. we BELIEVE and we keep believing.

Devotional

In John 14 verse 6 Jesus tells his disciples that “no one comes to the father except through him” In just a few short verses later his disciple Philip says ” Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8, NIV). Jesus turned to him and said “Don’t you know me, Phillip, even after I have been among you such a long time. (John 14:9,NIV). Its as if Jesus is saying how is it you don’t recognize me, how is it you don’t know who I am?

Just think about it for a moment Philip was one of Jesus twelve disciples he had witnessed many things and knew that there was something special about Jesus what did he think it was? I’ll tell you what it was uncertainty. Philip knew but, when Jesus gave this particular discourse he was trying to comfort his disciples as he spoke to them about how he was going to be leaving. Philip was having second thoughts but in the natural because he did not yet understand everything Jesus was explaining to him. All he knew was Jesus was leaving and he wanted to make sure he could believe everything Jesus said before he left. Just like many of us he wanted security, he wanted something definite to hold on to, he wanted resolve and closure. If Jesus own disciples questioned him then its not abnormal that we would do the same at some time. Listen to Jesus response though

“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not say on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or atleast believe on the evidence of the works themselves (John 14:10,11,NIV).

Jesus was essentially saying to Philip, you already know, you have seen, you have heard, you have witnessed miracles of healings and deliverance, healing, and even the resurrection of the dead. Who else but God could do this?

Today just reflect on those verses embedd it in your mind that Jesus wasn’t just a prophet or miracle worker, he is the son of God.

Prayer

God help us to see everything he showed the disciples through his words and actions. Give us your discernment and wisdom for understanding how your son and you are one. Let us read and reread those words till they are carved on our hearts and consumed in our minds flooded with the light of your Holy Spirit. Help us please to never doubt or question your promises or word and help remind us of your truths when we do. Father give us a revelation of you as our Abba. Let us see you in all your soveriengnty but also with all the love and compassion that Jesus did. Only in coming to know you as our heavenly father as Jesus did can we truly come to you with a correct perspective and trust that you are taking care of us as any good father does. For that is how and why Jesus was able to do what he did for us. He found strength in loving you and knowing you love us and he found determination in pleasing you. Help us see that through your son Jesus we are brought into the family of God. Thank you father for revealing yourself to us through your son Jesus Christ and thank you Jesus for making us sons and daughters in the kingdom of heaven through your shed blood that has reconciled and brought us back into a right relationship with the father through no effort of our own. God help us see ourselves as your children and give us a revelation of you as our father. In Jesus name we pray and thank you Amen!

Dying to Live

By Jessica Hardin

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Jesus said ” I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the to the father except through me (John 14:16,KJV).


There is no other way to God except through believing in the redemption of our sins by faith in his son Jesus Christ through the grace God has given us for the forgiveness of sins. Faith is important in fact the Bible says ( Hebrews 11:6) it pleases God but, when we really believe we need to put feet to our faith and not just lip service. Yes, we confess our faith because we believe but true faith does not stop there because faith is living.


Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible (Hebrews 11:1-3).

Faith is why we raise our hands to worship, kneel to pray, give our tithe, or walk down to the altar to say the prayer of salvation, because in stepping out were stepping up, were showing we believe enough to act on our faith.

Devotion


Yes, we can pray silently or say the sinners prayer in our homes, we can sing hymns in our cars or repent to God in solitude but there comes a time when we need to pray out loud and sing hymns as we walk and talk.

The Bible says to sing a new song to the Lord (Psalm 96:1, NIV) and to speak to others with Psalms and hymns (Ephesians 5:19, NIV). God did mean this in the literal sense but he was also talking about the attitude of hearts. ” Out of the abundance the heart speaks (Luke 6:45).

That’s why confession is so important because ” For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Romans 10:10, NIV). Just as it is accorded to our credit as it is also written in 1 John 1:9 ” If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.

Notice the if that’s the key word. If implies a possibility the only possibility to salvation is our faith and our confession of it. There is no other if, God has already given us his word. There is also no other way around it you have to believe and ask Gods forgiveness, trust he has forgiven you and believe he rose three days later to raise us to new life in him. Yes like I said earlier, you can do this at home but there comes a time to do it corporately as well and if you can you should.


There’s also a time to have someone pray in agreement with us and even a time to confess our faults to others. Faith needs action to move us not reaction to what we think or feel when we move. That’s why Paul prays that we would be both enlightened and established. Faith is the full picture and you can’t see the full picture without Christ. Look further, believe… We have each been given a measure of faith why not increase yours today? No matter the size of your faith big or small trust God that if you will use what you have he will honor your faith and fill in what your lacking, he will do what you can’t. That’s how faith is built look at Jesus parable of the mustard seed; all you need is a little faith there’s no other way to God in this life or the next without it.


Prayer


Even Jesus disciples prayed for more faith, pray to believe, to have faith or a greater faith. The bible tells us in Romans 12:3 that each of us has been given a measure of faith so we already know we have it but , for each of us it is according to a different degree. That degree depends largely on how serious you are about acting on your faith according to Gods word to you either personally or through his Holy Spirit; rather than reacting according to your fleshly thoughts, words, feelings, and actions. Lets pray.

Dear Lord, You are such an amazing God and we thank you for all your love you showed us by reconciling us to you through your son Jesus Christ. I pray today that you would help root us in faith of your son Jesus Christ and that you would remind us often of not only what he did for us but remind us also that Jesus saved us so that we can go forward and spread the message of the gospel to others. Strengthen our resolve to do this and give us the words to reach hearts. Strengthen us our doubts and our fears. Grow our faith to reach higher and if need be plant that seed of faith within us to begin with. Help us to sow to the Holy Spirit and not the flesh. Thank you that we are never alone. Thank you for your love, grace, and mercy Amen.

Praying the prayer of salvation is not always the most compfortable and even though we should do it corporately if we can, their is still active faith in making the decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and savior and God will recognize it. One reason walking down to the altar is so powerful is because their is unity in prayer and such a situation presents the chance for others to provide that unity by praying with you. God tells us where two or three gather in his name, there he is also ( Matthew 18:20, NIV). For this reason I have wrote out a sinners prayer or a prayer that can be used as a rededication. Make it your own. I encourage you to find a trusted person who is already a believer to pray this prayer with you. Better yet, I encourage you to find someone who has never said this prayer or needs to rededicate their life to Lord to say this prayer with you but just in any case just so its less awkward I am in agreement with you as you say this prayer.

Salvation Prayer

Dear God I recognize that I am a sinner and I believe that you sent your son to die on the cross for me to pay my debt for all my sins. I ask for your forgiveness and ask Jesus to become my Lord and savior. I am sorry for the wrongs I have done and ask you help me turn away from them and live the life you rose again to give me. I thank you for your gift of salvation and ask you to help me from this moment forward to grow into a relationship with you. I ask this in Jesus precious holy name Amen.

Recognize you can’t come to God any other way than through the forgiveness of sins by the blood of his son Jesus Christ.

Dying To Live

Dying to live is not just about denying our self and learning to surrender but its about submission. Submission is more than just doing something because we are told to do it or because its the right thing to do, submission is more than doing something just because we feel like we should. Submission is a matter of the heart and can only be found in a willingness that puts others above themselves. Submission is a voluntary response to a willingness to live in reverence and obedience to God and others who rightfully have authority over our life is exercised as a greater attempt to pursue peace and show Christ to others.

by Jessica Hardin

Devotional

Submission

Easter Sunday what does that mean to all of us? For the Christian religion it means Jesus rose again, but why? The reason, so that we could live the resurrected life he died to give us. I know that sounds like I just wrapped it up in a nut shell but stay with me here because even though it sounds simple it really is not. Lets start by furthering our comprehension of the word submission. Ready, here it is….. Jesus crucified. Still too simple ok how about Jesu doing the fathers will. Yes that’s it; Jesus doing whatever the father wanted him to do.

Lets begin with a scripture, I think for this one we will turn to John 6:38. In the New International Version it states that shortly after the feeding of the five thousand Jesus began to teach the crowds about himself. Jesus spoke of many things but much of the crowd found his words hard to accept so that some disputes began to break out. Jesus not looking to refute the crowd ended his discourse with these words ” I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” Jesus is expanding on the meaning of submission here. He is not arguing, he is not defending himself he is plainly telling them what he was sent to say in hopes they would understand.

Want another example alright… Since were already talking about his words let look at what he has to say about them. Beginning in John 8:28 Jesus begins to explain to his disciples what it means to be a follower of him and that the trademark of a true disciple is to hold to his teachings. He tells them in verse 28-29 “When you have lifted up the son of man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”

This is a good verse to show two things first off, Jesus himself tells us he only says what his father is teaching him to say and second, he points out that not only is he submitted to God in his words but also his actions in order to please him. That is the heart of submission. Its a heart with right motivations, not looking for a reward other than to please or benefit the one involved in some way. Jesus’s concern is with keeping God happy not because of the fear of punishment or rejection but because of his love for him.

Only love can truly submit because love covers our offenses and where love is there is no rule of law. That is why the all the commandments are built upon loving God and loving your neighbor. Jesus also restated almost these exact same words after the miracle at the pool on the sabbath. In the fifth chapter of the gospel of John we see that Jesus restores a paralytic while he is waiting to get into the pool. The bible tells us the man had been invalid for thirty eight years but, on this fateful day Jesus heals the man and tells him to take up his bed and walk. The problem arises when Jesus authority begins to questioned. Some of the Jewish leaders rebuked Jesus actions because Jewish tradition taught that it was forbidden for this man to carry his bed on the sabbath ( a holy day of rest). The idea of the sabbath was to give the man a day to recuperate and use what would normally have been a day of work to focus on God instead. If you ask me after the mans healing he probably felt more rested than he had in years. All that fear and stress and physical infirmity had kept his body in a state of perpetual uncomfortableness for years, now his physical form was undisturbed and could rest. In the mist of this great miracle though, they still persisted to attack Jesus for breaking the sabbath and pressed him hard for answers to which he replied ” Very truly I tell you, the son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his father doing, because whatever the father does the son also does.” Jesus was trying to show them that he and the father were one but they were too blinded by tradition to see the correlation. They were worried about the sabbath but scripture even tells us “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27,NIV).

Last but not least lets look at one last example that restates this sentiment. Probably the most enduring of all. we have already looked at it in other post but really this is the meat and potatoes of this message, so I end this devotion with the same way I began it, submission. The words “not my will but your will be done” are more than a familiar narrative. it is Jesus crucified willingly, turning all control over to the father in order to please him out of his love for and faith in him.

The reason I pointed out Jesus commitment to doing and saying only what the father did all through out this post is simple. That repetitive behavior set him up for the hardest part of his life, allowing himself to die for our sins. Just as Jesus said when talking about his life, (John 10:18) “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my father.”

If it were not for Jesus submission we would all still be guilty of our sins and we would still be separated from an Holy God. His submission bought our freedom. Literally that’s what he did, that’s what the word redeemed means is to buy back. We had a debt we could never pay no matter how hard we tried and he sacrificed his life to pay for it for us.

Application

So how can we utilize the act of submission in our own life. Well from a biblical perspective we can use submission in our every day activities in a variety of ways and we should. Jesus lived his life as an example for us to follow. Therefore, if Jesus lived his life in submission, we should also. Jesus submitted to God but he also submitted to his earthly mother and father, his duty to his job, the laws of the temple, the Jewish authorities, the roman authorities, and his neighbor. Hebrews 5:7 says that Jesus was heard because of his reverent submission. This is a good lesson for us to learn, when we are submissive, God is attentive to our prayers. Part of this is obedience, you can not dye to live without having using our faith to step out in obedience. As James says faith without works is dead therefore we must put our faith too work through action. The act of faith represents our belief in a physical matter. Prayer is an act of faith, confession is an act of faith, submission is an act of faith and when we obey God out of our submission to him it is an act of faith. Remember submission is our willingness to trust in God. Obedience is our trust in God.

When it comes to submitting to anything or anyone our flesh may scream no but its better if we just get it over with and do it because first off God is God if you try to fight him you will loose and sooner or later you will do things his way. Hopefully that way is long before you become too tired and worn out from struggling to try to do things your own way but even if its not, we serve a loving God, a patient God slow to anger and enduring in mercy who is waiting for us and when we finally give up he doesn’t get disappointed and say I told you so he says something more along the lines of Are you done yet? Good, because now I can go to work. We spend so much time and energy trying to control our circumstances. We are creatures of habit and don’t like change much so we sometimes end up going from fear to faith instead of from faith to faith but the truth is if we would just stop and let Gods Holy Spirit lead us even when it doesn’t look like its going to work out; we will have so much more peace and there wont be a need for that restless ness that says I have to do something. If we will submit God will take care of our worries, concerns, questions, hesitations, and circumstances in a way that we never could have ourselves and that we never could have imagined he would. There is great scripture that we should remember often its James 4:7 Submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you (NIV). The key to that verse is submit to God. When we submit to God we hand everything over to him everything that means we have made a firm decision to not get caught up in our emotions, not get caught up in our thoughts; we have resolved within ourselves to trust God regardless of how things look or may seem. When the enemy no longer sees that he can bother us with his wiles that is when he flees.

This principal can be related to many situations where the bible instructs us to submit. For example we are told to submit to our leaders this includes our church leaders (Hebrews 13:17), submit to authority (1 Peter 2:13-14, Romans 13:1-7), submit to our earthly masters rather it be our boss or your landlord (Colossians 3:22-24), submit to the family of the church of Christ (1 Peter 2:17), submit to our parents ( Ephesians 6:1), submit to our husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:22-25) and submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21). These are only some examples but we could expand them to submission to teachers, the school board, our financial institution, doctors, nurses, and so much more. The scope of submission reaches to anyone who has charge over us, has a position that gives appropriate direction for our lives , place us in a spot of their guidance, management, or under their supervision. Submission takes us out of our realm of individuality and moves us into the world of those who have a justified claim to govern our lives particularly, those who may have to account for us in some way. Submission expresses importance, respect, integrity, and love by differentiating the opposite of what submission is suppose to be. Like the bible says we are not to be mastered by anything but to do all things as if we were doing it unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Prayer

God help us to understand that we all need to have a heart of submission and help us to break down the walls around us that keep us from being afraid to submit. Help us above all to submit to you and grow in our trust and faith of you. Help us to not test you but to believe in your words and step out in obedience when called. Remind us often to live out of a Godly fear of you so that we can honor you with reverence and awe as you deserve. Remind us that submission is necessary for peace. Show us the proper people and things to submit to and who and what we should not allow to have any authority over us. Help us to stay humble recognizing that the only thing we deserved till Jesus came was death and that if it wasn’t for his submission to you we still would. Remind us often of how he submitted to your word and your spirit in all that he did especially on the cross. Thank you Jesus for your submission to the father and for your example of submission to the world. And Remember….

Amen and Amen!!!

Dying to live

By Jessica Hardin

Dying to live sounds like were talking about living a weak life in order to stay alive but that’s not what its talking about at all. Staying alive is just surviving its not living and its definitely not living the life Jesus died to give us. Jesus said in John 10:10 ” The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (NIV). Jesus gives us life to the full not just so we can enjoy our lives but so that we are empowered to fulfill our purpose for our lives, his purpose for our lives. He does not leave us ill equipped to live this life, he gives us resurrection power in the form of his Holy Spirit living inside of us to travel this road. He has given us power and authority. We have the armor of God and weapons of praise, prayer and worship.

Devotional

Jesus Praying in the Garden

Today I want to focus particularly on prayer. I have been discussing the different aspects of Holy week and I want to continue with that sentiment but I am not sure what insight I have tot give about Passover or Good Friday that has not already been said. As I meditated over the significance and the overwhelming importance of what Jesus did for us I found myself overwhelmed with his love and compassion. The more I ran the events of that last night and early morning to late afternoon through my mind, the more I was fascinated by Jesus courage and unwavering mindset he had knowing full well what lay ahead of him. I reflected on how his heart must have felt broken as he dipped the bread and sipped the wine, how the final hymn they sang on their way out to the mount of olives would have refreshed his weary soul and reminded him of his mission and His fathers faithfulness. I imagined what it would have felt like to feel so helpless and alone every time he found his disciples sleeping and I wondered what must have been going through his mind as they accused and questioned him.

How was he able to keep his mouth quiet and not say a word when he must have wanted so badly to defend himself or give some kind of retort to all their insults? I wonder if he held his head down in shame as peter disowned him the third time? How could he not scream his own name out to the people as pilot ask Jesus or Barabbas? What stopped him from saying enough! as the soldiers whipped and scourged him and the most famous question of all… why didn’t he ever once fight back with any strength he had left as they led him to that rugged cross?

Strength in Prayer

These questions bothered me all night and I had trouble sleeping. As a Christian I understood that Jesus had to die in order to save us but it still just troubled me rehearsing the details over and over again in my head. I felt great sadness and sorrow as I looked at the clock and tried to think what would have Jesus have been doing at that very moment, what would have been going on and how would he have felt… betrayed, confused, misunderstood, doubtful, scared, angry, disheartened, resentful, regretful, offended,? Would he have had second thoughts? Did he feel humiliated as he was stripped naked? What about justice would he felt like he was being treated unfairly? And how did he gather the faith and encouragement needed to get to the cross to begin with?

More than anything else though, How did he fall to his knees and run to the father when he could have fallen apart and ran way? The bible says he went back and prayed more than once so we can speculate that he would have had plenty of time to leave and get a good distance away, procure safe passage somewhere and maybe even pack but he didn’t and he never would have.

I looked at the clock and realized that on that very night years ago I was not the only one who could not sleep. Jesus knew what was about to happen in the hours ahead of him and sleep was the farthest thing from his mind. In fact the events of that night would have prevented Jesus from sleeping at all and as tired and mentally and physically exhausted as Jesus would have been, he probably would not have been able to sleep anyway. He would have been full of suspense and stress, uncomfortable and on alert at every moment he anxiously watched.

I tried to close my eyes but I just had unrest as I lay there and focus on this scene unfolding before me. Although, not in the literal sense I seen before my eyes Jesus knelt down but looking up and pleading with the father ” Father if you are willing, take this cup from me. Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42, NIV). I saw the tears streaming down his face and heard the anguish filled in his prayers that he screamed out of desperation. I felt the pleading in his soul as he cried out his every supplication. The sweat that fell like drops of blood rolling down his neck and shoulders drenched with perspiration throughout his entire body. We all know how the story of Jesus praying in the Garden turns out but in that moment I just wanted to reach out to him, I wanted to help him, I wanted to do anything I could to encourage him. At that very moment in the garden, in his torment, in his helplessness that is exactly what Jesus needed and that is why he prayed so hard and so fervently. I felt bad knowing there was nothing anyone could do to help Jesus at this critical juncture in his life. Even his three closest friends Peter, James and John could not stay awake and keep watch with him. Three times Jesus told them ” keep watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38, NIV). Jesus must have felt very alone but he wasn’t alone the father was still with him. I wanted to help Jesus but Jesus wanted to help me more. He wanted the father to help us all more and so he prayed. He prayed one of the hardest prayers he had ever prayed. He prayed in faith to his father, He prayed for you and me.

Application

It is now past our time table for the events of the Passover and even Good Friday but maybe that’s appropriate for this devotional because without the power and strength of that prayer and many others Jesus would never have gotten to the cross little lone Resurrection Sunday. I think I concentrated my focus on his time in the garden its where we really get to see the humanity of Jesus. This is a place where we can sympathize with Jesus if we were in his shoes. We have all had times when we needed strength, when we needed courage, when we felt abandoned or alone. We have all hurt at some point in our lives and yearned for comfort that nothing but God could fill and We certainly have came to that spot where as badly as we don’t want to, we feel like we want to give up. Its at that point that we cry out Abba! (father). We run to our daddy and say I feel helpless I don’t know what to do Please, Please, Please!!! Help me. This is the place of surrender, this is the place where our faith has to align itself with our words and our actions. This is where we give up trying to do everything our own way and say I’m done fighting “Your will be done). If we really do this in faith then we trust that Gods way is better anyway and know that he only wants the best for us.

We don’t know every exact word Jesus prayed that night but we know that he didn’t want to die, we know that if there was any other possible way to save us he prayed for God to do it. We know he prayed out of his pain and that he wrestled with his emotions as he held on to the fathers promise to be faithful. We know that he came to God not only in holy reverence as the almighty but also as his personal, loving, supportive Abba. Most importantly we know that against every fiber of his being, against and every fear he chose to obey his father. He chose to be our savior. So here is a question for today How? Why? and what gave him the strength to go through with it. The answer Prayer. Remember what Jesus said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. That truth is what kept Jesus established and grounded in a relationship of prayer with his heavenly father and its what we should do as well for that very same reason.

Prayer is simply talking to God and listening to what he has to say its not a heart of gratitude for what he has done and will do. Prayer is praise and worship from a sincere heart seeking after Gods face not just his hand. Most importantly prayer softens our hearts and changes us not just our circumstances. I am not saying God will not hear and grant our supplications but he is God he is holy, he is sovereign and he wants us to “seek first his kingdom and righteousness, of heaven and all these things will be added unto your as well” ( Matthew 6:33, NIV). Prayer is of great importance all through out the bible. Jesus taught his disciples how to pray by giving them an outline of what to pray for. We are told to pray and not give up in the parable of the widow who comes day after day to the king asking for his help. The story is found in the gospel of Luke but to summarize the king finally gives in saying ” Even though I don’t fear God or what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she wont eventually come and attack me.” Jesus finishes up the parable saying ” And will not God bring about justice for his own chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off ? I tell you he will see that they get justice and quickly” (Luke 18:1-8, NIV). Jesus lets us know, much like he does in his parable of asking, seeking and knocking in the gospels that ; If we give good gifts to our children, how much greater will God give good gifts to us. These are only some examples of prayer in the bible I encourage you to do a study on prayer whenever you get the chance its very encouraging to read the stories even in the old Testament about how victories were created through prayer, deliverance was given, armies were defeated, good triumphed over evil, and even children were born set apart to God. For now lets get back to our topic at hand about Jesus praying in the Garden.

Prayer was a normal part of Jesus life. The bible tells us he would often and even in the middle of the night go off to some solidary place to pray. Prayer was how Jesus stayed connected to God23, it was how he was able to endure the hardships of his life. He was able to perform miracles, heal, deliver, give sight to the blind, make the lame walk, and much more through fasting and praying. The second reason Jesus prayer life was so powerful is because he realized there was authority in prayer. He understood that he had authority because he knew he was a child of God. His identity wasn’t tied to the world or the opinions of others it was rooted in God his father. That is why Jesus was able to tell the storm peace be still and it quieted down because he knew the power of Gods word including in prayer.

I think that night on the mount of olives as he got down on his knees and looked up to heaven he prayed not only for us but for strength. I think he prayed for courageous faith, for bravery, for help to surrender, for a calm spirit and help in his weaknesses. I think he prayed for endurance, perseverance, and to Glorify God. In fact I don’t think Jesus prayers stopped under the olive groves on that mountain but followed him throughout every step he took that night perhaps that is even why he remained silent answering no one. The scriptures say that like a sheep led to the slaughter he opened not his mouth maybe, just maybe its because he was too busy praying, praying silently but praying none the less. Then again maybe its because he knew that death and life are in the power of the tongue and that if he said anything he might be tempted to speak words of death. I think Jesus every breath up until his last was a prayer. I think Jesus prayed his way through to the cross and even there he prayed “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). As they hung his broken body, nailed his wrist and ankles through his blood curdling screams he ask the father to forgive us. Even when Jesus yelled at the top of his lungs struggling to breath “My God, My God why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46) his cry was a prayer. Finally but not lastly Jesus said a prayer of completion. He said ” it is finished” (John 19:30) and “father into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). This seems like a good spot to end our discussion but I want to remind you of one more thing before I go Romans 8:34 tells us that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the father interceding for us. That means he is still praying for us today. Lets Pray.

Prayer

Heavenly father thank you so much for your plan to forgive us of our sins so that we may have relationship with you again. Thank you for the blood of Jesus that washes us clean. Thank you for giving us so much when it cost you so much. There is no doubt that even with the victory that you knew was coming that day you still felt a loss and a broken heart as you watched with tears from above. Thank you for your loving grace that has made it possible through our faith in your only son Jesus Christ to be reconciled to you and for the hope we have in him through his resurrection. Thank you Jesus for having your fathers heart and giving us another chance. Thank you that you identified with our humanity in order to reach us and that you set aside your own will in the interest of the fathers. We honor you for your strength and courage, your loyalty to the father and your faithfulness. May we remember the lessons you left behind for us to follow and act in accordance with them the way you taught them. Help us to pray and to pray without ceasing. Help us to not be afraid to admit when we are weak or be too proud to ask when we need help. Remind us to pray for others as well as in our own walk with you give us ears to hear you so that we might know when, where, and how to pray. I pray that the heaviness of what you went through in your prayer that last night would hit our hearts like a lightening bolt and that it would forever be etched in our mind that you died so that we could live. Give us humble hearts and keep our hearts from ever becoming hardened so that we may always be sensitive to your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit help build us up in our faith and when we don’t know how to pray intercede for us as Romans 8:26 says ” with groanings too deep for words”. Help us to pray as Paul encouraged with both our Spirit and our mind. Help us to pray not only in supplication but with declarations, praise and worship. Let us worship with the Spirit and truth (John 4:24) Let us praise the Lord because he inhibits the praises of his people and in his presence is where real power lies (2 Corinthians 3:17), and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Therefore, let us live a lifestyle of persistent prayer coming boldly to Gods throne as child of God believing we have what we have asked for. Keep us from being double minded and remind us to be watchful. Thank you Abba for hearing and answering this prayer in Jesus mighty, awesome, amazing, wonder name Amen.

Dying to live

I felt it impressed upon my heart to keep with the theme of how dying to live can be applied to the lessons in this Holy week but when it came to today I found myself at a bit of a loss as to how I could tie Jesus activities together with what’s commonly referred to as spy Wednesday. For those of you who may not have heard the term before Spy Wednesday refers to the night Judas agreed to watch for a chance to turn Jesus over to the Pharisees. There are many lessons here that I could wright about here but I just didn’t seem to have the spiritual umff it needed so to speak. Then God reminded me of how the whole setting for that night took place. The story starts with a beautiful young woman coming crawling literally to the feet of Jesus. The story I am referring to is affectionately known as the anointing of Jesus at Bethany. The parallel between these two acts in one intertwined story is what I will focus on today.

A word of caution before I go too much further here, the bible has a lot to say about Jesus seven last days on earth however, when you put it in a chronological order there is not much said specifically about Wednesday of that week. With that in mind some have disagreed on the time frame for this event. So without raising too much theological debate I will simply say this; regardless of the day we know that the situation took place during the week leading up to the crucifixion and we know that it is recorded that one event preceded the other. Furthermore, we know that in all scripture there is something to glean from it. Jesus himself told us that wherever the gospel is told so will this story (Matthew 26:13.)

Devotional

Loves Devotion

The woman who poured the perfume over Jesus is suspected to very likely have been Mary in the bible of Mary and Martha. In any case, this woman recognized Jesus for who he was the Messiah. She didn’t just pour out perfume that day she poured out her love and devotion. She poured out her heart and soul as she wept over Jesus with compassion and wiped his feet with her tears. Oil and various perfumes were used for anointing of kings and priest. She realized Jesus was both and so she broke open the bottle and let it run over his head to the full extent of his body. She used the whole thing, she didn’t just twist a cap why? Because, she wasn’t looking to save any of it. She wasn’t worried about what it cost or where she would get more she knew she was suppose to use the ointment for this very purpose. Jesus even tells us the real reason she anointed him was for his burial. You cant give anything if you don’t have anything to give and so she gave all she had. She gave herself not just the perfume. This is really a very endearing scene, Her tears were of adoration she recognized not only who Jesus was but also who she was, a sinner. She understood the price he would pay and so she didn’t worry about the price of the perfume to her it meant nothing next to promise of her King.

The Enemies Commotion

As we read further in the story were told the disciples and especially Judas became indignant about her act of generosity. They believed it could have been better utilized. Jesus sharply rebukes them at once and explains the situation to them. One of the disciples Judas Iscariot is particularly upset and its not because he would have rather sold the perfume and helped the poor like scripture speaks about but rather, its because Judas heart was not in the right place to begin with. Judas was a thief and as the treasurer had been putting money in his own pocket. He was greedy and thought more about his self. Plus I believe he was jealous of this act of overwhelming love and honor bestowed upon his master. It is after this event that Judas agrees to betray Jesus.

Application

These two stories have one thing in common even though they have very different themes, Motivation. God is more concerned with the what and why of us doing things rather than what we do. He looks at our heart and the intentions behind it, the motivations we have and rather or not they are for the right reasons. The woman with the jar of perfumes motivations were pure, they were right because her heart was right. Judas motivations were not, he was more concerned about money, authority, and his reputation than he was loving and serving the Lord. He was selfish and hard hearted because he had let other things in his life take first priority. The sad thing is both the woman and Judas knew who Jesus was and yet to one still did not accept him the way he should have because he had no fear of God. James 2:19 tells us “You believe their is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shutter.” We all have a decision to make about what we believe and the most important decision we will ever make is rather or not to accept Christ as our Lord and savior. We have to decide what is more important to us, we have to decide why we believe what we believe and do as the bible tells us to and test our selves (2 Corinthians 13:3-5.) PrayerIn light of the Easter season I think its important to include a prayer of salvation. I know it is a few days early but the truth is its never too early to make a decision for Christ. Jesus is the way the truth and the light, its one thing to know that in our head its another to know it in our heart and we don’t want to be like Judas and be ever seeing but not understanding, ever seeing but not perceiving, and ever hearing but not understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven (Mark 4:12.)

Lord, I pray today that you would help each of us to examine our own hearts and minds so that we might come to terms with anything not pleasing to you and be convicted to repent of our offense. Lord soften our hearts an make them moldable to you and your will. Help us to love you with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength and love our neighbor as our self. God May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, My rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14) Amen

For any one that has never made a decision for Christ or just would like to rededicate your life to Christ I have included the following prayer.

Father, I am a sinner I realize that I have made mistakes and I am sorry and I ask you now to be forgiven. I know there is nothing I can do to save myself but I believe in your son Jesus Christ and I believe he died on the cross for me. I believe I am saved by grace through the forgiveness of my sins through the redemption of his blood and that he died taking my punishment and rose again raising me to new life. I thank you Jesus for the sacrifice you made for me and I accept you as my Lord and savior. Help me to Live for you Amen

Dying to Live

By Jessica Hardin

My first post explained in the simplest terms what dying to live means by restating it as dying to the flesh and living for Christ. Todays dying to live concept will follow yesterdays contemplation of Palm Sunday by meditating further on Jesus journey to the cross. For this devotional we will look at the activities of Jesus after his triumphal entry but before his crucifixion. we will see how Jesus looked onward to the glory he would bring his father. In particular we will talk about the three activities tied to Jesus first day in Jerusalem his trip to the temple, his statement about forgiveness and the cursing of the fig tree.

Devotional

I would like to look at each one of these thoughts individually, lets begin with Jesus first act when he entered Jerusalem. The record of Jesus experiences that we are discussing here can be found beginning in Mark 11.

Jesus enters the temple

Once inside Jerusalem, Jesus went directly to the temple but since it was so late in the day he left and returned later. When Jesus did return we are told that he drove out the money changers and those buying and selling animals for sacrifice. The Amplified bible describes his actions as with [with force]. And nothing could be said any different Matthew 15 even tells us that he overturned tables and seats, He would not allow anyone to bring in merchandise through the grounds at all. Last but not least we all know Jesus famous words in verse 17 ” Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of robbers.” Jesus attitude here is simple anger righteous no holds bar anger. Usually when we think of anger we see it as a bad thing, a feeling of stress, tension, and strife but there is a good kind of anger as we see here and its an anger that is zealous for God. An anger that is discussed with immorality, that is upset with disrespect, and correctly filled with disappointment and concerned with a surge of emotions for good to triumph over evil. There comes a time when we should withhold our anger because it does not produce the fruit of righteousness and as Ecclesiastes 7:9 warns us “anger rest in the bossom of fools.”

Jesus curses the fig tree

Mark 11:12 explains Jesus encounter with the fig tree. The next day, Jesus seeing a fig tree in the distance went up to it to taste some of its fruit but when he reached the fig tree he found nothing but leaves on it and he said ” No one will ever eat fruit from you again!” The story does not stop there though, In the morning, as they were passing by, the disciples saw that the fig tree had withered away from the roots up. And remembering, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered!” Jesus replied “Have faith in God. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea!’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to take place , it will done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received them, and they will be given you. (Matthew 11:20-23) This is no mistake that right after Jesus seen the perverseness of Gods people in the temple that he left us this example. Gods people had become faithless and relied more on man made rules than his word. I think its very likely that as Jesus came upon this fig tree he was still angry and indignant at how Gods people had turned their hearts away from Gods Holy Spirit and his law. In that same spirit of righteous anger he cursed that fig tree to show just how powerful Gods word is and he turned that anger of faithlessness toward the fig tree. We must remember Jesus is the son of God but he is also the son of man and as such he experienced all the same emotions we do and he may just as we do sometimes vent elsewhere. That’s where our actions matter the bible says in Hebrews that Jesus is a high priest who emphasizes with all our weaknesses and has been tempted in every way just as we are – yet, he did not sin. Jesus did not sin in his anger but he did express a side of his humanity.

Forgiveness

Jesus next words to his disciples are the very fiber of what salvation means its what Jesus did for us and its what we are to do for others. He says ” Whenever you stand praying, If you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings. [But if you do not forgive, neither will your father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”] Jesus tells us two things here the first is the importance of forgiveness, the second is our connection to God is hindered when we hold unforgiveness in our hearts. Without forgiveness our prayers and our worship means nothing that’s why we are told that if we have an offense with our neighbor and come to offer our gift at the altar, to first go be reconciled to our brother (Matthew 5:23-26). Forgiveness is the tie that binds hope, truth, and love and its wrapped in mercy and grace; his name is Jesus.

Application

So often in our lives we have situations that must face where we have to push down our emotions and its not an easy task but its essential because feelings are fickle and if we let our feelings linger long enough wrong feelings can become footholds in our life. Anger is one such example. The bible tells us not to go to bed angry, it warns us against holding on to grudges, or acting hastily in spirit. The reason why is simple our feelings lead to thoughts and our thoughts lead to words and our words lead to actions so its not a matter of never showing any emotion but how we deal with those emotions. In our natural human tendencies that is easier said than done but Thank God that Jesus is alive and well and through the Holy Spirit we can find temperance, patience, and direction and guidance for our life. Although the three points earlier are pretty obvious what I want us to take from this is that ultimately we have to decide what we believe and exercise self control but we are not alone in fact self control is one of the fruits of the spirit but we also are not to hide our emotions God gave us emotions he made us in his image but we should use wisdom and discernment regardless of how we feel. Remember Jesus knew he was going to the cross but he still found it important to leave these lessons for us as he strained through his own agony of what he knew lied ahead of him.

Prayer

Father, thank you today for reminding us that our emotions can serve a good purpose. Thank you that you gave us emotions to convict us but not condemn us for we know condemnation is never of you. You have given us the wonderful gift of your Holy Spirit, help us today grow stronger in that Holy Spirit especially the fruit of self control so that we may walk in obedience to you and your ways. Give us your wisdom and show us where we can do better to serve you in our faith. Give us what we need to make you the center of our lives remembering all you have done for us and let us keep in mind the emotions you must have felt that last week. Help us to forgive others including ourselves more and walk humbly and sincerely in love.

Dying to Live

By: Jessica Hardin

Dying to live is a simple concept but not one that many are not familiar with or fully understand. The premise for the idea comes from the gospel. Matthew 16:24 is one example where Jesus made the statement “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” For a better comprehension of what this broad subject means, lets condense it to say that dying to live is dying to our fleshly lives in order to live higher life Jesus promises us. The substance of the material I will be writing here stems from that one verse but I hope to show just how Jesus admonition in these words can and should be applied to our lives. I will post various devotionals to help us put this concept into better perspective and meditate on I am calling them the thought for the day. Thank you all for reading my blog I pray it blesses you as you go through out your day please share with your friends at the link on the page

Thought For the Day

Today is Palm Sunday so what better thought than meditating on what Palm Sunday is and why we celebrate it. I would like to turn to a piece of scripture to begin with so we understand where this can found in our bible. John 12:13 ” They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!

This excerpt from John describes Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I love this scene what a beautiful sight it would have been to see Jesus humbly riding into town on a donkey while people laid down palm branches and other tree branches singing Hosanna in the highest praising and worshiping the King of Kings with the highest of expectations for a new son of David to take the throne and rule, ushering in a new kingdom.

The people had the right idea but the wrong perspective. They seen Jesus as the Messiah, they seen him as the king but their perception of the kind of king Jesus would be was skewed. All those people expectantly awaiting Jesus to rule were looking to an earthly rule, an earthly king, and an earthly kingdom. They wanted out of the oppression of Roman rule and saw Jesus as the one to answer that. Jesus is indeed a king but as he himself said to Pilate (John 18:36,NIV) “My kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, my servants would be fighting keep me from being handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this world.”

Application

This Palm Sunday we should reflect on Jesus words “My kingdom is not of this world.”

What exactly did Jesus mean by those words? The people of his day must have been wondering the exact same thing for they were expecting a royal kingdom with Jesus setting upon a throne in a palace ruling with a signet ring and magistrates and servants by his side. They seen him diminishing all other rule and commanding an army doing all the things an earthly king would do. They also had seen the many miracles Jesus had done and in many ways based their expectations of him as an earthly king upon them. They had seen him heal the sick, blind, deaf, they had seen him provide food and deliverance and sadly many, not all but many followed him just because they wanted to make sure they were a part of his ordination when he was crowned with that dazzling golden headpiece. The truth here is that anyone who truly recognized Jesus as the messiah and knew the scriptures would have understood what kind of king Jesus would be and what would have to happen in order to usher him into his kingdom

I wonder how many of us today would have followed Jesus if we knew that his kingdom would have been established as an eternal kingdom but not an earthly kingdom. Would we still have cheered him on as he rode down the road if we knew that he would be robed not in a fine linen robe of the most delicately crafted threads but a blanketed robe meant for his humiliation? What praise would we lift up to him if we knew that instead of being crowned with a ornate crown embedded with beautiful gems and precious metals he would be wearing a crown of twisted thorns stabbing his brow and making blood pour down from his forehead. Just think about it instead of a kings rod with a royal diadem on top and a group of servants humbly bowing in submission he was given a stick which he was struck with over and over again. In stead of a group of humble servants soldiers bowed down while they mockingly paid homage to him spitting in his face. If Jesus showed back up today with those same circumstances would we still see him as our king as the king we were expecting? Would we still honor and praise him?

Today as we think about what Palm Sunday means I just want us to roll these thoughts over in our head and realize just what Jesus did for us. This is a good point to incorporate our dying to live concept. Living for Jesus now or then means we have to look at not just the natural side of things but the spiritual. We have to empty ourselves of our fleshly thoughts and desires and seek Gods truth and his ways. Are we going to be like the mother of James and John in Matthew 20:20-28 and be more concerned with our earthly position or are we going to put God first realizing he is our true source and hunger for him.

Jesus Kingdom

Jesus kingdom is not a political kingdom, his rule is over our hearts, our imaginations, our motivations, our words and our lives. Jesus is our king if we make him our king and as such his kingdom is one of love, grace, and mercy. He rules from the throne of our hearts and his authority is the resurrection power he received when he rose from the grave. That same resurrection power lives inside us when we receive Jesus as our Lord and savior. Romans tells us in chapter 8 verse 11 ” And if the Spirit of hi who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. The Spirit this verse is talking about is the Holy Spirit and it is this Spirit that enables us to live for Christ. As Paul said to live is Christ to dye is gain (Philippians 1:21,NIV) Paul was in prison as he wrote these words so for him this verse had a double meaning on the one hand Paul was looking forward to meeting Christ in all his glory after his many close brushes with death. He had been beaten with rods , betrayed, left cold and hungry, shipwrecked, stoned and even bit by a deadly viper but, his strong faith persevered through his trials and he continued on with his ministry for the sake of those who needed to hear the gospel. That’s why its no surprise that a few verses later Paul goes on to say “Yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” I also believe that through Paul’s words he was not only talking about dying in the natural a literal death but that he was also leaving an example to us that when we dye to our flesh we come more alive in the life Christ wants for us. Paul knew better than anyone what it meant to have to deny ones self and rely on God for his strength in his own words he clearly states ” I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

Final Thought

JESUS IS STILL KING

Even with all the chaos in the world right now we need to realize that Jesus is still king, he still reigns. He still delivers healing, he still provides, he still delivers, he still makes a the crooked places straight and the makes a way in the dessert. He still extends love, grace, mercy, and peace. In fact Jesus tells us his kingdom will be one of peace. There will be a day when the Lord appears again and as Christians we can be thankful and look forward to this day until that day arrives I would like to end this devotional with a prayer for you all.

Dear father,

We thank you and praise you for all your many blessing and for your Holy Spirit that strengthens us in our weaknesses. Jesus thank your for your blood that does away with our sins and brings us into your heavenly family. Please impress upon our hearts today the true impact of what you did and still do for us. Help to keep us strong through these times of uncertainty and look to you as our ultimate source knowing that our life is hidden in you. Help us to be realize that you are our true reward and remind us to be joyful and praise your Holy name in both Spirit and truth eagerly awaiting your return. Make and keep us strong in our faith in you Lord. AMEN

I encourage you to study your bible for any further insight about the kingdom of God. Jesus included many examples in the gospels about what the kingdom of God is like but remember this the kingdom of God is inside of you Jesus himself said that. Until next time Maranatha (Come our Lord)

Please watch for my upcoming book Dying to Live