Sunday, March 27, 2016

Has He Risen?

Has He Risen?

Did Jesus rise from the dead? 

His Resurrection Foretold
  • God the Father was the first to Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ
    • Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
      • After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, as God pronounced His curse on the serpent, He declared the ultimate outcome of the struggle between good and evil; Eve’s descendant, Jesus Christ, would defeat Satan. Jesus demonstrated His victory over death (the result of sin) when He rose from the grave three days after He died on a Roman cross!  
  • The prophet Isaiah also shared the Good News about the Suffering Servant
    • Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
      • After suffering unimaginable suffering and pain, Jesus, our sinless Savior, died to pay the sin debt of mankind. Hundreds of years before it happened, Isaiah told us that Jesus would see the results of His atoning death (‘see His seed’) by rising from the dead to live eternally (‘prolong His days’) and reign victoriously as our King (‘the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand’). God loves us so much, He caused and allowed all this to happen (John 3:16). 
  • Jesus told His Disciples what was going to happen to Him
    • Mark 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
      • Jesus knew why He had to come to earth as a man – to live a sinless life, to be killed as the once and for all perfect sacrifice to pay for man’s sin, to rise from the grave as proof that He is God, and to show that all that He said was true!

His Resurrection Recounted
  • The Apostle John tells us about Jesus appearing to His Disciples after He rose from the dead
    • John 20:19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
      • Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ appeared to a group of His disciples the same day He rose from the grave. 
  • Luke tells us of two disciples who encountered our risen Savior on the road to Emmaus
    • Luke 24:30-31 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
      • These two men walked with Jesus and listened as He shared the truth of scripture about Himself. Finally, He revealed Himself as their resurrected Lord. 
  • The Apostle Paul documents many of the sightings of Jesus after He had risen from the dead (including his own)
    • 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
      • Prior to his conversion, Paul persecuted followers of Jesus. Once He believed, He literally spent His life proclaiming the gospel (‘good news’) about Jesus’ victory over death. Jesus is our only hope for salvation!

His Resurrection Doubted
  • The disciple Thomas was not with the others when Jesus first appeared to them (see John 20:19-24)
    • John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
      • Although he had spent about three and a half years with Jesus during His earthly ministry, without actually seeing Him, Thomas didn’t have the faith to believe that He had risen from the dead. But Once he saw Him, there was no doubt (John 20:26-28)!

Jesus’ Apostles, disciples and others had a very rare and precious opportunity in human history; they got to spend time with God in the flesh.
  • John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus understood how difficult it would be for Thomas (and all of us) to believe without seeing.
  • John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

That is why Jesus prayed that we would believe through the words written in the Bible.
  • John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;

It takes faith to believe!
  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Do you believe?
  • John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Believing, professing, accepting, surrendering…  Jesus is the only way to a right relationship with God and eternity in Heaven.
  • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
  • Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Saved from what? God’s wrath!
How? Through faith in Jesus!


Gracious, loving, faithful Father, please give the faith to believe in Jesus to those who long to know You. May Your Word and Your Spirit draw them, save them, and change them. I pray to you in faith and in the name above all names, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Could You Forget

Could You Forget

Is God’s Holy Word an important part of your life? Do you appreciate and acknowledge the benefits of His love for you? Is your relationship with Him your number one priority? My prayer is that your answer to all three of these questions is a resounding, ‘Yes!’ 

But whether you are currently walking closely with the Lord or not, if you have truly surrendered to Him as Lord and Savior, surely you could never forget:

His Word
  • Psalm 119:16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.

His Benefits
  • Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

  • Psalm 44:17 All this has come upon us; But we have not forgotten You, Nor have we dealt falsely with Your covenant.

But the truth of the matter is, if our lives were easier, if our problems went away, if our ‘needs’ were met, if we were free from worry, sickness, debt, ..., we would be in real danger of forgetting the very One who provided these blessings.

‘Not me!’ you say. Be careful; the Word of God provides a very clear warning about this very situation.
  • Deuteronomy 8:10-14 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. 11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;

What was Moses telling the Nation of Israel in the verses above?
  • Verse 10 - The Scenario
    • You will experience many blessings and thank the Lord for them.
  • Verse 11 - The Warning
    • But don’t let the abundance provided by God initiate the turning of your attention from His Word.
  • Verses 12-13 - The Change
    • This can cause you to get more focused on the benefits obtained through your relationship with God than on the relationship itself.
  • Verse 14 - The Trap
    • Then you will start taking credit for what God has done for you and your pride will cause you to turn your back on Him.

Can you see how turning our attention from God’s Word and focusing more on the blessings than the One who blesses causes us to pay less and less attention to Him? This is a progressive cycle that starts small, increases in frequency and scope, and then leads us to a place we never intended to be.

Here are a few more verses related to forgetting God’s Word, His Benefits and Him.
  • Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
  • 2 Peter 3:5-7 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
  • Hosea 13:6 When they had pasture, they were filled; They were filled and their heart was exalted; Therefore they forgot Me.
  • Proverbs 30:7-9 Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): 8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.
  • Psalm 106:21 They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt,
  • Psalm 50:22 “Now consider this, you who forget God, Lest I tear you in pieces, And there be none to deliver:

Now the hard part.  Prayerfully and honestly answer the following questions?
  • Do you spend more or less time studying God’s Word now than you did a month ago, six months ago, a year ago?
  • What are you personally doing to better understand the truth of God’s Word and apply that truth to your daily life?
  • What are some of the smallest and greatest blessings in your life?
  • What blessings in your life are you taking credit for?
  • Are you praying more or less as the years go by?
  • How often do you think about God during the course of your day?
  • What do the following verses reveal about the amount of pride in your life?
    • Deuteronomy 8:17-18 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ 18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
    • Deuteronomy 9:4 “Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out from before you.

Could You Forget


Dear Lord, I confess that in my pride I think I could never forget Your Word, Your benefits or You. Yet I also confess that I often neglect Your Word, take credit for blessings in my life, and try to resolve serious problems or issues without seeking You in prayer. I thank You for the clear warnings in Your Word about the progression towards forgetting You. Please grant me repentance and turn my heart towards You. Humble me Lord where I do not humble myself. Praise be to Your Holy name! By the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in His name, I offer this prayer to You. Amen. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Those Who Fear Him

Those Who Fear Him

It was a rough night; high winds, heavy rain, lightning and thunder. The power had blinked off and on a few times, but there was never really a power outage. Thankfully, around 2:30am the winds died down and the storm dissipated. You are now very thankful for the few hours of sleep and that the house seemed to weather yet another summer storm. With the sun up and the birds singing you are surprised to see that the powerlines behind your house have blown over. Several power poles are leaning over and the power lines are suspended about two feet off the ground in your back yard. A thought crosses your mind, ‘I wonder if those powerlines are energized or not?’ What do you do?

  • Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Hopefully, you don’t walk over and grab one of the powerlines! Most people who live in areas where electrical service is common have a general understanding of how dangerous electricity can be. You could say they have a healthy respect for the power being conducted by the powerlines. You might even say they have a fear of electricity.

There are several different words translated as ‘fear’ in the Bible. The word fear is often used in conjunction with God. Here are two examples
  • Psalm 119:120 My flesh trembles for fear of You, And I am afraid of Your judgments.
  • Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Of the three verses included with this devotion above, the different words translated ‘fear’ have two meanings:
  • Mathew 10:28 and Proverbs 9:10 – Can mean reverence/awe and fear/alarm/afraid
  • Psalm 119:120 – Means dread/terror

With regards to fearing God, the general concept presented in the Bible is:
  • We know who He is
  • We know He is all-powerful and all-knowing
  • We know that He is righteous and that He will judge sin
  • We know that He reigns sovereignly over His Kingdom (the universe)

Fearing God is to reverence and respect Him based on a fundamental understanding of His power and His direct and righteous engagement with the affairs of man. Our continual reverence and awe towards Him can sometimes include being afraid of His response to our failures.

As we maintain a proper attitude towards Him, He extends incredible mercy to us. Psalm 103 is a wonderful expression of adoration and humility towards God in response to His abundant mercy.
  • Verse 1: Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
  • Verse 8: The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

There are three verses in Psalm 103 that reference ‘… those who fear Him’.
  • Verse 11: For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
    • The Lord’s favor and kindness toward those who reverence Him are as immeasurable as the expanse of space.
  • Verse 13: As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
    • Imagine the compassion a loving father has toward his children, such is the compassion of the Lord to those who are in awe of Him.
  • Verse 17: But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,
    • As His existence extends from eternity past to eternity future, so extends the Lord’s mercy on those who genuinely respect Him.

We fail Him in many ways: we fall short of the life He desires for us; we doubt and worry and depend on the wrong things; we put our selfish desires above His commands to love Him and others; …

Our failures justify a wrathful response.
But He never fails us!

  • Lamentations 3:22-23 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.


Father in Heaven, without Your mercy, Your well-deserved wrath would have long ago consumed us. Thank You for Your ongoing mercy! Thank You for the indwelling presence of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for salvation in Jesus Christ. Your mercy is greater than my finite mind can comprehend. My praise and thanksgiving fall short of what is required in response to Your mercy; yet another circumstance where Your love overshadows my shortcomings. I love You and praise You. My prayer is lifted up to You in the name above every name, Jesus Christ. Amen.