Blessings of Obedience and the Resurrection

BlessingsOfObedienceAndTheResurrection

After Jesus was crucified, the women noted where He was laid to rest (Luke 23.55), then went home and prepared spices and ointments; but they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment (Luke 23.56).

These were Jewish women, likely able to trace their lineage back centuries to their original tribe, just like any other orthodox Jew. Their ancestors had received The Law straight from Moses / straight from God, and their adherence to it was the basis of their relationship to God Himself.

And so, in obedience, they waited until after the Sabbath was over. That begins a chapter in each of the gospels: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20. Unsuspecting, they had a discussion along the way of how they could get that stone rolled away from the tomb. They likely thought the guards would let them in to anoint Him, seeing as how they were women and unable to steal the body.

None of their recorded discussion centered around “What if the body isn’t there?”.

They were astounded and nonplussed to find 1) the stone rolled away, 2) no body in the tomb, and 3) an angel telling them that “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.”

Because of their devotion and obedience, they received the astounding blessing of being the first to discover that Jesus had, indeed, arisen. These women were entrusted with the directive to go and tell the others.

These Jewish women may not have felt the least inclination to break the Sabbath and anoint Jesus’ body the day after He died. They were firmly entrenched in The Law and Tradition, and they simply never broke the Sabbath, out of habit if nothing else.

For those of us outside orthodox religion, we might consider other circumstances: Jesus had just been crucified in an untimely, cruel, and unjust manner. Did they not feel a tug at their hearts that, just this once, it was okay to anoint His body, even though it was the Sabbath? That surely God would give them leniency, given that this man had claimed to be the very Son of God? Did they not love Him so much that they were drawn to be that near to Him? We can, in our minds, rationalize a whole host of really great “reasons” to do what is right in our eyes.

What if they had not been obedient? What would they have found at the tomb? The stone with its seal would still have been there. The guards posted by Pilate and the Pharisees would still have been there. They would not have been able to enter. Even if they had been able, they would have found and anointed a dead body.

But they were obedient. They put aside whatever feelings or logic they may have had otherwise, and they obeyed God’s fourth commandment of the Ten.

Obedience works just the same now-a-days as it did back then. Obey out of habit, stiff-necked obedience, obey out of love, obey because of fear of man: no matter, as long as it is GOD you are obeying.

You just never know what blessings will follow obedience.

Advertisements

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

WhyHastThouForsakenMe

When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

What was happening at that moment? I’m sure there was much more than we can imagine. My take:

  • Scripture tells us that God laid on Him the sin of the whole world (2 Corinthians 5.21). God is holy, and cannot look upon or accept sin.
  • Jesus had lived a life without sin, in perfect communion with His Heavenly Father, because He was God, Himself. That perfect communion was broken because He was covered in sin. He was flesh.
  • Jesus asked a question: WHY have You forsaken me? In that flesh, separated from everything holy, Jesus experienced the deepest pits of sin. That sin, at its heart, is the desire to be like God, to make our own decisions, and to decide what is right and wrong. “Why can’t I go to Heaven just like I am? Why do You get to decide to turn away from Me? Why can’t You accept me the way I am?”
  • God is holy and just: In His love, He created us to need Him, to be whole only when we are completely dependent on Him. When we decided to turn away from our design, we broke with God and wanted our own rules. Our rules involve sin. Sin is turning away from God. The penalty for sin is death (“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” Genesis 2.17 and “The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6.23). Death is separation from God. God is holy and just, and will not tolerate sin in His presence. BUT He loves us so much that He wants to be with us always. He had the perfect plan for perfect creation and redemption.
  • God was still present at the cross with Jesus and with everyone else at the scene. Although in agony, Himself, He knew, with Jesus, that It Was Finished: His perfect plan for redemption had come to completion.
  • Hebrews 12.2 tells us that Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame, “for the joy that was set before him.” Because He was God, sent from His Father, Jesus knew The Big Picture. He knew the sin of man, knew our need for salvation, knew this was The Way. When Jesus died, God ripped the veil of the Temple from top to bottom (Matthew 27.51), signifying that He had torn the barrier between Himself and us, through the death of his Son.
  • It was finished because God deemed us worth it.
  • God is perfect, God is love, God is Perfect Love. He loves us perfectly.
  • As believers, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit within us, we know what it is to be in His Presence; we have a taste of the comfort, the peace in dependency, the joy of being with God forever. We can only slightly imagine the terror, the agony of being separated from God

Are you separated from God? Do you long for peace in all circumstances – peace that passes all understanding? Call on God. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Know Him. Read His Holy Word. Experience the miracle of the Holy Spirit within you.

image from pixels.com

April Blizzard

20190411_123220

Yup, April in good ol’ SoDak!  😊

We are hunkered down in our warm, cozy house. We are grateful to still have electricity, to have plenty of food, and also to be retired and have to be no where. The blizzard started last night, and goes until tomorrow morning.

God is always good.

Am I God?

AmIGod

As I read various articles about God in America or religion around the world, statistics are presented in a multitude of formats about the belief systems of people and cultures.

A large percentage of people believe that, if they’re good enough, they’ll go to heaven.

Many believe there is no heaven, and no hell.

Some believe everyone goes to heaven.

Some believe in God, some believe there is no God, some believe in other gods.

Some believe the Bible is the living Word of God, and that it is Truth – all of it.

Others believe the Bible is a good book, and that it has some lessons we should follow.

Whatever anyone’s belief, there is a basic Truth that exists, whether a person believes it or not. I think we can all agree that not everyone’s truth can be true due to the conflicting beliefs.

In the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, the devil tempted Eve to eat the fruit. The temptation was this: “You will be like God.”

That powerful draw: “You will be like God” is with us every day.

Let me establish this: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. I believe in His holy Son, Jesus Christ, Who came to the world to be our Savior. I believe in the Holy Spirit, Who dwells within believers. And I believe all three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are One.

Those who believe in “God,” in general, believe that He created all that we see. Some of those believe that He created everything, then left us alone to do with it as we will. Others believe He is intimately concerned and involved in every minute detail of everyone’s lives. (I place myself in the latter category.)

Some believe that God loves some people, or groups of people, more than others. Some believe God loves every single person with an intimate, immense, perfect love. (Again, I believe the latter.)

Here’s the point: because a person believes in one way, or one system, does not make it true. No person is God. Just because we believe something does not give us the power to cause it to become true.

God gave us the freedom to believe whatever we want.

My recommendation is to read what God says about everything. He’s the Creator; He made the rules. The safe bet is to follow the rules.

He is God, and I am not. If I don’t like something He says, I’d better get over it and dig into His explanation. I’m not going to win any arguments against Him because I’m the one who’s wrong.

We must get over ourselves and bow before our loving, almighty, perfect God.

Isaiah 45.5-7: I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

We Still Prefer Evil

Luke 23 .25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
Pilate appealed for Jesus to the crowd, saying that he’d found no evil in this man (Jesus), that he should be released. But the crowd demanded that Barabbas be released instead. Barabbas was an inciter and a murderer. The crowd chose vindication for Barabbas, and a cruel death to our sinless Savior.
People have not changed. We desire, nay, demand, that evil be released unto us; and that God be tortured and put away.
God have mercy on our souls. May we turn to Him as He calls us, prostrate ourselves before Almighty God, and worship Him with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strengths.

Oh, the Injustice!

I have a few devotionals going at any given time, and most of them now are focused on events leading up to and including the crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus.

All these things – indeed, all things since the beginning of human history – have been intended by God for us and for His glory. He does / He allows these things out of His great love for us.

In studying the events leading up to the crucifixion, we can see that there were a great many injustices to Jesus, much tidings of unfair treatment, of men twisting facts and reality to achieve their own ends. We cringe at injustice, we cry out, and we are grieved.

I thought this morning on those unjust events, and brought it to present day. Humans have not improved in the justice and righteous department at any time in history. God allowed the injustices to Jesus for us, because He loves us.

The same is true today. God allows injustices because He loves us.

At the time, no one, including those who loved Jesus, could see why these things had to happen. No one could see The Big Plan. No one had God’s perspective.

We still don’t.

I cannot begin to put words to the immeasurable, infinite peace I have in my heart, my mind, my soul, in knowing that God’s got this: He is in control, He’s perfect, and He loves me.

I pray you, too, know His Peace.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Know Him. Know His Word. Obey Him.