Saturday, January 2, 2016

A New Year's Prayer to Reflect

A New Year's Prayer

A new year is upon us - a time when we naturally begin to think deeper about ourselves, our families, our friends, and the world around us. We long to feel better, look better, "do" better, to grow closer to God and our loved ones - to be better in every way.

As we begin this year anew, we offer this prayer with a hopeful and expectant heart for God's blessings for you and for us all.

God, we praise you with all that we are (Psalm 103:2-3), knowing our strength comes from joy in you (Nehemiah 8:10) now and always.

We praise you for your mercy, for forgiving our sins (Ephesians 1:7). Remind us that mercy always triumphs over judgment (James 2:13), and that only you, the God of all grace, will restore us and make us strong (1 Peter 5:10).

Renew our hearts in this year, and let your gentle Spirit lead us down the right path (Psalm 143:10).

Please grant us peace in our hearts (Proverbs 14:30). May our burdens lead us to rest in you as we grow closer to you each day (Matthew 11:28).

Let us fill our minds with truth, righteousness, beauty and all things worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

Thank you, God, for your promise to watch over us always (Psalm 32:8) and to hold us up with your victorious right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

Thank you, God, for giving us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Let us take every action in the coming year, fixing our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2).


Source: Used with permission - ARTICLE  

Sunday, April 5, 2015


I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! Rev 1:18

Do you know Jesus? If you do not know Jesus and would like to know more - when you have time to spare go to this site and browse reflectively - there is a small booklet, videos and many testimonies. go to:

Friday, April 3, 2015

He Still Chose the Cross

He Still Chose the Cross

"Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, Who is it you want? Jesus of Nazareth they replied. I am he,' Jesus said.'" John 18:3-5a, NIV

As we study the gospels it's quite clear that Jesus knew the purpose for which He came to earth, and that was to redeem mankind out of the hand of the enemy, and reconcile us to Father God. Several times in Scripture Jesus spoke to His disciples about His pending death and resurrection. He also predicted Judas Iscariot's betrayal and Simon Peter's denial (John 13). In the ninth chapter of Luke we read that 'As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem' (Luke 9: 51). The King James Version says that Jesus 'set his face' in the direction of Jerusalem, which further emphasises the determination He had to fulfil His purpose, no matter what the personal cost.

In today's scripture Jesus is about to be arrested and eventually will be led off to die on a cross. Judas has just betrayed him for thirty silver coins; the price for a slave! He guides a detachment of soldiers and officials from the chief Priests and Pharisees to the olive grove, where Jesus and His disciples are meeting. In their hands they're carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Neither Jesus, nor those in His company at the time, were blind to their intentions. It was obvious that they'd come to arrest Jesus. Everyone would have been seized with a sense of dread, but only Jesus fully knew what would unfold over the next few days. Yet He still surrendered Himself to them, and more importantly, to the will of God. When Peter tried to defend Jesus and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, he was told to put down his sword. 'Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?' (Matthew 26:53-54).

Jesus also knew that He'd be bound, brought before Annas and the high priest, Caiaphas, and would undergo an illegal trial (John 18:12-13, & 24). He knew that He'd stand before Pilate, who would try to release Him, but would eventually give in to the wishes of the Jews (John 19). Jesus knew that He'd be brutally whipped by the Roman soldiers, until His flesh hung like ribbons from His back; that they'd ridicule him, spit on Him and press a crude crown of thorns on His head; dress Him in a purple robe and pretend to pay homage to Him. He also knew that they'd pull out His beard and strike Him in the face. Jesus knew that the crowds, incited by the Religious leaders, would cry out vehemously 'crucify, crucify!' Jesus knew that long, thick nails would be hammered into His ankles and wrists and that He'd die a prolonged, agonising death.

He knew that even while He hung exposed on a crude Roman cross, the venom of His accusers wouldn't be satisfied, and they'd continue to mock Him in His vulnerable state. 'Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God', they would taunt. The two robbers crucified with Him would also heap insults on him. His beloved Mother would watch all this from the foot of the cross and it would pierce her heart like a sword. Jesus even knew that His Heavenly Father would turn His face away from Him as the sins of the world were laid on His shoulders, and for the first time in all of eternity, He would experience the pain of being forsaken. Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, knew all of this, long before it took place, yet He still chose to give His life as a ransom for many. He died for you and He died for me! O what a Saviour we have! O what great salvation!

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that even though You knew what awaited You, when You left heaven and came to earth, You still came. Thank You that You endured the cross, scorning its shame, so that I could be reconciled with Father God and spend eternity in heaven. I'm forever grateful to You. Amen.

Source: Devotional from Ellel Ministries International - Seeds of The Kingdom Apr 2, 2015 - Today's Writer: Sue Dare

Reflective Thought:

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him." Romans 5:8–9
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Bible Is God Speaking to You

The Bible Is God Speaking to You

'...The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.' John 6:63 KJV

Did you know that the longest telegraphic message ever dispatched was in May, 1881? It carried 118,000 words. It was printed in full that day in the Chicago Times. One of the nation's leading newspapers gave space for four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Romans. 'A triumph of publicity' was the verdict of the nation's press. All this was done because the Revised Version of the New Testament in English was on sale that day. In New York City, 33,000 copies were sold within 24 hours, setting a new sales record for any book.

Why does the Bible remain the world's most widely read book?
For one simple reason: you read every other book - the Bible reads you!
You say, 'But I don't get a lot out of the Bible when I read it.' You are not alone; many people say the same thing.
 But it doesn't have to be that way. FB Meyer, one of history's great Bible teachers, writes, 'Read the Bible not as a newspaper, but as a love letter. If a cluster of heavenly fruit hangs within your reach, gather it. If a promise lies upon the page as a blank cheque, cash it. If a prayer is recorded, launch it as a feathered arrow from the bow of your desire.'

Why do we keep going back to the Bible?
Because in a world where trust is in short supply, '...Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave...' (1 Kings 8:56 NIV)

'...I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.' Job 23:12 NIV

Psychologists are agreed on this point: people only keep doing what rewards them! So when Bible reading becomes unrewarding, we quit. As a result we feel guilty, and become spiritually weak and discouraged. Your soul can no more thrive without God's Word than your body can thrive without a daily intake of food.
The Bible says, 'He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.' (Deut8:3 NIV)
One of the dangers of our always-connected technological age is that you begin to live on 'hits' of information and short messages limited to 160 characters or less. This creates spiritual ADD (attention deficit disorder).
God cannot be reduced to a limited word count or a few hurried moments in your day. To prosper, you must meditate day and night on the Scriptures (Psalm 1:1-3).
You say, 'But I don't have time to read the Bible.' How much time do you spend each day watching television? Hours? If you find television to be rewarding, but not God's Word, your soul is in need of intensive care!

If you want to change your life, change your habits and start reading the Bible. Job, who had more trouble than any of us will ever see, said, 'I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.'Job 23:12 NIV
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so may grow...' 1 Peter 2:2 NIV

Henry J. Heinz, founder of the Heinz food company, introduced the marketing slogan '57 Varieties' in 1896, depicting the range of their products. Well, most of us have at least that many excuses for not reading our Bible every day.
You say, 'But I have a very busy life.' Edgar G. Watts of California, aged 84, read the Bible from cover to cover 161 times. And here's something you probably don't know: he had the use of only one eye for 55 years. Can you imagine telling a physical trainer you'd really like to be fit, but you don't have the time to come to the gym? He'd say that you're not serious!

Jeremiah said, 'When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight...' (Jeremiah 15:16 NIV)
Developing a love for the Scriptures requires three things:
(1) Decision. You must establish Bible reading as one of your daily priorities or it'll never happen.
(2) Duty.You may not feel like going to work each day or caring for your family, but you know it's your duty so you do it. What about your soul? Don't you have a duty to feed yourself spiritually and stay strong?
(3) Delight. When you reach this phase, the battle over Bible reading is won. When business leaders are about to make an important decision, they say, 'It's time to pull the trigger.' Stop 'dabbling'! It's time to pull the trigger and give God's Word its rightful place in your life. 'Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up.'

'...You received His message... And this word continues to work in you who believe.' 1 Thess 2:13 NLT

In the Bible you will find a solution for just about every problem you face in life. How often have you gone for help to a pastor or counsellor or friend, only to have them direct you back to the Scriptures? When you get sick enough, you won't argue with the doctor, you'll just take the medicine! Paul writes, 'When you received His message from us, you didn't think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very Word of God - which, of course, it is. And this Word continues to work in you who believe.'

God's Word works - when you work it! But it only 'continues to work in you who believe.' So don't read it and then go out and say something different; get into agreement with God. Let His Word on the issue be word on it too!

The Amplified Bible says, '...The Word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it].' (1 Thessalonians 2:13 AMP)
One day an atheist said to a believer that it was quite impossible to believe in any book whose author was unknown. The believer asked him if the compiler of the multiplication table was known. 'No,' he answered. 'Then, of course, you don't accept it?' the believer asked. The skeptic replied, 'Oh, yes, I believe in it because it works well.' The believer replied, 'So does the Bible.'

The greatest investment you can make in yourself is reading your Bible.
'Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and Your servant loves them.' Psalm 119:140 NIV

Can you imagine how honoured you'd feel to have a personal audience with a president or prime minister? What are the chances you'd say, 'Sorry, I'm too busy. I can't come'? No, you'd approach them with profound respect, observe every protocol and hang on every word. Well, you can have a personal audience each day with the King of Kings and He will speak to you personally through His Word.
When you're in love with someone, you want to spend every possible moment with them, delighting in what they have to say and responding to them from your heart. David said, 'The law from Your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.' (Psalm 119:72 NIV) Again he said, 'Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and Your servant loves them.' (Psalm 119:140 NIV)

An unknown poet wrote:
'Though the cover is worn and the pages are torn, and though places bear traces of tears, yet more precious than gold is this book worn and old, that can shatter and scatter my fears. When I prayerfully look in this precious old book, as my eyes scan the pages I see; many tokens of love from the Father above, Who is nearest and dearest to me. This old book is my guide, 'tis a friend by my side, it will lighten and brighten my way. And each promise I find soothes and gladdens my mind, as I read it and heed it today.'
Whatever you have to sacrifice, whatever priorities you have to rearrange, Please read your Bible every day.
Source with permission: UCB: The Word for Today 12 -16 March 2014 Authored by Bob and Debby Gass 

Saturday, March 15, 2014



If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, this doesn't just mean that you are the same person but have just "accepted Jesus and going to Heaven". 
No, it means that you are a whole new creation - NOW and for all eternity. 

You are "born again" spiritually and have become a new creation in Christ (Read John 3). Even as believers for years, we often fail to see all that we are in Christ and/or just plain need some reminders. So here are some reminders straight from God's word - He tells us just who we are (whether we FEEL like it or not!) Let's all soak in these truths today and remind ourselves of them often. 

I am a Child of God!
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12)

I am not the Great 'I AM' but, I am what I am!
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect." (1 Cor 15:10)

I am the Salt of the Earth whereby others see Jesus!
"You are the salt of the earth." (Mat 5:13)
I am the light of the World whereby others see Jesus! "You are the light of the world." (Mat 5:14)

I am a branch in Christ! I will bear much Fruit!
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

I am Christ's Friend!
"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15)

I am Chosen by Christ! I will bear much Fruit!
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last." (John 15:16)

I am free from Sin! I am a slave to Righteousness!
"You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." (Rom 6:18)

I am a Slave to God! I have Eternal Life!
"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." (Rom 6:22)

I am a Son ( Daughter ) of God! God is MY Father!!!
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Rom 8:15)

I am an Heir of GOD and a Co-Heir with Christ!
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Rom 8:17)

I am the Temple of God! God's Spirit live in ME!

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" (1 Cor 3:16)

I am part of the Body of Christ!
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (1 Cor 12:27)

I am a NEW Creation - the Old has gone the New has come!
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Cor 5:17)

I am Christ's Ambassador!
"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf:" (2 Cor 5:20)
I AM A SAINT! ( i.e. Forgiven Sinner ) "To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:" (Phil 1:1)

I am God's workmanship! I have work to do that he planned!
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph 2:10)
I am a Member of God's household! I BELONG! "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household," (Eph 2:19)

I am Created to be Like God in Righteousness and Holiness!
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." (Eph 4:22-24)

I am a Citizen of Heaven!
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," (Phil 3:20)

I am Hidden in GOD!
"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." (Col 3:3)

I will be with Christ in Glory!
"When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Col 3:4)

I am Chosen, Holy and Dearly LOVED!
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Col 3:12)

I am of the Light!
"You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." (1 Th. 5:5)

I have a Heavenly Calling!
"Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess." (Heb 3:1)

I am Chosen, Royal, a Priest, part of a Holy Nation and belong to GOD!
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Pet 2:9)

I am an Alien to this World!
"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." (1 Pet 2:11)

I will be like Christ when He appears!

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)

I am SAFE in CHRIST! Nothing happens to me that doesn't pass through Christ!
"We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him." (1 John 5:18)

I am able to do ANYTHING if it is Christ's will! I am totally dependent on Christ!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philipians 4:13)
"...Apart from me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

I am being changed each day to be more of who God intends for me to be!
"...He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)

Used with permission: Taken from Chris Long Laugh and Lift Daily Issue for March 25, 2010 Newsletter - (Source Vince DeMartino)

Please note you may find helpful "Prayers to pray using Scripture' in 2009 archive. Other Affirmations/scriptures to speak out can be found in my other Blogg 'Prayer Reflections"you will find link for this at top of page then go to May Archive 2007

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Garments of Grace

Some of these moments involve simple pride and embarrassment.

After over 35 years of speaking around the world, I still feel the embarrassment of my first public speech. Cub Scouts... explaining our project... making a little boat... and I remember exactly what I said that night. "My name is Phil Ware and..." There was nothing said after the "and"! I stood there with my face turning red, my insides quivering, and wanting to be swallowed by a large hole in the floor. I couldn't say a word. In front of my friends and family, I shut down, then ran out... humiliated and embarrassed, vowing to never speak again. While the sting remains, my vow didn't hold... thankfully! 

 Some of these moments, however, involve unspeakably deep wounds that came from someone very close to us betraying us, abandoning us in our time of need, or seeking to do us harm. What makes it even harder is that at one time, they had been committed to us as a friend, business partner, or a spouse and have now used that closeness to rip our guts out.  

Sometimes, our humiliation is actually brought on by our own failure that brought deep wounds to others and destroyed something precious between us.   These unspeakably deep wounds can take forever to heal.  

They can be re-opened by a thought, a memory, a song, a poem, a smell, a place... or a jillion other things. Yes, these are unspeakably deep wounds of humiliation and hurt and failure and live with us, just under the surface of our facades.  

This week, many of us have remembered Jesus on the way to the cross. He had been journeying toward the cross for quite some time. He has been warning his closest friends and followers that he must go to Jerusalem and die (Mark 8:31-32; Mark 9:30-32; Mark 10:32-34).  

But now, this awful and certain future is near the plans are underway and the dark forces behind this awful set of events are already in motion. And nearly everyone close to Jesus whether friend or foe is about to fail him through betrayal, denial, abandonment, mockery, and murder.  

Jesus' band of friends and followers sleeps in the garden, unable to stay awake and pray with Jesus as he wrestles with his dark destiny, and as he submits himself to the will of God above his own desires and fears. Even his closest friends, Peter and James and John, cannot stay awake with him!  

Judas arrives with his retinue of cowardly co-conspirators the soldiers from the Temple and the priests there to do in the night with swords and torches what they would not dare do in the daylight. Judas betrays his Teacher, his Lord, with a kiss!   He will later hang himself for betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver so deep is Judas' despair with his own failure and self-humiliation.  

As Jesus steps forward and offers himself to the arresting soldiers, his closest friends abandon him, desert him, and run for their lives as the Gospel of Mark says so hauntingly, "Then everyone deserted him and ran away" (Mark 14:50).  

They will eventually hole up in the upper room to hide in confusion, disarray, and despair, not once remembering his promise to rise from the dead  clueless of how or where to regain their lives from the dark night they had entered. 

Peter, who had emphatically proclaimed that he would be loyal no matter what the others in their little group would do, is now about to deny his Lord for the third time. His eyes meet Jesus' eyes from across the courtyard after Peter's final betrayal. Jesus' "Rock" then hears the rooster crow. His soul is torn apart by the shearing forces of shame, confusion, and grief as he watches Jesus handed over to be crucified.  

Peter then breaks down and weeps uncontrollably. 

There is one verse, one simple and mysterious reference in the Gospel of Mark, that speaks to all of us and to all of this this spineless, visionless, abandonment of the Son of God. They leave him alone, abandoned to face the hosts of hell and their human partners in the Sanhedrin, the High Priest's household, Herod's rule as King of the Jews, and Pilate's procuratorship as the enforcing power behind the Roman boot of oppression.  

When all Jesus' men have turned and run away from the Lord during his arrest, there is one young man who still follows. Just one. All the rest are gone. Presumably referring to himself, John Mark, the author of the Gospel, writes:  

And a young man, with nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving the garment behind (Mark 14:51-52). 

These are intriguing verses.Two haunting verses that serve as powerful reminders of the dangers of the night for Jesus' friends and followers.  

They are also reminders of the absolute "aloneness" that Jesus faces as he goes through the barbaric hours ahead. And for Mark, they become a way to say, "We were all exposed and naked, failures and disappointments to ourselves and to Jesus. Revealed for what we were pretenders and not protectors, fearful instead of faithful, and forsakers instead of friends. Seen for what we were, there was nothing left to do but hide in fear!" 

 Jesus' closest friends are exposed in the naked light of truth! Embarrassed. Humiliated. Hiding. Jesus goes to face his own naked light of truth on Golgotha. He will be stripped of clothes three times before the ordeal is done.
  1. He is first stripped of his clothes so they can put a purple robe on him, strike him with rods, spit upon him, and mock him (Mark 15:17-19).
  2. He is then stripped of his purple robe and his clothes placed back on him (Mark 15:20).
  3. He is stripped a third time, this time given nothing to wear so he would hang naked and exposed, humiliated and battered, as he died before a hostile, morbidly gleeful crowd of onlookers while the soldiers cast lots to see who would win his clothes (Mark 15:24).
Jesus dies alone... humiliated... brutalized... and exposed for all the world to see. No secrets. No hidden wounds just gaping, horrid, fully exposed wounds. No privacy. No modesty. Inhumanity proudly displaying its latest victim, writhing in the throes of death, alone, on a barbaric tree, for all of us and in front of all of us.  

And the connection of grace that transforms these moments of humiliation? The redeeming virtue in all of this brutality, inhumanity, and barbarism?  

Two truths, both powerfully symbolized by the garments left behind.   First come the garments of humiliation... the dark night of humiliation... now shared humiliation... seen in the garments left behind by John Mark and Jesus' garments gambled over by unnamed soldiers. 

 For all of us who have had those moments of embarrassment, humiliation, abandonment, and failure, we find Jesus meeting us in the darkness of our worst moments, when we are fully exposed, naked before the world in our own failure. Jesus hangs there, letting us know that he knows what it is like to be there exposed, humiliated, and alone to face those who mock us. 

 For every John Mark that has run away, naked in the night, afraid of tomorrow, fully humiliated and embarrassed, Jesus speaks softly, with arms outstretched, and says:  "See, look at my scars. I received them before the eyes of every gawker and every mocker. I know how it feels, but I am here to let you know how it heals!" 

Next come the garments of grace... of hope and life and new days with bright dawns.
Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, "They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn't go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed...
John 20:1-8 NLT).
Jesus left behind his garments of death! The grave clothes, the linen cloth that Jesus was wrapped in just like the linen cloth John Mark had stripped off him are left behind. The cloth for his head is neatly folded. There is no rush, no fear, no worry for the risen Son of Man. He neatly folds this head piece as testimony for those who find it. "I am risen," it says, "and I am alive for you!"

What powerful symbol! What powerful truth! What powerful hope!

Our task is to leave behind the garments of humiliation, failure, and death as we look in the empty tomb of Jesus and see the garments the risen Lord left behind to leave those behind and believe!  Humiliation has faded into gray, and fresh hope has dawned, bringing the promise of new life, clothed in Christ and his righteousness! No wonder the apostle Paul tells us:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).
Resurrection happens, not just for Jesus, but for all of us who need fresh hope after our own failures and humiliations! But how can this be so? How can this be true? It is because we've left the garments of sin and death behind, and by faith we have clothed ourselves in the garments of resurrection!
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27 NIV).
Do you know what it is like to be humiliated, exposed as a failure, and an embarrassment to yourself and to all who know you?  

Do you know what it is like to disappoint yourself or others in how you've handled a painful and difficult time?  

Do you wrestle with doubts about your value or worthiness and feel that everyone sees you as less than what you want to be?  

Do you struggle with the painful loss of someone you love and crave one last word, one last moment to say what was left unsaid or to fix one last thing that was left unfinished between you?  

None of us not you, not me none of us has to keep wearing our garments of loss, shame, failure, and disappointment anymore.  

The angels invite us, just as they did Peter and the beloved disciple, to look into the empty tomb, to see garments of death left neatly behind, and believe a new day has dawned!

Our Jesus is risen. Death has been defeated. And grace has brought life to what once held us captive!
Source: Used with permission from Phil Ware 'Daily Heartlight' 03/31/2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Reflection

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him." Romans 5:8

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17
Do you know Jesus? If you do not know Jesus and would like to know more - when you have time to spare go to this site and browse reflectively - there is a small booklet, videos and many testimonies. go to:
To Those Who Do: What would you say if someone asked you "Who is Jesus?" Are you prepared to give an answer?
It is important to know our own testimony of what Jesus has done so be able share the basics of the path to salvation.
How do we do that? We start by reading our Bible and meditating upon God's word - spending time waiting upon Him and listening. May you truly be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11 NIV