Sunday, March 27, 2016

Amazing Grace, Easter Prayers

Below are some appropriate thoughts on Easter.  For me, personally, it's always good to have that reminder of why we follow prophecy and why we serve as "watchmen" - and I think I can speak for most of us who follow and report on prophetic events. It's a passion because we long to be with Jesus and we feel the pain of separation on an ongoing basis. For those of us who are impatient, prophecy fulfillment as we approach the end of the age always serves as a reminder that we are very close to being in His very presence. 

Just imagine that. In His very presence. Wow. Can you imagine that day? That moment when we come face to face with HIM? 

A Prayer of Thanks  - an Easter Prayer 

by Max Lucado

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to earth as a baby so many years ago.  Thank you that He paid the punishment for my sins by dying on the cross.  And thank you that He rose again to prove that death was truly defeated. I place my trust in You to be my Savior. Guide me through the dark times of my life and give me courage to live
for You. 

How wonderful, how marvelous, is Your love, Jesus! To think that You were willing to go through that for me!

What a day of rejoicing that must have been when You rose and realized it was all over--You had won the victory! You had accomplished Your mission. You had made the way for the world to be saved. You had gone through the horrors of Hell and death for us, and it was over.

You arose in victory, joy, liberation, and freedom from the hands of evil men, never to have to go through that again--and You did it all to spare us the same. Now we can say with the apostle Paul, "O death, where is your sting? O Hades [grave], where is your victory?" (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

As I think of the seemingly terrible defeat that You suffered and how it resulted in such a tremendous victory, it fills me with wonder and gives me such hope and peace. Surely You and Your love will see me through whatever troubles may come my way, from now till eternity!

The dialogue that Friday morning was bitter.

From the onlookers, “Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!”From the religious leaders, “He saved others but he can’t save himself.”

From the soldiers, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

Bitter words. Acidic with sarcasm. Hateful. Irreverent. Wasn’t it enough that he was being crucified? Wasn’t it enough that he was being shamed as a criminal? Were the nails insufficient? Was the crown of thorns too soft? Had the flogging been too short?

For some, apparently so...

Of all the scenes around the cross, this one angers me the most. What kind of people, I ask myself, would mock a dying man? Who would be so base as to pour the salt of scorn upon open wounds? How low and perverted to sneer at one who is laced with pain…

The words thrown that day were meant to wound. And there is nothing more painful than words meant to hurt…

If you have suffered or are suffering because of someone else’s words, you’ll be glad to know that there is a balm for this laceration. Meditate on these words from 1 Peter 2:23 (NIV):
“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

Did you see what Jesus did not do? He did not retaliate. He did not bite back. He did not say, “I’ll get you!” “Come on up here and say that to my face!” “Just wait until after the resurrection, buddy!” No, these statements were not found on Christ’s lips.

Did you see what Jesus did do? He “entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” He did not take on the task of seeking revenge. He demanded no apology. He hired no bounty hunters and sent out no posse. He, to the astounding contrary, spoke on their defense. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”? (Luke 23:34 NIV)…

“they don’t know what they are doing.”
And when you think about it, they didn’t. They hadn’t the faintest idea what they were doing. They were a stir-crazy mob, mad at something they couldn’t see so they took it out on, of all people, God. But they didn’t know what they were doing.

Yes, the dialogue that Friday morning was bitter. The verbal stones were meant to sting. How Jesus, with a body wracked with pain, eyes blinded by his own blood, and lungs yearning for air, could speak on behalf of some heartless thugs is beyond my comprehension. Never, never have I seen such love. If ever a person deserved a shot at revenge, Jesus did. But he didn’t take it. Instead he died for them. How could he do it? I don’t know. But I do know that all of a sudden my wounds seem very painless. My grudges and hard feelings are suddenly childish.

Sometimes I wonder if we don’t see Christ’s love as much in the people he tolerated as in the pain he endured.

Amazing Grace.

Jesus’ final act on earth was intended to win your trust.

This is the final act of Jesus’ life. In the concluding measure of his earthly composition, we hear the sounds of a thirsty man.

And through his thirst—through a sponge and a jar of cheap wine—he leaves a final appeal.

“You can trust me.”

Jesus. Lips cracked and mouth of cotton. Throat so dry he couldn’t swallow, and voice so hoarse he could scarcely speak. He is thirsty. To find the last time moisture touched these lips you need to rewind a dozen hours to the meal in the upper room. Since tasting that cup of wine, Jesus has been beaten, spat upon, bruised, and cut. He has been a cross-carrier and sin-bearer, and no liquid has salved his throat. He is thirsty.

Why doesn’t he do something about it? Couldn’t he? Did he not cause jugs of water to be jugs of wine? Did he not make a wall out of the Jordan River and two walls out of the Red Sea? Didn’t he, with one word, banish the rain and calm the waves? Doesn’t Scripture say that he “turned the desert into pools” (PSALM 107:35 NIV) and “the hard rock into springs” (PSALM 114:8 NIV)?

Did God not say, “I will pour water on him who is thirsty” (ISAIAH. 44:3NKJV)?
If so, why does Jesus endure thirst?

While we are asking this question, add a few more. Why did he grow weary in Samaria (John 4:6), disturbed in Nazareth (Mark 6:6), and angry in the Temple (John 2:15)? Why was he sleepy in the boat on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:38), sad at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35), and hungry in the wilderness (Matt. 4:2)?

Why? And why did he grow thirsty on the cross?

He didn’t have to suffer thirst. At least, not to the level he did. Six hours earlier he’d been offered drink, but he refused it.

They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. (Mark 15:22–24 NIV, italics mine)

Before the nail was pounded, a drink was offered. Mark says the wine was mixed with myrrh. Matthew described it as wine mixed with gall. Both myrrh and gall contain sedative properties that numb the senses. But Jesus refused them. He refused to be stupefied by the drugs, opting instead to feel the full force of his suffering.

Why? Why did he endure all these feelings? Because he knew you would feel them too.
He knew you would be weary, disturbed, and angry. He knew you’d be sleepy, grief-stricken, and hungry. He knew you’d face pain. If not the pain of the body, the pain of the soul … pain too sharp for any drug. He knew you’d face thirst. If not a thirst for water, at least a thirst for truth, and the truth we glean from the image of a thirsty Christ is—he understands.

And because he understands, we can come to him.


ChristineInCleveland said...

Easter blessings to you Scott & your family, & thank you for the work you do producing this daily blog to remind us we are almost home! :D

Scott said...

Christine - so nice to hear from you, and thanks so much for that - same to you - God Bless sister - It won't be long.

Sandra said...

Scott, I thank your family for allowing you time to post so faithfully. Thank you for all your effort. I am very sadden when I read most of the posted articles but blessed because our time is very short now.

Soon we will be all rejoicing!


Scott said...

Sandra - many thanks sister. Its a joy to do His work, I think Him daily that He allows this.

Hope is on the way...I know it seems like it is taking forever, but I always remember that Noah had to wait 100+ years. I can't even imagine what he had to endure during that time.

But we know that the "pay-off" will be beyond incredible, and at that time we will forget the waiting as we rest in Him and His love. Having said that - today would be really nice :)

Sandra said...

yes, I am for that, ready for my flight home!

Scott said...

Amen, amen

Karin said...

Thanks be to God for giving us His only begotten Son! We love you Jesus! Thank you Scott for this blog. Happy Easter everyone!

Scott said...

Beautifully stated Karin many thanks