Saturday, April 30, 2011

Continual Praise

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God.
Luke 24:50-53

Christ's redemptive work on earth was finished and now He sits at the right hand of God the Father. . . "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). The disciples worshiped Christ at His ascension "and were continually in the temple praising God." Knowing everything we do from scripture about our Lord and the salvation we have through Him, should inspire us to continually praise Him, as well.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Great Commission

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:18-20

Before His betrayal, Jesus had prayed in the garden to the Father, "You gave Him (Jesus) authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."  Before He left the earth to join His Father in heaven, the Lord gave His disciples the Great Commission: Go and make disciples in all the nations. Jesus gave His life so that all people could come to Him and have eternal life, no matter who or where they are. But how could anyone have eternal life through Jesus Christ, unless they had heard the good news of His gospel? The Great Commission was not just for HIs eleven disciples. It continues today through those who believe and will continue until Christ returns. It is Christ's commandment to us and His spirit is with us as we carry it out. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can You Relate?

"They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread." 
Luke 24:35

While Jesus walked with the two men on the road to Emmaus, they did not recognize Him. Later, after they invited Him to stay with them and they were reclining at a table, Jesus took bread, blessed it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him. Don't you wonder what it was about the breaking of the bread that caused them to recognize the Lord? Was it His authority in asking the blessing and giving them the bread to eat? Was that something they had seen Him do before? Or did they see His nail-scarred hands and realize then that this was the Savior? Whatever the reason, their hearts were on fire for Him (Luke 24:32). He had opened the scriptures to them, He had blessed their meal, and had graced them with His presence. Their response was to return to Jerusalem post-haste and tell others about Jesus. Studying scripture  and spending time with the Lord should give us a yearning in our hearts to relate what we have learned to others.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Speak From the Heart

And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad. One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, "Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?" And He said to them, "What things?" 
Luke 24:17-19a

On the road to Emmaus, two followers of Jesus are walking and discussing all that had taken place in Jerusalem regarding the Lord's arrest and crucifixion. Jesus comes along side of them and listens to their conversation, miraculously keeping them from recognizing Him. Can you imagine what went through the Savior's mind when Cleopas asked Him if He was "the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?" Jesus must have smiled to Himself over that question. He certainly knew what had gone on over those three days! Still, He wants them to share what is on their hearts. This is the loving kindness of our Lord. He always wants us to speak to Him from our hearts.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scars of Love

Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" John 20:28

Thomas refused to believe the testimony of the other ten disciples that Christ had risen from the dead. We may criticize Thomas for his unbelief, but isn't that where we all start? At a point of disbelief? Someone shares the gospel of the risen Savior with us and we find it too hard to believe. Or we read the gospel account for ourselves and still waiver in doubt. I find it interesting that the proof Thomas demanded was the wounds of Jesus: His nail-scarred hands and His pierced side. One can only surmise why Thomas made such a particular request, but it does reveal to us that the wounds of Christ are still visible in His resurrected body. Upon seeing them Thomas proclaimed Jesus' deity: Lord and God. One day those of us who love Him will see the scars of His sacrifice for our sins. And when we behold those scars of love we, like Thomas, may cry "My Lord and my God!".

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Humble Heart - God's Tool

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
   “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
John 21:15

What a beautiful picture of the Lord's grace we see in the restoration of Peter. Even though he denied knowing the Lord three times -- just as Jesus said he would -- Christ didn't hold that against  Peter. Is it significant that the Lord asked Peter three times "do you love me?" I think it is. Jesus could see inside Peter's heart. He knew the sorrow that resided there over His friend's denial of Him. What Peter had done was a serious matter and for the disciple's sake  the Lord would not take it lightly. Peter had to face head on the sin he had committed in denying Jesus. His humble heart was imperative to Christ being able to use him to care for His followers and spread the gospel. A humble heart is always a required tool for God's work.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Lives!

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8

This is the gospel. Praise the Lord! He lives!
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