Easter Sunday

The Empty Tomb: John 20: 1-22

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

  “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

   She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

On this glorious Easter morning we awake to a world that is filled with hope instead of despair. A morning that is full of light instead of the darkness of Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Christ is risen and He is victorious over evil. This Easter morning we join with believers throughout the world in proclaiming: Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen indeed!

Holy Saturday

Today is referred to as Holy Saturday or Black Saturday. It is the last day of Holy Week, in which we await the resurrection of Christ on Easter morning. On Holy Saturday we remember the day that the body of Christ lay in the tomb.

From the book of Matthew we find this event occurring on Saturday, which was the Sabbath. Matthew 27:62-66: The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

The words of Jesus from John 16:20-22: I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

On this day, I am certain that the disciples were confused and scared. Jesus had been crucified and all may have seemed hopeless and lost. We know that the disciples struggled often in their walk of faith and on this dark day they could not begin to comprehend what was about to take place the next morning. The despair they must have felt and the guilt of abandoning Jesus would have been a heavy burden to bear. They probably could not comprehend or imagine – the light and the hope that would forever change the world – come tomorrow morning. Even though it may have seemed that evil had prevailed we know that evil will never prevail against God’s Kingdom. Tomorrow we can say with complete joy and confidence that – Christ is risen – Christ is risen indeed!

Friday of Holy Week

The Jewish and Roman trials of Jesus

Jesus’ trial took place in two stages: a Jewish trial and a Roman trial, each of which had three parts. The Jewish trial consisted of: (1) the preliminary hearing before Annas, the former high priest; (2) the trial before Caiaphas, the ruling high priest, and the Sanhedrin; and (3) the final action of the council, which brought to a conclusion its all-night session.  The three episodes of the Roman trial were: (1) the trial before Pilate; (2) the trial before Herod Antipas; and (3) the trial before Pilate continued and concluded. [1]

The first trial occurred during the nighttime hours before Annas. In the second trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus is pronounced “worthy of death.”  Matthew 26:67-68: Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?” The third trial occurred immediately at daybreak and the council condemns Jesus and leads him off to Pilate.

Matthew’s Gospel tells us that when Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, saw that Jesus had been condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5).

Still early in the morning, Jesus goes before Pilate. When Pilate realizes that Jesus is a Galilean, he sends him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction. Luke tells us that when Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. Luke writes that Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends – before this they had been enemies (Luke 23:11-12).

Pilate then examines Jesus and cannot find a basis for a charge against Jesus. Pilate wanted to release Jesus but the crowd kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” (Luke 23:20-21). Herod then speaks to the crowd for a third time telling them that he will have Jesus punished and then released. “But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.” So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

Jesus is crucified (from approximately 9 AM until Noon)

Mark’s gospel gives us the following account of Jesus’ crucifixion. A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 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 15:21-24).

John 19:25-27: Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Luke 23:44-49: It was now about the sixth hour (noon) and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour (3pm), for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Jesus Burial

 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Jesus’ body would have been wrapped and placed in the tomb before sunset, when the Sabbath would begin and no work could be done.

Good Friday has ended with our Lord and Savior placed in the tomb.

[1] Zondervan NIV Study Bible, 2002, page 1559

Thursday of Holy Week

Thursday – The Last Supper and Gethsemane

Jesus prepares himself and his disciples for his death and gives the Passover meal a new meaning.

Luke 22:14-23: The Last Supper

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet: According to John’s Gospel, “Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love” (John 13:1). John tells us that Satan had already prompted Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. After the meal, Jesus gets up and begins to wash his disciples feet. Jesus says to his disciples, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (John 13:7). Jesus tells his disciples that they should also wash one another’s feet, being humble in service towards others.

The gospel of Mark tells us that when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:26).

Gethsemane: Mark 14:32-42: 32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

 41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Jesus Arrested: Mark 14-43-50: 43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

 44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

   48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.

Before the Sanhedrin: Mark 14:53-56; 64b-65:  53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.

55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.

They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.

 This concludes the events of Thursday of Holy Week.

Wednesday of Holy Week

Wednesday – A Day of Rest and Silence

For Jesus, Wednesday was a day of rest and he most likely remained in Bethany throughout the day and also spent the night there again. The Gospel accounts are mostly silent in regards to any activity by Jesus on Wednesday – although Luke tells us that Jesus was teaching at the temple each day of the final week of his life – Luke 21:37-38.  Jesus, knowing what was ahead, probably spent time in the company of his friends only two days before he is to be crucified.

It’s difficult for us to imagine what was going through Jesus’ mind on this apparent day of rest. In two short days, the light that came into a dark and fallen world would be crucified. Jesus would take on the sin of the world and suffer a painful and agonizing death on the cross at Calvary.

As I write this today, I am reminded of how much pain and suffering Jesus endured so that my sins and your sins could be forgiven. It gives me greater strength to approach my daily life differently, to live a life that is focused on following my Lord and Savior without hesitation and with an ever increasing faith. Jesus reminds us that we are to take up our cross daily and follow him. That is a calling that we as followers of Christ should take very seriously and faithfully.

Those who were plotting to take Jesus’ life were busy at work, scheming and planning about how they could arrest him. It could have been on Wednesday that Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests with an offer to betray Jesus.

Matthew 26: 14-16: Then one of the Twelve – the one called Judas Iscariot – went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ  – only two days from the cross at Calvary.

Tuesday of Holy Week

According to the Gospel accounts, these events took place on Tuesday of Holy Week.

A day of controversy and parables: In Jerusalem, Jesus eluded the traps set by the priests. On the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, Jesus taught in parables and warned the people against the Pharisees. He predicted the destruction of Herod’s great temple and told his disciples about future events, including his own return. (The Glorious Appearance is the Second Coming of Christ and on that day scripture tells us that He will stand on this same Mount of Olives) Zechariah 14:4.

Jesus’ disciples see the withered fig tree on their return to Jerusalem from Bethany: Mark 11:20-25: In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”  “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.

“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Jesus engages in conflict with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem: Mark 11:27-33: They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”  Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)

So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”   Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

Jesus then began to speak to the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders and he spoke to them in parables. Jesus tells them the parable of the tenants, a parable that exposed the planned attempt on Jesus’ life, and God’s judgment on those who were planning it. After Jesus told this parable, the gospel writer Mark tells us: “Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away” (Mark 12:12).

Luke 21:37-38: Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.

It appears that Jesus again spends the night in Bethany. This concludes the events of Tuesday of Holy Week

 

 

Monday of Holy Week

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the day which Jesus made his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Mark 11:1 tells us that after Jesus entered Jerusalem he went to the temple and “looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve” (Mark 11:11).

Monday of Passion Week:  Jesus curses a fig tree: Mark 11:12-14: The next day (Monday) as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

Many scholars understand the fig tree to represent Israel. God’s chosen people had the Messiah in their midst but they did not recognize or accept him as their Lord and Savior. A fig tree full of leaves should have produced fruit but this tree did not. Israel had the opportunity to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah but they rejected him, consequently they were unable to bear fruit in taking that message to the Gentiles.

Jesus clears the Temple: Mark 11:15-18: On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”  The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

In the evening, Jesus and the Twelve leave Jerusalem and return to Bethany (Mark 11:19).

According to the Gospels, these events took place on Monday of Passion Week.

Palm Sunday Devotional

Zechariah 9:9(NIV)
The Coming of Zion’s King

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Mark 11:1-11(NIV)
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

On this Palm Sunday, we celebrate the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, which inaugurates the beginning of Passion Week. Jesus’ final week of ministry will take place within the boundaries of the Holy City. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is significant for two reasons: 1) It is a purposeful action taken by Jesus to fulfill prophecy. 2) As Jesus offers himself as Messiah to Israel for the final time, the Jewish leaders will be forced to take action against Jesus. John’s Gospel confirms this in John 12:19: “So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

The prophet Zechariah had prophesied that the Messiah would enter the holy city of Jerusalem “on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Mark’s Gospel tells us that Jesus instructed two of his disciples to retrieve a donkey which “no one has ever ridden.” The significance of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey is important. In the Old Testament, animals that had never been ridden or harnessed were considered appropriate for royal or religious purposes. The donkey serves as a symbol of humility as well as a fulfillment of prophecy.

John’s Gospel tells us that the crowd “took palm branches and went out to meet” Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem (John 12:13). The crowd celebrated the coming of the Messiah, but many in the crowd and even Jesus’ disciples, did not fully comprehend the significance of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into the Holy City. Many of the same people in the crowd who shouted, “Hosanna!” will shout “Crucify him!” in just a few days.

Mark’s Gospel story of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry ends with Jesus in the temple courts, “looking around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” This concludes the events of Palm Sunday.

The Unfailing Love of God

Psalm 143:8-10 (NIV)

8Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,

for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

for to you I entrust my life.

9Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,

for I hide myself in you.

10Teach me to do your will,

for you are my God;

may your good Spirit

lead me on level ground.

How do you begin your morning? Most of us have a morning routine that we usually don’t vary from. Some of us must have at least an hour to wake up, have our coffee, and mentally prepare ourselves for the day. That mental preparation could include surfing the internet, watching the early morning news or sports shows, or reading a book. There are others who simply wake up, shower, and get ready for school or work hurriedly, as they make a mad dash for the door. I know of others who enjoy their favorite morning beverage outside, sitting on their back deck or porch, and taking in the sights and sounds of God’s amazing creation.

In Psalm 143, a psalm of David, we find that David is greatly distressed as he cries out to God for relief from those who want to harm him. He prays for God’s mercy and he calls upon God’s faithfulness and righteousness to bring him some relief from his enemies. David doesn’t know what his day may hold, but he has the faith to begin each morning, calling upon God for guidance and reassurance.

Do you allow the morning to bring you word of God’s unfailing love? Do you look to God and trust Him to guide you throughout your day? Spending time alone with God each morning is the best way I know to gain strength and reassurance for the day ahead. Although we don’t know what the day ahead has in store for us, God does, and He asks that we only trust Him as He shows us the way.

We learn to trust God by drawing closer to Him each day, as we acknowledge His unfailing love and His presence in our lives. As we read the Bible, or sit in silence praying to God, we are learning to deepen our trust in God and acknowledge His presence in every area of our lives. Through the Holy Spirit, we can ask God to lead us down the path that He has ordained for us. And as we grown into a deeper relationship with God we will begin to proclaim what David so beautifully affirmed: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”

 

 

 

Dealing With the Stress of This World

1 Peter 5:6-10 NASB: 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Is there something on your mind at this very moment that is causing you anxiety or worry? Are you becoming increasingly overwhelmed with your job or with your seemingly endless daily responsibilities of life in general? Do you ever wonder when life will get easier and hopefully less stressful? If these are just some of the questions that you are faced with, then I urge you to turn your worries and anxieties over to God and allow His grace and mercy to strengthen you. Call upon the name of God and He will hear you, because He cares for you. And because God thinks about and cares about you, the Apostle Peter gives us the hope and the promise, that after a time of suffering, God will “perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

As we go through times of testing and trials, we must cling to and seek God even more. You see, that is precisely when Satan, the great deceiver, comes charging hard after you, seeking to “devour” you. When you are at your weakest, Satan will accuse you and attack you and do everything he can to keep your mind away from God. He knows that if you can get your mind focused on God, then the power of God will strengthen and establish and protect you. Seek God and not the things of this world and you will find peace and rest for your soul.

The song “Oceans (Where feet may fail)” by Hillsong United, is a song that helps me to melt away the stress of my day and it helps me to focus my heart, mind, and soul upon my creator God. I often feel the need to block out the noise and the sin of this world that I live in, because my strength is drawn from a higher power than anything here on this earth. My strength comes from above – from the Lord and my savior Jesus Christ. Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you into a more fully trusting relationship with your Lord and Savior, as your faith is “made stronger.”

 

 

My Daily Journey With God in Athens Ga.