and He shall stand at last on the earth..."
Greetings, dear friends!
You'll notice that this newsletter is shorter and it contains more graphics and fewer topics. I just felt like remembering our Savior's Passion and Resurrection this way. I hope you like it.
As I was looking for artwork for this month’s newsletter, I came across a myriad of crosses with elaborate engravings and beautiful flowers winding their way around the cross. But no one had an ugly rugged, splintery, blood-stained cross... and that made me sad.
Have we come so far from Calvary that we’ve forgotten that the cross was not a symbol of beauty and love? Yes... because of what our Savior endured there, it has become a symbol of love; but at that time, the cross was a symbol of torture of the cruelest kind! And no matter how many vines of flowers you put around it, it would still be ugly and crude... and something you’d never wear around your neck, place on a T-shirt, or hang on a wall!
Friends, please(!),let’s not rush through this season leading up to Easter and forget what Easter's all about. No matter how you choose to celebrate Easter, slow down and consider what our Savior endured on the previous Friday (Preparation Day for the Passover). We call it 'Good Friday', and as the day when God purchased my salvation, it is good; but as the day when Jesus of Nazareth died in excruciating physical and emotional pain, there’s nothing 'good' about it!
Let's not celebrate the Resurrection until we've spent some time, again, kneeling at the foot of the Cross — not an ornate flower-covered cross, but a roughly-hewn timber soaked with the precious blood of Jesus. Kneel there... dare to look up and see His tortured body nailed there... dare even to see the charges against Him: your and my sins!
Only after we've cried and mourned on Golgotha can we truly celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Then... "My Redeemer lives!" will be more than the name of a website or a song on page 286 in your hymnal.
Your sister and servant,
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On the Same Night
"...the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.' In the same manner, He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.' "
1 Corinthians 11:23b–25
"The Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread..." Oh, let the pastor murmur those words, "the same night," with awe. For who among us can hear them just before receiving the gift of Christ's intimacy and not be overcome with wonder, stunned at such astonishing love?
...That same night! When absolutely nothing recommended us. When "we were enemies." Enemies! In the night when His people betrayed Him — the night of the most intense enmity — the dear Lord Jesus said, "This is My blood of the covenant, poured out for many." Then! Can we comprehend the joining of two such extremes, the good and the evil together? In the night of gravest human treachery He gave the gift of Himself.
"Reliving the Passion"
The true nature of a heart
is seen in its response to the unattractive.
Picture of Jesus
There was an atheist couple who had a child. The couple never told their daughter anything about the Lord.
One night when the little girl was 5 years old, the parents fought with each other and the Dad shot the Mom, right in front of the child. Then, the dad shot himself! The little girl watched it all.
She then was sent to a foster home. The foster mother was a Christian and took the child to church. On the first day of Sunday School, the foster mother told the teacher that the girl had never heard of Jesus, and to have patience with her.
The teacher held up a picture of Jesus and asked, "Does anyone know who this is?"
The little girl said, "I do! That's the man who was holding me the night my parents died."
Contributed by Marilyn Ferguson
Three Men on Crosses
By Mart De Haan
CRUCIFIXION WAS TORTURE. Leather straps and/or spikes were used to hang the condemned man on a pole, tree, or cross. Like a helpless animal tangled in a barbed wire fence, the victim could survive for days in excruciating pain. Death usually came by suffocation when, hanging by his hands, the victim lost the strength to draw another breath.
I found an explanation of the significance of those deaths written on the flyleaf of my grandfather's Bible. In words I have found memorable, my grandfather M. R. De Haan wrote, "One man died with guilt in him and on him. A second man died with guilt in him but not on him. The third died with guilt on him but not in him." Since finding that quote, I've held on to it as a profoundly simple description of some differences we all need to understand.
The first thief seems to have died an angry man. He was probably angry with himself for getting caught. He was probably angry with the judge who sentenced him. He was probably angry with all those who had let him down along the way. He seems to have been especially angry with the man named Jesus who hung innocently at his side.
The first thief wasn't alone in his contempt for Jesus. Others shared his feelings. It was easy to be furious with someone who claimed to be the light and hope of the world — then hung like a common criminal, not even saving Himself from death. Angry with Jesus for being unable to help Himself or anyone else (Luke 23:39), the first thief died with his own sin in him and on him.
As the darkness closed in, however, the second thief had a change of heart. Turning to the first thief, he said, "Don’t you fear God since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)
That may be one of the 10 most important conversations ever recorded. Those few words show what the rest of the New Testament declares. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life is given to anyone who believes in Jesus. Nothing more. Nothing less. Faith alone in Christ alone determines our eternal destiny (John 3:16-18; Acts 16:31; Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
The second thief had no time to clean up his life. He had no time to do anything but to believe in Jesus. In the process, he gave all of us a picture of what it takes to come into the eternal family of God.
In response to the simplest expression of faith, Jesus assured him of forgiveness. The second thief died with sin in him but not on him. The Judge of the heavens lifted the guilt from the second thief’s shoulders, placing it instead on Jesus, our sin-bearer.
What I also find amazing is that this is our story. We were there. We were there because God was there in our place, bearing our sins. We were also there because all of us will respond either as the first thief or as the second. The words don't make the difference; the faith does. If you don't have that faith, but want it, ask God to give it to you. You won't be the first to cry out, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24)
RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI 49555 USA
Whatever grace I experience today is far more than I deserve.
Whatever pain I experience today is far less than I deserve.
Still He Walked...
He could hear the crowds screaming, "Crucify! Crucify!"
He could hear the hatred in their voices,
These were His chosen people.
He loved them,
And they were going to crucify him.
He was beaten, bleeding and weakened... His heart was broken,
But still He walked.
He could see the crowd as He came from the palace.
He knew each of the faces so well.
He had created them.
He knew every smile, laugh, and shed tear,
But now they were contorted with rage and anger; His heart broke...
But still He walked.
Was He scared?
You and I would have been
So His humanness would have mandated that He was. He felt alone.
His disciples had left, denied, and even betrayed Him.
He searched the crowd for a loving face and He saw very few.
Then he turned His eyes to the only one who mattered
And He knew that He would never be alone.
He looked back at the crowd, at the people who were spitting,
Throwing rocks at Him and mocking Him, and He knew
That because of Him, they would never be alone.
So for them, He walked.
The sounds of the hammer striking the spikes echoed through
The crowd. The sounds of His cries echoed even louder,
The cheers of the crowd, as His hands and feet
Were nailed to the cross, intensified with each blow.
Loudest of all was the still small voice inside His
Heart that whispered "I am with You, my Son",
And God's heart broke.
He had let His Son walk.
Jesus could have asked God to end His suffering,
But instead He asked God to forgive.
Not to forgive Him, but to forgive the ones who were persecuting Him.
As He hung on that cross, dying an unimaginable death,
He looked out and saw, not only the faces in the crowd,
But also, the face of every person yet to be,
And His heart filled with love.
As His body was dying, His heart was alive.
Alive with the limitless, unconditional love He feels for each of us.
That is why He walked.
When I forget how much My God loves me,
I remember His walk.
When I wonder if I can be forgiven,
I remember His walk.
When I need to be reminded of how to live like Christ,
I think of His walk.
And to show Him how much I love Him,
I wake up each morning, turn my eyes to Him,
And I walk...
The Best Math Equation Ever
1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4 Given
Our Greatest Need
If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness...
so God sent us a Savior.
May you know today how great is His love for you!
"'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son...'"
Contributed by Shelly Navarrete
I love Jesus only as much
as I love the person I love the least.
Praise Reports from the Website
Thank you so much for praying for me!!! Everything with the money that I owed to the school has been sorted out and they have dropped the charges so we can afford paying them. And I am a believer! God has strengthened my faith!! I have no doubts now! I BELIEVE! THANK YOU ALL!!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!! Your sister in Christ, M.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I will start my new job next week Thursday. Please continue to pray that I am successful in learning this job and that I will enjoy this job like no other. Thank you and God bless and I will keep you posted on my son. Thanks again! D. L.
"[The prayer of faith] is a prayer willing to believe and prevail for God's answer in a situation that is utterly impossible. Regardless of the difficulty of the situation, you require no external confirmation but believe God in spite of appearance. Your eyes are on God, not on the situation."
Wesley L. Duewel
"The Lord who vacated His tomb
has not vacated His throne."
G. R. Beasley-Murray
Jesus, Name Above All Names
You may be familiar with the tune, "Jesus, Name Above All Names" that became popular during the 'Jesus Movement' of the 1970s. But did you know there's more than one verse to the song? Well, now you do...
(to a different tune)
Jesus you are the Holy One, the Holy One of God,
The Holy One of God, the Holy One of God.
Hallelujah to the name, Hallelujah to the name,
Hallelujah to the name of Jesus.
Jesus, Name above all names,
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord,
Emmanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, living Word.
I AM, Light of the gentiles,
Lord God Almighty, Prince of Peace,
El Shaddai, God is sufficient,
Shepherd of souls, King of kings.
Lily of the Valley,
Son of David, Rose of Sharon,
The Alpha and the Omega,
Seed of Jesse, Morning Star.
Jesus, our Intercessor,
Promised Messiah, Bread of Life,
The Giver of Living Water,
Mighty Baptizer, Son of God.
Submitted by Indiana Church of Christ, Indiana, Pennsylvania
(as received from Annette Lumbleau who was a missionary in Kenya)
"If you've never stood before God and been confused,
then you've never stood before God."
Key Life Ministries
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