Archive for March, 2016

He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. (Matt 28:6)

We look forward with great anticipation the time when we will be reunited with Our Lord Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, and those we have loved who have gone before.

Today, as we like Mary discover the empty tomb, (John 20), may we run to tell others as she did, “Jesus is Alive!!!!” He is not in the tomb!

Look back to the Cross to see His love, but look towards the future to with Hope.

Happy Resurrection Sunday!


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Covenant of Love

Each of the Gospels relate different aspects of the night that Jesus was arrested and then placed on trial before the government and religious authorities. Each give an account of Jesus Christ’s journey to the Cross of Calvary. However, what none of them explain with simple language so that we don’t miss it, is that the Cross of Calvary was a covenant from God to us—a covenant that relates back to Abraham. (Genesis 17).

A covenant is different than a contract. In our world today, we often hear of legal battles because a contract was breached, or that a party to a contract wishes to renegotiate the terms. The terms of a covenant must be accepted or rejected in total. A party to the agreement, doesn’t get to bargain with the price.

God set the terms. Jesus Christ paid the terms. John 17 reminds us of Jesus’ commitment—His why– “And I revealed You to them and will keep on revealing You. I will do this so that Your love for me may be in them and I in them.” (John 17: 26)

Take the time to read Jesus’ prayer for you on that last night. He still intercedes today for us before the Throne of Grace. Contemplate what He was willing to do that day. His “why” was that we might be strong as He asked, “I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They are not part of this world any more than I am. Make them pure and holy by teaching them Your words of truth. …then the world will know that You sent me and will understand that You love them as much as You love me.” (John 17:15-16, 23)

For that Jesus withstood

Mocking from the chief priests, Sanhedrin, and the guards: (John 18:22)

The took him and beat him;

Spit in His face;

Blindfolded Him;

Slapped Him;

Struck Him with their fists;

Herod and his soldiers (Luke 23:11)

Ridiculed and mocked Him;

Dressed Him in a robe to imitate His being a king;

Pilate’s soldiers

Stripped Him;

Flogged Him;

Smashed a crown of thorns on His head to ridicule the idea He is a king;

Bartered for His clothes;

Pierced His hands and feet;


Violence in our world today is so accepted, perhaps we are numb to how cruel it really is. Stop and say out loud—“Jesus endured His suffering for me. Jesus believed, and still believes today, that His sacrifice was worth it because He loves me that much.” Acknowledge today, that with God for you, none can succeed against you (Romans 8:31). Jesus Christ loved you enough to stretch out His hands so your sins and mine can be nailed to the Cross again today.


The terms are non-negotiable. The Covenant of the Cross must be accepted in full. The price has been paid. Accept it or Reject it—the choice is yours today. And like the prayer, Jesus prayed in the Garden that night, this author and ministry urges you to accept it in full. Should you want to connect with one of the leaders—please reach out. We are praying for you to receive the Covenant of Love offered at the Cross.


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Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to His Father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of His love. (John 13:1)

Jesus set the stage for the events that would follow over the next few days as he made statements outlining the sequence of activities: 1) It is time; 2) Death will come but won’t be final; 3) If you focus only on today and this life, you will lose for all eternity; 4) to love Me is to follow Me, and to be honored by our/His Heavenly Father. (John 12). This was a reminder for Him as much as for us. Jesus was preparing Himself to be “obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:8)

Obedience is not a moment, it is a process connected by countless moments. We can look to the sequence of events in our lives and recognize that the Holy Spirit is sometimes working on our level of obedience; obedience that will set us free at the foot of the Cross. We have a clear example in Jesus Christ, that this isn’t a one-time decision, but requires the choice that must then be supported with action steps to walk out the decision.

Jesus did not just sit at the Last Supper with His disciples and talk the talk. He was not an armchair coach. Jesus took off his tunic, and proceeded to wash the feet of His disciples. (John 13) Jesus served. Even knowing that He was going to wash the feet of those who would deny Him, or leave Him, Jesus served.

Alicia Chole, in 40 Days of Decreases, notes, “May I suggest that washing other’s feet keeps us clean too? If so, perhaps Jesus was washing and forgiving and attending to His own heart simultaneously. Disciple after disciple, Jesus took their dirt and left them clean. And then, one day most—though sadly not all—looked back and understood that with every rinse of the water and every pat of the towel, Jesus was saying, ‘I forgive you in advance for your upcoming epic fail. Though it will surprise you, remember that it doesn’t surprise Me. My love will still be there when you return.’”

Jesus was betrayed by those deeply committed to Him. Perhaps you have felt a betrayal of one you trusted deeply. If so, bring all the pain and sorrow to Jesus Christ. He understands. Jesus doesn’t offer platitudes. Jesus offers you Himself. He knows. He understands. Yet, He still reaches out to serve, love, and extend grace and mercy. Doing less minimizes the example He set before us with His obedience to the Cross.


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“And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered,

and his clothing became dazzling white.”

Luke 9:29

The person in this story is Jesus, and it is the story of “The Transfiguration” (Luke 9:28-36).   He was with Peter, John, and James.  Though some would say that the keyword here is “praying,” to me it is the word “altered.”  It speaks!

In amazement I imagine what it must have been like to actually witness this transfiguration…humbled, I picture myself prostrate in prayer, mostly out of plain humility, but partly out of pure shock! Nevertheless, I am in wonder! I am in awe!

Of this entire story, this sentence parallels what happens when we, the broken, the ones who have been and are cast out, realize the gift God gave us in Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus’ facial appearance was ‘altered’ and his clothing changed, so too do we resemble this altered state when we give our hearts to him and choose to live our lives in a journey walk with him. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

Something astounding happens. Within this journey, a realization occurs. We are altered! We become clean! There is a joyfulness that overwhelms, a peace that comes beyond our understanding, and a different type of love that goes beyond the boundaries of blood; and when we allow our hearts, through prayer, God uses us for His Glory. What matters is his kingdom, not ours.

As we approach this time of remembrance, my heart is grateful for the “alteration” that has, sometimes painstakingly, taken place. I am without words to describe the type of love I have been given, and grace and mercy that has been granted. My prayer is that I never forget where I was, nor where I came from, for He has molded me through it all. It is that He will, through His transfiguration of me, use me as His vessel, that He will shine through my cracks, and that I am reminded that in all things I do…to do it for the glory of His Kingdom, not the will of my own, for I have been altered!

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The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival

heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’

John 12:12-13

As this final week of Lent begins before Holy Week, we are approaching what is celebrated as Palm Sunday. Reflect back to that first Palm Sunday. Jesus entered the City of David with a crowd of followers and disciples. Jesus was met by a crowd that had already gathered in the city for Passover. Imagine Jesus on the back of a colt. See the crowd and disciples with him rushing to meet him. Much like sometimes pictured on the news, the crowd pressed in on Jesus just as they surround a car carrying a dignitary or celebrity. Where would you be in that picture?

Would you be among those who throw their cloak on the ground for Jesus’ colt to walk upon? Or, would you be one of the leaders who demanded Jesus rebuke the disciples? (Luke 19:39). Would your voice be one that could be heard crying “Hosanna!” like those lining the streets that day? Would you be so excited anticipating the chance to see the Messiah that, like Zacchaeus you might climb a tree to see Him more clearly?

The celebration was wild and on the verge of getting out of control. The religious leaders were horrified that on the Sabbath the crowds were so unruly. They sacrificed the joy of spontaneity for what they felt was respectable. Nearly 45 years ago, I came in to a dorm from a church service singing, laughing and dancing. The dorm mother (yes, they had those then), confronted me about 2 inches from my face with an accusation; asking if I was drunk. My response shocked her, just as I am sure these religious leaders were shocked by what they observed watching the crowd that day. I stated, “No, I am drunk on the Spirit of Jesus.” She stumbled backwards as though she had seen something offensive. Perhaps that is how the religious leaders felt on that first Palm Sunday.

Jesus didn’t call us to be spectators. In fact, in response to the religious leaders, Jesus stated, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:39-40). Today, enter into worship for Your Lord Jesus Christ. Fast being a spectator. Celebrate Jesus with the abandon of joy often seen in children. Acknowledge the emotions that rise up in you when you imagine what you would have seen on that first Palm Sunday and step out of the spectator seats to celebrate and honor Jesus with your voice and life today.

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You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you

so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—so that

whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

I command you to love one another.

John 15:16-17

Chosen to produce fruit! Ask any farmer, or keeper of vines and orchards how difficult it is to produce fruit and all will acknowledge producing fruit takes patience, consistency, discipline and focused attention to tasks. So it is when you seek to produce spiritual fruit, whether in your own life or through mentoring or fellowshipping with others. Generating fruit, more fruit, or much fruit, as we are called to do, demands the same dedicated consistency. (John 15:1-8) Fruit that will last does not come from avoidance, ignoring warning signs of disease or the potential harm to the critical elements that must work together. The price for a successful harvest must be paid.

So it is with the journey of faith. We cannot negotiate the price if we truly want a personal and deeply intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Rationalization, avoidance, justification are all words that describe conduct implemented when we face the unknown, the uncomfortable, or difficult life events. Sensitize yourself today to those actions that emerge when life throws an unexpected twist in your day, week or changes your future entirely.   What are your default mechanisms when you are confronted with a challenge? Sleep? Eating? Becoming a hermit? Watching television? Shopping? Some of those are the ones that I run to when I want to avoid.

But the Lord God has called me out this Lenten season. God is challenging me to realize that turning back to those actions might bring me comfort and security for today, but none will lead to bearing fruit that will last in my life or the life of others. We are called to pour out compassion, encouragement, mercy, or other attitudes and actions that will offer the love of Jesus to a hurting life—leading to fruit that will last both in us and the ones we serve. It isn’t our job to determine the quality of the fruit; our responsibility is to “go and bear” fruit. We leave the worth of the harvest to the Lord.

This week of Lent, fast the rationalizations, justifications or those default actions that allow you to avoid the uncomfortable or unknown. It is time to stop avoiding. Notice the value—when we go as “appointed” we are being obedient to God’s directive, and the result is “so that whatever you ask” in the name of our Heavenly Father will be given to you. It is God’s command that we produce fruit by going out to love one another, and when we do, He will honor our requests in His name. Lavish love today in His Holy Name and for His honor and glory.

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Theologian Peter Abelard (1079-1142) stated, “By doubting we come to inquiry, by inquiry we come to truth.” Today, let your faith be messy. During this time of Lent Fast, let’s fast the faith that fits in a box or appears to have all of the answers.

John the Baptist declared Jesus the Messiah when he stood on the banks of the Jordan River, but then from prison asked, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matt 11:3) This side of eternity, we may never know what prompted John’s question, but given what he witnessed of Jesus’ ministry, it is easy to think that Jesus didn’t act like John had expected the Messiah to act. Certainly, that was true for the Pharisees and the religious leaders. Jesus came from the lowly town of Bethlehem. He was the son of a carpenter. He hung out with tax collectors and fishermen. He didn’t look like one who came to claim a kingdom, or a people as his own. Jesus’ actions didn’t match John’s expectations.

Jesus’ actions are often not what we expect. John’s question may echo through your own thoughts. When our prayers bring a different looking answer than we contemplated, we too can wonder if Jesus is truly who we thought He was; a critical point Henry Blackaby describes as a “crisis of faith.” Questions, inquiry, as John did, are healthy. They point to a living, growing, active faith that is searching to be more intimate with Jesus Christ. Questions lead to a closer walk with Jesus and through that seeking we grow to be more like Him…share your thoughts today with Jesus.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable!  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalms 139:17, 23)

“Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on Him now while He is near…” (Isaiah 55:6)

“My thoughts are completely different from yours, says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” (Romans 12:2)

“Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever date to ask or hope.” (Eph 3:20)



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