The Tomb

Alexander-ivanov-cave6

Today I listened to someone recite Psalm 22.  With my eyes closed, I gained a new understanding of the time in between the cross and the resurrection.  Bits and pieces of scripture came together like puzzle pieces to form a picture I’d never seen before, almost a vision.

God, my God!

Why would you abandon me now?

Why do you remain distant,

refusing to answer my tearful cries in the day

and my desperate cries for your help in the night?

I can’t stop sobbing.

Where are you, my God?

Yet I know that you are most holy.

You are God-Enthroned, the praise of Israel.

Our fathers’ faith was in you—

through the generations they trusted in you

and you came through.

Every time they cried out to you in their despair,

you were faithful to deliver them;

you didn’t disappoint them.

But I am like a worm,

crushed and bleeding crimson,

treated as less than human.

I’ve been despised and scorned by everyone!

Mocked by their jeers, despised with their sneers,

as all the people poke fun at me, spitting their insults,

saying, “Is this the one who trusted in God?

Now let’s see if Yahweh will come to your rescue!

Let’s see how much he delights in him!”

Lord, you delivered me safely from my mother’s womb.

You are the one who cared for me ever since I was a baby.

Since the day I was born, I’ve been placed in your custody.

You’ve cradled me throughout my days,

and you’ve always been my God.

So don’t leave me now, for trouble is all around me,

and there’s no one to help me.

I’m surrounded by many violent foes like bulls;

forces of evil encircle me like the strong bulls of Bashan.

Like ravenous, roaring lions tearing their prey,

they pour curses from their mouths.

Now I’m completely exhausted.

Every joint of my body has been pulled apart.

My courage has melted away.

I’m so thirsty and parched.

My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.

And now you lay me in the dust of death.

They have pierced my hands and my feet.

Like a pack of wild dogs they tear at me,

swirling around me with their hatred.

A band of evil men surrounds me.

I can count all my bones.

Look at how they gloat over me and stare!

With a toss of the dice they divide my clothes among themselves,

gambling for my garments!

Yahweh, please don’t stay far away.

My strength, come quickly to my rescue.

Give me back my life.

Save me from this violent death.

Save my precious one and only

from the power of these dogs!

Save me from all the power of the enemy,

from this roaring lion raging against me

and the power of his dark horde.

  Psalm 22: 1-21, The Passion Translation

 

As I listened, I could see Jesus, ripped to shreds, huddled in a deep, extremely dark cave… the belly of the earth, the place of the dead.  Surrounding him are all the demons of hell, torturing him, taunting him.  HE CANNOT FEEL THE FATHER.  There is only darkness and torment.  He is cut off from all light and everything good and decent.  No angels minister to him, no friends comfort him. Hour after hour he endures unimaginable suffering as abuse is heaped on him. 

What sustains him is this psalm that he has memorized, and all the scriptures that refer to him, all the promises of great and glorious things to come:

I will declare your name before all my brothers

and praise you in the midst of the congregation. 

Those who fear Yahweh, praise him!

Let all the seed of Jacob glorify him with your praises.

Stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

For he has not despised my cries of deep despair.

He’s my first responder to my sufferings,

and when I was in pain,

he was there all the time and heard the cries of the afflicted.

You’re the reason for my praise; it comes from you and goes to you.

I will keep my promise to praise you before all who fear you

among the congregation of your people.

Let all the poor and broken eat until satisfied.

Bring Yahweh praise and you will find him.

May your hearts overflow with life forever!

From the four corners of the earth,

the peoples of the world will remember and return to Yahweh.

Every nation will come and worship him.

For Yahweh is King of all, who takes charge of all the nations.

The wealthy of this world will feast in fellowship with him

right alongside the humble of heart,

bowing down to the dust, forsaking their own souls.

They will all come and worship this worthy King!

His seed shall serve him.

Future generations will hear from us

about the wonders of the Victorious Lord.

His generation yet to be born will glorify him.

And they will all declare, “It is finished!” 

Psalm 22:22-31, The Passion Translation

Jesus raised his eyes from his suffering to the promises he knew could not fail.  Though there was nothing at all in his surroundings to give him hope, he held onto what he knew to be true: that the scriptures testified about him, and that they declared that he must die and rise again on the third day.

Because of what Jesus accomplished, we too have the ability to cling to the promises, cling to the truth, no matter how much dark desperation surrounds us, no matter what horrible lies the enemy flings in our faces, no matter how badly we are suffering in the moment.

In the end, it is no wonder that every knee will bow and every tongue declare that Jesus is Lord!


Why do they call it Good Friday?

The day Jesus died on the cross was the day I was delivered from death and the wrath of God that I deserve, and every physical ailment, and every affliction of my heart.

When Jesus prayed in the garden, facing his sorrow, facing his great temptation, choosing obedience though it took every ounce of his will, he set me free from mental anguish.  He set an example that I can follow because he lives in me.  Jesus knows my pain. He has suffered more than I ever will.  Anything I could ever worry about or be hurt by, he already knows. He has already provided the solution.

When Jesus stood before Pilate and refused to defend himself, he showed tremendous self-restraint and humility.  When he placed himself in the hands of sinners and refused to escape, refused to even lash out at them, suffering in silence their torment and insults, he empowered me to seek God’s kingdom and will instead of my own preservation.  Because he lives in me, I can turn the other cheek, I can wait on the Lord to repay any wrong.

When Jesus refused to display his power because it was not the Father’s will, he gave me patience to wait on the Lord’s timing.

When Jesus accepted the flogging, the crown of thorns, the blows and the pulling out of his beard, he paid the price for my sins and took my consequences on himself.

By his stripes I was healed.  As he bore every sickness, disease, oppression, and infirmity, he removed the authority of the devil to afflict me.  Pain has no place in me now.

O great love, hung on the cross, blood flowing, nerves screaming, head pounding, struggling for breath, still giving, still thinking of others, still forgiving and loving to your very last breath.  O Jesus, Lamb of God, slain for sinners, slain for me.  Oh great faith, knowing you would be raised again, knowing that everything would be changed by your death.  O  Jesus, tearing the veil that separated me from God, I can never thank you enough for this most excellent Friday.


The REAL Crucifixion

Don't watch this until you are in a place to listen intently. I'll share about the crucifixion, things you will never hear from the pulpit. But if you want to connect to your salvation and your savior in a way like never before. Walk through the crucifixion with Jesus. 

This will change you. JESUS LIVES!!!!!  Lynn


Passion Week: "Who is This Man Riding into Jerusalem on a Colt?"

By Martha Bush Passion-Week-600

Passion Week – the final seven days of Jesus’ earthly Ministry. It began with Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, one week before His resurrection. As Jesus entered the holy city, He neared the culmination of a long journey toward Golgotha. He had come to save the lost, and now was the time – this was the place – to secure that salvation. (Got Question.com)

As I studied the events of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem this year, I took a close look at the people, as described in Matthew 21, and the following chapters. I was fascinated with the different opinions these people had on "who is this man riding into Jerusalem on a colt" 

So, I decided to group them into categories the way I imagined them from my little corner of the world. Just for fun, try this to see if you recognize more types of groups and people and how they responded to Jesus. Share them in the comments.

1.The Royal Welcome Group: This crowd had heard the stories of Jesus, believed them, and apparently had remembered the prophesy given by Zechariah years ago that their King would come riding in on a colt, so----They threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, “Hosanna to David’s son!” “Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!” “Hosanna in highest heaven. (Matthew 21:1-9 The Message)

2.The Opposers/Rebuke Group: Not everyone in the crowd was shouting “Hosanna.” In fact------

  • The chief priests and scribes were very unhappy and rebuked Him when they saw Him healing the blind and the lame. (Matthew 21:15)
  • The chief priests and elders questioned his authority when He threw the merchants out of the temple (Matthew 21:23)
  • The Pharisees sought ways to entangle Him (Matthew 22:15)
  • The chief priests, scribes, elders of the people, devised the plot to kill Jesus. (Matthew 26, 1-3)

3.The Clueless Group: It is also assumed that the average citizen in Jerusalem did not associate the prophecy Zechariah had foretold of this event with the man who they saw riding into town on a colt. Rejoice greatly, O my people! Shout with joy! For look—your King is coming! He is the Righteous One, the Victor! Yet he is lowly, riding on a donkey’s colt! I will disarm all peoples of the earth, including my people in Israel, and he shall bring peace among the nations. His realm shall stretch from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:9-10 TLB)

From the royal treatment to rebuke, to those who didn’t have a clue what was going on – those were the people who were there when Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem. Only one group recognized and believed who this man was. 

I think my attention was drawn to taking a closer look at these people more than I had in years gone by because, let’s face it – for the past two years during our Pandemic era, we have seen how people responded in dire and surprising circumstances. To say that a whole lot of shaking was going in religious circles, even among some of the clergy, is an understatement.

It appeared as though people were on extreme opposite sides of the fence with their religious views as to what they believed about the current events we were experiencing, and even what they believed "Jesus thought" about it. And some, well, my heart broke for them because it was evident they were living in fear, all wondering “what in the world is going on; my world has been turned upside down.”  Clueless!

So, perhaps this is still a question that deserves an answer, even in our day and time. 

May this Passion Week be one of reflection on these thoughts:

Who Was That Man Riding into Jerusalem on a Colt Over Two Thousand Years Ago?"

"Who is He to Me?"

May we welcome Him as our King.

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 


What about Tongues?

Hello! This is Jeanne wishing blessings on your springtime, wherever you are!

A few weeks ago, someone asked me out of the blue, “Where do you get the idea of tongues?”  I could picture myself twenty years ago asking the same question.  Growing up, the only exposure I had to the “idea of tongues” was in the account of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11).  To me, it was a one-time event that happened 2,000 years ago, and had no bearing on my life.

Since that time, I have explored the concept of tongues through Bible study and my own experience, as well as that of others. 

The gift of tongues has two different expressions.  There is a public gift, where one person speaks in tongues and another one (or the same person) interprets the tongue in the common language.  I’ve only seen that in operation once, and can’t speak to it outside of what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 14.

On the other hand, there is praying in tongues or in the spirit, which all believers are encouraged to do.  

For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God… they utter mysteries by the Spirit… Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves… I would like every one of you to speak in tongues…If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays… I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. When you are praising God in the Spirit, you are giving thanks well enough… I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.  (1 Corinthians 14, selected verses)

I purposely left out the limitations Paul gives in this passage, because he was addressing a church where people were going overboard with their tongues and prophecies.  He clearly was not saying the gifts were bad, but that they weren’t helpful to the church assembly if they weren’t expressed decently and in order.  I don’t think it’s possible to privately pray in tongues too much. 

One key is in verse 14: “If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays.”  We have talked before about how each of us is body, soul, and spirit.  The body is our physical flesh; the soul is our mind, will, and emotions; and the spirit is where we become a new creation in Christ when we believe.  Our born-again spirit is where we are the righteousness of Christ, holy, perfect, and blameless.  And when we pray in tongues (or pray in the spirit) we are uttering mysteries by the Holy Spirit. We are praying the perfect will of God, and we are building ourselves up in our most holy faith (Jude v.20).  Jesus says that God desires those who worship him in spirit and in truth.  We can pray with our flesh, reciting words without even meaning them.  We can pray with our souls, pouring out our emotions. But praying in the spirit involves yielding our tongues to the Holy Spirit, letting God choose what we say. 

Praying in the spirit involves yielding our tongues to the Holy Spirit, letting God choose what we say. 

James describes the immense power of our tongues.  If they can steer us down such a dark and evil path, imagine the incredible blessings on our lives if we turn them over to the Spirit!

If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is mature, able also to control the whole body. Now if we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we direct their whole bodies. consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how a small fire sets ablaze a large forest.  And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among our members. It stains the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.  (James 3:2-6)

Jesus addressed this same topic:

For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.  The good man brings good things out of his good store of treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of his evil store of treasure. (Matthew 12:34-35)

When Jesus speaks, the Father acts!

The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own. Instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me, performing His works. (John 14:12)

When I was first filled with the Spirit, I rarely prayed in tongues.  My first experience with it was when one of my children was in a crisis situation that I had no power to affect in the natural, and didn’t even know what to pray.  For years, the only times I prayed in tongues were when I had reached the end of my human strength.  I gradually learned that this yielding to the Spirit brought with it peace, strength, and wisdom or revelation regarding the situation.  I’ve come to realize that these are the very words of God, coming through my mouth. 

I’ve come to realize that these are the very words of God, coming through my mouth. 

Whether I feel a mighty move of the Spirit while I’m praying, or nothing at all, I know that what I’m speaking is incredibly powerful in the spiritual realm.  I am watching God do things in my life that I wouldn’t have known or dared to ask for. To God be the glory!

Please share your experiences and questions in the comments. I'm excited to hear what you have to say!