Gethsemane . . .

He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your Will to be done, not Mine.” Then an angel from Heaven appeared and strengthened Him. He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood ~ Luke 22:41-44

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 14, verse 34, Jesus says, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.”

I have been meditating upon this for some time and I want to throw out to you a few thoughts.

Firstly, that Jesus while He was here on this earth was fully human and fully divine. In His humanity He experienced everything we do. Everything that afflicts our mortal bodies. The temptations in the wilderness, which He overcame with the Word of God. All the grief and loss and sickness that He saw around Him and was gracious enough to help and heal.

Secondly, in His humanity He would have experienced fear, and since He died for all our sicknesses and diseases and afflictions as well as our sins, fear would have been in that list.

So, in the garden, I believe He was experiencing such an horrendous fear of what was before Him, that His blood began to be shed at that point, even before His arrest. After all, that is why He came, to bear all our sins and sicknesses and all the rest of our afflictions. I think the fear was so great because He was about to take the whole world upon Himself that it became the world’s fears as well, and after His arrest and when He was tortured and mocked and scourged He was suffering all our illnesses and on the cross He bore our sins.

It’s very difficult for me to write what is in my head about this, because it so profoundly moves me.

Jesus’ whole life on this earth was our redemption. From the moment He got up and proclaimed:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.” Isaiah 61:1-2

This statement covers it all ~ fears, illnesses, and sin. Jesus bore it all for us while we were yet sinners. He loved us to death. I don’t know whether it’s scientifically possible for someone to experience such grief and fear that they sweat drops of blood, but I am very certain that Jesus did, not only because that is what the Word tells us, but because that is who He was. Our redeemer, our saviour, our freedom fighter and our healer.

He overcame temptation in the wilderness, and lived to fight many more days here on earth to accomplish that which He was sent to do.

He overcame fear in the garden of Gethsemane and went to the cross anyway, and gained freedom for us from that fear.

He had to have experienced all of humanity to be able to free us from tyranny and know and understand all the struggles we have as human beings here on this earth.

He shed drops of blood as He prayed about His fear and therefore understands your fears today. Whatever they may be, sit down somewhere quiet and give them all over to the one who understands and cares for you. Because He’s been through it too.

Jesus Grass

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you ~ 1 Peter 5:7

 

 

 

God’s Not Dead! . . .

There are some who teach that there is no life after death . . . That we just go to sleep, unconsciously aware of anything anymore, and that God will raise from the dead whom He chooses at the final resurrection.

To live this life with all its sorrows and suffering,  and only end  up in the resurrection living here on earth forever ‘under much better conditions’, is definitely not enough as far as I’m concerned.

It is also, not what the Bible says.                                                           1 Timothy 1:4 says not to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather  than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.

The God who created the heavens and the earth, is such a glorious God. His heavenly realm is where He originally intended for mankind to live. Eternally with Him in glory. The thing is, that when Adam and Eve sinned, they brought death upon themselves and their descendants. Adam and Eve were never meant to die physically or in any other way. They had a very personal, intimate, loving, and glorious relationship with their Father (God)

That bond was broken by their sin. God cannot look upon sin.

It was then handed down through the bloodline, from generation to generation.
When Adam and Eve sinned, it was not because of their lack of appreciation for God’s kindness, but because they were deceived and tempted and believed the devil’s word over God’s. When God had told them that if they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would surely die, He was speaking not only of physical death but eternal spiritual death. Eternity separated from God. Because of their sin, the curse over Adam and Eve became one of pain, separation from God, tyranny and death. Because of their sin, they would now physically deteriorate and eventually die and return to the ground from where they had been taken. But because they were made, each as a spirit, who had a soul and all this lived in a body, when death came for the body, it would drop off and die, and spiritually they would live on.

Whether or not they repented and asked forgiveness would have determined their eternal destination. Eternal life or eternal death.

In Genesis 2:7 the Bible tells us that God formed mankind of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. The difference between mankind and all other creation is the fact that we have God’s life breathed into us.

Who’s breath of life do we have?

God’s.

He is an eternal God, always was, always is, always will be. Therefore we have the same life flowing through us. We will live eternally. We had that right from the very beginning, but sin stole it from us.

However, God began to put in place a plan, to redeem us from the eternal death we brought upon ourselves by disobeying, and not trusting God. The entire Bible is the account of that plan, and all it entailed, to bring about our redemption.

The Bible is a love letter to mankind.

prov 21 21 (1)

Those who receive into their hearts the promises of God’s Word, and believe in His Son, Jesus, will live forever. This amazing book that has survived centuries of persecution, stands strong today as the most read book of all time. It shows us unquestionably that God is a living God who created mankind to love and serve Him and live with Him.

The Bible is Oh so much more than just living, dying and hoping to be chosen as one of the resurrected few. Living ‘under much better conditions’ is nothing compared to the glory that is before us.

1 Corinthians 2:9  says, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

In other words, things which we have never seen or experienced, or heard of, or even imagined in our wildest imaginings; wonderful, glorious things ~
All THAT, God has prepared for us ~ for those who love Him.

In Ezekiel 18:4-9, we see that the sinner will die and the righteous will live. This refers to eternal life or death. The whole Bible is about the journey, and ultimately leads us to the doorway to eternal life.

In the gospel of Luke 8:40-56, we see Jesus heal two people. One, the lady who touched His cloak and the other, a young girl who had died. In verse 55, it says that after Jesus commanded her to arise, her spirit returned. It is not our immortal soul that gives us life, it is our immortal spirit, designed to live forever. The girl’s spirit had not ceased to exist, it had just left her body. So when her spirit returned, it returned  to her  body to give it  life. Plus, whatever had caused her death in her body was obviously fully healed.

In the case of Lazarus, John 11:11-44, when Jesus met Martha and she proclaimed that she believed her brother would rise in the resurrection on the last day, it was her FAITH that Jesus saw in her. And just because there is no account by Lazarus as to where he  was when he was dead, does not prove at all that he was only unconscious in his dead state. Jesus may have asked him not to speak of his death experience; after all Jesus had not yet been to the cross, and heaven was not readily available to those who had already died.

There was another Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, who was very poor, very sick and very hungry. There was also a very rich man who ignored Lazarus and did nothing to help him, but lived in his own splendour and fine living each and every day. When the rich man died, he went to hell. He was in such agony he called out to Lazarus (who had also died) across the chasm which separated them, for help. But it was too late. The place that Lazarus was in was where all who had already died (Abraham, Moses, all the prophets, etc) with faith in God and His promises, went, like a part of hell that separated them from the suffering,  until such time as Jesus went to the cross and redeemed mankind, and opened the gates of heaven for us. That doesn’t look to me as though they were unconscious.

Everything does not stop at point of death, our bodies might, but our spirit lives on.

Ecclesiastes 9:5, says that the living (the righteous) know they will die; but the dead (sinners) do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. If we look at verse 1 in this chapter, then the living referred to are the righteous, and their deeds are in the Hand of God. ‘Man’ here, is referring to those unrighteous, who are so not wise; have no wisdom, knowledge or understanding; that they know not what is in store for them, it could be anything. They are the dead, who have lost their reward, because they continually sin, deny God, live unholy lives, and therefore, will be remembered no more. It does not say they are unconscious and have no memory, it says that they won’t be remembered any more.

In Romans 6:23, it says that the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The entire Bible leads up  to Jesus’ death and resurrection and ultimately this following statement :

 

I am the way 2

Why did He die and rise again from the dead? (He rose again, He’s not dead anymore!)

So we could live!!!

So, if God is a God of the living ~ Luke 20:38 ~ then, why on earth would we be unconscious and unknowing, when we die. It is only our body that will die. If God is a God of the living, and we have His breath in us, then He intends for us to live forever with Him in Heaven.

I’m very excited about that!

Did You Know? . . .

That the Old Testament is about the History of a Nation ~ The New Testament  is about a Man.

Jesus Cross

God knew that after Adam and Eve’s fall from grace He had to prepare a plan for our redemption. After the fall, over time, man became idolaters and evil. God went in search of a people that had not totally turned away from Him and made them His Chosen People.

The Old Testament is the story of that Nation being formed, for one purpose only, and that is so that God’s Son could be born into the world, His heritage that of His Father’s (God) chosen people. Everything that happens in the Old Testament leads to JESUS. He is the Lord our God, Messiah, King of kings, Lord of lords, Saviour, Redeemer, Lamb of God, the Anointed One.

He made it possible for us to live eternally in glory with Him and His Father in Heaven. He took our sins and our sicknesses upon Himself at Calvary and tricked Satan into thinking that he had defeated God.

But Jesus was without sin. He had to be spotless just as the sacrificial lambs at the Passover, and therefore the devil could not hold Him down in hell and Jesus rose triumphantly from the dead.

The most important event in the entire Bible, is that Jesus rose from the dead.

Without this amazing, historical and TRUE event the whole Bible is worthless.

All we need to do now is believe that God has forgiven us our original sin (in the garden of Eden, which was inherent) by sending His Beloved Son to die the most humiliating and excruciating death for our Salvation.

He forgave us, so we repent, we forgive, and we ask Jesus to come and live once again in our hearts.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

God’s Heart . . .

The heart of God has always been for you and for me. From the very moment Adam and Eve sinned and lost eternal life, God planned our redemption.

jer 29 11

Imagine that you are an angel and live in a place called Heaven. It is so clean and pure and joyful and every soul there is perfect as well. You all love and worship your  creator, God. But one day there is a revolt against the One that is responsible for your existence. There is such a clear probability that if those causing trouble through their  jealousy and greed for power are not banished, then there would be irreversible damage done for eternity to this Holy and Glorious place. So that is just what God does. He kicks them out of Heaven and banishes them forever to a place He creates just for them. Hell.

The leader of these exiles is Satan. He is so angry at God that he decides to attack His ultimate creation. Mankind. He tempts Adam and Eve with the very thing that he epitomises. Pride and Greed. They turned their eyes off God and His loving provision and were deceived into thinking that they could be like Him. You see, God made us with a free will, to be able to make free choices. They lost their relationship with God, and therefore their eternal life. Heaven, as has been said, is too Holy and Pure to accept anyone that could mar that Beauty and Glorious Light. God cannot live within the remotest distance of sin.

God loved us so much even though we had chosen to go against Him, that He put into place a plan to redeem us from the loss of eternal life with Him.

He sent His Son from that most Glorious place to earth, to live a human existence, to take upon Himself the sin of the world for our freedom from the pit of Hell. What does this mean?

When Jesus cried out to His Father, God, when dying on the cross, “Why have You forsaken Me?” that was the moment God transferred OUR sin to His Son. For us.
Salvation includes healing, prosperity, our sanity and so much more. Jesus hung on that cross after having been betrayed, mocked, beaten to within an inch of His life, and tortured with all the sin and sickness of the history of the world also upon Him.

Let’s be blunt here. He took on the filth of murderers, thieves, haters, sexual abusers, rapists, paedophiles, torturers, liars, deviants and any other horrible sin, from the beginning of the world to the end of the world. He took on cancer, cystic fibrosis, malaria, aids, multiple sclerosis, herpes, STD’s, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease, schizophrenia, and any other sickness you can think of, and any we don’t even know about. That’s why it has been said that He was unrecognisable as He hung on that cross.

He went to hell. But He was without sin, because He was God, and hell cannot hold a sinless soul. So God His Father by the power of the Holy Spirit, raised Him up out of the grave victorious. Jesus had done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Jesus, Our Saviour, He’s God, and He subjected Himself to all that evil for us. Only a soul without sin could successfully do that for mankind.

That is why if we deny Jesus and all that He did for us, God the Father will deny us access to eternal life. The price He paid was way too high for us to ignore.

Jesus died for us with forgiveness in His heart. He forgave those who betrayed Him, tortured Him, sentenced Him, and crucified Him. We are told to do the same. The Lord’s Prayer tells us to do this very thing in Matthew 6:9-13. Then in the next verses Jesus says,
“For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

You see, God, through Jesus, did an amazing thing for us so that He could be reunited with His creation, created in His image. He never wanted any to be lost, but also needed us to come to Him by our own free will. And all He asks in return is for you and me to acknowledge the sacrifice He made (just as we would a friend who saved our life) and accept His Son Jesus into our hearts.

The whole Bible is about this sacrifice, and there are many, many, many scriptures that show us His Love.

Psalm 103:1-8 tells us how He forgives all our sins, and heals all our diseases. John 6:35 tells us that He (Jesus) is the bread of life, and in Him all our needs will be met. Isaiah 55:6 tells us to seek the Lord while He may be found. There is a time when the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth, and it will be a lot harder to find God.

Romans 10:9,10 says that if we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead, we will be saved. For with the heart we believe, and with the mouth we confess that belief, resulting in salvation.

And here’s a thought for those who love finding little gems in the scripture ~ what I see in Luke 22:44 where Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane ~ “He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” ~

Even at this stage Jesus was beginning to shed His blood for us.

Ah, Autumn at Last! . . .

The thoughts I’ve had in my mind lately have been in regard to autumn. I love Autumn. It is crisp and clear and cool. And filled with the beginnings of new life. For after all the leaves have died and fallen, the spring then brings forth new life.

Just as the leaves die and wither before the tree can produce new life, so we must do the same.

Even Jesus had to die, albeit on our behalf, before new life could begin to bloom for us.

There’s a song with the words ‘Love grew where the blood fell . . .’ and it sings of the flowers of love springing up where Jesus’ blood hit the ground as He was dying on the cross. It impacted me greatly.

His death brought forth for us, new life.

Before any seed can germinate it has to die in the ground and as it is watered and the sun shines on the soil it then springs forth new life. The writer of that song I believe had quite a revelation of the importance of death to new life.

Jesus died for our sins so that we could inherit eternal life!

He rose from the dead to prove the existence of eternal life!

The death of the body however, is just that. It then decays, but if we choose to follow Jesus, our spirit lives on forever with Him in heaven!

So what I’m trying to say, is that we need to die to self, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and we will inherit  eternal life.

Invite Him into our heart.

Confess our sin.

Accept His forgiveness.

Allow the sunshine of His salvation to shine on us.

Water ourselves with reading His word.

And watch new life emerge.

1 peter 5 7 (3)

But first, sit back, relax, and just rest, as the autumn tree does, just swaying in the breeze or standing in the fog, and let go of those things in life that are unimportant to the great scheme of things as far as the universe and God are concerned.

There’s not one thing that can be taken into the next life, so let go.

We may sometimes feel we are in a fog, but it doesn’t last long before the sun breaks through.

And when it does it is usually a bright, clean, clear and crisp day!

Clarity. I love that word.

That’s what walking with God does for us ~

Gives us clarity.

 

Passover and Easter . . .

I have over the past few months been studying more about the Feasts of Israel.

So, we gentiles are about to celebrate Easter. If we have been raised  in a family devoted to the Christian faith, then we know that Easter is about the sacrifice Jesus made for us at Calvary. We are aware of His death and resurrection. Unlike most of the world, it’s not just about chocolate overload and bunny rabbits.

Passover and Easter are so inextricably interwoven. Passover being the celebration of the Hebrews deliverance from Egyptian tyranny. Easter being the celebration of the world’s deliverance from eternal death.

Victor Buksbazen, in his book The Gospel in the Feasts of Israel, says this:
“In the light of the New Testament we obtain a full understanding of the Passover, while the deepest meaning of the Lord’s Supper cannot be fathomed without the historic background of the Jewish Passover.

Passover and Easter generally coincide, usually March or early April. The central point in Jewish history is their deliverance from Egypt. The central point in the Christian faith is Calvary.

Jesus and His disciples, in the upper room, were celebrating Passover, and it was at this time  that it obtained its deepest significance.”

Passover and Easter

Jesus, the Lamb of God, became the sacrificial lamb of the Passover. He shed His blood, all of it, just as the Passover lamb had to be prepared. My understanding of the significance of the Hebrews not being able to be subjected to blood in the Old Testament, because it was so unclean, is that in our bloodlines sin is carried from generation to generation, and Jesus had not as yet borne that sin at Calvary. Have you ever wondered why the woman in the Gospels, with the issue of blood, only came up behind Jesus to touch the hem of His cloak? I think it was because she had no place even being  close to everyone because of her uncleanness, but she was so desperate for healing that she thought that if she just touched the hem of His garment (not Him, for that would have been against the law of Moses) then she could be healed. And she was!

The bread and wine on the table at Passover are very significant. The bread (afikomen) is shared by all, but some of it is hidden away and brought out again at the end of the meal. This is also a symbol of the broken body of Jesus at His death, and His resurrection.

And Jesus took this bread, blessed it and broke it, and said:
Take, eat; this is My Body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of Me.

The wine is a symbol of the blood of the lamb that was wiped over every door post of the Hebrews, so that they were saved from the angel of death. It is also very symbolic of the blood that Jesus shed for us that saves us from eternal death.

And Jesus drank of this wine after blessing it, and said:
This cup is the New Testament in My blood: do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

“Jesus Himself, was the final reality of what the Passover lamb sought to convey originally. It is His blood that saves Jew and Gentile alike from the death of sin and eternal condemnation and makes the believer a child of God” ~ V. Buksbazen.

The preparation for the Passover lamb was thorough. It had to be slain and prepared outside of the camp. All its blood had to be drained. Not one bone was to be broken. All of it had to be consumed.

Jesus celebrated Passover, then He walked out of that warm comfortable room and became the ultimate Passover for our sins.

He was crucified outside the city. His entire blood supply was shed. Not one bone was broken. Unreal considering where they put those nails. He gave His all.

God the Father had to turn away from His Son as He laid all the sin of the world on Him. Jesus cried out for His Father, and then as He declared that all was finally accomplished, He hung His head and died.

For you. For me.

There has never been and never will be any greater sacrifice.

SOME SCRIPTURES PERTAINING TO THIS ARTICLE
Exodus 12 / Psalm 22 / Psalm 34:20 / The Hallel sung at the end of the Passover meal: Psalms 113-118 / Matthew 9: 19-22 / Matthew 26:17-30 / Luke 22: 7-28 / John 19 and 20 / 1 Corinthians 11: 23-33