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Thursday of Holy Week - only for Catholics? - Not So!

 What happened on the day we refer to as Holy Thursday?

An amazing amount of stuff! This was one of the most pivotal days in the life of Jesus Christ. It is a day that Catholics claim many things related to their religion - but the one thing you can be sure of - The God of Holiness in the person of Jesus Christ - was among men!

Here are some of the things the gospels record for this day (including events that happened after midnight). Jesus:

  • Sent Peter and John to arrange for them to use the Upper Room to hold the Passover meal - The Last Supper.
  • Washed the apostles' feet - Jesus teaches about serving others.
  • Announced that Judas would betray him - we like Judas have all betrayed our Lord.
  • Gave the "new commandment" to love one another.
  • Announced that Peter would deny him.
  • Jesus prayed for the unity of his followers.
  • Held all the discourses recorded across five chapters of John (John 13-18).
  • Went to the Mount of Olives and Prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • Was betrayed by Judas.
  • Healed the ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant, after Peter cut it off with a sword.
  • Was taken before the high priests Annas and Caiaphas.
  • Was denied by Peter.
  • Was taken to Pilate.

For Catholics .. HOLY THURSDAY is the most complex and profound of all religious observances, with the exception of only the Easter Vigil. It celebrates both the institution by Christ himself of the Eucharist - "do this in rememberance of me" .. for in this, His last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover, Jesus is the "self-offered" Passover Victim ( The Lamb of God ) .. and Catholics believe that because of this every ordained priest to this day presents this same sacrifice, by Christ's authority and command, in exactly the same way. - DO YOU? 
17 After Jesus took the cup, he gave thanks. He said, “Take this cup and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you, I will not drink wine with you again until God’s kingdom comes.”  19 Then Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do it in memory of me.”

The Last Supper is not a "catholic thing" .. it is not some "exclusive Catholic Church event" .. it was Jesus Christ's farewell to His assembled disciples, some of whom would betray, desert or deny Him before the sun rose again .. and a message to all of us today!

Take time and read for yourself - http://tinyurl.com/kaeoqu6

 

Searching for An Extravagant Love In Your Life?

Searching for An Extravagant Love In Your Life?

Read John 11:1-46

Ever question the Love of Jesus? .. Ever Doubt? Do you tend to question Jesus Love and His affection for your family? .. ever say to Jesus .. "Lord, if you had only been here, with me" ..

Maybe today, you need to "know in your knower" .. that Jesus wept for those He loved .. Jesus was a "real man" .. and He had emotions just like all men .. and He Loves You!

And when Jesus speaks - you can rest assured that whatever He says .. is the WAY, The Truth and The Life! .. read the story of Lazurus again .. then He spoke."Lazarus, come out!" And after four days in a stone-sealed grave, Lazarus walked out. As Mary kissed the now-warm hands of her just-dead brother, she turned and looked at Jesus. He was smiling. She would never doubt His words again. So when He spoke of His death, she believed. She carried the large vial of perfume from her house to Simon's. It wasn't a spontaneous gesture. But it was an extravagant one. The perfume was worth a year's wages. Maybe the only thing of value she had. It wasn't a logical thing to do, but since when has love been led by logic? .. Common sense had not wept at Lazarus's tomb. LOVE WEPT .. Extravagant, risky, chance-taking love. And someone needed to show the same to the giver of such love. So Mary did: She stepped up behind Jesus and poured out the jar. Over His head and shoulders. Down His back. She would have poured herself out for Him, if she could. The fragrance of the sweet ointment rushed through the room.

Close your eyes and ask Jesus to help you to "Breathe the aroma and remember one who cares"  .. if You feel forsaken, remember that You are loved. Even when others want to mock your true self .. like the other disciples who mocked her extravagance, but don't miss Jesus' prompt defense of Mary. "Why are you troubling this woman? She did an excellent thing for Me." This wasn't the first time He'd defended her either. When her sister Martha demanded that Mary help with household duties instead of sitting at His feet, Jesus said, "There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it."( Read Luke 10:42 )

Jesus' message is as powerful now as it was then: There is a time for risky love. There is a time to sit at the feet of the One you love, to pour out your affections on Him. And when the time comes, seize it.- This is HOLY WEEK .. take a minute or two and look into the eyes of Jesus!

Jesus' sweat .. like drops of blood falling to the ground - Holy Week Thoughts

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives ..  Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives. His disciples followed him. Luke.22.39

Before Jesus would endure the physical suffering that so many of us simply do not like to look at .. try to just consider the experience of emotional and spiritual torment that was far greater than we can imagine .. BUT TRY - Ask God to help you see how in the garden, the full scope of Jesus' mission became readily apparent to Him and Jesus knew, once He left the garden - the treacherous betrayal by one of His own .. being derided and made sport of by soldiers .. a circus of a trial in which guilty politicians proclaimed judgment on the world's ONLY MAN WITHOUT SIN - an innocent man, yet brutal beatings, a Crown made of thorns, and then, the cross.

“When He came to the place, He said to them, 'Pray that you may not enter into temptation.'” — Luke 22:40
 
Without a doubt, this was the most terrible of missions ever given to an individual. As you imagine the serene garden scene, contemplate the anguish Jesus must have felt and the mental anguish as He tried to grapple with His Father's will, so Jesus Prayed ..  Then he went a short distance away from them. There he got down on his knees and prayed.  He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup of suffering away from me. But do what you want, not what I want.” An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus and gave him strength.  Because he was very sad and troubled, he prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Take your time; there is no hurry. Allow your thoughts to center on Jesus in His most holy moment .. and as you consider the meaning of what is called HOLY WEEK .. 

“They pierced my hands and my feet.” — Psalm 22:16

“They pierced my hands and my feet.” — Psalm 22:16
 
Traditionally, the Romans attached criminals to their crosses with ropes .. and using spikes was an added "bonus" in an instance of more cruelty. Setting a crown of thorns that were sharp enough and strong enough to literally dig beneath the skin – a further act of hateful malice toward Jesus - soldiers can be tough, cruel and uncaring .. but this act was completely unnecessary and without precedent.

The cross was painful enough, for that you don't have to be too smart to figure out - but to crucify this Jesus as a “criminal”  .. the Romans made it altogether excruciating.
 
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” — Isaiah 53:5

Mull this Holy Week Thought around in your mind - let it sink deep within your spirit today ..

 

Men and Women Today and God .. more Holy Week Thoughts

Man and God .. Holy Week Thoughts for Today ..
 
Read | Matthew 22:41-46
The Pharisees hated that so many people believed the man standing before them was the Messiah. This Galilean commoner had no pedigree. Sure, he might astound people with inexplicable wisdom, but surely he was not the returning king - for what would that make them?

Not only did they have the wrong answer; they asked the wrong question. - They thought Jesus Christ's rise to prominence merely raised the possibility that He was the long-awaited Messiah. But Christ pointed them to a deeper truth, on which depended the salvation of all men and women .. "What do you think about the Christ," He asked them. "Whose son is He?" (Matt. 22:42)

They knew the answer, just as they knew the rumors about this distant descendant of David. But David had many descendants. The Christ would be, they replied, "the son of David." "Then how," Christ asked, "does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying, 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet'"?" (vv. 43-44) .. He referred to Psalm 110, in which the Holy Spirit speaks through David to illuminate Christ's divinity. The Pharisees thought this debate was about whether Christ was the Messiah. In an instant, Christ raised the stakes.

Just like all of us who are stubborn .. yet we try to be clever - We also recognized the implication of His question.

Christ was pointing them, and us, to the startling truth that He alone is King of kings, and Lord of Lords - He is Savior, and He is God who took on the flesh of mankind and bore it sinlessly .. even into death on The Cross - and raised to life eternal, thereby breaking the hold of sin and death over all men for all times. God became man so that man might return to God .. and Jesus was that one and only "sacrifice" that made it possible - This upends the world, even to this very day.

God, we pray that you will forgive us even today - as we are likewise silent. Christ is the risen God. Share it to your world today!

In my inbox this morning - from Joel and Victoria Osteen

TODAY’S WORD from my inbox this morning .. from Joel and Victoria Osteen

This coming weekend, we celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So much happened at Calvary’s cross over two thousand years ago; but ultimately, Jesus overcame sin and death so that we could have abundant life. Because of Jesus, we have victory over anything that would try to hold us back!
No matter what bondage, fear, stronghold, sin or addiction has held you captive in the past, when you receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you receive His power — His burden-moving, yoke-destroying anointing. Nothing can hold you back any longer because when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed! (See John 8:36)

It all begins by believing and receiving this promise by faith. Today, thank God that you are free and have victory through Jesus Christ!
 

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father, thank You for giving me victory! Thank You for Your Word which is life and healing water to my soul. I choose to set my heart and thoughts on You, knowing that You are empowering me to overcome in every area of my life n Jesus’ name! Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen

The Old Rugged Cross - Our Saving Place Listen Today and Pray

Wood is one of the most common elements on earth - everywhere you see trees so abundantly found, it is burned for warmth, sliced to make paper, joined to build houses, build deer hunting blinds - Yet two very common pieces of wood, once drenched with rain, and perhaps even gnawed at by insects or animals, would soon absorb the sweat and blood of our Lord as He was crucified.

http://youtu.be/bUju31yqll4 - this song rendition hits us squarely where we are today .. clinging to the Old Rugged Cross ..
 
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
  The emblem of suff’ring and shame,
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
  For a world of lost sinners was slain.
 •So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
  And exchange it some day for a crown.
 •Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
  Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,
  To bear it to dark Calvary.
 •In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
  A wondrous beauty I see;
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
  To pardon and sanctify me.

 

The FIG Tree - What spiritual fruit will Jesus find today?

Luke 13:6-9

6 And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. 7 And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree [a]without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”

No matter how impressive our worldly works and achievements - things achieved by human effort for no spiritual gain - have zero value in God's eyes.

THIS HOLY WEEK ASK YOURSELF? - What if the Lord checked you and me for spiritual fruit?  .. Would He find nourishing, productive well tended fruit? .. even if we might consider it inconsequential? .. Or would He find a breathtaking display of leaves that proves to be nothing more than a glorious façade made of silk or artificial leaves?

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the hosannas and citywide profession of His messiahship were loud and enthusiastic. It must have seemed a stunning triumph. But Jesus realized that outward appearances don't necessarily indicate universal or even authentic agreement. At the time of the cheering, in fact, He was en route to the temple, where money changers were evidence of that very truth. And so our Savior had wept as He neared the city, because the people "did not recognize the time of [their] visitation" (Luke 19:44) or the way to avoid what was now inescapable judgment.

The gospel writers then inserted a rather curious anecdote about Jesus approaching a distant fig tree in leaf, since He was hungry. Mark 11:13-14 tells us, "He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, 'May no one ever eat fruit from you again!'"
 

Why would Jesus, the Creator of fig trees, curse one for not bearing fruit out of season? The question seems baffling—that is, except to those familiar with Middle East fruit crops. They would realize small edible knobs, or taqsh in Arabic, appear with the leaves and fall off before the actual fruit develops. Scholar F. F. Bruce (Are The New Testament Documents Reliable?) explains, "If the leaves appear unaccompanied by taqsh, there will be no figs that year. So it was evident to our Lord . . . [that] for all its fair foliage, it was a fruitless and a hopeless tree."

Then Mark added a significant detail: "And His disciples were listening" (v. 14). Jesus' cursing of the fig tree wasn't some whimsical or annoyed outburst, as some suppose. It was an object lesson on the fruit born of genuine faith, in contrast to the worthlessness of empty religion, which they'd just witnessed in the temple.  This was a crucial teaching for the first-century disciples, whose Teacher would be present just a short while longer. It's also crucial for 21st-century disciples. Our fruitfulness matters greatly to God, but only when it's the genuine article—the fruit of His Spirit, produced as we abide in the vine, Jesus Christ (John 15:5; Gal. 5:22-23).
 

Thirty pieces of silver - what's YOUR PRICE?

In Old Testament times, thirty pieces of silver was the value of a slave accidentally gored to death by an ox. The amount given to the prophet Zechariah is an intentional insult for the rejected shepherd, who was a pre-figure of the Messiah. In a prophetic fulfillment that occurred centuries later, that same sum of thirty pieces of silver was all it took for Judas to agree to hand over Jesus to the Pharisees. Such a paltry sum speaks of how lowly Jesus was viewed not only by Judas, but also by the chief priests. They traded away the Savior of the World, the Holy Son of God, the promised Messiah, for the price of a dead slave.
 
“Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, 'What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?' And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.” — Matthew 26:14-16
 
Take a moment and ponder what value you place on your relationship with Jesus Christ. How much is Jesus worth to you? What have you been willing to “trade” your faith for this past year? Did you trade your witness for social acceptance on Facebook .. or Twitter .. because you were afraid someone would think ill of you because of your commitment to Christ? Have you given away your time and treasure to pursue personal ambition, or maybe an inappropriate relationship that has been bothering you? Maybe this Holy Week it's time for you to spend some of your time, effort, and energy seeking first the Kingdom of God?
 

Why Jesus Christ .. "died for you and me" - Holy Week Thoughts

This is a great video teaching .. especially for those who think "good works" .. is the way .. or members of "denominations" that shy away from the teachings of The REAL TRUTH .. Jesus is The WAY .. The TRUTH .. and THE LIFE .. spend a few minutes learning of the Death of Jesus ..

http://www.intouch.org/broadcast/this-week-on-tv

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