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“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?
 

Being reconciled to God an invitation to exercise your faith.

We know that God loves everyone .. He said so in His Word - but this wonderful truth has been twisted to mean that He would never limit His grace by claiming Jesus is the only way to be saved. Jesus said: I am the WAY, the TRUTH .. and the Life - READ John 14:1-13 ..

Why did Jesus have to die? Why must you and I have to accept Him as our Savior in order to be reconciled to God? Bible Study: Luke 17:11-19 .. find out in your heart where you fall in the story.. Ten (1) leprous men stood at a distance ( which the law required them to do ), begging Jesus to have mercy on them. The Lord instructed them to show themselves to the priests—the health inspectors of sorts in the Old Testament - the priests are the ones who could pronounce the disease healed or not (Lev. 14:7). Ironically, even amazingly - Jesus did not heal them on the spot. WHY? .. because they were being invited to exercise faith, as none were yet “clean.”

Picture these lepers, hobbling, limping .. some with visable decaying limbs and rotting skin, all the stink and smell of uncleanliness .. going to show the priests that their leprous bodies had been healed - when they weren’t yet healed? That’s why it’s called faith. But as they obeyed, the hobbling and limping became less noticeable, and their skin started to renew itself, as the power of the living God marvelously regenerated their bodies.
 
Jesus wanted them to personally experience faith, which is an invitation to join God in a miracle. JESUS IS EXTENDING THE SAME TO YOU RIGHT NOW! We step out in faith, and Jesus will meet us .. Yet in this parable - only one leper, when he realized he had been entirely healed and made clean, was so overcome with joy that he rushed back to say THANK YOU to Jesus - ONLY ONE! .. And it was a Samaritan. Jesus tells the man, “Your faith has made you well.” What is the invitation in this word? What is meant by acceptance? If you are looking for "salvation of body and soul" .. this is your time.

Try To Reflect this Holy Week ..

1. Most of Jesus’ healings were instantaneous, but that wasn’t the case with the 10 lepers. How did the delayed cure build their faith in Him? How might your faith be  stretched or strengthened if you aren’t healed right away?
 
2. Though 10 men were healed, only one returned to give thanks. How many times over the last year has God answered a prayer of yours or given you some good  thing? How have you returned to Him in gratitude and thanks?
 
3. Jesus sent still-leprous men to report to priests that they’d been healed. Scripture tells us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Can you remember a time when you had to step out in faith and God met you there? In which areas is He currently asking you to walk by faith?

HOLY WEEK BEGINS - are you willing and ready?

“You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ ” — 1 Corinthians 6:11
 
In Old Testament times, priests who had already been consecrated for service were still required to wash their hands in the courtyard of the Tabernacle before they dared to approach that holy place. In New Testament times, those of us who are born again in Christ are completely washed and consecrated to God by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Though we are "washed" in Christ, the Bible still encourages us to participate in moments of deep repentance and reflection for our sins.

…Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded…Humble yourself in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” ..  James 4:8-10
 
Let's try to begin this Holy Week "experience" .. with a symbolic washing of our hands .. as a way to spiritually prepare our hearts, thanking God for opening the door for you and I .. to seek His face, and then asking Him to open our eyes, our hearts, and our minds - that we might hear Him speak today.
 
This experience is between you and God. Before you begin, take a deep breath, pause, and ask God to help you enter into a time of earnest reflection and prayer this Holy Week .. Ask Him to open your mind and heart to whatever He has for you each day of this week, and pray that He might help you more fully understand and appreciate the events of The Passion of Jesus Christ durring this passion week. We believe a fuller understanding of the sober events of Good Friday will lay the foundation for an even greater and more joyous celebration on Easter

Holy Week, Passion Week, Easter and You

We want to remind you that our special series of Passion Week devotionals begins here this week - http://www.iaskGod.com

For centuries, earnest believers have observed the “Stations of the Cross” as a devotional exercise to reflect on the importance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. I can remember for years as a child atending St. Gerards Catholic School .. Holy Week was a special time and good Friday is indelliably printed on my mind and heart .. as we attended services and contemplated the Stations of The Cross - Jesus journey to Calvary where He laid Himself down .. and allowed Himself to be nailed to the Cross - for you and me.

It took a long time for me to understand what that meant - WHY would He do that for me, as sinful as I am? We believe a fuller and beter understanding of the sobering  events of Good Friday will lay the foundation for an even greater and more joyous celebration on Easter Sunday - for you and your loved ones.

So please visit and study .. read and pray .. and ASK GOD to receive and have eyes to see - and ears to hear whatever God has for you this year at Holy Week .. 
 
 

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