He had anticipated this day all His life. He had prepared His followers the best He could. He suffered alone in the garden, sweating drops of blood, until His will was submitted to His Father. He was ready.
It was morning and He hadn’t slept in over 24 hours. A friend betrayed His loyalties with a kiss. Religious leaders sought to kill Him. False witnesses spoke out against Him. His death was demanded by an angry crowd. He was flogged beyond recognition. A crown of thorns pierced his head. He was ridiculed and spat upon. On His bloodied back He carried a wooden cross.
His friends denied Him.
Large, thick nails bored into His hands and feet. He was lifted up as an instrument of mockery.
Because of sin, yours and mine, the Son of God was found guilty. Christ Jesus gave Himself as the sacrifice and payment for our sins.
And on the third day He rose victorious.
At Easter we gather together to remember what Christ did for us on the cross and to celebrate His resurrection. But more than just recognizing His atonement for our sins on one day a year, we now have the high calling of honoring His sacrifice with our lives. We have the opportunity every day to follow the example the Lord gave us on Golgotha and as we do, we also will rise to spiritual victory and life.
The day we put our faith in Jesus Christ and in His work for our salvation, our old nature was put to death and we were risen to a new, spiritual life. But our bodies are not yet glorified; we are still bound within them and with them a pull to the old life.
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
Just as His cross led to victory, our road to spiritual victory is paved with our crosses-the daily putting to death of sin and our own fleshly desires.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
My dear friends, the day of the Lord’s return draws nearer every day and there is work to be done in and for the kingdom. The lost need to hear the gospel, churches need planting, souls need prayer, people need loving and we need to grow up in Him.
What is keeping you from being usable in His hands, from being the most effective salt and the brightest light you can be? What is keeping you from walking the road to spiritual victory? The way is the cross, yes, but we never carry it alone, and with it the joy of the Lord is set before us!
Instead of denying Him with a life of compromise, let us courageously follow hard after Him, taking up our cross and nailing to it our sins, both the acts done outwardly and those that live in our minds. As we do, we will glorify and honor our Savior and His sacrifice. His life will be lived through us and we will become a fragrant offering to our risen King.
I had the blessing again of providing the devotion for Halas & Phos' April newsletter. Halas & Phos (Salt & Light) is an online ministry that offers Christian products, including apparel, jewelry, homeschool curriculum and much more, through quality affiliates. I hope you'll check out their site!
* * *
At a ripe ninety-nine years old, the Lord confirmed His covenant with Abram to give him a son and countless descendants, telling him that He was God Almighty—El Shaddai, God of all strength and provision. (Genesis 17:1)
When a shepherd named Moses moseyed over to investigate a bush that was on fire but refused to be burned up, he found himself being called by God to go to Pharaoh to free His people. God told him His Name was I AM THAT I AM-the One Who exists, Who always was and always will be. (Exodus 3:14)
When God called Joshua to lead His children--numbering into the millions--into the Promised Land (and all that entailed), He said He would be all Joshua needed through every situation by declaring He was his LORD—his Jehovah, the Self-Existent One. (Joshua 1:9)
As a lonely Samaritan woman lifted water from a well, she spoke to Jesus, saying that she knew Messiah was coming. He said to her, “I AM, the One speaking to you,” declaring Himself to be God, the great I AM-the One Who exists, Who always was and always will be. He was her Messiah, and the Savior of all mankind. (John 4:26)
In all these ways and many more, God saw the need of a single person and offered Himself as the fulfillment. He became the answer for every question, the sufficiency for every lack, the satiation for every thirst, the treasure for every bankruptcy.
(Continue reading at Halas & Phos how God can meet your every need.)
Our Father sets before us a lavish banqueting table full of the choicest meats, the rarest of delicacies, the sweetest fruit, the richest desserts, even milk for the little ones, all served with ornate silver and intricate glassware, meticulously set on a silken tablecloth.
So why do we sit on the floor and settle for crumbs so much of the time?
That is what we do when we rarely open our Bibles to feast on the riches of His Word and when we pray puny prayers.
We serve a mighty God, the God Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the One Who can move mountains and keeps the planets in line. Our God controls it all! We serve the King of kings Who has served us a feast within the pages of His personal love letter written over thousands of years just for us. We serve the Almighty God Who invites us over and over on those pages to come to Him, to seek Him, to find Him.
We serve a Big God; why are we not willing to pray big prayers?
Lay aside the mundane and read of Him, talk to Him, know Him, trust Him, love Him, be one with Him in spirit and let Him reveal to you the big thoughts and dreams and visions He has for your life. Dare to dream in line with the God who dreamt of the vastness of the universe and the countless galaxies contained within it.
Don’t be afraid to lift up grand prayers to the One Who created the impossibly complex human mind and body. Pray lofty prayers to the God Who controls the heat of our sun and the ebb and flow of the tides. Don’t limit your prayers by what you can see, but sit with the Lord and allow Him to fill your mind and heart with magnificent visions and plans of the things He wants to accomplish in and through your life.
What an exciting life awaits us when we freely put our lives in the hands of the One Who has no limits on imagination or resources and Who loves us more dearly than we could ever hope.
“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10