Wednesday, April 28, 2010


     mel·an·chol·y /ˈmɛlənˌkɒli/ [mel-uhn-kol-ee] noun, plural-chol·ies, adjective  –noun 

         1.a gloomy state of mind, esp. when habitual or prolonged; depression.
         2.sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.

I'm not depressed anymore.  I am usually pretty level, and able to cope with whatever life throws me in a given day.  Ah, but just a few short years ago, that wasn't the case.  Days like today were the norm, not the exception.  A good day was a rarity instead of an everyday occurance.  Thank God, I am free from that!  He has broken the chains of depression. Still, I have days like today, and I have to look to God for help, just as David did. He wrote in Psalm 42:
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
 Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:1-3, 5

I've been sitting here, talking to God.  Maybe it's Him speaking to me, I don't know, but I sense that in those times when I just feel like I can't stand to be alone another minute, when I feel like I really need a friend, but none are available, could it be He wants me to come to Him?  Reaching way back to when I went through Experiencing God, by Henry Blackaby, I seem to remember he said that we are born with a "God-shaped hole" inside our hearts.  I believe that.  I think that sometimes--not all the time, but sometimes--we run here and there, listening and talking to everyone but our Creator.  Then we can't understand why we feel so empty, so lonely.  We attempt to fill that void with everything and everyone....except the One it is designed for.

"Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42:7-8.

I have to work at it, this going to God and asking Him to fill me.  My human nature wants to fill it with anything and everything, but I have to resist that temptation and remember that He loves me and wants a relationship with me.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

 Selah." Psalm 62:5-8

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tonight's Conversation with God

Tonight, I'm a little shaken, so when I talked to my Father tonight, it went something like this:

Me: God, I'm scared.

God: Why? I am with you.

Me:  I know, but I just get scared sometimes. What can I do? Will you protect me?

God: Yes. There are lots of places in my word where I promise this:

"When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared." Proverbs 3:24-26

"The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1

"When I am afraid, I will trust in you." Psalm 56:3

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Me:  Thank you, God.  I feel better.  You are so good to me.  I love you.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jesus has RISEN!

When Jesus died on the cross, "the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:51-54, NIV)

As I quoted from Mark in yesterday's blog, Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus' body and laid it in his own tomb, freshly cut into the rock. The Pharisees were worried, though, that Jesus' disciples would steal His body. They went to Pilate the next day and expressed this. They said 'we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ' "After three days I will rise again.' " So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.' So Pilate told them to secure the tomb. "So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard." (Matthew 27:62-65, NIV)

I am so thankful that Jesus died for my sins.  I can never repay the debt I owe to Him for taking on my sins and dying a brutal death by crucifixion.  But the story doesn't end with His death. Quoting again from Matthew, "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." (Matthew 28:1-8, NIV)

"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20, NIV)

HE IS RISEN!  My Lord conquered death, hell, and the grave and is now at the right hand of the Father in heaven.  "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2, NIV)

Please consider what He has done for you and me.  If you don't have a church home, come and worship with us tomorrow morning at Evangel Temple, 12th and Dodson in Fort Smith.  Services are at 9:01 and 10:45. Even if you choose to go somewhere else, please go to church and worship Him.  If you haven't received Jesus as your Savior, I urge you to do that.  He gave His life to save you. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jesus Died for Us

Continuing the story of what Jesus did for us:

At dawn's first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate...It was a custom at the Feast to release a prisoner, anyone the people asked for. There was one prisoner called Barabbas, locked up with the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the uprising against Rome. As the crowd came up and began to present its petition for him to release a prisoner, Pilate anticipated them: "Do you want me to release the King of the Jews to you?" Pilate knew by this time that it was through sheer spite that the high priests had turned Jesus over to him. But the high priests by then had worked up the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas.

Pilate came back, "So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?"

They yelled, "Nail him to a cross!"

Pilate objected, "But for what crime?"

But they yelled all the louder, "Nail him to a cross!"

Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion.

The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thornbush on his head. Then they began their mockery: "Bravo, King of the Jews!" They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross. 

There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus' cross. The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning "Skull Hill." They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn't take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.

They nailed him up at nine o'clock in the morning. The charge against him—the king of the jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: "You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you're really God's Son, come down from that cross!"

The high priests, along with the religion scholars, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: "He saved others—but he can't save himself! Messiah, is he? King of Israel? Then let him climb down from that cross. We'll all become believers then!" Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery.

At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o'clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

Some of the bystanders who heard him said, "Listen, he's calling for Elijah." Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down."

But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, "This has to be the Son of God!" 

There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem. Late in the afternoon, since it was the Day of Preparation (that is, Sabbath eve), Joseph of Arimathea, a highly respected member of the Jewish Council, came. He was one who lived expectantly, on the lookout for the kingdom of God. Working up his courage, he went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate questioned whether he could be dead that soon and called for the captain to verify that he was really dead. Assured by the captain, he gave Joseph the corpse.

Having already purchased a linen shroud, Joseph took him down, wrapped him in the shroud, placed him in a tomb that had been cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the opening. Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of Joses, watched the burial.  (Mark 15, The Message). be continued...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jesus Prayed for Us

Tonight I am thinking about Jesus as He prepared for His death on the cross; a death He went willingly to for you and me.  You can read the whole story in any of the four Gospels in the New Testament:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  I am quoting from John because that is where He led me tonight. 

He told the disciples that night "... now I am giving you a new commandment:  Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34,35 New Living Translation) 

He also prayed for his followers; the ones there with Him, as well as you and me, over 2000 years before we were born.  He prayed:

“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory...I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me." (John 17:9-10,20,21 New Living Translation)

Jesus died for you. He sacrificed His life so that you could be with Him forever in Heaven.  He loves you that much. Please don't toss this most precious gift aside.  He gave everything for you, holding nothing back.

Will you accept His gift to you?