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Problems Force Us to Depend on God

Problems Force Us to Depend on God

I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing: make something of me! You can do it; you’ve got what it takes God. Psalm 40:17 (Msg)   Jesus warned us that we’d have . No one is immune to pain or insulated from suffering, and no one gets to skate through life problem-free. Life is a series of problems. Every time you solve one, another one is waiting to take its place. Peter assures us that problems are normal, saying “Don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you.” (1 Peter 4:12 LB) God uses these problems to draw you closer to himself. The Bible says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NLT) Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days — when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great, and you turn to God alone. It is during suffering that we learn to pray our most authentic, heart-felt, honest-to-God prayers. When in pain, we don’t have the energy for superficial prayers. Joni Eareckson Tada notes, “When life is rosy, we may slide by with knowing about Jesus, with imitating him and quoting him and speaking of him. But only in suffering will we know Jesus.” We learn things about God in suffering that we can’t learn any other way. God could have kept Joseph out of jail, kept Daniel out of the lion’s den, kept Jeremiah from being tossed into a slimy pit, kept Paul from being shipwrecked three times, and kept the three Hebrew young men from being thrown into the blazing furnace, but he didn’t. He let those problems happen, and each of those people were drawn closer to God as a result. Problems force us to look to God and depend on him instead of ourselves. Paul testified to this benefit: “We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us ….” (2 Corinthians 1:9 LB) You’ll never know that God is all you need until God is all you’ve...

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Jesus Will Be With You Day After Day After Day

Jesus Will Be With You Day After Day After Day

The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said …. Matthew 28:5-6 (MSG)   [Jesus said,] “I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (MSG) As we’ve been learning this week, Easter is a celebration of Jesus conquering even death in order to give us freedom. He wants you to join him in heaven. How do you do that? You accept the gift that he’s given you, the gift of forgiveness and life. You can do that right now. You can talk to him and tell him, “I accept your gift of forgiveness and I accept your gift of life. I want to live the life that you made me to live.  Thank you, Jesus, for loving me.” This is a very simple prayer, but it changes everything. When you say I accept the fact that Jesus’ blood was given so I could be forgiven, it changes everything about your life, everything about who you are and everything about your eternity. With you in mind, I want to pray, “Jesus, we celebrate you and who you are.  We celebrate your love for us.  We thank you for Easter and the reminder that no matter how discouraging our week was this last week, there is good news in the future for us.” “No matter what other people say about us, you say that you love us.  And no matter what has happened in our lives, you will accept us as we come to you. Thank you for the gift of your love.  Thank you for the promise of your freedom. In your name we pray,...

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So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day

So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day

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. “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” – Matthew 27:64-65 (NIV) People may think that there is a lot of antagonism to the Christian faith today, but the opposition toward Jesus during His time was far greater. With Jewish leaders trying to protect their religious power and the Romans asserting their military might, they were not about to let this renegade rabbi Jesus become a symbol of challenge. But even their best efforts could not stop the power of God. Empires have tried to destroy the gospel for centuries, but no one can keep Jesus body in the grave. His resurrection power lives on and is spreading across the...

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Jesus Redeems Us With Out stretched Arms

Jesus Redeems Us With Out stretched Arms

Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “ Eat it in my memory.” He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.” Luke 22:19-20 (Msg)   The third cup in the Passover meal is the cup of redemption. Redemption means to buy somebody’s freedom. Jesus bought your freedom with his life on the cross. At the Last Supper, which was a Passover meal, Jesus said, “This third cup, I want to give it new meaning. This is the promise of a new covenant between you and God, a new promise of freedom that comes through my blood.” He was saying, “I’m going to go to a cross and my life blood is going to be poured out for you.” He was saying, “I want you to take this cup of redemption and see it from now on as a representation of the fact that I’m pouring out my blood for you. And I want you, together, to take this and drink this and to remember me.” Jesus is the fulfillment of everything in the Passover meal. He’s the bread of life. He is God’s promise in our lives. The blood on the door posts in Egypt — now it’s fulfilled in Jesus who sacrificed his life for us, who poured out his blood to set us free from our sin and guilt. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NLT) Jesus sets us free from ourselves; he sets us free from our fears; and he sets us free from our sin and our guilt. This is why we celebrate...

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Jesus sets you free from your fears

Jesus sets you free from your fears

“I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” Exodus 12:12-13 (NIV) There is a second cup in the Passover meal called the cup of plagues. And it is a reminder from God that he will free us from slavery to our fears. Do you remember the story of how the people of Israel were set free? Moses is tending sheep out on the backside of the desert and God comes to him, saying, “You are going to set my people free.” But when he goes to Pharaoh, Pharaoh says, “No way! They are too important to my economy; they are too important to my power in the world. I won’t set them free.” So God says, “I’m going to bring judgments against Pharaoh, and he will set my people free.”   God sends ten plagues across Egypt, such as the Nile River turning to blood, a swarm of frogs, the death of livestock, festering boils, darkness, even during the day, and, finally, the death of the first born. Things we all might fear. But God told the people of Israel: “I don’t want the death of the first born to occur in your households. If you’ll put your faith in me, if you’ll trust in me in this way, my death angel will pass over your house when it comes into Egypt. Take a lamb and kill it, then put the blood of the lamb on the door of your house and I will pass over your house.” The Passover meal celebrates the truth that God saved the first-born sons of Israel. Easter celebrates the truth that God gave his first-born son to save us. Just like the angel passed over those households, God says you can crossover from death to life. The Bible says, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24 NIV) Jesus says you may die physically, but you’ll never be separated from me, and you will live with me in eternity. A lot of people they live in fear of God. They feel like God’s out to get them somehow and, if you feel that way, here is a verse to remember: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” (1 John 4:18...

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