Easter Joy!

bring about the obedience of faith– to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever.   Amen!  Romans 16:26-27

Jesus dies on the Cross, the untearable curtain tears at the Holy of Holy, the earth shook and darkeness fills the land.  Creation mourns Jesus’ death as with those who loved and adored the Son of God.   On the third day God rolls away the stone from the entrance to the tomb so obediently Mary Magdalene may view its emptiness filled with Resurrection glow.  Not quite understanding, she walks back out to the tomb garden to weep and cry and suddenly finds Jesus stands beside her and speaks her beautiful name.  

Her recognition of our not-yet-ascended Jesus Messsiah is loves next to best moment.  

Loves best moment comes in not one, but many.  Our Risen Christ appears to the women and men disciples, to children, youth, and adults healed and touched by the pure nard of His love.  Risen, He appears and appears and appears.  Joy overflows in the hearts and minds of believers, awestruck at the successful Salvation solution for us who call Him Lord and Savior, Redeemer and Good Shepherd.  Christ turns creation’s sorrow into the splendor of joy, fearless and soothing.  Christ Lives! Victory!!!!

Saturday Secret Revealed

the revelation of the Mystery that was kept secret for long ages   Romans 16:25

The believers had every confidence in Jesus yet not in themselves. Isn’t that the way faith is?  Sadness and grief of His suffering and death almost overwhelmed them except for their united intent that Jesus’ words and memories were so dear to them.  Oh, how they loved Him.

Remembering that Jesus said,  “I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)  This biggest Mystery clue of Jesus’ great plan, a secret plan partly revealed, was difficult to put together logically.  His cruel death was so visually fresh and their grief so deep.

The believers were forced to wait, watch, and trust.  At times, so must we.

Good Friday Strength

Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my Gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ    Romans 16:25

The “Good” in today is that Jesus surrendered Himself on the Cross to redeem us from evil and death by giving His life.  Our Good Shepherd has laid down His life for us.  God’s love gift of His only begotten Son cancelled death forever for those who believe in Him.  He is the Good Servant asking us to be His strong servants, loving Him with everything we are made of– Jesus is our strength and He strengthens us with His Holy Spirit.

What Christ Has Accomplished

For I will not venture to speak anything other than what Christ has accomplished.  Romans 15:18

Set your mind on Christ Resurrected as He orchestrates your life.  Christ is positive magnatism, not dull focus on worldly things which introduces negativity and anguish.  Paul is gives you an example.  Apostle Paul points to the dissension between the two groups in his Church (those who took opposing sides about what to eat, drink and the Sabbath) as a dull focus.  

Christ is alive and blessing us.  He aligns your understanding as to what He is doing in God’s will daily as you tune with Him thru prayer, alert living, and heartfelt loving like Jesus.  Speak of Him, careful not to defile.  ‘But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.’ (Matthew 15:18)

Speaking anything other than what Christ has and is accomplishing may be deemed false testimony.

Believing

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Look at what is before you with hope.  Since Christ has you in the goodness of His care and protection, lean a little forward in your thinking and anticipate His best.  Your anticipation of His goodness is hope and hope is inspired by the Holy Spirit.  

Believe. First, place all of our hope in Him because yoou know just how much He loves you– He’s given His very life on the Cross for a united relationship with you.  Second, take the assurance of His Cross love and use it, let Him  empower you and motivate your live.  Third, combine hope with expectation and anticipation– relationships will be righted, that all things are working together for His good, and that He will not let you stumble or falter 

Let All The People

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the people praise Him.  Romans 15:11

We could live a life in constant pain, apart and without a way to God’s mercies and blessings, and yet we have been delivered into salvation through Jesus Christ and we are thankful.  We have been grafted into the plan of salvation.  So our distress, imbalance, and pain is removed and we are embraced in His Peace.  

God’s gift has been given– the merciful gift of Jesus Christ, alive within our hearts.  The plan that the prophet Isaiah fortold, referenced for us in the book of Isaiah chapter 11, is ours.  Praise to the Lord!  Give gratitude to Christ for His death on the Cross and His Resurrection from the tomb because you and all believers are a part of His plan, purpose, and proposal to others to join us in giving thanks and praise.

Welcomed

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.  Romans 15:7

Jesus knows what it is to be unwelcomed, to be derided and mocked.  It was 9 o’clock in the morning when they crucified Him between two thieves.  The charge against Him read, “The King Of The Jews”; innocent, as He’s Savior of the world.   Those who passed by Him on the Cross derided Him saying “save yourself, come down from the cross.” And the chief priests and scribes mocked Him sneering, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.  Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.”   (Mark 15:29-32)

Though derided, mocked, and taunted, Jesus Son of God chooses to stay on the Cross, firm in His Passion to give us salvation from His pierced hands and wounded heart.  Even still, the two thieves on their crosses to His right and left taunt Him.  Yet through His agonizing death, His Passion for sinners, He repeatedly offers mercy and forgiveness.  Jesus knows the hearts of these folks who are unwelcoming and unkind and yet He forgives and invites them into the Kingdom of Heaven if only they would come to Him.

Do you find there a few unwelcoming folks in your life also?  Jesus’ salvation is available for them yet how will they know Him if you treat them any way other than how Jesus treated others?  Become enabled by Jesus; just ask Him for it.  Jesus enables you to give them magnificent mercy–  He powerfully loves those folks with His whole heart.  Pray for their forgiveness.  Refuse to give up on their abilities to repent and give their lives over to His welcoming salvation freely offered

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Harmony

For Christ did not please Himself, but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”  Romans 15:3

Psalm 69:9 is quoted by Apostle Paul because it directly relates to our Lord Jesus Christ.  For, there are those who insult and mock God and those insults are absorbed by Christ to bring harmony.  As Paul continues in his discourse about harmony, he is helping us to understand that through your response to others, with your steadfast faith in Jesus, you start and sustain harmony with other people.

We cherish harmony and good will toward each other for it is a blessing from our Lord in our relationships.  

Your Influence

We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak.  Romans 15:1

Apostle Paul defines the weak as those who are easily swayed in the wrong direction.  For instance if you were to drink beer with your poker buddies and then bring your believer friend into the game (the friend, who does not drink alcohol) and your believer friend is influenced by the drinking event– which then influences him to start drinking beer to excess and thus you have not influenced your believer friend for good purpose.

Paul instructs you not please yourself but to honor and influence the weaker person for good.  He writes, ‘Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor,‘ v.2.  Build up someone elses’ faith in Jesus and help them to be the best example of Christ in this world that they can be.  Be the best example of Christ you can be.  Have mercy for others and do not wrongly influence your neighbor.  Do not wrongly influence a child also.

Jesus has taught us that we show that we are someone else’s neighbor when we show mercy.  (Luke 10:37)   Merciful believers help others with genuine loving friendship.  Neighborliness.  Living mercifully helps weak believers, no matter what age they are, to be strong in spiritual maturity.  Your influence is vital.

Pursue

Let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  Romans 14:19

When you are continually living side by side with believers who are making peace then there is not emotional drama, times of offense, and no stomach turning event can sway you from extending His kind compassion to someone else.  Genuine kindness shared together blesses you time after time.  

Now if a question arises as to the motivation behind someone’s actions or words then let us have peaceful patience in listening to the full explaination.  If it so happens that we are the ones who have offended, heartfelt apologies make for peace and forgiveness builds up the body of Christ.

In the body of believers, we are not to cause another believer to stumble.  ‘Whatever you do, do for the glory of God.’ (1 Corinthians 10:31)  Children of God honor each other with peace, encouragement, and mutual support.