Holy Week April 2020: Focus on the Christ, not the crisis


96lioness

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Greetings everyone.

The threat of the coronavirus has now become a reality and has made its way to the United States. This virus doesn't care if you're Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, rich, poor, Democrat, Republican, Independent, young, old. It has claimed the lives of so many, and continues to sweep throughout this entire world. I pray more than ever that you and your families are well, healthy, and are being as safe as possible.

The coronavirus has shown me that our country is NOT prepared for a pandemic such as this. And it has taught me that no matter how many years I've worked as a Medical Technologist, no matter how many times I've had to train and remain proficient in biosafety and PPE and hand hygiene and handling of specimen contaminated with HIV, MRSA, TB, Hepatitis A,B, and C, Ebola, Zika and now the coronavirus, it's a different thing when the threat reaches your own front door.

But this virus has also further proved that, while the facts about this virus are very real, God's word is TRUTH! Jesus spoke of these things in Matthew 24. And every single day, circumstances and events prove that the Bible is fulfilling itself and that Jesus is quickly on His way back! So, if these which have been foretold are happening and proves the Bible to be true, let us also remember the truth that God is almighty and bigger than any problem we face. Let us remember that God is our ultimate peace, power, provision, and protection. Let us remember that Jesus overcame this world and is with us until the end of time.

This week is the beginning of Passion Week. I challenge each of you, this week, to place a strong, concentrated focus on Christ, and not this coronavirus crisis. Please, by all means, continue to practice health and safety, and use God's wisdom, but focus on our Lord Jesus as we prepare for the international celebration of His resurrection. Again, please be safe, be healthy, be faithful, and stay in prayer and faith!
 

96lioness

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Holy Week: April 2020
Focus on the Christ, not the crisis
Day 1: Forgiveness


And the devil said unto Him, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread’” Luke 4:3 (KJV)

Before entering His mission, Jesus was Spirit-led into the wilderness, undoubtedly sent there for Spiritual and mental preparation of His earthly assignment. There for 40 days, Jesus ate nothing, absolutely nothing at all. Now He comes to the end of His 40-day preparation and fast when the devil shows up. The devil knew who Jesus was and he knew He (Jesus) was hungry, so he attempted to cater to Jesus’ flesh.

Now, as hungry as Jesus was, He could have easily relieved His hunger by giving in to His flesh. But Jesus was just as Holy as He was human. Jesus knew He had the power to make bread from stones, but He instead chose to remain humble rather compare Himself to His Father, and further, chose to obey His Father and His Father’s word:

“And Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God”-Luke 4:4 (KJV).



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Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”-Luke 23:34 (KJV)

This time, Luke records this prayer of the Lord as He hung on the Cross. Jesus had been betrayed, abandoned, arrested, falsely accused, stripped, beaten, mocked, humiliated, tortured, and finally nailed to His Cross. Here again, Jesus has an opportunity to use His power to make His situation much more comfortable to His flesh. But again, He remained obedient to prophetic Scripture:

“…because He hath poured out His soul unto death; and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bare the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors”-Isaiah 53:12c,d (KJV)


Jesus could have prayed to God for the destruction of those crucifying Him. He could have easily come down from the Cross. But here again, Jesus chose not to prove who He was. He didn’t flex His spiritual muscles or flex His authority. He, again, chose obedience to His Father and His Father’s will. Jesus’ prayer on the Cross was not the language of His blood crying out for vengeance, but for mercy. His death and Resurrection cancelled our sin debt and purchased us through forgiveness and mercy.

Just as Jesus knew who He was and His position and authority, we as Christians also know who we are in Him. Right now, our faith, trust, and belief in God is being tested beyond what we probably could ever imagine. While Jesus has given us power to tread on "scorpions and serpents", just because we have that power does not mean God wants us to go around flexing our "spiritual" muscles, nor do we have to prove our faith and trust in God to anyone. Had Jesus gave in and turned stones into bread or come down from the Cross, He would have shown distrust in His Father, shown unfaithfulness toward His Father, and aborted the purpose of His mission, thereby unqualifying Him to cancel and FORGIVE us for our sins.

We, as Christians/Believers, have been bought with a heavy price, the ultimate price, the Blood of Jesus Christ. We are FORGIVEN. Remember that the next time someone wants you to prove your faithfulness and trust in God.

May the mighty hand of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you safe and cover you and your family! Be safe and be blessed!






 

Big Thunder

Well-Known Member
I don't know about anyone else, but it just doesn't seem like Passion Week. It didn't "seem" like Palm Sunday yesterday and it doesn't "feel" like Easter is 6 days away. Yet, we still celebrate the risen Savior. Thank you dear sister @96lioness for continuing in your faith and service, and for continuing in the sharing of the Word of God. You are truly a blessing!
 

96lioness

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@Big Thunder

I was beginning to feel that way as well. I'm part of our Daughters of Zion ministry at my church, and we're tasked to hold consecration prayer before each service at my church. We pray for the Holy Ghost to come and hijack our service, that He convict us as Christians and bring awareness to those outside the Body of Christ to accept Jesus as their Savior. We pray for our Pastor, for our church family, and for the city, state, and nation. We are always so very thankful to be in our Worship Service attendance, but now, I realize more than ever the impact going to church as had on me, and I am starting to feel the affects of not being able to assemble with my Christ-minded and Christ-centered brothers and sisters.

But everyday, I stop and give my time and attention to the Lord through daily devotion and/or Bible study. And yesterday I just stopped and gave another deep concentrated thought about our Lord Jesus Christ and all that He did for us, and WHY He did what He did for us!

My favorite book of the Bible is the gospel of John. It gives an in-depth and intimate account of the life, ministry, purpose of Jesus, and the 17th chapter (so very emotional) records the depth of love Jesus had for His disciples and the love He has for us. Please read it; I promise it will bring joy and happiness and give you a "Resurrection Sunday" feeling everyday!

Thank you so much for your love and support. My best wishes of health and happiness to you and yours. And please keep me and my family in your prayers, as I hold you in mine! :)
 

96lioness

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Holy Week: April 2020
Focus on the Christ, not the crisis
Day 2: Salvation


Jesus was nailed to the Cross and hung between two thieves. Unlike Jesus, both rightly deserved what was being done to them. While one of them remained hardened to the end and challenged Jesus’ claim as being the Christ, the other scolded him for his words, pointing out his foolishness of no fear of God, even at the brink of death. This thief acknowledges his guilt and accepts the consequences that come from his crime. He more importantly recognizes the innocence of Jesus. He then turns to Jesus and asks that he be remembered when Jesus enters His Kingdom.

The prayer of a dying sinner to a dying Savior. It’s not known whether this man prayed before or not, yet here it is recorded that this prayer was spoken, and a response given before his life ended. While there is life, there is hope, and while there is hope there is room for prayer. Although Jesus Himself was in great agony and pain, He had a word of comfort for this criminal. Ignoring His own suffering, He responds with mercy, living out His own beatitude (Matthew 5:7), and answers the thief’s prayer:



“And Jesus said unto him, ‘Verily I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in paradise’”-Luke 23:43 (KJV)

With these words, Jesus showed His Divinity by opening Heaven to a repentant sinner and extending great generosity to a man that only asked to be remembered. Jesus further showed His Divinity by bestowing upon him salvation, the very purpose of His earthly mission.

Right now, we’re all going through one of the most difficult times we’ve experienced. But even during the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we as Christians/Believers are still responsible for doing the task God has set for us. Just as Jesus offered words of comfort and assurance, we too must remember to lay aside our sufferings and speak words of faith, truth, trust, belief and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ to those who operate in fear. We must remind others that while trouble is in the world, there is reason to hope and rejoice because Jesus overcame the world. And because He overcame, we can receive and have Salvation through Him.

May the mighty hand of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you safe and cover you and your families! Be well and be blessed!

 

96lioness

Please, PLEASE VOTE!
Passion Week: April 2020
Focus on the Christ, not the crisis
Day 3: Affection


In the 2nd chapter of the gospel of John, Mary is with Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry. The two are together when both are in attendance of a wedding at Cana, where Jesus performs His first miracle of turning water into wine. Later, in the 19th chapter of the Gospel, the two are together again, this time at the end of Jesus’ public ministry. Their reunion took place at the foot of the Cross. Mary, along with her sister, Mary Magdalene, and the disciple John, looks up at her son as He hangs, dying on the Cross. When He saw His mother with John, Jesus spoke first to her:

Woman, behold thy son!”-John 19:26b (KJV)​

and He then speaks to John, His beloved disciple:

Behold thy mother!”-John 19:27 (KJV)​

Before His last breath, before His burial, before His resurrection, Jesus once again rises above the occasion as He honors the Fifth Commandment. While it is not recorded in the Bible, Scripture provides evidence that Joseph (husband to Mary) had died sometime before Jesus entered His ministry (the last mention of Joseph in Jesus’ life is recorded in Luke 2:41-50). In ancient Israel, women seldom attended occasions (weddings, funerals) unless accompanied by their husbands. There was no mention of Joseph attending the wedding at Cana. Also, when Jesus was rejected in His hometown of Nazareth, He was referred to as “the son of Mary” (Mark 6:3). It was Jewish custom in those days that children, especially sons, were recognized as their father’s son(s). It is from these passages of Scripture where it is suggested that Joseph died before Jesus’ ministry began. Finally, Jewish custom was that the eldest son assumed responsibility of the household upon the death of his father. As the oldest son, this responsibility would fall upon Jesus. Knowing that His time of death was at hand, Jesus, while in pain, agony, and suffering, demonstrated the utmost love and affection toward His mother in making sure she would be cared for before He died.

Jesus’ love and affection were further extended towards John, the disciple whom He loved. While He was Lord of all things, Jesus had no earthly material possessions and no home of His own. Knowing the degree of love, faith, and trust John had in Him, He placed His mother into his care. And since He knew that John would be the disciple that would die of natural causes, Jesus knew that John would be able to love, care for, and provide for His mother.

Before the coronavirus even surfaced, many Christians/Believers abandoned their responsibilities to look after those in need. Too often many don’t extend outreach or give towards a need because they’re too afraid that they’ll go without or miss out on getting the things they need, especially now. But we must never get so taken up in our sufferings that we forget to demonstrate love, affection, and provision to others. If Jesus was able to do this while hanging and dying on the Cross for us (another demonstration of His affection), surely we can too, safely and with God’s wisdom.

May the mighty hand of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you safe and cover you and your families! Be safe, be well, and be blessed!
 

96lioness

Please, PLEASE VOTE!
Passion Week: April 2020
Focus on the Christ, not the crisis
Day 4: Desolation


"'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?'"

("My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?")
Matthew 27:46

"'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?'"

Mark 15:34 (KJV)


As hard as it may seem for us to grasp and understand, these are the words of Jesus, spoken in despair to the Father. Jesus the Christ, who was and is without sin. Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus, who since the beginning of time, from all eternity, had been in an intimate relationship with the Father, is now spiritually separated from Him. Jesus had been betrayed by one disciple, denied by one, and abandoned by 10 others. He had been scourged and spit upon. During His affliction on the Cross, He did not say, "Why am I scourged? Why am I spit upon? Why nailed to the cross?". He did not say to His disciples, "Why have ye forsaken me?". During the most grievous time of His sufferings, Jesus cried this question out to His Father, who had forsaken Him. God had delivered His only Son into the hands of His enemies. He allowed the powers of darkness to be loosed against Him to do their worst. But why would the same God who said He loves us so much that He sent His Son do this to Him?


"'To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us reconciliation'"-2 Corinthians 5:19 (KJV)

God placed the sins of the world on Jesus so that everything/everyone that had been affected by sin could be made right with God. Jesus became sin for us, to the letter, so that we could be reconciled back to God:

"'For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him'"- 2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV)
So, God had to allow Jesus to go through this for us. As a result of the heavy, heavy, heavy burden of all the sins of humanity during that moment overwhelmed Jesus to the point where He cries out in desolation.


Our Christian walk isn't easy. It isn't glamorous. It isn't comfortable. We are God's children, predestinated unto adoption by our Lord Jesus Christ. But just as Jesus, the Son of God, had His sufferings, we too will to the point where we may feel as if God has forgotten about us. When those times come, it is important that we remember that God had a purpose for the sufferings of His Son, and that He has a purpose for ours just as well. When Jesus suffered on the Cross, He obeyed God even unto death, and God exalted Him and gave Him all power in Heaven and in earth. God did not fault Him for His feeling of desolation, but instead bestowed upon Jesus the highest of declarations: JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! Right now, the world seems dark, dreary, and many of us may be feeling desolate right now. But we have to remain obedient and faithful to God even during this pandemic. And since we have received the Spirit of adoption, we can now cry out "Abba!". We can rejoice knowing that even though He may allow to suffer a bit, it's nothing compared to the glory the He will reveal to us! HOLD ON A LITTLE WHILE LONGER!

May the mighty hands of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you safe and cover you and your families! Be safe, be well, and be blessed!





 

96lioness

Please, PLEASE VOTE!
Passion Week: April 2020
Focus on the Christ, not the crisis
Day 5: Anguish


The Holy Bible provides a vast array of Scripture proving the claims of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and only Savior of the world. These Scriptures are specific, fulfilled prophecies, or Messianic Prophecies, which find their fulfillment in the person and life of Jesus the Christ. While the Messianic Prophecies extend over hundreds of years (which are recorded throughout the Old Testament), we find their complete fulfillment in the short thirtysomething year life span of Jesus, many being fulfilled in a single day. The Messianic prophecies truly accomplish the purposes of the Gospel writers, who carefully captured the person, words, and works of Jesus. One such prophecy is first recorded in the Old Testament, one of the Psalms of David:

"'They gave me also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink'"-Psalm 69:21 (KJV)

and is later fulfilled, recorded by the Gospel writer John, who captures the words spoken by the Master:


"After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, saith, 'I thirst'. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar, and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth."
John 19:28-29 (KJV)


Death by crucifixion was one of the most disgraceful and cruel methods of execution. Dating back to about 300-400BC, crucifixion was invented by the Persians, but it was perfected by the Romans. Crucifixion was a form of torture and capital punishment reserved for criminals, designed to produce of slow death with the maximum amount of pain and suffering allowable. While crucifixion had many torturous customs, one practice according to Roman law was that at the site of execution, the victim be given something to drink. By saying He was thirsty, this prompted Roman guards to give Jesus vinegar (customary at a crucifixion), thereby fulfilling Psalmist prophecy.

During His torture and suffering, Jesus remained obedient to God and to God's word. Rather than focus on His anguish, He instead focused on the will of His Father, once again proving Himself to be the long-awaited Messiah and accomplishing what His Father sent Him to do.
Today, we cannot allow our focus to linger on the coronavirus pandemic or on the other troubles and challenges of this world. We must remain obedient to God and to the work He has called us to do. We must continue to study His word to show ourselves approved unto Him. We must continue to arm ourselves with the WHOLE armor of God so that we will be well-equipped for spiritual warfare. We must continue to have faith in God, remembering that it is impossible to please Him without it. And we must not quote Scripture only but BE the Scriptures and LIVE the Scriptures! FOCUS ON THE CHRIST, NOT THE CRISIS so that we may successfully accomplish the will of God and His purpose for our lives!


May the mighty hands of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you safe and cover you and your families! Be strong in the Lord and stay safe and healthy!






 

96lioness

Please, PLEASE VOTE!
Passion Week: April 2020
Focus on the Christ, not the crisis
Day 6: Committal



Into thine hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth’”-Psalm 31:5 (KJV)​



Here again is another Messianic Prophecy, again spoken by David, found in the Old Testament. David is a man on the run, hunted down by Saul, and is in great trouble and distress. While David continues his prayer to and trust in God, the possibility of death weighs heavily on his mind. In his affliction, he offers to give his soul in a special manner to God. David commits his situation over to God, and even though the prospect of capture and death hangs in the balance, his spirit is at ease in knowing Who he’s entrusted it. Recalling the past deliverances God has bestowed upon him, David pleads to God for present help from (again), trusting that what God has done for him, He will do again.



And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”-Luke 23:46a (KJV)​



Here we find the Messianic Prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament, in the Gospel of John. The object of a Godly man’s concern in life or death is his spirit (soul). If man’s soul is spiritually intact, all is well, and he can cheerfully and willingly commit it into the hands of God, since it came from Him (Genesis 2:7). In this Scripture, Jesus spoke these words to prove that it was His own Spirit that testified in the Old Testament prophets and further prove that He as the Messiah came to fulfill the Scripture. Jesus committed His spirit to His Father because He knew it would be secured so that we, through Him, could receive the adoption of sons. Jesus committed His soul as an offering for our sin (Isaiah 53:10), to give His life a ransom for us (Matthew 20:28), and by the eternal Spirit, offer Himself (Hebrews 9:14). Jesus’ obedience to His Father proves His spirit was intact, qualifying Him to grant us redemption through His blood.

When Jesus gave His life for ours, He put us in a position where we can commit our spirit/soul to the Father. When we accepted Him as our Savior, we made the first step to ensure that our soul is spiritually intact. We have grace and faith given to us by God. We have the word of God given to us by God, which is beneficial in providing sound doctrine, admonishment when we do wrong, correct our behavior, and instruct us on how to live a righteous life. We have all the tools necessary to commit our ways to God and commit our works unto Him. And when it’s time to transition from this life to the next with Jesus, we can say with confidence and assurance, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”.

May the mighty hands of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you safe and cover you and your families! Be safe, and be strong and encouraged in the Lord!
 
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96lioness

Please, PLEASE VOTE!
Holy Week: April 2020
Focus on the Christ, not the crisis
Day 7: Victory



When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost”-John 19:30 (KJV)​

According to Scripture, Jesus was on the Cross for 6 hours before He made this statement (Mark 15:24-25; Matthew 27:45-46,50). Afterward, He bowed His head and died. His last words appear to mean finality, the end of life has come, everything is over. Not the case at all, far from it. So why did Jesus say, “It is finished”? What was it that was “finished”?


The Work the Father sent Him to Do
Consummatum est’ (Latin)- IT IS FINISHED

Jesus finished His earthly mission the Father sent Him to do offer and provide salvation to humankind. Jesus, the Paschal Lamb, the Lamb without spot or blemish, the One without sin, was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world; the way of Salvation is now made complete! When Jesus said those 3 words, He satisfied the righteous will of His Holy Father.

Jesus Fulfilled Prophecy
Plēroō, teleioō (Greek)-FULFILL

All Scripture that haven foretold about the long-awaited Messiah, all the Messianic Prophecies, from His first advent to His birth to His ministry, from His purpose to His death and Resurrection, all have been fulfilled! Everything that had been said came to pass and leaves no doubt that Jesus is the Messiah and that He did bring salvation, not only to His people but to the entire world.

Jesus Achieved Victory over Satan
Nikos, nikē’ (Greek)- Victory

Jesus’ death on the Cross was the victory over the devil. One purpose for Jesus’ coming was to destroy the works of the devil:

’He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil’”-1 John 3:8 (KJV)

The dominion over the earth that man, through his own sin, had handed over to the devil was now won back!

Jesus’ Suffering was Finished
Consummatum est’ (Latin)-IT IS FINISHED

Jesus had spent thirty-plus years living on Earth, a man without sin living among sinners. He was human, but also holy, and while His suffering was self-imposed, it came with limits. He spent 6 hours in pain, agony, and despair on the Cross. All of that was now FINISHED! Jesus would no longer suffer the limits of space and time.

We truly have reason to rejoice, even during this pandemic. Our Lord Jesus Christ completed His purpose. He defeated our enemy. He reconciled
us back to God. He overcame. And through Him, we have victory!

May the mighty hands our Lord Jesus Christ keep you safe and cover you and your families! Rejoice always in the Lord!
 
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