Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Evening Devotion

If you need hope to be on the menu, keep reading. It is today's special.

If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

Hallelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah! (From the musical Messiah)

He is the One who was, and is, and is to come, The Almighty One.

For the old Hebrews the beginning of the year was around September. The Chinese get to start over in February. For the Romans and for us down through the years, January was the start of a new year.

The last hours of Easter are closing. What if we chose to begin anew tomorrow? What if we consider Monday the first day of a New Year full of hope and grace and Hallelujah?

What if we determine this is the year we lead more people to Christ than we ever have? Maybe we will lead someone to Him for the first time in our life. Maybe it will be a year of repairing bridges to friends and loved ones. Maybe a year of blowing the dust from a text and returning to studies long ago laid aside. Maybe it will be a year to open the door to our creative gifts and paint, draw, write or sew. Maybe we will remember to say "Please" and "Thank you" more.

Maybe we will receive spiritual giftings once thought only to belong to others. Maybe it will be a year where we out give any other year and send more seed into the Kingdom then we ever thought possible. Maybe we will lose weight, find a spouse, grow our hair long, learn to dance, learn a language, STOP SMOKING, take up public speaking, raise our hands to worship, fall in love all over again, shut the door on the past, forgive a enemy, forgive a friend, forgive ourselves...

Are you sitting there shaking your head no? Are you looking at circumstances instead of the empty tomb? Are you undecided? Or have you already walked away from the computer to kiss your wife or husband, apologize to your child, buy watercolors?

Let's settle something now once and forever...If a man could be nailed to a cross and die, lay dead for the weekend and raise himself to life under his own power then live forever...and if the same man were to say we would do even greater things than he did because he would always have our back...well, what in the world are we waiting for, a better offer?

Oswald Chambers did a sweet and powerful devotional where he pointed out how those closest to Jesus failed Him miserably when He needed them most. When he specifically asked more than once for their help. Just asked them to stay awake and watch with Him in the Garden. You know how they slept and were not there for Him no matter how nicely they were asked to be. No matter how much He needed them to be.

Despair can be the result of such experiences and personal failures but Chambers points out that it is Jesus who comes along and says,"Sleep on now, Yes, that opportunity is lost forever and you cannot alter it, but ARISE and go on to the next thing!" Chambers says that is the spiritual initiative He has given us against despair, "ARISE AND DO THE NEXT THING."

"If we are inspired of God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the ground of His Redemption never letting a sense of failure corrupt our new action." (My Utmost for His Highest)

We can rise with Him, begin again, and do the next thing on Monday. In a Kingdom hungry for laborers our prayers for guidance will be answered.

The starter's pistol is in His hand, He is counting down:

One, I am doing a new thing, do you get it?

Two, If I AM is for you who can be against you?

Three, ARISE, Let us GO!

Philippians 3:12-14 (New International Reader's Version)
I have not yet received all of those things. I have not yet been made perfect. But I move on to take hold of what Christ Jesus took hold of me for. I don't consider that I have taken hold of it yet.

But here is the one thing I do: I forget what is behind me. I push hard toward what is ahead of me. I move on toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.

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